Supporter Advisory Board meeting

The West Ham United Supporter Advisory Board met at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening
The West Ham United Supporter Advisory Board met at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening to discuss the Club’s digital ambitions, Farewell Boleyn plans, Visit Football’s recent assessment and to raise questions and comments on behalf of the wider supporter base.             

The SAB has three principal objectives. Firstly, to represent the whole supporter base to the Club’s board and senior executives, to shape Club policy and finally to represent the Club at external forums, as and when required by the Club.  

On Tuesday evening, the Club were represented by Managing Director Angus Kinnear, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications Tara Warren and Head of Ticketing Gavin Stanley. 

Mrs Warren kicked off proceedings with a presentation detailing the evolution of following the new website’s launch in February. The Club are now pleased to be in a position to offer instant access to West Ham TV content, which, as well being completely free, is no longer behind a registration wall. 

Similarly, the Club made note of significant growth across its Social Media platforms. The Hammers boast upward of half-a-million followers on Twitter, while the Club’s Facebook likes have now risen above 1.25 million. 

West Ham were commended by both Brand Finance and Visit Football for their engagement on Social Media and are naturally working hard to ensure those excellent upward trends continue.  

Supporters were then invited to share their feedback on the new site and the Club’s Social Media strategy, with the consensus being that new video features ‘Me and Him’ and Yes/No, for instance, as well as the volume of exclusive training ground footage, were proving particularly popular. 

Those comments preceded a productive discussion surrounding the Club’s proposed ideas and SAB members offered their own suggestions of how to improve the Club’s digital offering yet further. Looking ahead, Mrs Warren spoke of plans to explore a new West Ham United app, to introduce a Gaming and/or Junior Hammers section of the site, in addition to a revamped social hub.    

Elsewhere, following Visit Football’s recent assessment, the Club were delighted to learn of significant improvements in a number of key areas, including the pre-match experience, catering and cleanliness. Additionally, West Ham’s meet and greet volunteers, the Happy Hammers, were also commended for their assistance to home and away supporters alike.      

In terms of the Hammers’ final season at the Boleyn Ground, supporters reflected on the very successful Claret and Blue day against Leicester City and confirmed that the introduction of former players at half-time had been very well received thus far.   

Additionally, Mrs Warren discussed the possible themed fixtures still to come, with Cult Heroes, Greatest Goals, the Academy of Football, Bobby Moore and the ‘60s, International Hammers and fans, Sir Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds/70s all under discussion.  

As has already been the case, supporters will be invited to get involved on Social Media, with fan input central to the success of these occasions. 

As for the final game itself, it was confirmed that plans for an ‘event’ following the final whistle are beginning to take shape behind the scenes and supporters were invited to offer their suggestions for a final day playlist. In terms of attendees, Mrs Warren explained that the Club are working particularly hard to ensure that as many former players as possible return to the Boleyn Ground between now and the end of the season.   

Supporters were also treated to a previously unseen flythrough of the new Stadium Megastore on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Mr Kinnear revealed that the Store – on two floors – is designed to set a new benchmark in football retail, with dramatically larger capacity than its Boleyn Ground counterpart and has been ergonomically designed to ensure that the flow of visitors operates more efficiently. And with more than double as many tills, supporters can look forward to being served significantly quicker on a matchday. 

Mrs Warren’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session with all three of West Ham’s representatives responding to queries from the floor. Questions covered a broad range of topics, with ticketing, retail, the new Stadium and the final Boleyn Ground season all coming under the microscope.     

When asked about the Club’s ticketing service, Mr Stanley explained that the Box Office had recently undergone improvements, including the facility for supporters to join the automatic home cup scheme online, as well as ‘print at home’ functionality. The Club also committed to having a new booking system in place for the new Stadium.       

In terms of the seat selection process at the New Stadium Reservation Centre, supporters were reminded that the first Band 4 appointments are due to begin in early November and will likely run into early 2016.  

Crowd modelling and transport at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was again discussed at length and the recent Rugby World Cup fixtures naturally served as a useful frame of reference. 

Mr Kinnear reiterated that senior members of West Ham United have attended each and every Rugby World Cup fixture to understand how the Stadium functions on matchday and the work that still needs to be done. On that note, all matchday operations are being carefully reviewed but West Ham are hugely encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from supporters. 

Referring more directly to the various transport links to the Stadium, Mr Kinnear confirmed that a full travel plan would be released by the Club in the fullness of time but was keen to remind those in attendance that Stratford is among Europe’s most accessible stations. 

Finally, on the topic of West Ham’s plans for their Rush Green facility, Mr Kinnear explained that it absolutely remains the Club’s intention to have training facilities commensurate with the Club’s ambitions and the exciting team that is fast developing.       

Mrs Warren closed the meeting with a vote of thanks to the SAB for their time, commitment and valuable contributions. The Board are very grateful for their continued input and take careful note of their comments and recommendations to shape future policy.