The Fulham Supporters’ Trust Newsletter


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Fulham Supporters' Trust newsletter - December, 2011

                               

  1. The Fulham Supporters' Trust: Annual General Meeting

  2. The Trust's AGM will be held on 21st. January, 2012, between 13.00-1400, at the meeting room of Putney Library, 5/7, Disraeli Road, Putney, SW15 2DR.

  3. Full details of the meeting will be forwarded to the membership. It is intended that the formal business will be processed as rapidly as possible in order that (i) Tom Greatrex MP will give a resumé on footballing issues raised in Parliament and those forthcoming, and their relevance to Fulham and clubs generally, as well as the developments on safe standing in Scotland, and (ii) there will be sufficient time for a question and answer session.


  4. FFC: a 'curate's egg' of a month in the Premier League

  5. With many fans fearing the worst after a poor showing in Enschede (q.v.), Fulham showed far greater resilience than had been evident in Holland, with a fine victory over Liverpool, whose players’ constant moaning at and hectoring of referee Kevin Friend earned the club a £20,000 fine for failing to control their players. Rightly barracked throughout the game by the home fans, incorrigible cheat, Suarez, picked up a similar fine and a one match ban for his petulant behaviour as the teams left the pitch.

  6. An entertaining contest, where the visitors' speed and skill were matched and blunted by Fulham's determined tackling and more methodical play, was tilted in the home side's favour in the 72nd. minute. Spearing's two-footed lunge may have had a passing interest in making contact with the ball, but was equally likely to dismember Dembele and was judged reckless, resulting in his sending-off. The game was decided in the 85th. minute by the error-prone Reina fumbling Murphy's shot into the path of Dempsey, who forced the ball into the net.

  7. Away to Swansea City, Fulham adopted similar tactics to those which had misfired so badly in Enschede, and with similar result, a 2-0 defeat. Dempsey's missed penalty, with the score at 1-0, was a poor effort, only adding to the frustration of the travelling fans.

  8. To their credit Fulham responded well the following weekend, comprehensively out-playing Bolton Wanderers. After a slow start, two well-taken goals, a powerful header from Dempsey and a scoop cum flick from Ruiz in the first half put Fulham in command. Although Bolton fought back with spirit, the Cottagers were not going relinquish another two-goal advantage.

  9. The midweek game against Manchester United saw Fulham turn in their most abject display since May's home defeat by Liverpool. Although under-strength, United scored an early goal and led 0-3 by half-time. With the match lost Fulham improved in the second half and started to press, but to no avail and they conceded another two goals in the last three minutes.

  10. This did not bode well for the trip to Stamford Bridge and absences through injury forced a change in personnel and tactics, with a flexible 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation. An evenly-matched first half ended 0-0, but yet again Fulham were caught cold at the beginning of the second and conceded. However, Fulham pressed forward and some trickery by Ruiz and a hard and low cross was met by Dempsey, who bundled the ball past Cech for the equaliser.

  11. The New Year's Eve game saw Fulham travel to Carrow Road to play Norwich City, aiming for only their second win on the road this season. Early pressure resulted in Orlando Sá turning neatly inside his marker and curling the ball into the net for his first goal the club. Several players should have added to this advantage and, gradually, in the second half Fulham were placed under ever-increasing pressure, which resulted in an equaliser for the Canaries, deep in injury time. At the mid-point of the season, Fulham lie 13th. on 20 points, but still too close to the bottom three for comfort.



  12. FFC: more on redevelopment proposals at Craven Cottage

  13. In the early part of the month, Fulham Football Club held another series of consultation events regarding their proposals to redevelop Craven Cottage. Club officials and members of the planning consultancy involved with the designs were present as the club unveiled some detailed designs of the proposed changes to the Riverside Stand, which will predominantly introduce additional seating and offer extra opportunities for non-matchday use of the new facilities. One of the salient features was the desire to re-open the Thames Path to its fullest extent. It remains Fulham's intention to submit a planning application this spring, with the expectation that work will be undertaken during the close season.



  14. DCMS response to football governance inquiry

  15. Following the publication of the CMS' inquiry into football governance, the department itself published a response. This made a number of recommendations for football, including looking at the creation of a modern, accountable and representative Football Association (FA) Board, the implementation of a licensing framework administered by the FA in close co-operation with the professional game and changes to the decision-making structures within the FA.

  16. Although the DCMS recognised the efforts at reform of the FA Board, one detects a note of, perhaps, frustration with the recalcitrance of the football authorities in the sentence “Simply, we urge the football authorities to now join together to respond to the recommendations laid down in the Select Committee’s report.”

