Trust Meeting with Fulham FC, August 2015

On 4th August2015 at 10.30, three of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford, Mike Gregg and Neil Springate) met with Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director), Mike Rigg (MR, Chief Football Officer) and Darren Preston (DP, Chief Operating Officer) from Fulham FC at the Club’s headquarters, Motspur Park.

1) Ticketing and related matters

The Trust had received, and had noted from various message boards, heavy criticism of the new ticketing system, operated by Ticketmaster. Season tickets had not yet been received by the majority of applicants and loyalty points had yet to be credited. SB said that problems had been encountered whilst transferring data from previous to current systems and that this had taken time to resolve. The remainder of season tickets would be dispatched, by first class post if necessary, in order to reach applicants on or before Saturday, 8 August 2015. The Club asked the Trust to forward on any contact details of members whose loyalty points had not been transferred over.

Further complaint had been received about the unavailability of seat selection for away matches and the Trust asked whether this would persist for the entire season. SB said that this was Ticketmaster’s policy, resulting from the use of other ticketing agencies by opposition clubs, but agreed to investigate the matter further with them. The Trust believed that this could have a negative effect on tickets sales for away matches, in particular for groups of fans that wished to sit together. (SB has since replied and confirmed that away seats are unable to be displayed using the system. This is the same with other clubs that use the Ticketmaster booking system for away games.)

The Trust asked whether the Club had considered using a separate Twitter feed for ticketing, as had been employed by other clubs, such as Stoke City FC. SB said this was unlikely, since incoming messages to the existing Twitter account were being monitored and replies made by customer relations staff.

2) ‘Close season’ transfer and media activity

In general, fans were pleased with the new signings and their performances in the pre-season matches and the majority were relatively optimistic for the team’s prospects for the forthcoming season, provided a couple of playing positions were strengthened. MR had attended the recent match versus Colchester United FC, where the intention was to give as many of the first team squad players as much playing time as possible before the start of the new season and to assess a pair of trialists.

MR was aware of fans’ concerns that had been raised as a result of the sale of Patrick Roberts to Manchester City FC. Whilst the Club was determined to retain the talents of promising players, there was little that could be done once a player had decided, or had been convinced, to leave. The Club needed to consider the ‘knock on’ effects of, for example, a significantly-improved contract on (a) other players’ (and their representatives), (b) the Club’s overall financial plan and constraints within Financial Fair Play regulations and (c) whether the subsequent playing performances would justify the bettered conditions. He considered that the large sums of money being offered to younger players were having a negative effect on t heir development and longer-term career prospects.

MR believed that the best balance of players for the team was more important than paying excessive amounts for notionally highly-rated players. However, the Club was targeting named individuals rather than contacting agents and enquiring of their available clients in specific positions on the pitch. MR would prefer that the transfer ‘window’ would end before the first competitive match.

During the close season, MR thought that manager Kit Symons had done well in accommodating new players and that concentrated periods of training and matches in the training camps held in Portugal and Austria had been a success.

3) Team strip and shirt sponsors

The first and second team’s kit would be those as used in the friendly matches on 1st August 2015, versus Crystal Palace and Colchester United FCs. SB said that once all the relevant paper work had been signed off with the new sponsor that the Club’s shirts would go on sale straight away

4) Ground redevelopment

Club CEO, Alistair Mackintosh (AM) had attended the meeting very briefly, but only to offer his apologies since he was needed elsewhere. The Trust attempted to discuss the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand and issues with other stands, but SB said that it would be better to contact AM directly on these matters.

5) Johnny Haynes Café

SB said that the café was being refurbished in its entirety, with completion scheduled before the first home match versus Brighton & Hove Albion FC on 15.viii.2015. it was also noted that the temporary signage outside would be changed by match-day.

6) Proposed social event at FFC

The Trust followed up last month’s proposal of an informal ‘meet the players and manager’ social event, to be held at Craven Cottage. This would be a ticketed event with proceeds going toward the Fulham Foundation or a named charity. This had been agreed in principle by AM, and SB suggested that it would be better held once the busy August schedule of six matches had been completed.

Meeting closed at 11.35


Cardiff City Away information

Cardiff City Stadium

Much like any other of the newly built grounds around the country Cardiff City Stadium provides a simple and effective match day experience. The biggest plus to this ground is that unlike many of the other new developments, the stadium is relatively close to the city centre and main train station allowing you a fair variety of pubs and food outlets pre and post game.

Getting to the ground – Train

Cardiff has always been a relatively straightforward ground to get to by train, although the ground itself is served by local train services from Cardiff Central to Grangetown you are better off staying in the city centre as the availability of pubs and food outlets is limited around the ground. The ground itself is a 25 minute walk from the city centre so you are best off grabbing a taxi which should cost you around £7, taxi ranks are located at the main station, after the game taxis can be hard to come by so you may be best to walk, walking directions from the station to the ground are attached below.  

