Friday
Jan122018

Notes from January meeting with Fulham Football Club

On Tuesday 9 January 2018, representatives of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust board Tom Greatrex (TG), Dan Crawford (DC) and Michael Gregg (MG) met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, chief executive officer), Casper Stylsvig (CS, chief revenue officer), David Daly (DD, non-executive director) and Carmelo Mifsud (CM, media relations manager) of Fulham Football Club at Motspur Park as part of our structured dialogue and relationship on behalf of Fulham fans.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING AND STRUCTURED RELATIONSHIP
The Trust representatives began the meeting by welcoming the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the two parties in December and raised ways in which this could be developed over the period ahead.

Consultation on specific issues relating to supporter experience, run in conjunction with the Trust, was a good testing ground to explore this. Several other Clubs and Trusts had been in touch to ask for further details about the work that had gone into both the setting up of regular meetings and the establishment of the MoU. Both the Trust and the Club agreed to continue talking to interested parties as part of our commitment to sharing such best practice within football.

PLAYING MATTERS AND JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW
The Trust representatives reported that there had been significant concern expressed by many members following the reported comments of head coach Slavisa Jokanovic during a recent press conference, and raised a series of questions from Trust members regarding the January transfer window.
 
Trust representatives pressed the Club on statements made in December, and AM reiterated the Club’s position that they are looking to strengthen the squad during the January transfer window and that the identification and recruitment of targets had begun well in advance of the opening of the window. There is no change to the position and process outlined in December, an integral element of which is discussion and evaluation of options with Slavisa Jokanovic and the coaching staff. Pressed on the concern that has arisen from the widely reported press comments, AM said that every manager wants to have players in as early as possible and AM understood his and fans’ frustrations, adding that the nature of conducting transfer business in January meant deals were often dependent on selling clubs concluding their own transfers – which meant that activity is usually delayed until towards the end of the month, but he did confirm they were working on a potential deal at the moment.
 
AM reiterated that the Club’s recruitment process would remain the same as outlined in previous meetings and that the Coach, scouting team and data analysis department were working to an agreed list of players. He also confirmed that Tony Khan is in regular contact, several times a day, when he is out of the country. He also emphasised the importance of identifying value for money (Be it a £500K deal or a £5M deal) and ensuring that the financial aspects of each deal represented strong long-term investments for the Club. AM also stated that the Club remained keen to retain their key players during January and that there was renewed confidence that the first team could challenge for promotion from the Championship in the months ahead.
 
RIVERSIDE STAND
CM and AM thanked the Trust for their support in raising awareness of the Club’s submission of their planning application to Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the various means by which Fulham fans could support the plans. AM confirmed that the Club had been informed that the Council were still working towards a formal determination of the application at either their March or April planning committee meetings, which would fall before the purdah period ahead of the local elections.

The Trust representatives confirmed that the Trust would shortly be putting in their own submission in support of the plans to Hammersmith and Fulham Council as well as a further request to remind Trust members and Fulham fans to either add their names to the Club’s online petition or write statements of support directly via the Hammersmith and Fulham Council planning portal. The Trust representatives highlighted the particular impact supporters living close to the ground can have, and suggested they particularly be encouraged to make submissions to the Council. The Trust shared positive feedback they had received about the plans.

The Trust also raised the issues regarding the future of supporters who currently have season tickets in the Riverside Stand, and shared feedback from recent survey work with a sample of season ticket holders in that stand. Whilst the Trust and Fulham fans welcomed the Club’s commitment to remaining at Craven Cottage for the duration of the redevelopment phase, there is clearly going to be disruption to the current matchday arrangements once the existing stand is demolished.

The Trust undertook to provide further details of our members’ feedback to the Club and both parties also agreed to set up a working group involving the Club, Trust members and supporters from the Riverside Stand to discuss the redevelopment and how to work through the various logistical issues that will arise during the construction phase.

The Club and the Trust agreed to hold a specific and more detailed meeting where specific issues surrounding the plans for the Riverside Stand could be discussed with Sean O’Loughlin.
 
MATCHDAY EXPERIENCE
The Trust representatives raised issues with the food offering and service at recent home matches in several home stands and, following a discussion of particular concerns with the Club, it was agreed that a series of consultation meetings should be set up regarding supporters’ experience of food and drink, the matchday atmosphere and the hospitality currently offered at Craven Cottage. Trust members will have already received an email inviting them to take part in these meetings.

