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THESE GUYS ARE Our voice!

They used to be called Back To The Cottage

billp TOOFIF Updated Friday, 14 September 2018

The Fulham Supporters' Trust began life as the Back to the Cottage campaign, formed after Fulham Football Club announced it had dropped plans to develop Craven Cottage on the lines of the planning permission received in February 2001.

What began as a group of like-minded fans distributing leaflets and engaging the media to seek answers to a number of pertinent questions, soon developed into organisation campaigning under the Back to the Cottage banner.

Following a well attended meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall, fans decided to establish a Supporters’ Trust, following the successful model in place at more than 100 clubs across England, Scotland and Wales.

A series of meetings with local authority representatives, politicians and advice from planners, architects and business people helped the Trust put up a convincing case that, counter to the club's position, a return to Craven Cottage was not only viable, but the only way to secure Fulham's future.

The campaign was helped by generous donations from Fulham fans and support from former Fulham players and coaches as well as the wider footballing community.

The club announced on 3 September 2003 that they would return to Craven Cottage - and Fulham played their first competitive game back at their historic home against Bolton in August 2004.

Since our return to the Cottage, the Trust has continued to have a dialogue with the club, holding regular meetings with club officials.

The Trust is wholly independent of Fulham FC and was set up with the assistance of Supporters Direct, a government-funded initiative who aim to help fans “who wish to play a reasonable part in the life of the football club they support.”

The Trust have always been committed to helping to secure the long term future of the club and have focused largely on governance, supporter relations, ground development and the club's financial position.

The Trust seek progress and success like every Fulham fan and remain extremely appreciative of our chairman. We are committed to working with Fulham FC, the local community, local authority and all other relevant stakeholders to ensure the long term viability of the club.

About the Trust

The Trust would like to consult on the following draft objectives which have been ratified by the Committee:

To secure the long-term future of Fulham Football Club at Craven Cottage

To promote the history and heritage of Fulham Football Club and Craven Cottage

To identify the issues affecting and interesting Fulham fans and the Trust membership and, if appropriate, run campaigns and ask questions of the relevant individuals and ask questions of the relevant individuals and organisations

To establish the Fulham Supporters' Trust as the progressive and independent home of Fulham fans

To boost our membership figures and develop an effective communication strategy with our membership via email, newsletters and the internet

To publicise the Trust through the local and national media

To continue to forge strong links with Fulham Football Club, the local authority and local decision makers, political figures and national supporters' bodies (such as Supporters' Direct and the Football Supporters' Federation) and take part in the appropriate campaigns for organisation.

We would like to encourage all Fulham members, whether they are currently members of the Trust or not, to contribute their ideas and thoughts as we shape our campaigns for the forthcoming season. Fulham fans are invited to do this either by emailing the Trust directly on info@fulhamsupporterstrust.com or using the form located in the 'Contact Us' section of the FST website.

Trust Board
The current elected Trust Board, comprises of:
Tom Greatrex • Chris Gilbertson • Gerry Claydon • Neil Springate Dan Crawford • Mike Gregg • Gerry Pimm • Jamie Doak
Copyright © 2010, Fulham Supporters Trust. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2018 Fulham Supporters Trust, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you are a member of the Fulham Supporters Trust Our mailing address is: Fulham Supporters Trust PO Box 63958 London, SW15 9AH United Kingdom Add us to your address book 
Website: www.fulhamsupporterstrust.com Email: info@fulhamsupporterstrust.com



Consultation

I found this old article on the getwestlondon site and as it’s relevant to the formation of BTTC and subsequently the FST, I thought it worthy of inclusion here rather than on the media page.

The Fulham 2000 story and how it helped save a football club on the brink of disaster

Chris Bishop tells the story of Fulham 2000 and how it tried to bring back some stability to Fulham Football Club


By Chris Bishop

13:56, 24 JUL 2017


As the millions flow out of the Fulham bank account this season on stars from across Europe, it is very hard to believe that a mere quarter of a century ago the club was on the edge of oblivion.

