We Speak with James Mills, Chairman of CUSP

It’s no surprise that this coming season will be a challenging, yet important one for the club. The effects of the COVID-19 situation and the social distancing requirements involved, plus the new financial landscape of League Two including a salary cap mean there’s likely to be a lot of tough decisions to be made by the board over the course of the season.

The Cambridge United Supporters Panel (CUSP) was set up last season and has made great strides with the club, in regard to it’s attitudes towards mental health issues in the game, and most importantly how the club communicates with it’s fans, something they’ll admit has been a source of criticism in the past. CUSP exist to help fans address any concerns they may have with the club via a panel of supporters situated around the ground.

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Now entering their second year, and with new Chairman James Mills at the helm, they’ve spoken to us about the importance of CUSP and how they intend to foster better relationships between the club and supporters.

“Following our first year of representing the views and the interests of the fans we have built a strong relationship with the Football Club board and we have had a significant impact in a number of areas, including mental health, the use of ballboys and ballgirls, and the communication to fans. It is time, now, to look forward.
We really would like fans to continue communicating with us this year. We have built a strong relationship with the club and we want our relationship with the fans to develop. Please continue to reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter, and by email, and when we are back in the ground all CUSP members will again be wearing lanyards and name tags, so please do come and speak to us in person.”

Looking to the next 12 months, new Chair James Mills is committed to seeing CUSP continue to work with the Football Club on a number of issues affecting fans of all ages.

I am pleased to have been voted as the new Chair of CUSP by our other panel members, and I am glad that Ben Payne will be my Vice-Chair. I would like to thank Nigel Browne for his hard work in steering CUSP through a first year that has seen us build a brilliant relationship with the Club, and one that allows honest and open conversations between both parties.”

“I am passionate about continuing to improve the communication between the fans and the Club, something that I think we have started this last year. I am keen for us to continue to ensure that the fans’ voices are heard and to help the Club to make decisions that the fans welcome and support. We are going to work on ensuring that the fans receive communication from the Club that is both timely and relevant. Part of this will be the introduction of a Covid-19 Q&A – starting next week – which will cover how the Club is responding to EFL and government requirements regarding the start of next season, the admission of fans and the new normal for the players. The landscape for professional football is changing almost daily, so we are planning to help the Club communicate these changes and canvas opinions and feedback on how the fans feel about attending matches in person and watching on iFollow.

“We are determined not to lose sight of the fact that we were elected by the fans to represent them, and to act as a conduit for the Club to communicate and canvas opinion. Our meetings with the Club are wide-ranging and we are occasionally provided with information that is confidential and cannot be communicated immediately. This is a delicate balance, and we understand that some fans may feel frustrated that their questions may not have been answered by us directly. What I can assure all fans, however, is that we are diligent in raising all questions with the Club and either providing answers or gaining a commitment that the relevant answers will be announced by the Club in the short term. We appreciate that our minutes have in some cases seemed a little vague in this area, and we are determined to improve our communication going forward.”

“The situation regarding Covid-19 and the start of the new season – initially behind closed doors and then with a limited number of spectators – is very fluid, and we are planning regular catch-ups with the Club in order to share the latest updates. This also means that we are open to receiving questions and queries from fans on an ongoing basis, as we are now better placed to raise these between meetings if required.”

You can keep up-to-date with the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and by visiting www.wearecusp.co.uk

Thank you for reading and please reach out if you have a question or point you would like discussed with the club. CUSP can be reached on cuspuie2019@gmail.com

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