Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Meeting 25/02/16

Attendees: Bridget, Steve, Luke, Jordan, Haydn

Club staff: Scott Munn, Sally Freedman, Luke Wyman, Melanie Price, David Harris

 

Review of the FFA appeals process for banned fans

Scott stated that the FFA will publish a table of information that details prohibited items and actions at A-League games.  This will provide clarity around what actions would lead to what bans (for example, use of flares at A-League games will bring about a five year ban).

Then the appeals process, that the FFA recently finalised, was discussed. It was stated that if an individual committed an incident listed in the table of information, then a report will be completed by stadium security, the police and the A-League club for the FFA.

The next step is the FFA producing an intention to ban notice. The recipient will have an opportunity to make their case if they wish to contest the ban notice. The recipient will get 5 days to respond through the A-League club affiliated with the recipient. Some evidence will be available to the recipient of the ban notice, but not all evidence (for example, if the recipient also had criminal charges made against him or her, then evidence that is relevant to those charges won’t be made available).

It was noted that the onus would be on the individual to prove their case (for example, by showing that they didn’t attend the match and couldn’t have performed the actions they were accused of).

A ban or penalty is then issued. Although the new process allows for one further avenue for appeal for the recipient of a ban, namely an appeal to an independent committee named Football Independent Banning Appeals Committee (FIBAC).

To summarise, information will be published to remove uncertainty around what actions at football matches lead to bans. And now the recipient of an intention to ban notice will be able to view some evidence, and will have two avenues to appeal the FFA’s intention to ban.

 

Football update

The club is satisfied with the squad, and believes it has the potential to go all the way.

Over the next two weeks some announcements will be made regarding the squad and re-signings.

Some players who are out of contract at the end of the season will have the opportunity over the remainder of the season to show that they deserve to be re-signed.

Barring any big surprises (such as a serious injury), there will be no more new additions to the squad this season.

 

Harry Novillo

The club sanctioned Novillo with the maximum penalty available through FFA regulations.

Harry has started training with the squad again.

 

W-League grand final

The W-League Grand Final at AAMI Park was discussed. FRG members raised that they were very disappointed with the whole trophy presentation as it took place with the back of the stage facing the 4,000 strong crowd. The club acknowledged that they were also very disappointed and had provided relevant feedback to FFA.

 

Melbourne City’s W-League team

Melbourne City is taking a new and path-breaking approach to W-League squad building. Unlike the commonplace upheaval with W-League teams, Melbourne City will recontract a significant number of most of its W-League squad. And unlike normal W-League recruitment, Melbourne City will re-sign numerous players to long term, multi-year contracts.

 

Melbourne City memberships

The club has almost 9,400 members.

Starting the week after the FRG meeting, a new membership deal will be announced which will consist of one free game with the purchase of a three game membership.

After some internal club discussion exploring future opportunities for membership categories, it was announced at the meeting that General Admission (GA) memberships will continue next season.

Over the next few weeks more information will be published regarding next season’s memberships.

Prices for membership packs will be the same next season.

 

Bus to Adelaide

With a bus planned by supporters for Melbourne City’s away match against Adelaide, it was discussed that this travelling group needs to sell a further 16 tickets to make this trip happen. Tickets are $63 dollars return (not including match tickets or accommodation). Any interested individuals should contact the trip organisers.

 

Cityzens

The club is looking to create a points table on the Cityzens website to inform members of their Cityzens points.

A monthly Cityzens email will be sent to Cityzens soon, that will inform members of what they can claims with their Cityzens points.

It was discussed that users don’t always receive Cityzens points, especially with regards to Youtube, Twitter and Instagram matters. The club will look into these concerns to ensure that users receive all their Cityzens points.

 

City Voice

City Voice will be relaunched soon. It will be much more interactive, and will allow users to express their opinions and emotions more readily, in some ways that are similar to Facebook.

 

City Square

The growth of City Square has seen it become a pre-game fixture for many. The club can confirm that City Square is here to stay. City Square will start around 5:30pm before the next home match against Sydney FC.

 

NPL

The NPL teams will play at the La Trobe Lower Playing Fields for the rest of the current NPL season.

The club will try to provide more coverage and media of the NPL teams, but noted the constraints with the club’s media resources to provide more detailed coverage.

 

Merchandise

Some merchandise specials will be announced towards the back end of the season.

Bigger sizes and long sleeve merchandise were discussed.

The club is interested in supporters designed merchandise competitions, in particular with regards to T-shirts. However, due to concerns over sales such competitions are unlikely for the foreseeable future.

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Meeting 21/01/16

Attendees:  Scott Munn, Nick Becker, Sally Freedman, Luke Wyman, David Harris, Melanie Price and Jacqui Hoban (FFA)

FRG Members: Natalie, Bridget, Haydn, Steve, Justin, Luke and Michael.

Apologies: Joey, Steve  and Chris

 

Meeting began with a reintroduction of all FRG members and club staff, and a tour of the CFA for those who hadn’t seen the facilities. Jacqui Hoban, Head of events at the FFA, was in attendance.

