I have a number of updates to share with you following a number of meetings over recent weeks.
Air raid sirens and Dam Busters March
Firstly, at the most recent Supporters Board meeting we discussed at length the merits of the air raid sirens we hear before corners at the LNER Stadium and the use of the Dam Busters March which we play in the build-up to games in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
As a club we are very aware of our heritage and wish to ensure we strike an appropriate balance between our long-standing synonymous gestures and actions, along with being socially aware and generally good citizens.
The Supporters Board and I discussed the topic at great length and we collectively concluded it would be appropriate to temporarily suspend the use of the sirens and for the club to stop playing the Dam Busters March for the rest of this season.
I’m sure everyone has their own opinions on this matter and I fully accept our position is not flawless. While I understand this decision may polarise views, could I expressly comment that it is not our intention to divide. In the spirit that this decision was made, please could I ask for your support and backing with this conclusion, which was a very challenging matter to navigate. Can I be clear that there is a commitment to reviewing this decision in the close season and we will communicate further on this matter following our summer review.
Ticketing loyalty systems
A regular topic at fan forums, via fan surveys and other feedback channels, is the request for a “loyalty” system to determine ticketing priority windows.
I have long maintained my concerns with such systems and remain unconvinced on their merit. Primarily this is because I do not think there can be a foolproof way to define and rank loyalty. Furthermore, there are so many different circumstances among the fanbase it feels a little simplistic to judge them by an algorithm or mathematical equation.
That said, I do recognise this is something that has long been asked for, from multiple and growing sources. Therefore earlier this year I asked our team to carry out investigations as to what was possible using the Ticketmaster platform.
Further to this and following discussions with the Supporters Board, I wish to share with you that we will be turning on the loyalty function for use as a data collection system only from the 2022/23 season. We will communicate further on how we will issue points, but can I please stress that at this stage this is a data collection process only. We may choose to implement and use points incurred in future systems, but right now, we are merely facilitating that option in the future. To be explicit this is not a commitment or suggestion we will use a loyalty system in the future, but the start of a process to learn more, specifically if we are able to efficiently implement a more refined ticket distribution policy when demand outweighs supply. The data start point will be from the 2022/23 season, to include all Gold Membership sales.
Club bans & police action
Finally, I wish to update you on actions taken to deal with anti-social behaviour at games involving City this season.
The two individuals who went on the pitch at the end of the game against Doncaster Rovers have been dealt with by the criminal justice system and given indefinite club bans. Our stewards on the night followed protocol and, while I understand everyone in the stadium on the night wanted them off
the pitch quickly and the game able to resume as soon as possible, the incident was dealt with without incident at the critical confrontation points.
We had two arrests on the stadium footprint during the home game against Sheffield Wednesday, with one home fan given an indefinite club ban and a visiting supporter given a three-year football banning order.
An individual was also recently fined and given a banning order after assaulting Tayo Edun at Gillingham at the start of the season. While we do not take any pleasure in banning people from coming to games, we will support police and authorities in taking action against anti-social criminal behaviour and ensure there are consequences to actions.
Thank you and feedback
As this season draws to a close, can I also take this opportunity to once again thank you for your incredible support. At the time of publishing this article, we have sold just over 3,100 Gold Memberships for the 2022/23 season. The initial window, in which we guarantee the best value for money, runs until Monday and I've been encouraged by those who tell us they are planning on renewing or buy a Gold Membership for the first time.
If you do have any feedback on these or other club matters my colleagues and I welcome your views which can be provided by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note we do endeavour to respond within 72 hours, but this can take a little longer during busy periods.