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