Fulham favourite Tony Gale backs fans’ campaign to return to Craven Cottage.
Fulham fans campaigning for a return to Craven Cottage received a boost today (27th Dec 2002), with the support of former Fulham and West Ham legend Tony Gale. In a statement today, following yesterday’s fixture between Gale’s two former clubs, he said “ We must do everything we can to get back to the Cottage. Fans want to be there – that is our home. Charlton were never the same until they went back to the Valley. Let’s go back to the Cottage.”
Gale was a part of the exciting young Fulham side of the early 1980s assembled by Malcolm McDonald. He is now a respected commentator and match summariser for the football media.
Tony Gale (right) of Capital Gold Sport 1548 AM who made his debut for Fulham aged just 16.
Tom Greatrex, of www.BacktotheCottage.com, commented: “We are delighted that Tony Gale has shown his support for Fulham fans. During his time at the Club, we experienced some magical matchdays at the Cottage. What Fulham fans want now is for the Club to keep their promise – to return to a redeveloped Craven Cottage as soon as possible.”
Gale’s support adds to that of Sir Bobby Robson, former England manager; Gordon Davies, Fulham’s record goalscorer, and Micky Adams and Alan Cork, the current Leicester City management and former players and managers at Craven Cottage.
www.BackToTheCottage.com Press Release – 23.12.2002
Fulham statement leaves key questions unanswered
The statement from Fulham Football Club (see below) over the future of Craven Cottage leaves key questions unanswered, say Fulham fans’ group www.BackToTheCottage.com
BacktotheCottage.com, an umbrella campaign group supported and run by the independent Fulham Supporters Club and other fans groups’, have issued the following comments:
“Today’s statement from Fulham Football Club does not answer the concerns of Fulham fans – in fact, it leaves the key questions unanswered.
Where is the evidence for the costs spiraling out of control in such a short period of time?
What are the other options the Club claim to be looking at?
Do the Club still intend to redevelop the Craven Cottage site?
Do the Club stand by their previous commitment not to relocate Fulham Football Club outside the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham?
“Unless and until these questions are satisfactorily answered, the level of trust Fulham fans have in the Club will deteriorate. We have been here before.”
“Fulham Football Club’s connection with Craven Cottage is not simply an “emotional” bond – it is an integral part of the nature of the Club. Moving away from Fulham on a permanent basis puts the very future of the Club in doubt. Such a course of action will not be in the interests of fans, but crucially will also not be in the business interests of Mohammed Al Fayed and the Fulham Football Club board.
“All Fulham fans left Craven Cottage at the end of last season with the promise that, after redevelopment of the site, Fulham Football Club would return to their historic riverside home. The Chairman of Fulham Football Club has a responsibility to keep that promise or risk permanently souring the special bond which exists between him and true Fulham fans.”
Statement from The Chairman on Craven Cottge. 23.12.2002
The club have released the following statement on Monday 23rd December 2002:
In light of increasing speculation from fans and the media following the Club’s official statement regarding the House of Lords decision recently, the Chairman of Fulham Football Club, Mohamed Al Fayed, wishes to clarify his and the Club’s position regarding the re-development plans for the Craven Cottage site.
It has always been the Chairman’s aim to develop the best possible stadium facilities for the future but, since the project to re-develop Craven Cottage first began the cost has spiralled out of all proportion. It is now obvious that to invest heavily in building a stadium which would only generate revenue, at most, once a week is not a financially viable option.
If the proposed Craven Cottage stadium were now to be built according to the original plans the cost would exceed £100 million. Clearly, to saddle the Club with this magnitude of debt in the current financial climate would be foolhardy in the extreme and could seriously jeopardise the long term future of the Club.
Accordingly, we are currently pursuing a range of more sensible options. But there are a number of delicate and complicated issues involved in this process which must, of necessity, be conducted with the utmost discretion and under the most confidential of terms.
The Chairman fully understands the impatience and frustration of the fans but, since he has a greater personal stake in the club than anyone else, he is determined to do nothing which might derail these potential projects. To detail the current plans publicly would certainly have this effect.
The Chairman hopes that all true Fulham fans will understand, remain patient, and continue to place their trust in him to do what is best in the long-term interests of the club and appreciate the sacrifices he has made to bring Fulham to the Premiership.
The Chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed said:
‘Any decisions we take will be in the interests of stability and the financial survival of the Club and not built on irrational, emotional or impractical thinking which could adversely affect the success of the Club.’
House of Lords Decision 12.12.2002
The long awaited House of Lords decision goes against The Fulham Alliance on Thursday 12th December 2002.
The club have released the following statement:
We are naturally pleased to learn that the House of Lords has refused the Fulham Alliance leave to appeal against last summer’s decision of the High Court which ruled that they had no grounds to challenge our planning permission.
