Are the Club Taking Fans for Granted?

BudleighBee

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Do we need to ask this question? I love BFC, supported them for nearly 50 years and the on field progress, recruitment, stadium etc is all absolutely fantastic. Overall things could not be better and thanks so much to the management, players and staff etc for what has been achieved, it is superb and the club has progressed far more than I could ever have dreamed of. But:

I started a thread well over a month ago asking whether season tickets would arrive before the Arsenal game. Some asked whether it was a serious thread. But here we are weeks later and some are still fighting to get their paid for season tickets before the Brighton game and even that is in doubt. This is over a month since the season started and this is not just incompetence it demonstrates an attitude that may indicate fans are not a priority. Add to this the ticket purchase problems and lack of working contact options (without waiting many many minutes on the phone or sending emails that are not responded to) which have been well documented on the GPG, advising fans to arrive early for the Arsenal game and then failing to open the doors on time and the poor service being provided by the club shop, which indicates either a very poor retail operation or a very poor customer attitude. All of these issues, all being experienced at the same time, since promotion does make me question just how important are the fans to the club. Were we just seen as an income source until the Premier League, since when the income is no longer needed? Of course things like COVID interruptions and shipping issues need to be considered and other clubs are experiencing similar issues, so maybe I have got this wrong.

I hope the club does recognise the importance of the fans and that it is the external factors that in the main are leading to the problems. What do others think?
 

Mulitinovic

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I agree with the impacts you describe creating the risk fans will perceive they are taken for granted, but not the motive from club side. My take is the club was not able to adapt quickly enough to the demands of premier league football and the incredibly stark difference it makes in what is needed compared to us going again in the Championship after another round of player sales.

Not all of it is their fault. You can’t invest in PL infrastructure until you are there or you’re left with unsustainable cost in the Championship. Recruitment takes at least four months from starting a process to getting people through the door for most roles, and you won’t attract the candidates you want if the job looks to be predicated on the outcome of promotion. I suspect the same goes for volumes of merchandise you need to order and number of (e.g. catering) suppliers to have in place. We would always have teething problems moving to a new stadium, as happens with every new stadium, and we’re doing it with unprecedented demand for tickets. Plus supply chains are being disrupted everywhere.

Some of it is though: the greater demand for everything applies enormous stress to our systems and exposes where we have underinvested, made bad choices or gotten away with it in the past - see ticketing, venue access and stock management software. That’s where the problems are compounded because so much resource needed elsewhere gets diverted to sorting it out.

To put it this way, I don’t think it will be like this next season, whichever division we’re in.
 

chris1969

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Do we need to ask this question? I love BFC, supported them for nearly 50 years and the on field progress, recruitment, stadium etc is all absolutely fantastic. Overall things could not be better and thanks so much to the management, players and staff etc for what has been achieved, it is superb and the club has progressed far more than I could ever have dreamed of. But:

I started a thread well over a month ago asking whether season tickets would arrive before the Arsenal game. Some asked whether it was a serious thread. But here we are weeks later and some are still fighting to get their paid for season tickets before the Brighton game and even that is in doubt. This is over a month since the season started and this is not just incompetence it demonstrates an attitude that may indicate fans are not a priority. Add to this the ticket purchase problems and lack of working contact options (without waiting many many minutes on the phone or sending emails that are not responded to) which have been well documented on the GPG, advising fans to arrive early for the Arsenal game and then failing to open the doors on time and the poor service being provided by the club shop, which indicates either a very poor retail operation or a very poor customer attitude. All of these issues, all being experienced at the same time, since promotion does make me question just how important are the fans to the club. Were we just seen as an income source until the Premier League, since when the income is no longer needed? Of course things like COVID interruptions and shipping issues need to be considered and other clubs are experiencing similar issues, so maybe I have got this wrong.

I hope the club does recognise the importance of the fans and that it is the external factors that in the main are leading to the problems. What do others think?
You forgot to mention the ticket site :cry:, agree with most if not all!
 

