Saturday
Feb162019

Notes from February meeting with Fulham Football Club

HEADLINES

  • Zara Harrison book of condolence available to sign
  • Riverside Stand plans on track and unaffected by possible relegation
  • Detailed planning for Riverside season ticket holder relocation underway
  • Ticket sales policy for ‘Final Six’ home games questioned
  • Season ticket exchange scheme not introduced this season
  • Modifications to non-standing away seats proposed
  • Club vote for £30 away ticket cap in response to Trust request
  • Transfer window reviewed
  • Context requested for diversity survey

ATTENDEES

On Monday 11 February 2019, Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive), David Daly (DD, Non Executive Director), Huw Jennings (HJ, Academy Director), Carmelo Mifsud (CM, Media Relations Manager), Peter Spartin (PS, Head of Commercial Development) and Nicola Walworth (NW, Supporter Relations Manager) of Fulham Football Club met with Ian Clarke, Sue Couch and Tom Greatrex of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust at Motspur Park as part of the structured dialogue between both parties.

ZARA HARRISON

The Trust offered condolences on behalf of our members and Fulham fans to the family, friends and colleagues of Zara Harrison at the Club after the sad news of her passing. The Trust plan to send a wreath on behalf of supporters, and encourages supporters who wish to extend their thoughts to Zara’s family to sign the book of condolence.

JOHNNY HAYNES TROPHY

The Trust thanked HJ and the Club for the handover ceremony for the Johnny Haynes Trophy for the FST Academy Player of the Year. Home-grown players are very much appreciated by fans, and the Trust has had a lot of positive feedback on the decision to sponsor the award and to recognise progress made by the future playing talent at Fulham. AM and HJ thanked the Trust for this initiative, and sponsoring the Trophy. CM confirmed there would be content on the Club website and other channels about the Trophy as its first winner is announced. 

RIVERSIDE STAND – PROJECT UPDATE

The Trust asked for an update on development of the Riverside Stand, and progress towards the stated start date for demolition shortly after the end of the current season. AM responded that this is taking up most of his time, and the Club is in the tender phase for sub-contracts having previously appointed a lead contractor.  The Club is aiming to place all of the main tendered packages by the end of April through the main contractor.

The Trust asked whether a delay in the award of any of these packages would impact upon starting demolition work of the Riverside Stand. AM responded that all tenders have been invited on the basis of a start of work by the end of May. It was clarified that the pitch is used for some events for the period immediately after the end of the season, which is why work is scheduled to begin at the end of May.

The Trust also pressed on whether possible relegation would impact on commencing work on the stand.  AM replied that the division the Club is in is irrelevant to the timescales for work starting on the Riverside Stand.

The Trust then asked for further details on other developments on the stand build plan since the last meeting.   AM and PS explained that detailed planning work is being undertaken by the lead contractor which will establish the extent of any other work required; asked for an example, AM mentioned access behind the Hammersmith End may need to be widened by taking out the ‘mound’ at the back of the stand.

RIVERSIDE STAND – RELOCATION OF SEASON TICKET HOLDERS

In response to a series of questions in relation to the relocation of supporters from the Riverside Stand, PS reiterated that the Club valued the engagement of the Trust and working group on this, and acknowledged the desire of many season ticket holders to continue to be seated with the groups they have been part of for some time. The Trust also set out the importance of relocated Riverside season ticket holders having the opportunity to return to the new stand when it is completed. PS indicated this is being taken on board, and appreciates the move will cause disruption.

The Trust also underlined the importance of direct communications with those who will need to be relocated, and PS and CM agreed, also highlighting they have taken note of how Bristol City managed a similar exercise during the construction of the new main stand at Ashton Gate.

Asked about timescales for beginning this process and renewal of season tickets in the affected areas, PS explained that it is dependent on finalising detailed information about available capacity next season. The Trust requested the opportunity to sense check the forthcoming survey on the Riverside Stand, which PS agreed to do, to help ensure the responses were of as much assistance as possible. 

The Trust reiterated that, appreciating there are limited options available to the Club for relocation of Riverside season ticket holders, many understood there would be disruption but wanted to be able to sit close to their current groups, and to be able to have first refusal on similar seats in the new stand. PS welcomed this feedback, and confirmed that Riverside season ticket holders who renew and are relocated will have first priority on seats in the new stand as had been requested by the Trust on their behalf. However, seasonal hospitality may precede depending on the type of seat/product.

