Notes from June meeting with FFC
On Monday 10th June, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with Fulham FC at Motspur Park.
The club were represented by:
Alistair Mackintosh (CEO), David Daly (Non-Executive Director), Peter Spartin (Senior Head of Commercial Development), Katy Brecht (Head of Ticketing), Nicola Walworth (Supporter Relations Manager), Carmelo Mifsud (Media Relations Manager) and Charlie Harris (Communications Assistant).
FST board members Jerry Cope, Archie Rhind-Tutt and Les O’Gorman were present.
HOW IT WORKS
Each topic below is raised by the FST, in an attempt to answer queries raised primarily by our members. Bearing in mind the mood of the wider fanbase is prioritised too. The club then tries to answer those issues.
The following topics were raised:
- Season Tickets, Lower Riverside Blocks, Purchase History, Home Cup Tie Scheme
- Riverside Stand
- Putney End
- Upgrade Scheme, Ticket Exchange, Matchday Ticket Prices, Membership Scheme
- Club TV
- Transfers, Recruitment
- New Kit
- Motspur Park Redevelopment
SEASON TICKETS (STs)
The FST began by acknowledging that many fans were understanding of the task facing the club this summer. That said, it was important to address the concerns of some Season Ticket Holders (STHs) whose seat had to move due to work on the Riverside or, in a few cases, who are unhappy with their current seat but wish to move.
The club’s message was, if you’re unhappy with what you have been allocated, renew now and log your case with the ticket office over the phone or in person. They will then prioritise requests and try and offer whatever alternatives they can, when they see the overall renewal pattern. Almost every non-restricted view seat was used for seat assignments so options will be extremely limited.
KB pointed out that there are still 180 displaced season ticket holders from the Hammersmith End, due to accessibility works, who are yet to be offered a seat. They will be contacted after the 21st June and invited to renew their assigned seat.
Those with accessibility issues will then have priority. As the third priority following the 21st June deadline, the ticket office will try and accommodate fans who have renewed their STs and logged an issue with the ticket office. Then the Club will handle those who are not existing STHs who have put themselves on the waiting list.
Such is the limited space (6,000 fewer seats in the ground), this is easier for the club to accommodate when fans are in ones or twos.
Above all, the club made clear that those who miss the 21st June deadline will no longer have the same priority as Season Ticket Holders who do renew before the deadline or those currently without season tickets who have put themselves on the waiting list. Therefore, they encourage fans to renew and log their request as soon as possible.
AM said they are happy with the current rate of renewal, around 50%. This is ‘above their expected run rate’ with most tending to renew just before the deadline. There is also less pressure on renewals due to the significantly more limited capacity next season and the need to have tickets available for non-STHs.
Season ticket holders in lower Riverside blocks have faced significant price increases. After stressing the size of these rises which fans were facing, we asked what the message was to them. The FST were told that there is a lack of similarly priced tickets in both the Putney End and the Hammersmith End. KB said however they will be one of the groups being prioritised should they renew now, E.g. to find cheaper seats within the ground. Despite the FST pressing on this, AM said this could not be guaranteed due to the likely limited availability.
The FST raised the point that some of these STHs may not be able to afford the new STs offered to them and asked for assurances that they could be accommodated in the future. The club sympathised with this position and suggested considering the financing option, but could not currently give any assurances. They repeated that if a case is logged, the Club will do they can to find an alternative option.
With the FST having then enquired about why some fans ST Purchase History appears to have been deleted, the club said this happened every year, and was normal practice with the software.
Other fans have experienced difficulties with renewing on the Home Cup Tie Scheme. The club said they hadn’t heard this directly from fans but, after this meeting with the FST, they had discovered some inconsistencies with the system. The club are now working with Ticketmaster to fix the problem. Fans experiencing issues are encouraged to contact the Ticket Office direct so they can assist / investigate.
PS reiterated that it is difficult to give previous Riverside Stand STHs precise assurances that they will regain a similar seat with no new layout to work off yet, but they will be prioritised and contacted for new seating options as they become available. KB added that there would also be more seats available in the newly built stand so they were hopeful of accommodating preferences.
Subject to agreement with the construction company, AM confirmed that they are trying to get a webcam on the Riverside Stand site to showcase progress.
