West Didsbury & Chorlton fan experience survey 2019 – what you said

As we entered the new year, fans were asked their feelings on the current state of the club, and ways in which we can improve it as we head into the new years. The questions are based on a range of matters, including: pricing; aspects of the club they enjoy; aspects of the club they feel that could be improved upon; merchandising; the ways in which fans stay up to date with the club; and how the team’s on pitch performance affects support.

While it would be impossible to implement every suggestion – especially given the limited resources of the club – but we’ll strive to make sure the club closely represents the ideas put forward in this process. There were 143 responses to the questionnaire, up around 40% on the amount we received the last time the survey was run. These results have been presented to the committee, and actions to be taken as a result of this feedback will be announced within the next few weeks.

In the meantime, below is an overview of the responses given. The winner of the scarf prize draw has been notified via email.

The ‘typical’ West fan

According to the survey, 55% would describe themselves as a ‘Casual Fan’, with most primarily supporting a Premier League club (53%), and the number of games people have attended are roughly evenly split between the options given (1 – 5, 6 – 15, 16 – 30, 31 – 50, over 50) with each response getting around 20% of the vote. 75% of those who filled in the form have attended their first West match within the last 3 years, with roughly a third having done so within the last 12 months. They normally attend with friends (117 responses), partner (48), or children (32), but a good section come alone (26 responses).

They mainly attend with friends (82.1%), their partner (33.1%), and their children (22.1%). They’re liable to watch the game from – well, almost anywhere really, with the end that West are shooting towards being the most popular option.

93% plan to attend another West game before the end of the season, and they’re most likely to buy alcoholic drinks (118 responses) and food (72 responses). 44% of responses noted that they owned a hat, the same number that said they owned a scarf. Most interestingly, 57.2% (83 responses) said that they first heard about the club through a friend – far ahead of any of the other responses. The reduction in league fixtures has had no change on most fans interest in West (97.9%), while a sizeable minority have no preference on when midweek fixtures are played (47.6%), while there was roughly an even split between a preference for Tuesday nights (23.4%) and Wednesday nights (21.4%).

What one word would you use to describe the club?

When asked to describe the club in one word, the top three answers were FRIENDLY, WELCOMING, and COMMUNITY. Most responses were around this same theme, with PROGRESSIVE, INCLUSIVE, and even MAGICAL also being used. This question in particular was illuminating, and shows broadly what the club is to people: a place for family, that is open to all. Something we should all be proud of.

West fandom

We had a series of questions based around the current position of the men’s side, and the impact that form and/or style may have on their attendance. We also asked about the community work that the club does, and ticket prices.

In this question, 1 is ‘Has no impact’, 3 is neutral, and 5 is ‘My attendance is dependent upon the team winning games’.

In this question, 1 is ‘Has no impact’, 3 is neutral, and 5 is ‘If the team was playing football I disliked, I would stop attending games’.

In this question, 1 is ‘I would prefer it if the club did no work with the wider community’, 3 is neutral, and 5 is ‘If the stopped its community work, I would stop attending games’.

For the next few questions, 1 means ‘too cheap’, 3 means ‘just right’, and 5 means ‘too expensive’

For the next few sections, a selection answers have been picked that exemplify the overall feedback

What were your first impressions of West?