 

Review of the FFA appeals process for banned fans

Scott highlighted that the safety of football fans is of utmost importance for Melbourne City FC. Regarding banned fans, he reiterated that the FFA must provide clear rules regarding such processes and that there be an opportunity for fans to appeal unfair rulings. Clear repercussions should be in place if the fan is found guilty.

 

Jacqui, on behalf of the FFA, was on board with the above and acknowledged that fans are pivotal to the success of the sport. FFA’s priority is to provide a safe and friendly environment for all fans, free of criminal activity and misbehaviour. The FFA has been consulting with a-league clubs, active supporter groups, venues and state police bodies to establish rules and clarify concerns. The active supporter groups of Melbourne Victory and the Western Sydney Wanderers declined to be part of such discussions. The FFA will continue to work with active supporter groups throughout the year.

 

Through aforementioned talks, the appeals process is currently outlined below although subject to change:

  • Fans will not be automatically banned – they will receive an intention to ban notice
  • The intention to ban notice will include all information regarding the appeals process
  • Fans will have five to seven days to come forward to the FFA via their respective clubs to appeal the decision
  • If there is sufficient evidence to prove the fan innocent then no ban notice will be received
  • If there isn’t sufficient evidence the fan will then receive a ban notice
  • This ban notice may then be appealed a second time through an independent body
  • Evidence may include police reports, CCTV and witness reports

 

The FFA will only ban people who are putting fan safety at risk.

 

Another goal is to decrease police presence at games. Acknowledged their presence can be intimidating and it is costly to have them there. Police numbers are based on crowd behaviour of the clubs previous matches. Incidents must reduce in order for police numbers to decrease.

 

The FFA states that leaking of the documents containing the banned individuals was absolutely horrendous. FFA staff are briefed annually regarding this list and it is to remain confidential. The FFA have written to the police asking for a formal investigation to be conducted however have been told this is not a legal matter.

 

 

Membership update

The latest member survey indicates that the new three and seven match flexi packs are a great membership option as not everyone can commit to every MCFC home game. At the time of the meeting, MCFC was sitting at 30 memberships short of 9000. MCFC had 11,279 members last season.  All attendees were encouraged to push the member-get-member initiative where the winner this year receives a trip to New York. Members get priority access to finals tickets. Current members will be asked to renew their memberships in March. Next season there will be an option available to add extra children to family memberships. There will also be a greater emphasis on first time members – will look at initiatives to bolster their first experiences upon joining the club.

 

 

Member functions

Sally asked the group if they attended the member function following the recent Sydney FC match. No was the general consensus. FRG members stated the function began too late, the venue is not the best and believed there would be a long wait for the players themselves to attend following the match. Confirmed by the club that non-playing players are at the venue immediately following the match and all other players are pushed to be there as quickly as possible. Upcoming member events are on Sunday 21st February following the Central Coast Mariners match and on Friday 8th April following the Adelaide match.

 

 

Member survey finding

The latest member survey also found that there was a lack of identity amongst the MCFC fans. This may be due to the fact that the club is still in a period of transition from the old Melbourne Heart and is yet to be settled. What does MCFC stand for? This question was brought to the group and the following was found to be synonymous with the club: family club; ambitious; driving; international; city football group; great football; connected to the fans; city family; #together. #together was incredibly well received by fans through the survey.

 

 

City Square

City square attendees have increased with each match especially when conducting player interviews. These will now become reoccurring. Member suggestions to entice more patrons to city square included good food, gaming (FIFA) and better promotions. City square kicks off two hours before games and two and half hours before the Melbourne derby.

 

 

City Voice

City voice provides a platform for people to feel more connected to the club. Every message is responded to. It was brought up that some users didn’t receive a response for up to two weeks. Noted that some key stakeholders need to be engaged before the reply hence the delayed response. To combat this, may look at answering all responses on a weekly basis via meetings with all relevant stakeholders.

 

 

Citizens Portal

Citizens portal is gaining more traction through greater promotion and prizes. Barriers to increased use include low communication regarding member points, using points for auctions – should be able to buy experiences straight away – and difficulty logging in to the system.

 

 

Merchandise

Back to school communication coming soon from the merchandise team. Reports that fans were after an increased baby range where there are currently four options already available. Members have asked for w-league jerseys to be available for purchase. There will be an increased range of Nike supporter wear for next season.

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Meeting 26/11/15

In Attendance:

Club Staff: Scott Munn, Sally Freedman, Melanie Price, David Harris.

FRG Members: Bridget, Steve, Luke, Angus, Joey, Steve, Chris.

Apologies:

Club Staff: Nick Becker, Luke Wyman.

FRG Members: Haydn, Michael.

