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Apologies for the delay (flu + Xmas/NY). The minutes of the 18th December Structured Dialogue meeting are linked here: https://www.facebook.com/BFCSLO/posts/704726086724631?__tn__=K-R
The board of Blackpool FC, represented by CEO Ben Mansford and director Brett Gerrity, held the first Structured Dialogue meeting of the season with fans’ representatives last night. Over the course of two hours, delegates from BASIL, BSA, BST, MSG, TKs, YS plus two randomly selected non-aligned delegates discussed a range of issues including: providing the best progression path for young players, ideas to re-engage with a lost generation of younger fans, season and flexi-ticket options, stewarding and policing, the quality of refereeing, training ground plans, bussing of supporters to home games, infrastructure improvements at BR. The SLO took notes and will issue these by the week-end.
In response to comments about how non-affiliated supporters might be represented at next Wednesday’s Fans’ Representatives Forum, the board has decided that there will also be two places available to supporters who are not members of any fans’ group, by application to the SLO, with names drawn at random if over-subscribed.
If you are not a member of any fans’ group but would like to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by end of day Saturday.
This from my oppo at the Stadium of Light -
Local Pubs: Near the ground - Colliery Tavern, Hilton Hotel. Our fanzone is open for all fans too located outside the East Stand of the Stadium of Light; in City Centre - recommend The Peacock, The Engine Room, Revolution, Greens, Victors.
Car Parking: We have six parking bays available for your supporters that require disabled parking. Please ask your supporters to call 0191 551 5122 to enquire about these. For all other supporters I would recommend St Mary's car park (postcode SR1 3AH). A few other car parks are recommended in the stadium guide link above.
Coaches: Your coaches will be allowed to park right outside the visitors turnstiles at the stadium. The coaches can then park up right next to the ground (stewards will direct them). The coaches will be allowed to return outside the turnstiles to collect ten minutes before full time. There is great access to the ground so there shouldn't be any issue and it will be a short distance for all your supporters.
Travel Issues: There should be no issues on the road for this one. For your fans that might be getting the train to Newcastle to get to Sunderland, they will be using the metro to get to the ground. I would recommend that they get off at St Peter's Metro station as that is the one nearest to the ground on arrival. They will have to use the Stadium of Light metro to return to Newcastle though (slightly confusing I know).
Drums & Flags: Unfortunately we don't allow drums but if your fans want to bring flags our stewards will help them to put them on display on arrival. If any fans are bringing a surfer please let me know.
Lift Access for disabled and elderly supporters: As our away end is in the upper tier your supporters can use the lift in the Black Cats Bar. This is for fans that struggle with stairs otherwise the fastest way to get up is using the stairs.
As mentioned in the SLO Gazette column at the beginning of November, now that the new management team is in place at Bloomfield Road, the CEO and Directors have asked me to set up a first Fans’ Representative Forum.
This will take place on Wednesday 18th December at 7pm at the Club. I will be sending out formal invitations to all fans’ groups later today asking them to nominate two representatives each. The Club proposes to hold these meetings every two months.
The purpose of the Fan Representative Forum is to provide an effective and structured means of communication between the Club’s senior management team and fan representatives, who will be representing a wide cross-section of the fan base. The Forum is intended to be a regular mechanism for positive dialogue and proper engagement to assist the Club as it continues to move forward.
The sessions will not be streamed or recorded but they will be minuted and the minutes will be made public.
Should you wish for your supporter group to be represented, then please do not hesitate to contact me at: email@example.com
Steve Rowland, SLO
There are still tickets available for the fixture at the Stadium of Light, which takes place on Saturday 14 December. Tickets are located within the North Stand upper tier, priced at:
£20 for Adults, £17 for Over-65s, £12 for Under-22s, £7 for Under-16s.
There are also places available on the club supporters’coaches, priced at £22. The coaches will leave from Bloomfield Road at 9.30 am.
A cut-off period for sales, on police advice, is once again in place for the Fleetwood game, so all tickets must be purchased at least three hours before kick-off (i.e. mid-day Saturday).
To assist supporters in being able to buy tickets, the ticket office will therefore extend its opening hours on Friday until 7pm.
The club has confirmed to me this morning that the steward who is the subject of a police investigation after Wednesday night will not work at Blackpool FC again.
I have received messages from a number of fans who attended last night’s game and I’ve been liaising with the club today about the incidents.
Anti-social behaviour and violence at Bloomfield Road will not be tolerated.
Blackpool FC takes the safety within the stadium very seriously and has commenced an investigation into incidents between the stewarding team and fans in the concourse.
The club has invited a number of fans who were caught up in those incidents to come in and discuss the issues at a meeting on Monday. I will attend that meeting. It is important to get to the reasons behind the disturbances in order to ensure such incidents do not happen in the future.
I’ve spoken with the club, who recognise there may be an issue with older flags not being fire-retardant or certified. We don’t want to exclude iconic and nostalgic flags and banners on this score, so I suggest you bring them in anyway and the club will treat them with a fire-retardant to make them compliant for display in the stadium.