On 20th. December 2016, two of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford and Michael Gregg) met 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) FA Cup Game Away to Cardiff; 11:30am Kick Off issue
The Trust confirmed it had sent a letter to BBC Wales complaining about the kick off time. The Club acknowledged it was not a great time to play but, under the TV deal, they are obliged to play at the time the TV company ask. The Club has tried to mitigate the travelling issues by organising free coaches.
2) First team, Injuries, Coaching set-up, player contracts and future transfers
MR was present for this part of the discussion and asked him about the current injury situation at the Club or absence of it.
Tomas Kalas had a scan the day before but, at the time, the outcome of it was unknown. Apart from him the rest of the squad was fully fit. This had, in part, led to the Club looking back over its records and at no other time in its recent history had the injury situation at this time of the year been so minimal.
This was put down to the pre- and post-match preparation that has been put in place by the current coaching set-up, medical department and sports science teams, some of which the newer players have said were the best they have ever seen.
MG asked about the position of Steve Wigley within the Fulham coaching set-up. MR confirmed he is head of coaching for all age groups from the U23s and below. Vic Bettinelli and Mark Pembridge were in charge of the U18s and Peter Grant in charge of U23s.
MG asked if any of the younger players had contracts extended of which we had not been notified by the Club via the website. He said discussions were ongoing with some of the younger players and it was mainly positive at the moment and that, in the near future, contract extensions should be announced.
MG asked about Chris Martin and his loan situation with rumours in the press that Derby County FC could recall him. AM confirmed that Derby could not recall him as and when they pleased and that Martin was key to the team going forward.
The Trust asked about January transfers and whether we expect to see many arrivals at or departures from Fulham. There would a few moves but not many. The Head Coach, like anyone in his position, will want to strengthen the team but it would not result in a major influx of players since 14 had joined in the summer.
Some players will be allowed to leave but only with the agreement of the head coach.
3) Redevelopment of Riverside Stand and ground improvements
The Trust asked AM for an update on the development of the Riverside stand and the review by Heatherwick Studios. AM said there was no update at this time and when the Club has something to report they will.
With much publicity over the newly installed Gin Bar, the Trust asked the Club about other improvements for fans across all income bands from normal to corporate supporters. AM replied that they would look at other options and are open to ideas on what they can offer. A full list of what’s on offer is to be supplied to the FST so they can pass on to the membership.
4) Away Tickets and website
Following the changes made to the website, both the FST and Club has received good feedback on the changes the FST helped put forward. Whilst not perfect, the Club is looking to improve on this issue in the future.
5) Johnny Haynes shirt
The FST asked as to where the mounted Johnny Haynes kit, which the Trust had loaned given the Club for display could be sited in order to give it a prominent position. This led to the Club and FST looking at a future project together and it was agreed to return to this matter in the New Year.
SB was asked how FulhamTV and the issues recently during live matches. The Fulham website, along with other sites, were attacked and this meant the site went down as it as it experienced a DDOS attack (Distributed Denial of Service). This was against the host server and out of Fulham’s control and the Club is waiting for a full report from the company.
On the issue of loss of commentary from IOS/Android systems recently, SB explained there had been a software update and one solution is to reinstall the FFC App. If issues continue, then subscribers should contact the Club and they will investigate the specific matter(s).
With regard to match coverage, SB said that, at home games, they have 3 cameras and this allows more coverage/editing for the highlights and 90-minute game. Away from home, they are unable to offer this service and are left with the coverage offered by the home club.
The Club continues to be pleased with both the ‘take up’ and numbers who watch the live Under-23 games.
7) English Football League, dealings with fans and TV deal
The Trust raised its concerns about ticket pricing, particularly in relation to Ipswich Town FC’s pricing arrangements for our game on Boxing Day. The Trust also communicated its disappointment that EFL chief executive, Shaun Harvey, had yet to meet with Championship fans’ groups three years after promising to do so. AM recognised the Trust’s concern about ticket prices for the Boxing Day game and said that he regularly discusses matters with his fellow Championship colleagues and represents the EFL on a committee that negotiates with players on behalf of the professional game.
Meeting closed at 11:30