Invipai

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I wouldn't say the club are taking us for granted, but there certainly could be improvements in their processes. We're a very forward thinking club but can occasionally slip quite far below those standards on other things.

There will be a lot of teething issues with the new stadium, some of which are unforeseen and some of which are just from misjudging the impact something would have. The club will be learning fast though, and need to be.

There are a lot more clubs that care for fans less than we do though, we probably are one of the better ones. Certain issues do need to be resolved but I'm not sure it's from 'not caring about the fans' so much as unoptimised processes, to maybe put it politely.
 

AB

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No, I just think they’re trying but are a bit crap as well as having to do a load of scaling up of inherited crap from when demand for everything came from fewer than half the number of fans. We’re also much less indulgent of poor service from a PL club with a shiny new ground than we were of a club we knew operated on a shoestring from GP and portakabins and was not long since bucket shaking been saved from ceasing to exist at all.
 

ManorBee

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Throw in a new stadium with large crowds for the 1st time, Covid issues including self isolating staff, having to employ and train additional staff, new systems that need tweaking to how we use them (had same issues with generic platforms) give the club some slack. Short term memories. We have never had it so good. Concentrate on the good things we have now. Whenever I have had dealings with the club they have always bent over backwards to help!
 

LingfieldBee

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Simply no. Not at all. I think they are adjusting and have just stumbled a couple of times on issues.

Things will smooth out. Overall I think the club's fan interaction is amazing. From the YouTube ore match show to our new home really feeling like home with nice touches despite the hiccups along the way. And which DoFs in top flight you know that go to the pub to ask questions.
 

Ashford Bees

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Lots of teething problems, as expected with a new stadium, larger crowds...not to mention a global pandemic that shows no signs of subsiding any time soon.

That aside, the ticketing site is more of a shambles than the already shambolic state it was in when originally implemented. I have full confidence in our board and we have an owner that all clubs would wish for.
 
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Absolutley not, the club has grown and there are growing pains however Rome wasn't build in a day. Some of the moaning for example re TAPs is incredible, and of course in previous years whilst at GP, it did see more personal, and it was easy to obtain tickets, but this is the price of growth, but we all wanted it, and of course as soon as an error or perceived issue comes to light people want to take the club to task and slaughter them without giving them anytime to adjust to the frenzy that is the Premier league. I'm very happy with the club, and that's not blinkered either. and I've no doubt in time all issues will be resolved and we will move on however the bedwetters will find something to moan at. As Always Up The Bees
 
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BudleighBee

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What a load of tosh this thread is. We have grown both on and off the field and have experienced some problems that will be resolved, just like any other business. Unbelievable crap.....
I asked what you thought, no need to be so dismissive and if you think the thread is tosh, then don't comment. If it is tosh, then there will be no comments and it will fall off the thread list. I accept teething problems and scaling up, but to me that does not explain the weeks and weeks to sort out season tickets. I accept that the volume of calls may have been an issue for the ticket office, but they knew how many season tickets had been sold and that demand was likely to be high for other tickets and so could (should?) have scaled the ticket office accordingly in readiness (temporary staff, call centre style short term operation, longer hours). If I had a brand new just attracted mass of customers, I would not say we will open our doors at 1800 and then not open them until 1820, leaving queues gathering in a COVID non-safe (?) environment. I simply asked the question, I want Brentford to be not just one of the best, but the best football club and if you don't look for what can be improved and work to improve it you are not going to achieve that. If I were a newly arrived Brentford fan, then the impression would not be the best. A few comments disagreeing without the aggression would be nice, though maybe not within the capability of all on here.
 

badgerbee

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Perhaps a poll would be useful for this thread……??…….
 

hobbsy

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A lot of mistakes have been made but the club want to rectify them.

They want to engage with BIAS and the other groups and they want to put things right.

That is not taking fans for granted. You should see the crap other teams have to put up with in terms of engagement, or lack of it.
 

rebus

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A lot of mistakes have been made but the club want to rectify them.

They want to engage with BIAS and the other groups and they want to put things right.

