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Thursday
Jan282016

Fulham Supporters' Trust welcomes Motspur Park planning permission

The Fulham Supporters' Trust are delighted that Fulham Football Club's proposal to improve Motspur Park were approved by Kingston Council at a meeting of their Development Control Committee last night.

The plans include the replacement of Fulham's current indoor training facility, an increase in the capacity of the current stand so that more supporters can watch the club's under 18 and under 21 sides, an expanded car park and the opportunity to increase the amount of community facilities and outreach activities with local schools.

The planning permission is integral to Fulham retaining their Category One EPP rating and for the club to continue the fine youth development work overseen by Academy director Huw Jennings.

The Trust looks forward to continuing to work with Fulham Football Club on their excellent youth development and community engagement work.

Thursday
Dec242015

Statement regarding Fulham Football Club's Transfer Embargo

The Fulham Supporters Trust (“FST”) are disappointed with today’s announcement that Fulham Football Club (“the Club”) are to be subject to a transfer embargo during the upcoming January transfer window. 

FST holds monthly meetings with the Club’s CEO Alistair Mackintosh.  The subject of Financial Fair Play (“FFP”) has been consistently raised by FST during these meetings.  FST was informed by the Club of the impending transfer embargo at our monthly meeting on 1st December 2015.  Prior to this FST had been assured on a number of occasions that the Club had been working within FFP guidelines  and so this news is both surprising and doubly disappointing. 

FST strongly supports the Football League in implementing and maintaining of the standards and principles set out under FFP regulations and hope that there will continue to be no clubs who feel themselves exempt from FFP, including our own.  It is our hope that the Football League ensure any and all clubs who have breached FFP are treated equally in receiving punishments in accordance with the levels of their offence. 

As fans we would like to know how this was allowed to happen and will be pressing the Club for answers. 

Saturday
Dec192015

Jimmy Hill 1928-2015

The Fulham Supporters Trust is saddened to hear of the death of former player and Chairman Jimmy Hill and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

Jimmy Hill played nearly 300 games between 1952 and 1961 for Fulham Football Club.

He had a diverse career in football from being a player, manager, chairman, Television broadcaster, PFA chairman who helped abolish the maximum wage and also one time linesman from the stand.

My own personal memories of him are from 1987 onwards and how he was a central figure in brining groups together to help stop the merger with QPR and save Fulham Football Club from being just a name in the history books.

As a committee member of the old Supporters Club I was a representative who attended a number of meetings with the club and Jimmy Hill. While he was difficult at times to deal with you always knew that he had the club and football at heart first and foremost. But it was always a pleasure to hear his views and ideas on the game, no matter how bizarre some of them were. His love of the game and club was infectious.

Along with the Muddyman family Jimmy Hill saw Fulham through the tricky years until Al Fayed came on the scene and bought the club.

Without Jimmy Hill I truly believe there would be no club now. All Fulham fans owe him a debt and I personally thank him for his hard work over such a troubled period of our history.

Michael Gregg

R.I.P. Jimmy Hill

 

 

Wednesday
Dec022015

Trust Meeting with Fulham CEO, December, 2015

On 1.xii.2015 at 10.30, two of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford and Neil Springate) met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer) and Darren Preston (DP, Chief Operating Officer) from Fulham FC at the Club’s headquarters, Motspur Park.
 

Search for a new first team manager

AM said that Mike Rigg (Chief Football Officer) was intent of finding the right candidate who would fit in to the pre-existing structure at the Club and this had proven difficult. As a result, it would not be rushed into making an appointment.

Knowing that the Club monitors Fulham-related social media and that it could not have been unaware of the mounting disenchantment among the Club’s fans over the delay in appointment of a new manager, among other things, The Trust asked whether the current Club structure was deterring potential applicants or restricting the calibre of those who had applied (or would apply) for the post. AM said that there had been several applicants and that he was unaware of any that had been deterred as a result of the extant administrative set-up.

The Trust asked whether a new manager would be expected to attain the same targets by the end of the current season as had been demanded of previous manager, Kit Symons. AM said that finishing in the top six of the Championship was and would remain the objective. Whilst an inability to achieve a specific tally of points at a given period in the season had not been the sole reason behind the dismissal of Symons, it was believed that the desired final placing would not be achieved under his stewardship and the Club felt it had to relieve him of his duties.

Although discussions had taken place, AM stated that no contract had been offered to Steve Clarke (currently manager at Reading FC).

 

Financial Fair Play

The Trust noted that there had been a number of stories in various media that the Club was facing a transfer embargo from the Football League for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations and that there had been questions from its members on the matter, given the Club’s previous assurances of being within the guidelines stipulated.

Although a statement, prepared by the Trust (and on this matter alone), had been agreed with the Club subsequently, the Trust was then asked to withhold this until the Football League and the Club synchronise an announcement later this month.

 

Redevelopment at Craven Cottage and Motspur Park

AM said that there had been good progress following meetings with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the Friends of Bishop’s Park. DP had spoken at the AGM of the latter regarding the building development of the Riverside Stand, who were generally supportive of the Club’s aims. Discussions are taking place with the Council about using 50 metres of Fielders Meadow for the storage of materials and equipment to be used for the works. On a recent visit to London, Club Chairman, Shahid Khan, had examined the existing plans for the works on the Riverside Stand and had discussed enhancements of the design with AM.