It is even harder to imagine those far off bleak, hungry, days that the fate of London’s oldest clubs was influenced by a small, yet determined, band of volunteers. There’s a lot of rot these days talked about “loyalty” to a club.

Many so called supporters measure loyalty by the amount of online abuse you can throw at opposing supporters and their clubs; in my view, a measure of loyalty is how much money and time you are prepared to put where your mouth is when your club in in peril.

It was 1992, Craven Cottage had been sold off for housing development – after all it is valuable prime land by the Thames – and the bulldozers were ready to move in. The club didn’t have two pennies to rub together, the team was struggling in what is now League One and crowds were down to just over 3,000. As one of my colleagues, a third generation Fulham supporter, said sardonically there was as much space for an open, passing, game on the terraces than on the pitch.

The rescue crew was called Fulham 2000 – in the vague hope that the club would still be around at the end of the century. Around 30 of us used to meet at the ground after games and on frosty Sunday mornings to work out how we were going to raise millions to save the club; a forlorn hope at the time. For a start, we all pledged 100 pounds each and I even persuaded my dad – a Kidderminster Harriers supporter – to follow suit.

I was working at the BBC then, so I was elected press officer - a small role in a coalition of the hopeful. I remember getting a pat on the back all round for getting an interview with lifelong Fulham fan Melvin Tenner, our leader at Fulham 2000, on BBC News. But it wasn’t looking good in those dark days in a season when we lost 2-0 at home to Hayes in the FA Cup. You could feel the interest melting away faster than the crowds. Business didn’t want to know, the talk was of a ground sharing with Chelsea, there was a conspiracy theory that the management wanted to run the club down to the Conference and then close it down quietly. I didn’t believe the latter, but one or two times, on rain swept terraces when we were losing away from home, I wondered.

You know how deeply in the mire you stand when you are shaking a bucket in the faces of supporters of an even more impoverished team in the relegation zone fresh from a journey of hundreds of miles from the north that probably cost half their wages.

That is what we happy few of Fulham 2000 were doing on January 28 1992. We had chosen the Wigan game at home for the launch of our fund-raising drive, probably not the most glamourous fixture, but arguably the Lancashire club was a kindred spirit when it came to struggling in the lower reaches of English football. On that day, they were deep in the relegation zone long before the millions that took the club to the Premier League. Even so, the Wigan fans tossed generously 50 pence pieces into our buckets.

“Good luck and hopefully we will still be playing you next season,” they said cheerfully. I often think of that day when I see some of the spoilt, repugnant, moronic, abuse that is thrown around on the internet these days. As a football fan, I was happy when Wigan escaped relegation that season. Earlier in the day, Fulham 2000 had announced itself to the world in a Hammersmith hotel where we had arranged for the late Fulham legend Johnny Haynes to come down from Edinburgh to launch our campaign to save the club.

Haynes was arguably the best footballer ever to lace up a pair of boots at Fulham and a fine captain of England; as a public speaker, Haynes was arguably the best footballer ever to lace up a pair of boots at Fulham and a fine captain of England; as a public speaker, he struggled.

To make matters worse, George Best, another Fulham great, turned up late in the middle of his opening address.

The Fleet Street journalists forgot Johnny was speaking and swamped Bestie for a few choice quotes. I can still see Johnny droning through his speech with one eye on the impromptu Best press conference. It was, as they say on line these days, cringe worthy.

Anyway, we all pitched up for the last home game of the season against Bradford City in the understanding that it was going to be the last ever at the Cottage. The first shock was we won; the second shock was it was announced over the tannoy that a stay of execution for at least another season had been secured. More than five years later, the banks, who wanted to get the Craven Cottage asset off their books, sold the club to Mohammed Al Fayed and the rest is history.

It was all worth it on that wet April day in 1997 I flew from Africa to Heathrow and drove up to Carlisle for the crunch promotion game. There was about 2,000 of us at Brunton Park – Terry Angus, the injured centre half, was leading the singing in the stands! (Can you imagine David Luiz doing that?).

