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Monday Fun and Frolics

By Grockle/Steve Allison
October 29 2017

Mr Lee Cooper meets people tomorrrow to clarify the 'exciting' new membership packages announced last week.  Some members are really excited and would like that clarification.  One of our newer posters Steve Allison has very kindly allowed me to prooduce his letter to Mr Cooper with some information some of the rest of you might like.  Thanks very much Steve

An open letter from a member of Somerset County Cricket Club

Dear Mr Cooper

I am unable to attend the Q&A session on Monday so decided to email the points and the questions below for you and the club regarding the new so-called "exciting" price structure

1. SCC has even in the past been one of the most expensive clubs to join as a member and this
has been reluctantly tolerated !!! I enjoy all forms of the game and have been a loyal supporter of the club for many years through thick and thin (mainly thin)
I feel very angry at the recently announced price structure and the separation of the T20. I have done some research on the internet into the membership costs of other counties (including "Test" grounds) As far as I can see these prices are fully inclusive of all forms of the game. Somerset compares unfavourably in the list below. Why is this?

Surrey County and T20 member £304 (284 using direct debit DD)

Middlesex Full member £265 (245 after discount)

Essex +64 Senior members £142 (£131 "early bird") I am of the age to qualify for the above Essex price 

Hants Premium £240

Lancs Traditional Plus New member £284

Gloucs N/A yet

Glam (same as 2017) £182 (142 early bird)

Worcs. (same as 2017) £235

2. As a Platinum member paying £224 by DD in 2017 I was entitled to entry for all forms of the game and a wide choice of where to sit. If i wish to continue then the cheapest will now cost me £269 (taking account of a 50 pound discount for purchasing both memberships?). An overall £45.00 increase which in itself is inflation busting and for less choice. If I wish a better seat then the top T20 category would cost me £324 in total !!)

3. There were rumours earlier this year that SCC finances were not as good as we were being informed? Is this pricing structure an indications there was or is some truth in this?

4. I usually attended T20 games and would try to find a bench on Gimbletts Hill for me and my friends. I enjoyed the freedom of movement, leg room etc that this choice offered me and I could enjoy the banter and watching the match in the company of these friends.

5. Is this choice now a thing of the past as it has been stated that T20 will be "all seater" and all members will get an allocated seat on payment of membership?. My friends may purchase a different category than me or at a different time so we will be unable to sit together. My allocated seat will be among strangers and possibly entail being surrounded by some of the "drinkers" who frequent these matches. I will most likely have much less leg-room and flexibility to move.

6. With previous Platinum memberships I was never entitled to a refund for cancelled or abandoned games, especially for the T20 version, whereas those who purchased tickets on a game by game basis
could claim this refund. Will the separation and huge price hike for T20 "membership" mean that everyone will in future be entitled to refunds??

7. Is it not possible to arrange a T20 voucher system for members similar to the old 40 over competition. Members who know they will not be attending certain matches could advise the club of this and the "seat"/entry could be re-sold ensuring a proper "sold-out" status.?

8. A hypothetical question - Would this new pricing structure still be proposed if the club had been relegated this season

There are probably other points I wish to raise but at the time of composing this email they have slipped my mind !!

I am seriously considering whether I should bother purchasing a membership(s) for the 2018 season and feel very bitter and disappointed about being taken for granted

Steve Allison

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Monday Fun and Frolics (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 14:39
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:11:04:10:31:15 by Grockle.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
wsm fan (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 15:07
There will definitely be no refunds for T20 membership rained off games. So your £195 premium category should be for 7 games (avg £28) but quite easily be for 6 games (avg £33) or even 5 games (avg £39)

Lifers im told have been reserved Gimbletts Hill.
Unsure if they can chose an alternative area for free or at increased premium.

Unsure how we can presell Botham or Lower new pavilion unless the sidescreen will be unmoved for all 7 games.

Is there really no way of guaranteeing an uninterupted view of the match from beerswillers apart from maybe ondatje non alcohol stand (if stewarded properly)

Certainly lots of questions still.....

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 15:12
Unsure how we can presell Botham or Lower new pavilion unless the sightscreen will be unmoved for all 7 games.

Good point, I hadn't thought of that, I am sure the club have. (TIC)

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
cricketharris (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 15:53
Surely there are the same number of seats in the sightscreen stands whether the screens are on one side or the other. So if there are, say, 10 seats in a row they can be numbered 1- 10 wherever they are in the row. Stop trying to be clever and query every damn thing.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Bagpuss (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 16:09
My impression of the T20 matches in 2017 was that although they all 'sold out' the process took much longer than for previous seasons. This may have been down to several factors - the main ones being reverting to a T20 block with home matches bunched over a short period, and only one of the home games being a Friday evening (and that the Gloucestershire one which, to be fair, would probably sell out if it was played on a Tuesday morning in December). Other factors may have been Somerset's below par performances in previous seasons, and certainly the choice of overseas players - I won't go into the cricketing reasons for/against Elgar and Anderson; that's been done to death already on these boards, but they hardly had the Gayle factor when it comes to putting bums on seats.To be fair few potential overseas players will do this. Maybe they have Virat Kohli lined up for 2018!

