Notes from February meeting with FFC
On Wednesday 9 February at 13:30, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with Fulham FC via video conference.
The Club was represented by:
- Alistair Mackintosh (CEO)
- Darren Preston (Chief Operating Officer)
- Katy Brecht (Head of Ticketing)
- David Daly (Non-Executive Director)
- Nicola Walworth (Supporter Relations Manager)
- Charlie Harris (Communications Assistant)
- Carmelo Mifsud (Communications Director)
- Jamie Dapaah (Equality and Inclusion Coordinator)
- Eleanor Rowland (Head of Safeguarding)
The FST was represented by Board Members:
- Ian Clarke (Vice Chair)
- Jerry Cope (Treasurer and Membership Secretary)
- Hayley Davinson (Board Member)
- Farrell Monk (Board Member)
HOW IT WORKS
The Trust asks any questions that it judges are of interest to supporters, based on responses from Trust Members to the advance notification of the meeting, and by generally interacting with the wider supporter base. There is no restriction placed on which questions the Trust choose to ask or points raised with the Club. These notes are then sent to members only, in advance of being posted on our website.
If any member has raised an issue that it was not possible to discuss in the time available, then please do contact us again in good time before the next meeting or alternatively we can seek to raise it between meetings if that is more appropriate.
- Feedback on recent events and activity
- Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
- Migration back to the Riverside Stand – fan survey
- Other ticketing and travel
- Fan behaviour and other ground issues
FEEDBACK ON RECENT EVENTS AND ACTIVITY
The Trust opened the meeting by again thanking everyone involved for the brilliant way the sad events surrounding Paul were handled at the Blackpool game, and then how his life was celebrated at the Millwall game. The Trust asked whether there was any learning being taken from this tragic event.
The Club responded that they too were satisfied that everything that could be done had been; thankfully it was a rare incident notwithstanding the increased number of similar situations being reported recently across football. There was already guidance from the Premier League and EFL on how such incidents should be handled, and this guidance was likely to be refreshed and re-emphasised soon e.g., including that it was usually best for treatment if needed to be managed by ‘crowd doctors’ who were strategically placed around Craven Cottage, and not by team doctors who needed to remain focused on the teams. The club also explained that there would be more medical facilities available when the new Riverside stand was fully open.
The Trust and the Club confirmed that arrangements for this day of celebration were proceeding well for the Huddersfield game – pleasingly ticket sales for the game were also strong.
EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION (EDI)
Eleanor Rowland and Jamie Dapaah gave the Trust a detailed presentation on the excellent progress that the Club was making with its EDI strategy and approach, focussing on several main strands. A version of the presentation will be made publicly available later in the year.
Educational awareness programme
This programme is provided for all Club staff, and includes monthly webinars on a variety of topics such as handling social media, recruitment, etc. As a result, the Club was for instance trialling new filters on its official social media sites to block offensive material, noting there was a very high threshold for the police to take action. Policing the internet generally as opposed to the Club’s official media continued to be very difficult.
In the future the Club would like to extend this programme to include supporters.
FUL STOP in-house text facility
FUL STOP is a text-based facility (text 60066 quoting Fulham) for personal reporting of any discrimination or anti-social behaviour by fans on home matchdays. In response to a question from the Trust, it was emphasised that this was best done during the match, not afterwards, as it is easier then to track down and monitor such behaviour. This facility is not operative for away games, where the host club’s procedures needed to be used. The Club said it would see whether such procedures could be given more publicity for away fixtures.
Fulham for All campaign
The Fulham for All campaign, which had been launched at the Reading game, is now being followed up with focus groups for new ideas and for support and encouragement for fan-initiated support groups.
Equality Working Group and Incident Review Panel
The Equality Working Group enables employees of the Club with different perspectives to get together and launch new ideas.
The Incident Review Panel considers individual cases and can issue bans to supporters where this is clearly supported by the evidence.
Football Leadership Diversity Code (FLDC)
The Club is meeting and generally beating recruitment targets for female, black, Asian, and mixed heritage staff set by the Football Leadership Diversity Code, which was launched by the FA and Premier League to drive more inclusion in English football.
Good progress was also being made by the Foundation, who for instance had attracted 65 female attendees for their 11–18-year-old course during Covid.
The Trust thanked Eleanor and Jamie for their presentation. The Trust welcomed and fully supported the progress being made and offered to help in any way that was useful, not least amplifying key messages to supporters. The Trust continued to urge the Club to take firm action on poor behaviour when the evidence was clear.
MIGRATION BACK TO THE RIVERSIDE STAND – FAN SURVEY
Farrell Monk presented the results of the survey that the Trust had undertaken around migration back to the new Riverside stand. Over 1,400 responses had been received.