As you come out of the entrance to the station, bear left and at the bottom of the station approach road, turn left. Continue straight on into Ninian Park Road, for around a mile passing the Millennium Stadium on your right. At the end of Ninian Park Road turn left and then left into Leckwith Road. You will then shortly be able to see the stadium over on your left (the away turnstiles are on the left hand side of the stadium, as you view it from here).

Getting to the ground – Car

Car parking is said to be plentiful at the ground but drivers are warned to check all signage as traffic wardens are generally out in force on matchday. Your best bet is to locate the HSS Hire Company adjacent to the ground, there is a car park located here which is adjacent to the away turnstiles and is priced at £8.  

Where to drink

The majority of Cardiff fans base themselves out of the same pubs they used prior to their move to the new stadium so the city centre tends to be the best bet for away fans. The Walkabout is usually your best bet, turn right out of the station follow the road down until you hit the main high street and the Walkabout is located on the left hand side. Further along this street you have a Weatherspoons called The Prince of Wales.

A reminder to all those going that Cardiff city centre is likely to be very busy with the Welsh and Irish in town for the Rugby.  


Trust Meeting with Fulham FC CEO, July, 2015  

On 7th July 2015 at 10.30, two of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford and Neil Springate) met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer), Hugh Jennings (HJ, Academy Director) and, Carmelo Mifsud (CM, Media Relations Manager) from Fulham FC at the Club’s headquarters, Motspur Park.


1) Coaching staff at FFC

HJ was pleased with the re-appointment of Steve Wigley as the Under-18s Manager, who had started work the day before, even though he accepted that it would be a challenge for him to return. Scott Miller, fitness coach, had returned to Australia in order to become head coach of the Newcastle Jets, but, otherwise, it was same U-18 coaching staff. Former player, Kevin Betsy, had been appointed as one of the coaches for the Club’s Academy.

The youth teams would not be set targets as such, but squad members would be encouraged to play for opportunities in the senior sides that would occur. Three of the Under-21s had been signed on contract. With regard to ‘pathway’ development, HJ wanted to give all players the maximum possible amount of playing time.

2) Ticket-pricing and season ticket sales

AM said that season ticket sales were going well and in line with budgetary projections, with discounted rates for juniors proving popular, but an interim number of sales was not available. Although figures were not indicated, individual match prices for tickets would be based on two bands, including ‘stretch’ pricing. A query had been raised over the cost of upgrading a junior season ticket to an adult ticket for individual games. It was believed that it was as expensive to upgrade as it was to purchase an adult’s ticket in the first place. CM believed that this was, to some extent, dependent on where the individual season ticket holder was sitting, and suggested that cases be dealt with on an individual basis. CM confirmed that all previously-accrued loyalty points would be cred ited to purchasers of new season tickets once all transactions had been completed.

3) Team strip and shirt sponsors

The new kit would be unveiled on 16.vii.2015. Negotiations with a new sponsor for the Club’s shirts were ongoing at the time of the meeting.

4) Pre-season tour and fixtures

AM stated that, with the confirmation of the match on 8.vii.2015 between the Metropolitan Police and a Fulham XI and the two fixtures in Steiermark (on 22.vii.2015 versus BSC Hertha and 25.vii.2015 versus Eintracht Frankfurt), the Club’s pre-season fixture list was complete. The first team squad was already in Portugal for training.

5) Financial Fair Play (FFP)

AM reiterated that it remained Fulham's intention to abide by the current regulations governing Championship clubs. In response to a follow-up question on the current position with QPR, AM stated that the club was awaiting details of the decision with regards to their FFP breaches, that QPR had launched an appeal against FFP and that discussions on future iterations of FFP would likely take place at the next Football League meeting.

6) Redvelopment of Riverside Stand and issues with other stands.

AM said that a draft works licence had been received from the Marine Management Organisation and that the Club was working on re-wording and ‘fine tuning’ its text. An investors’ meeting was intended for September, 2015.

No progress had been made with regard to improving and standardising the audibility of the PA system in the Johnny Haynes Stand. Re-siting of the plasma screen would incur issues with English Heritage, although these were unspecified. The Trust had received more demands for an improvement in the ladies’ facilities in the same stand and believed that the surfeit of vending outlets – the majority outsourced - should be re-examined with a view to a wholesale renovation of the stand, subject to agreement from English Heritage, with the intent to (i) provide more toilets and (ii) make the operation of the retail of comestibles more efficient and less time-consuming for fans. AM said that the Club had noted the difficulties of creating extra space behind the stands for spectators and facilities at the Hammersmith End. The Trust also suggested that the Club pay special attention to fans' comments on facilities as a whole and throughout the ground when it proceeded with its consultation exercise.


