Notes from December meeting with FFC
- Buckingham Group appointed as lead contractor for Riverside Stand
- Planned two year project with completion for 2021/22 season
- FFC will play in reduced capacity Craven Cottage for duration of build
- FST/FFC working group to plan relocation of Riverside season ticket holders
- FST will provide input to decision-making process regarding 2019/20 ticket prices
- Season ticket exchange scheme will be announced in New Year by FFC
- FFC will decide on modification to season ticket upgrade policy shortly
On Monday 10 December 2018, Alistair Mackintosh (AM, Chief Executive Officer), Carmelo Mifsud (CM, Media Relations Manager), Katy Brecht (KB, Head of Ticketing), Rob Paddon (RP, Head of Match Day Sales), David Daly (DD, Non-Executive Director), Sean Davies (SD, Head of Retail and Licensing), Peter Spartin (PS, Head of Commercial Development) and Nicola Walworth (NW, Supporter Relations Manager) of Fulham Football Club met with Tom Greatrex, Ian Clarke and Dan Crawford of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust at Motspur Park as part of the ongoing structured dialogue between both parties.
Further to the discussions at the previous two monthly meetings, the Trust asked a number of questions in relation to the Riverside Stand development. AM confirmed that the Club had signed an agreement with Buckingham Group as lead contractor for the project, and subject to final agreement, expected to make that public within the next day. In response to further questions, AM also reiterated that work is planned to commence at the end of the current season, and will mean two seasons with reduced capacity while construction is underway, but there will be no relocation of Fulham Football Club during the build. It is anticipated that the new stand will become operational in time for the start of the 2021/22 season. AM confirmed that the Club are looking at how to make the most of the reduced capacity during the build, with the ground capacity during the build to be finalised following detailed consideration with the contractor.
The Trust raised issues in relation to the relocation of Riverside Stand season ticket holders and related transitional arrangements, following preliminary conversations with PS on this issue. AM and PS stated that there were limited options for the relocation of existing Riverside season ticket holders, and agreed to convene a working group with relevant Trust members to discuss this in more detail. Given the urgency, with work starting at the end of the season, it was agreed this should happen in the early part of January, and that the Club would refer to this in the statement announcing the appointment of lead contractor.
The Club confirmed that work is ongoing to scope the use of catering and other facilities in the new stand on non-matchdays, and there has been interest expressed by a number of restaurant and other outlets, including from a micro-brewery. The Club are open-minded about what will feature in the commercial units but anticipate commercial units to be suitable for both matchday and non-matchday use. The Trust referred to the work underway with DD to suggest ways in which the fabric of the new stadium can also reflect the history and heritage of the Club, and committed to providing more detailed suggestions in due course.
The Trust will continue to work with Fulham Football Club during the coming months to ensure that fans’ views around the new Riverside Stand are represented through our ongoing structured dialogue. We would like to hear from Trust members who have season tickets in the Riverside Stand who are willing to be part of the small working group on relocation and related issues.
The Trust asked about matchday ticket pricing and concerns expressed by some fans about affordability and frequency of attendance, particularly relating to category A games (London derbies, top six clubs). AM and KB confirmed that the Club’s matchday ticket prices for the remainder of this season have been set. AM said that decisions relating to pricing of season tickets would be taken by the Club towards the end of January, and match day pricing would be considered at around the same time. The Trust reiterated the concerns that feature heavily in our feedback from members and the wider supporter base, and advised the Club that the Trust would be preparing options that would alleviate some of that concern and would present that in January. The Club confirmed they would welcome input ahead of decisions being made, but that there is complexity in the overall approach to ticket pricing which needs to be factored in to final decisions.
The Trust thanked the Club for their pro-active work on putting together the non-standing seat option for Fulham’s recent away matches at Chelsea and Manchester United, following discussion with the Trust over recent weeks. The Trust had received lots of positive feedback from supporters and KB confirmed that the option would continue to be trialled. KB said that Fulham liaises with the home club in advance of the scheduled fixture to identify the most suitable seats. Non-standing seats are sold from the front so that if they don’t sell out then standing supporters don’t subsequently occupy the front rows.
The Trust requested that information regarding the non-standing seat option could be added to the slip of paper that is included when tickets are send out to supporters and KB confirmed that the Club would action this. The Trust and Club noted that there had been isolated incidents of standing in the non-standing area at Stamford Bridge and agreed that the scheme could only be successful in enabling choice for away fans if supporters who buy tickets in the area respect the reason for creating it. Both the Trust and the Club will continue to monitor the scheme’s effectiveness.
OTHER TICKETING MATTERS
The Club’s proposed season ticket exchange scheme is nearing implementation and should be launched in the New Year. It is intended that the scheme will allow season ticket holders to sell their seat for a particular fixture if they are unable to attend, and subject to an overall sales threshold for each match. KB, RP and AM confirmed that the Club will announce full details in the near future.
KB promised to provide the Trust with a response on the season ticket upgrade issue shortly following internal discussion. RP and KB said that the Club hopes that some of the frustration regarding the current upgrade policy could be eased when season ticket holders are able to make use of the ticket exchange scheme for fixtures where there is heavy demand for tickets.
There was also discussion of supporters with the highest number of loyalty points getting the poorest seats for away games. The Club reiterated that they have to sell seats in the order dictated by the home club and that the Club loses money if it takes away blocks that don’t sell. KB pointed to the fact that the Club lost money as a result of Fulham not selling their full allocation at Old Trafford last weekend.
The Trust thanked the Club for continuing to provide away ticket information on the website, including the order in which individual blocks will be sold and updated sales numbers. KB and CM confirmed that the Club will make sure that the relevant information appears across all of the Club’s communication channels, including Twitter and the Club’s website, and will be regularly updated.
Sean Davies, the Club’s head of retail and licensing, introduced himself briefly to the Trust. Sean has been in post for around eighteen months at Fulham having spent fourteen years in a similar role at Chelsea. He helped to oversee the redesign and reopening of the Club’s stadium store and is in constant communication with the stadium store staff. SD wants merchandise to be fresh and has brought contacts with him from his previous roles.
SD said he is sometimes constrained by suppliers’ minimums, but tries to ensure that there is a wide array of merchandise available. He has introduced a wider range of children’s and baby items as well as prioritising the retro range and the stocking of relevant Fulham books. All products, except some of those reduced for clearance, will now be available online and in store, and both SD and his team are particularly interested in supporter feedback. The ‘click and collect’ option has been very popular, both at the stadium store and at Motspur Park, but some customers do not collect their items for a long period of time.
The meeting finished at 2.45pm
N.B. These notes represent a summary of topics discussed during the meeting. If your feedback to the Trust has not been specifically mentioned, please be assured that the Trust has listened to your concerns and they are the subject of further discussion between the Trust and the Club.