A suggestion box was recently placed in the club shop at The Memorial Stadium to enable supporters to let us know what improvements they would like to see undertaken to improve the matchday experience.
We have been delighted with the response from so many of our fans and thought that it would be a good idea to inform everyone of the progress we have made in implementing some of the ideas put forward.
The suggestion box remains in place and we will continue to ask for your ideas on how to improve facilities for all.
Commercial Director Tom Gorringe, who has been processing the ideas already put forward, said; “We have had many positive suggestions, some of which we have already implemented, some of which are under discussion, and some which we would like to put in place which isn't practical at the moment.
“We will continue to ask for suggestions because, as a club, we believe we should be listening to our fan base and work with them to improve both the matchday experience and the facilities at The Mem.
“Whilst there is a limit to what we can achieve given the facilities at our disposal, that doesn’t mean we can’t listen to what our supporters would like to see and we will endeavour to take their suggestions/ideas on board and implement them where possible.”
The suggestions received to date can be broken down into the following categories; Stadium General, Parking, Shop, Food and Drink, Entertainment, Toilets, and we have made some progress in all of those categories.
As far as the Stadium is concerned, the PA system has been updated and we hope that there will be a noticeable difference in the sound quality in the South and South West Stands for tomorrow’s game against Blackpool.
In addition, Bicycle racks are in place and we are looking at improving signage to publicise this fact over the coming weeks.
Currently under discussion are; more turnstiles to be opened on matchdays, a lift for disabled fans in the East Stand, a card system instead of season ticket books, incentives for supporters to cycle to games and the possibility of providing wet weather clothing to those supporters not undercover when it rains.
At the moment, we are unable to implement the following ideas put forward; A roof for the East Stand improved Clubhouse facilities or open the ground any earlier on matchdays.
With regard to car parking on matchdays, we are investigating the possibility of park and ride schemes, but at present, we are unable to increase the number of disabled parking spaces on site.
As far as the shop is concerned, we are already open to all before the game, we will be implementing a complaints book for returned goods and we will definitely be keeping the friendly guy on the door!
However, in the short term, it is not possible for us to have a larger shop/store.
There are a number of positives to report on the food and drink front, namely; Balti pies and vegetable pasties will be back from tomorrow when we play Blackpool and drinks will be pre-poured.
We are working hard to ensure that we don’t run out of food on matchdays and we are looking at what other clubs offer in the way of matchday catering.
Food and drink ideas under discussion are the provision of gluten-free options, Happy hour after each match and improving the pies.
In fact, we are hosting a taste testing session for new pies, with supporters, on 3rd October.
Watch this space for more details!
Moving swiftly on, we arrive at ideas for half time entertainment and we are looking at ways of introducing more options for supporters to enjoy.
With regard to Captain Gas, we are pleased that he has now been provided with new kit and will be wearing it for the first time tomorrow!
In addition, we are also looking at providing more options for entertaining our younger supporters on matchdays and making more of our PA announcements when, for example, younger players, in particular, make their debuts.
The toilets at The Mem have also been under scrutiny and we are currently looking into ways that we can spruce up both the men’s and women’s toilets in the stadium.
Whilst some have suggested relocating the ladies toilets, we are afraid that this is not possible at this moment in time.
Our Disabled Supporters Association (DSA), at their inaugural meeting last week, have also suggested some some improvements in addition to those listed above.
The lack of defibrillators in the stadium was a major concern and we have now ordered two new ones, which will be positioned at the East and West sides of the stadium. In addition the DSA is looking to raise funds for such items as weather proof wheelchair covers, radar locks, blankets and DSA badges.
An accessible disabled toilet for the North Stand has been ordered and the DSA are looking to obtain a golf buggy to transport ambulant disabled supporters around the ground; if you can help, please contact Dave Parker at the club.
We would like to thank all supporters who have paid tribute to our hard working staff, particularly those in the club shop. The positive comments are much appreciated.
Quite a comprehensive list, I’m sure you will all agree, and whilst we are unable to implement every idea/suggestion put forward, we are always willing and ready to listen to what our supporters have to say, so please keep those ideas coming!