 

In the wake of recent media coverage relating to banned fans, this month’s FRG meeting commenced with Scott Munn providing an update on related issues. Scott was clear that MCFC is conscious of two main foci: protecting the privacy of staff and members, and providing a safe and welcoming environment at matches. Scott advised that Sydney FC’s Active fan group, the Cove, has met with the FFA, raising issues relating to the disclosure of personal information, venue safety and security, and treatment of Active supporter groups. Scott encouraged FRG members to read the Cove’s note regarding this meeting, which was posted online today. Scott also advised that a FFA representative was prepared to meet with the FRG at our next meeting if desired.

Scott outlined the current process involved in banning an attendee at A-League matches. If a person has committed an offence and is identified, police take their details at the match. Police then make contact with a Court Order; this order is sent to the FFA, and the banning process is commenced. If a supporter can demonstrate that the offence was not committed by them, the ban is reversed. This might be achieved on the basis of CCTV footage, for example. MCFC would support the implementation of a clear, concise process, allowing fans to have their voice while restricting the attendance of those who cause difficulties. MCFC communicates regularly with Active fans, and believes that their contribution to match days is positive and extremely valuable.

In response to potential boycotts, Scott advised that MCFC’s preference is that fans attend matches this weekend as they do every weekend; however, he was aware of the Active fan group’s decision to sit away from the Active area.

With regard to membership, Scott acknowledged that MCFC’s membership level was low, as was the case across the A-League. Membership and on-field performance are inextricably linked, and it’s difficult to increase membership interest when match performance was not at a high level. The FFA has also not undertaken marketing of the A-League at all this season, and MCFC feel that this has contributed to a lower awareness level across the league. The Club will offer flexible membership options to attract those who may have held memberships in previous seasons. One FRG member enquired as to the possibility of utilising guest/loan players – Scott was clear that this would only be considered if the player complemented and added to the squad, and was able to stay from January until the end of the season.

Some discussion was held regarding the relationship between MCFC and Manchester City FC. Scott reported that MCFC is conscious of the need for differentiation between the two Clubs, and that Manchester City FC has never been directive or prescriptive; rather, Manchester City FC invites MCFC to take ideas if they work in the Australian market, and MCFC’s approach is to utilise processes that are useful. MCFC’s 2016-2017 kit has been designed – it is predominantly white and does not feature any navy blue. It is not a shirt that has been previously worn by Manchester City FC. The away strip will still be red and white.

Sally expanded on information regarding membership, reporting on the three match flexi pack currently being offered – this pack exists across all membership categories, and includes the derby. This membership can also be upgraded to a full season pass.

David reported on various initiatives focused on increasing fan engagement. These include City Square, which is held at Gosch’s Paddock for two hours prior to kick off at every home match. The activities and features at City Square are improving every week, and FRG members were encouraged to explore it on the next game day. The Cityzens Portal is also very active at the moment, with various opportunities to win prizes and experiences offered to members. Fans are also encouraged to sign up for City Voice, which is a medium for voicing ideas and opinions. City Voice distributes a new post every two weeks, asking fans to contribute on such processes as match day music. Individual posts will also be responded to on a weekly basis.

Mel provided an update on merchandise, noting that youth jerseys will be available for pre-sale today, and pre-Christmas specials will be advertised over the coming weeks. Efforts are also being made to present the merchandise store in a more professional, user-friendly way.

FRG members provided positive feedback on the new format of the newsletter. MCFC are now directing marketing campaigns to particular target groups (e.g., members who have available seats next to them, female members), and members receive slightly different information in newsletters to that received by non-members.

Members and Club staff were also very positive about the success of our W-League team, and fans were encouraged to attend the next NYL/W-League double header on the 20th December 2015.

One FRG member highlighted the difficult process with accessing General Admission seats for the Christmas derby; Sally confirmed that such feedback had been received by other members and this would be taken into account next season.

FRG members questioned staff about the morale at the Club, given the lack of on-field success in recent weeks. Sally was clear that morale is affected by poor results, but everyone at the Club remains focused and is working hard to contribute to achieving success in the very near future.

#together

 

Next meeting: January 2016 (date TBC), CFA

 

Kind Regards,

 

The FRG

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Meeting 29/10/15

In Attendance:

Club Staff: Sally Freedman, Luke Wyman, Melanie Price, David Harris, plus Scott Munn and

Nick Becker for the first 30 minutes of the meeting.

FRG Members: Bridget, Hayden, Tony, Michael, Steve, Chris, Steve.

  • The meeting commenced at 6.30pm and both Scott and Nick gave an update on Melbourne City before they had to leave to take part in a conference call with the City Football Group (CFG).
  • Scott welcomed all the attendees and hoped that we had enjoyed our tour of the CFA.
  • He commented that the club was ‘comfortable’ overall, with where we were at.
  • The club was ‘very excited’ with the launch and success of the Women’s Team.
  • Membership for this season was down on last year in volume – but there was a big push to encourage those who had yet to do so, to renew their membership.
  • The recent win over CCM would hopefully bring in new supporters.
  • The CFG were ‘disappointed’ with the loss in the FFA Cup semi-final.
  • The Derby result v Melbourne Victory was also regretted, although the club was happy to give the younger players a ‘run’ in the starting eleven.
  • The club was also looking to widen the representation in the FRG, particularly as regards gender balance.
  • Nick commented on the developments re: the match day experience and asked for feedback from the FRG and on any matters that fans were experiencing.
  • City Voice has been launched; future topics include goal celebrations song, catering, parking and mascots.
  • The Member-get-Member recruitment was a good channel for new members. New top prize announced as a trip to NY for 2.
  • Over 100 memberships were sold at our first home match; many members seem to prefer a face-to-face experience when renewing/joining.