No decision has been taken yet on what exactly there will be for a hoarding in front of the construction work. AM said this decision would be taken in conjunction with Scott Parker. He added the TV commentary gantry and floodlights would remain on that side of the ground, albeit accessibility and the view to the stand will change during the construction phase.
With a much greater number of STHs now being in the Putney End, it will no longer be a neutral end in the coming season. The way that segregation from the away fans will be conducted is in turn dependent on the renewal rate of supporters offered STs in block P4, and accessibility decks being added to the away blocks in P5 and P6 (as P7 will not be available due to construction).
The concourse below the Putney End will still be mixed however and the plan for the coming season is being reviewed, but safety would be the number one criterion.
UPGRADE SCHEME, TICKET EXCHANGE, MATCHDAY PRICES, MEMBERSHIP SCHEME
When asking about the four topics above, the FST were told that they were all dependent on the completion of the season ticket renewal / purchase. As a result, AM, PS + KB weren’t in a position to confirm exact details on each point.
As listed on the club’s website, for the coming season’s Upgrade Scheme, there would be a flat fee per game per stand to be paid for an upgrade.
The price of that ticket subsequently would be related to what the matchday ticket price was for that game, not the corresponding season ticket price of a fixture i.e. how much a season ticket costs per game for that area. KB added that fans will pay more to upgrade on a matchday than they will if they do it in advance.
With the new Ticket Exchange, KB confirmed to the FST that there will be a threshold set on a match-by-match basis. This could mean that, for example, when a certain stand sells out, or when a percentage of tickets are sold for the game overall, that the exchange would kick in.
The FST thanked KB for a previous clarification that this scheme wouldn’t be dependent on whether a game was midweek or on the weekend.
Matchday ticket prices are yet to be set and won’t be released until the first home game of the season goes on sale. This is likely to be in mid-July at the earliest. KB reiterated that season tickets need to be sorted out first. That is why they there has been no announcement yet on how the Membership Scheme will work for the coming season, though AM said that it will be similar to this year.
CLUB TV, iFOLLOW
The club plans to revert to the same club TV system used in the most recent Championship season, of which Fulham had around 5,000 subscribers domestically and internationally.
International supporters will be able to live stream fixtures of Fulham home and away games, that haven’t been selected as a live match pick by domestic or international broadcast rights holders, with commentary provided by Gentleman Jim and Jamie Reid.
In addition, the club may be also be able to make available midweek league matches via a pay-per-view service domestically. Domestic midweek games will be an added service to a regular FFCTV subscription.
When asking how opponents are chosen for friendlies, AM said that Scott Parker was consulted and opponents were chosen based on the playing style and what type / level of opposition was wanted at that particular stage of pre-season. This played a role in the friendly organised against West Ham for example.
Contacts also played a role with it noted that a Fulham XI will play Bromley in July thanks to links with ex-players Jim Stannard and Neil Smith.
The FST asked the club what lessons were to be taken away from last season’s disappointing campaign, particularly after what was spent in the summer transfer window.
AM said that the relegation suffered didn’t necessarily mean that there were lessons to be learned from the overall approach or that changes were now needed, albeit the season obviously did not go as they would have liked it to.
He added the aim for the coming season is promotion and nothing will change when it comes to the recruitment process. Transfer decisions will chiefly be in the hands of Tony Khan and Scott Parker.
The system works as it has done previously: players will be signed on the basis that they fit the necessary data and scouting requirements. It is then up to the manager if he wants the player and finally, it is about if that deal can be negotiated and financed.
The FST then expressed supporter concerns at how late business was done by the club in the recent past. AM responded that this was to do with the way the rest of the market works, when players are available (for example, many players are on holiday right now).
Loaning players in the same manner as they had done in the most recent promotion winning season was an option but it was reiterated to the FST that there was no strict strategy in place. The priority was getting the players in that Scott Parker and Tony Khan felt were needed.
AM confirmed the new home kit for the 2019/2020 season will be available to pre-order soon. It will then be available to buy in store.
After West Ham’s decision to sell their home shirt without the main team sponsor next season, the FST were told by AM this would not be possible themselves due to the current kit sponsorship contract, which has one more year to run.
The FST concluded the meeting by asking about any updates on the future redevelopment of the Motspur Park site. “No news,” said AM with priorities and resources focused elsewhere at present.