Notes from Sept meeting with FFC
On Wednesday 14 September at 13.30, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with Fulham FC via video conference.
The Club was represented by:
- Alistair Mackintosh (Chief Executive, Officer AM)
- Darren Preston (Chief Operating Officer, DP)
- Carmelo Mifsud (Communications Director, CM)
- Aimee McKenzie (Operations & Venue Director, AMK)
- Katy Brecht (Head of Ticketing, KB)
- Nicola Walworth (Supporter Liaison Manager & Disability Liaison Officer, NW)
- Samuel Curteis (Supporter Relations Executive, SCu)
The FST was represented by:
- Jerry Cope (Treasurer & Membership Secretary, JC)
- Simon Duke (Secretary, SD)
- Sue Couch (Board Member, SC)
- Tamara Dragadze (Board Member, TD)
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.
- Ticketing Policy
- Safe standing
- Follow up from July 2022 Craven Cottage walk around
- Supporters with mobility issues
- Riverside seating and ticketing
- Away tickets
- Value of Academy
The Trust opened the meeting by offering our condolences on the death of Fred Callaghan, which has recently been announced. The Trust also congratulated the Club on the excellent start made to the new Premier League season.
The Trust reported that ticket pricing remains an issue within the fan base, mainly with respect to match-by-match ticket sales in the Hammersmith and Putney Ends. This is preventing some supporters who are not in a position to have a season ticket from attending, particularly those games with a higher profile. Season ticket pricing was again acknowledged by the Trust as being reasonable.
AM said the Club strategy remains to bring in new supporters, which is working as evidenced by games selling out. AM added that there was a natural tension between season ticket pricing and single ticket pricing. But pricing policy is kept under constant review and the Club remain willing to continue to listen to the views expressed by the Trust, particularly as we move towards full capacity availability in the Riverside Stand and pricing for next season. With the annual Trust fans survey due to be launched around November, it was agreed further feedback on pricing would be shared with the Club.
In response to the question of whether safe standing is being considered by the Club, DP reported that they are looking into the feasibility. There are constraints presented by the construction details of the Hammersmith and Putney End stands, which need to be considered from a safety point of view. Discussions are at an early stage with Arena Seating to see if they can develop a safe standing proposition, which would fit with the existing Craven Cottage configuration. The Club will update the Trust on progress.
FOLLOW UP FROM JULY 2022 CRAVEN COTTAGE WALK AROUND
The following updates to points raised at the July Craven Cottage walk round, and in correspondence with their Members, were provided:-
- The Club continue to explore the possibility of installing more P-Handles. Whilst they acknowledge the benefits to some supporters of having additional handrails, there are logistical/technical hindrances which they are looking to resolve;
- The PA system has been tested in a non-match day environment and then observed by Club staff during 2 home games this season. Although the Trust had continued to receive complaints particularly in the Johnny Haynes Stand, the Club’s tests had not found evidence of ongoing issues. The Trust will continue to monitor member feedback and engage with the Club as necessary;
- Structural engineers and electricians have been engaged to look at the possibility of installing screens to enable spectators in the back rows of the Johnny Haynes stand to observe VAR decisions. It is hoped that a way will be found to install screens during the course of this season. This remains challenging due to the listed nature of the stand.
- Riverside Stand concourse access post games is subject to overall capacity constraints, which need to be monitored. DP reported that, whilst the Club want the Riverside Stand to be something all can enjoy, post match access need to be carefully controlled. He will work with Chris Baker, Head of Safety, and in turn the stewards to ensure there is effective messaging to supporters looking to take advantage of these facilities.
- The one-way system implemented at the Hammersmith End to improve people flow has solved some problems but created others. The Club are evaluating next steps.
On another matter it was confirmed the PA system in the Riverside Stand is working.
SUPPORTERS WITH MOBILITY ISSUES
In response to a question about ticketing arrangements for anyone with a condition which requires assistance, NW advised that the ticket office should be contacted before a purchase is made (season ticket and/or match ticket) and the Club will look to accommodate accordingly. The Club would never expect anyone with a condition which requires assistance to just “soldier on”. Ambulant seating is available in the Riverside Stand, Hammersmith and Putney Ends. Further information, including on pricing, can be found in the Disability Supporter Information section of the Club’s website.
RIVERSIDE SEATING AND TICKETING
The Trust asked the Club to explain how the additional 708 seats in the Upper Riverside Stand were to be sold. It was explained that the Chelsea game, which was the first at which they were to be made available, was to be a “test” event. With the game postponed this now moves to the Newcastle game. The “test” will include entry and exit arrangements and successful completion should lead to these seats, and possibly more as the season progresses, to be sold on a regular basis.
For this season, the Upper Riverside tickets will be sold on a match-by-match basis. They will not be available for season ticket transfers/purchases or upgrades from other parts of the ground. The only exception for upgrades would be where additional tickets were being purchased. In these cases the ticket office should be contacted.
In response to a specific example, KB confirmed that where an adult had purchased an away ticket but could not purchase at the same time for their children due to the level of their loyalty points, should the threshold for tickets fall to a level where tickets could be purchased for the children the ticket office would look to swap the adult ticket to ensure they could all sit together. In instances such as this the ticket office should be contacted. It should be noted there would need to be sufficient time for the old ticket to be physically returned before the new one was issued.
The Trust had received a number of comments from members relating to catering. These included quality of staff and shortages of product. AMK asked that these be shared with her outside of today’s meeting. A response will be provided in due course.
VALUE OF ACADEMY
The Trust is delighted to see Luke Harris receive a call up to the senior Welsh squad for the forthcoming internationals. In response to a question from the Trust about the number of Academy graduates we have nurtured then lost to other clubs, because young players were not allowed to sign long-term contracts, AM confirmed Fulham remain fully committed to their Academy. The primary objective remains to bring players through to the first team but where this is not possible, for whatever reason, the Club will then look to maximise the return on their investment.
Meeting closed at 14.30