Scott and Nick then had to leave the meeting and Sally introduced her agenda, staring with membership.

  • Membership was nearly 8,000 and there was a big push to build on this number.
  • A four match Christmas membership pack was a possibility.
  • Bridget asked if there could be a W-League only membership offer.
  • With regards to the FRG, the club was looking for three new members; applications had been received and a shortlist been made.
  • There could be further pre-meeting Tweets to canvas topics from the wider fan base for discussion at the FRG.
  • It would not be club policy to publish the FRG minutes on the club’s web-site, but the club was keen to continue to see the minutes published in the Forum and on a Blog. FRG members would remain ‘anonymous’ with only first names being used.
  • The club had sponsor obligations re. the kit and therefore it is not  always possible to wear the red and white strip in away games and is generally used when there is a clash with our home kit.

David talked about the Cityzens offering and the match day experience.

  • Cityzens were now getting points for their attendance at home games.
  • The free City Insider programme has been launched.
  • Members should be made aware of the easy steps re: sign up process for City Voice
  • The City Square pre-match events were aimed at families with young children. Luke discussed the match day experience and how the club was striving to improve it.
  • On screen information about substitutions; who has got yellow and red cards, etc.
  • Entertainment both outside pre-match and inside the stadium e.g. at half-time.

Melanie informed us about the club’s merchandising of ‘branded’ shirts, hats, scarfs, etc.

  • There are now 4 outlets on match days – two inside the stadium; two outside.
  • Sales were ‘very successful’ at the CCM game on the previous Sunday.
  • New Nike Polos and Hooded tops available for members along with a new women’s range. Junior replica jerseys are coming shortly.

The meeting closed at 8.00pm – the next monthly meeting is on 26/11/15 to be held at The Imperial Hotel in Bourke Street, from 6.00pm.

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Meeting 01/10/15

 

In Attendance:

Club Staff: Sally Freedman, Luke Wyman, Melanie Price, David Harris.

FRG Members: Bridget, Haydn, Anthony, Michael, Steve, Chris.

Apologies:

Club Staff: Scott Munn, Nick Becker.

 

Sally commenced the meeting by thanking the FRG members for their attendance at last month’s meeting, and by welcoming two members who were unable to attend the previous meeting, Steve and Chris, both of whom also sat on the FRG last season. Given that the FRG still requires an additional 2-3 members, Sally also advised of the plan to invite Melbourne City members to submit an application to be a part of the group.

 

Sally also distributed fixtures for the NYL and W-League teams, noting that there are three double-headers at CB Smith Reserve. This led to discussion of the Club’s emphasis on promoting the W-League team in particular, given that other W-League teams have not garnered significant numbers in terms of regular supporters. Sally and Luke spoke about the popularity of women’s football in terms of player numbers, and the recent interest held in the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. The Club are hoping that the W-League team will be successful on the pitch, thus stimulating interest for both male and female fans.

 

Sally, Luke, Mel and David provided a number of updates on upcoming events and promotions, including:

 

  • Away Games – The Club have promoted a member’s organisation of transport to our first away game in Sydney. There are currently only six seats left on the 50-seater bus, indicating a very positive response.
  • City Live – The Club’s City Live event will be held on the 12th October at NGV, commencing at 7:00pm. This will serve as an official launch of the season, and will involve the presentation of both the A-League and W-League teams, as well as other entertainment. Tickets are currently on sale for $15.
  • Video Conference – As per the recent Club newsletter, a virtual video conference is being held on Tuesday, with John van ’t Schip, Patrick Kisnorbo, and Thomas Sorensen answering questions submitted by fans. The FRG were welcomed to submit a question, and prepared several questions to submit via FRG member, Chris.
  • Senior Cityzens – A new community initiative entitled Senior Cityzens will be launched on Sunday at the Seniors Festival at Federation Square. This initiative aims to encourage older Australians to engage with football, both as players and spectators. Melbourne City will be involved in the promotion of Walking Football, which allows people to play football without being required to run. In addition, Melbourne City are offering seniors the opportunity to purchase a season membership for $150.00, which allows them to bring a grandchild to games for free. FRG members were very positive about this promotion.
  • Which Player Are You? Survey – All current players have completed a 10-item questionnaire about personal interests. Members will be given the opportunity to complete the same questionnaire online; an algorithm will then be used to match members to a player, enabling members to identify the player that they are most similar to. Feedback from FRG members regarding this idea was very positive.
  • Mid-season Member Surveys – A platform is being established to allow the Club to survey members throughout the season, rather than waiting to obtain feedback via the end-of-season Member Survey. Surveys will focus on varying issues that affect members, such as match day experience, social media, etc. Again, FRG members felt that this would be a useful way of allowing the Club to make improvements during the season, without delay.
  • Memberships – Membership packs are currently being posted, with some members having already received theirs – one FRG member showed his personalised membership card, which all were very impressed by! The personalised option has been very widely embraced, with over 1000 members choosing to personalise their cards. Other A-League clubs have also been impressed by the process and have asked for information on how they may able to emulate it. A question was asked as to whether some members might have avoided personalising so they can continue to share memberships with family/friends; Mel assured all that memberships were transferable and this had hopefully not deterred members.
  • Merchandise – Nike supporter apparel, including media polo shirts and hoodies, will be arriving before the start of the season. The Home jersey has been altered slightly, and the Away jersey is now manufactured using better material – both are now available for purchase. Jerseys will also be available in junior sizes this year, hopefully just after Round 1 or 2. FRG members were very positive about this.

