Thursday
Dec132018

Notes from December meeting with Fulham Football Club

DECEMBER MEETING NOTES

HEADLINES

  • ·         Buckingham Group appointed as lead contractor for Riverside Stand
  • ·         Planned two year project with completion for 2021/22 season
  • ·         FFC will play in reduced capacity Craven Cottage for duration of build
  • ·         FST/FFC working group to plan relocation of Riverside season ticket holders
  • ·         FST will provide input to decision-making process regarding 2019/20 ticket prices
  • ·         Season ticket exchange scheme will be announced in New Year by FFC
  • ·         FFC will decide on modification to season ticket upgrade policy shortly

ATTENDEES

On Monday 10 December 2018, Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer), Carmelo Mifsud (CM, Media Relations Manager), Katy Brecht (KB, Head of Ticketing), Rob Paddon (RP, Head of Match Day Sales), David Daly (DD, Non-Executive Director), Sean Davies (SD, Head of Retail and Licensing), Peter Spartin (PS, Head of Commercial Development) and Nicola Walworth (NW, Supporter Relations Manager) of Fulham Football Club met with Tom Greatrex, Ian Clarke and Dan Crawford of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust at Motspur Park as part of the ongoing structured dialogue between both parties.

RIVERSIDE STAND

Further to the discussions at the previous two monthly meetings, the Trust asked a number of questions in relation to the Riverside Stand development. AM confirmed that the Club had signed an agreement with Buckingham Group as lead contractor for the project, and subject to final agreement, expected to make that public within the next day. In response to further questions, AM also reiterated that work is planned to commence at the end of the current season, and will mean two seasons with reduced capacity while construction is underway, but there will be no relocation of Fulham Football Club during the build. It is anticipated that the new stand will become operational in time for the start of the 2021/22 season. AM confirmed that the Club are looking at how to make the most of the reduced capacity during the build, with the ground capacity during the build to be finalised following detailed consideration with the contractor.  

The Trust raised issues in relation to the relocation of Riverside Stand season ticket holders and related transitional arrangements, following preliminary conversations with PS on this issue. AM and PS stated that there were limited options for the relocation of existing Riverside season ticket holders, and agreed to convene a working group with relevant Trust members to discuss this in more detail. Given the urgency, with work starting at the end of the season, it was agreed this should happen in the early part of January, and that the Club would refer to this in the statement announcing the appointment of lead contractor.

The Club confirmed that work is ongoing to scope the use of catering and other facilities in the new stand on non-matchdays, and there has been interest expressed by a number of restaurant and other outlets, including from a micro-brewery. The Club are open-minded about what will feature in the commercial units but anticipate commercial units to be suitable for both matchday and non-matchday use. The Trust referred to the work underway with DD to suggest ways in which the fabric of the new stadium can also reflect the history and heritage of the Club, and committed to providing more detailed suggestions in due course.

The Trust will continue to work with Fulham Football Club during the coming months to ensure that fans’ views around the new Riverside Stand are represented through our ongoing structured dialogue. We would like to hear from Trust members who have season tickets in the Riverside Stand who are willing to be part of the small working group on relocation and related issues.

TICKET PRICING

The Trust asked about matchday ticket pricing and concerns expressed by some fans about affordability and frequency of attendance, particularly relating to category A games (London derbies, top six clubs). AM and KB confirmed that the Club’s matchday ticket prices for the remainder of this season have been set. AM said that decisions relating to pricing of season tickets would be taken by the Club towards the end of January, and match day pricing would be considered at around the same time. The Trust reiterated the concerns that feature heavily in our feedback from members and the wider supporter base, and advised the Club that the Trust would be preparing options that would alleviate some of that concern and would present that in January. The Club confirmed they would welcome input ahead of decisions being made, but that there is complexity in the overall approach to ticket pricing which needs to be factored in to final decisions. 

NON-STANDING SEATS

The Trust thanked the Club for their pro-active work on putting together the non-standing seat option for Fulham’s recent away matches at Chelsea and Manchester United, following discussion with the Trust over recent weeks. The Trust had received lots of positive feedback from supporters and KB confirmed that the option would continue to be trialled. KB said that Fulham liaises with the home club in advance of the scheduled fixture to identify the most suitable seats. Non-standing seats are sold from the front so that if they don’t sell out then standing supporters don’t subsequently occupy the front rows.

