Fans websites/fanzines/podcasts meeting with club’s media team held at Loftus Road on Tuesday February 17.
Ian Taylor and Paul Morrissey from QPR comms department.
Steve Sayce, IndyRs
Ian Bushman, QPR Report
David Fraser, QPR Podcast
Richard Hennessey, Not 606
Clive Whittingham, LoftforWords
Ron Norris, QPRNet
Matthew Woolf, WATRB
Saffa Michail, qprdot.org
Chris Ramsey official announcement timing
IT – The club couldn’t report CR’s appointment until CR had signed his contract. Other media outlets reported it as a done deal before that but the club couldn’t do so until the contract was signed. This is common practice
IT raised a hypothetical situation where the club announces a signing before a contract is signed thereby allowing that signing to potentially up their demands and back the club into a corner. The club will therefore only announce signings when the contract is signed. On this occasion contracts passed between numerous lawyers and the LMA and took time. The club has previously interviewed potential signings, taken the pictures, written the stories, only for the deal to fall through so they are extremely careful about the timing of official announcements.
SS – On this occasion it seemed odd because the BBC reported it, and Joey Barton Tweeted it.
PM – Joey’s Tweet was from Joey in front of the TV, watching Sky reporting it had happened. The players find out as anybody else finds out, they’re not told individually. He saw it reported and thought it had been confirmed.
IT – If we’d then told Joey to take that down, it would have sparked more rumours about whether the deal has fallen through.
IT also pointed out that Sky reported Nigel Pearson had been sacked.
RN – Agrees this was a bit different because it was the BBC reporting it, rather than certain other news organisations.
IT – Chris Ramsey is running everything through the media team so they have a decent hold on what information is going out of the club.
IT – This remains an issue for the media team and fans. Not all clubs have a chairman on Twitter, which makes it a bigger issue for QPR. The media team would like official news to come from official website and Twitter feeds first and then be retweeted, but there are challenges.
IB/MW – Brought up negative feedback that Tony Fernandes’ Tweets can provoke.
CW – Raised Tweets from Tony Fernandes on a variety of issues – an involvement in kit design, change of badge design, dream manager etc – that haven’t come to fruition and the damage that causes. And also that some of the responses he receives can portray the QPR fanbase negatively because of a loud minority who may abuse him on there.
SS/IB – Said there is some unpleasant stuff going TF’s way on Twitter now.
RN – Said there’s a perception, after the recent Tweets about potential new managers who were under consideration, that TF is almost ‘running the club via Twitter’.
DF – While not having a problem with him releasing news because it’s his club and he’s excited, DF agrees the stuff he says that then doesn’t happen is most damaging because he loses credibility.
RH – Says most fans are now in a situation where they’d rather just find out by surprise when it happens and it’s official because of all the rumours that float around the club.
IT – Recent trial with app that allowed QPR supporters to get online on a matchday, look up results etc has come to an end. There were six clubs trialling it. It was a success, with good feedback, however the numbers required to make a return on a permanent investment are nigh on impossible to achieve. The club recognises Wifi needs to be an option in the stadium, but right now there isn’t a viable option.
IB Suggested another company he knows that is rolling out technology that might work and IT and PM noted this to look into. IT and PM have discussed this with webmaster David Scriven in wake of meeting. Club have already met the company and the way the offer is packaged is unusable for QPR due to the limitations in being able to provide website advertising packages.
DF – Did voice frustration that the interactive elements that are available – hashtags, match stats, MOTM votes etc – are currently only available in the middle of the first half or second half when nobody is on their phones. Recognises that this remains a problem for all events with a crowd.
London Call In
IT – Used to be weekly Thursday night, now being changed slightly to monthly shows from Harlington. This provides greater access to players as it was a challenge to get them to the ground Thursday night, particularly before Saturday away games as Thursday night is the last time with their family before travelling. There’s a one off at Loftus Road this week with Tony Fernandes and Les Ferdinand. If there is a one-off situation where a former player is in from abroad, the dates and times of the show can be flexible.
Player involvement is key to the show’s success. In the Premier League the rights situation around highlights, which used to be a key part of the show in the Championship, is much stricter and is monitored.
The club doesn’t get too much feedback on the show, so a lot of it is guesswork and trial and error. IT and PM would welcome feedback.
PM – Can’t do it live from the training ground because of the Wifi strength. Also now done during the day when the players are accessible.
Chicago Fire Friendly
SS – Reported that some QPR fans were turned away from the training ground while Chicago fans and guests were allowed in.
PM – Harry Redknapp brought in EDS and U21 games should be open to the fans at the training ground. They are all available for fans to come and watch.
On this occasion it was unclear how many would turn up as Chicago promoted it. Usually it’s only a handful. QPR stopped publicising it as they couldn’t be sure how many would show up, but security were told to use common sense and allow QPR fans who did turn up to come in and watch the game. Security were told to call the press team with any concerns and didn’t. The first time the club was aware of a problem was when PM received an e-mail from SS.
There were 150 people there in the end which is significantly more than usual.
SS has since contacted the club and admitted that, following further discussions, there is now some doubt as to whether any fans were actually “turned away” by security.
IT – The club leaves the Football League Interactive (FLI) agreement in 2017. There are meetings in March and April with website providers to see where the club can take the site once the current deal ends. The site is one of the best under the FLI banner because QPR has spent money developing it, but there are still huge issues. There will be a new website for 2017/18 season. There will be a nine to 15 month lead time on development for that so the comms team will be making decisions in next six to eight months regarding layout, style, content etc. The comms team is meeting web providers who look after Premier League clubs and non-football clubs as well.
IT – Praised the refreshing approach to the press conferences of Chris Ramsey.
MW raised a concern that you can’t hear the questions. IT said they can’t mic up the journalist’s as they’re often typing and it would distort the audio too much.
PM – Even Sky don’t mic the journos up for that reason.
There was a discussion about incidents in away ends at certain grounds – specific incidents at Charlton, Southamptonand Stoke were raised – and how the club can go about tackling this.
Several expressed wish to see awareness of the importance of behaviour at away matches promoted and worked on.
Various people raised incidents of drug usage at home and away games, its effect on the support, how it looks to children and families trying to be introduced to following QPR regularly and so on.
There was discussion around the text number people can use anonymously, but the reaction to that on Twitter and elsewhere when it’s promoted is negative and a sense of “grassing on your own” and targeting people who just want to come and support the team. Also promotes a negative perception of the club and the support which, generally speaking, isn’t warranted.
Plans afoot for more former player visits and half time appearances at home games. The fiftieth anniversary of Jim Gregory being appointed chairman was raised by IB and plans are now afoot to mark that.
MW said that Don Masson and Don Givens were the only members of the 75/76 team not to have been welcomed back officially. IT said it wasn’t for want of trying but contact details were exchanged and new efforts will be made.
IndyRs wishes to thank Ian Taylor and Paul Morrissey for their time and the invitation. Also many thanks to Clive Whittingham for compiling and editing these minutes.