With the end of the season starting to come into view, the club's supporter liaison officer Liz Finney offers an update on supporter matters at the club.
Premier League Matchday Fan Experience Survey 2017/18
We have now had the results from the above survey which was completed by 1,046 Cherries fans. Our thanks go out to those who took part as the report is a really useful tool to assist the club in focusing on what we do well and working towards making changes where supporters feel we need to improve.
There are a few scores where we struggle to reach the maximum mark for various reasons. Investment in facilities scores at 66% of fans agreeing or strongly agreeing but supporters will know this is geared towards future plans. Wifi connectivity at the ground is not rated highly, but this is a trend throughout the Premier League and we came in sixth across the league as a whole.
However, as a club we came sixth in the Premier League for overall matchday experience, which is very pleasing especially given some of the excellent club infrastructures and stadia against which we are judged. Our matchday programme was rated top of the league by our fans which reflects the fantastic work of our media team on the publication. We also scored sixth in match atmosphere, so thanks for your efforts on our behalf in this category and hopefully, with your continued vocal support, we can move up the table even further next season.
We came in the top six for the quality/range of food, facilities for children, stewards and catering staff. We are lower down the league for ticket assistant service and this is something we are working hard to improve as mentioned in a previous supporter liaison article. Club communication methods across all channels has seen an improvement on last season’s results with the biggest jump being around our email communication. This has been a focus of our commercial team and it is pleasing to see the positive impact of this marketing strategy. With the approach of the new data regulations (GDPR) we will need your input to maintain and improve the club’s communication methods within the remit of the new legislation so do please look out for further information from the club.
In the results, 87% of our fans agree or strongly agree that the club has a long term vision (up 10% from last season) and 87% said that we are maintaining the ethos and traditions of the club (+7%), while 88% agree or strongly agree that the club is well run (up 8% on 2016/17).
Particularly pleasing is that our openness and transparency is up by 12% on last year and fan engagement by 11%, while our community engagement is up to 88%, an improvement of 10% on last season’s survey results. The close partnership between the club and the community has only strengthened over the past few seasons and we are extremely proud of the work of our Community Sports Trust team do in our local community.
One of our equality themes this season has been around women and girls and the Trust has made huge gains in female engagement. Our match attendees are around 80/20% male to female, while our local demographics are more or less 50/50 and we wanted to make sure there were no barriers to women and girls attending football, beyond the demand for tickets of course. Happily, the survey results support what our Women at Football Group and club data collection had already indicated in that 97% of female fans strongly or somewhat agree that they feel safe when attending Vitality Stadium while 98% responded positively that AFC Bournemouth makes female fans feel welcome.
The survey also gives some valuable insight into the make up and match behaviours of our fans such as who you come to games with (12% alone/22% with partner), how far you live from the stadium (70% less than 10 miles) and how many home and away Premier League games on average Cherries fans attend, which is 17.4 ranking our fans 5th in the Premier League. The number of fans who have heard racist, sexist or homophobic language at games ranges from 2-5% which, while it seems low, needs to reduce to the point where it doesn’t exist and we urge fans to keep reporting such incidences on a matchday, while we will continue our educational approach to these issues.
Once again, thanks so much to those supporters who took the time to respond to the survey and give us the opportunity to improve our supporter experience still further.
Cherries Trust Chairman
We were sad to hear of Tony Maycock’s decision to step down as chair of Cherries Trust due to health and personal reasons. Tony was one of a small group of Cherries fans who worked tirelessly to ensure the Cherries Trust was set up in accordance with legal requirements as well as best practice for supporter groups.
When the Trust was launched, Tony was elected chair and continued to work hard on behalf of supporters, both Cherries and wider football fans. He forged good relations with the Football Supporters' Foundation and represented the Trust at Premier League fan meetings and I know he was well respected by both organisations. From a club perspective, as chair, he brought fan issues to us on a regular basis and in a constructive manner, and his commitment to his role and passion for his club was evident throughout. His role was not always an easy one and we commend him for his diligence and commitment to Cherries Trust.
AFC Bournemouth Sensory Packs
We were delighted to celebrate World Autism Awareness day on Monday 2nd April with the launch of our matchday sensory packs in partnership with the Community Sports Trust. The sensory packs include club branded noise-cancelling headphones, a mini soft football, an autism awareness card and keychain which can be shown to matchday staff and stewards to ask for assistance when in the ground, and a concourse menu which can be shown at the concourse counters to order refreshments, all of which come in an AFC Bournemouth branded bag.
The sensory packs were well received by fans with several being used at our last home match against Crystal Palace. Supporters who would like to apply for a sensory pack can do so by completing an online application form which can found at this link.
Club Nominated Charities
We have had some magical moments with our nominated charities this season and it has been a pleasure to work with them over the course of the year. The Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy, Dorset Children’s Foundation, Cherry Tree Nursery and Dorset Cancer Care have in turn we hope benefited from their association with the club. If you are involved with any local charities or there is one that is close to your heart, why not encourage them to apply to be the club, supporters, Junior Cherries or AFC Business Club nominated charity for season 2018/19? To find out more and to apply click here.
Thanks as ever for your support and, as we approach the final games of this season, let’s get right behind the team and cheer them on.