The Trust also brought up complaints received from supporters about the public address system at Craven Cottage. Some announcements made via the tannoy are impossible to hear clearly, which includes several announcements made during the half-time interval, although the occasional emergency announcement comes through clearly. Both CM and AM agreed to investigate this as a priority.

The Trust also raised correspondence from supporters about the WiFi available in the ground and the lack of signage in the Riverside Stand that helps supporters locate their seats. The Club confirmed that this would be looked into as well.

BOXING DAY AND BANK HOLIDAY FIXTURES
Following Fulham’s fifth away Boxing Day fixture in a row, the Trust had undertaken a round of media interviews and activity ahead of the trip to Cardiff City. Several supporters had been in touch suggesting that it was well past time that Fulham had a home Boxing Day fixture and the Trust representatives communicated this view to the Club. Both AM and CM replied that, whilst the Club does not have the ultimate say in regards to the arrangement of the fixtures, they would make a strong representation to the football authorities ahead of the fixture list being drawn up for the 2018/2019 season.

The Trust also raised the issue of most of Fulham’s Bank Holiday fixtures now taking place on Tuesdays. AM and CM advised that, particularly in the case of the January matches, this decision had been taken following consultation with the first team head coach taking into account recovery time between fixtures, but that they would take supporters’ views into account when considering changes to the schedule in future.

TICKETING
The Trust had been made aware of a number of issues regarding ticketing since the last meeting in December. Several supporters had been in contact regarding the Club’s recent special offer of free tickets for season ticket holders for forthcoming home fixtures as they had endured difficulty in claiming their tickets for the relevant fixture. CM and CS advised that all supporters who had contacted the Club had been offered tickets for future matches and that some of these issues arose from supporters having unsubscribed from the Club’s email communications.

The Trust also raised concerns about the difficulties that a large number of supporters faced when trying to order their tickets for the FA Cup third round tie against Southampton. CM said that a number of issues arose due to changes made by Ticketmaster and that the Club had experienced difficulties liaising with Ticketmaster between Christmas and New Year. The Club’s ticket office staff had worked very hard to resolve any issues and CS apologised for any inconvenience caused to Fulham fans.

The Trust had also received correspondence about a number of season ticket holders being unable to gain access to the Craven Cottage for the Ipswich Town game because their season tickets had been suspended. This resulted in increased queues prior to kick off and a large number of supporters having to visit the ticket office to get the issues resolved. CS confirmed that the Club would investigate this as a matter of urgency.

In response to a question from the Trust, CS confirmed that the Club had been encouraging supporters to use ‘the print at home’ option having purchased match tickets online and, that following a software change, this should option should be now fully operational once again.

The meeting finished at 11.56am

 

Thursday
Dec282017

Awayday guide: Hull City


TICKETING INFORMATION

Tickets for Fulham's trip to Hull City on Saturday are on general sale and supporters wishing to support Slavisa Jokanovic's side at the KCOM Stadium should call the Fulham ticket office on 0203 871 0810. There are no concessionary rate tickets available for Hull City's fixtures this year - and the Trust has raised this matter with the EFL. Tickets are priced at either £18, £24 or £27 depending on which section of the away end you wish to sit in.

Tickets have now gone off sale online and any telephone callers should specify whether they wish to collect their tickets from the ticket office or at Hull on Saturday afternoon. Tickets will go off sale to telephone callers tomorrow (Friday 29 December) afternoon but Fulham fans will be able to buy tickets on the day from the Hull City ticket zone on the East side of the KCOM Stadium.

GETTING TO THE KCOM STADIUM

BY CAR

Take the M1 to Junction 21A take the A46 exit to Braunstone Frith/ Kirby Muxloe/ B5380. Keep bearing right at the fork in the road and follow the signs for the A46 Newark. You will soon have to merge onto the A46, whereupon you should follow it to after Lincoln. At the ensuing roundabout, choose the first exit for Humber Bridge and then at the third roundabout after about 21 miles on the A15 take the third exit for the M180/Humber Bridge and head along the M180 to Junction 5 before turning off following the signs for Hull/Hull Airport. At the upcoming roundabout. take the second exit onto the A15 and cross the Humber Bridge (you will need to pay a £2.50 charge) take the third exit, clearly signposted as 'City Centre'. Turn left at the lights, head over the flyover, take a right at the next lights and the ground is on your right side.

