Author: Jeff Banks

CFU Director News

The City Fans United board can confirm that Calvin Hughes has resigned from his position as director.

 

Calvin was co-opted back on to the board in January 2018, and was then fully elected at the CFU AGM in September..

 

He also took over as Acting Secretary following the departure of Tony Allan in August 2018.

 

The board would like to place on record our thanks to Calvin for his hard work throughout his time back on the board, and wish him all the very best in the future.

 

Merry Christmas from CFU

The board of directors would like to wish all members a very enjoyable and safe Christmas.

 

We would also like to thank everyone who has volunteered their time for both CFU and Chester FC – without you, the club could not function.

 

The board really appreciate every single minute of time donated to the club that we all strive to improve, and recognise that at times it may feel that it’s a thankless role, but please be assured that we really would not have a club if it wasn’t for those dedicating their time for the love of the club.

 

We hope that you all enjoy your festivities and that we will continue to become stronger in 2019 thanks to your efforts volunteering for the club we all love.

 

Finally, we would like to thank the management team, players and backroom staff for what they have achieved in 2018, and hope that 2019 will deliver the results that we are all striving for.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The board of directors.

 

CFU Directors’ Portfolio Update – Fan Engagement & Membership

Today we continue the update from CFU directors, the latest provided Jeff Banks, whose portfolio includes Membership & Fan Engagement.

 

It’s been a manic few months following the efforts of bringing realistic and attractive season ticket and matchday prices to the table, but the Fan Engagement Working Group have ploughed on looking at various aspects of the matchday experience as well as putting our thoughts in to making the CFU membership more attractive to members.

 

Below, is a list of part of what we’ve been focussing on during the last couple of months:

 

CFU membership new joins / renewals

  • We recently hit the 2018 target and have since passed this too, which is great news. Effectively the number from 12 months ago has doubled.
  • Draw for winner of £20.18 club shop voucher will take place this weekend!
  • We are also going to be looking at further benefits of being a CFU member and also discussing the CFU membership joining fee based on comments and feedback made by members in the Big City Census 2018 and in general.
  • Due to launch in January, a large retailer have offered a generous discount to CFU members, details to follow on this.
  • Buy Clever Stuff have offered CFU members 5% off some ranges and also advised that they will make a further 5% donation to the Squadbuilder fund from purchases made direct from their website.

 

Lifetime Membership

  • We have 10 confirmed paid members. Packs for these have been this week. Our target for this scheme was an initial 10 members, which will hopefully increase to 20 in time. This has raised £10,000 (an obvious calculation there!)
  • CFU membership had a forecasted budget of £20,000 to hit and we are on course to hit this figure.
  • Extra benefits are being looked at on a continuing basis for life members.

 

Matchday Experience – Themes

  • 10th November – Altrincham – Remembrance Weekend. Together with the Community Trust, the pre match routine included attendance from the Veterans and Mercian Regiment, and a impeccably observed period of silence to pay tribute.
  • 1st December – Darlington – Retro Day. whilst we didn’t get a crowd of over 2000, which was disappointing, we still managed an increased attendance based on CFC fixtures played on this week in previous seasons. We also believe that there was definitely a feel good factor around the ground with the theme, along with some great sights of fans in their old Chester tops. Whilst financially it didn’t net the club any profit the fact that season ticket holders were able to take advantage of a £5 discount on purchases in the club shop helped produce great figures for the shop on Retro Day. We will keep the thought of having Retro Day 2 in our minds for next season’s planning. Half Time entertainment went down well too, and thanks to Buy Clever Stuff for their help and prizes donations.
  • 22nd December – Telford – Christmas Theme, with Santa making an appearance of course!
  • We are looking at themes for the rest of the season, and will release those in due course, but we are hoping to have involvement from former players, Junior Blues, as well as the Community Trust.

 

Half Time Entertainment

  • This was introduced for the Altrincham match and as mentioned above the Darlington match, and believe that it went down well and will continue to try and provide an enjoyable experience to all watching.

 

Cestrian 10 (part) Season Ticket

  • Launched Saturday 20th October together with social media marketing and promotional advertising via local press and also a radio advert dedicated to the Cestrian 10 on Dee 106.3 – thanks to Dee for this.
  • We have had more uptake than last season. The initiative now includes Legends Lounge as well as around the ground tickets, and currently offers fans a choice of 10 games from a possible 12. The scheme will end after the Telford match.
  • We are also putting plans together with the Community Trust for remaining unsold Cestrian 10 books.