That is not taking fans for granted. You should see the crap other teams have to put up with in terms of engagement, or lack of it.
This is an important point. They are listening. Most Prem clubs just brush fan groups aside.
 

ITK

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I wouldn't say the club are taking us for granted, but there certainly could be improvements in their processes. We're a very forward thinking club but can occasionally slip quite far below those standards on other things.

There will be a lot of teething issues with the new stadium, some of which are unforeseen and some of which are just from misjudging the impact something would have. The club will be learning fast though, and need to be.

There are a lot more clubs that care for fans less than we do though, we probably are one of the better ones. Certain issues do need to be resolved but I'm not sure it's from 'not caring about the fans' so much as unoptimised processes, to maybe put it politely.
I think you are pretty much spot on. As a business I would definitely make my priority the footballing side of operations to establish the club in the premiership as this is the main income stream. I’m sure this football club with its ethos will strive to give fans the best experience possible as soon as practicable. When growing a business you are learning all the time. We as supporters of BFC should provide feedback to the club and together the overall experience for the club and supporters will grow.
 
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A lot of mistakes have been made but the club want to rectify them.

They want to engage with BIAS and the other groups and they want to put things right.

That is not taking fans for granted. You should see the crap other teams have to put up with in terms of engagement, or lack of it.
I agree with you hobbsy but if I hear 'grow the brand' one more time ........ :mad:
 

detours

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Largely depends on whether they keep playing "Celebration" after a win :fishing:
 
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BudleighBee

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Not just employing your mates would be a start I guess. But that’s nothing to do with fan engagement.
Ok, yes, many thanks for that, maybe that's a better way of putting it. Can the club improve their fan engagement? Much better terminology than the negative 'taking the fans for granted'.
 

Ace Face

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I don't think they are taking the fans for granted, but there needs to be a complete culture change off the pitch.
There needs to be proper accountability, SMART objectives, CSIs, reduction of management layers, KPIs, external benchmarking etc etc.

It just needs the whole off the pitch operations to be brought into 2021 and streamlined.

The club shop and merchandise operation is a car crash and should be help up to JV as an example of what is wrong with BFC off the pitch. While I am on the subject a lot of fans where unhappy with no club shop at the new stadium. BFC are investing a lot of capital in a new club shop, when BFC has always lost money on merchandise. Yet this, hopefully good news story , if it delivers the business case benefits is not communicated on the OS.

Don't ever try and use the current portakabin pop up at BCS as you will be in for a painful experience with two queues for selection and payment etc.

I am glad BIAS are on the case and I don't want it to get to the stage of conflict with supporters groups.
 

whyteleafebee76

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Bit of a pointless thread in my opinion. The club are aware of the issues and are seeking to resolve them. That isn't a club taking fans for granted it's a club who is dealing with challenges that have emerged as a result of the on field success and the pace that that has occurred.
 

LP_Brentford

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No. I'm sure as we continue to evolve, any weak links such as the ticketing system etc will be dealt with but for now they must likely have contracts they need to see out.


But on a basic humane level, don't take it out on the staff! Other week saw 50 year old men shouting at the staff on the turnstiles when they weren't working.

Truth be told, these staff are just kids a lot of them in probably one of there first jobs! Don't take it out on them. Really had to bite me tongue at the time, wish I did say something now, seen staff shouted at a few times now.

I think they normally do a pretty good job, especially the guys in the ticket office
 

rebus

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There needs to be proper accountability, SMART objectives, CSIs, reduction of management layers, KPIs, external benchmarking etc etc..
I find in life all those things you ask for generally leads to an increase of management layers.

BFC staff just need proper direction and backing, with a lot of management by wondering around by the CEO. Sweating the small stuff = well run club.
 

Griffingreen

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Bit of a pointless thread in my opinion. The club are aware of the issues and are seeking to resolve them. That isn't a club taking fans for granted it's a club who is dealing with challenges that have emerged as a result of the on field success and the pace that that has occurred.
I wouldn't say it's pointless, but so far this season I've had no problems ordering from the club shop, no problem with the stadium entry system, no problem with receiving tickets or my ST through the post and no problem ordering tickets through the ticketing website. Can I be the only one or am I in the silent majority?
 

