Notes from June meeting with Fulham Football Club
TRUST JUNE NOTES
Tom Greatrex, Michael Gregg and Dan Crawford of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with Alistair Mackintosh (AM, chief executive officer), Casper Sylsvig (CS, chief revenue officer), Carmelo Mifsud (CM, communications media relations manager), and David Daly (DD, non-executive director) of Fulham Football Club at Motspur Park on Tuesday 12th June 2018 at 10:30am
PREMIER LEAGUE MEETINGS
Fulham attended their first Premier League meeting last week having won promotion. They were welcomed back by the other Premier League clubs and it was agreed that the Club would report back to the Trust on the issues discussed at future Premier League meetings which are held quarterly. AM confirmed that the recently publicised decision on a winter break was taken at a previous Premier League meeting and that Fulham did not vote on the issue. It was too early to say what Fulham’s plans would be for the proposed winter break.
The Trust thanked the Club for the advance notice of the Fulham’s pre-season tours and friendlies. The Club have subsequently announced that Fulham’s final pre-season friendly will be held at Craven Cottage on August 4th against Celta Vigo.
MERCHENDISE and KIT
The Trust enquired as to if the end of season Video and playoff final would be available as a download instead of just on DVD. CS replied he would investigate the possibility of making that available.
CS confirmed that the new kit will be produced by Adidas as per the current contract and will be on sale in July. It was not confirmed as to who would be the sponsor for the coming season, even though the club are halfway through a two-year deal with Grosvenor Casinos.
The Trust queried why none of the training kit had been produced in white. AM, CS and CM said that the Club hadn’t produced white training gear for some time but the idea of producing more white merchandise, following the success of the white wall at Wembley, would be considered. AM said that Slavisa Jokanovic and his coaching team preferred the darker colours for training kit.
The Club would still be using Ticketmaster as their ticketing contractor for another two years. AM and CS confirmed that the Club were still receiving feedback from supporters following the play-off final and that this would be reviewed. Trust representatives reiterated some of the difficulties encountered by fans, most notably when trying to book by telephone, with many having received very high phone bills as a result. The Trust also asked that feedback from supporters be part of discussion with Ticketmaster particularly in relation to online and phone capacity. AM also acknowledged the questions he received at the Trust’s AGM but believed that, despite those frustrations, the Club’s overall ticketing policy for Wembley had been proved effective in ensuring high numbers of Fulham fans in attendance.
CS also confirmed that they are talking to Ticketmaster for an update on the upgrade they were working on to allow fans to pick away seating at games.
AM and CS confirmed that the loyalty point ticketing system would be in place for away tickets during the forthcoming season. It is particularly likely to come into operation at grounds with smaller away allocations, such as Bournemouth. CS asked the Trust to put forward any ideas or changes for the current Loyalty Scheme and the Trust confirmed it would look for feedback from fans and look at this in a future meeting.
RIVERSIDE STAND REDEVELOPMENT
The Trust raised correspondence received about the relocation of Riverside season ticket holders during the construction period for the Riverside Stand and their return once this work was complete. Some supporters had also been in contact about the potential of moving into the Putney End, which the Club was considering as a feasible option along with other solutions. The Trust will take these ideas forward through the proposed working group and liaise with Sean O’Loughlin in the first instance. It was envisaged that a series of meetings could be held with Riverside season ticket holders to discuss various options and deal with specific queries.
AM confirmed that there are no further hurdles with the planning permission for the Riverside Stand now that the PLA have given their consent. He also confirmed that the Club were pressing on with the appointment of a contractor for the works and they hope to have this completed by the end of July. Once this is confirmed and the appointed contractor has had initial discussions with the Club, Fulham will be able to release further information about the timescale for the construction works.
Supporters have been in touch with the Trust about the possibility of incorporating some of the Club’s history and heritage within the new stand as well as discussing what could be housed within the new facilities. It was agreed that David Daly, club historian Alex White, representatives of the Trust and supporters be invited to discuss some of these proposals over the summer.
