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Thursday
Feb092017

Fulham history exhibition at Craven Cottage

The Fulham Supporters' Trust is pleased to offer fans the chance to view a selection of iconic Fulham memorabilia before the Whites' two forthcoming fixtures at Craven Cottage.

In association with Fulham Football Club and supported by kind donations from Trust members, the Trust will be staging a pop-up exhibition of items from the club's past, including match-worn shirts and signed photographs depicting some of Fulham's finest moments. 

Among the items on display in one of the Hammersmith End superboxes are shirts worn by England captain Johnny Haynes, Fulham's record goalscorer Gordon Davies; one of Rodney McAree's shirts from the 1996/97 Division Three promotion season; the shirt worn by Sean Davis when he scored the goal against Sheffield Wednesday when Fulham clinched the Division One championship title; Dickson Etuhu's shirt from the first leg of the Europa League tie against Juventus and Louis Saha's shirt from Fulham's first Premier League fixture against Manchester United, when the striker scored twice at Old Trafford. 

Also on display will be a photograph of former Fulham captain Simon Morgan taken by former club photographer Ken Coton and signed prints from Moussa Dembele and Roy Hodgson, the latter celebrating Fulham's Great Escape from relegation in 2008.

The exhibition will take place between 1.30pm and 2.30pm, before Fulham's game against Wigan Athletic on Saturday 11 February, and then between 6.30pm and 7.15pm, before Fulham's fixture with Nottingham Forest on Tuesday 14 February, in the Johnny Haynes hospitality box at the Hammersmith End. 

Supporters interested in seeing part of Fulham's illustrious history are kindly requested to email info@fulhamsupporterstrust.com with their name, which day they would like to attend and contact details by 5pm on Friday afternoon, 10 February.

Tuesday
Jan242017

FST meeting with FFC at Motspur Park on 17th. January 2017

On Tuesday 17th. January 2017 two representatives from the Fulham Supporters’ Trust Board (Dan Crawford and Michael Gregg) met Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer) Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director) Steven Day (SD, Chief Executive of the Fulham FC Foundation) and Huw Jennings (HJ, Academy Director) from Fulham Football Club at the Club’s Motspur Park training ground. 

Fulham Foundation update

Following on from questions at previous meetings, SD was in attendance to provide an update on the Foundation’s work. A full impact report will be published in February, but we were given some headline figures and a summary of quarter one activities, which will be circulated separately to Trust members. Over the past year, more than 14,000 individuals received more than 19 contact hours with the Foundation across their various areas of operation.

The recent improvements to Motspur Park have allowed the Ladies’ side and the Fulham Badgers team to be based at the training ground. Both of these teams are self-funded, with the Foundation offering coaching and some other support as part of its remit. ‘Walking Football’ takes place once a week as part of the FanActiv programme and several local schools are starting to use the redeveloped facilities on a regular basis.

The Foundation’s education and football course (which caters for 16-19 year olds) now has 135 students on the programme, with 25 being based full-time at Motspur Park. While most of players are not at the level to play professionally for Fulham, several have gone to sign contracts elsewhere and four have recently earned scholarships to American universities.

The Fan Fit programme has just started its second year and anyone interested should contact the foundation to take part. It’s won several awards in the health and sporting categories.

The George Cohen statue fund raising finally raised £224K via donations from supporters that were matched by Chairman Shahid Khan. Around £85K is being used by the foundation on a number of projects that have been agreed with George Cohen. One of these initiatives is the successful Fulham Memories project, currently being run by the Foundation, and the Trust has offered to support this work on the club’s history.

The annual Fulham 10k run is taking place on February 26th. and the Foundation is actively seeking volunteers who can help facilitate the activities during the day. If any Trust member is interested in marshalling, stewarding or providing other assistance please let us know?

The annual Foundation family day has been confirmed as taking place on March 4th. when Fulham host Preston North End at Craven Cottage. The Foundation is planning a number of special activities and more information will be released about these in the near future.

