The Fulham Supporters’ Trust supports all independent writing on Fulham FC and is always pleased to promote and support the ventures of Ashwater Press, run admirably by Martin Plumb and Ken Coton.
We have received a request from Martin and Ken for support for a follow-up to the first ‘Ashwater’s Fulham Scrapbook’ (published in 2015), which has all but sold out.
There have been many requests for another; so they’re happy to oblige. This time they would like to open it up further to readers of Ashwater’s publications. Already, some Fulham-related material has been supplied to them, but if you have any interesting pictures, documents, memorabilia, artefacts or curiosities that you think might be worthy of inclusion in the second Fulham scrapbook, please get in contact with Martin and Ken know and they’ll try their best to get them in, although there is no guarantee that all will make it?
Please don’t send them originals? Just email (or post) them as a scan or a photo. If they believe that they can use your contribution, they’ll get in contact with you for a high-resolution scan or photograph. Relevant material will be needed by the end of September at the latest.
Martin and Ken look forward to hearing from you.
68 Tranmere Road
Middlesex TW2 7JB
This year's Non-League Day will be held on Saturday 3rd. September, 2016, offering supporters a great chance to see some live football during the international break.
The Fulham Supporters’ Trust has promoted Non-League Day enthusiastically since it inception. Now in its seventh year, it remains the leading nationwide event to support non-league football and, across the country, non-league clubs will be looking for your support on the day (and in the hope that you may wish to attend regularly).
There are more than 50 matches within the M25 boundary and a game near you may be found using: http://www.nonleagueday.co.uk/map.html
It's not only an opportunity for fans with a spare Saturday to get their ‘hit’ of live football and to support their local and developing teams. The vast majority of non-League clubs operate on the proverbial ‘shoe-string’ budget and through the generous and unstinting assistance of an army of volunteers and the Day offers much-merited recognition of their efforts.
Non-League Day is slightly earlier in the footballing calendar than it has been previously. Organisers hope that the earlier date with, hopefully, better weather prospects will increase the numbers through club turnstiles. In addition, this weekend of non-league fixtures includes one of the preliminary rounds of the FA Cup.
The September date has the added bonus of not coinciding with international matches for any of the home nations, which frees up more clubs and fans in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to also take part if they wish.
This year Non-League Day will be crowd-funding money for Prostate Cancer UK - its official partner charity - and has set a fundraising target of £10,000.
Clubs across the country will no doubt have some great deals available, regularly offering discounts for season ticket holders from Premier League and Football League clubs, so please ensure that you investigate fixtures in your area?
There is an extensive programme of Football League fixures in Leagues One and Two.
On 2nd. August 2016 at 10.30 two of the Trust Board [Dan Crawford (DC), Michael Gregg] met Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer) and Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director) from Fulham FC at the Club’s Headquarters, Motspur Park.
1) Redevelopment of Riverside Stand and Motspur Park
The Trust asked AM for an update on the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand, to which he referred us to his reply in writing prior to the meeting:
“We have applied to the Council for a Lawful Development Certificate, which would effectively confirm that the work undertaken at the Stadium to date is:
(i) lawful – i.e., insofar as it relates to the Planning Permission; and
(ii) sufficient to preserve the Planning Permission – i.e., such that it does not expire after three years.
We expect the Council to confirm that the Certificate has been granted over the coming weeks.”
Thus, it’s very much in the hands of the council to agree that works done thus far are seen as sufficient in order to keep the permission alive.
The review from Heatherwick Studios is due around the end of August; the club will then review the findings and decide on the next step.
The work at Motspur Park continues, with permanent floodlights now in place for the main match pitch and construction of the indoor playing area taking place. It is evident that the new facility will comprise a very large building and playing area. More work is still required and the expected finish date is the end of September.
2) Player recruitment
The turnover of playing staff is continuing with AM saying at least another 4 would be coming in to the club and maybe a couple leaving. However, there was no need to balance the numbers of the squad (i.e., the recruitment of 4 players requires that 4 depart).
DC mentioned there appeared to be a change in the type of player coming in and AM confirmed that, while last summer reflected Kit Symons’ management, Slavisa Jokanovic’s European pedigree had led to this summer’s purchases.