18/19 SEASON TICKET PRICES
The Trust raised the announcement of pricing for season tickets for new applicants for 2018/2019. AM stated his view that existing season ticket holders had benefited from an attractive renewal offer prior to the cut-off date and that the Club did need to look at sales from a business perspective.
AM and CS said that the strong take-up from existing season ticket holders meant that the Club felt justified to price the small number of remaining season tickets available at increased prices and that the Club had received 8000 expressions of interest from fans for season tickets since the play-off final, indicating significant demand over the available number of season tickets. The Club confirmed that there was a cap in number of season tickets available to comply with Premier League rules and also in anticipation of a reduced capacity when work on the Riverside Stand redevelopment commences, ahead of the 2019/20 season. Those who had expressed an interest in purchasing a season ticket were being contacted over the course of the next few weeks in order of priority – based on booking history, membership and when they expressed an interest. AM and CS also said that some of the pricing increase in the Riverside Stand was designed to prepare season ticket holders for the construction of the new stand, whilst the increased prices and contacting of those who have expressed interest individually would also hopefully prevent touting from being prevalent.
The Trust raised concerns and gave examples of increases in both adult and junior season ticket pricing if these came into effect for 2019/20. The Trust expressed their concern that even with a reduced capacity in 2019/20, using the published prices for new applications in 2018/19 as the renewal level for 2019/20 would restrict the number of long-standing fans able to commit to season tickets, or whose season ticket purchase might come at the expense of being able to support the Club at away and Cup fixtures in higher numbers.
AM confirmed that the prices published at this time did not represent any kind of baseline or starting point for 2019/20, and that no decisions had yet been taken about future pricing.
The Trust proposed a number of ideas for consideration ahead of decisions being made for 2019/20, including the possibility of introducing two pricing bands for junior season tickets (such as an under-12 and under-18 cut off) to mitigate the significant increase in prices for children.
The Trust also suggested that the Club should consider looking at the ways that other clubs have reward loyalty amongst their season ticket holders within their future pricing structure, citing the example of Watford’s price bandings following promotion as one that could be considered in balancing long-standing loyalty with sales to new fans at a ground with a smaller capacity.
Continuing the debate with other examples the club stated they would be considering a range of options, and the Trust asked that this be a subject for ongoing discussion and consultation ahead of any final decisions being taken. The Trust also committed to providing a report that included both supporter opinion and approaches taken by other Clubs as the basis of further discussion prior to plans for 2019/20 being announced by the end of the 18/19 season.
CS revealed that he would shortly be presenting to the Club’s board about match day pricing and memberships. It was the Club’s intention to continue with a membership scheme, although they were unable to confirm precise details at this time.
TRANSFER DEALINGS AND RECRUITMENT
AM said that the Club were making good progress with regards to acquiring targets in the transfer market for the forthcoming season. The system for recruitment would remain the same as in January, although he expected that the completion of deals may well be delayed by the World Cup. The Club were actively looking to sign the right players as soon as possible, especially given the earlier end date of the summer transfer window this season.
The Trust raised the recent announcements by the Government and the Labour Party on safe standing, which were likely to devolve the decision to clubs and local safety advisory groups. The Hammersmith and Fulham safety advisory group have indicated that they would be in favour of the introduction of safe standing and the Trust asked the Club whether they would be willing to look at proposals to incorporate safe standing areas in the old ‘Enclosure’ or the Riverside Stand. The Club confirmed that they would be open to discussions on this, subject to the football authorities granting approval.
The meeting closed at 11.57am
At noted above we have discussed with David Daly some initial ideas for how the heritage and history of the Club and some of our former players and managers contributions can be reflected in the new Riverside Stand.
While this is at an early stage, David has agreed with our suggestion of holding a meeting with him, club honorary historian Alex White and a small group of Trust members to put forward ideas for consideration ahead of decisions being taken about the fit out of the new stand.
This is a separate exercise to the wider working group on the Riverside Stand that the Club have indicated they would establish with the Trust on relocation during construction, facilities and other aspects of the new stand.
It is envisaged that this meeting will take place on an evening during the close season, dependent upon the availability of David and Alex. If you would like to be involved, please let us know by email to [email protected]
On behalf of the Fulham Supporters Trust Board