TICKETING – FINAL SIX AND LIVERPOOL FIXTURE

The Trust highlighted the significant concerns over the way in which the final six home fixtures’ ticketing arrangements have been handled, underlining that it is the largest volume of emails ahead of meetings we have ever had on a single subject.

The Trust explained that advertising the on-sale dates with the final cut-off and “last chance” for new membership sales gave an impression of encouraging touts and away fans to purchase with a higher priority than existing season ticket holders.  AM responded that the Club had announced priority for members at the start of the season, had to set a cut-off date for memberships, and were keen to encourage Fulham supporters who had not done so to purchase a membership – not encouraging away fans to become members.

The Trust responded that it understood the argument for members being able to purchase a home seat ahead of season ticket holders purchasing additional tickets, but that if this was about enabling that then the Club could and should have set the cut off for the Liverpool fixture at an earlier point, knowing it was most likely to sell out fastest. The Trust also pointed out that if the Club wanted to target Fulham fans who have not bought a membership, they know who those fans are, in the same way that individuals were previously targeted to be offered a half season ticket through their purchase history.

AM agreed that the Club had taken an aggressive stance on membership sales to maximise an opportunity to increase memberships. The Trust reminded the Club that season ticket holders were their most valuable supporter base, and this approach created a perception of the Club putting revenue ahead of loyal and long-standing supporters.

The Trust asked how many members the Club currently has, and how many had taken out memberships between announcing ticketing arrangements for the last six home games and the cut off deadline. PS responded that the Club did not have those figures to hand.

The Trust further explained that the Club’s positions on season ticket upgrades and the Liverpool ticket sales could be viewed as contradictory, with the former said to be in place to minimise touting but the latter likely to increase the chance of memberships and tickets falling into the hands of touts.

AM stated that he would like to see the ground as full as possible of Fulham fans – the more Fulham fans the better.

TICKETING – SEASON TICKET EXCHANGE

Having raised this a number of times in previous meetings, the Trust had been disappointed to be informed that the promised season ticket exchange scheme was not going to be introduced. PS explained that it was due to start with the Spurs game, but that match had not sold quickly enough for it to be implemented, and only the Manchester United and Liverpool fixtures had sold out early enough. The Club felt it was too much resource to dedicate for two fixtures alone.

The Trust expressed its disappointment again, and pointed out that similar schemes are commonplace at many clubs. This decision, allied with the final six ticketing policy, left many season ticket holders feeling let down. The Trust asked that with the prospect of a reduced capacity, and a greater proportion of season tickets to general sale tickets next season, such a scheme is introduced for next season as part of a package to maximise the number of Fulham fans in the ground. The Club is looking at this again, along with other suggestions from the Trust on ticketing for next season.

TICKETING – AWAY TICKETS

The Trust reported back on some issues encountered at Crystal Palace with the hitherto largely successful trial of non-standing seats for away fixtures. Fulham fans purchasing non-standing seats have shown consideration and understanding since they were introduced, however at Selhurst Park while the front rows of two blocks had non-standing seats, the third block (T) did not.  This  meant that those in the non-standing seats had their view disrupted. This impacted more at Palace because away fans are alongside the pitch rather than behind a goal or in a corner.  The Trust suggested that in future all blocks are used for non-standing seats but with fewer rows if necessary.

The Trust asked why some away fixtures are sold at 4, some at 2 and some at 1 ticket per supporter with the requisite number of loyalty points. AM responded that it was based on anticipated sales, considering distance, day of fixture, number of proximate away fixtures and previous sales patterns. The Club don’t want to have empty seats in away allocations which have to be paid for in full.

The Trust asked that for the Bournemouth and Watford fixtures, both currently scheduled to be played on Saturday at 3pm, given smaller allocations and relative closeness of grounds, that early information is made available. NW explained that often the delay in beginning sales for away fixtures is due to late information received from the host clubs.  

TICKETING – AWAY TICKET PRICE CAP

AM reported that at the previous week’s Premier League meeting, Fulham had voted in favour of continuing the £30 cap for away tickets for the next three year period. This had been in response to representations made by the Trust in previous meetings. The Trust thanked AM and the Club for taking these views on board, and voting accordingly.

TRANSFER WINDOW

The Trust asked AM to set out the approach to the recent transfer window, how successful the Club had felt recruitment had been, and what lessons there are for future transfer windows.

