Dear Fellow Bees,
Before the home game on Saturday, three of us had our first meeting with Tony Kleanthous (TK). With me were Carla Devine and Mike Riddle. Tony was joined by Dean Brennan (DB) and Daniel Martin (DM - Head of the Hive Foundation).
There are clearly many issues and questions that you all have. Please be patient, without any supporters’ representation for several years, it will take a long time to repair and strengthen both ourselves as an effective group and the relationship with the club. Our club is too small for the supporters and the club not to be working together for the benefit of everyone who loves Barnet Football Club. I know there are many deep-seated views on things like returning to Barnet.
I too, would love to see the club back in Barnet, but the only way I see that happening is when we're strong and successful and when the right opportunity comes up. For now, we all need to devote our energy to making our club successful again, Myself, Tony Kleanthous, you the Bee army and all the team at the Hive. We will never agree with everything the club does or says, but we believe we have much common ground and optimism that we can grow and improve together. We will be a strong voice for our supporters but also work as collaboratively as possible with the club. One other thing I must mention.
I know people have been frustrated with things like bars, tea huts etc but there is absolutely no excuse for any abuse of any staff at the Hive and we will support the club on any occasion where this is found to be the case. Genuine complaints are fine and we may be able to help resolve them. We all have a responsibility make the Hive a welcoming and enjoyable place to watch football.
Now on to what was covered in the meeting.
TK started by explaining the circumstances around Harry Kewell's dismissal. We thought that DB spoke very eloquently and showed why he was Head of Football, he was trying to build an overall culture and playing strategy which went beyond just picking the first team, mentioned the approaches used by managers like Klopp. To us, he sounded like he had he knew what he was doing. He gave us confidence of a long-term approach.
The most interesting update came from DM, he explained that Covid had given them an opportunity to re-evaluate how they worked with the community. Much more about building long term relationships with schools and other organisations than simply giving out free tickets. It sounded exactly like what we'd talked about was missing. Twelve local schools already onboarded, very early days. He came across very well and he will be our main contact. Hopefully this will translate into many new supporters.
South Stand. It's ready to be re-located to the new pitches behind the North stand and commence building the new stand, subject to the council approving the move which is currently delaying it. We have asked for clarity on the facilities that will be included, potential pricing structure etc? Also whether 'safe standing' had been considered. We also had some ideas about making the stand more Barnet-fied like naming it.
TK suggested making the Legends stand our 'supporters hub'. We agreed that would be a great idea and definitely something to develop the detail about how that might work.
Car parking charges will remain 'as is' due to council considerations and investment in access control. May be able to review once membership situation is confirmed? e.g. discounts for members?
Hive membership. A new free Hive membership is coming out, aimed at general users of the Hive, but we'd like to see a return to the 'old' Hive football membership. TK agreed to take this away and make it a priority to look at options to get something similar back.
Free drinks before 2pm for season ticket holders in the Legends bar. We all agreed it needed better publicising. It was also mentioned that they are trying to encourage people to use the Legends bar rather than the Hive cafe bar as the Hive bar was used by many different sets of people including players, visitors and other users of the Hive.
TK confirmed that there was no problem with having a supporters association presence in the Legends Bar/stand, we'll hopefully be able to make some progress on that soon.
It was agreed that we can have a page in the programme too, Carla Devine will manage that.
We raised the issue of the effective increase in 'entry' level pricing with terrace option being removed. We believe that the club is going to reflect on the decision, how it was communicated and what can be done to reduce that price point in the future.
We also asked about what the current strategy/plan is for infrastructure and pricing. Is terracing going to be re-introduced on East side? Is there going to be a replacement 'Bumble's family zone'? Once South stand is up, will directors box move to Legends stand? If so when and what happens to supporters with seats there? Any thoughts about use of 'safe standing'? We'll let you know what comes back.
Overall, we all thought it was a very positive meeting with some good ideas exchanged. We will be meeting regularly with the club and hope we can start to see some changes that will benefit us supporters.
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