Mike Rigg’s departure and playing matters

The Trust recognised that Mike Rigg had left his position as Chief Football Officer in the days following our December meeting at Motspur Park. AM stated that Mr. Rigg had helped to streamline the Club’s coaching approaches, helping to bring together all aspects of youth coaching and the senior team closer together, as part of an analysis of issues that had previously been identified, and worked together with HJ, Kit Symons and now Slavisa Jokanovic on recruitment. AM confirmed that following Mr. Rigg’s departure it would now be unlikely that the Club would seek to recruit a direct replacement, believing that sufficient structures have now been put place and that the improvements on the field indicate that things are moving in the right direction.

AM also confirmed that he had retaken control of transfer and contract negotiation during the summer and that the club’s scouting network had been revamped. The Club’s data analytics operation has also been increased and the Club receives regular input from Tony Khan and Craig Kline. AM stated that much of the media comment about the ‘two boxes ticked’ methodology was inaccurate and that, whilst input is received from the analytics team, the head coach’s input, detailed scouting reports and the financial balance of any proposed transfer are just as critical.

To illustrate this point, AM spoke about the acquisition of Floyd Ayite during the summer. Data analysis indicated that Ayite might be a player of interest to Fulham, so a full scouting report was requested. After that had been reviewed, Slavisa Jokanovic requested references on the player from his own contacts and, once the head coach was happy to proceed, the CEO commenced negotiations with Bastia.

At the time of meeting, the Club had not completed any signings during the transfer window, but the Trust was assured that the process of acquiring potential new arrivals was ongoing. Indeed, both AM and HJ arrived late to the meeting due to the pressures of the January window.

The Trust also raised the issue of Slavisa Jokanovic’s contract following media speculation suggesting he was a potential target for Werder Bremen and Malaga. AM said that the Club would not announce anything formally during this meeting, but that reports of a stand-off in negotiations were well wide of the mark.

HJ spoke about the impressive integration of several of the Club’s younger players into the first-team squad over the course of the season. Four of Fulham’s under-23 players now train daily with the first-team squad, which HJ believes is just as important as gaining game time in senior football since it aids their development. The Club monitors their development through performance plans and a decision would be taken over the course of January as to whether younger players should remain at Fulham or if they would benefit from first team football elsewhere on loan.

HJ said that it was always difficult to tell how a player will perform on loan. For some players, it can be the making of them and they will return ready to stake a claim for a first-team place, but for others it can be a tough experience away from their parent club. This is why the Club takes care to source the right opportunities for their players and HJ and AM confirmed that it was likely that several younger players and fringe members of the first team squad would go out on loan before the transfer window closes.

The Trust had been contacted by the EFL and the two national supporters’ bodies for their comments about the changes to the loan system and the Checkatrade Trophy that was introduced this year. HJ felt that the restrictions on youth loans – and the requirement that loans had to be for the duration of the period between transfer windows – desperately hindered the development of young players who were not getting a regular game. The flexibility afforded by short-term loans allowed players to gain valuable experience of senior football and their axing was a retrograde step.

The Club agreed with the Trust’s assessment that the Checkatrade Trophy was ill-thought out and rushed through without proper consultation with the member clubs. The disparity in rules around the fielding of younger players between the Premier League and the Championship academy sides and the League One and League Two teams created great uncertainty and it was clear from crowd attendances that the competition held little interest for fans. The Trust will compile a response to the authorities on both of these matters.

 Fixture rearrangements – Hull City (FA Cup Fourth Round) and Burton Albion (away)

The Trust raised the issue of the rearrangement of Fulham’s FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Hull City for Sunday 29th. January, with a 12.30pm kick off. AM responded that, due to policing arrangements deriving from Chelsea being drawn at home to play on a Saturday, and with Hull City playing in the EFL Cup Semi Final Second Leg against Manchester United on Thursday 26th. January, there was no alternative but to move the game to a Sunday. Both clubs were keen to play the fixture as early as possible on the Sunday and, after consulting the train times for travelling fans, a 12.30pm kick off was agreed.