Two goals to one: Micky Conroy equalised and I was dead in line when Rodney McAree smashed in the second. It was like Christmas; total strangers were hugging and shaking hands. It was worth every yard of my 7,000-mile journey.

Thirteen years on, I almost wept when I watched Fulham walk out for the Europa Cup final in Hamburg. As fate would have it, I was on assignment in Nairobi and rued how I could make it to Carlisle for a League Two game, but not to Germany for a European final.

Watching it TV on a hot Kenyan night, I mused that cold meetings in Craven Cottage 18 years before had been worth it. To think it could all have been lost in the path of a bulldozer.

FST meeting  with FFC

on 10 September 2018

Friday, 14 September 2018

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TOOFIF '30 years of TOOFIF and Fulham' book launch

+ Q&As with Fulham favourites

Wednesday 14th November,

Duke's Head, Putney, 7pm


Dear TOOFIF site visitors

Fulham Supporters Trust are delighted to be sponsoring the book launch of TOOFIF – a 30 year look back at the fanzine 'There's Only One F in Fulham' and all things Fulham.

The night promises to be a fun evening with editor David Lloyd being interviewed by FST Chair Tom Greatrex and other Fulham Football Club related people (More information to follow) having a Q&A with Alan Smith.

The Trust are delighted to offer members tickets for just £5 (use Promotional code Member2018) – non members £10.  The ticket includes a hot and cold buffet.

You can also purchase the book at a discount price when buying a ticket to collect on the night.

This is a ticket only event and places are limited so we urge early purchase.

For more information on the evening and to book click HERE

The book:

David Lloyd launched the fanzine in 1988 and has been closely involved with the Club's ups and downs, often directly so.  Tales of despair and delight are backed up by a host of interviews with key club personnel.

This book is in A4 hardback format with over 300 pages crammed with anecdotes, insights and lavishly illustrated. Whilst the book marks the mag's 30th anniversary, it is also full of exclusive new material rather than simply just  a 'best of TOOFIF'.  Ray Lewington has written the foreword for what promises to be a fascinating read for all Fulham fans.

We look forward to seeing you on the night – remember to book early to avoid disappointment.

Dear TOOFIF Readers

On Monday 10 September 2018, Alistair Mackintosh (AM, chief executive officer), Darren Preston (DP, chief operating officer) and David Daly (DD, non-executive director) of Fulham Football Club met with Ian Clarke, Dan Crawford, Les O'Gorman and Owen Smith of the Fulham Supporters' Trust at Motspur Park as part of the ongoing structured dialogue between both parties. The Club and the Trust were joined by PC Tony Delamo to discuss policing issues for part of the meeting.

AM welcomed the Trust representatives, especially the newly-elected members, to the meeting and reiterated his commitment to be as transparent and receive as much feedback from the supporters as possible. He also passed on the apologies of Carmelo Mifsud and Casper Sylsvig, who were unable to attend due to other diary commitments.

MATCHDAY EXPERIENCE AND GROUND ISSUES

The Trust highlighted multiple issues arising from the recent League Cup tie against Exeter City following significant delays and queuing outside the ground prior to kick off as well as an apparent lack of staff, poor organisation, and inadequate stewarding.

AM acknowledged that they were “internally very aware” of the problems and that the Exeter game was “not our finest hour”. DP had written up a report on matchday failings and AM had collected feedback from several other senior Club staff. The expectation of service increases with a lower crowd and there would be “learnings” and that they were “caught by surprise”. The club were trialling not raising matchday prices for the Exeter City game and found that there were on the day an unexpectedly large number of walk-ups and late arrivals.

The reduced number of staff appears not to be due to cost cutting, but rather the short time with which to get enough people to work the match. AM clarified that for all midweek cup games, against teams where there are reduced ticket prices, the Club makes a loss, but this presents an opportunity to attend for people who wouldn't ordinarily be able to. AM promised to learn from this experience and the club will improve in future.

