DERBY COUNTY SUPPORTERS CHARTER GROUP MEETING: 04/04/23
Tuesday 4th April 2023, the Board Room at Pride Park Stadium
Rams Trust – Angie Kerry
Supporters Club – Lynn Hemsworth
Derby County Collection – Andy Ellis
Black & White Together – Pat Hilton
Rams Active – David Mortimer
Derby County Owner – David Clowes
Derby County Chief Executive Officer – Stephen Pearce
Derby County Chief Commercial Officer – Dave Biggar
Derby County Senior Communications Officer – Tom Loakes
Derby County Supporter Liaison Officer – Emma Drury
Punjabi Rams - Pav Samra
Disabled Supporters Club - Gary Dempsey
Prior to the start of the meeting, the club provided further clarity on the recent publication of intermediary fees from February 1 2022 - January 31 2023. As per the club’s update last Friday, circa £760,000 of the published fees of £1.06million consists of historic debt accrued up until the point when the club entered into Administration and also those falling due during the period of Administration. On exiting Administration, those debts were repaid by Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd.
1. Business Plan with the EFL. Will there be an end of season review and, if so, are we likely to see any relaxations for next season, particularly in respect of our ability to pay fees and length of player contracts?
Derby County: In terms of the current season, we are ahead of the agreed Business Plan and there are no risks of a breach within this. The club made a submission to the EFL on 31st March which was a forecast to the end of the current season and the EFL continue to monitor our progress, as agreed. Decisions are still to be made on next season, but we remain in positive discussions with the EFL. We will continue to be under a Business Plan next season, which will obviously be divisional specific, however it will be one that we propose to the EFL and will be reviewed collectively in order that we can demonstrate that we are not being over ambitious, which we aren’t being – we will be continuing to build in a progressive and sensible manner. Once we know what league we are in next year, we will discuss in more detail and seek approval. The club has very good relations with the EFL again and we also worked with them closely on the launch and feedback of the White Paper and expressed our support towards it.
2. Extension of areas within Pride Park where standing is ‘tolerated’. We’ve had messages from the club about the East Stand and would another area be suitable/considered?
Derby County: The club has been monitoring access, behaviour, and persistent standing in certain areas of the stadium which are potentially compromising the club’s license and negatively affecting an increasing number of supporters. The club will determine what measures and facilities are needed for future seasons to ensure the health, safety, and enjoyment of supporters throughout the stadium, and to mitigate the risk of it being unnecessarily penalised due to the unacceptable actions of a minority of individuals.
3. Safe Standing in the South Stand – Is there a latest update?
Derby County: The club is involved in various discussions relating to this topic and has had a number of experts visit the club to conduct costing assessments in the South and Away stands. Several options are being assessed and it is an ongoing situation but is moving in the right direction. We know it is something we need to implement and it is high on the agenda. Realistically, we would be looking at a phased approach, in certain areas of the South and the Away before committing to an entire stand.
4. Bottle Block in South Stand - problems with flat beer when served in cups.
Derby County: The use of bottles was a short-term measure while pumps were being fitted in the South Stand. This was a compromise and not a permanent solution.
5. Why are more imaginative food choices only available in certain areas of the stadium – is there any reason they can’t be made more widely available?
Derby County: We are looking at everything currently; what we can do for our supporters and also what they want. We know there is a desire to improve the quality of service, range of food being available and value for money. We have trialled/tested some products in certain areas and are assessing all options with a view to rolling them out further across the stadium. We want options for everyone (EG Vegan, Vegetarian) but some specific kiosks can’t serve all/some products.
6. Singing Block for South Stand – Is there update following recent meeting required?
Derby County: The club accepts that this isn’t easy to facilitate and is a complex issue. We are always open to do what we can to help improve the atmosphere on matchdays and are open to discussions and ideas. The club is happy to meet the representatives of the supporters group proposing this idea in the near future.
7. Her Game Too campaign – would the club be interested in hosting an Ambassador?
Derby County: The club has, in the last fortnight, been in touch with Her Game Too to discuss setting up an introductory meeting between staff members. We will report back at the next meeting, but we are open to ways where we can work forward together, like we have with other campaigns.
8. What are the future intentions of Derby County Women? Is the plan for them to turn professional and play at Championship or Super League level?
