Football Supporters Federation (FSF) – meeting held at Woking FC on December 9th 2012
Truro – It appears that Truro may have been rescued by a local businessman – it remains to be seen whether the takeover is viable in the longer term.
Histon look to be the next club to be entering the realm of severe financial problems. In an attempt to keep the club going the club management have changed the manager and are attempting to re-negotiate player contracts.
Lincoln City – There is an ongoing dispute between past and current directors of Lincoln City in which FSF has been unwillingly involved. The Federation is attempting to step away from what is seen as an internal debate. Similarly there are disputes at Northwich Victoria where the Trust is attempting to find a new ground for the club within the town
Brighton fans groups and club officials had attended a meeting with the Met and Sussex police, Crystal Palace fans groups and club personnel re the arrangements for the visit to Selhurst Park to try and avoid the problems which occurred last season.
Wimbledon appointed Neil Ardley as manager. The terrace which Wimbledon thought would have to be converted to seating has now been given a reprieve in light of their decision to move to a new ground. Attempts had been made to make the game with MK Dons a ‘bubble match’ but that this had been abandoned as it had proved impossible to get enough coaches – in the end some 17 coaches ran to the game. The game was largely trouble free with only 3 or 4 on the spot fines. Wimbledon would be paying for some minor damage to seats and a toilet block.
Sunderland have moved away fans to an upper tier in one corner of the ground which has been largely successful, though there are problems with fans access to the new entrance from the area where their coaches are parked. There are likely to be difficulties for fans with vertigo, however, as the new seating area is high up in the ground
Woking has made much progress in the last couple of years. The Trust is continuing to increase its shareholding, and is now the second-largest shareholder in the club.
Fulham SLO has won a national award from Visit Britain for work with tourists wishing to visit a Premier League game. The relationship between FST and the club is now much improved and there are regular meetings between the Trust, SLO and CEO. The redevelopment of the ground is going ahead.
Gillingham is doing well on the pitch and has no problems at present other than the previously-reported difficulty with Dagenham and Redbridge.
Crawley Devils Trust has merged with the Supporters Club and the new organisation is working through its teething problems but in general is functioning well. The club CEO is resigning and this is broadly welcomed by the fans. The money put into the club by Hong Kong investors is understood to run out at the end of this season.
Reading is examining the possibility of moving its war memorial to a different part of the ground where it will be more prominent. They have had problems with away ticketing where it seems that the earlier fans buy tickets, the worse seats they get. This is acknowledged by Reading FC and reported to be as a result of the ticket sales policies of host clubs. Members were clear that this is a widespread problem. Reading has contracted Viagogo as a ticket exchange – there is some concern that this could lead to fans buying tickets in the wrong part of the ground.
Norwich is doing well on the pitch at present and has changed their manager. The Academy has gained EPPP Category 1 after an upgrade in training facilities. An increase in ground capacity is a priority and various schemes are under consideration. The Community Sports Foundation continues to be very active.
Crystal Palace has changed manager. A new training ground location is still being sought. Changes to parking restrictions in the area may create problems over the latter part of the season. The club’s owners have made it clear that they are in favour of safe standing in principle. The stadium redevelopment is under discussion and consideration is being given over whether to move out of the ground for a single season to allow the work to take place (a temporary stadium in Crystal Palace Park is one option), or whether to phase it and continue playing at the ground during works.
Leyton Orient are facing the probability of West Ham moving into the Olympic Stadium and being very close to Brisbane Road in future – though there will continue to be doubts until the finance is found to rebuild the stadium to Premiership standards. There appears to be surprisingly little fan interest in the issue – a recent consultation provoked little response. The club’s SLO is still the CEO – unsurprisingly he has done nothing so far.
Portsmouth Fans Trust is the preferred bidder for the club and, dependent on the outcome of the court case on the valuation of Fratton Park with a previous owner, hope to move forward rapidly.
Other – It was noted that FSF nationally had been unable to source a list of Supporter Liaison Officers from the FA. One member pointed out that there was a list in the possession of SD and perhaps a copy could be obtained from there.
A re-staging of the original FA Cup match between Wanderers and the Royal Engineers had been held at the Oval in front of some 3000 spectators.