A delegation from the Fulham Supporters’ Trust Board – compromising of Mike Gregg, Dan Crawford, Lorcan O’Connor and Neil Springate – met with Fulham Football Club’s chief executive officer Alistair Mackintosh and director of communications and marketing Sarah Brookes at Motspur Park on Thursday morning.
Prior to the Trust delegation posing a series of questions to the Club, Mr. Mackintosh suggested that a regular monthly meeting be held between the Club and Trust. This was agreed and the Trust looks forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with the Club.
The Club are committed to continuing with the plans to increase the capacity of Craven Cottage.
A River Works Licence was obtained earlier in the year. Port of London Authority (PLA) consulted extensively with river users and other interested parties and received a range of expert advice. The PLA is preparing detailed river works licence conditions.
Youth Team set-up
Alastair Mackintosh said the post-relegation cost-cutting has not significantly affected the Club’s youth team set-up. He said that the only change is a greater focus on selecting and developing youth talent from the London area, although this does not mean that the Club will cease to try and attract leading talent from overseas. Owner Shahid Khan is very keen to promote the youth academy. The youth set-up was integral to the team’s long-term development and the Club is continuing to try and tie down the cream of our young talent to new or extended contracts.
Fulham Football Club Board of Directors and Planning
The Club was considered to deficient at Board level of those sufficiently acquainted with Fulham FC’s history, in particular after the departure of Mark Collins and the sad death of Dennis Turner, both of whom were keen fans. Would this ‘fan representation’ be restored? Alistair Mackintosh said that the composition of the Board was to be examined by Shahid Khan.
Nothing had changed with regard to long-term planning and Shahid Khan intended to remain in charge for a long period. His investment thus far has not placed any debt on the Club. A return to the Premier League is intended and as soon as possible, but this could take longer than was envisaged. Shahid Khan wishes to invest in the infrastructure of the Club and would support the incoming manager with resources. In terms of marketing, the ‘synergy’ between Fulham Football Club and the Jacksonville Jaguars would continue and this would also include mutual sponsorship and links within sports science.
The fans’ concerns with the possible linking of the Club with any permitted UK franchise team from the NFL were raised. Alastair Mackintosh said he was unaware of any intentions of Shahid Khan in this regard.
As has been reiterated in the press reports since Magath’s sacking, the Club are not in a rush to replace Felix Magath and this may give Kit Symons a chance to prove his capabilities. In turn, Symons would be one of the names considered prior to the appointment of a permanent manager. In response to a question from the Trust, Alastair Mackintosh indicated that the use of a director of football was a possibility.
Alastair Mackintosh said that there be a review of what has happened following the appointment and subsequent sacking of Magath.
Unlike the previous season, where the Premier League had demanded of clubs that monies be spent promoting the interests of travelling fans, no such recommendations or demands were made by the Football League. Sarah Brookes agreed to examine the possibilities of assistance for travelling fans for certain mid-week away fixtures where long distance trips were needed.
(As an aside, the 20.00 kick off for the match versus Doncaster Rovers on 23 September 2014 was the Club’s decision in conjunction with the police.)
The Fulham Foundation
The Trust felt that more coverage of the excellent work of the Fulham Foundation was needed. Exposure for the Foundation’s efforts had proved difficult, even more so now that the Club had been relegated. Its promotion required great effort by Club staff to place stories about the Foundation in the local papers. The Club’s younger players were particularly supportive of the Foundation’s projects and participated readily.
The Trust reported that there had been many complaints about on-line ticket purchases, in particular the slowness of the electronic booking system. Sarah Brookes said that the ticket provider, C360, was a ‘stand alone’ organisation and, whilst the Club’s systems could handle heavy usage during ticket purchase, that of C360 could crash. Ticket office staff are looking at the best way to work with this system and the Club’s representatives recognised the likelihood of further problems ahead of popular away fixtures, such as Brighton, in the future.