Bob Foale, the Chair of the AFT, met with the club’s chief Executive Officer, Martyn Starnes, to discuss issues concerning season ticket postal charges, provision for disabled fans, underage drinking and standing at Home Park. They were joined by the new CEO who will replace Martyn on a temporary basis while a permanent replacement is found. This post has already been advertised.
The chair shared the many concerns raised over the obligatory £3 postal charge for season tickets introduced this year. There were particular concerns that fans could not now collect them in person, that multiple season tickets from one household would incur multiple charges and that working fans would need to drive to their nearest sorting office to collect.
The CEO assured the Chair that this was a one off initiative, caused by the relocation of the ticket offices to Crownhill. The club were not confident that the volume of season tickets could be managed from their temporary base and had therefore introduced this measure for this year only. The CEO and temporary CEO agreed to look into the possibility of a refund for multiple season ticket holders from one household.
Concerns by some of our disabled members that the disabled stand had been used for VIPs for the Portsmouth match proved unfounded. Due to the rest of the stadium being a sell-out, unused seats in the disabled stand were allocated to staff employees as they finished their shifts on match day. It was though agreed that the club would look at, then feedback to the AFT, the disparity between price increases for the ambulant disabled and compared to wheelchair users.
It was agreed that there was evidence of alcohol being brought into the ground, rather than being obtained from the official outlets. Supporter testimony refers also to spirits such as vodka being smuggled in via plastic bottles and consumed by underage drinkers. It was agreed that the club would further monitor this problem, particularly in the light of recent crowd unrest at the Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers home games.
The issue of persistent standing was also discussed. The chair recognised that this could be a problem for a number of elderly fans who would be relocated from the grandstand next season. While not condoning it, the club had, in the past, more than once publicly recognised that fans in certain parts of the ground do stand. This was particularly the case at the back of Blocks 3 and 4 in the Devonport End as well as Block 17 of the Lyndhurst. It was discussed whether an appropriately worded statement could be made that still recognised this, but highlighted the need to respect other spectators in the rest of the ground, as well as those elderly or disabled fans sat at the front who’s view was often completely blocked in the last five minutes of games by would be early leavers.
Finally the chair thanked the CEO for all his hard work in leading PAFC through a very difficult, but ultimately successful period. He wished him well on behalf of the Argyle Fans’ Trust in his new role at Bristol Rovers.