Notes from October meeting with FFC
On Wednesday 12 October 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)
- David Daly (Director, DD)
- Darren Preston (Chief Operating Officer, DP)
- Carmelo Mifsud (Communications Director, CM)
- Aimee McKenzie (Operations & Venue Director, AMK)
- Katy Brecht (Head of Ticketing, KB)
- Glen Sutton (Chief Profit Officer, GS)
- Nicola Walworth (Supporter Liaison Manager & Disability Liaison Officer, NW)
- Samuel Curteis (Supporter Relations Executive, SCu)
The FST was represented by:
- Ian Clarke (Vice Chair, IC)
- Jerry Cope (Treasurer & Membership Secretary, JC)
- Dan Crawford (Board Member, DC)
HOW IT WORKS
At our regular monthly meetings, Trust board members ask questions relating to as many topics as possible in the time available, based on responses from members to the advance notification of the meeting and our own observations from interacting with the wider supporter base.
Often members ask similar questions and in these cases, we use our judgement to summarise, provide the Club with feedback and gain as much useful information as possible in the time available. We also prioritise new and time-critical topics, whilst also seeking updates on longer running issues.
You can access notes of all previous meetings on our web site, including the most recent information on key topics such as safe standing, ground operations, Riverside ticketing, and ticket pricing. Additional topics raised by members this month which have been answered previously include details on future away allocations at Craven Cottage, season tickets in the Riverside upper tier and speed of operation of the turnstiles.
If any member has raised a new 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.
- Commercial Partnerships
- Riverside Development
- Facilities and Operations
- Other Issues
The Trust opened the meeting by offering a massive “thank you” to Nicola Walworth on her 15 years’ outstanding service at Fulham and to Fulham supporters. The Trust was very appreciative of Nicola’s work on behalf of supporters generally.
IC also wanted to highlight the excellent work being done by the Foundation, including in partnership with the Fulham Lillies and the Trust, such as the event put on with the Lillies prior to the Newcastle game.
The Trust asked about the purpose and process of appointing commercial partners for Fulham, noting recent speculation about one particular partner in the media. The FST acknowledged at the meeting that they had been contacted by the Athletic and mentioned that they would not be making a comment outside these notes being published.
Note: these notes took longer than usual to finalise because of the amount of detail that needed checking, and the Trust Chair gave a statement to the Athletic some 48 hours after the meeting.
AM responded that the purpose of a particular arrangement varied depending on the objectives of the individual partner but needed to fit some or all of the values of Fulham FC, which in shorthand revolved around authenticity, the family and a premium offering. Legal, financial and commercial due diligence was done on all new partners by external agencies, but the Club were not highly experienced in every field and relied on regulatory oversight as well. Many potential partners were rejected quietly because of such due diligence.
The Trust said that we were very concerned at the damage to Fulham’s and the Fulham Foundation’s reputation if the wrong partner was chosen and suggested the introduction of an Ethics Committee as happened in a number of good quality commercial organisations. The Trust would be happy to participate in such a committee. AM however felt that the current sponsorship committee was a sufficient process in this respect. The Trust expressed disappointment at this response but would monitor how current events unfolded and return to the issue as appropriate.
The Trust then pressed the Club for a response to the growing concern over the business model of Titan Capital Markets, given significant information in the public domain. IC stressed that the Trust’s concern at this time was focussed on a particular company, not the business sector in which it operated. The Club responded that when being approached for comment, in line with all sponsorship and commercial deals, it didn’t comment or provide additional information beyond the details released in official announcements.
POST MEETING FST COMMENT : The Trust is disappointed that the Club feels unable to comment and remains concerned about the specifc commercial partnership with Titan Capital Markets, particularly given that their web site has subsequently been blocked from the UK. We will monitor developments.
The Club and the Trust agreed to meet separately, during the World Cup break, to discuss long-standing issues around loyalty points, away ticket sales and the ticket website
In response to a question from the Trust, KB said that Leeds tickets had not yet sold out; there were still about 400 available (at time of meeting), albeit many of these were restricted view, which would be released last. KB added that no further tickets above the 400 would be available, the significantly larger allocation, for which the Club would have had to guarantee payment having not been taken.
