Members of the Dragons Official Supporters’ Club Committee met with Stuart Davies and Katie Vizard of Dragons Rugby on Monday 6th March 2017 to discuss the growing concerns of supporters of the region.
Ahead of the meeting, the DOSC committee sent Stuart Davies an email with a collation of questions for his attention that Dragons fans had put to the DOSC over the previous week. The DOSC committee also shared questions and suggestions relating to this Blues fixture which fans had raised at the, public Q&A organised by the DOSC held on February 22nd, these included:-
- Will there be transport available for any disabled supporters who wish to attend?
- Following transport, one of the largest concerns is access to food and drink. There must be sufficient food and drink available at the chosen venue for the predicted crowd size.
- Could a beer/food festival be organised to coincide with the event? With the opportunity for the region to recoup some financial losses by charging vendors to sell at the game?
- Who will have ownership of commercial operations on the day? Will it be the venue chosen or will NGD be hiring the ground and therefore have ownership of which food and drink facilities are available?
- A 'fanzone' of aforementioned vendors at the venue would help create the atmosphere and Rugby festival feel. Could current DOSC partners such as Mission Burrito, Oddball, Tiny Rebels etc be approached to support 'event', and foster the 'Dragons family' culture.
- Will there be sufficient staffing to ensure that fans are served food/drink in a timely manner? Will this be affected by Newport County’s fixture at Rodney Parade?
- With a restricted capacity of tickets available for this fixture transparency of ticket allocation and pricing. Following hospitality/corporate, season ticket holders, non-season ticket members – where will the tickets go in order of priority? Can they be offered to people who have purchased tickets from the region for another game this season? Can they be offered for sale to community rugby clubs within Gwent? Where do the Blues come in this? Will the away ticket allocation be reduced in percentage as per the reduction in capacity?
- Can free pint/drink voucher be offered on top of existing voucher offer – for inconvenience.
- Could any left over 2 for 1 vouchers be honoured for this fixture, as they have already been costed for.
- Will there be live music at the venue akin to the experience of the WFAC Family Zone?
- If the fixture is a success – will taking games around the region become a regular fixture in the future?
Stuart Davies acknowledged receipt of the questions, thanked fans for their input and confirmed that a public Q & A will be held with fans, at which he will respond to such questions directly, when further information can be disclosed about future investment in the region.
Following this, the two areas that were discussed predominantly during the meeting were the ongoing talks with potential investors and the relocation of the Blues match to a ground within the region.
With regards to the former, Stuart Davies reiterated that the seeking of new investment for the region had been a long and complex process, with the landscape changing along the way, but that he was confident that the region would be in a position to announce further details in the near future. He was, however, able to reiterate and confirm that the Newport Gwent Dragons would be remaining in Gwent at their home at Rodney Parade and that the region would not be moving to North Wales.
The second item that was discussed was the relocation of the Blues fixture to a ground within the region. The DOSC asked, on behalf of a number of our supporters who has raised it, whether the Principality Stadium had been considered as a venue for hosting the Blues derby. Stuart responded by stating that moving the game to the Principality Stadium would, in effect, be giving the Blues home advantage in one of our biggest games of the season. It was also a consideration that it would come quick on the heels of the Judgement Day fixtures and a desire to keep the fixture within Gwent. The venue has yet to be finalised but an announcement is due shortly. Again, there are many complex issues to consider. Stuart has the feedback from our supporter engagement and is taking those issues into account.
In summary, a positive and worthwhile meeting, even if the finer detail we all wish to know could not be disclosed for obvious and understandable reasons. The general feeling was that of a positive future for the region.