Ace Face

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I find in life all those things you ask for generally leads to an increase of management layers.

BFC staff just need proper direction and backing, with a lot of management by wondering around by the CEO. Sweating the small stuff = well run club.

Not if done properly, every current employee should have SMART objectives and a measure to calculate how satisfied there customers are. It's not good enough them thinking they provide a good service.

I would hope all of JVs direct reports have objectives to meet or they are out the door. I would love to know if the head of retail has any objectives around profit etc.

I think the club is still run like it was with the bare minimum of resources and sh*t happens approach, when in fact we have a decent head count now and even some working capital to buy some ink for the printer 😁

I am confident the culture will change, but it would be nice to have some more meat on the bones from Jon where commercially possible. I will grab him at Twickenham CC. 😎
 

AB

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I find in life all those things you ask for generally leads to an increase of management layers.

BFC staff just need proper direction and backing, with a lot of management by wondering around by the CEO. Sweating the small stuff = well run club.
Yes, rather than go all out on KPIs etc other than at the top level, having enough staff to do the work and empowering them to make sensible decisions is the way to go in what is still quite a small operation.

A while back, after privatisation I worked with Royal Mail. They had many processes and KPIs and 17 tiers of management. Previously I’d worked at Asda HQ and they had 7 between shelf stacker and CEO. No chairs in meeting rooms. Stuff got sorted out quickly.
 

Les Beeavinu

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Yes, rather than go all out on KPIs etc other than at the top level, having enough staff to do the work and empowering them to make sensible decisions is the way to go in what is still quite a small operation.

A while back, after privatisation I worked with Royal Mail. They had many processes and KPIs and 17 tiers of management. Previously I’d worked at Asda HQ and they had 7 between shelf stacker and CEO. No chairs in meeting rooms. Stuff got sorted out quickly.
No meeting rooms and bring your own chair these days.
 

Bill Benn

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Its always 90% about what happens on the pitch for me although we have endured some piss poor management off it over the years.PL football in a superb new stadium a new ticket system that ain’t perfect but even an oldie like me has managed to get tickets and to top it all off Samosas at HT.You lucky people
 

West Wilts Bee

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Its always 90% about what happens on the pitch for me although we have endured some piss poor management off it over the years.PL football in a superb new stadium a new ticket system that ain’t perfect but even an oldie like me has managed to get tickets and to top it all off Samosas at HT.You lucky people
Exactly Bill. 12 years ago we were battling for survival in the basement division. Now we are in the premier league. I f***ing well despair at some of our so called fans. What they should have done is not bother with the screens, that would have given them something less to moan about. The floodlights are sh*t the lounges should have pictures on the wall to make them look less like lounges JESUS H CHRIST. What the hell is up with some people.
 

SpiderBee

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When did the weekly supporters newsletter via email from the club stop?
 
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BudleighBee

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Well, I think my question has been answered. It seems most are content with the clubs handling of the fans issues and appreciate what is being done, given the problems and rapid progression being faced by the club. The threads on season tickets, the club shop and other ticketing issues suggested otherwise, which is why I considered these as a collective and asked the question. What I genuinely find good, is that despite all the debate and frustrations on those threads, as soon as the attitude of the club is questioned (Not stated as fact note, but just merely questioned) there is an about turn on all the previous postings. I think this demonstrates the understanding and protective nature of many Brentford fans, especially after so many have been personally adversely affected by the issues. For my own part, if I were running an organisation and had become aware of the adverse comments seen on the threads mentioned, I would be grateful for the information, would work to resolve the issues as soon as possible and would consider whether our priorities and recognition of our fans (customers) was all it could be, hence the question. I am very pleased to have been advised that this is exactly what the club are doing. Just for purposes of clearing up where i'm coming from, I raised concerns about season tickets and these turned out to be reasonable concerns and I have had no personal issues with ticketing or the club shop or much else actually. A check through my posts will show that I do not usually criticise (Even this isn't a criticism, just a question). I do think the season ticket handling has been poor and that the ticket office issues are a serious weakness, which have not been appropriately addressed. WRT the club shop I am actually more forgiving on this, as there are worldwide supply issues at the moment.
 