The Club apologised for the later than planned issue of membership cards; because printing of the cards was no longer done in-house these were always likely to take longer than previously to be printed but had slipped a little further, although they had now been issued. The Club stressed however that membership benefits were available immediately and did not require the card to be accessed.
The Trust asked about plans for selling upper tier Riverside tickets and were told that 1,400 such tickets, 700 at each end of the upper tier, had been made available for the four home games up to and including Manchester United. KB added that the Club was pleased that all tickets had sold out for the Newcastle game and that there had been no reports of tickets in the Riverside Stand being bought by Newcastle fans. The Trust confirmed that it had received no such reports either.
The Trust and the Club agreed to hold a separate meeting to continue the dialogue around the process for selling tickets in the Riverside Stand for next season, especially season tickets, an issue on which Trust Members were raising ideas and queries.
The Trust asked whether it was intended to issue more marketing material, perhaps including videos for supporters, for the facilities in the new Riverside Stand next season and asked what would be available on both match days and non-match days.
The Club said material, and perhaps some ‘hard-hat’ tours, would be available soon, and GS ran through the Plans for each floor:
|Level||Match days||Non match days|
|Basement||High quality sports bar||Entertainment facilities|
|Level 0||Four fixed food/beverage outlets on main concourse plus six or so mobile units next to the Riverside, offering a changing variety of food and beverages||Food market next to the Riverside|
|Level 1||Two restaurants, one high-end, one of an all-day brasserie nature; hospitality facilities||Two restaurants as on match-days|
|Level 2||Premium General Admission facilities||Conference & Event space|
|Level 3, 4 and 5||Hospitality||Members Club, including a creche, office space, refreshments etc|
In addition on the Putney End wing, there would be a spa and pool, and a boutique small hotel at the Hammersmith End wing.
The Club added that it was hoped to attract both local and longer distance users to the non-match-day facilities.
In response to a query from one of the Trust members, the Club confirmed that it was intended to add signage to the Riverside as the fit-out was completed.
DP also confirmed that trees that were removed behind the Putney End in order to facilitate works would be replaced.
FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS
The Trust asked about progress on the issues previously raised notably congestion at the Hammersmith End and behaviour of some fans. DP responded that there was no further news on the longer-term projects, but the one-way central staircase idea had not worked at the Hammersmith End, and this would not be continued. The Club was awaiting delivery of some new technology to help measure flows around the Hammersmith End in particular.
The Trust pressed for an update on the visibility of VAR information for those in the Johnny Haynes Stand who were not receiving comparable information for the price of their tickets. AMK assured the Trust that, given the listed nature of the stand, this was being progressed as a priority and something should be in place by the end of the World Cup break.
On the continuing difficulty with sound systems in the ground, the Club said further checks were taking place this week and agreed to look into a suggestion from the Trust that interviewees on the pitch have wireless microphones pinned on their lapels, so they could be heard as clearly as the interviewer, who was perhaps more used to holding a microphone in the correct position.
In response to a question from the Trust, the Club said that pricing, range of consumables etc were a joint decision between the Club and its caterers, and they often discussed and experimented with different offerings, some of which were successful, some not.
The Trust said they were still getting a regular flow of comments about catering and agreed to forward some emails setting out the issues being raised to the Club. JC particularly highlighted this month the difficulty as expressed by Trust Members of getting a beer during half-time, and Trust Members had suggested that some beers were pre-poured for half-time as was normal at other Clubs. AMK said that pre-pouring should be taking place where possible, although not all bars had space available, and this would be checked.
DC asked a series of ‘quick-fire’ questions with the following responses from the Club:
- Plans were being put together for those players not involved in the competition for the World Cup break, and would be finalised and published shortly;
- The lack of availability of disabled parking spaces at Motspur park during U21 games would be investigated;
- Marco Silva very much preferred the Club to play in its home white kit, which explained, along with colour clashes, why the official 2nd strip had not yet been used;
- The Club was unaware as to the reason for the delay in announcing TV moves of the December and January fixtures, which had been due for release on 11th October;
- There would be a Club/Trust meeting in December during the World Cup break, probably a face-to-face meeting.
The meeting closed at 14.35