Championship Fan Meet
MOMS attended the first Football Supporters Federation (FSF) Championship club supporter group meeting in London last week. It was more of an informal meeting to see how such meetings could possibly work going forward, but there were detailed conversions about club dialogue, ticket prices, clubs in crisis, away fan experience, safe standing and SLO’s (Supporter Liaison Officers).
MOMS has attended several such meetings with Premier League club reps (for example obtaining the £30 cap on away tickets), so it was a reminder how Villa have fallen and the knock-on effects relegation has for supporters. The focus always tends to be stronger with Premier League campaigns, so it’s a positive step in dedicating a group to deal with Championship-related matters.
(PS – It’s a joke about that club in crisis!)
The most interesting discussion from the meeting was the varying degrees of dialogue that different Championship club supporters have with their own clubs.
Some supporter groups are struggling to even get the basic two meetings a year with their respective clubs ala the requirements of the Government’s Expert Working Group. Yes, the government needed to recommend to clubs that they should meet their supporters.
Previous to the past year, Aston Villa had various stuttering attempts at supporter communication through direct meetings. In the past year though, there has been a huge improvement with the event of the Fans Consultation Group (minutes of the most recent meeting).
MOMS spoke at the FSF meeting about the positive set up Villa supporters currently have with the club and put it forward as model of ‘good practise’ in terms of club-supporter communication for other clubs to follow.
The other club fan reps seemed to be universally impressed at what is currently happening at Villa now (more so than on the pitch!).
In terms of other fan issues, the main thing that came up was whether fans should unite and campaign on away ticket prices ala Twenty’s Plenty in the Premier League.
Of course, the Premier League TV rights money provided leverage to get the £30 cap on away tickets in the Premier League and Championship clubs need the ticket money more. So is there the same appetite to drive such a campaign?
Considering the expense that away fans endure overall with travel etc, one idea was for Championship away tickets to always be ‘Category C’. So away fans of the bigger clubs wouldn’t be exploited and have to pay higher prices like those charged by clubs like Sheff Wed, Leeds, Ipswich, Norwich etc.
Obviously, this would work well for Villa away fans. While clubs like Villa & Leeds’ away fans tend to pay whatever the price is, it’s the principle of the matter and a removal of categorisation would prevent the exploitation of such away fans and also help maintain attendances and decent away atmospheres.
With Villa more than likely to stay a Championship club for at least another season, watch this space for further developments from this FSF group.