Independent Supporters’ Committee hold first meeting
West Ham United met with the new Independent Supporters’ Committee (ISC) as its first meeting was held on Wednesday evening (10 February).
The ISC was created independently by several supporters’ groups and working with the Club and the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) as part of the Hammers’ enhanced approach to fan consultation, with the aim of improving things for all supporters. Club representatives will meet with the ISC four times per season, with the Club continuing to meet individually with each supporters group on the ISC on matters of specific interest to them.
The ISC will form part of a wider structure for supporter consultation, working alongside the Club’s multiple channels of supporter engagement, including our dedicated Supporter Services team, 50-strong Matchday Supporter Liaison team, the Hammers Help twitter handle @westhamhelp, Hammers Help Centre, Disabled Supporters’ Board, Junior Supporters’ Board, and West Ham Women’s Supporters’ Board, as well as regular surveys, personal communication, points of contact, and the recent addition of the Hammers Hub, created in direct response to fan feedback.
Interim Chair and Pride of Irons Co-Chair Jim Dolan chaired the meeting and held virtually online, the meeting was also attended by interim Vice-Chair Sue Watson of the West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association (WHUISA), Andy McConnell of Hammers United, Cathy Bayford representing the Disabled Supporters’ Board, Don Adams of Any Old Irons, Lee Vehit from BAME Hammers, Paul Christmas representing the Official Supporters’ Club and Steve Applebee from the Bondholders Committee.
I’m pleased that we have passed the first milestone of holding the initial meeting of the ISC and West Ham United
ISC Chairman Jim Dolan
The ISC submitted their own agenda, with each ISC member raising a topic for discussion, and senior representatives from the Club, led by Vice-Chairman Karren Brady, on hand to answer any questions.
Topics discussed included the Season Ticket renewals policy, credits and refunds while the recent supporters’ survey was raised – a survey the Club sent to all Season Ticket Holders, Members, supporters on the Waiting List and Claret Members, another method the Club has used in its commitment to improve engagement with supporters and its efforts to enhance the matchday experience for all supporters. The Club agreed to the groups’ request to present findings at the next meeting, including areas of improvements to align with the groups’ strategy.
West Ham United’s approach to hate-crime on social media was also on the agenda, with the Club reiterating their robust and proactive approach and their commitment to a zero-tolerance line against any form of discrimination. As part of this, the Club’s re-education of supporters was also talked through as they continue their drive to become an equity leader. Champions Place and the Club’s methods of communications to supporters were also discussed.
Jim Dolan said: “I’m pleased that we have passed the first milestone of holding the initial meeting of the ISC and West Ham United. This alone is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work from all parties and facilitated by the FSA. There was a lot of discussion and healthy debate and although I’m sure fans don’t expect us to change the world in a two-hour meeting, I’d encourage everyone to keep an eye on the minutes and actions that follow and judge us on what we achieve. We are here to represent the fans and what is important to them, so if there is something important to you that you’d like represented at Club level, please get in touch.”
I am delighted that we have been able to make this important step in our approach to supporter consultation
Vice-Chairman Karren Brady
Meanwhile, Vice-Chairman Karren Brady welcomed the launch of the ISC as ‘an important step’ that will ‘build positive relationships for both the Club and supporters’ groups’, and hailing the hard work done by members and the FSA in putting the new group together.
“I am delighted that we have been able to make this important step in our approach to supporter consultation,” she told members. “I know how hard you’ve all worked on behalf of your fellow supporters over the past year and I hope we can use this as a real opportunity to build positive relationships for both the Club and supporters’ groups.
“We are all genuinely optimistic about what this new relationship with you all can bring, and I hope we all agree that this is a significant step forward between the Club and supporters, who we can’t wait to see back at London Stadium backing the team in person, as soon as is possible.”
The Vice-Chairman went on to discuss the financial impact on all clubs of the COVID-19 but confirmed West Ham United have strong business continuity measures in place. With the ongoing pandemic and national lockdown meaning supporters are currently unable to attend matches in-person, the Vice-Chairman also expressed sympathy with fans not being be able to enjoy West Ham’s strong 2020/21 season in person and thanked them for their continued support from afar.
Full, independently reviewed, minutes of the inaugural ISC meeting will be available in due course.