Dons Supporters Together had a meeting with representatives from Aberdeen Football Club last week. The club gave us nearly 3 hours of their time in what was a positive discussion on a range of topics. Summary notes on what was discussed are shown below.
Minutes for the meeting with Aberdeen Football Club Representatives on Wednesday 7th March 2012 at 4pm, Pittodrie Stadium
DST: Bill Ellis, Mike Rennie, Jennifer Moffat, Ross Moffat
AFC: Duncan Fraser, Dave Macdermid, Chris Gavin
DST provided an update to the club on their current situation post-launch. DST launched on 4th February 2012 and membership has increased 400% with sign up sessions organised for the next two home games. Gordon Duncan of DST attended the Ellon Roadshow to promote the launch. It was agreed with DF that leaflets could go out with season ticket renewals for next season. DST will work with AFC to be the vehicle to provide communication between the supporters and the club.
Good working relationship with the bank. Facilities were renewed with the long term aim around the stadium.
The bank debt will not increase from current levels going forward.
Offers are in for Pittodrie and the club is considering these.
The club are working hard on negotiating contracts/funding for the new Stadium and the start of 2013/14 season remains the target.
DST asked how they could help with the stadium move. Nearer the time of the move DST could help get messages out to the fans on pricing etc. At the moment we can provide feedback on what fans want for a match day experience.
The club recognise that the move will require them to make a more unique and inviting match day experience and are looking at what other clubs are doing.
DST’s survey showed fans were overwhelmingly in favour of the introduction of Safe Standing and provided the club with an outline of pros and cons.
AFC stressed they are open to Safe Standing area. However the SPL have only agreed to a “trial” of safe standing. AFC would like to see a club trial next season and see if it works which could pave the way for a proper introduction into the SPL.
There was the suggestion of funding aid from central funding for this trial. This will be followed up by DST through Supporters Direct and the club will discuss with the SPL. Club’s still need police and local authorities’ onside.AFC have very good relationships with the police authorities at Grampian. Club agreed that after the architects had fed back to them on practicalities, and they had discussed implications with Barr, they would feedback to DST.
DST showed DF the Roy MacGregor article and discussed Ross County’s high profile in the community and as a model that AFC could learn from. The club highlighted the various community projects they undertake but agreed it is perhaps under publicised. DST offered to help and stressed that these sorts of messages need to be better communicated. The club handed DST its community brochure which DST agreed to put onto its website which shows the AFC programme extends beyond that of Ross County.
AFC Vision and Friends of the Club
DST raised the fact there was still no vision statement for the club. DF quoted the aim from the strategic plan which was about rebuilding a successful club in Scottish football and the local community. The aim was very good and DST stressed the need to communicate this message to the fans. The club agreed and at a suitable time will make this public. DST stressed the importance of doing this sooner rather than later.
The club acknowledged the amount of work gone in to creating the Friends of the Club document but felt that a lot of the content was being covered by the four AFC Board sub groups who are working with other individuals out with the club to drive the clubs aim.
Reds Direct and Funding
DST asked the club to resurrect the idea of giving shares in return for monies raised. It was suggested 10,000 shares for every £10,000 raised and donated to the club for youth development/community programmes. DF was positive in regards to this and would get back to us on it.
The situation at Rangers was discussed and it was agreed that this was a chance to change Scottish football for the better in terms of making it a more competitive league. Aberdeen FC emphasised that they would do all they can to ensure that the sporting integrity of the SPL is maintained and that overall competition is fair for all clubs.