We had invited the Club’s Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO), Jonathan Waite, as a guest speaker, partly in response to our last survey, which revealed that only 9% of members were aware the Club had an SLO, or what the role entailed.
Jonathan also presented the findings of an annual Fan Experience survey conducted throughout the Premier League. That highlighted catering as one of the areas the Club needed to improve: something which we were told is being worked on. The survey also rated the ground highly for atmosphere and general supporter experience and, more surprisingly, ticket pricing. That finding prompted some discussion about how ‘satisfaction’ was defined. Jonathan pointed out that the survey ratings were based on a comparative average across the Premier League. The meeting left him in no doubt that, whatever the framework used in the survey, the clear feeling among fans at Tottenham was that prices were too high.
With Jonathan still present, THST Board members Katrina Law, Martin Cloake, Paul Head and Suraj Sharma then gave some brief report backs on the work the Trust has been doing and took questions from members. Most of what was reported has been posted on this site, so please do read back through the news section if you don’t feel you’re up to date.
Inevitably, much of this section of the meeting centred on the stadium build plans, and the lack of progress. The latest news about Wembley only broke as we came out of the meeting, so this was not discussed. But we once again took the opportunity to call for greater transparency from the Club over the latest plans. Members present expressed support for the stance the Trust was taking, with strong opposition being stated by a number of fans to the idea of Tottenham Hotspur moving away from N17. Several members asked why expansion of the current ground could not be reconsidered given the change in circumstances, with others stating they had offered advice and support to the Club on various areas they had expertise in, but with no response. The Trust is happy to follow up those conversations.
Ticketing also featured large, with disquiet expressed about the increase in pricing for Europa League group games and the amount of money being taken out of Season Ticket Holders accounts this month in autopay runs. This is partly due to the number of home cup ties coming up, but there was support expressed for proper discussion with the Club about addressing the financial burden this placed on members. Jonathan said that the Club’s Executive Board was mindful of economic circumstances when deciding on pricing, and we think the message that a little more evidence of that would be appreciated was one he received loud and clear.
We also reported that the Club had approached us about offering an undisclosed discount to ST Holders who paid for all three Europa group games up front. Our feeling was that the size of the discount was important, but that asking for fans to stump up for three tickets in one go so soon after the beginning of the season was asking a lot financially. And we also worried about the potential impact of fans committing to a final game that may be a dead rubber. The Club took those concerns on board, so we were particularly disappointed both at the pricing decided upon and the fact that so many autopay runs are being taken. Again, the message coming clearly from the meeting was that the Club has work to do in this area.
There were also brief discussions on atmosphere initiatives in the stadium – all broadly welcomed – and our ongoing work with the Police and local Safety Advisory Groups around safety and the treatment of fans inside and around stadiums. On this area, we’d be interested to hear from retired members who may be able to devote some time to helping with our input.
Jonathan also confirmed the Club would again be looking to run subsidised trains, as part of the Premier League Away Fans Initiative, to United, Liverpool, Everton and hopefully Stoke, alongside coaches to all away games outside of London for £10 return. Arrangements for those trips will, we are assured, be made clear well in advance of ticket application deadlines.
We also announced the setting up of the THFC Small Shareholders Association. This is an information exchange for small shareholders to find out more about their rights, and to examine ways in which the Club’s 27,000 small shareholders, who own 15% of the Club, can work together. The THFCSSA, which is a body independent of the Trust or the Club, has a website at www.thfcssa.com
We’d like to thank all the members who turned up on a wet and windy night to help make the meeting a success, and especially Jonathan Waite. We will be holding these meetings more regularly in the coming months, and we’d like to see as many of you as possible there.
Finally, we are aware from discussion on social media that there is a great deal of comment around the subject of biscuits at meetings between the Trust and the Club. So, in the interests of full transparency, we are happy to report that biscuits, as well as tea, coffee and still or sparkling water, were not only available but distributed to the broad mass of members attending.
9 October 2014