 

Discussion was then held about the recent Family Day, which two FRG members attended. Feedback was very positive, both by FRG and on the supporters’ online forum, particularly in regards to the accessibility of players, the signing sheet that was available, and the engagement of sponsors with fans. In terms of negative feedback, one member noted that the PA was difficult to hear when players were announced, and another noted that while the CFA venue is a very impressive site, it is a difficult location to access for supporters that live in other areas of Melbourne (e.g., south-eastern suburbs), and thus a more central location might be considered in future. One FRG member noted that the players seem more focussed and determined in their attitude, which is great to see.

 

Each FRG member was also asked to nominate something about Melbourne City that they would like to improve. In terms of match day experience, one member noted that the catering at AAMI Park remains problematic – options are often limited and expensive. It was observed that catering was particularly poor at the recent FFA Cup fixture; Luke reported that the catering company apologised for this on the day following the match, acknowledging that they hadn’t accurately predicted attendance numbers.

 

Another FRG member felt that the half-time entertainment was still not appealing enough. Although it has improved considerably in the last two seasons, it is often too loud, thus impeding conversation, and it can be difficult to determine what is actually happening. Suggestions were made for improvement, including more junior small-sided football games, and involvement of W-League and injured A-League players.

 

Another member suggested that the pre-match entertainment might feature video footage of matches/highlights of other City Football Group teams such as Manchester City and New York City. Concern was expressed about whether this might alienate Melbourne City fans who are supporters of other English Premier League or Major League Soccer teams. It was determined that footage of NYL or W-League matches might be more appealing.

 

One FRG member asked whether the Club could tweet information about parking on match days; for example, it would be useful to know if the MCG carpark is closed. Club staff will look into this.

 

Discussion was held about the new arrangements for General Admission memberships, as the Yarra River end of AAMI Park now comprises entirely of reserved seating (Premium C memberships). This means that non-members can purchase Premium C tickets on any match day, but these will not necessarily be allocated next to the reserved seat of members. All Premium C members can sit at the North end, where seats are not allocated, in such instances.

 

Finally, a brief discussion was held about the communication of the FRG’s meetings and minutes. It was agreed that minutes would continue to be posted on the supporters’ forum, but consideration would be given to minutes also being posted on the Melbourne City website, or the FRG creating their own website. It was also agreed that the Club would tweet details of each FRG meeting to allow members to contribute questions or suggestions beforehand.

 

#together

 

Next meeting: 29th October, 6pm, CFA

 

Kind Regards,

 

The FRG

 

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Meeting 3/9/15

In Attendance:

Club Staff: Scott Munn, Sally Freedman, Luke Wyman, Melanie Price, David Harris, Nick Becker.

FRG Members: Bridget, Haydn, Anthony, Michael.

 

The evening began with a tour of the CFA, which was terrific, and as fanatics of the club we really appreciated the opportunity to experience a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the new facilities.

 

The meeting opened with Scott Munn thanking the FRG for their efforts to date. This was followed by introductions to the new / key Melbourne City staff.

 

Sally Freedman – Head of Fan Engagement

Sally has spent time in Brisbane and is originally from the UK. Sally grew up with the game and loves it, played it and has travelled as a fan to two world cups. Sally previously worked for AFC Asian Cup as Protocol Manager (VIP and VVIP management), but is very happy to now be working with fans.

 

Luke Wyman – Event Operations Manager

This is Luke’s third season with the club. Luke focuses on match day operations for the A league, W league and NYL. Luke is also responsible for the organisation and implementation of events such as Family Day and City Live.

 

Melanie Price – Fan Engagement Coordinator

This is Melanie’s fourth season with the club. Melanie assists with fan engagement and also runs the online merchandise platform alongside retail on match day.

 

David Harris – Cityzens Coordinator

David recently started at the club after winning the Mission Cityzen competition. He’s gone from being a fan to the other side of the fence and feels like he’s won the “golden ticket”.  David is responsible for the Cityzens rewards program as well as the new project “City Voice;” a digital platform empowering the fans to help shape the club. Football is his life and passion.