However, sold out they were and spaces were still evident so I understand the Club trying to find a way to ensure a sell out means a full house. The T20 international offered an opportunity for them to find out how to manage the ground when it was genuinely full and that knowledge will be put to use managing T20 crowds. I just hope they aren't shooting themselves in the foot though, as one of the USPs of Taunton as a venue, even on a once-a-season basis, for the upcoming Big Dosh League, is that it can attract big crowds. With the decision as to host counties likely to be taken shortly they don't want to lose this reputation.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:10:29:16:10:43 by Bagpuss.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
wsm fan (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 16:11
No there arent the same number of seats at all.
The left section is half as deep rows wise than the middle or right sections so a definite problem if the sidescreen moves one side or other.

Querying things i think is exactly what tomorrow is for isnt it?
Mr Cooper will hope to satisfactorily answer all queries raised. If he cant members have the choice to not be happy & join or not then as a result.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Grockle (IP Logged)
29/10/2017 16:58
Weren't you moaning about people being spikey a few days ago CH? Calm down yourself and let people have a bit of a chunter.

It's not like there's anything else going on at the moment. Well England have gone to Oz I suppose.


Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Farmer White (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 14:50
For anyone interested I have posted a resume of membership charges across all categories across the country on the membership packages thread. Essentially Championship membership is comparable. T20 or any membership involving it is considerably more expensive.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Scrumper (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 18:58
Does anyone know if this will be live on Facebook?

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 20:25
Very quiet on the 'fun and frolics' front ?!


Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Somerset LaLaLa (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 20:50
Eye of the hurricane.

If only Somerset were batting, AGod would have already posted 40 times

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
nelliec (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 21:54
Meeting tonight just as expected.Mr Cooper justifying every thing from a financial point of view.Only climb down will be on junior membership prices.A lot of what was said made good business sense,although still difficult to know where the figures related to anticipated loss of membership and selling out T20 come from.
Biggest issue was the reserved seating ,with no flexibility to sit with family or friends.His reply was"name me a professional sport or stadium where you can do that".
Approx 500 there tonight.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
nelliec (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 22:14
Also made the point that 20% of platinum members went to only 1 or no T20 matches.
Also T20 is a supply and demand business.He used Notts as an example whereby they can't fill the ground at £10 a ticket,so why charge them more.
Did not give a gate price for T20,only saying it will be more than last year.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
wsm fan (IP Logged)
30/10/2017 23:47
Mr Cooper spoke very well yet again.

Basic message is our costs have gone up.
If we want to attempt to compete and for top players it needs paying for.

Platinums & joints have been hit financially but many will see a reduction (depends what cricket you watch and where you wish to sit)

He is adament this is the right thing to do despite making himself unpopular with an element of the existing membership. Fully happy to hold his hands 12 months if he has got it wrong too

Credit to him for fronting up tonight. He knew he would get grilled and he did. He didnt have to put on this Q&A.

I'm not convinced it will operationally work better at all. I guess we have to trust him when it comes to the numbers and his expectations of the changes.

4200 platinums last year was quoted out of a membership of 6500, think i have got those numbers correct?

In Lee we trust i guess.....

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Scrumper (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 00:31
He's made his bed.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Bagpuss (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 06:01
Not been mentioned on here the one telling comment from LC for me was that (not exact words) if were not for the Eng v SA T20I and the WWC Somerset would have made a loss this year. This despite "selling out" all 7 home T20 Blast matches.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Ronniesabre (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 06:20
Maybe we couldn’t afford hose then. And if same happens with. Bess , Gregory etc then there till me an outcry . Can’t hsve it all ways I suppose . Need money to keep these guys.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Somerset LaLaLa (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 08:39
Somerset profit before tax in 2016, £600,000 from accounts. Lee Cooper is in financial services so knows these numbers backwards. What has changed this year? I am confused

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 09:06
I for one can't wait for the accounts for this year, I hope they are clear enough to see why we would have had a loss without the International and the Women's World Cup.

It is almost unbelievable after so many years of making a profit of 200k,300k any even 400k we suddenly turn that into a loss.

From the 2016 accounts
A surplus of £596,700 before taxation compared with a surplus of £3330,389 for 2015.

I could understand a drop in operating profits because of wages etc. but to turn last years figures into a loss is almost unbelievable, where has it gone wrong?

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Roger ivanhoe (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 09:26
I did wonder if Lee Cooper comment on the probably loss was on the cricket side of the club, and not the club as a whole, as in the past the Catering side has for some years contributed good profits

I would not like to think that the Catering/Event and Rental income is subsidising the Cricket side, and if this were to be the case we have to accept these changes or lose Cricket at Taunton as some point in the not to distant future.