AM explained that many potential and prospective transfers are discussed from the start of the window, but often are not concluded until the deadline due to availability of players to replace them. AM would prefer to do business as early as possible, but it’s not always possible to control that. It was a quieter market than in previous windows, with a lower number of moves than usual – no Premier League club brought in more than three players, as Fulham did.  AM explained that the priority was to seek to strengthen the defence, and guidelines were relaxed to seek to recruit defensive reinforcement. AM also said that Ryan Babel had improved attacking options available to the Manager since he had joined part way through the window.

The Trust pointed out that during the last January window all the players coming in were uninjured and playing in the English league, so needed less time to adjust and were able to make an immediate contribution; this wasn’t the case this time. AM responded that the incoming players had English league experience, and the availability of players was limited in this window. There were deals agreed with clubs where players decided against the move, and with a player where the owning club were not prepared to sell because a replacement had not been signed. This means deals can fall through late in the window and on deadline day, despite the best of intentions and serious effort being put in weeks in advance.

The Trust asked about signings only on short term contracts.  AM responded that other potential transfers were for longer periods, but were not able to be completed for various reasons. AM also explained that season long loan deals can vary, but are usually able to be terminated only with agreement from both clubs and the player involved, which can work for or against a club with a loan player, depending on performances.

The Trust asked whether the Director of Football would have additional support on his football responsibilities given the range of other sporting activity he is involved in. AM reiterated that Tony Khan is very committed to Fulham, and that he is very knowledgeable about football in great detail. It is also the case that he has a team supporting him, on scouting, on analysis of players and performance data.

The Trust requested that given the level of interest in the way in which transfers are undertaken, some content should be produced for Fulham TV and/or the website explaining the process in more detail – as other clubs have recently done, for example Wolves where John Marshall is Head of Recruitment.

The Trust asked about use of specific agents, given some of the media coverage from the sad death of Emiliano Sala. AM explained that the Club’s players have a wide spread of agents and agencies, and the Club does not have a policy of using specific agents. There is a range in the services agencies offer to players; some provide assistance with practical issues – accommodation, cars etc – others only negotiate transfers on behalf of players or clubs.

HJ explained that agents were banned for players until they reach their 16thbirthday. Asked whether most academy players were represented by agents, HJ confirmed that was the case for most players once they reach 16 and agencies will contact players’ families to seek to represent them.

OTHER ISSUES

DIVERSITY SURVEY

The Trust reported that members had been in contact about the recent diversity survey, with concerns about the reasons for the survey, how the information would be used and about the way in which the questions were constructed. The Trust had benefited from the discussion at the January meeting, and reflected it in the notes of that meeting, but if some context had been provided with the survey it might have helped elicit more responses.

PS explained that the questionnaire was produced by a third party, designed specifically to provoke consideration of issues, and the Club had little input on the questions. AM noted that there had been a high return rate, and that this was part of an exercise associated with research across the Premier League.

The Trust suggested that contextual information should be provided in all future surveys to help maximise responses, and should be provided with any reminders for this survey.

KICK IT OUT REPORTING NUMBER AND ANNIVERSARY

Trust members had requested that the facility provided by Kick It Out to report racial abuse on matchday be publicised more frequently. CM agreed to look into announcing it more frequently, and the possibility of displaying it on the electronic scoreboard.  

The Trust noted that it was Kick It Out’s 25th anniversary, and that the Premier League wanted to highlight work done by clubs to coincide with the Kick It Out weekends in March.  The Trust offered to support and amplify what the Club was planning for the relevant home fixture (Manchester City)

MEDICAL TEAM UPDATES

The Trust requested that updates on players recovering from injuries be reinstated on the website and/or Fulham TV – they were popular in the past, and would be a welcome feature. CM agreed to do so.

Since the meeting the first such update has been produced by the Club.

PLANNING FOR NEXT SEASON

In addition to the points raised earlier in the meeting and at previous meetings on ticketing, the Trust asked about planning for next season given the possibility of playing in the Championship. AM responded that all at the Club were working hard to seek to stay in the Premier League and was confident that was achievable. However, a number of players were on short or loan contracts, or their contracts were due to expire. Others have relegation wage clauses. He also confirmed that clubs relegated the season after promotion receive parachute payments for two years.