While the deals involving specific players were not touched on in great detail, AM did say that every player has his price.
3) Players retained/released/youth contracts
It was raised with SB that some of the younger players retained had not been confirmed by the club on the website and that their biographies therein did not show the new contract deals. SB said this would be looked at and updated where necessary.
A discussion was held on the contract situation of younger players. It was reiterated that contracts were offered to players such as Hyndman and Dembele but, in essence, neither of them were likely to sign with their agents asking for figures of around £60/70K per week in wages. AM said we only ever had one offer for Hyndman and that he was surprised Dembele had gone to Celtic FC, following his agent’s comments in negotiations.
Where possible, the club will look to offer long term contracts to player they feel will progress within the rules allowed. It has done so in the past, for example with Christensen, Williams and Woodrow, and will continue to do so.
4) Season Tickets, mascots, marketing and Ticketmaster
SB said that sales of season tickets were slightly behind where they were last year. A new call centre had been set up and this would produce more targeted marketing from the club with regard to seats, season tickets and hospitality.
The Trust asked about the 10% discount being taken away from online and shop purchases for ST holders. This has been replaced by a voucher book that ST holders will receive this season.
Casper Stylsvig, the clubs’ new Chief Revenue Officer, has implemented a number of changes since taking on the role. One of these is the open sale of all the club’s home games, where the desire is to drive revenue from the start of the season.
Another has been the removal of the opportunity to purchase a mascot place for home games. While this has been marketed in the online hospitality brochure, it has been withdrawn and is now open only to other sponsorship packages in order to add value to them. The Trust considers this to be a very disappointing move, but it was confirmed that, if one had booked a mascot’s place prior to the changes, it will remain available.
Other marketing ventures are taking place, such as a ‘pop up’ stall at Covent Garden on 3rd August, as the club try to capture the tourist market.
The clear message the club is giving is that it’s about bringing money in through as many avenues as possible.
SB was asked whether the Club had received complaint about the failure of bookings made by iPad or smartphone within recent days, since the Trust had received complaint from its members (and had noted the same on social media). SB said the Club had not, but asked anyone who had problems to let them know and give as much information as possible.
5) EFL Trophy
The club had not been asked to enter a team due to its final position in the Championship last season.
Meeting closed at 11:30
On 26th. May, 2016 at 11.00, four of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford, Michael Gregg, Gerry Claydon and Tom Greatrex) met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer) and Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director) from Fulham FC at the Club’s Headquarters, Motspur Park.
1) Redevelopment of Riverside Stand, Motspur Park and work on Craven Cottage
The Trust asked AM for an update on the 3 major works taking place and reiterated concerns over the delay to the Riverside stand and lack of clear information from the club on where exactly the club stood in relation to a start date on it.
The Trust made it clear that the low key nature and imprecise wording of the statements published on the Club's website and in the final match programme of the season increased anxieties, and that the Club needed to always be aware of the significance of any proposals associated with the ground with supporters, given the history.
AM explained that as the club moved closer to the actual start date of the work on the Riverside stand it was decided to have a peer review on the current plans. He confirmed that this decision was taken towards the end of the season. The club wanted to make sure it was/is the right design for the club and the ground going forward.
AM reiterated that Mr Khan loved Craven Cottage and wants to make sure that any development of it is right in all areas. AM stated that we would start to see more marketing of Craven Cottage as a venue, with regards more internationals possibly being held and as a corporate location. It’s a unique ground and as such should be viewed that way.
Two companies were put forward to look at the stand and ground, with Mr Khan choosing Heatherwick Studios to do the review. They have been given 4 months to look at the stand and the ground and come back with its conclusions. Currently, they are 4-6 weeks into this review.
Once their report is presented to the club they will then look at the result and make a decision on which route to take. This may be to continue with the current plan or take into account what Heatherwick Studios produce.
What this does mean is there will be no major works taking place this year, irrespective of the outcome of the review.
With planning permission due to run out this summer, the club will still be undertaking pre-commencement works to maintain the validity of the current planning permission. If the conclusion (of Heatherwick’s review) is to go ahead with the current design of the stand, there would then be no delay due to planning permissions. AM agreed to forward to the FST a discharge list of work to be undertaken. Some work such as trees being removed and some riverbank work had started already.