The Trust requested that information regarding the non-standing seat option could be added to the slip of paper that is included when tickets are send out to supporters and KB confirmed that the Club would action this. The Trust and Club noted that there had been isolated incidents of standing in the non-standing area at Stamford Bridge and agreed that the scheme could only be successful in enabling choice for away fans if supporters who buy tickets in the area respect the reason for creating it. Both the Trust and the Club will continue to monitor the scheme’s effectiveness.

OTHER TICKETING MATTERS

The Club’s proposed season ticket exchange scheme is nearing implementation and should be launched in the New Year. It is intended that the scheme will allow season ticket holders to sell their seat for a particular fixture if they are unable to attend, and subject to an overall sales threshold for each match. KB, RP and AM confirmed that the Club will announce full details in the near future.

KB promised to provide the Trust with a response on the season ticket upgrade issue shortly following internal discussion. RP and KB said that the Club hopes that some of the frustration regarding the current upgrade policy could be eased when season ticket holders are able to make use of the ticket exchange scheme for fixtures where there is heavy demand for tickets.

There was also discussion of supporters with the highest number of loyalty points getting the poorest seats for away games. The Club reiterated that they have to sell seats in the order dictated by the home club and that the Club loses money if it takes away blocks that don’t sell. KB pointed to the fact that the Club lost money as a result of Fulham not selling their full allocation at Old Trafford last weekend.

The Trust thanked the Club for continuing to provide away ticket information on the website, including the order in which individual blocks will be sold and updated sales numbers. KB and CM confirmed that the Club will make sure that the relevant information appears across all of the Club’s communication channels, including Twitter and the Club’s website, and will be regularly updated.

MERCHANDISING

Sean Davies, the Club’s head of retail and licensing, introduced himself briefly to the Trust. Sean has been in post for around eighteen months at Fulham having spent fourteen years in a similar role at Chelsea. He helped to oversee the redesign and reopening of the Club’s stadium store and is in constant communication with the stadium store staff. SD wants merchandise to be fresh and has brought contacts with him from his previous roles.

SD said he is sometimes constrained by suppliers’ minimums, but tries to ensure that there is a wide array of merchandise available. He has introduced a wider range of children’s and baby items as well as prioritising the retro range and the stocking of relevant Fulham books. All products, except some of those reduced for clearance, will now be available online and in store, and both SD and his team are particularly interested in supporter feedback. The ‘click and collect’ option has been very popular, both at the stadium store and at Motspur Park, but some customers do not collect their items for a long period of time.

The meeting finished at 2.45pm

N.B. These notes represent a summary of topics discussed during the meeting. If your feedback to the Trust has not been specifically mentioned, please be assured that the Trust has listened to your concerns and they are the subject of further discussion between the Trust and the Club.

Tuesday
Dec112018

ALAN SMITH TO BE PATRON OF FULHAM SUPPORTERS' TRUST

The Fulham Supporters' Trust are delighted to announce that Alan Smith, former football manager and lifelong Fulham fan, has agreed to become a patron of the Trust.

Alan, who had an illustrious managerial and coaching career at a number of Clubs, including as Fulham's Academy Director under Kevin Keegan, and was instrumental in developing the Club's training academy at Motspur Park is often to be found at Fulham matches with friends and family.

Alan said: "I am delighted to become a patron of the Fulham Supporters' Trust - I know first hand of the work they do, and particularly the efforts over the years to ensure Fulham and Craven Cottage remain synonymous. Even when my time in football took me elsewhere, I was always looking out for the Fulham results and I am proud to be a lifelong Fulham fan along with my family. I look forward to getting involved in supporting the Trust's activities, and would encourage fellow Fulham fans to join up , getting involved and make our voice stronger."

Tom Greatrex, Chair of the Fulham Supporters' Trust, added: "We are very pleased that Alan has agreed to become a patron of the Trust - his help, both front of house and behind the scenes, with the recent TOOFIF book launch demonstrated to everybody there that Alan cares deeply about our club and our fans. We look forward to working with Alan on our future Trust activity."