The meeting, which started at 12.30pm, concluded at 3.15pm

Thursday
Jan312019

Notes from January meeting with Fulham Football Club

HEADLINES

  • Plans submitted for training ground extension
  • Plans submitted for Cottage building improvements
  • Heritage area proposed for Johnny Haynes stand
  • Season ticket upgrade policy will not change this season
  • Club approach to safeguarding and diversity explained
  • Work ongoing on Riverside season ticket holder relocation

JANUARY MEETING NOTES

On Monday 14 January 2019, Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer), Carmelo Mifsud (CM, Media Relations Manager), Peter Spartin (PS, Head of Commercial Development), Nicola Walworth (NW, Supporter Relations Manager) and Eleanor Rowland (ER, Safeguarding Manager) of Fulham Football Club met with Ian Clarke, Dan Crawford and Sue Couch of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust at Motspur Park as part of the ongoing structured dialogue between both parties.

Motspur Park redevelopment plans

AM confirmed that planning permission had been submitted for Fulham FC’s proposals to redevelop the former BBC site opposite their current Motspur Park training ground with Kingston Council. You can view the plans here. AM suggested that the Club’s current thinking is to potentially move the first team training facilities to the new site. This would mean that the Under 23 side and the academy set-up would remain on the current site. The main benefit of the new training facilities is to provide additional pitches, with only five grass pitches and one astroturf pitch at Motspur Park.

In response to questions from the Trust, AM said that there were no firm timetables for the start of the building work as the Club were only at the initial planning application stage to date. He confirmed that the construction of further training facilities would help the Club to retain their current status as a category one academy within the EPPP.

Craven Cottage

AM confirmed that progress continued to made with regards to the Riverside Stand redevelopment. The Club had submitted an application for listed building consent for the Cottage itself. You can view the details of this here. This would help to provide more usable space there, including a manager’s lounge in the roof space.

In response to questions from the Trust, there was a discussion around wider issues at the ground. The Club recognises the difficulty of movement under the Hammersmith End, due to space constraints, and especially during half-time. AM revealed that the Club have considered removing the mound at the Hammersmith End, but this is a difficult structure to remove given how the stand had been built. Research had suggested that this wouldn’t greatly improve the access and flow at the Hammersmith End as additional stairs are needed. AM concluded that the general cost of use of the Hammersmith End is high, largely to do with ongoing repairs, such as removing and replacing rotting wooden flooring at the front of the stand.

The Club are considering proposals for the ongoing use of the old press lounge following the Riverside Stand development. It is envisaged that the press would be housed in a new location and this could create an opportunity to establish a fans’ heritage area, where supporters could view memorabilia and has the benefit of being directly accessible from the street. AM considers this a plus as upgrading the existing facilities would keep a focus on the unique heritage of Craven Cottage once the modern Riverside Stand is built. The Club also suggested that this space could potentially be used as a meeting and social space for supporters prior to games.

AM and PS explained the complexities of planning for operating a ground without the Riverside Stand for two seasons. In addition to relocating all season ticket holders, the Club needs to find space for several other groups, including sponsors (both the Club’s and the league partners), players’ families, broadcast partners, match officials and their guests, agents and hospitality box holders. PS and AM also said that the Club would shortly be compiling a survey for supporters which will tackle a number of topics, including the Riverside Stand. Supporters will only receive the survey if they have opted in to the Club’s official communications, which you can do by visiting this link.

AM confirmed that the specifics of how the Putney End should be segregated and stewarded during the transition phase remains an open question. Whilst the Club have views and would like to retain much of the same arrangements, there will be significant input from the local Safety Advisory Group and the police. PS felt this would be an easier discussion to have once progress had been made on relocating the existing Riverside season-ticket holders. The Trust will continue to monitor this through a range of channels, including the new police Independent Advisory Group at which we represent Fulham supporters. The Trust reiterated that current Riverside season-ticket holders should be afforded priority to return to the redeveloped stand when it is completed. AM added that there was no specific building update since the last meeting and that he would keep the Trust appraised of any further developments.

SAFEGUARDING

Eleanor Rowland, Fulham’s head of safeguarding and the Club’s lead on equality and diversity, joined the meeting to talk about her work. ER said that she had joined Fulham two years ago from the NSPCC and was responsible for safeguarding of all under-18s throughout the Club, including working with the host families for under-18 players.

ER said every Fulham FC staff member undergoes safeguarding training laid down by the FA, which specifically focuses on best practice, language and conduct. Much of her work is cultural, including encouraging everybody to draw attention to any issues and she has a particular focus on protecting the mental health of young people, especially players. She works very closely with her colleagues at the FA on helping Fulham players called up for international duty.