 

Chester FC fans App

  • Launched in pre-season, this is in full operation and continuing to work well – we are monitoring the output match by match at present, and all feedback is positive.
  • We also have an additional person helping to respond to questions / promote the App.

 

Online Ticketing

  • This was trialled in 2018 for an initial period, however take up was low and would not have been cost effective to continue given the running costs of the platform. FEWG are continuing to look at alternative options for future use.

 

Gazebo

  • Continuing with the Community Trust. We will look to resume CFU membership applications in March at the Gazebo, although other initiatives may well be progressed via the Gazebo in between times.

 

Blues Bar

  • We have kept in dialogue with Dougherty & Allen to ensure that fans are getting the best experience possible in the Blues Bar and kiosks, following the negative feedback received after the first match of the season.

 

Fan Zone (for drinks)

  • This is to be discussed further in January as we want to progress this to enable a Fan Zone to be set up to allow fans to enjoy the matchday experience further. Dialogue continues with the Safety team. An initial conversation has taken place around the possibility of this being introduced.

 

One2One Challenge

  • We are continuing to promote the challenge for members to introduce one new member to CFU.

 

Various Fan Groups

  • Chester Exiles – FEWG have worked with Bern & Jonno to get a personal message out to the Chester Exiles who potentially feel less involved with our fixtures this season given the geographical nature of this season’s fixture list. FEWG want to ensure that the Chester Exiles are made to feel as inclusive as the rest of the supporters.
  • FEWG to liaise more with the Senior Blues in 2019, to ensure that their group is also getting the best matchday experience too.

 

Match Posters

  • We are continuing to look at match posters – there are various online posters produced, which are shared across social media. Non online posters are a different kettle of fish, given the costs involved of advertising, although we have tried asking fans to help distribute but this received a low response rate. We are also looking in to the possibility of having an external sign outside the stadium advertising future matches (this in early stages at present).

 

 

Other Items being looked at/discussed:

  • Bus service for matchdays
  • Increasing the number of children at matches
  • 2019 Fans Survey
  • Season Tickets 2019/20 – for discussion later this season

 

 

 

 

So, as you can see lots going on with the Fan Engagement and Membership section headed up by Guy Lister, and we’re always looking for more members, so if you would like to join our working group then please email fewg@chesterfc.com to become involved.

CFU Directors’ Portfolio Update – Fundraising & Governance

 

Today, we continue the updates from the Director portfolios, with David Williams providing the Fundraising Update and Mark Jones with the Governance Update.

 

Firstly, David Williams, Fundraising Portfolio:

 

Christmas Raffle & Party – Since the Evening with Kevin Ratcliffe in the Summer, the main focus of the Fundraising Working Group has been the Christmas Raffle and Party. We have

  • Sold tickets in pubs
  • Sold tickets at The Forum in the City Centre
  • Sold tickets at MBNA

Furthermore, we would like to thank all the fans who have sold tickets themselves. This is something we need all fans to get involved with as it is one of the income streams that the club relies on.

The draw for which took place last night at the Chester FC Christmas Party at the Upton British Legion. Details of winners will be published in due course.

 

Seals Lottery – Regular publication of the draw results has seen a gradual increase in sales of Seal Lottery tickets, first prize was an impressive £542 last month. The pay out is linked to the number of entrants and we hope to grow this further in the New Year.

 

50-50 Draw – In conjunction with the Fan Engagement Working Group, we have offered half-time fan experiences out on the pitch as consolation prizes in the 50-50 draws. All being well, this will increase ticket sales and make the main cash prize even bigger!

 

eBay – Our eBay auctions have raised circa £1,600 since they begin in February. We wish to thank all who have placed bids – we even had a winner who lives in Shanghai! We hope to offer something relating to the Akwasi Asante debut hat-trick in the near future.

 

 

Mark Jones, Governance Update

 

Health & Safety – The last few months have been very busy on the Health & Safety front with a number of planned regular safety inspections from CWAC, the FA and under the Safety of Sports Ground Act.
Considerable progress has been made on a full review of our health & safety policies, risk assessments and safety certificate renewals.

Safety Certificate – The flooding obviously gave us major headaches with the safety certificate, however we were successful in regaining our safety certificate from CWAC following that difficult period.

