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Leyton Orient Fans' Forum report - 19/3/14

Below is the report of the latest meeting of the Leyton Orient Fans' Forum, which took place last Wednesday 19th March 2014.

Present: Matt Porter (LOFC CEO and Supporter Liaison Officer), Keren Harrison, Tony Roome, Tim Haydon (Supporters Club), Doug Harper, James Cassidy (LOFT).

Apologies: Fanzine Reps.

Updates on previous issues:

  1. Hand Dryers: MP confirmed all quotes were unaffordable and considers this a low priority item. Issue closed.
  2. Gallery Stairs safety issue: will be addressed in close season.
  3. Olympic Stadium impact consultants' report: TR will shortly view and advise forum members if any concrete concerns raised.
  4. Fans' Forum additional members: now to be addressed in close season, with additional rep volunteers requested in mailout to fans.
  5. Stadium Catering Questionnaire: MP is arranging soon and survey will be released on Club website.
  6. SUFTO free youth tickets: continuation next season will probably depend on which division O's are in, so decision still pending.
  7. Away fan allocation: as publicised, Wolves will get the whole East Stand. The SC confirmed it will only allow entry to members that day for safety/capacity purposes.
  8. Floodlight Improvements: final decision on required upgrades pending which Division O's are in. The club will elect for the most cost effective option available.
  9. East Stand Seats: the older seats, easily subject to damage by over-exuberance or malice, will be replaced in the close season, and the gangways and seating blocks reconfigured to streamline access walkways. Cost in excess of 50k.
  10. Essex Coach Service: the Club have reviewed and decided against re-introducing this service on the grounds that there was insufficient interest in it last time it was run. Issue closed.

New issues raised:

  1. Stand Up For The Orient Facebook group considering Freedom of Information requests regarding the Olympic Stadium. MP confirmed no developments on OS issue for the club, although an appeal to the Premier League is still pending.
  2. WW1 memorial pre-season friendly (eg vs Hearts): unlikely to happen due to time constraints/cost issues. MP said he'd happily allow a supporters' friendly instead in the stadium if timed right.
  3. Play-offs subsidised coach/travel to Semi-Final away leg: unaffordable. The SC may increase coach service capacity if required. The dates for these should Orient be involved are SF 6 v 3 9th May, SF 5 v 4 10th May, SF 3 v 6 12th May, SF 4 v 5 14th May, Final 25th May.
  4. Online ticketing system: MP said he was happy with usage/reliability issues and usage amongst fan base was growing game by game.
  5. Request for stadium tours: already done on an ad-hoc basis, via LOCSP/Howard Gould for school groups, Rob Noble for other fans, but the Club will try this on a pre-publicised basis and gauge take-up.
  6. Official Message Board issues: MP confirmed (undisclosed) commercial partners had registered complaints about the Club being directly associated with recent offensive posts. It does not wish to dedicate resources/waste costs to higher moderating/admin activity, and is considering whether to disassociate it from the Club after the end of the season. In this event, MP said he would consider handing over the URL etc. to interested/trusted fan(s) to continue running it independently.
  7. Potential club documentary: the Club is wary of the downside PR to this, but would consider requests from production companies based on merit/fee. Interested parties should contact MP direct.
  8. Seasons' Highlights DVD: likely to produce one for this and other successful seasons. DVDs for more routine seasons usually run at a loss.
  9. Brentford game home fan numbers query: MP confirmed home fans seated in directors balcony area and shifted to away stand were counted, which is why the reported home fans just exceeded the usual capacity. No-show season ticket and other ticket holders are not counted, but the club is considering changing this policy in line with other clubs. A complaint about Sky camera gantries restricting some views has been received and responded to.
  10. More PA system moans: noted, but upgrades are considered unaffordable due to need to spend on floodlight and East Stand seating improvements.
  11. Tommy Johnston Stand bar beer-keeping issues: the SC offered to review and assist the bar manager to ensure good practices are followed should it be requested.
  12. Club shop product range: specific requests for additional items should be sent to MP to forward on to JustSport.
  13. Next season's kits: it won't be braces! Club restricted to choice from Nike templates.
  14. Stewarding: MP acknowledged some clumsy body searches at West Stand turnstiles recently. These were practice runs for higher levels of away fan searches demanded by police to minimise banned items. Regarding policy of intervening, the guideline from police is to hold off when massed fans are being "over-exuberant" so as not to inflame matters/keep stewards safe, but intervene when individuals/isolated groups are causing trouble/offence.
  15. Giving up whole East Stand for some games: Chairman's final decision based on maximised income criteria. Confirmed that team manager was consulted and had no issues with this at all.
  16. Club website injured/unavailable players updates. MP will review this with Jonny Davies.
  17. North Stand ladies' loo seats: MP will review and arrange for necessary repairs.
  18. Lids for hot drinks: now available in all Stands at or near refreshment counters.
  19. Recent merchandise survey: good fan response. Club to publicise action points.
  20. International Supporters' Group. KH (SC) and Rob Noble (FC) co-ordinate this with assistance from other fans. Now have database of 100+ overseas fans. Likely to be formalised as a Facebook group, and an early season game announced as International Fans' Day.
  21. Club will host London Legends tournament on Sunday 18th May with West Ham/Spurs/Arsenal/Chelsea represented. Any other close-season activities will be publicised once confirmed.

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