ER also highlighted her work on matchdays, including training between twelve and fifteen stewards in safeguarding. The Club’s minimum age to attend matches unaccompanied is 12 years old and this varies from club-to-club. ER also reminded the Trust that the stadium is a public place and anyone taking under 12s to a game should exercise the same caution as they would elsewhere, such as in a cinema or at a supermarket. The Trust fed back on some excellent stewarding concerning young people in the Hammersmith End earlier this season.

ER also chairs the Club’s equality working group, which is designed to help the Club’s workforce be as diverse, forward-thinking and approachable as possible. Fulham are currently identifying ways to lead amongst the Premier League clubs around equality and AM said that this was particularly important to him. ER revealed that the Club will shortly be surveying supporters on equality and diversity at Fulham Football Club. This survey will also only be sent to supporters who have opted in to the Club’s official communications. You can opt in here. ER and AM kindly invited a member of the Trust Board to attend the Kick it Out 25th anniversary dinner next month and the Trust has accepted the invitation to represent Fulham supporters.

MATCHDAY ISSUES

The Trust presented feedback from a large number of supporters on their experiences before the recent FA Cup third round tie against Oldham Athletic. The lack of turnstile operators caused significant queuing and delays to entry for supporters and the Trust reminded the Club that they had promised to learn from the serious issues that had occurred prior to the League Cup home fixture against Exeter City earlier in the season. AM and PS felt that the issues were caused by an unexpectedly high number of late walk-ups prior to kick off, but assured the meeting that this was part of an ongoing post-match Club view. The Club have committed to taking on board feedback around the number of turnstiles that were open, the positioning of the cash sales turnstiles and will take advice from the Trust before the next home Cup game.

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS

CM confirmed that a story circulating on social media about Fulham donating the entirety of the FA Cup gate receipts to Oldham Athletic was untrue. The Club had received feedback from Oldham and their fans about how well they were received at Craven Cottage by Fulham officials and supporters.

A recent story published in the tabloid press around the high price of season ticket financing was incorrect. The Club clarified and corrected an erroneous press release circulated by a media agency and, in most places, the story was republished online giving the correct figures. CM also confirmed that a recent story about the price of being a mascot at Fulham were based on data that was at least five years out of date. NW and AM confirmed that mascot opportunities were offered to participants in the Fulham FC Foundation’s scheme as per previous discussions between the Club and the Trust.

TICKETING

PS confirmed that the Club had decided there would be no change to the season ticket upgrade policy for the remainder of this season. PS reiterated that the initial decision had been taken because of serious abuse of the system, but recognised that genuine supporters do lose out as a result. It was felt that the policy was too complicated to change mid-season as it would require a considerable amount of manual intervention, but the Club committed to undertake a review of policy over the summer and take the Trust’s advice. The Trust is disappointed in this decision which we have continually reminded the Club penalises genuine supporters.  We will ensure that it is fully discussed before plans are made for the 2019-20 season.

AM also reiterated that no decisions had yet been taken about the levels of season ticket or matchday prices for next season.

The meeting finished at 2.46pm

TRUST RIVERSIDE STAND UPDATE

On 3rd January 2019, a delegation from the Fulham Supporters Trust met with representatives of Fulham FC’s commercial and communication teams at Motspur Park to discuss the relocation of Season Ticket Holders during the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand.  The Trust were briefed on the club’s potential strategy for the relocation of Riverside Stand Season Ticket Holders.  The club were keen to stress the logistical challenges around relocating Season Ticket Holders and other stakeholders whilst remaining at Craven Cottage during the redevelopment period.

The Club were happy to receive feedback from the Trust on the plans to date, with those Trust members who volunteers to form a part of the Riverside Stand Working Group having the opportunity to help provide comment.  Both in the meeting and subsequently the Trust have taken the opportunity to stress the importance of clear and effective communication with Season Ticket Holders.  We have also relayed the importance to Season Ticket Holders of the club providing reassurance to those relocated fans that they will have a right to return to the redeveloped stand upon its completion.

The Club hope to be in a position to confirm their plans shortly and the Trust will continue to work with the club as effectively as possible throughout the relocation process.

EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE

The Trust have been made aware that some supporters may have received phishing emails from a Fulham Football Club email account following an attempted cyber attack against the football club. The Trust have been informed that the Club have conducted an investigation, locked the account in question and reported the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Anyone who has any queries about this matter is advised to contact the Club’s data protection team on [email protected]

 

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."