Derby County: The Women’s First Team, who will remain part-time, will be under the umbrella of the club on an official basis from start of July, although they already have their own Hub at Moor Farm and train there twice a week, and we want to continue to give local girls the chance to play for Derby County Women. We don’t want to put a target on where we want to go, but whatever we achieve will be done with the right intentions. We are ambitious, but we want to achieve natural progression. To have over 5,000 fans attending their match against Forest at Pride Park Stadium recently was amazing and we will have internal discussions to further integrate them into the club. They will have access to the club’s facilities and a closer alignment with the medical and performance teams; they will be treated on the same level and this will be the same with their young players too. We are also happy to look at staging other games at Pride Park in the future, but Mickleover FC’s stadium is excellent and has been and will continue to be a great venue for them to play at.
10. Could we look at reducing prices for families in the North Stand to encourage migration?
Derby County: We believe that pricing throughout the stadium is reasonable with league game tickets for Adults (Age 22-64) starting at £16, Children (Age 6-12) starting at £4 and FREE ENTRY for Infants (Age 2- 5).That being said, we’re encouraging families to select the Family Area with the reintroduction of child- friendly and interactive activities in the North Stand concourse areas, as well as acting on feedback and suggestions from the EFL’s Family Excellence Award review.
9. Do we have news of arrangements for the sale of 2023/24 Season Tickets - particularly on-sale dates, prices and the possible re-introduction of a direct debit option.
Derby County: This information was announced earlier in the day and full details will be confirmed in due course. The club is pleased with the reaction from supporters to the news.
11. Is there any update from the club regarding the Club Museum proposal?
Derby County: We want to do something in relation to a Club Museum, but this has to work and be somewhere people visit occasionally rather than being somewhere that people come to once and never again. We are discussing a number of potential routes to go down, both in person or virtual. This needs to be something that is for all supporters, covering all age ranges, and part of the Stadium Tours process. We have a proud history and a vision of where we want to go with this project and work is ongoing. We want to make it a ‘must do’ for supporters.
12. Testimonial for Craig Forsyth – any plans?
Derby County: We, and other clubs, would not approach a player; it is for the player to set up a committee/working group and approach the club for a testimonial. Craig has done this and we are now in discussions with him and his team about how we can move forward and finalise something that works for both parties and that celebrates Craig’s ten years with the club in a fitting manner.
13. Are there any long-term plans to establish a Fans Park?
Derby County: Whilst there’s a temporary bar facility in the West Stand Car Park, we acknowledge that its offering is very limited and there’s definitely room for improvement. The club is working with its catering partner, Delaware North, to determine what’s required to accommodate the differing needs of supporters ensuring a Fans Park offers a welcoming, popular, and affordable environment for everyone.
14. Away match travel - will it be continued?
Derby County: The club implemented a coach travel option to supporters with Skills earlier this year. We will continue to monitor this for the rest of the season and take feedback from Skills, but its continuation beyond this season is obviously subject to demand.
15. What is the future of The Yard and the Community Corner?
Derby County: The club looking at and weighing up options for The Yard, both during the week and on matchdays. The Back Yard Coffee Shop is now the Community Corner and operated by the Community Trust and it has been an excellent addition to their offering. The long-term future of this area remains undecided, but the club are not resting on their laurels; we are looking at where we can monetise all areas of the stadium during the week and on matchdays.
16. Stadium Tours – are they still happening?
Derby County: The Stadium Tours are still running; the April and May tours are selling well and overall they remain popular. We would encourage fans to book themselves on one if they haven’t already. These sell out regularly.
17. How do new groups get onto Supporters Charter Group?
Derby County: These meetings and the Supporters Charter Group is not a closed shop and we are happy to get a broader spectrum of our fanbase on board. We recommend the current Supporters Charter Group members go away and discuss potential options about adding to the group and deal with this as part of the ongoing structure and constitution discussions about the implementation of a Shadow Board. We are open to welcoming new attendees and discuss specific topics when we meet on a quarterly basis.
18. With the Men's and Women’s clubs being brought together next season, does this group now cover both?
Derby County: The simple answer is, yes. We will look to have future representation at these meetings.
19. Can the Supporter Charter Group meeting have virtual attendees?
Derby County: The meetings will remain in person for now, but we will continually review the situation. If anyone is unable to attend, then we are happy for someone from another fans’ group to provide feedback to
them directly within 24 hours of each meeting.
1. When asked, the club confirmed that it is still has an intention of appointing an individual as a ‘figurehead’, although there are no timescales on this.
2. The club, as part of its long-term communication and engagement strategy, is looking to reintroduce Fans Forum events next season.
3. The topic of profiles of the Supporters Charter Group representatives on the club website was discussed and the club’s SLO will directly speak with the groups about obtaining content.