Safety Advisory Group – A meeting of the SAG was held on 26th November. One area of discussion was the potential for a separate safety certificate to also enable Chester FC to host events at the stadium not involving football. This could potentially open a number of doors for revenue in the future,

Working Group – The Governance working group has attracted new members and is now meeting on a monthly basis.
Each member of the Governance working group will be working alongside CFU Board members to review and manage risks within their portfolio.

 

 

Tomorrow’s update will be provided Jeff Banks, whose portfolio includes Membership & Fan Engagement.

CFU Directors’ Portfolio Update – Commercial

2018 has been a year to both forget and remember for Chester fans and owners.

 

It started of course, with the crisis meeting in January that saw CFU members and Blues fans alike come together and raise funds to effectively keep the club going in its hour of need.

 

Changes to the board followed with a desire to put the club back on track, and along with some amazing fundraising efforts we’ve seen the club go from strength to strength especially with the change in management team that saw Bern and Jonno come in after last season finished.

 

The call has gone out for additional bodies on both the board and working groups, to help continue drive the club forward and as we approach Christmas and the tail end of the year, in the absence of a CFU members meeting in December the board of directors wanted to update you with a taste of what they’ve been working on since the last members’ meeting and what is to come in their portfolios, and today we begin with the Chairman, David Harrington-Wright.

 

David listed the following as updates in the Commercial portfolio.

 

Matchday sponsorships – We have almost completely sold out match ball and programme sponsorships which is great news, but there are a few remaining so would encourage anyone wanted to book a matchday package to contact commercial@chesterfc.com straight away to avoid missing out!

 

Ground Boards – We have also several new ground boards in place which was always the aim, to bring new companies and sponsors into the club.

 

Groundsman’s Facilities – We have also contra deals put in place that have brought a top of the range mower for Mike Barrow, which enables vastly improved cutting of the grass and less time required on that side of things.

A contra deal has also been arranged with a company that provide drainage services for the pitch, this being a five year deal saving the club about £3k, but also gives us additional services free of charge too, which naturally is a major positive!

 

Club Shop – We have a new supplier of additional clothing and promotional items for the club shop and online, the first products were two bespoke jackets for the managers, which they can be seen wearing when not on the touchline.

 

End of Season Event – We are currently having meetings and discussion around of an end of season party, with details to follow on this very soon. We do of course have to take into consideration available dates with the planning of the event too.

 

Next Season – Even though we’re still only midway through this season, we are now planning for next season, talking to all existing sponsors, and of course new sponsors expressing interest in supporting the club.

 

Working group – We are a small working group, so always looking for more people to be part of helping the commercial side, and would encourage anyone interested to contact us via emailing commercial@chesterfc.com and a member of the Group will respond.

 

Tomorrow we’ll have an update from the Fundraising portfolio holder, David Williams, and also the Governance portfolio holder, Mark Jones.

 

Membership Target for 2018 hit!

City Fans United are delighted to announce that the membership target of 2018 members by the end of the year 2018 has been hit and surpassed with 2 weeks to spare!

 

The Fan Engagement Working Group (FEWG) have confirmed that together with the CFU Junior Blues, we now have over 2018 members!

 

In celebration of this, one City Fans United member will be drawn at random to win a voucher to the value of £20.18 to spend in the club shop, with the draw taking place later this week.

 

The FEWG have also announced that 10 life members have been signed up to the new Life Membership package which was announced earlier this season, and we would like to thank each and every one of the new Life Members who have joined up and confirm that membership packs are being sent out this week.

 

Jeff Banks, director of Fan Engagement was delighted the target number had been hit, “Following the January fans meeting at Chester FC, the FEWG was set up and we set out to achieve a goal of 2018 members by the end of 2018, and that is exactly what has been achieved. Just under 12 months ago we had barely 1000 members so to double that number is brilliant. Naturally we want to increase that number further and would encourage anyone who hasn’t joined yet to do so. We’ll shortly be looking to make being a CFU member even more attractive and are working together with local businesses to provide our members with discounts.”

 

Banks also confirmed that the FEWG were working on a number of themed match days for the New Year following on from the Remembrance and Retro Day themes that took place in November and December respectively, “Our aim is to improve the matchday experience for supporters and we have a Christmas theme for this coming Saturday and have already got a number of planned themes for 2019 that we are also working together with the Community Trust on too, and we hope everyone will take part and enjoy those theme days.”

 

CFU Meeting – Thursday 15 November

The next City Fans United meeting will take place in the Blues Bar, at the Swansway Chester Stadium, on Thursday 15th November.

