Friday
Jul122013

Trust statement on Fulham FC takeover

The Fulham Supporters' Trust would like to take the opportunity to welcome Mr Shahid Khan as the new owner of Fulham Football Club. The Trust would also like to extend the heartfeltthanks of all Fulham fans around the world to Mr Mohamed Al-Fayed for 16 wonderful years of progression under his stewardship.

The change of ownership presents an exciting, if uncertain time, for Fulham fans, but The Trust feels it is important to recognise the immeasurable contribution our outgoing Chairman has made to the history of our great club. For this, we would like to wish Mohamed Al-Fayed well in retirement and once again thank him for the journey that Fulham have taken over the last 16 years.

The Fulham Supporters' Trust welcomes the opportunity to continue its prosperous working relationship with Fulham Football Club under Mr Khan's leadership and eagerly look forward to the beginning of this next chapter in our club's history.

Wednesday
Jun192013

Fulham Supporters' Trust Statement: End Of Season Meeting With Club Officials

On Tuesday 11th June, a delegation from the Fulham Supporters Trust (“FST”), led by Vice-Chairman Gerry Claydon, met with Fulham Football Club (“FFC” or “the Club”) at the team’s training headquarters, Motspur Park.

 

The FST were warmly greeted by Alistair Mackintosh, Club CEO, Sean O’Loughlin, the Finance Director and Sarah Brookes as Communications Director, together with Supporter Liaison Officer Tommy Guthrie.

 

The meeting was an opportunity for the Club to receive feedback from the FST on fan views and opinions on various off-field matters, and also presented a forum where the FFC could provide the FST with important updates on several Club and fan-related issues. Issues yet to be discussed will raised in further dialogue in the coming weeks.

 

Topics discussed included the landscape of Craven Cottage, progress of the Riverside Stand redevelopment, the club’s financial performance, financial fair play, fan initiatives and the supporter liaison role.

 

Craven Cottage

 

FFC is planning to use this off-season to continue the effort of recent seasons and upgrade various facilities at Craven Cottage. This upgrading will include works to improve the pitch, to increase the facilities available for the media and to improve the bathroom facilities across the stadium as a whole. This work follows last summer’s installation of a new video screen at each end and the refurbishment work to the roof of the Johnny Haynes Stand.

 

An initiative under consideration that was revealed to the Trust during the meeting is the use of an optional cashless payment system at Craven Cottage on match days. It is intended that this scheme will be trialled during the coming season and would allow fans to pay at concessions using money pre-loaded onto their season ticket or membership card.

 

On the issue of flares that were evident in the away end during the Liverpool FC game, FFC condemns those individuals that brought flares into the stadium. Security measures were in place before the game and the club did confiscate a large number of flares before kick-off. CCTV footage has been used to identify those individuals responsible and details have been passed onto Liverpool FC to consider disciplinary action.

 

Riverside Stand

 

The club is progressing plans for the Riverside Stand redevelopment, with the project having recently received formal sign-off from the Mayor of London. The initial phase of works will require an entire close-season and are intended to be commenced at the first available opportunity following final planning approval. There are still some technical planning and approval issues to resolve so, whilst there is no formal start date, yet, the Club wishes to re-affirm to fans that the scheme will go ahead as soon as legally and feasibly possible.

 

Safe Standing

 

The Club will follow the official Premier League stance on safe standing. Under modern safety regulations, the historic and intimate nature of Craven Cottage is likely to make accommodating safe standing a challenge. FFC have been told that there are health & safety concerns not easily remedied at the Cottage. The gradient of the Hammersmith and Putney Ends is such that, to accommodate safe standing, they would have to be altered, which would reduce the capacity of Craven Cottage. The Club would be unwilling to support safe standing at the Cottage at this stage if capacity would have to be reduced, for financial reasons.

 

Finances

 

The Club and FST would both like to thank the Chairman, Mohamed Al-Fayed, for his most generous gesture in converting into equity (or shares) his debt held with the Club. This conversion dramatically changes the Club’s financial balance sheet into one with no debt. The club is focussed on achieving long term self-sustaining finances, a goal that the FST wholly supports. FFC’s vote against the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play was a philosophical one: FFC did not wish to downplay the significance of the Chairman’s role as a benefactor in FFC’s recent historical rise, and felt that a ‘No’ vote symbolised the fairness of the current system in allowing other clubs to benefit as we did. The Club do not believe they will be negatively affected by FFP following its introduction.

 

Fan Initiatives

 

FFC asked the FST to investigate support for a pre-match flag that could be unveiled in the Hammersmith End before home matches as a way to generate an improved atmosphere. The FST has subsequently canvassed fan opinion on the matter which revealed overwhelming support for the initiative with 81% of those responding in favour. Design feedback has now been passed to the club for further consideration.

 

Supporter Liaison Officer

 

FFC have been forerunners in Supporter Relations, and the UEFA-mandated Supporter Liaison Officer role is one which FFC already have in place. For the 2012/2013 season, every Premier League club had a staff member in this role. The FST congratulates FFC on their forward-thinking approach to supporter relations.

