Thursday 28 Jan
Updated Thursday 28 Jan 15:30
Club

Supporter Advisory Board meeting

The Supporter Advisory Board met at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening to look ahead to the Club’s momentous summer move
The West Ham United Supporter Advisory Board met at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening to look ahead to the Club’s momentous summer move to the former Olympic Stadium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 
 
Managing Director Angus Kinnear, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Tara Warren and Head of Ticketing and Retail Gavin Stanley were on hand to respond to questions from the floor, while the meeting was chaired by Disability Liaison Officer Julie Pidgeon. 

At this, the first meeting of 2016, Mrs Warren began with a message from Vice-Chairman Karren Brady, on behalf of the Board, who thanked the SAB for all that they have done to advance the Club in recent years. 
 
Reflecting on the integral part the SAB has played, Mrs Warren explained that each and every item raised in meetings is reported back to the Board in order to inform Club strategy.   
 
The SAB were delighted to welcome representation from the Club’s LGBT supporters’ club Pride of Irons. Formed just under 12 months ago, they aim to promote tolerance and inclusivity at West Ham, as well a positive image of West Ham.
 
The question and answer session began with extensive discussion of disabled access to the Stadium. It was confirmed that, in terms of accessibility, the Boleyn Ground is ranked eleventh in the Premier League, while the new Stadium is second in the country. The Club therefore expects the matchday experience for supporters with accessibility requirements to be significantly enhanced come next season.  
 
Additionally, there will be some 49 Blue Badge parking spaces on the Stadium Island, in comparison to just 20 at the Boleyn Ground.    
 
Mr Kinnear reiterated that a travel plan will be widely communicated well in advance of the move and that accessibility plans are right at the heart of everything the Club is doing.
 
In response to how the Club might cater for supporters on the Autism spectrum at the new Stadium, Mrs Warren confirmed that the Club had been in contact with the Premier League, National Autism Society and the Chairman of Level Playing Field for their recommendations. Following those discussions, West Ham are now hoping to institute pre-visits for supporters and a walkaround with an NAS representative to offer further guidance.  
 
In terms of the first home kit to grace the new Stadium, Mr Kinnear told the SAB that a great deal of the work done in the consultation for the Farewell Boleyn shirt had been carried over and was confident that supporters would be impressed with the results.  
 
The seat selection process, though nearing its conclusion for existing Season Ticket Holders, was another hot topic. Mr Kinnear confirmed that almost every existing Season Ticket Holder had now renewed at the new Stadium, with an appointment satisfaction rate in excess of 80 per cent. He described the process as the most successful Stadium migration in the history of European football.      
 
On a similar note, Mr Kinnear spoke of the Joint-Chairmen’s desire to create a family-friendly stadium and that based on the huge success of the Club’s £99 Season Tickets, he expects West Ham to have one of the youngest Season Ticket bases across the land.  
 
Alongside the Stadium move, the Hammers are also planning to relocate the first-team’s training base to Rush Green for next season. With significant work to be done in the coming months to produce a world-class training facility, Mr Kinnear said the project was a fundamental part of the Club’s overall, long-term vision.         
          
Elsewhere, it was confirmed that the Reservation Centre will close its doors next season, with attention set to turn to the Club’s dedicated spaces on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with a new Megastore and Ticket Office currently under construction. The former is two-and-a-half times the size of its Boleyn Ground equivalent.           
 
Supporters were pleased to learn that there will be no pitch events in the period between the new Stadium pitch being re-seeded in the summer and the first game of the season. The pitch has been specially designed and tested so that it will be able to be used for other events during the course of the season without affecting its quality or durability.   
 
The SAB’s next meeting, the third and final meeting of the season, is now set for the final week of February. There, the application process for the 2016/17 SAB, will be discussed, with the invitation, as it always been, to be extended to the entire West Ham United supporter base.