Burton Albion fans have been having their say about the club in a wide-reaching survey and the results will help shape the Brewers future. NIGEL POWLSON sifts through the findings.
BURTON Albion fans are proud to support their club and think the Pirelli Stadium is a safe, family-friendly place to watch a game of football.
That’s the overwhelming view of Brewers supporters who took part in the club’s first fans’ survey.
But although the results are a glowing tribute to the way Burton Albion works with the community, club officials are determined not to rest on their laurels.
Burton Albion Community Trust manager Andy Taylor says: “I doubt any club could have got a better set of results. But even though we know the statistics are fantastic, we are always aware there is more we can do and things we can do better. This isn’t about us saying ‘look how fantastic we are’ it’s about always looking to move forward and finding ways of improving.
“We aren’t going to say we will get everything right all the time but we will strive to support our customers - who are our fans.”
Nearly 500 fans took part in the survey, which was conducted independently by Burton and South Derbyshire College. Supporters were asked about all aspects of club activity from the matchday experience and interaction with the wider community to the quality of official merchandise and queuing times at the teabars.
Burton Albion chairman Ben Robinson says: “One of the most pleasing aspects for me since we were promoted to the Football League is the opportunities it has presented us with to expand and deliver so much more in the community which Andy Taylor and his team have done superbly through the Burton Albion Community Trust. That’s underlined in many ways by the results of the survey.
“There’s a practical aspect to the statistics and the opinion presented, which we can put to good use.
“The feedback the survey delivered is excellent and I’m sure a lot of other clubs will be envious of the response we have had and the content it has produced.”
The club plans to hold similar surveys in the future to keep up to date with fans’ views.
“The idea was to get some baseline data about what the supporters think,” says Andy. “We have a close relationship with the fans anyway but this builds on that. We are conscious that some clubs will do a survey and nothing gets implemented. But we will discuss changes, some maybe small some maybe bigger. We have already started to act. I like to think fans will have noticed things like more matchday entertainment, more ticketing initiatives, lots of things to enhance Burton Albion football club.”
PROUD OF THE CLUB
Nearly 98 per cent of fans agree or strongly agree that they are proud to be a Burton Albion supporter, while 96 per cent see it as a family-friendly club and 98.5 per cent feel safe. 83 per cent thought the club valued the support of the fans, while 65 per cent though their views were taken into consideration.
Andy says: “I believe that’s because of the whole package of how the football club is run. It’s not just what happens on the pitch, but what it is doing off the field in the community and the fact that it makes progress with small sensible steps. The fans are aware the club has done things without suddenly splashing out huge amounts of money - it is a model of good practice that fans are proud of. The supporters also represent the club really well at home and at away grounds. They don’t cause problems for us or other clubs so we create a good impression.”
Nearly 96 per cent of fans thought matchday prices were good or reasonable.
Andy says: “The matchday prices increased this year but the season tickets stayed the same and we introduced new categories. People understand we had to make changes in order to continue to compete but we are aware that watching football can be a huge strain on people’s finances. We want to encourage more fans to travel away but know price is an issue. We continue to look at prices going forward and we will be doing more matchday initiatives. We want more junior teams coming to games, more school children enjoying their first football game at Burton Albion.”
INTERACTION WITH THE COMMUNITY
Nearly 99 per cent agree or strongly agree that Burton Albion has a positive impact on the community. Andy says: “The club always did react well with the community and through the media. Now it’s encouraging more face-to-face interaction in the community and across a wide range of programmes. We are making a difference, there’s no doubt about that and it’s having a knock on effect on the football cub and shows it in a positive light. I’m also sure that even football fans out there who don’t come and watch Burton Albion see it as their second club. People like the football club and respect it.”
FAMILY FRIENDLY AREA
60 per cent feel a family friendly area would be ‘useful’.
Andy says: “It’s something we have taken on board. Our hands are a little tied by the number of seats but we want to support more children in the facility. For specific games going forward we are looking to create the right environment for families to experience football for the first time.”
There has been a lot of support on social media about enhancing the atmosphere at the ground but slightly more than half (54 per cent) didn’t want a singing/band area. Andy says: “We have some very keen fans who want to increase the atmosphere and we want to communicate with them. I think most fans want that but it’s about how we do it. It’s trying things and seeing what works. But we accept some people do just want to come and watch the matches, it’s a balancing act.”
More than 75 per cent of fans thought there was a good range of refreshments at a good standard but more than a third thought queuing times were unreasonable.
Andy says: “We pride ourselves in the quality and hygiene at the club. Some people may have been in the hospitality areas and enjoyed the experience but also in the snackbars we are continually looking at new products and local things like the faggots. One concern was the queuing times but we are looking at that.”
Nearly 90 per cent approved of the merchandise selection in the club shop and more than 75 per cent thought prices were reasonable
Andy says: “We use local companies where and when we can and listen to what the fans want which is why we brought out a grey kit. We can’t implement everything they ask for but we do try to respond.”
Male fans dominate at the Pirelli Stadium with 86 per cent of those completing the survey being men. That’s in line with other clubs but Andy believes that Burton Albion is doing more to attract female fans. He says: “We have just appointed a female football coach. There is a lack of female sports in East Staffordshire in general and a shortage of football teams. We are now doing a lot with seven to 11 year old girls to engage them and that will have a long-term impact. We are also looking at attracting more girls to our Junior Brewers pogramme.”
The biggest proportion of Burton Albion fans are in the 41-65 age group (44 per cent) but, encouragingly, nearly a quarter of fans are under 21. Andy says: “We have implemented new age categories for this season so it’s not a surprise that we have a growing number of younger fans but we do need to do more to build on that. In some ways we have missed a generation of fans – your 21-40 year olds. But what is happening here at the club and in the community is addressing that and we hope to see that have an impact as the younger group stay and eventually bring their children over the years.”
More than 90 per cent gave the toilets the thumbs up. Nearly three quarters bought a programme and all but five per cent who did thought the quality was good. 99 per cent think the stadium is easily accessible. 92 per cent said the stewards were helpful, while 87 per cent said club staff were useful and friendly.
WHAT IS YOUR AGE
Under 12: 0.42 per cent
Under 16: 6.44
65 plus: 7.69
I AM PROUD TO BE A BAFC SUPPORTER
Strongly agree 77.55 per cent
Strongly disagree 0.62
I FEEL BURTON ALBION IS A FAMILY FRIENDLY CLUB
Yes 96.05 per cent
ARE THE TICKET PRICES GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY?
Yes 59.04 per cent
THE CLUB INTERACTS POSITIVELY WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Strongly agree 56.34 per cent
Strongly disagree 0