I admire Lee Cooper for calling the meeting last night and answering questions and concerns from members, not sure we would have been given the same opportunity or insight from our previous chief executive.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 09:37
I agree Roger, even though there were hostility at time towards some of he comments, that was why he was clapped at the end of the meeting.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 09:48
Confirmed at the Q&A that the Gimblett's Hill is for Life for the T20, I might even start going again. I wonder how that is going to be stewarded, there could be a lot of empty seats on the hill if not many Life Members turn-up.

I enquired about the Life Membership and I was told they couldn't take anything away from existing LM's, it seems that the new LM's will be the same as the new club membership, I could be wrong but that was the impression I got.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Bagpuss (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 09:49
We also had a home quarter final this year which whilst it wasn't a sell out I would have thought (with hospitality, catering etc) should have made over £50K. And Somerset should've received a share of the Trent Bridge T20 quarter final

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Bagpuss (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 09:53
I don't think they can police it that strictly Mike as GH is effectively a corridor; unless they put barriers along the front walkway and steward the gaps up to the benches.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
31/10/2017 09:54
Paying off the rest of Maynard's contract might be enough to have turned a profit into a loss.

Only a guess. But it would explain Maynard's otherwise slightly puzzling expressions of intense satisfaction about the decision.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Roger ivanhoe (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 10:46
Mike, so will they be giving all existing Life members a separate exit via the Churchyard. 😁😁

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 11:04
Quote - I did wonder if Lee Cooper comment on the probably loss was on the cricket side of the club, and not the club as a whole, as in the past the Catering side has for some years contributed good profits

Is anybody on here clever enough if it is at all possible to work out from last years accounts if we made a profit from the cricketing side last year?

Lee did surmise (if that's the correct word) that something should have been done before now (previous years) to sort this out.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Somerset LaLaLa (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 13:09
Catering made £355,705 surplus so still a profit last year without it

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
AGod (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 14:09
As I understand it pending expenditure is sometimes accounted for in the year in which a decision to expend said money is made, not in the accounting year in which the money has actually been expended. Therefore, it could be that we've put the expenditure on the floodlights into this year's accounts.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Following on (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 14:22
That would only happen if there is a legally binding contract in place. Also, floodlights would be a capital item added to fixed assets on the balance sheet, not a cost charged through the profit and loss account.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Grockle (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 14:24
Yep even the money situation is MM's fault!!

It will be interesting to see the figures. Just remember that a financial expert can understand the figures but can also make them say what he wants them to.

As he says he will stand by it this time next year. We had better have a good season or he may have to.

£33 on the gate for a T20 is a lot of money.


Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Somerset LaLaLa (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 14:25
"And AGod said, Let there be accounting for floodlights: and there was light"

Couldn't resist that one

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Tom Seymour (IP Logged)
31/10/2017 17:50
"Approx 500 there tonight."

That is a very high turnout, in fact many more than the attendances at the club's AGM, and this of course was without every member being personally notified of said meeting.

Perhaps the natives are restless. If Mr Cooper believes that his sole object is to make as much profit as possible for the club at the expense of members' rights, then I anticipate he is in for a bumpy ride.

I will reserve judgement until I have witnessed him at first hand.

A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Grockle (IP Logged)
01/11/2017 02:18
Well I suppose we must be grateful for small mercies if that is to be the case Tom.... usually you know someone you talked to who can tell you the 'complete factual' story of how things are without that level of reserve.

You are probably right about Mr Cooper if that is his objective. Profit maximisation is a theotetical economic objective but it is without ethical or moral concerns and won't work too well in a market including supporters of a sports club. They don't react well to an unemotional approach lacking empathy.

Seems we'll both wait and see though.


Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Somerset LaLaLa (IP Logged)
01/11/2017 08:32
This is the important bit, the owners of the club are the members in equal proportions.

Lee Cooper is appointed to serve the interests of the members. He is not acting to maximise the profit for anonymous groups of shareholders, which could be faceless business funds in far off places. These shareholders would own the business in unequal proportions and lever their financial interests accordingly.

No, as a member one Somerset supporter wherever they live is just as important as any other however wealthy or not they may be. Every part of the club and its long history, as to where it has got today, is equally owned. Look around at the county ground and how Craig has got to Australia. Long may it continue

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Old Boy! (IP Logged)
03/11/2017 17:36
I plead guilty to being one who doesn't appreciate the apparent joys of T20 (or as we used to call it back in the 40s and 50s - tip and run!!. But even with my dislike of the concept, I could be tempted more if the joker who does the DJing could be limited to no more than 10 seconds every ten minutes AND CERTAINLY BANNED FROM PLAYING MUSIC UP until the bowler releases the ball. The justification for the music is to attract the kids. It seems to me most of them couldn't care less about the cricket and spend most of their time playing behind the stands.

Re: Monday Fun and Frolics
Grockle (IP Logged)
03/11/2017 18:17
If they want to use the music to attract the kids they need to update their playlist by about 25 years!!


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