Leyton Orient fans' forum
The Leyton Orient fans' forum is a way for the club to regularly discuss issues of importance with supporters, and is made up of the club CEO Matthew Porter (who also currently acts as Supporter Liaison Officer for the club) and representatives from LOFT, the Supporters Club and fanzines.
Below is a summary of the most recent meeting of the forum, last Friday 13 September.
Present: Matt Porter, LOFC CEO; David Dodd, LOSC Chair & Fans Rep on LOFC board; Tony Roome, LOSC committee. Doug Harper and James Cassidy, LOFT committee; Mat Roper, Pandamonium fanzine editor and Stand Up For The Orient (SUFTO) campaign co-ordinator. Apologies from Matt Arnot, Orientear fanzine editor.
West Stand Roof leaks: the club has (hopefully!) had these fixed since the Crewe game.
Short notice Sky game changes: these are beyond the control of the club due to the central Football League TV contracts, but MP noted the frustrations and costs to fans.
North Stand toilet hand-dryers: MP said he'd investigate (all stands) and if not unreasonably expensive look to upgrade them.
PA system: it's too expensive for the club to change, but they do tweak speakers. The matchday PA announcer has been asked to time his talks when there is less crowd noise (if at all possible).
Alcohol sales in the North Stand: as this is the designated family stand, the club wants to keep this area alcohol-free.
Extra forum reps: MP (as current club Support Liaison Officer) wants to expand participation in the forum (for example, disabled fans, reps for each stand (who would almost certainly be season ticket holders), youth rep, overseas supporters), using elections if necessary. Watch for further developments/announcements.
Phones: the club will soon roll out a system upgrade that will at least let callers know where they are in a queue, rather than just hear a ringtone. On a related note, the club is trying to promote the online ticketing service as an alternative, and welcomes feedback on its efficiency and any issues that fans have. Not being able to use 2 for 1 offers online is one they know about.
Plaudits to both the PR and commercial team for recent developments were passed on.
Cheerios: The club has decided to scale back on using the cheerleaders to only the big matches (if at all). Not for any reasons raised by fans, but for financial and "quality and non-necessity of pre-match entertainment" issues.
West Side Gallery free half-time tea & coffee running out: MP said he'd look into it with the Gallery catering manager.
Club Shop not stocking Orient books and memorabilia: this will change, provided the club doesn't have to pay exorbitant prices to stock supplies (which can be an issue). The club is aware of a few new Orient-related books due out now/soon.
Stadium catering gripes: MP will try to get the catering concession manager to answer fans issues via social media. Chips are probably a no-no as we can't get a licence for deep-fat fryers in the various outlets, but other preparation methods will be considered.
Disabled ticketing: The issue of having to queue for tickets being problematical for some was raised. MP will investigate possible solutions.
SUFTO: Mat Roper gave an update and outlined imminent actions.
Kick It Out: LOFT are supporting a Steve White & The Protest Family gig by Orient Fans under a banner of 'Love Orient, Hate Racism' at the Supporters Club on 26 October (matchday evening), which the club supports too as part of its KIO activities. There is also going to be a blue plaque unveiled soon to Laurie Cunningham, sponsored by an anti-racism charity, on one of the corner apartment blocks at the ground. The club will announce further details.
Concerns over steep exit stairs: the club has been monitoring this, but as there have not been any serious incidents in any stands, there are no plans to make significant changes.
Olympic Stadium update: we had another fairly lengthy discussion about fans' and club views. We still cannot be given the consultants' report at this time. The oral appeal to apply for a Judicial Review is this Thursday.
Free tickets uptake: as the Higher Education student term had not started, the club was reasonably happy with the uptake and delighted by the related rise in local awareness of the club, but has now released uncollected tickets to the reserve list.