Notes from December meeting with FFC
On Monday 9th December at 12:30, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with Fulham FC at Craven Cottage.
The Club was represented by:
- Alistair Mackintosh (CEO)
- David Daly (Non Executive Director)
- Nicola Walworth (Supporter Relations Manager)
- Katy Brecht (Head of Ticketing)
- Aimee McKenzie (Operations and Venue Director)
- Charlie Harris (Communications Assistant)
The FST was represented by board members:
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.
We encourage members to provide us with as much detail as possible (e.g. time, duration, date etc.) when raising issues either with the Trust or directly with the Club.
The following topics were raised and discussed:
- Bristol City match feedback
- Updates from previous issues raised
- Fulham Pier Development
- TV Fixtures
- Fan Media Channels
BRISTOL CITY MATCH FEEDBACK
Ken Coton – Forever Fulham
The Trust opened the meeting with thanks to the Club for the recent Forever Fulham award made to Ken Coton, his appearance at the match on Saturday and the video interview posted on the Fulham website last week. It was agreed by both parties that this was richly deserved.
There was also a discussion of Saturday’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which the Club and the Trust agreed sent an important positive message of inclusivity that we are united in promoting. In this regard, the Trust explained the concerns of members relating to a small group of supporters singing a homophobic chant at the Swansea away game. The Club asked all supporters to ensure that they report any chants that they feel are discriminatory. The Trust cautions all supporters that the singing of discriminatory songs is very likely to lead to a Club ban.
UPDATES FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES RAISED
Hammersmith End Congestion
The issue of congestion on the Hammersmith End concourse was raised again by the Trust to find out if there had been any further thoughts on possible ways to ease this. The Club replied that they will continue to look into ways to improve congestion on a game by game basis but that there is no more to report. The Club explained that the Trust suggestion of more stairwells to the lower concourse of the Hammersmith End has been considered but is not possible, as this would further reduce capacity and be counter-productive.
The Club did confirm that they are progressing the Trust suggestion to provide additional ‘hawkers’ to help spread the catering load and encourage supporters to move away from the congested areas. The catering team are considering the best locations for the extra sales points, which could be at the front of the stand, although these would not be permitted to sell alcohol.
The Club updated the Trust that, further to the questions raised in previous meetings, they are reviewing the efficiency and speed of service, particularly focused on the service at half-time. The Club’s Head of Catering spent time at reported problem areas during half-time at the Bristol City game, and they are arranging ‘mystery shoppers’ to attend upcoming matches. The Club will use this exercise, together with feedback from supporters via the Trust, to look into further ways to improve catering efficiency.
Kiosk team leaders have been asked to ensure every team member has been fully briefed into the standard of service expected of them throughout their shift. They have also been empowered to recommend any requirements, such as equipment, they may have to improve efficiency.
The Trust asked about the possible reintroduction of re-usable cups. The Club said this is something that they are working towards, however this will not be until the start of the 2021-22 season with the opening of the new Riverside Stand due to current storage constraints.
The Trust also asked about vegetarian catering options at Craven Cottage in response to members’ questions. The Club replied that vegetarian options are available in each area of the ground, although there is not yet the availability of vegan options in each stand. Following the meeting the Club confirmed the vegetarian options as follows:
- Concessions P1 & P2 – Bombay Veg Pie, Cheese Pasty
- Concessions JH1 & JH4 – Bombay Veg Pie, Cheese Pasty, Falafel
- Concessions Stevenage Rd – Bombay Veg pie, Cheese Pasty, Falafel
- Concessions H3, H4 & H6 – Bombay Veg pie, Cheese Pasty.
There are no immediate plans to change these options.
FULHAM PIER DEVELOPMENT
The Trust and the Club discussed the news of the new Fulham Pier development which was recently announced by the Club. The Club explained that no firm decisions have yet been made as to the use of the commercial space, but that the intention is for minimal changes to be required to the non-matchday configuration on match-day. The Trust further asked if any conclusions have been drawn from the survey sent out to fans earlier this year regarding Riverside Stand facilities. The Club replied that they are still collating the information and will feedback in due course.
The Trust asked the Club if there were plans for any Riverside bar facilities to be made available to supporters who may not be sitting in the Riverside Stand, but who may be interested in staying within the ground post-match. The Club responded that where possible, this will be considered, however if there are capacity limitations then supporters with tickets for the Riverside Stand are likely to be prioritised.
