Meeting with Fulham FC CEO, August 2016
On 2nd. August 2016 at 10.30 two of the Trust Board [Dan Crawford (DC), Michael Gregg] met Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer) and Sarah Brookes (SB, Communications and Marketing Director) from Fulham FC at the Club’s Headquarters, Motspur Park.
1) Redevelopment of Riverside Stand and Motspur Park
The Trust asked AM for an update on the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand, to which he referred us to his reply in writing prior to the meeting:
“We have applied to the Council for a Lawful Development Certificate, which would effectively confirm that the work undertaken at the Stadium to date is:
(i) lawful – i.e., insofar as it relates to the Planning Permission; and
(ii) sufficient to preserve the Planning Permission – i.e., such that it does not expire after three years.
We expect the Council to confirm that the Certificate has been granted over the coming weeks.”
Thus, it’s very much in the hands of the council to agree that works done thus far are seen as sufficient in order to keep the permission alive.
The review from Heatherwick Studios is due around the end of August; the club will then review the findings and decide on the next step.
The work at Motspur Park continues, with permanent floodlights now in place for the main match pitch and construction of the indoor playing area taking place. It is evident that the new facility will comprise a very large building and playing area. More work is still required and the expected finish date is the end of September.
2) Player recruitment
The turnover of playing staff is continuing with AM saying at least another 4 would be coming in to the club and maybe a couple leaving. However, there was no need to balance the numbers of the squad (i.e., the recruitment of 4 players requires that 4 depart).
DC mentioned there appeared to be a change in the type of player coming in and AM confirmed that, while last summer reflected Kit Symons’ management, Slavisa Jokanovic’s European pedigree had led to this summer’s purchases.
While the deals involving specific players were not touched on in great detail, AM did say that every player has his price.
3) Players retained/released/youth contracts
It was raised with SB that some of the younger players retained had not been confirmed by the club on the website and that their biographies therein did not show the new contract deals. SB said this would be looked at and updated where necessary.
A discussion was held on the contract situation of younger players. It was reiterated that contracts were offered to players such as Hyndman and Dembele but, in essence, neither of them were likely to sign with their agents asking for figures of around £60/70K per week in wages. AM said we only ever had one offer for Hyndman and that he was surprised Dembele had gone to Celtic FC, following his agent’s comments in negotiations.
Where possible, the club will look to offer long term contracts to player they feel will progress within the rules allowed. It has done so in the past, for example with Christensen, Williams and Woodrow, and will continue to do so.
4) Season Tickets, mascots, marketing and Ticketmaster
SB said that sales of season tickets were slightly behind where they were last year. A new call centre had been set up and this would produce more targeted marketing from the club with regard to seats, season tickets and hospitality.
The Trust asked about the 10% discount being taken away from online and shop purchases for ST holders. This has been replaced by a voucher book that ST holders will receive this season.
Casper Stylsvig, the clubs’ new Chief Revenue Officer, has implemented a number of changes since taking on the role. One of these is the open sale of all the club’s home games, where the desire is to drive revenue from the start of the season.
Another has been the removal of the opportunity to purchase a mascot place for home games. While this has been marketed in the online hospitality brochure, it has been withdrawn and is now open only to other sponsorship packages in order to add value to them. The Trust considers this to be a very disappointing move, but it was confirmed that, if one had booked a mascot’s place prior to the changes, it will remain available.
Other marketing ventures are taking place, such as a ‘pop up’ stall at Covent Garden on 3rd August, as the club try to capture the tourist market.
The clear message the club is giving is that it’s about bringing money in through as many avenues as possible.
SB was asked whether the Club had received complaint about the failure of bookings made by iPad or smartphone within recent days, since the Trust had received complaint from its members (and had noted the same on social media). SB said the Club had not, but asked anyone who had problems to let them know and give as much information as possible.
5) EFL Trophy
The club had not been asked to enter a team due to its final position in the Championship last season.
Meeting closed at 11:30