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Notes from August meeting with FFC

16th August 2019

Notes from August meeting with FFC

On Monday 12th August, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with Fulham FC at Motspur Park.

The Club was represented by:

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)
Charlie Harris (Communications Assistant) 

Alistair Mackintosh (CEO) was on a short holiday after the transfer deadline.

The FST was represented by board members:

Ian Clarke
Jerry Cope
Sue Couch
Les O’Gorman

HOW IT WORKS

Each topic below is raised by the FST in an attempt to discuss issues raised primarily by a number of our members. Individual questions from members are sent to the Club outside the meeting, and we encourage members first to raise these directly with the Club via [email protected].  

If any member has raised an issue that it has not been possible to discuss in the time available then please do contact us again in good time before the next meeting.

The following topics were raised and discussed:

TICKETING

In response to queries from members, the Club confirmed that they were still selling season tickets but only at the Putney End via the waiting list. This was mainly because the pre-set limits for this season had been met in the other stands (Hammersmith, Johnny Haynes), the remainder being available firstly for Members and then Season Ticket Holders as one-offs, then if any remaining, other buyers with a booking history. This approach also importantly maintains fairness for those Riverside season ticket holders who had been moved to the Putney stand and provides a spectrum of ticket availability for match by match buyers. The Club agreed to expand the current position regarding sales in FAQs on the website.

The Club confirmed that, so far, match by match tickets had not been made available in the Putney End but that they may do so once season ticket sales had been completed.

The Trust asked about the position on season ticket seat upgrades, and the season ticket exchange scheme. 

The Club confirmed that the upgrade scheme was now in operation, with a fee of £5 for Concession to Adult, and £10 – £20, depending on the match, for Junior to Adult. It can be accessed by phone or in person at the ticket office.  As previously advertised there is a limit of six upgrades per season and the Club reserve the right to refuse upgrades should they feel that the system is being abused.

The Club also confirmed that the season ticket exchange scheme was nearly ready to go, with just a few legal issues to be sorted. It would be launched for the first game where there was a sell-out (or perhaps a near sell-out) across all stands, and would be available via a season ticket holder’s personal account on the website. 

Credit would be used to offset against next year’s season ticket cost.  For any game, the Exchange will be live from the point of sell-out being declared until midnight on the night before the match.

Seats offered via the Exchange scheme will be made available to purchase by anyone currently authorised to buy tickets (e.g. season ticket holders, members, booking history).  A paper ticket will be issued and the season ticket will be cancelled for the match in question.

The Trust welcomed both of these developments.

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COACH TRAVEL

The Trust had been concerned to hear of difficulties, seemingly centred on one coach, for the Barnsley game. A coach had turned up at the wrong pick-up point and there had been difficulties with the parking fee when it reached Barnsley. The Trust had also been very concerned that the coach driver had insisted on ‘no stop’ on the return 5-hour trip, which we regarded as unacceptable. The Club accepted that things had gone wrong, and were already in dialogue with the coach contractor (Kings Ferry) – we were assured that there would be no repeat.

The Club also explained that the particular difficulties were not related to a new policy of having an official trained steward on each trip, as this policy had started at the beginning of last season, albeit the volunteer stewards had only been stood down, with a personalised letter of thanks, this season. The Club agreed to feed all the points raised into the training and briefing of stewards and highlighted that the coach stewards will be drawn from the same pool for each away game, allowing them to build a relationship with the away travellers.

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AWAY TRIPS

The Trust and the Club discussed a possibly growing level of concern raised by members about some situations at our away games, including standing in front of supporters themselves unable to stand and/or who had bought tickets specifically in the designated non-standing area. The Club said that they were keeping a close eye on the situation but there was no easy fix. A few fans have been banned from buying tickets because of behavioural issues.

The Club confirmed that stewarding at away fixtures is the responsibility of the host club and not all clubs welcomed away stewards.  However the Club does provide away stewards where possible and appropriate.