 

The meeting that will get underway at 7.30pm, is an informal meeting and so is open to non-members as well as current members.

 

It’s an ideal opportunity to come and hear from the CFU board on latest developments, as well as hopefully hearing from joint managers Bern & Jonno.

 

You can also sign up to CFU membership on the night too, with the membership package an unbeatable £12 per year at present.

 

The intention is also to stream the meeting on our CFU You Tube channel, on the evening itself.

 

CFU Life Membership – Payments Instalments News

CFU Life Membership form

 

The CFU Fan Engagement Working Group (FEWG) can confirm that following feedback from the members, that an additional instalment plan has been put into place for those members wishing to take up Life Membership of CFU.

 

During the last couple of weeks, members were advised of the new package that enables Life Membership to be secured by way of either a one off £1000 payment, or by a maximum of 4 payments of £250.

 

The FEWG are now delighted to announce that members can now spread their Life Membership payments over a 10 month period, with a contribution via Direct Debit of £100 per month.

 

We hope this enables more members to take up the Life Membership option – all those wishing to take advantage of this extra option are invited to email membership@cityfansunited.com and we will then send details of how to activate a Direct Debit.

 

Please note, the benefits of Life membership (with the exception of the new pin badge) will be applicable to new members once at least a 50% contribution has been made. Life membership will be revoked if the full £1000 is not received within the 10 month period.

 

Of course, the other options for securing Life Membership remain – so if you would like to make a one off payment or pay via the 4 x £250 payments then please either email membership@cityfansunited.com or contact Chester FC on 01244 371376 during normal office hours.

 

The FEWG will shortly be sending Life membership packs out to those who have purchased the new Life Membership package – and we thank them for doing so.

CFU AGM Review

The City Fans United Annual General Meeting took place last Thursday at the Swansway Chester Stadium, inside a packed Blues Bar.

 

On the night, Calvin Hughes and Jeff Banks, both of whom stood for election to the board saw their applications ratified by the members who had voted either by proxy or on the night itself. Both will now commence a minimum three year term on the board of directors of CFU.

 

Laurence Kirby, who stood down as a director of the board on the night, presented his financial report to the audience both in the room and watching online.

 

Laurence confirmed that CFU had made a £45k loss in the financial year June 2017-May 2018 but that prospects of a brighter future were indeed in place following some fantastic fundraising by volunteers since January 2018. Laurence also indicated that he would be prepared to maintain his financial reporting to the board in the interim whilst a permanent replacement is sought in due course, which the board have wholeheartedly thanked Laurence for.

 

The Chair of CFU, David Harrington-Wright, also gave a detailed report on the year itself too, and fielded questions from the audience relating to the club’s current financial position, and also with regards to the water damage to the Stadium too, even though this was experienced after the previous financial year had ended.

 

Minutes of the meeting will be published shortly on the CFU website.

 

Thanks to everyone that attended on the night, and we look forward to keeping the membership updated with the progress made as we go through the next financial period, June 2018-May 2019.

 

CFU launch new Life Membership package!

CFU Life Membership form

City Fans United are delighted to announce the official launch of a new Life Membership package available to new and existing members of City Fans United.

 

Members were asked in the Big City Census earlier this year on their thoughts on the life membership and the fee to join, and following feedback we are now in a position to release full details of the scheme which will allow you to be an owner of Chester FC for the rest of your life.

 

Life membership will carry a number of benefits (with some more still to be added as we progress through the season) including a Legends Lounge Experience for two people, a first team squad training session exclusively opened up to Life Membership holders with a chance to meet the managers, staff and players of Chester FC, a special open evening with a discount on items in the Club Shop available to members. A new pin badge has also been commissioned for Life Membership.

 

The fee for Life membership will be £1000, which will help the club build for the future, is payable by debit/credit card, cash, cheque, or by a maximum of four instalments on Direct Debit.

 

We would therefore like to invite those interested in taking up the Life membership to email membership@cityfansunited.com with their full contact details in order for us to contact you regarding signing up. You can also print off the Life Membership form, complete, and return it to Chester FC’s Swansway Chester Stadium together with payment.

 

Existing Life Members from the original Chester City Supporters Trust & Chester City ISA will continue as Life members of City Fans United, and can access the benefits of the new Life Membership package by upgrading from their current status, and are invited to sign up to the new CFU Life Membership package should they wish to do so.

 

We would like to thank those who have already registered an interest in becoming life members and naturally encourage more to join this new scheme.