  17. Nowhere is there the recognition that, with regard to burgeoning debt (among many ills in the game) within the upper four divisions of English football, the formation of the Premier League, effectively a breakaway within the FA, was one of its major precipitants. Further, there is de facto acceptance of three governing bodies within English football, something the Trust argued against in its submission to the inquiry, viz. “The decisive form of government intervention ... would be ... to introduce a single, independent regulatory body for football...” We hope that this is a matter put in abeyance rather than an opportunity eschewed.

  18. Nevertheless, there is much to applaud, most notably the recommendations on football licensing (q.v.), supporter ownership and strategic planning for youth development and coaching.

  19. The Government will now look for the football authorities to work together, agree and publish a joint response by the end of February 2012 on how they plan to take these recommendations forward.

  20. Although government reports are not everyone's idea of easy reading, we recommend that our members study this in detail: http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/8493.aspxin


  21. Football Club Licensing: a step in the right direction

  22. Paragraphs 23-28 of the DCMS’s response to the inquiry on football governance in England are concerned with a football licensing model, one which “should be imposed consistently throughout English football to underpin the self-regulation already introduced by the Leagues. The licence should cover all competitions and all leagues.” Tacitly, this confirms the fears of many fans that the tightening of financial rules and self-regulation by the clubs have not been consistent, appropriate and effective.

  23. Supporters Direct (SD) has presented proposals (http://bit.ly/tbSswM) for reform via a club licensing system in order that the opportunity be seized to create, at the very least, a structured role for supporters at clubs throughout the English football pyramid. The significant background to this is that more than 80 clubs have sought protection from creditors since the current insolvency regime was created in 1986, and a comprehensive licensing system will help to prevent clubs being run on an unsustainable basis.

  24. Club licensing is in line with the coalition pledge to: “…encourage the reform of football governance to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by their supporters” (Coalition Programme for Government). SD’s proposals for club licensing that incorporate a route to increasing the rights and responsibilities of supporters’ trusts can help deliver the above pledge, if they are implemented in full.

  25. The desired outcome would be for every ‘fit and proper’ supporters’ trust in the English pyramid to play a formal role at their club and at the most basic level, the right to disclosure of financial and governance information from the club. Subsequent stages include ‘golden share’ equivalent rights, culminating in pre-emption rights for supporters’ trusts on the sale of equity at their club and the right to nominate a supporter director with full fiduciary duties.

  26. On 1st. February, 2012, Trust members will attend a SD-hosted reception at the House of Commons to promote the Football Club Licensing proposal to MPs, policymakers and the relevant authorities. The principal speaker will be Jessica Lee MP (Conservative, Erewash), and there will be supporting speeches by Tom Greatrex MP and one other MP, yet to be confirmed.



  27. The Europa League: an ignominious exit for FFC

  28. December commenced with a fixture in the Europa League, this time away to group leaders, FC Twente. 1,300 of the Fulham faithful wended various ways to Enschede and deserved to see better for their efforts than a feeble performance, based around some inexplicably negative tactics. Given that FC Twente's defence appeared porous when attacked, with Johnson squandering two good opportunities, seeing Fulham content to defend from 10-15 yards within their own half, was exasperating. Having invited calamity, the inevitable winning goal arrived with too little time left for Fulham to recover and equalise, and Johnson's needless dismissal in injury time summed up a dismal evening.

  29. When only a victory would have guaranteed them a place in the knock-out stages, Fulham faded out of the Europa League with barely a whimper, following a 2-2 draw with OB. Much-changed due to injury and suspension, Fulham led 2-0 at half-time through goals by Dempsey and Frei, the latter his first for the club. With Baird playing out of position and Frei and Gecov clearly spent soon after the re-start, the Danes maintained their passing game and were rewarded when a poorly-positioned wall allowed Andreasen to score from a free-kick. With both the combative Kasami and Etuhu available to bolster a flagging midfield, Jol preferred to substitute both strikers. In the 93rd. minute, when dispatching the ball into the Hammersmith End would have run down the clock, Fulham dithered on the edge of OB's penalty area and lost possession. The Danes moved the ball swiftly down the right and, with the home midfield and defence in disarray, a cross found an un-marked Fall, who glanced the ball past Etheridge, which was poor reward for the debutant, who had performed creditably.

  30. With Wisla Krakow defeating FC Twente's reserves, 2-1, Fulham slipped to third place in Group K and out of the competition. Given the very modest opposition in Group K, Fulham's overall performance was particularly disappointing, worsened when Wisla were drawn against Standard Liège, the victors facing either CS Bruges or Hannover 96 in the last sixteen.


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  32. The Fulham Supporters' Trust: P.O. Box 63958, London, SW15 9AH

  33. Website: www.fulhamsupporterstrust.com

  34. Email: info@fulhamsupporterstrust.com

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