The Trust ended this part of the discussion by reiterating that there are fans that are keen to use the facilities of the new stand in ways other than purchasing a matchday ticket, and where possible would like to be able to enjoy the new options that the stand will bring.
The Trust informed the Club of the recently launched colour-coded fixture list, available on the FST website, explaining it was created with the specific aim of helping supporters to make the correct decision when pre-planning match ticket purchases and arranging travel to games.
The Club welcomed the introduction of the fixture list and confirmed that the rationale being used to colour code matches is correct. The Club did highlight that there is always a slight chance that unforeseen circumstances can change the date of a fixture at short notice. However, the Trust and the Club will remain in regular contact to ensure the colour coded fixture list is as accurate as possible.
FAN MEDIA CHANNELS
The Trust asked about the levels of access to Club staff that various fan media channels are able to receive and ways in which to promote dialogue between the Club and those channels. As Carmelo Mifsud, Communications Director, was not present it was agreed to defer this question to a future meeting.
FA Cup Fixture versus Aston Villa
The Trust asked what plans are being made for the FA Cup match against Aston Villa, specifically the date/time of the fixture (with Chelsea, Brentford and QPR all also drawn at home) and away fan ticket allocation. At the time of the meeting a decision had not been made on timing. However, since the meeting, the fixture has now been confirmed as Saturday January 4th at 3.01pm.
All FA Cup fixtures have a minimum away fan allocation requirement of 15% of the total stadium capacity (EFL League fixtures are 10%), and while Craven Cottage is at reduced capacity, block P4 and part of block P3 will not available to Fulham fans as they usually are for league fixtures. The limitations on block P3 are in part to allow away fan use of the P3/P4 stairs and also for segregation purposes.
All Season Ticket Holders in P4 and those affected in P3 will be informed that their seat is unavailable for selection for this match and that should they choose to attend they will be offered an alternative within other areas of the stadium. They will be able to choose these seats whilst tickets are only available to season ticket holders, ensuring they have time to choose from all tickets available, before they are open to any other fans.
Ticket holders that will be attending in P3 for the game will also be informed prior to the match of their increased proximity to away fans due to this increased away ticket allocation.
Unreserved seating at Luton
As seating for the Boxing Day match at Luton is unreserved and non-standing seats are not available, the Trust informed the Club that we will be encouraging fans wishing to sit at the front to aim to arrive at the ground early. Likewise, we will encourage fans intending to stand to head to the back of the area away. The Club confirmed they have informed fans purchasing at the Ticket Office and via the official website that the seats are unreserved. The Club also said that in pre-match discussions with Luton Town Football Club they will request that this message is given to away fan stewards on the day.
Reciprocal away ticket pricing
The Trust asked whether the Club has been contacted by Reading FC following their recent announcement that they continue to offer a £20 price cap to away fans at The Madjeski Stadium and encouraged other Championship clubs to adopt a similar scheme, which Reading consider is “revenue neutral”. The Club said that there has been no recent contact with Reading. Following detailed discussion, the Club emphasised that it does not wish to operate such a scheme.
Ticket sales information
The Trust thanked the Club for the ticket sales information which is now provided on the Club web site on each fixture page. The Trust informed the Club of some recent tweets by Birmingham City that showed useful ticket sale updates, and asked if a similar system could be considered at Fulham in addition to the web site updates. It was suggested that these regular Twitter updates are most useful for games likely to sell out before fans with sufficient points could purchase (most recently Luton), as this would quell any rumours that circulate outside of official channels. The Club will look at the tweet structure suggested, and noted the prioritising of games likely to sell out.
A number of additional points were raised in response to some questions raised by individual members.
- Some supporters have asked for more detailed player injury updates. The Club stated that all injury related information will only be released with the specific permission of Scott Parker.
- It was noted that stewards had been checking the seat tickets of home fans in the Putney End less over the last couple of games. The Club will remind stewards working in those areas of the ticket check requirements.
- The Trust passed on praise of the recent raised profile of the Fulham Women’s team for their recent home fixture at Motspur Park and the increased attendance that ensued for the fixture.
- In response from a member who requested that the pre-match away fan information included whether a stadium was cash-only or card-only was noted by the Club, and away clubs will be asked to supply this information.
- It was confirmed that the 10% discount Season Ticket Holders receive in the Club Shop cannot be obtained online because the ticketing and online shop IT systems are not linked. Season ticket holders are encouraged to make their purchases in person to receive the discount and season tickets must be produced at the time of purchase.
The meeting closed at 14:10.