The Trust had sent a draft letter of support for the proposed redevelopment at Motspur Park to Sarah Brookes, Club Communications and Marketing Director. It would forward this to its members requesting them to write to the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to state their support of the planning application. The deadline for submissions is 4.xii.2015, and DP said that the planning application will be heard on 27.i.2016.

http://www6.kingston.gov.uk/propertyServices/planning/Details?caseNo=1515210

 

Matches versus Brentford FC and Queens Park Rangers FC

The Trust is due to meet with DP, Sarah Brookes, representatives of fans’ groups at Brentford FC and the Metropolitan Police (MP) at Craven Cottage on 3.xii.2015. With game against The Bees due to take place on 12.xii.2015, this meeting was requested by the MP’s Football Officer Responsible for Fulham and Barnet FCs and follows changes to the pre- and post-match policing and stewarding for the Good Friday 2015 fixture which had received complaint from both fans of Fulham and local publicans.

The Club had allocated the entire Putney End at Craven Cottage to fans of Brentford FC and this had resulted in complaint of being over-generous. AM said that, were the Club not able to absorb the extra demand for tickets by visiting fans, there was the risk of them acquiring tickets for the home ends, with concomitant risk of disruption.

The Club had made a request for the allocation of both tiers at Loftus Road for travelling fans for the fixture on 13.ii.2016, but no response had been received as yet from the hosts.

Further complaint from Trust members had been made regarding the purchase of tickets, in particular the allocation of away seats, through Ticketmaster, even more so given that Ticketmaster offer a means of choosing seats for all of London’s (and other regional) major auditoria. Fans were unable to understand why the Club had accepted a deal that was evidently not that offered to those attending opera and the like. AM suggested that, were concerns to continue, a meeting could be arranged with Katy Phillips, Head of Ticketing at the Club.

 

Meeting closed at 11.20

Wednesday
Nov182015

Trust Meeting with Fulham FC CEO, November, 2015

On 13.xi.2015 at 14.00, four of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford, Mike Gregg, Gerry Claydon and Neil Springate) met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer), Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director) and Mike Rigg (MR, Chief Football Officer) from Fulham FC at the Club’s headquarters, Motspur Park.


1. Riverside Stand and other ground redvelopments

AM opened the meeting by stating that a major redevelopment of the Club’s headquarters at Motspur Park is intended. Plans have been verified and, at the end of October, Fulham FC submitted a planning application to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. It is hoped that works may begin this summer.

http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2015/november/12/training-ground-development-proposal

The Trust commented the proposal was very encouraging and that it would be willing to aid in the process of lobbying for support for the planning application, as it had done for the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand.

The Club had no designs on the old BBC sports ground on the opposite side of Motspur Park, although it was known that alternative uses for it had been proposed by other parties.

There had been no further progress with the obtaining of a licence for works from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The Club was awaiting a response from the MMO on “technical wording" within the licence, which was considered essential in order to avoid the possibility of providing an opportunity for any group to seek a judicial review.

2. Recruitment of new manager

MR had been charged by the Chairman, Shahid Khan, with preparing a short list of candidates for interview. MR said that much had been made of supposed distinctions between the terms ‘head coach’ and ‘manager’, but his (and the Club’s aim) was to select someone whose emphasis would be ‘on the pitch’ matters and the first team and its players, in effect remaining distanced from all other issues. MR did confirm that the new head coach would be allowed to bring in his own staff as long as they fitted into the overall structure of the current setup. Also that the new head coach would be involved in transfers as are many other elements of the club.

The Trust asked whether the search for a new manager had been complicated by the desire to find the right person to meet the criteria for success demanded by the Chairman, i.e., reaching the play-off places. MR replied that it would be important that the new incumbent would be able to fit into the pre-existing system and function within the financial confines in operation. He confirmed that no interim appointment would be made of a caretaker manager since it was believed that there was sufficient coaching and training expertise within the remaining staff.

Mark Taylor, the Club’s Director of Sports Medicine and Exercise Science had left to become Performance Director at Sunderland AFC and an advertisement for a replacement in his role had been placed.

3. Under-21 side

The Trust commented that the half-season review had proven popular with fans. It had been noted that, within the team, there appeared to be a dearth of strikers. Was it intended to augment the team by loans or transfers? MR said that a meeting had been held on 10.xi.2015 with regard to its playing strengths of all teams and it was agreed that the Club did not wish to inhibit the progression of younger players from the youth team into the under-21s and that they would not bring anyone in unless better than they possess already.

4. Away fans issues

SB said that no response had been received from Queen Park Rangers FC with regard to the possible allocation of the lower tier at the away end for travelling fans of Fulham for the match at Loftus Road on 13.ii.2016.

The Trust had received complaints about the allocation of tickets by Ticketmaster for the match versus Bristol City FC. The inability of fans to choose their seats, and the general ‘free for all’ once inside Ashton Gate, coupled with quite ineffective stewarding, meant that the match was spoiled as a spectacle for many, in particular the elderly. The Club was unable to comment on reports of the arrest of some fans on one the London-bound trains, following the match. SB said that matches were assessed according to potential risk when determining the number of stewards allocated for away travel.

 

Meeting closed at 15.00