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THE BARNSLEY INCIDENT

The Trust reaffirmed its extreme disappointment with the alleged incident involving Cyrus Christie’s sister and asked for our good wishes to passed on to Cyrus and his family. The Club said that investigations by the South Yorkshire Police were continuing, and they would not be able to make any further statement until the Police themselves reported further, though the Club will continue to assist the authorities. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting crime reference number 14/118274/19.

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ALDERSHOT FRIENDLY

The Trust reported that the experience of stewarding at the Brighton game at Aldershot had contrasted badly with previous friendlies at the same ground, which had been most enjoyable. As the Club had not received similar feedback, we would forward details to be taken up with Aldershot.

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NEW FFCtv SERVICE

The Trust reported that some subscribers had difficulty in registering with the new service this season. The Club said that changes have been made to improve both the overall offering and service of FFCtv for the new season, and that one of those changes involved moving to a single provider for both payments and video hosting and streaming. 

It is likely that those having difficulties either have an expired credit card or an expired subscription.  In both cases the solution is to buy a new product via the Club’s website.

The Club encouraged anyone still having difficulties to contact the new provider on [email protected], who now handle all customer service.

The Trust also reported an outage toward the end of the first half of the Blackburn match for international subscribers.  The Club said that it acknowledged the issue at the time and it was rectified appropriately with the service provider on Saturday.

The Club confirmed that midweek games, home and away, not selected for TV, would be available for streaming in the UK. They also said that a new App was in development to allow streamed matches to be viewed on mobile devices for the first time, and that those abroad wishing to make a one-off purchase (e.g. when on holiday) could do so, providing the appropriate settings are active on the user’s mobile device. 

The Club said it hoped the new App will launch in the coming weeks and for now, the best experience for live video and audio streaming is via the new microsite https://tv.fulhamfc.com.

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SAFETY ADVISORY GROUP (SAG)

The Club confirmed that the Trust was being asked to provide a Fulham representative for this Group, which was convened for clubs in the area by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.  The Trust accepted the invitation to join the SAG on behalf of Fulham supporters.

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TRANSFER WINDOW

As nobody attending the meeting was directly involved in the summer transfer activity it was not possible to discuss any specifics in detail, although the Trust did suggest, notwithstanding deadline day itself had been very busy, whether it might be possible to do more contingency planning if transfers, like that of Ryan Sessegnon, went through at the last minute.

Following our suggestion at the February 2019 meeting, the Trust did however welcome the release of a video by Tony Khan setting out in some detail Fulham’s approach to the recent transfer window, not least the importance of keeping within FFP requirements.  Supporters who are subscribers can view the video via FFCtv.

The Trust commented that it was in our view unfortunate that the video was behind a TV pay wall and therefore its audience would be restricted. In response the Club agreed to consider a more general release, after a period of exclusivity to subscribers.

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FEEDBACK FROM THE BLACKBURN GAME

The Trust reported that generally feedback had been good about the new arrangements, particularly in the Putney Stand, but perhaps Blackburn had not been a real test. It had however a number of issues to raise, which the Club agreed to take away and look into:

  • The continuing poor tannoy system (the Club reported this was being tested again this week)
  • The non-opening of a bar at the Hammersmith end (the Club explained this was due to a power failure)
  • The lack of handrails stepping up to the higher seats at the Putney End
  • Standing of away supporters, blocking views for home supporters in the Putney end
  • The closure of some turnstiles
  • The lack of nearby disabled toilets at the Hammersmith End
  • The lack of reusable plastic cups which had been successfully trialled last season
  • A suggestion that the photographs of mascots be taken towards the Johnny Haynes Stand rather than the derelict Riverside Stand pre-match.
  • The need for flexible segregation of away supporters depending on the opposition (the Club reported that the distance between home and away supporters could be flexed depending on the fixture).

The Trust requested that particular attention be given to the next home fixture to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort and to allay remaining concerns about the operation of the Putney stand.

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The meeting closed at 1430.

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