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Kingstonian Supporters Club and the Return of the K's

3 months ago By Kingstonian FC

The Supporters Club Committee have had an initial discussion with the K's Board.

The Supporters Club Committee have had an initial discussion with the K's Board about how fans can assist the club with marketing and community engagement. We are all looking to use the opportunities afforded by a return to the Borough to help rebuild our fan base.

It seems particularly important to involve young people and attract new young fans (and their parents). There are also opportunities to encourage back fans who previous followed the club at Kingsmeadow and others supporting "bigger clubs" to make K's their second team.

We have also noted that there are real opportunities to strengthen collaboration with the Youth and Ladies sections of the club.

We will be able to achieve more by pooling resources and so have agreed a "to-do list" aimed at assisting the club next season and logged some other issues for future consideration. Some of these things may be worthy of consideration and so have been place in section 7 of the following list.

If you are able to help with any of these, please let us know by e-mailing supporters@kingstonian.com

What has been agreed with the Board so far is as follows:

1 - Advertising

  • A4 posters in local shops and newsagents will be promoted and also at libraries and other public places. Alex Beard has offered to produce these for us and Tim Wells has sounded out quite a few potential outlets to display these. Volunteers will be sought to help put these up in particular places.
  • Producing a double sided A5 leaflet with fixtures for the month ahead on one side. On the other, information about the club, location, how to get to King George's Field (bus routes, etc.). This should also highlight our Kids for Free scheme.
  • Leafleting in Kingston Town Centre, Tolworth Broadway and other locations such as the crowd at Chelsea Ladies matches will be undertaken as and when we can get volunteers to do this.
  • There will also be a postcard-sized fixture card just as in previous seasons for use in the first few weeks of the season.
  • Explore paid advertising with possible commercial sponsorship of this: possibly including radio advertising and posters in Central Kingston and other shopping areas. This could be cost effective if targeting occasionally at particular matches but would seem too expensive to do for every match.
  • Club Instagram account is now in place!
  • Other Social media - volunteers would be welcome to help enhance what is currently being done. It was also agreed to encourage fans to retweet posts about Ladies' matches.
  • Team photos taken in Kingston in well-known locations could provide some great publicity photos. These could be taken in places such as in front of the bridge, or in the marketplace, or in front of the telephone boxes. This might well be done jointly with the K's Ladies team.
  • The Board will shortly be making another attempt to recruit a club photographer.
  • The Board are discussing with Corinthian-Casuals the possibility of joint marketing initiatives to promote King George's Field as a place to watch and play football.

2 - Younger Supporters

  • We are strengthening our links with Kingston Carers Network and their young careers project (KCN offices are on Tolworth Broadway). Part of this will be to have a "Kingstonian Young Carers" section where young carers are supported to attend by a small group of adult volunteers. Young Carers will have their own membership card/season ticket (a variant of the Kids for Free card). We will also continue to have an annual Young Carers' Day. A small but valuable thing is that Leigh has agreed to some simple friendship gestures (such as himself and the players saying "Hi" to the young carers).
  • More active involvement from the youth section on match days. This should include youth teams being mascots and possibly having some penalty shoot-out competitions.
  • Helping to market the Kids for Free initiative; including through the "Raring2Go" magazine that goes to all schools in the Borough. We will be having a leaflet with cards stuck on so they can be peeled off (for the Young Carers version).
  • Inviting school teams and youth groups to attend as mascots.
  • We will hold two well-publicised Family Days (sponsored by the Supporters Club) where possible with additional activities for children.
  • An annual Youth Teams Day should be combined with one of the proposed Family Days. The other day might include a focus on Kingstonian Ladies.
  • Following our last Young Carers Day, Kingston Carers Network suggested that it might be helpful to have a families' area in part of the stand.

3 - Ticketing

  • The Board is discussing a similar arrangement with Corinthian-Casuals as we have had last season with Leatherhead (each club offers discount to the other's season ticket holders). Ed: this has been agreed and announced by both clubs.
  • Marketing the Kids for Free initiative to Chelsea Ladies supporters. This could encourage participation of more girls and families new to watching live football. This could be promoted through leafleting matches and also handing out Kids for Free cards.
  • Other suggestions made for consideration by the Board were around the potential to bring in additional attendance by the club offering concessionary admission to season ticket holders of other clubs (other than the match day opponents). Several non-league clubs already so this; some ongoing for all matches and other on the national Non-League Day or other one-off occasions. It has been agreed that we pilot this at a match sponsored by the Supporters Club. It is important to note that any broader use of this approach would need to be designed expressly to increase income for the club rather than collecting less from people who come anyway.
  • The Board is actively considering half year season tickets.