 

Nick Becker – Director of Marketing

Nick is originally from New Zealand and has recently relocated to Melbourne from the UK. Nick previously worked at Manchester City as Head of Events for four years and Arsenal before that. His mission is to keep fans at the forefront of all club activities.

 

Members of the FRG were then given the opportunity to introduce themselves to the new staff and discussed why they chose to be Melbourne City fans.

 

One member brought the good news of a second child on the way and therefore growing the Melbourne City membership base! It was also raised that the recent Membership day on radio station SEN 1116 for the club was a great way to raise the club’s profile. An interview with Harry Novillo was particularly entertaining, where we got an insight about his background, personality and ambitions going forward. It was suggested that such ‘structured’ interviews could be useful during player functions as a way to get to know our players better. The upcoming Family Day was mentioned as a good example of the club’s efforts to encourage fan engagement with players.

 

A couple of the group members were inquiring about the Melbourne City Women’s team, asking for details such as when the W-League fixture would be available. This has since been released and can be found on the Melbourne City website here.

 

As of writing this, the venue for home games will be the C.B Smith Reserve in Fawkner. On the 25th of October 2 pm there will be a “Broadcast” game against the Victory women at AAMI Park prior to the men’s side against the Mariners at 5 pm. We‘ve also found out that the club’s W-League and National Youth League games will be billed as double headers. With Melbourne City memberships also allowing you free entry to these games there’s even more incentive to join!

 

One of the FRG members made a great point that they became a fan as we had the “choice” between Melbourne clubs in the A-League. It was noted that the club has progressively grown and improved as a “female friendly” and “safe / fun” environment for families. There’s even a feel amongst FRG members from Australian Rules backgrounds that coming to a Melbourne City game in comparison is a more enjoyable and social experience.

 

Our club membership drive expectations were discussed. Presently, the club’s target is to match last season’s total by round 1.

 

In regards to away games – if fans make their own arrangements for travelling support events, the club is more than happy to promote the event on social media as well as share partners discounts.

 

The absence of a club mascot was once again brought up and we were informed that it’s been a work in progress over the last 6 months. What we can reveal is that there will be more than one mascot and rest assured it won’t be a clone of the Manchester City Aliens!

 

Marketing and promotion of the club this preseason is felt within the FRG to have taken a step toward greater professionalism. There was also a comment that the football department was making great decisions and tough calls with the playing list. This season’s playing group looks spot on with a healthy balance of youth and experienced but fit players. In fact, the club is starting to become really ambitious in its hunt for success! This is our City!

 

Kind Regards,

 

The FRG

 

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Update – March 2015

FAN REPRESENTATIVE GROUP MEETING
The Imperial Hotel – 11 March 2015

With a particular sense of buzz and anticipation ahead of the Round 10 (rescheduled) away kick off with WSW, Melbourne City FC’s Fan Representative Group came together at The Imperial Hotel – the first time the regular meetings have been scheduled at this venue – to openly discuss the culture of the Club which has instilled and developed throughout the duration of the season.

One of the first noteworthy comments was the keyword ‘transition’ which sums up the branding change from Melbourne Heart to Melbourne City FC and the feeling of the supporter base. Key to the discussion was the debate on the importance of winning now that the club has a new ownership, and the expectation that comes with the new resources at the club’s disposal.

Further to this transition phase, fans are still trying to understand the new City brand. Questions such as ‘Who are we?’ and ‘What do we stand for?’ are surprisingly still being raised by the representative group at the back-end of Season 1 for Melbourne City FC, prompting greater efforts of Melbourne City to be rolled out in engaging members and new fans with the shared values and pillars of City Football Group (CFG). Members, supporters and prospects hence require clear visibility of the Club’s stance, intended brand of football, community strategy and suggested ‘brand book’ in order to ensure culture of City is engrained leading forward.

The topic of CFG also raised further enquiry into the benefits globally. What opportunities are being shared to members such as tickets to Manchester matches and Etihad flight discounts just to name a few? One attendee proposed that Melbourne City uses this selling point to drive differentiation from other HAL clubs as to date the Club had not been doing anything significantly better in comparison.

In light of the CFG relationship and football in particular, the consensus of those in attendance at the FRG meeting is the perceived status of Melbourne City as a feeder club for MCFC & NYCFC merely being an option far down the ladder to play in Australia, or keep players fit (Villa / Lampard) prior to overseas seasons. It was agreed that the drive for Hyundai A-League success for Melbourne City FC was integral and needed to be transparent. Fans generally sense that the results to date for Melbourne City under the CFG influence have not translated with the increased resources available and one particular comment noted that ‘the inconsistency of play is demoralising’ in relation to player fitness, squad selection and standard of football on display.