There plenty of spaces to park your car at the KCOM Stadium car park (priced at £5), but you should be aware that there can be delays of around half an hour getting away after the final whistle. There is also a park and ride service - which is clearly signposted off the A63, and a large number of city centre car parks, like the ones on Pryme Street and Freetown Way available, as well as the free parking near opposite the Hull Royal Infirmary. 

BY TRAIN

The KCOM Stadium is approximately twenty minutes walk away from Hull Paragon Railway Station. Turn left at the end of the platform and then left into the bus station, walking through to the exit at the far end. Head past Tesco on your right, cross over Park Street at the traffic lights. Follow the blue signs to KC Stadium go along Londisborough Street, cross Argyle Street and head onto the pedestrian walkway and take bridges over railway lines to the ground.

BY COACH

The club coaches will leave Craven Cottage and West Barnes Lane, opposite Motspur Park train station, at 9am. There are still spaces on the coaches which can be booked by calling the Fulham FC ticket office on 0203 871 0810.

AWAY PUBS

The Park View (57 Walton Street, Hull, HU3 6JB) almost directly opposite the stadium car park entrance has always welcomed visiting supporters in the past. A family run pub, which has recent undergone reburfishment, it serves a wide array of beers and has big screens to show live sport as well as housing a burger van outside on matchdays.

The New Walton Club (243 Walton Street, Hull HU3 6JR) welcomes away fans as well but you will be charged a £1 entry fee. The club serves very good cheap beer in a friendly atmosphere with a separate area serving food and other refreshments.

The Boot Room (354-356 Anlaby Road, Hull, HU3 6NS) is located further down Walton Street on the corner of the junction with Anlaby Road. Although this is where a large number of Hull fans congregate before the games, they have welcomed away fans previously and have a number of big screens showing live sport.

The other pubs in the vicinity of the KCOM Stadium or the old Boothferry Park are all designated either officially or unofficially as being for home fans only. There are a number of alternative venues in the city centre, including the local Wetherspoon's The Admiral of the Humber (1 Anlaby Road, Hull HU1 2NT), The New King Edward Bar (which is right next door to the Admiral of the Humber and located upstairs, 1 Anlaby Road, Hull HU1 2NR), The Punch Hotel (Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3RA) and The Hop & Vine (24 Albion Street, Hull HU1 3TH).

Alcohol is available inside the stadium at the Pitch Side bar which is specifically for away supporters but, on police advice, this bar can sometimes stop serving alcohol 45 minutes before kick off. 

 

Thursday
Dec282017

Hull City ticket information

Tickets for Fulham's trip to Hull City on Saturday are still available on general sale and supporters wishing to support Slavisa Jokanovic's side at the KCOM Stadium should call the Fulham ticket office on 0203 871 0810. There are no concessionary rate tickets available for Hull City's fixtures this year - and the Trust has raised this matter with the EFL. Tickets are priced at either £18, £24 or £27 depending on which section of the away end you wish to sit in.

Tickets have now gone off sale online and any telephone callers should specify whether they wish to collect their tickets from the ticket office or at Hull on Saturday afternoon. Tickets will go off sale to telephone callers tomorrow (Friday 29 December) afternoon but Fulham fans will be able to buy tickets on the day from the Hull City ticket zone on the East side of the KCOM Stadium.

 

Sunday
Dec242017

Awayday guide: Cardiff City

TICKETING INFORMATION

Tickets are still available for Fulham's trip to the Cardiff City Stadium on Boxing Day. Fulham fans wishing to make the trip to Wales can call the Fulham ticket office on 0203 871 0810. Pre-booked tickets are priced at £23 for adults, £19 for supporters aged over 60, £14 for supporters aged between 16 and 21 and £11 for supporters under 16. Family tickets - for two adults and two children - are also available priced at £36.

Tickets will be available from Cardiff City's away ticket office at the Cardiff City Stadium, located at Gate 12, on matchday but at the increased prices of £25 for adults, £21 for supporters aged over 60, £16 for supporters aged betwen 16 and 21 and £13 for supporters under £16.

Fulham are running free coach travel for supporters for this fixture from Motspur Park and Craven Cottage.