The full results, which have been sent to the Club and are available to read here, show that there is great enthusiasm for the new stand and that both former Riversiders and supporters in other parts of the ground want to explore seating options, subject to pricing and seat location. With regard to seat location, the largest number of displaced Riversiders would like to be offered a seat based on their former Riverside location.
The Trust emphasised the importance of giving priority to ex-Riversider season ticket holders who had stayed with the Club by renewing their season ticket elsewhere in the ground. This commitment for priority was fully accepted by the Club.
As reported in the notes of the January meeting of the Club, it was likely that the new stand would be opened in two stages, with perhaps the lower section first, seats which the Trust underlined might not appeal to everyone. The Club confirmed that providing a season ticket was renewed somewhere in the ground, those who wanted to wait until the new stand was fully open would maintain their priority. An announcement on arrangements was planned for March.
The Trust asked about the future of the Putney end and were told the aim was to fill it as much as possible with Fulham supporters, not to return it to a neutral or mixed end, albeit as the ground capacity increased a slightly bigger proportion of the Putney End, would, under League regulations, have to be given over to away supporters.
The Club thanked the Trust for carrying out the survey which had highlighted those areas that needed careful thinking through in what would be a complicated operation as the new stand opened up. The Club were taking on board, as far as practical, all the areas highlighted by the survey.
OTHER TICKETING AND TRAVEL
Season ticket exchange
Some supporters, particularly those based overseas with Covid related travel restrictions, have asked whether the season ticket exchange can be made available for them to offer their tickets to others. The Club re-iterated that the season ticket exchange facility was ready to go but could only be used when a game was very close to sell-out at a point where there was sufficient time for the exchange to operate in a controlled fashion. Late sell-outs very close to match day do not allow this.
Loyalty points for upcoming away matches
With increased away support this season and a number of popular games coming soon, the Trust asked whether Loyalty Points were ready to be used. The Club confirmed that, subject to the ticket availability restrictions discussed at the December meeting, Loyalty Points were ready to be used where away sell-outs were considered likely. They also pointed out that large numbers of supporters do have very similar numbers of loyalty points.
Information provided on away coaches
The Trust has received further feedback that supporters would like more information to be provided to passengers on away coaches. The Club said they were disappointed that full information was still apparently not being given on some coaches for away travel and that they would continue to emphasise the need for this. They asked that any future complaints pinpointed the coach involved as much as possible e.g., whether it was a Motspur Park or Craven Cottage coach.
FAN BEHAVIOUR AND OTHER GROUND ISSUES
This issue of apparently worsening fan behaviour across football has been getting a lot of attention in the media, and the Trust are aware that the Premier League and EFL are in discussion with all Clubs about possible measures to be taken. The Trust is still getting reports of poor behaviour at our own away matches, in the Hammersmith End, and with away supporters at the Putney End, and asked whether the Club were taking extra preventative measures. The Club said they had strengthened several measures eg the interface with away fans at the Putney End, information for stewards and using intelligence appropriately, and were monitoring events very closely.
The Trust reported that the safe standing seats at the Manchester City game seemed to have worked well, and the Trust was supportive of the current pilots.
In response to an issue experienced by one of our Members, the Club confirmed to the Trust that the ground remained open for some considerable time after the final whistle to enable supporters to depart.
- Stadium Store. The Club confirmed that the Club shop was normally open on non-match Saturdays (and Sundays).
- Season ticket holder online discounts. The Trust asked that the Club, in the light of changing shopping habits, would look again at a capability to apply season ticket discounts in the shop online.
- Forever Fulham. The Trust asked that the very successful Forever Fulham initiative might be extended to female former Fulham players, with a slight tweak to the criteria, and suggested two names for consideration. The Club agreed to look at this positively.
- Match streaming. The Trust asked for increased streaming of Women’s, U-18 and U-23 games as seemed to be available at other Clubs. The Club responded that when matches were played at Craven Cottage these are streamed. However access restrictions at Motspur Park due to Covid protocols has proved difficult for external film companies to occupy areas required to set up the live stream. As restrictions are now easing, the Club will review arrangements for streaming both operationally and subject to demand.
- FFC Women’s team. Both the Club and the Trust agreed to continue to promote increased attendance, home and away, at Fulham women’s games. The Club said that support was highly appreciated by the Fulham women’s team and the Trust suggested that a double header at a men’s game at the cottage might help this.
- Thames boat trips. In response to a suggestion from a Trust Member, the Club said they were intending to put on boat trips for supporters to travel to games when the new pier on the north of the river was open. They added that the new pier was progressing but there was no firm date yet for completion.
- DisAbility Sports Day. The Club asked us to help publicise the DisAbility Sports Day on Monday 14th February being organised in Chessington in conjunction with Kingston Active4All which we are pleased to do – please see details below. Bookings can be made on the Fulham Soccer Schools web site.
The meeting ended at 15.10