JVS as coach was also openly discussed in regards to his media presence and how his statements reflect on the culture of Melbourne City as a Club and the underlying messages which are relayed to the general public. Fans recognised that JVS has only recently begun to accept responsibility for the team performance and average lack of results. Discussion further evolved to fans request for clearer visibility on HAL finals position objectives from the Club and whether the ethos of mediocracy into top 6 was enough to continue the drive forward. Should the club be communicating a stronger message and intention for a top 4 finish in future?

Positive feedback was shared on the Brian Marwood article published however, fans bought to attention the mention of a Manchester City player, James Horsfield, currently training with the Melbourne City squad and would prefer articles of interest be announced via the Club EDM.

On the topic of Club generated communication, fans also questioned the absence of a targeted marketing campaign. Previous Heart taglines including Believe were rolled out in various engaging concepts across interactions encouraging supporters of the Club to interpret and remain involved throughout the entire season. General understanding from the fan base is that #together was used unenthusiastically and inconsistently in City messaging and leading forward, an aligned campaign should continue digitally and physically in a stronger engagement capacity both online and on match-day.

Fan engagement initiatives and partner activations were further highlighted as more involving and present at AAMI Park for participants which the Club can credit as a positive step towards satisfaction of the match-day experience. Continuing to improve these aspects will no doubt increase the average crowd attendance which fans identify has recently been significantly lower than the beginning of season and in reflection can be attributed to team performance.

Interactions with juniors of the Club brand and match-day experience as a concentration for the Club to focus on in growing our member and supporter base was furthermore noteworthy as was maximising the value of a football specific home stadium.

Conversation at this point switched to the Asian Cup and accrued inventory of the player benches. Premium reserved members in the western stand have offered uplifting feedback on the aesthetics of the benches and thankfully not felt that their view of the match has been obscured since inception of the structures. The question was also raised as to whether it was the Asian Cup break in the middle of the HAL season which altered attendances and affected the momentum related to overall fan allegiances?

Kind regards

The FRG

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Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Update – December 2014

FRG

On a wonderfully mild evening in Melbourne City the MCFC FRG meeting took place. It’s been over two months since the previous meeting so we had a lot to discuss as Melbourne City fans.

The group met up on Wednesday 10/12/2014 to cover topics of the moment including the introduction of the new Cityzen’s program.

We started the meeting by acknowledging one of the group’s original Members, who had recently resigned from the FRG. The change of new owners brought with it new elements and differing viewpoints and we thank the recently departed Member for his valuable contribution and discussion during this time of transition.

Next we went around the table asking for the thoughts of each group Member garnering their feelings on the latest topics affecting our fans. The key points discussed are outlined as follows:

There is a level of trust in the club that it will get things right but it will take time due to the existing list and the salary cap limitations. There was a level of disappointment expressed by the way the club handled the David Villa situation. There was no information coming from the club on this change in arrangement. It was felt that some fans felt almost “cheated” or that the club was not up front with its Members. Honest communication with the fans on this occasion was lacking.

Most of the feeling from the group was that it would have been better to let us know either way about the length of time Villa would be with us. Silence on this matter from the club caused the media and fans to speculate.

Also, it was noted that Villa could have communicated better with fans and there was a definite level of disappointment within the crowd when he just walked past fans down the race in his final game.

The club acknowledged that while they didn’t even know the exact time frame Villa would spend at Melbourne City, and that it could have been anything up to 10 games, the lines of communication should always keep Members updated. Family reasons and club commitments with our sister club NYCFC were cited as the reasons Villa stayed for only the four games. While Heart is now City the culture of looking after our Members still remains and obviously everyone involved at the club wanted Villa to stay longer.

From the perspective of one of our new fans and Member of the FRG, for the first time this season he can now understand the emotional connection to Heart. But he is positive and knows that the CFG is not afraid to put their money in where it’s required. After some lower crowds he feels the Christmas Derby could be a real turning point. Having observed our crowd participation, he believes the support is fantastic and that the players are responding to The Melburnians hard work!

It was conceded that it wasn’t good when we lost our lead in games but it was felt the atmosphere was as good as can be expected given the situation. He also thinks it’s great how we hold our home games at a purpose built football stadium in AAMI Park compared to the Docklands.

Another Member indicated that the group she goes with to games has grown this season. Her friends are more interested in City than they were in Heart. It was mentioned that her expectations for the season were realistic (squad hasn’t really changed much) but the quality has improved with our players overall. Even though it didn’t turn out as well as it could have, she also wanted to make a point that having a player of David Villa’s caliber at our club even for a short stint was a great thing.

From another Member’s perspective, over the last couple of seasons he’s made friends with about 20 other Members that sit in his area. They’ve become like a family and has catch ups for away games and is planning future away trips such as the upcoming game in Newcastle. He attended the first game of the year away to Sydney FC and spending time with The Melburnians was a great experience.

With regard to Active, the representative on the group indicated that taking over from Yarraside was very challenging, with regard to attempting to please both old and new fans in the face of significant change. He felt Villa was a distraction and that we were too ‘Villa-centered’ and was actually glad to see the end of his tenure. He was happy watching him in our team, but always expected it to be a short stint.

