Notes from January meeting with FFC
On January 18 2023 at 13.30, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust (FST) met with Fulham FC via video conference.
The Club was represented by:
- Alistair Mackintosh (Chief Executive, Officer AM)
- David Daly (Non-Executive Director, DD)
- Darren Preston (Chief Operating Officer, DP)
- Carmelo Mifsud (Communications Director, CM)
- Katy Brecht (Head of Ticketing, KB)
- Nicola Walworth (Supporter Liaison Manager, Disability Liaison Officer, NW)
- Samuel Curteis (Supporter Relations Executive, SC)
The FST was represented by:
- Simon Duke (Chair, SD)
- Sarah Keig (Member Liason, SK)
- Hayley Davinson (Board Member, HD)
Apologies were received from Ian Clarke (FST).
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; 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 website, including the most recent information on key topics not covered at this meeting.
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.
The following topics were discussed:
SD opened the meeting by congratulating the Club on the excellent start to the New Year and the very entertaining football that is being played. AM advised that he would pass on our congratulations and equally Marco and the team appreciate the atmosphere being created by our fans. Marco has asked that their thanks be passed on to our members.
George Cohen tribute
SD also said how well the George Cohen tribute was organised and asked if there were any plans to recognise him in a more permanent way. SK stated members had asked if it would be possible to move the statue of George to Stevenage Road so that it is more visible to people visiting the Cottage. AM responded that with the opening of the Riverside Walk some people think it is in an ideal location as it overlooks the river and is a perfect location. AM also said there are difficulties moving it to Stevenage Road.
SD asked if consideration had been given to any other plans for a tribute. AM said it is too early for any permanent recognition to be considered, and DD said if it were, then it would be in conjunction with the family.
SD talked about the medical incident that happened at the Chelsea game. He congratulated the Club on its response and how it was handled. Stating how FST members had contacted us to say how well it was dealt with, SD advised that there seems to be some misunderstanding with regard to whether the game should be stopped. The Trust has made it clear in messaging that the right protocols were followed.
CM advised that the emergency protocol will be updated on the website, and there will be information on the protocol and the location of defibrillators in the Tottenham Hotspur programme. DP said that Chris Baker wanted him to pass on his thanks to the supporters in the area for the way they behaved during the incident.
SD mentioned the Celebration day and gave thanks to Carmelo, Nicola and Samuel for all the work they had done with FST Board Member Owen Smith. Currently there have been 30 submissions and the deadline to submit is the 31st January.
VAR Screens in the Johnny Haynes Stand
SD asked DP if he could update us on the VAR screens for the Johnny Haynes Stand.
DP responded that the screens have been ordered but there is no current date for delivery. All of the infrastructure is in place so as soon as they arrive they will be installed.
Sound System in the Johnny Haynes Stand
SD advised that the Trust are still getting queries coming through from members with regards to the sound system in the Johnny Haynes stand.
DD asked SD where he sits in the ground. SD responded in the Putney End and advised that for him any issues tend to be with the Forever Fulham interviewee’s not being heard properly. SK advised that she sits in the Hammersmith End and she agrees with SD that she can hear the music clearly, when Ivan Berry speaks it is clear but she cannot hear the half time interviews. SK continued that we have also received a number of complaints about the volume levels in the Johnny Haynes Stand with some saying it is too loud and some saying they can’t hear.
DP advised the Club have had the radio microphones tested and he believes that it is an interviewee issue rather than the sound system. DP suggested playing music at half time rather than having interviews on the pitch. CM said they do test before each game and the results that come back from the audio company show that there are no issues with the actual sound system. They did look at lapel microphones, but they aren’t suitable for a large crowd. DD said he would ask interviewees to speak louder and clearer to see if that would make a difference.
HD suggested using a headset mic. DD said that for those people who don’t hear the interviews they are all on the Fulham website and are usually uploaded the following day.
CM would feedback on the possibility of testing a headset mic to see if that makes any difference.