The Burton Albion fixture, originally scheduled for Tuesday 31st January, had to be moved at short notice, due to this fixture change. The Club appreciates the impact that this has had on supporters who had already booked train tickets and accommodation, but they had no choice under the EFL rulebook but to fulfill the fixture on the rearranged date of Wednesday 1st. February. The Trust will raise the issues of late rescheduling of fixtures in our future discussions with the EFL as well as the need to compensate travelling supporters who are badly affected.

Football Sexual Abuse Inquiry

The Trust had received representations from members regarding the ongoing police inquiry in allegations of sexual abuse of young footballers by coaches in the past. The Club is co-operating with the police inquiry, but has not been made aware of any allegations affecting Fulham Football Club. The Trust raised a representation it had received from The Offside Trust, an organisation set up by survivors of sexual abuse in football, and AM stated that the bravery of these footballers in coming forward and speaking out about their experiences was remarkable and should be applauded. The Club agreed to put representatives from The Offside Trust in touch with their recently-appointed safeguarding officer to discuss Fulham’s current policies.

Redevelopment of the Riverside Stand

The Trust asked AM for an update on the Riverside stand redevelopment and the status of the Thomas Heatherwick review commissioned by Shahid Khan. AM said that there was no significant update available at this time since the Club was still evaluating the various options presented to them by Heatherwick. AM stated that as soon as a decision had been made the Club would communicate this to the supporters. The Club also retains the planning permission it received from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council in 2012 and could also opt to revive that project.

Away Tickets

The Trust wanted to place on record its thanks to the Club’s ticket office for its quick response to requests for ticket numbers and availability of the QPR game and we hope that this is something that can continue going forward.

The meeting closed at 12.00

Sunday
Jan222017

Olympic Stadium Coalition on ‘Inside Out’

The Fulham Supporters’ Trust has been an active participant in the Olympic Stadium Coalition (OSC) since its inception in mid-2015.
 
The OSC has been successful in forcing the disclosure of the details of the agreement made between West Ham United and the London Legacy Development Corporation, despite strong legal opposition from the latter.
 
As more information has been gathered about the operational costs of the stadium and its cost to the UK taxpayer, the OSC has been supported in its efforts by many MPs and members of the Greater London Assembly.
 
These have resulted in an urgent investigation into the finances of the cost of the development by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
 
Tomorrow evening, BBC1 London’s ‘Inside Out’ programme at 7.30pm will discuss the ongoing burden placed on the taxpayer by West Ham United’s publicly-subsidised stadium.
 
Trust members and Fulham fans are urged to watch the programme.

 

Tuesday
Jan032017

QPR Away tickets and order of sale.

Once it became clear this morning that the tickets for the QPR game were going to be sold top tier first, followed by lower tier the FST contacted the club to find out the reason why.

The issue we could see arising is that while the loyalty system is in place many fans actually prefer the lower tier and would have to wait to buy them.

The club response is as follows:

"The club has a strict selling order which QPR have asked us to abide to when selling their tickets.

We have agreed with QPR to take both the Upper and Lower Tier, on the agreement that the Upper Tier is sold first. We can only sell into the Lower Tier once the Upper Tier has sold out.

To allow fans who buy first the best choice of seats within the Upper Tier, QPR have allowed us to open the whole Upper Tier allocation for on sale this morning, as opposed to selling block by block from corner to centre.

Those fans wanting to sit in the Lower Tier are advised this will only be available for sale if the Upper Tier sells out, a total of 1,221 tickets"

The club have also commented:

"Will ensure we update the website with sales, so fans know how far off we are potentially going into the Lower Tier"

The club have now updated the website with more information and hopefully this clarifies the situation with regards the sale of tickets for this game.


 

Friday
Dec302016

FST meeting with FFC at Motspur Park at 10.30 on 20th. December 2016

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.

6) FulhamTV

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

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