If any changes Heatherwick Studios suggest require a full planning application, then the club will have to decide if they wish to submit an application. This, of course, will take time. While the existing design is planned to be built while stadium is in use, AM could not commit that would necessarily be the case if an alternative design was favoured.
The club is in full consultation with Heatherwick Studios throughout this process, and involves discussing both the match day requirements and non-match day possibilities that a new stand could provide. Part of the brief is to ascertain what would be possible by staying within the footprint of the current plans.
The Trust asked about contractors involved with the build and AM said that, while they had worked with one major company throughout the process, nothing had been signed regarding the actual build process of the stand.
While the club would not confirm how much has been spent so far on the Riverside Stand, but the Trust believes it is in the region of £5M.
The work on Motspur Park continues and parts of it resemble a building site. This work will help the club keep the Category One status for its training facilities. New pitches, parking and a permanent dome for indoor training will benefit both the club and the local community. The cost of this work is between £6-7M and it should be finished by September 2016.
Craven Cottage is having all of its roof tiles removed and cleaned. The dressing rooms are being updated to cover league regulations and other exterior and interior work. Hopefully, this will be completed in time for the start of the season. As a listed building, the club is obliged to keep it in good condition, hence the need for these works.
2) Transfer embargo, FFP and player recruitment
With club now out of the embargo, AM said that the plan is to stay within the new FFP limits that have come into force. The question about QPR and its ongoing legal challenge was raised and there is still no news as to when that will be concluded.
FFP regulations should not hamper the club’s desire to make the changes required to the squad in order to challenge for promotion in the coming season.
The manager, in conjunction with Mike Rigg and his scouting team, will all be looking to bring in players with the right character and skills required for a promotion push. The structure of the player recruitment side of the club has remained unchanged following a review by Mr Khan at the end of the season.
3) Players retained/released and pre season matches.
SB confirmed that the list of players retained or released will be published no later than June 8th. and may well be announced before then.
With regard to pre-season matches, dates will only be released when all the contracts with the clubs have been signed, but it was confirmed that will include a tour to Ireland.
4) Season Tickets, Attendances, Fixtures, Ticketmaster and Casper Stylsvig
SB said that sales of STs so far had been going well and was above budget at this time. The reason for the extension of the deadline for applications was due to the forthcoming Bank Holiday and also to help fans who were normally paid at the end of the month, hence the extension until 31st. May.
The club was fairly happy that crowds, on the whole, were the same as last season and only down a few hundred on average. The mixed zone will be staying at the Putney end and also the club confirmed that they will not restrict ticket allocations away fans as many Fulham fans have asked. Scott Parker has asked SB to look at how the club can help the fans be more vocal, so it appears that the clappers are here to stay.
AM confirmed that (i) the club will continue to request permission from the Football League to stage their midweek home games on a Tuesday at 19:45 and (ii) the manager favoured this instead of a Wednesday.
Many fans had received multiple automated e-mail acknowledgements for renewal of their season tickets from Ticketmaster (TM) and this was being investigated by both the club and TM. It is a TM issue and happened during a specific time period. No reason for the problem could be given at this time.
Casper Stylsvig has started work at the club and is looking at all aspects of the club under his remit, which is to focus on increasing and developing revenue streams, including sponsorship and hospitality.
It was confirmed that a main shirt sponsor is in place for 2016-17, but the Club was not yet in a position to announce details.
5) Proposals for re-structuring of the Football League
AM said that the club had been in touch with the League asking for more clarification on the proposals and were unable to offer a firm position given the lack of detail in the proposals so far. He indicated that the FL agreed that discussions will take place over the coming months, ahead of any final proposals being put to Clubs at the 2017 AGM. AM volunteered that the reduction in games was not something he instinctively favoured.
6) The ‘free drink and hot food’ offer
SB said that, while the offers as a whole had gone down well and a majority of fans had been catered for, that issues had arisen from both the greater than expected demand and also the ability of the caterers to actually stock the required food and drink within the kiosks. SB expressed the view that, if it were held again, that lessons had been learnt from the problems that had arisen.
Meeting closed at 12:30