 

Press

 

The club affirmed to FST that fans should not believe everything that is published in the newspapers. The Communications team at FFC work hard to ensure official news is released as soon as it is possible.

 

 

In conclusion, the FST would like to publicly thank FFC for meeting, and those individuals attending for their time and candidness throughout. The FST would also like to thank all those employed at Fulham Football Club for their continued effort and hard work throughout last season.

 

A further look at the topics discussed will be available in the FST’s next newsletter, available free of charge at the first Premier League home game of the season. 

 

The FST will be maintaining regular dialogue with the Club through Supporter Liaison Officer, Tommy Guthrie, on all relevant matters at all levels throughout the coming season. If you would like to join the Fulham Supporters Trust from as little as just £5 for the coming season, please visit the 'Join Us' section by clicking here or via the website navigation banner above.

 

Monday
Jun172013

FST Survey On Giant Matchday Flag In Hammersmith End

After running an online survey for all Fulham fans to answer on whether they would like a giant flag unveiled before kickoff at every home game offering the chance to let the club know directly your thoughts, the FST were delighted with the huge response, the results of which were submitted to the club earlier today. 

To summarise the results, 81% were for the flag, with 19% against. Recurring design suggestions included: use of the club crest, the phrases "This Is Fulham", "We Are Fulham" and/or "Still Believe"/"Believe", the words "London's Oldest" or "Original", and silhouettes of key Fulham moments (such as Gera vs Hamburg, or the Chairman waving).

We will keep you updated with any developments.

Saturday
Feb232013

Dan Crawford In The Fulham Chronicle: "Al Fayed Won't Walk Out On Fulham"

FST board member Dan Crawford gave some words to local newspaper The Fulham Chronicle this week, in which he speaks about the recent debt-to-equity move taken by Al Fayed and how it underlines his commitment to the football club. The article has been reproduced in full below.

Source:
The Fulham Chronicle

FULHAM Supporters Trust spokesman Dan Crawford says he is convinced Mohamed Al Fayed’s move to secure a debt-free future for the football club is not a step towards bailing out.

The Craven Cottage club recently announced that owner Al Fayed has converted his previous loans into equity – a move which appears to put the club on a sounder financial footing.

But the intention is not to attract potential buyers, Crawford believes.

"Every indication is that while he has scaled back, or even sold off, many of his other investments, like Harrods, the football club is the one he has kept on," Crawford told the Chronicle.

"I don’t think Fulham fans doubt his commitment.

"He’s a visible presence and his son Karim is on the board, working closely with [chief executive] Alistair Mackintosh, which points to a continued desire to retain his interest in the club.

"I hope I’m not just swallowing the PR, but the loans gesture gives Fulham long-term security and removes any lingering doubts over long-term plans.

"When you consider some of the uncertainty at QPR, by comparison, that has to be a good thing. I’m all for a pragmatic approach."

Fulham’s 0-0 draw at Norwich City on Saturday hardly set the pulses racing and a season that began full of promise with a 5-0 win over the Canaries has faded.

But at least the Whites went into a two-week break with a handy cushion above the drop zone, and Crawford senses that Al Fayed’s equity plan, along with the recent planning permission to redevelop the Riverside Stand, should give fans confidence in the club’s direction.

"We’ve been financially prudent since the initial splurge to get us promoted a decade ago and we are starting to look more at bringing on younger players," Crawford said. "These are all sensible steps."

Thursday
Feb212013

Praise For Fulham's Matchday Experience For Disabled Fans

Level Playing Field (LPF) may be more familiar to fans of Fulham as The National Association of Disabled Supporters (NADS), established in 1998. In March 2011, it changed its name to Level Playing Field in order to better embrace the social model ofdisability and its works and projects.

Over the years, Fulham FC has a very good track record in ensuring that its disabled supporters and visitors have as much access as reasonably possible to all goods, services and facilities provided or offered to the public by the Club. These efforts have been recognised by LPF, who issued the following statement this week:

Craven Cottage is one of the oldest stadiums in English football, and includes two Grade II listed buildings. Despite this, the club have recently had an LPF Access Audit carried out and have identified areas of improvement.

The club have been able to make inventive modifications to improve accessibility and provide a better service for disabled supporters. The club have released a short video that demonstrates the facilities and services available to disabled supporters at Craven Cottage. The four minute clip details how two fans in particular arrive at and get around the stadium, and can be viewed here.

We feel that this is a great example that improving accessibility at stadiums does not have to be a long and costly exercise, and that even the oldest stadiums can easily be modified. The club has reacted positively to the LPF Access Audit that was carried outand has started to take positive steps towards making Craven Cottage more accessible and providing an inclusive matchday experience for all supporters.

Well done Fulham!

The Fulham Supporters’ Trust recognises the considerable endeavours of the Club in providing access to and assistance within Craven Cottage and looks forward to further development of facilities for less able-bodied fans within the reconstructed Riverside Stand when complete.