GETTING TO THE CARDIFF CITY STADIUM

BY CAR

Exit the M4 at junction 33 and take the A4232 towards Cardiff and Barry. Remain on the A4232 and leave the dual carriageway at the B4267 and, at the end of the slip road, turn left at the roundabout following the signs for the Cardiff International Athletics Stadium. The Cardiff City Stadium will be visible along this road on the right.

Parking in the nearby retail park is limited to 90 minutes and is in enforced. There are a small amount of parking spaces outside the away turnstiles (starting from turnstile 7) the Cardiff City Stadium priced at £8, but better value will be found at the nearby Gol centre (Lawrenny Avenue, Cardiff CF11 8BR, tel: 029 2037 5760) where Fulham fans are welcome to park at cost of £5, which is refunded in the form of a bar voucher (see away pubs section below). Limited free parking is available at the Canton Rugby Club (33 Lawrenny Avenue, Cardiff CF11 8BR) and you can park for £5 at the nearby Bessemer Road Wholesale Market.

BY TRAIN

There are no trains running on Boxing Day.

BY COACH

Fulham and the Club's official main team partner, grosvenorcasinos.com, are offering free travel for Fulham fans with match tickets. Coaches will leave Craven Cottage and West Barnes Lane, opposite Motspur Park rail station, at 9.45am.

AWAY PUBS

Most pubs in the vicinity of both the Cardiff City Stadium and the old Ninian Park are designated for home supporters only.

The nearest welcoming venues for visiting fans are the two that we featured above for car parking. The local Gol centre (Lawrenny Avenue, Cardiff CF11 8BR, tel: 029 2037 5760) has previously afforded Fulham fans a very warm welcome. It is about eight minutes walk from the ground and has a well-stocked bar as well as offering tea, coffee, hot dogs and other refreshments. The Gol centre also offers visiting children the chance to use their five-a-side pitches for free.

The Canton Rugby Club (33 Lawrenny Avenue, Cardiff CF11 8BR, tel: 029 2031 2125) has also welcomed Fulham fans in the past. The rugby club has a well-stocked bar with a large television screen showing live sport.

Alcohol and refreshments are also available inside the Cardiff City Stadium, including Fosters, Strongbow and Brains Bitter priced at £3.90 per pint, with small bottles of red and white wine available at £4.

Some pubs in the city centre will not admit away suppporters or away fans wearing colours. The three major recommendations are the Prince of the Wales (81-83 St Mary Street, CF10 1FA), the local Wetherspoons, which is about 25 minutes walk from the ground, The Cottage (11 Sanquhar Street, CF24 2AA), which serves excellent food and has a name popular with Fulham fans and The Walkabout (65-74 St Mary Street, CF10 1FA).

Wednesday
Dec202017

Fulham fans face furthest travel in Championship for festive football

Fulham fans will travel the furthest of all Championship fans to follow their team over the festive period, according to research released today by the Football Supporters' Federation.

Slavisa Jokanovic's side have been handed away games at Cardiff City on Boxing Day and Hull City on December 30th - meaning that Fulham fans will travel 748 miles to see the Whites in action and spend an average of £368 supporting their side, according to the data compiled by Virgin Media for the FSF. The EFL's festive fixtures mean that Fulham will be playing away on Boxing Day for the fifth successive season, with the home draw with Southampton in 2012 being the last time Craven Cottage hosted a post-Christmas fixture.

The Fulham Supporters' Trust have regularly raised this matter regularly with Fulham Football Club, the EFL, other football authorities and the local police, especially as Chelsea receive priority in terms of fixture selections. The EFL had previously said that they would take into account the feedback from fans ahead of allocating the festive fixtures, but Fulham fans face the third longest journeys of any team in the country over the Christmas period.

Trust communications officer Dan Crawford said: 'Fulham fans have had to travel to Boxing Day games for the last five years. This season's trip to Cardiff is only made possible for most fans by Fulham's free coach travel and is followed by another away game at Hull City. Such scheduling at Christmas is another unfortunate example of the fans being taken for granted by the football authorities'.

The FSF's chief executive Kevin Miles added: 'Despite money being tight around this time of year, supporters will be travelling up and down the country over Christmas and New Year to back their teams in remarkable numbers once again. Away fans are a huge part of our match-going tradition and that shouldn't be taken for granted, so clubs and sponsors can and should do more in making football as affordable as possible.'