  • I feel the cub is getting more and more inclusive by the season. It’s nice seeing people out and about with West hats and you’ve no recollection of ever seeing them at a match. I mean, they have been there, they must have, but you just used to know everyone by sight.
  • I thought they were a small local club who I could go and watch games without stress. Now they are a huge part of my life.
  • It is great being there on a match day but also great what is done outside of that like bonfire, the cooperation with the foodbank. Just overall a great club and amazing how many people turn up to matches compared what other clubs get in this league or above. Not much swearing and in general very family friendly and cheap beers too:-)
  • Very welcoming and ethical club that is focussed very much on its fanbase and not motivated by greed or money. I’ve learnt that West get involved in lots of good initiatives. Overall this has been real football at its best for me. My experience has only become more positive as time passes.
  • I was like “buzzing” competitive football at the end of the street. No radical changes in my impression of the club. Brookburn has developed, bigger bar, 3/4 of the pitch is fenced. The pitch is in a lot better condition now. Improved training facility at hardy farm has opened. ( Astro turf lights and perrimiter fencing ,please, as if) Higher attendances. An increase in the out reach to the community . Youth team has been overhauled to the benefit of the surrounding area An apparent gentrification of the clubs image I feel has occurred. Loads has happened, Its just part of the love story. As is the broken hearted championship clubs terrace which I no longer frequent
  • I thought they were a fairly standard non-league club when I first went with a mate. Through following on twitter and speaking to people at games/in the community I’ve learnt how much good work WDFC do through raising money at games/food banks etc as well as supporting youth and women’s football.
  • First impressions were that it was a bit basic but had potential. The potential has been recognised and the club is definitely moving forward leaps and bounds.
  • Negative initially, the opposite now
  • Not your traditional non league club
  • The club has grown dramatically in the 5 years ive been watching West. Always had fantastic community spirit. The atmosphere has improved, its a great place/club. Keep it up…

What is your favourite part of attending a West game?

  • Atmosphere
  • The footy and chance to catch up with mates. Being able to bring the dog is a bonus plus it’s nice and safe for the kids.
  • The community – I’ve met loads of great people through watching matches.
  • Seeing lovely pals, drinking lovely pints, watching lovely football and feeling part of a really lovely community
  • Going with friends who all support different teams, but we have a shared team that is ‘ours’
  • Feels good supporting a local team
  • When the players personally thank the support (been a bit disappointed by that lack of that at some away defeats this season)
  • Love the fans, the players attitude and the value for money is amazing! If I could work out the price per goal of watching it would work out about £1 a goal! Love it!
  • Fan atmosphere/feel part of community
  • The community feel – as a casual attender I feel a lot more welcome at a West game than at other clubs I’ve been to.

How could we make our matchday experience even better?

  • More wins.
  • Can’t remember if there’d been any as I didn’t check, but vegan catering might be interesting to many of your supporters
  • more covered standing areas
  • Better solutions for watching/basic raised stand around the length of the field – a bit hard to see the whole field even from the hill. Maybe more food/drink options around the summer months
  • I think news on player movements could better communicated and this would improve the matchday experience by simply knowing the squad. I appreciate at this level this is a huge challenge given how transient players are but there are a number of players who have played a key role and we don’t know what’s happened to them. Likewise, a regaular update on signing so would be helpful
  • Stop running out of some types of beer; improve the queuing in the clubhouse; create a space for kids to play footy while the match is on; pies that are from Chorlton rather than Yorkshire
  • I do think the club should consider a way of reducing the amount of plastic waste we produce at games- particularly from beer cups. We must throw away 1,000 a game on a Saturday and something like 20,000 over a season. This never sits comfortably with me. Solutions could include-
    – non disposable cups
    – non disposable cups with a deposit in club house
    – biodegrable plastic cups
  • More charity driven events
  • It’s hard to hear the announcements and the raffle. It’d be good to have a warning that the floodlights are going off, as it was terrible when the kids were on the pitch and they flicked off and we basically panicked.
  • If we could incentivise people to stay after the match for a beer in the clubhouse – most people head to local pubs and that money could be well spent at the club.

Is there any other merchandise you would like West to stock?

  • Car/window stickers. Samples of the training kit that you can currently get on line. I know a lot of people want shirts and they only seem to be available every now and again.
  • Plain Black & White scarves, perhaps with a small logo
  • Replica kits including kids’ shirts
  • One of those pens where a ball moves when you tip it. Those fluffly things with eyes that stick on things. Those cardboard hats for the kids.
  • Something for dogs to wear?
  • Casual fan t-shirts /socks
  • Anything and everything

Once again we’d like to thank everyone who took the time to fill out our supporter experience survey – and we look forward to telling you how your responses are to impact the club over the remainder of the season and beyond.

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