KF – Karl Fitzpatrick, chief executive
RA – Richard Agar, first team coach
Richard gave a detailed presentation to all present, providing an analysis via the Opta Sports system. Questions from those fans present are numbered below (in italics).
1. I do not see penalties on the stats, are they also analysed?
Penalties are definitely part of the process and are analysed to establish if they were necessary or unnecessary penalties, the latter being very damaging to the team both energy wise and possession wise.
2. Having stats is great but can it become too mechanical?
It comes down to how you use the information available and has to be balanced with allowing players to express their individuality.
3. When looking at the stats, do players have targets, eg, metres?
They do have targets, against which they are scored. If stats are low then we take a closer look to see why – is he in position, is he looking for the work, is it due to the opposition game plan. It is entirely possible that the top tackler in the game could also miss the most tackles.
4. Do you agree that all teams should have a reserve grade?
We fully agree and we really need to look at how to get more players into the game. Players need to have some patience before getting into the first team, and some are lost due to salary cap constraints.
In a positive move, in 2018 players under 21 and earning less than £20K per annum will not count on the salary cap, which gives clubs the chance to retain some younger players without taking up valuable cap space. Ideally, the RFL should assist each club to have and develop a reserve grade.
5. When reviewing the footage, do team mates point out faults and lazy players?
This does happen within a good cultured team.
6. Whilst you review the opposition a lot, do you also analyse your own players?
Absolutely, players are not bombarded with purely opposition data.
7. How much footage did you have on London?
There was ample footage available, as the analysis system includes Championship teams.
8. It is not always clear which player is in charge on the field so ultimately who is the decision maker?
Generally the halves tend to be the decision makers but all players have the licence to play what they see.
9. Do you take referees into account when preparing for a game? And do they ever attend a training session?
We are aware of the different styles from the different referees and they do sometimes attend training sessions, although they have not been in for a while.
10. What are your thoughts on the cannonball tackles?
This style has been coached at some point in the past with some opposition coaches, and is unnecessary and dangerous, but we do not believe it is now a coaching style. We also believe that some are simply clumsy tackles.
Richard’s session was concluded at 20:22, at which point Lee Rimington took the lead to introduce the proposed 2018 membership scheme and artwork.
Lee explained that he was seeking feedback prior to the 2018 membership launch. Membership revenue is one of the biggest revenue streams for the club and launch date is a very important time. While we usually start the campaign for the following season by the beginning of September, this year we have held back a little to get your feedback.
Fans were shown the proposed artwork and asked for their initial thoughts. The first response was that the strapline “Once A Wire, Always A Wire” was great and what the club is about; we feel it is important to use the word ‘Wire’.
11. Will we have Wire on the playing shirt?
The Wire is already incorporated into the logo that will appear on the playing shirt, and will definitely feature on other marketing materials.
12. Do you think the club needs to be closer to its fans?
We are always striving to be closer and we will continue to engage with fans at every opportunity, including seeking views and feedback via online surveys. We will also continue with the Fans’ Consultation group throughout this year and into next year, and the CEO made himself available at the Brian Bevan statue prior to the start of each home Qualifiers game in August and September.
13. Can you get the Warrington Guardian to create a wraparound of marketing material?
This may be possible, and we will continue to advertise and promote via the Warrington Guardian.
14. Why is there not a more modern shirt included (within the membership image), bearing in mind the Wembley wins of 2009 and 2010?
We felt that the players utilised were a symbol of the modern era and the future of the club. For example, Declan Patton and Ben Currie are relatively young in age and both symbolise the future of Warrington Wolves.
The majority of those present felt that the shirts used were ideal, for example, the shirt with the sponsor ‘Greenalls’ represented the Warrington community as a number of people had strong links to this brand.
15. The Early Bird cut-off date is prior to the release of the fixtures and some fans cannot make some of the games.
We are still looking at the Early Bird offering, which could be similar to previous years. The reduction in price offsets not having the fixture information at the time of purchase. A 2018 price freeze has been sanctioned by the Board, and there will be a loyalty period for existing members.
16. If you are looking to operate the scheme on loyalty then why are you only offering a freeze?
Members want value for money on the back of a dying season, with no new player announcements – give us a reason to renew, not just a freeze.
We are hoping to create some added values – benefits and experiences – and this is currently being worked on, eg, free travel to an away game, club shop discount, third party discounts. We are also in the market to recruit players to bolster the squad.
17. One fan stated that it felt hypocritical that some fans who had always supported the club and purchased a season ticket were now looking for more value for money after experiencing only one bad season following a long run of good seasons.
We appreciate that there are a lot of unhappy fans on the back of this current season. We also appreciate the hard-earned money that supporters pay to watch their team, and we are striving to retain existing loyal fans who have supported the team through this poor season.
18. One fan felt that £248 for the season was a bargain and felt disappointed with all of the negativity, stating that the Directors put a lot of money into the club, the coaches and staff work hard, we have a fantastic ground and facilities, and for a game’s entertainment the cost is great and it is a credit that you have been able to freeze the price. We do not need gimmicks or discount at restaurants, we just want a successful club and even with an increase it is still value for money.
Bearing in mind that our overall costs will increase, including an increase in the salary cap and more investment in youth players, it will not been easy for us to apply a price freeze – but we want to reward fan loyalty.
19. We need to feel valued as fans – we know it is a business but at Wilderspool it felt like a club. Agreed that we have great facilities but would like to receive something with the membership that, as loyal members, makes us feel valued.
We hope that you will each be proud to receive your members pack.
20. Is it possible to create a lower price for those who are in full-time education until they are 18?
We already have this price bracket in operation; the Teen offering (16-18). Our junior member numbers are strong but we want to improve each year, we are looking to build longevity and encourage fans up through grass roots. For those who do not make it as a player, then we want to have them as our fans.
21. Would you let the kids decide what cover they want on their membership pack?
We are pricing up the packs and looking at a different membership card, with the possibility of a competition to design it. We will be seeking input from our junior members.
22. Once we have official SL status, will we start to get more information on players leaving and new players coming in?
We are continually monitoring the player market, and will provide updates to all fans accordingly.
23. Do we have aspirations to use both marquee players?
Yes, if the right players become available we are willing to bring in two marquees.
24. Do you have plans for another Fans’ Forum?
Yes we do, date to be confirmed.
The meeting was closed at 21:20 – thank you all for your attendance and your valued input.