FST will also ask any members who raise this issue in the future to be specific about what they can and cannot hear. Once the issue of hearing clearly has been resolved, the question of volume will be addressed.
Hammersmith End congestion
SD asked DP about the walk-around that happened at half-time at the Manchester United game with Ian Clarke from the FST and Steve White from the Club. DP said the walkabout couldn’t be completed as it was too busy. Fulham has appointed a consultancy company called Movement Strategies. They were at the Chelsea game with several cameras and people watching the crowds. DP is waiting for the report and hopes to receive it this week. Chris Baker has noticed that some of the catering units are encroaching the central stairs, so they are going to move them in order to ease congestion. Once they get the report from Movement Strategies, they will look to implement any of the recommendations.
SD will pick up with DP outside of the meeting the outstanding points around the walk-around that the FST and Fulham did last Summer.
SK asked when the Riverside is fully open will there still be season tickets available for sale in the Putney End or will it be for away supporters only. KB responded that she thinks this question has come about because they have given Sunderland the whole end for the FA Cup game. This is due to the Club having to give the away team an increased allocation in the FA Cup compared to the league. However, there are currently no plans for the Putney End to be for away supporters only next season.
Pricing / attendance
SK mentioned that Chelsea did not sell out and Tottenham hasn’t sold out, even though they are big London derbies. The Club were asked if they plan to look at the ticketing model based on these games not selling out. KB said Chelsea did eventually sell out with tickets being sold right up until kick off and was our biggest attendance of the season so far. Tottenham is also tracking well although there is still availability in the RS upper. Based on daily sales they anticipate that they will be sold out by Monday evening. There is no intention to change from the current match by match pricing.
FA Cup game
SD asked why the RS upper tier had not been opened for the Sunderland fixture from the on sale date. KB said the Club were surprised at the first day rate of sales for the Riverside Stand for the fixture but hastened to add that they did move quickly to rectify this and help those that wished to move to see the game from the RS stand who had already purchased tickets elsewhere.
SD asked about the inability for season ticket holders to purchase their own seat in a window before the FA Cup general seat sale. KB explained that due to the short turnaround between fixtures this did not allow enough time in advance, but it might be possible in future rounds if there is sufficient time between fixture confirmation and the fixture date.
SK asked if there is any update on the season ticket prices for next year. Members have indicated their concerns that whilst the current season ticket prices are reasonable, with the significant increase in matchday prices this season there is a concern the same might be seen in season ticket prices next season. AM said this useful feedback that supporters think the current season ticket prices are reasonable. The Club hasn’t set the 2023/4 prices yet.
HD spoke about an international supporter who had highlighted the difficulties in buying multiple tickets at the Cottage without memberships and asked if there was anything that the Club could do to help.
AM responded that we can do something to help these supporters. NW said in such situations, the Club often ask if they have ever purchased any merchandise, do they subscribe to FFCTV or if they have a previous booking history to establish their bone fide support of the Club. If they can demonstrate they are true supporters, the Club will try and help with purchasing tickets.
NW suggested putting any such supporters in touch with the marketing team as they look after the International Supporters Groups.
HD said at the previous meeting it had been mentioned that the Catering companies have KPI’s to measure the standards of Catering. HD asked if we could get some feedback on this today. DP said he didn’t have the information, but he would look into it and come back to us.
SD asked for an update on the Fan Engagement Standard as part of the Fan Led Review.
CM advised there was a meeting last week of all 20 Premier League Clubs, which was an induction on how Clubs should be structuring the FES. This month the Club will be putting together a plan which will need to be submitted to the Premier League by the end of February. The Club will share the plan with the Trust prior to submission. CM commented that the structured dialogue meetings that we currently have are very helpful and they also have monthly meetings with the Fulham Disabled Supporters Association.
HD asked about the Green Football Weekend, which is on the 4th and 5th February. CM was unaware and asked us to share the information with him.
The meeting closed at 14.15