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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Little

Hull City DSA Q&A

In our first DSA Q&A, our stand rep, Matt Clarkson answers the questions with his daughter Emily.

Q) What were your early experiences of watching Hull City ?

M: I used to attend walking on crutches before becoming more reliant on my wheelchair. I was never made aware or offered any benefit / adjustments etc that the club had to offer. I used to sit part way down a row on standard seats but this wasn’t easy to access due to space and steps.

E: Very good fun and exicting

Q) How does your earlier experiences differ to now?

M: I now bring my daughter who is autistic and have seats on the wheelchair platform which makes access much easier, I am not struggling with walking a distance or through crowds / tight spaces. I am more independent and can carry food and drink from the serving hatches on the concourse. I was made aware of what the club offers to people with disabilities via a friend and after an initial challenge obtaining membership, I was provided with perimeter parking, details of the sensory room and more. I am now well informed about what the club offers to help people with disabilities.

E: Players don't come over as often, it can get boring and the music is too loud and less activities

Q) Talk us through a typical matchday routine and experience?

M: Accessing the perimeter parking easy, however general public could do to be more mindful that there is a road around the perimeter as well as a brick pavement. This would help the flow of traffic and help ensure their safety. We either have a look round Tiger Leisure or head round to the players entrance to meet the players. This is something I could not take my daughter to do without being able to attend in my wheelchair. We then head to the concourse, have something to eat / drink before heading to the platform. The music on the concourse and in the stands is often too loud even for myself nevermind my daughter who has heightened sensitivity to noise. The wheelchair platform is reasonably spacious so that my daughter is not uncomfortable in a crowded area, however when full there are challenges for wheelchair users due to the structure of the platforms and the large concrete block part way down the platform. We have a good social group of people in and around the platform and people are always helpful. After the games we head back to the car and wait for the car park users to be released. This has been slick until this season as supporters seem to be getting held back for longer periods of time that previous seasons and the exit from the perimeter next to the away segregation is no longer being opened causing further delay to exiting the ground.

E: Very good, get food and drink from the concourse and get to meet some players.

Q) What's the most enjoyable part of your matchday ?

M: Getting some time with my daughter, socialising and City having a good game.

E: When a player does something exciting.

Q) What are the positive things Hull City does to make your matchday as inclusive and enjoyable as possible ?

M: Good facilities overall. Accessible parking, platform access, sensory room access if required.

E: Pleasant environment

Q) What is the most frustrating thing about watching football ?

M: Dare I say playing out from the back? In terms of disability, stigma and people not respecting views and wishes of the person and instead trying to judge what is best for them in their opinion.

E: It can get boring sometimes and too much added on time.

Q) What could the club do to improve your Matchday experience ?

M: Bring the home atmosphere back to the East Stand from the North Stand. Install addition accessible toilets. Install a lower designated accessible counter at the serving hatches. Allow people to leave the perimeter carpark via more exits.

E: Opportunities to do activities on the pitch like been a mascot.

Q) How do you find the accessibility of our stadium and the concourse?

M: Reasonable, with some small adjustments made as previously mentioned, the stadium could be a leading example.

E: Access is ok. More pitch side seating would be nice.

Q) Have you encountered any challenges or obstacles relating to your disability when attending matches? Please Elaborate

M: Long waits to access the limited number of disabled toilets.

E: Lack of gluten free food, sometimes it can get too loud, and I feel the players don't always acknowledge you at the end of the game at pitchside.

Q) How do you rate you inclusion in the match day experience by the club, staff and fellow fans?

M: Average. Reasonable adjustments are made / basic accessibility standards are met. Most staff are reasonable and helpful. The steward on Gate 6 is very pleasant, the Disability Liaison Officer has always been helpful and came to check that everything was ok when we arrived at our first game together. The stewards who work the away games have been very helpful and friendly and some take the time to speak both home and away now that we are familiar which makes you feel comfortable and supported. Fans in general have mostly been ok but some do need to respect the fact that it is challenging in crowded environments when you’re using a wheelchair. It would be nice to see child mascots and such like being more inclusive. Other clubs are publicly recognised and praised for their inclusivity but it feels very difficult to apply and I can’t say in have noticed any form of impaired child mascots at the club.

E: 3/5

Q) What club have you visited that you think the club could learn from?

M: Coventry, Leicester, Man Utd

E: Man Utd, Leicester and Coventry

Q) Do you go to away games? If not what puts you off from going?

M: Yes. Travel time and costs can be off putting. Also older stadiums with poor access, facilities etc. for example Kenilworth Road having to sit amongst home fans.

E: Yes I go sometimes. Accessibility of older stadiums

Q) How could the club improve your away day experience?

M: Stop contesting whether a wheelchair user should remain in their wheelchair or transfer to standard seating if possible and willing to do so. Guidance states that passengers should transfer where possible. The ticket booking system could be improved with an modernised electronic system whereby disabled supporters and eligible PAs are recognised and able to book accessible tickets.

E: Helping wheelchair users and allowing them to sit in standard seats on the coach if they want as it is safer

Q) Does they need to be regular independent reviews of Disabled facilities at football grounds ?

M: In order to keep up to date with regulations and maintain high standards there should be regular reviews. Reviews by people with first hand personal experience of disabilities is invaluable.

E: Yes, I think that is a great idea.

Q) Do you have any advice for any Hull City disabled fans who haven’t yet attended a live match ?

M: Put your worries to a side. Plan your day, familiarise with facilities, talk to people. Get involved and enjoy the experience.

E: No

Q) What's your favourite Hull City memory ?

M: Beating Watford to go to Wembley and then beating Bristol to get to the premier league are up there. However, since my daughter now goes, her face when City score and/or win but those special moments when Oscar and Allahyar gave her their shirts.

E:Getting Óscar Estupiñán’s shirt, autographs, watching George Honeyman and Aaron Connelly

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