UPDATE ON THE NEW SUPPORTERS BAR
Firstly we’d like to apologise for the lack of information in regards to the new facility recently, we understand that has caused some frustration, which we are sorry for. The reason for this has been that our focus has been on trying to get the new facility finished and open as soon as possible. I’m sure you’re aware that this project has been a huge undertaking and previous delays to the project certainly haven’t helped.
The Green Taverners are made up of a small group of volunteers, all of which either have their own full-time jobs or other responsibilities, so although we always try our best, we do have our limitations.
The build, licensing, organising the structure of the co-operative and membership, dealing with the many contractors and unforeseen issues along the way, has been not only an expensive exercise but very time-consuming.
We are now nearing a position where we hope to be able to open for the Tuesday Salford game (although that isn’t guaranteed just yet) and hope that once we hit this milestone that things will ease up a bit, this should allow us to improve our communication with the wider fanbase, we understand that due to workloads this hasn’t happened as we would have liked and endeavour to improve.
To answer some questions recently posed, firstly in regards to the membership:
The operation of the new Supporters Bar as a members facility on match days is not a requirement of its alcohol license. This position is in place to enable the effective operation and responsible management of the bar so that it is a safe and enjoyable facility for those attending. It is no coincidence that this is consistent with the operation of the Far Post club. In addition to this, the bar has been built using investment provided largely by individual supporters. The GTs have a responsibility to these individuals to operate and manage the facility as effectively as possible so that the investment made can be repaid in a timely manner and in the time frame put forward under the business plan. As part of this process, and following professional advice received the bar is operated by the GTs in its capacity as a co-operative society for its members and this structure provides for material financial benefits.
The current situation with the new facility is that the club is using the bottom bar whilst the Grandstand is being refurbished, in order to house their hospitality clients. This means that we have had to limit our membership quota to just the upstairs bar where the Fanfests will be held to 300 members, until such time as the club vacate over to their new facilities, which we believe could be around New Year.
Once this happens it will allow us to increase the capacity to our membership to 600 members over the two bars. This membership would cover access to both the upstairs bar (where the Fanfests will be operated from) and the downstairs Supporters Bar (where the early football games will be screened etc). However the membership won’t guarantee access to either bar, they will operate on a ‘first come first served’ basis and once one bar is at full capacity, access will be limited to the other one and vice versa.
Cost for membership has been set at £50 per season, this covers entrance with no need to purchase additional Fanfest tickets and is approximate to the cost of last season (£2 per game x 23 games).
As already explained, our first batch of membership was limited to 300 members. We previously asked attendees of Fanfests who have supported the GT events over the last 8 years, to register their interest in advance for memberships. Fans who pre-registered their interest for membership were then invited to sign up as well as those who had invested and therefore enabled the build itself.
This 300 membership quota was quickly taken up, which leaves us unable to offer any more until we have control of the bottom bar and our membership capacity is effectively doubled.
We recognise that there are supporters who are unable or would not wish to use the facility on a regular basis and that a membership would not be appropriate for them (exiles, shift workers, away fans, etc), with that recognition we are planning a workable solution that will allow us to offer limited numbers of ‘day memberships’. How this will work isn’t fully worked out yet, but in preparation, we have created a system where we have asked every member to contact us in advance if they are unable to attend on a matchday, which will allow us to offer their place out via a ‘day membership’ scheme.
As anyone who has previously attended a Fanfest will know, away fans really help to enhance the atmosphere and indeed are one of the things that have made the Fanfest unique throughout the Country. However, we are mindful that we wouldn’t want home supporters to miss out on being able to access the facilities, due to away fans taking precedent and feel it is only right that our home supporters take priority if necessary.
We are also mindful that despite our plans, we actually don’t know how they will pan out in reality on match days and that we won’t until a) the build is finished and fully open b) we have a few match-days under our belt. Therefore the plans we have made will be ‘fluid’ and we are prepared to make any changes necessary if it becomes clear that we can adapt and improve things.
We acknowledge that many supporters are keen to apply for future membership and are happy to encourage them to register their interest with us via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will get back to them once we are in a position to open up the membership fully.
In recognition that the new facility will be popular, and to ensure that it can be available to as many supporters as is possible it is wholly intended that it will be available for use by non-members during the week both in the day and on evenings, either for a casual drink or attending functions. Full details of these opening hours will be made available very soon.
We hope this has answered some of the questions being raised, we also recognise that there is likely to be more questions that arise, but need to reiterate that our focus currently is on working as hard as possible to get the building complete and open, this isn’t going to improve in the next couple of weeks as we try our best to open for Salford, so whilst we’d like to answer all the questions as we receive them, we do ask for your patience and understanding.