 Meeting closed at 11.30


Evening Standard Story regarding Khan & Spurs

Following the press reports in todays Evening Standard the Trust contacted the CEO and Jim Woodcock (Khan's Spokesperson) for a comment on its validity.

We were happy to recieve responses from both parties confirming the story was complete and utter nonsense.  The club have since released a short and to the point reply via the Fulham website.     


Trust Meeting with Fulham FC CEO, June, 2015

On at 10.30, three of the Trust Board (Dan Crawford, Mike Gregg and Neil Springate) met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer) and Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director) and, briefly, Mike Rigg (MR, Chief Football Officer) from Fulham FC at the Club’s headquarters, Motspur Park.

1) Video response

The Trust welcomed the tri-partite video interview of AM, MR and Kit Symons by SB on 27.v.2015 and thanked them on behalf of the fans for this chance to hear from all involved, in particular the opportunity given to MR to explain his role at the Club, since it had become evident that this was still misunderstood or misconstrued by some fans. AM said that the interview was unscripted,


2) Riverside Stand re-development

AM confirmed his comments in the video interview that a portion of the Thames river had been purchased for the development, although its dimensions were not stated. A licence to work from the river had been concluded with the Port of London Authority (PLA). The Club was working toward discharging some of the planning conditions in order that the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand could commence - hopefully starting next year, although without any specific date given.

3) Review of the previous season’s performance and player development and acquisition

MR followed up comments in the video interview by stating that the manager had inherited a very difficult situation when made caretaker manager following the departure of Magath. However, there were no specific examples given of achievements or failures of players, tactics, management or administration. The aim would be to bring in players that fitted the ‘mould’ of the Club and who possessed the ambition and quality to get club back to into the Premier League. This needed to be achieved without risking the long-term sustainability of the Club by purchasing over-priced players.  The Club was also monitoring the changes, agreed in November 2014, to Financial Fair Play rules by the Championship clubs. There would be a quarterly review of football and a player audit, which would be used to improve the squad. Individual player plans would be prepared and this would have a bearing on those loaned, released or promotion. The announcement of players departing through ending of contract would be made at that point, unless the player was in agreement for a prior statement.


4) Crediting of previously-accrued loyalty points to newly-purchased STs

Several queries had been received with regard to the crediting of previously-accrued loyalty points to newly-purchased season tickets, since initial inspection suggested that these had been deleted. SB said that all points would be credited to ST holders’ accounts once all transactions had been completed. The Trust noted that there had been complaint about the greater amount of points being awarded for attending home rather than away matches, given the efforts made by our supporters to travel. SB said that the Club was re-examining the award of points in order to achieve re-balancing.


5) Poor quality of public address system in the Johnny Haynes stand

Complaint had been received that this was inaudible in some parts of the stand and yet deafening in others. SB said that this depended on where one was seated and AM said that the Club would investigate. The Trust indicated that this was another in a series of problems with facilities in the JH stand, including the near-invisibility of the large screens for some fans and the continuing and regularly-mentioned poor state of facilities for female fans. AM said that the Club was not planning any alterations to the stand with regard to this last item. The Trust noted that (i) ticket prices were the same for both male and female spectators and (ii) the Club had been able to incorporate additional vending outlets in the stand and believed that improvement of facilities for the ladies was feasible.


6) Relegation of under-21 team

The Trust asked why, with the under-21 side facing relegation from the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Division 1, senior players were not drafted into the side to bolster its chances of survival and how would this affect the recruitment of new players now that relegation had been confirmed? AM said that MR was in overall charge of the footballing side of the Club and that this remit included the Academy. It had been decided by the coaching staff that senior players would remain with the first team squad and not seconded. AM said that recruitment to the junior sides had not been affected. The application period for the position of coach for the under-18 team was still open at the time of the meeting, but that it was hoped to make an appointment before the beginning of next season.


7) Season ticket sales and comparison with same stage last year

AM said that season ticket sales were good, especially for the cheaper children’s rates, suggesting a positive feed-back for the Clubs campaigns, in particular those in south and south-west London. Sales were up by approximately 3% in comparison with the same time last year.


8) Match commentaries

Previously, the Trust had received complaint about the lack of reception of match commentaries by ‘Gentleman’ Jim McGullion. SB said that the Club had investigated this thoroughly and that this was not a problem with the signal, but one with individual users’ mobile ‘phones or other electronic device.


Meeting closed at 11.50