Following the completion of our pre-season schedule, we have conducted a review of how things have been working so far at the Flamingo Land Stadium. In general we are delighted with the progress we have made adapting to our new home, however, we have identified some areas we need to change and improve moving forward.
One of the disappointing things to note has been the behaviour of a minority of both our own and visiting supporters. We have previously had to mention a problem with fans urinating in people's gardens and we are saddened to report that this has occurred again prior to our match with Leeds United. We would strongly reiterate that anyone we find to have done this at any time will be banned from our matches.
Also disappointing is that we've had two emails from local people who have brought their families to games telling us that have been so disgusted by the language of some supporters that they feel unable to bring their children in the future. Given that one of our stated aims is to encourage children to enjoy live sport, we will be instructing our stewards to take a zero tolerance approach to this going forward. We will be supporting this by placing signs around the perimeter fence reminding supporters of their responsibilities in this area along with a reminder that it is an offence to go onto the pitch.
The clubhouse has worked well in general, particularly the prompt bar service. We have had feedback regarding a lack of seats inside the clubhouse prior to matches and will be meeting with Everyone Active later this week to find a solution. The hardest part of managing the licensing restrictions has been the "now you can / now you can't" nature of when you can drink alcohol on the balcony outside the bar.
We have decided that the best way forward is to only allow alcoholic drinks to be consumed in the bar itself and therefore not allow alcoholic drinks on the balcony at any time. This removes the constant confrontations taking place between supporters and stewards. After consideration, we have also decided that the balcony area must be kept clear when the match is in progress for safety reasons.
Another area that we feel we need to improve is the visibility of the pitch from the flat standing areas. For ground capacity calculations, it is deemed acceptable to be standing three deep, however we don't feel this is an acceptable experience for our supporters on flat ground. We are talking to companies at the moment that are capable of creating some terracing, either temporary or permanent, to alleviate this problem.
Wheelchair users have also expressed concerns regarding poor sight lines at pitch level. It is our intention to include a raised area for wheelchairs as part of our terracing plans.
Shelter in wet weather is another concern given the size of our attendances and the amount of cover available. One of our supporters who has experience in football stand design and construction is currently working on this and pulling together a proposal that we can present to Scarborough Council and Everyone Active to provide cover at the swimming pool end of the ground. Whilst this is an absolute priority for us, we can't put a timescale on it yet, but rest assured we want it in place ASAP.
All-ticket matches bring their own logistical problems, one of which has been we haven't had a designated pick up point for the collection of tickets purchased online. We will be using two of the turnstiles at the south end of the ground exclusively as ticket sales and collection points from this Saturday.
We're sure there will be more things we will need to improve over the coming season to improve everyone's matchday experience, but overall with your help we can make the Flamingo Land Stadium a safe and enjoyable place to watch football.