Following the Motivation Thread on Vital Wigan, web site editor Barry (worbo) and myself (Taff57) arranged to have a meeting at the club with Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson. That meeting took place, but unfortunately Jonathan had to withdraw due to pressing business, so alternatively we met with Wigan Athletic Football Club Secretary Stuart Hayton, Head of Sales Antony Clark and Kemmel Healy HR and Community Manager, Kemmel also works closely with Jonathan Jackson.
Eleven items to discuss, and I will give a report on the main points of each discussion.
Flags of the Nations. We wanted to improve the Meet N Greet plus use these for other aspects in a motivation manner for the players. The idea was to obtain a flag for the nation of all our players, 14 at the last count, and wave these as the players arrive at the ground in a similar fashion to that of the Olympics. The flags would then be taken inside and be on show again as the players come down the tunnel onto the pitch before KO. We also asked about having them hung up inside the ground or even having large flag poles outside the ground or on the roof of a stand. Cost to be paid for by the club. This was well received and may take shape in some form in the near future.
A Blue Day. This needs backing from all fans and a big push by the club and in the press on Sky etc. We all wear blue, be it shirts, jackets, hats/caps, scarves etc. The club attempt to put blue backgrounds in the stands similar to what was once done in the West Stand. Blue cards are put on all the seats to be held up as the players come out before a game. Even with empty seats this would work if there was no Logo or wording on show. Again well received and has possibilities to link with something the club is already discussing with a possible sponsor.
Electronic Advertising Boards. We wanted to use these to flash up after goals are scored similar to the Score Board does now. This is not possible as they are pre-programmed.
An Open Training Day. This was discussed and it was felt that it’s an opening season event rather than a midseason event.
Match Day Entertainment. We felt this needs to improve both before and at half time in games. Singers, Dancers from local groups, Brass Bands have been done before and should be brought back. Also different competitions instead of just cross bar challenge. All this will be looked at, and it was suggested that the Wigan Boys and Girls Club activities could be incorporated when it opens.
TV’s on Concourse. We asked for highlights of the first half to be shown if edited in time. Goals from previous games repeated, and some of the interviews previously shown on Latics Player with the sound turned up clearly. There have been problems with this system and talks are taking place to improve it. Our ideas will be part of these discussions. A SKY match live may take preference when available. We mentioned a large screen on the ground but this was not pursued in the conversation. From previous talks that is a Dave Whelan decision.
Concourse Food and Drink. We mentioned the usual complaints of slowness, having to queue twice for a pie and then a pint etc. As we already knew this is not a Latics problem in that outside caterers run this set up. We pointed out that it’s the Latics that get the blame. Our comments will be passed on to the relevant people.
Shop Sales on Concourse. We asked for this in addition to the shop for the East and South Stand where people may come and go straight onto the ground.
This would be small stuff, such as scarves, bob hats, pictures, posters etc. This we were told has been done in the South Stand. The main problem for this is an outlet that is safe. The Programme booths are being used also for betting so cannot accommodate this. Health and Safety means proper booths would have to be put in place, as you cannot just have a table or stuff on the floor.
Themed Matches and Special Deals. These were suggested similar to the Rugby with ‘The Big One’ etc. An Oman Day or a Scotland Day were suggested. The Six Pack or Three Pack for tickets where the fan chooses which games to attend. This would be subject to conditions, with certain big matches excluded. These will be looked at. A joint season ticket with the rugby was ruled out as not feasible after the trial a season back where by we could attend one of there games and they could attend one of ours. Very little take up and ended up with Latics fans giving the ticket to a rugby mate and vice versa.
I’m a Believer. We want this pushing more. We like the tune before the games, and think that the scarves and hats plus T shirts etc should already be on sale with this on them. We asked for banners and posters with pictures and BELIEVE in large letters across them along the concourse and even outside on the stands. The place needs to brighten up with a Latics theme. This is fine now but could cause problems when our games overlap with the rugby and they have to be taken down and put up each time. Some clubs seem to be able to very quickly produce one off short run T Shirts. Can we not do this with” I`m a Believer” “Ali is a Wigganer” “Maloney 1 Utd 0” etc. for any future special occasion/celebrations etc
Christmas Goods. We suggested that more effort be put into these, and that they should be out now as the Christmas Market is now started in the shops. A better variety of goods is needed with slippers, nightwear, necklaces, chocolates socks smellies etc. FAITH and BELIEVE are our club themes and as Christmas is also about FAITH and BELIEVE these should be used on all our Christmas products.
It was a very good meeting and gave us a chance to air ours and your views. I feel that some things will bear fruit, whilst others will fall by the wayside. However we have a listening club, and in the long run both the fans and the club will continue to benefit from meetings like this.