Also, was happy that our fans on the wings were able to get involved in chants on game day. Chants are picking up as people get to know the capo. Some of The Melburnians attended the last post-game function where families, parents and kids gave them positive feedback that they were loving the chants.

A question was asked what had happened to our mascot Bluey/Ticker. The club indicated that something was in the pipeline, hopefully in the not to distant future.

There was a question whether our Red & White away kit was genuinely an away kit and asked why it was not worn away against the Roar and Victory. The club responded that unless there is a clash, the away strip is worn at all away matches outside the derby games and that the A-League and individual clubs work together when deciding which particular kit is to be worn. It was pointed out by a Member of the group (from experience) that the decision on what to wear is taken on a case-by-case basis and in fact most clubs around the world will wear their home kit unless there is a clear clash.

Asked when the home and away kits would be available for sale to fans, the club indicated that the away kit would be available in December and the home kit in January. Delays from Nike were cited as the reason for this.

Concerns were raised about the police involvement during the home game against Sydney FC. The club representative agreed with the concerns and stated that Melbourne City was looking into the matter with police to ensure that the safety of our fans is paramount. The Active Member said that it was a misunderstanding and had since spoken to the guys involved. He said that he’s let people know that in future if the police tell Members of the active support to get off the chairs to do so immediately.

CITYZENS

The charity component was well received with our fans. We all felt that the Cityzens program could be made a bit clearer and more user-friendly. Perhaps more information could be given in the form of a tutorial or even a bit of an explanation of the program during half-time on game day.

There seemed to be teething problems at least in the beginning. One of the FRG Members had some technical issues and emailed the club who were helpful with their response and tidied it up. There were also cases of Cityzens points not always updating, in particular with Twitter.

The club representative explained that Cityzens is a unique Member loyalty program that rewards you with all sorts of experiences. In a light-hearted moment one of our group suggested that Members should actually be punished and lose points for not attending games (unless you had a note from your doctor).

That’s it for now, there’ll be a big gap with the Asian Cup break until our next FRG meeting in February, if fans have any queries or items they’d like to raise please contact membership@melbournecityfc.com.au

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MCFC Fan Representative Group Update – September 2014

!Hola! (with a nod to David Villa) from the MCFC FRG for the upcoming 14/15 A-League Season!

The group met on Monday night (23/9/14) to discuss the upcoming season, the family day and other general matters that are on the minds and in the thoughts of our impressively growing support base. With membership numbers now exceeding 8000, it should be put on record that this a brilliant result and a genuine demonstration of the excitement building around Melbourne City, the A-League and the game in general.

Firstly, at our meeting, there was some talk about the family day. A great success, particularly for kids, and the supporters who attended were very grateful for the opportunity to speak with the players and club officials in a free and casual manner. With plenty of blue on show, some were disappointed that the official red & white away strip was not available on the day, but nevertheless, the home strip and other merchandise seemed to be selling like hotcakes.

On the colours, apart from the logo, it was tabled that at both the Ballarat game and on family day, players and staff were predominantly wearing sky blue, and hardly any red, with the club setup seeming a little like Sydney. Can we have more harmony between the old and new colours, eg. a choice of blue or red & white facepaint/balloons at games/events (not just blue)? Can the “Victory” navy blue stripe on the home shirt/membership card be red instead next season?

The FRG would love the club to give the supporters / members a chance to have a say on this.

In any event, there was still plenty of red and white on display from supporters, which will no doubt continue to be a feature in the stands on match day this season.

With regard to match day, supporters will soon become acquainted with the new active supporter group, the Melburnians. They have big shoes to fill, with Yarraside no more, but the FRG is sure the Melburnians will quickly develop into an integral part of the match day experience. A senior member of the Melburnians is on the FRG and he has indicated that he is hopefully that everyone in the stadium will join in with them singing So Happy Together, as well as other possible whole-of-crowd chants & songs, during the season.

With the other matchday songs (walkout, goal, etc) the club is working towards locking in some options, and the FRG understands that supporters will be given a chance to be part of the discussion in the coming days.

At our first ever home game the large home kit that supporters signed on family day will be unveiled by the club and will hung from the stadium rafters throughout the season.

The FRG is hopeful that our inaugural home game will be a celebration of our club (we have suggested an Etihad jet flyover!), whereby those who have been here in the past, and all our new supporters, can come together and start on a journey towards ongoing success that is built on respecting the game and playing attractive, exciting and winning football, whilst bringing families, friends and people together for love of the game.

The FRG also acknowledges that our away attendance for round 1 in Sydney will possibly set a club record, and that the Melbourne City FC should celebrate this, and assist supporters by putting things in place to enable fans to come together across the border, where hopefully we will get a win.

See you all in the stands! Our next meeting will be soon after our first home game and the club will canvass the membership base in the lead up to the meeting seeking questions and topics of interest for the FRG to discuss.

The Melbourne City FC FRG.

This update was provided to us by the Melbourne City FC FRG, we will continue to publish future updates from the group.

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