The Trust also raised the Club's decision this season to pay the London Living Wage and suggested that this should help to recruit and retain regular stewards rather than relying on agencies to continually provide staff. AM and DP replied that they felt strongly that it was the right decision, but it does have some knock-on effects. AM revealed that it can be a challenge to retain matchday staff, against a number of competitors in London, and he asked the Trust to help the Club recruit any supporters who might be interested in working on matchdays. DP also said that the introduction of the London Living Wage has meant that some regular stewards have had to reduce their hours because they would otherwise be affected by the benefit cap.

The Trust highlighted the common-sense stewarding by Brighton and Hove Albion's stewards at the away game earlier this month, especially in terms of entry and exit from the stadium and how Fulham fans were encouraged to remain in the ground following the final whistle. PC Delamo was less impressed with the stewarding both on the concourse prior to the kick off and with a slowness to police who were standing in seating areas. AM advised that the Club and Brighton were trialling a seated section in the away end for this game. However, ticket sales in this block were very low and eventually the club had to take the decision to open it up to general sale.

The Trust raised the news of a new planning application concerning the Hammersmith End. DP confirmed that this was the installation of a new commentary box to be located between the Hammersmith End and the Riverside Stand so that the Club could comply with the Premier League broadcast regulations. DP said that the box should be in place for the home game against Watford. It remains to be seen how this will impact upon movement of supporters in this area, although no viewing of the match will be affected. Both the Trust and the Club will monitor developments.

The Trust raised the fact that, at the start of both home league matches so far, the blind commentary service had not been working and supporters were actually listening to commentary from an alternative game. AM and DP were concerned to hear this feedback and said they would ensure that this was sorted for the next fixture.

All parties agreed that the Craven Cottage PA system remains very poor. DP agreed that it is very hard to hear at the back of the Riverside, and the Trust representatives also relayed that the same problems remain in the Johnny Haynes stand. The general consensus was that the investment in new equipment has not been successful and the Club will be looking at other ways to improve the situation.

The Trust also brought the nationwide On the Ball campaign, designed to encourage clubs to provide free female sanitary products at football matches, to the attention of the Club and suggested that Fulham should sign up. Following a discussion at the meeting, the Club announced on Thursday that they would be immediately joining the On the Ball campaign. You can read the Club's official statement, with comment from the Fulham Supporters' Trust here.

TICKETING ISSUES

The Trust raised the status of the members' discount on home match tickets, as some members had written in after not being offered a discount for the forthcoming Arsenal game. AM replied that the membership discount is not intended for top-tier games such as Arsenal, but only applies to certain other games. However, the club would rather not issue a list of the games it does apply to as they are exploring the idea of offering discounts to some games which they currently wouldn't, if there are any movements due to scheduling clashes.

The Trust raised a number of issues and suggestions around away ticketing, including: · the inability to choose a particular seat for away matches, which provokes problems around standing and sitting in the Fulham section (which were particularly problematic at Brighton and Hove Albion),

· reintroducing the previously provided information on the Club website regarding blocks that were available and the order that they would be sold in,

· splitting blocks into front and rear if individual seat choice was not available · and the possibility of simplifying the loyalty point tiers. The Trust also asked if the Club could provide more information on how tickets remained on sale for away games to assist supporters. AM and DP said that the Club would take these suggestions under consideration, consult with their ticket office colleagues, and report back.

The Trust also highlighted IT issues around access to Arsenal tickets, with season ticket holders unable to purchase tickets on the advertised date. This issue was eventually resolved with the assistance of Katy Brecht, the Club's head of ticketing, but caused significant problems. DP confirmed that the option to print tickets at home, whilst being useful in previous seasons was now being abused by touts and had been withdrawn. AM and DP confirmed that the Club will be attending a Premier League meeting on combating touting to discuss issues faced this season.

AM confirmed that the Club are still looking to set up a ticketing exchange system for season ticket holders who are unable to attend particular fixtures, but it remains 'a work in progress'. Casper Sylsvig is leading on this work, in conjunction with his ticket office colleagues, and the Club hope to be in a position to announce a development as soon as possible.