The actions of the Fulham Alliance – a group of fewer than ten individuals – have already severely damaged the club’s plans to re-develop Craven Cottage. Their filibustering is undoubtedly aimed at destroying the financial viability of the entire project.
It is sad that the actions of so few can spoil the enjoyment of so many.
We are still investigating the possibility of increasing the capacity and usage of Craven Cottage so that it can be commercially viable but are also exploring the possibility of other sites within the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in case that proves to be impossible.
Fulham Football Club Thursday 12th December 2002
Fulham legend Davies backs fans’ Christmas card message to Mohamed
Fulham fan’s group, www.backtothecottage.co.uk eager to see their football club make a prompt return to Craven Cottage, have been backed in their campaign by Fulham goalscoring legend, Gordon Davies.
Davies, Fulham’s all-time record goalscorer, who has netted more goals at the Cottage than any other, said today: “I loved playing at Craven Cottage – it holds a special place in my heart. I understand exactly why it means so much to the fans and why they want to go back to a redeveloped stadium there as soon as possible.”
Davies’ support comes as www.backtothecottage.co.uk ask fellow Fulham fans to sign Christmas card leaflets to Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed at Saturday’s fixture with Liverpool at Fulham’s temporary Loftus Road base. Fans will be asked to fill in their details and sign the cards, which will then be sent to the Fulham Chairman in the run up to Christmas.
The cards will include a seasonal message to Al Fayed – “Dear Mo, Thanks for everything you’ve done for the club. It would be a great Christmas present for the supporters if you make sure we go back to the Cottage as soon as possible.”
www.backtothecottage.co.uk is a Fulham fan’s campaign to return to Craven Cottage as soon as possible. The campaign is supported and run by the independent Fulham Supporter’s Club and BTTC fan’s group.
Tom Greatrex, of the independent Fulham Supporter’s Club said, “Fulham fans want to send a festive message to Chairman Mo – thank you for everything you’ve done. You have the planning permission, you own the site – please now help us to go back home.”
Stuart Taylor of BTTC fans’ group added: “Craven Cottage means so much to us – it is our home. Mr Al Fayed has not let us down so far – we hope he will very soon be able to tell us when we can go back to the Cottage.”
Meeting with council at Hammersmith Town Hall held 13.11.2002
A joint representation of FSC committee members dealing with the
ground issue & leading members of the ‘Back to the Cottage’ fans group met
The Mayor of Hammersmith Andrew Slaughter & local MP Ian Coleman. This is a
summary of the main points that came out of this meeting.
1: There is currently no legal impediment as far as the council are
concerned that prevents the Club from starting redevelopment of the CC site.
2: Any change of structure or design necessary to incorporate anywhere
between another 4-10 thousand seats would need the planning process to go
back to scratch.
3: The use of the Craven Cottage site is restricted to that of a Sports
stadium within the existing UDP & an area for recreational purposes needs to
be incorporated within any development. Whilst the UDP offers a good level
of protection, it’s subject to change if for instance a new council were
elected & they could justify overturning it. However the next council
elections are 3 and a half years away.
4: A new planning application would need to be submitted in order for a
groundshare between Chelsea & Fulham FC at Stamford Bridge – this would be
necessary to overcome the existing restrictions for use of Stamford Bridge.
within this a strong case of why such a share would not only be beneficial
to the two clubs, but also to the local area and community.
5: The councils perception of the local residents groups around Stamford
Bridge is that they would be totally opposed to such a share at SB between
the 2 clubs. The MP & Mayor had no doubts that these residents would fight
such a move to degree that would make the Fulham Alliance look passive.
Nobody has as yet approached the council with regards to a potential
6: The club has not so far approached the council with regards to either any
modifications to existing plans nor have they contacted the council with
regards to getting help sourcing another alternative site within the
7: Ian Coleman & Andrew Slaughter were asked if they were aware of ANY other
alternative sites that were viable or suitable for Fulham FC to build a new
stadium on within the Borough. They stated that there weren’t any such sites
other than the Dairy Crest / Marks & Spencer site in White City, which
Fulham have already been turned down on several times. It was the perception
of the MP & Mayor that this deal unlikely to succeed & that the owners of
these sites wanted a far higher sum than FFC were prepared to go to.
Generally Andrew Slaughter & Ian Coleman came over well & were sympathetic
and supportive towards our cause. They want & expect FFC to return to Craven
Cottage and redevelop on the grounds of the agreed Planning permission. This
is a statement they have & will continue to give. They are happy to keep a
line of communication open & are amenable to further discussion at a later
Finally it seems one thing that may become an issue is the Premier Leagues
take on a groundshare situation, something that they may not take to. Also
they seem to be a little unhappy about Fulham playing games a Stadium such
as Loftus Road for an indefinite period.
For further information and latest news, please visit and bookmark our website at www.backtothecottage.co.uk