Peteseeger

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The moans and groans of many on this website is a result of frustration with failures in the processes and systems in use. I suspect most at the club feel the same way. I am sure the vast majority, including myself, certainly do not feel that the club are taking us for granted. Many of us remember the days of Noades and Webb where taking fans for granted was a way of life.
 

sonofabee

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Well, I think my question has been answered. It seems most are content with the clubs handling of the fans issues and appreciate what is being done, given the problems and rapid progression being faced by the club. The threads on season tickets, the club shop and other ticketing issues suggested otherwise, which is why I considered these as a collective and asked the question. What I genuinely find good, is that despite all the debate and frustrations on those threads, as soon as the attitude of the club is questioned (Not stated as fact note, but just merely questioned) there is an about turn on all the previous postings. I think this demonstrates the understanding and protective nature of many Brentford fans, especially after so many have been personally adversely affected by the issues. For my own part, if I were running an organisation and had become aware of the adverse comments seen on the threads mentioned, I would be grateful for the information, would work to resolve the issues as soon as possible and would consider whether our priorities and recognition of our fans (customers) was all it could be, hence the question. I am very pleased to have been advised that this is exactly what the club are doing. Just for purposes of clearing up where i'm coming from, I raised concerns about season tickets and these turned out to be reasonable concerns and I have had no personal issues with ticketing or the club shop or much else actually. A check through my posts will show that I do not usually criticise (Even this isn't a criticism, just a question). I do think the season ticket handling has been poor and that the ticket office issues are a serious weakness, which have not been appropriately addressed. WRT the club shop I am actually more forgiving on this, as there are worldwide supply issues at the moment.
Budleigh, I think you should drop Jon Varney a well written e mail detailing the areas you are unhappy about as a customer.
He is a fan, he knows he has a big job on his hands as a degree of legacy issues and systems that won’t be fixed overnight but I think he’d appreciate all reasonable communication highlighting specific issues you believe need addressing.
What I don’t think for one minute is that he will allow or tolerate any fans being taken for granted
 

Banana

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Budleigh, I think you should drop Jon Varney a well written e mail detailing the areas you are unhappy about as a customer.
He is a fan, he knows he has a big job on his hands as a degree of legacy issues and systems that won’t be fixed overnight but I think he’d appreciate all reasonable communication highlighting specific issues you believe need addressing.
What I don’t think for one minute is that he will allow or tolerate any fans being taken for granted
JV is well aware of the issues. Personally I am not sure that answering individual emails from fans (whom he knows are frustrated with certain aspects of the clubs operations) is going to help. JV needs to concentrate on fixing the issues, not answering emails telling him what he already knows. So, personally, I not sure what value there is to gain from such an intervention.
 

rebus

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Well, I think my question has been answered. It seems most are content with the clubs handling of the fans issues and appreciate what is being done, given the problems and rapid progression being faced by the club. The threads on season tickets, the club shop and other ticketing issues suggested otherwise, which is why I considered these as a collective and asked the question. What I genuinely find good, is that despite all the debate and frustrations on those threads, as soon as the attitude of the club is questioned (Not stated as fact note, but just merely questioned) there is an about turn on all the previous postings. I think this demonstrates the understanding and protective nature of many Brentford fans, especially after so many have been personally adversely affected by the issues. For my own part, if I were running an organisation and had become aware of the adverse comments seen on the threads mentioned, I would be grateful for the information, would work to resolve the issues as soon as possible and would consider whether our priorities and recognition of our fans (customers) was all it could be, hence the question. I am very pleased to have been advised that this is exactly what the club are doing. Just for purposes of clearing up where i'm coming from, I raised concerns about season tickets and these turned out to be reasonable concerns and I have had no personal issues with ticketing or the club shop or much else actually. A check through my posts will show that I do not usually criticise (Even this isn't a criticism, just a question). I do think the season ticket handling has been poor and that the ticket office issues are a serious weakness, which have not been appropriately addressed. WRT the club shop I am actually more forgiving on this, as there are worldwide supply issues at the moment.
There are a lot of things that aren’t right at the moment. Let’s see what happens over the next few weeks. As @Banana writes, football is back to distract us from Saturday.
 

hanworthbee

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none of it bothers me but We do seem to make a lot of mistakes even going by the covid test for kids today....
 

