Trust June meeting with Fulham Football Club
On Tuesday 20th. June 2017, Dan Crawford from the Fulham Supporters’ Trust Board met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief executive officer), Casper Stylsvig (CS, Chief Revenue Officer), Carmelo Mifsud (CM, Interim Communications and Media Director), Katy Phillips (KP, Head of Ticketing) and David Daly (DD, non-executive director) from Fulham Football Club at Motspur Park.
END OF SEASON DINNER
AM thanked the Trust for inviting himself, Tony Khan and Huw Jennings to the end of season dinner held at Craven Cottage in May. All three Club representatives greatly enjoyed the evening and felt it was an excellent way to celebrate the season. The Trust thanked AM, TK and HJ for their attendance, the Club for its assistance and organisation and indicated that we would like to hold similar events during the course of the forthcoming season.
Following several questions from Trust members about the Club’s pre-season plans, AM confirmed that Fulham Football Club has finalised the arrangements for a two-match tour of Poland in July. The first team will play Piast Gliwice at the Remes Hotel in Opalenica on Wednesday 5 July (kick off 5pm local time) and FC Zlin on Saturday 8 July at Stadium Groklin (kick off at 5pm local time). The first team will then play two behind-closed-doors friendlies at Motspur Park as well as undertaking another pre-season European tour. The Club will then round off their pre-season preparations with a home friendly at Craven Cottage on Saturday 29 July (kick off 3pm). Further details will be available on the Club’s official website in due course.
CS confirmed that the Club would be launching the new official home kit in mid-July, which the first team will wear during the home friendly at Craven Cottage. AM agreed to give strong consideration to the Trust’s suggestion of bringing forward the kit launch dates for future seasons.
SEASON TICKETS, TICKETING MATTERS, AWAY SUPPORT AND LOYALTY POINTS
AM reported that the Club was very pleased with the strong season ticket sales over the course of the summer months. KP and AM confirmed that memberships were being advertised with the incentive of discounted home league tickets so supporters who did not want to pay extra on the day of these fixtures should opt for either a season ticket or membership.
The Club had conducted an internal review of their ticketing policies and discussed with Ticketmaster some of the issues that had arisen over the course of the season. KP and AM confirmed that it was the Club’s intention to continue to allocate limited away tickets through loyalty points for the forthcoming season, but recognised the Trust’s concerns about a lack of awareness about how supporters earned loyalty points and how many loyalty points were available for each purchase. It was agreed that the Club would seek to highlight the loyalty points system more prominently on the ticketing section of its website and investigate the possibility of displaying the number of loyalty points available when supporters book individual match tickets.
AM, CS, CM and KP all commented on the noticeable increase in away support that Fulham had attracted during last season. This was something that had also been acknowledged by the players and Slavisa Jokanovic. The Club is exploring options to increase the number of Fulham fans travelling to away matches and the Trust will be assisting in this effort. The Trust also informed the Club that we would be forwarding our concerns on ticket pricing in the Championship, that has penalised severely travelling Fulham fans over the past few seasons, to the EFL as part of a national campaign on this issue.
SUMMER TRANSFER ACTIVITY AND RECRUITMENT
AM reiterated his words, and those of Tony Khan and Huw Jennings at the Trust’s end of season dinner, that the Club are confident of retaining all their key first-team players for the forthcoming season. AM also stated that Ryan Sessegnon remains registered with Fulham as a youth scholar, so he is not in the out of contract situation that the Club experienced with Moussa Dembele last summer. The Club is keen to strengthen the playing squad and is working hard towards that end: AM suggested that one signing might be announced very shortly. AM indicated that all of the players who had been on loan with the Club during the 2016-2017 season would like to remain, but that deals to retain or purchase them would be pursued only at the instigation of Slavisa Jokanovic. He further revealed that the completion of deals at this stage in the transfer window is largely dictated by the pace of the market, which is very quiet at the moment, and a number of targets are waiting to see if there is interest from Premier League clubs before committing to a move. AM also asserted that he felt Fulham were now a much more attractive proposition for potential signings than at the start of last season and the Club would be doing everything possible to support Slavisa Jokanovic’s push for promotion.
FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY
AM confirmed that the Club had not received any further word on the status of Leicester City’s and Queens Park Rangers’ challenges to the Football League’s Financial Fair Play rules, although it was still expecting a decision in the near future. He also confirmed that Fulham were in a much better position themselves under the FFP regulations and would not, therefore, be under any financial pressure to sell any of their players.
OPEN TRAINING SESSION
CS and AM expressed regret that the planned open training session for season ticket holders at Motspur Park was not able to scheduled as planned during the final weeks of last season, due to fixture congestion and the need to prepare the first team for their promotion run-in. The Trust was pleased to hear that several such events would be re-scheduled during the forthcoming campaign.
Ahead of the release of the Championship fixture list, the Trust had been contacted by several members and Fulham supporters to raise their frustration at the lack of a Boxing Day home fixture for the fifth season in a row, due to the prioritisation of Chelsea’s home fixtures by the football authorities and the Metropolitan Police. AM, DD and CM expressed sympathy with these complaints and the Trust will be writing to the FA and the EFL to voice these frustrations further.
CRAVEN COTTAGE AND THE RIVERSIDE STAND
AM stated that, while progress was still being made on the final plans for the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage, the Club was not yet able to go into specific details about the final nature of the plans. Both AM and DD reinforced the comments made by AM and TK at the Trust’s end of season dinner about how pivotal the stand redevelopment was to the Club’s future and they appreciated the patience of the Fulham fans.
AM also revealed that major pitch improvement works had begun at Craven Cottage almost as soon as the season had ended, which included the installation of a new SIS pitch to compliment the ones that had recently been installed at Motspur Park.
AM confirmed the recent announcement that the Club had acquired the BBC Sports Ground opposite their Motspur Park training ground. Initial plans have been drawn up regarding how the Club would use the site, but these were subject to further internal Club discussion prior to them being released publicly. AM reflected that the acquisition of this site further indicated Shahid Khan’s commitment both to the Club and the development of the Academy.
FULHAM FC TV
In response to a question from the Trust, CM stated that the Club was happy with the number of sign-ups they received for Fulham FC TV last season, having introduced the service in response to EFL rules last October. The Club had recruited several new members of their media and communications team to deliver greater content for the service over the coming months and two members of the team are currently in Norway filming a segment with former Fulham favourites Brede Hangeland and Fulham Supporters’ Trust patron Erik Nevland. The Club is developing several potential pre-season features and are hoping to offer live streaming of this season’s league fixtures for international subscribers.
The meeting closed at 12.15