The Trust representatives also reiterated our concerns around this season's ticketing pricing, especially for the forthcoming Bournemouth home game, and the potential for pricing out previously loyal supporters. DP agreed to take the Trust's feedback on board, discuss internally to identify what would be possible and then organise a ticketing workshop with the Trust.

RIVERSIDE STAND UPDATE

AM provided an update on the Riverside Stand, having missed the previous meeting. He confirmed that the Club remained out to tender to potential sub-contractors and reiterated that no contract will be signed until the Club are totally satisfied with the offer on the table. The Club are not totally satisfied with the current responses received but are looking to move on with the project as soon as possible. AM revealed that chairman Shahid Khan is very focussed on the detail of the scheme and, in response to follow up questions from the Trust, wanted to assure supporters that the plan is not in danger of slipping a year.

COMMUNICATIONS

The Trust raised comments from supporters about a significant lack of information on the Club's website. Several members had raised the lack of information about Scott Parker on the coaching section of the website and the continued listing of Jose Sambede Carreira as the Club's goalkeeping coach despite press reports on his departure last month. AM said that these updates were a combination of slowness and ensuring the Club abides by employment law, but promised that these instances would be rectified as soon as possible.

Some Trust members had been in touch about inaccuracies in the Academy reports on the Club's website. AM replied that the Club had recently recruited a new member of staff to assist with the coverage of the Club's Academy and that he would pass on the comments internally.

In response to a question about Tim Ream's fitness, AM said that the Club generally try not to reveal too much about injuries, although Slavisa Jokanovic is sometimes more forthcoming during his press conferences. AM said that Ream's injury was not 'extremely serious' but had taken him some time to recover from and the Club hoped to have him available for first team selection again shortly.

ORGANISATIONAL

AM confirmed that the Club's finance director Sean O'Loughlin had joined Crystal Palace and his role was currently being covered by his deputy Andy Tye. Whilst the Club had advertised for a replacement, AM revealed that the permanent replacement could be an internal appointment.

In response to various internet rumours of an ownership change, AM confirmed that the ownership of the Club remained with the Khan family and that no changes were either made or planned.

TRANSFER WINDOW

AM provided a brief overview of the August transfer window, having missed the last meeting. He felt the window went very well and fitted with the Club's desire to try and establish themselves as a Premier League club. Slavisa Jokanovic had specified a number of areas where the promoted squad needed improving and the Club worked to bring in high-quality additions. AM said that the Khan family had provided financial backing for the Club to strengthen the squad and that they exceeded the amount they had planned to spend by bringing in a number of players towards the end of the transfer window. He also reiterated the importance of retaining the Club's key players and confirmed that there were no issues with Financial Fair Play, with the Club now operating under the Premier League's version of the rules.

MERCHANDISE

The Trust representatives relayed the feedback of a number of supporters about the lack of stock on some popular lines, including children's replica shirts. The Club recognise that this is an issue, due to long lead-in terms and delays from Adidas meaning that not all stock was received. DD confirmed that CS was due to meet with Adidas in the coming days to resolve these problems. The Club also acknowledged the Trust's comments on the lack of options for female supporters – and AM and DP said that new lines and items were planned.

The red and black shirts, worn during the away games against Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion, will not be available in the Club shop. The intention was for them only to be used against Newcastle United until the Premier League changed their mind on the Tottenham kit clash. The Premier League have subsequently run the Club's change kit through their colour clash simulator.

POLICING ISSUES

Tony Delamo introduced himself and said that he wanted to come to one of the structured dialogue meetings having been in place for more than a year. PC Delamo was pleased with most matters at Fulham, but detailed that most arrests have been for drug-related offences. He disclosed that this season's drug policy is “nightclub style” i.e. confiscate and eject.

He confirmed that the thrower of the flare at the Exeter City game had been identified and action was currently being taken. He also added that six people involved in trouble at the Rotherham game had now been issued with three-year football banning orders.

PC Delamo wants to be approachable and will continue to liaise with the Club and the Trust as appropriate.

The meeting finished at 1.13pm.

Thank you for your continued support of the Fulham Supporters' Trust