HTSA representatives met Nigel Clibbens, the Club Chief Executive, to discuss a number of topics, principally those affecting away supporters.
These included satisfactory provision for supporters with mobility difficulties travelling by coach.
HTSA will be responsible for liaising with Town regarding travel plans and the club will then inform us of the disabled access arrangements once they have liaised as normal with the relevant officials – the away club and HTAFC’s Police Liaison Officer.
There was also a detailed discussion about away seat allocation, centred initially around the unsatisfactory arrangements at Fulham (when the poorest seats were the first ones on sale), but also with reference to the problems encountered by supporters at Bolton, whose view had been obscured by fans perpetually standing.
While it was recognised that sufficient knowledge of the away stadium layout is not easy, it was agreed to try as far as possible to identify suitable areas for differing requirements (such as North Stand Loyals, family area and infirm or disabled).
Clearly the ideal is not always achievable and HTSA appeals to ALL Town fans to have due consideration for their fellow supporters, whether this be in regard to standing or the use of strong language in the vicinity of young children.
The discussion then moved on to the number of evictions at Bolton and it was pointed out that any report emanating from Bolton may be used to increase the level of stewarding and policing for the return fixture on December 28. This is clearly undesirable, as is any eviction that isn’t justifiable.
HTSA is willing to try to help anyone who feels aggrieved, as long as this can be documented properly. Please get in touch, either by email to email@example.com or by phoning/texting 07798 727782.
Next up on the agenda was the topic of Supporter Liaison Officers and it was confirmed that the club will hold an internal review before the end of December with a report available in January.
It was also confirmed that club representatives had attended the Football League meeting in Birmingham last month.
While the meeting had proved to be of some interest, it was primarily an open forum and no specific action points were noted by the FL to the best of Town’s knowledge.
There had been a high turnover of individuals in the SLO role at clubs in the last 12 months and almost all of them are club employees.
There is a view emerging that it is better to have two, three or even more SLOs (Birmingham have 10).
HTSA is working with the Football Supporters Federation to look at a suitable training package, but the likely starting point for this is to try to broaden the knowledge of SLO responsibilities within the fan base.
Again, we welcome input from Town supporters via the contact details given previously.