Notes from August meeting with Fulham FC
Carmelo Mifsud (CM, media relations manager), Casper Sylsvig (CS, chief revenues officer) and David Daly (DD, non-executive director) of Fulham Football Club met with Ian Clarke, Dan Crawford and Archie Rhind-Tutt of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust at Motspur Park on Monday 13 August as part of the ongoing structured relationship between the Club and the fans.
CM welcomed everybody to the meeting and gave Alistair Mackintosh’s apologies for his absence.
MATTERS ARISING FROM JULY MEETING
CM and CS confirmed that Sean O’Loughlin has left Fulham Football Club to take up a position as finance director at Crystal Palace. The Club are currently recruiting for a new finance director.
The Trust inquired again as to the possibility of the play-off final highlights package and the review of the season DVD to be made available as a digital download following some queries from our members. CS confirmed that following conversations with Fulham FC’s suppliers both items will be soon made available to download via iTunes and the cost of the upload would be borne by the Club so the price to supporters would be the same as the physical media.
The Trust representatives referred to the safe standing trial currently in operation at Shrewsbury Town and the Government review of policy that has been trailed over the summer. CM confirmed that the Club were interested in fans views about this, but any policy changes would have to wait until the Premier League and the football authorities had reached a firm view on the matter.
The Club had not yet appointed a contractor to carry out the Riverside Stand rebuilding works. The Trust will be following this up with Alistair Mackintosh in due course. The Club confirmed that, once the contractor has been appointed and a clearer timescale for the works is in the place, they would want to set up a Riverside Stand working group with season ticket holders to discuss the various relocation options. The Trust and the Club agree that it is vitally important to provide supporters with as much information as possible about the changes to their matchday experience at Craven Cottage.
CM said that the Club had talked to a number of clubs about their experience of undertaking similar rebuilding work – and that he had personally visited Bristol City, who also had to move long-standing season ticket holders during their building work. The Club are committed to continuing with the Riverside Stand work and will keep supporters updated as to progress.
DD, who has been working on the promotion of the Club’s history since his appointment to the Board, confirmed that he would be wiling to discuss how to represent Fulham’s history in the new stand with the fans. The Trust will be setting up a meeting with DD and potentially other Club officials to discuss this in greater detail.
The Trust raised the issue of the increased cost of upgrading tickets for matches this season. CS informed the meeting that, during a period of mystery shopping and direct phone calls to supporters seeking to renew their season tickets and memberships, that they discovered a number of adults who held concessionary memberships or season tickets.
Detailed analysis from last season on the number of games that season ticket holders miss showed that genuine concession holders are most likely to miss midweek evening kick-offs for a variety of reasons, particularly travel time to and from the game, so the Club wanted to keep the option of upgrades open. CS confirmed that the Club will keep this policy under review, but stressed that it had already proved successful in deterring the number of touts offering Fulham tickets for sale.
The Trust also raised the concerns of some members that they had purchased full adult tickets that had concession printed on them – and this was leading to problems at the turnstiles. CS replied that the Club would be looking into this as a matter of urgency.
The Trust representatives reiterated our concern at the expense of attending Fulham matches this season and the increase in season ticket prices. CS reiterated that there have been no discussions about the setting of prices for next season and that the Trust’s feedback would be given weight when those decisions are taken.
The Trust put forward the suggestion made by a number of members that there could be a reduced number of tiers of loyalty points for some away fixtures. CS said that the Club recognised that loyalty points was an emotive issue for supporters but that the Club had received specific feedback that fans with a high number of loyalty points wanted the ability to buy tickets first. CS also commented that the Club are looking at other ways of giving supporters with high loyalty points additional benefits.
CS confirmed that the Club has never sold as many replica shirts. The Trust raised the issue of the cost of purchasing a replica shirt, which has risen considerably over the past few years. CS said that he was aware of this issue and it was one of the reasons why the Club had reinstated the ten per cent discount for season ticket holders this season.
The Trust also raised queries from members that a number of popular sizes of shirts, training kit and other merchandise sell out exceptionally quickly. CS explained that the Club has to place orders with their supplies seven months in advance, which accounts for the shortage of stock in some sizes. DD confirmed that this is standard practice within the industry. CS confirmed that the next delivery of adult shirts is due in October and November.
CS revealed that takings in the Club’s stadium store on Stevenage Road were 50% higher than ever before during the opening home game of the season against Crystal Palace. He also said that the Club were looking to freshen merchandise more regularly this season and that the Club have appointed a specific member of staff, Sean Davies, to oversee this.
CS and CM confirmed that this season’s official third kit will be last season’s black away kit.Following a further discussion on the kit manufacturing process, CS said that the only organisations who can fully design their own Adidas shirts are Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester Utd and Germany.In response to a question from the Trust, CS confirmed that the Club are still trying to still the shirt sponsor space on the Under 18 kit, which cannot display the Dafabet logo due to age restrictions on gambling.
FULHAM FC TV
The Trust had been made aware of instances of passwords and log-in information for the Fulham FC TV subscription service being sent in plain text email. The Trust raised this concern and the implications for GDPR. This issue will be looked into by CM and any supporters experiencing this should contact the Club immediately.
The Club admitted that, following the decision to make more card-only payment areas available within Craven Cottage for the friendly against Celta Vigo and the first Premier League home game against Crystal Palace, the signage and knowledge of staff was not good enough at these games. CS has undertaken a review of the current operation and is aiming to ensure that it is better for the forthcoming home game against Burnley.
It was also confirmed that it is the Club’s intention to operate a card-only payments policy in the Riverside Stand once the new stand is fully built.
The Trust raised the issue of over-zealous stewarding during the Celta Vigo game. CS and CM replied that the Club has to comply with the ground regulations and that Craven Cottage is designated an all-seater stadium, although they do recognise that there are some areas of the ground where supporters are left with a severely restricted view. CS commented that the Club are reliant on stewards to operate in line with their match day briefings, but said the Club would keep an eye on these issues.
The meeting closed at 1.32pm.