4 - Marketing / Fundraising

  • Re-invigorate player sponsorship once we are back in the Borough and hopefully with a strong and more settled squad. We could add shorts to this too for a cheaper option and boot laces exclusively to junior Ks at £5 a go. Ed: An announcement will be made in the next couple of days regarding this subject.
  • "Support them, they support us" campaigns - it has been agreed to dedicate a page in the programme periodically to thank businesses who regularly put posters up for us.
  • Sponsoring matches: fans to help identify new sponsors including approaching any local business people to help ensure as many matches as possible have a sponsor.
  • This might also be complemented by getting additional advertisers for match day programmes and the pitch perimeter.
  • The Patrons scheme is to be re-profiled as a means of supporting the club.

5 - Community Engagement

  • As part of plans to enhance community engagement, we should seek to enhance relationships with local Councillors. This could potentially include co-opting a councillor or councillors on to the Supporters Club Committee. Perhaps an informal exploratory meeting could be held with the new administration.
  • Strengthen links with KCN (Kingston Carers Network) by active promotion of discounts already agreed for adult carers. We hope to have articles about this in the KCN (adults) and the Kingstonian Young Carers initiative in their newsletters.
  • Hold Kingstonian FC promotions to achieve wider support at local events like the Kingston Green Fair where volunteers can be found to do these.
  • We have links with a national charity, the Sparkle Foundation, and our local community partners, KCN. As well as the enhanced activity planned with KCN and their young carers project, it would be good to identify what might be done to promote the work of the Sparkle Foundation. One of the proposed Family Days could be used as an occasion to highlight their work and raise funds for them. If there are two matches a year, there should be sponsorship associated with each partner charity; an enhanced 50/50 draw should be held and the proceeds donated to the charity.
  • A Supporters Club newsletter on progress with engagement plans - this might be, or include, a latest news page on the Kingstonian website.
  • Promote Supporters Club membership more actively via the club's website include membership applications via the online club shop.

6 - Facilities at King George's Field

  • There were also some suggestions relating to King George's Field, which it is hoped that the club will consider, including broader discussions with Corinthian-Casuals as our new partnership develops.

7 - Other suggestions logged for future reference

  • There could be opportunities to hold fundraising events at the ground.
  • There is already a facility to purchase one-off pre-paid tickets. There was a discussion about whether it might be attractive if people could buy blocks of tickets at a discount (perhaps a book of 10?). This might for example be attractive to people living more than 50 miles away and can't get there often enough to warrant buying a season ticket.
  • Re-introduce the K's lottery. This could be considered in the future if volunteers could be found to run it. However, it has been noted that there are now far more high profile charity lotteries that might make this difficult to sustain.
  • A system for auto-renewal of free junior K's season tickets had been suggested (ie: if we had addresses and DoBs for U18s, then we could send them a fresh season ticket and fixture list in the post to remind them that we still exist). However, there would be GDPR data implications here and we typically do not get sufficient levels of information from those receiving tickets to do this. The new data protection rules are now very rigorous and this proposal was not thought to be realistic. Details of the scheme are, however, sent to youth team members each year (whose details are recorded by the youth section).
  • Another group of suggestions were made in relation to offering reduced admission to teachers, emergency services, armed forces, Local Government staff and/or Trade Union members on production of a valid ID. This has not been seen as an immediate priority and any future promotions would need to be focused on raising additional revenue. It has been noted for possible future reference that Dulwich Hamlet do this already and it appears popular and achieves decent publicity. We could provide posters for local staff rooms, barracks, etc., to help promote on a local level. It has also been noted that Dulwich Hamlet have the public sector Unison as back-of-shirts sponsors. With regard to armed forces, we could team up with ticketsfortroops.org.uk to donate a couple of tickets per match to this scheme. Whether or not they are used, it gives us free advertising nationally and furthers our promotion as a club who are community minded. We could also consider season ticket discounts for the above groups.
  • Introduce card/contactless functionality to play for games at the ground. This may be considered at a future date when we are settled in at King George's Field.
  • Introduce an enhanced K's "member"/supporters' card for people who don't want to or can't commit to a full season ticket. For example, for £50 a season you get half price entry to every home game. This would allow us to reward loyal supporters who can't make enough games to deem a season ticket viable whilst enabling us to charge away fans full price. This is reported to work really at Bradford City. The pricing is key as we'd need to make sure that the value of a full season ticket still stands and that there is also enough value for customers to become a member even if they don't come to game (eg: some sort of special voting rights, free hospitality once per season or similar). This could be worth exploring further, but there is not scope for "membership" of the club as we are director-owned. There also might be a lot of extra administration for quite small numbers.

As stated at the top of this article, if you are able to help with any of these ideas, or have some further of your own, please e-mail supporters@kingstonian.com.

Updated 17:34 - 30 Jun 2018 by Kingstonian FC

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Kingstonian Supporters Club AGM The date for the Supporters Club AGM has been arranged.
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