Monday
Dec102018

Fulham Supporters' Trust statement on Riverside Stand

Welcoming the announcement that Fulham FC have a lead contractor in place for the new Riverside Stand, and that work will commence at the end of this season, Fulham Supporters' Trust chair, Tom Greatrex, said: 

"This afternoon, members of the board of Fulham Supporters' Trust met with Alistair Mackintosh and his team as part of our regular structured dialogue with the Club. Following those discussions, the Trust welcomes the latest stage in the development of a new Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage. The news of the appointment of a lead contractor, and the reiteration of work being scheduled to start at the end of the current season, is a hugely positive step towards the goal of a new stand, helping the Club to have a sustainable future while also cementing our long term tenure at our historic home. 

"Fulham fans - over many generations - have campaigned for and fought to protect Craven Cottage, which is an integral part of the identity of our Club and its fans. We are pleased the Club shares that vision and is demonstrating its commitment to keeping Fulham in Fulham with this new stand, and look forward to work starting later this year.  

"As part of our structured dialogue with the Club, we will be working with them on both the relocation of season ticket holders and other transition arrangements during the two years' while construction is underway, and also on how the history and heritage of the Club can be represented and reflected in the new stand."

Wednesday
Dec052018

Non standing seats

Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge was the first Fulham away game played with an allocated ‘non-standing seats’ area.  This initiative was proposed by the Fulham Supporters’ Trust and agreed with the club at our regular structured dialogue meetings.

The FST is delighted that the club embraced our suggestions and put them into action.   The scheme is designed to help all Fulham fans to follow Fulham away in comfort and to be able to see the Whites in action.

Several rows of seats at the front of the away section for each match are allocated as ‘non-standing seats’.  They are reserved for supporters who are unable or unwilling to stand so that nobody will be standing in front of them.

If you would like to buy tickets in the non-standing areas for future away matches please call the Fulham ticket office.  We would also ask that nobody buys tickets in this area if they feel that they may stand at any point during the match.

We do recognise that the issue of standing at away matches is emotive but are keen that all Fulham supporters respect each other and allow everyone to be able to see.

The Trust would like to hear feedback on the ‘non-standing seats’ from supporters who attended the match on Sunday.  We will discuss any feedback with the Club at our next structured dialogue meeting on 10th December and use it to modify the scheme if necessary.

If you have any other topics you would like us to raise at our meeting please let us know via fulhamtrust@gmail.com.  If you are not yet a member of the FST please do join us to help make our voice louder.

Friday
Nov232018

Fulham Supporters' Trust win at Football Business Awards


The Fulham Supporters' Trust were honoured to win an award at last night's Football Business Awards for the best relationship between a football club and a supporters group.

The Football Business Awards established this category, which was sponsored by national fans' group Supporters Direct, to recognise the importance of dialogue between clubs and their supporters. The Trust were proud to be nominated among such a strong field of entrants which included Cambridge United and Cambridge Fans United, Portsmouth and the Pompey Supporters' Trust, Rochdale and the Rochdale Supporters' Trust, West Bromwich Albion and the Proud Baggies and Southend United and the Shrimpers' Trust.

This award celebrated the strong working relationship that has developed between Fulham Football Club and the Fulham Supporters' Trust during four years of monthly meetings between the parties that culminated in the signing of English football's first memorandum of understanding between a club and their Trust last December.

Fulham Supporters' Trust chair, Tom Greatrex, said:

“We are pleased that the effort both the Trust and Club have put into our structured dialogue has been recognised by the judges. A good relationship helps clubs understand and better respond to supporter concerns. We will always be independent of the Club, and we won’t always agree, but we commend the Club for their open, progressive approach to building a relationship we aim to develop further in the interests of all Fulham supporters.”

Fulham chief executive officer, Alistair Mackintosh, added:

"We are thrilled to receive this award, as it is a testament to our ongoing structured dialogue with the FST. Whilst we were nominated for three awards on the night, this is the one we really wanted to win."