Silly Hat

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Well, I think my question has been answered. It seems most are content with the clubs handling of the fans issues and appreciate what is being done, given the problems and rapid progression being faced by the club.

A grand total of 21 different posters out of a GPG membership of nearly 10k does not a contentment make 🤓

There‘s a long list of issues that the club has failed on, as evidenced in detail in multiple threads on the GPG (often including outrageous anecdotes on just how poor many fans’ experience has been so far). However, this particular thread has been captured by those for whom major issues affecting fellow fans are of no interest or concern to them, plus an interesting take that such issues should be viewed in binary terms - we’ve got fantastic football and supporting Brentford is the best ever (both true) so everyone should just suck up the incompetence and mismanagement off the pitch. For that reason, I’m out.
 

Banana

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A grand total of 21 different posters out of a GPG membership of nearly 10k does not a contentment make 🤓

There‘s a long list of issues that the club has failed on, as evidenced in detail in multiple threads on the GPG (often including outrageous anecdotes on just how poor many fans’ experience has been so far). However, this particular thread has been captured by those for whom major issues affecting fellow fans are of no interest or concern to them, plus an interesting take that such issues should be viewed in binary terms - we’ve got fantastic football and supporting Brentford is the best ever (both true) so everyone should just suck up the incompetence and mismanagement off the pitch. For that reason, I’m out.
I do agree that just because the football is great then all other issues should not be raised.

For reasons that various people have already mentioned, it if not materially (and I mean enormously) improved by (say) Christmas then it's time to get concerned that perhaps it may not get better ever.

Right now everyone knows that their are issues including all levels of the club's hierarchy.
 

Silly Hat

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I do agree that just because the football is great then all other issues should not be raised.

For reasons that various people have already mentioned, it if not materially (and I mean enormously) improved by (say) Christmas then it's time to get concerned that perhaps it may not get better ever.

Right now everyone knows that their are issues including all levels of the club's hierarchy.
Do you mean you don’t agree that because the football is great other issues shouldn’t be raised?
 

Banana

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Do you mean you don’t agree that because the football is great other issues shouldn’t be raised?
To rephase, if the football is good then fans still have the right to complain about other issues.
 

Silly Hat

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To rephase, if the football is good then fans still have the right to complain about other issues.
Indeed. And doing so isn‘t a “load of tosh”, ”unbelievable crap”, and other supporters might choose not to “f***ing well despair at some of our so called fans“ for pointing out, with exasperation, the long list of preventable issues we’ve seen so far.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think any footballl club needs a Premier League infrastructure to send out STs in good time, not run out of replica club shirts before a season even starts, or dispatch Palace away tickets in a sensible manner.

I‘m glad to hear that the club is apparently taking an interest in the issues raised so far. Let’s see what happens.
 

abee

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Right now everyone knows that their are issues including all levels of the club's hierarchy.
As I would expect so I'm not about to post in reply....... 'Thrill me some more'

I know it's the responsibility of the board as a unit but do you know which delegated director(s) have the responsibility for overseeing the CEO??
 

Banana

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As I would expect so I'm not about to post in reply....... 'Thrill me some more'

I know it's the responsibility of the board as a unit but do you know which delegated director(s) have the responsibility for overseeing the CEO??
You would expect it to be the Chairman, no?
 

abee

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You would expect it to be the Chairman, no?
Normally yes but In the case of BFC and if we're talking personalities then Cliff Crown is the last person who I would expect to 'get involved' until it's all been sorted by someone else and then he can start a round of interviews telling everyone that 'Cliff Fixed It'.
 
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