Meeting with the THFC Board – 2 May
The Lane - The Finale
Away match data 2016-17
West Ham away – advice for fans
Leicester away – Virgin Media subsidy and chartered train – 18 May
THST End of Season BBQ at the Antwerp Arms – 28 May
Premier League Structured Dialogue meeting – minutes published
Update from Mace re: Park Lane closure
- Supporters Summit 2017 – 1 and 2 July
- US Tour – ticket accessibility and pricing
- Swindon Spurs AGM – 10 June
- THST End of Season Survey
- ‘The Lane’
- Meeting with THFC Board
- The Lane - The Finale
- Season Review
1. Wembley 2017-18
On Friday 28 April, the Club announced the signing of the deal for Tottenham Hotspur to play all home fixtures for the 2017-18 campaign at Wembley Stadium. This was a decision that had been pending for months and we were relieved to finally have the clarity that would allow fans the chance to say a proper farewell to White Hart Lane. It also allowed the Trust to start working practically on making our time at Wembley as positive as possible for Spurs supporters. This included consultation and input into the process of migrating fans into Wembley and, of course, lobbying for accessible and affordable ticket pricing.
We issued a comment piece on 2 May, immediately after the Club had released renewal information for existing Season Ticket holders. This can be read here. We felt the Club could and should have priced tickets lower in line with proposals we had put forward and which had received a positive response, and we communicated that to senior executives over the preceding Bank Holiday weekend. But we recognised that no Season Ticket seat at Wembley would cost more than the equivalent price at White Hart Lane. In our opinion, the ‘bums on seats’ approach we had been told was the main driver when looking to fill a 90,000 seat arena, and which was the central thrust of the Club’s application to Brent Council to lift the capacity cap, has been overruled on purely commercial grounds.
Confirmation of the remaining areas of ticket pricing will follow in the coming weeks. We believe that the Club should have confirmed individual match pricing on Levels 1 and 5 at Wembley at the same time as announcing Season Ticket pricing, and we asked them to do that. The Club’s position is that match day pricing is never announced until the fixture list is published in mid-June. But fans face unique circumstances in this coming season and we believe the Club is wrong to withhold this information. Doing so means fans have no benchmark for pricing outside of the league programme next season.
Without the full list of pricing, we are unable to make a judgement on the value of Season Ticket packages. We continue to push for a clear articulation of the Season Ticket proposition.
In terms of the migration to Wembley, we agreed with the Club’s method of moving initially in blocks and then giving Season Ticket holders the chance to relocate elsewhere should they not be happy with their original offer. We do, however, feel that communication around the methodology of the ‘lift and drop’ into certain areas could have been clearer. Fans were expecting a ‘like for like’ seat which, for various reasons, wasn’t always possible. Fans were also expecting to be moved in groups across blocks at White Hart Lane, which wasn’t always the case.
Fuller explanations at the outset could have saved a lot of concern and confusion, and reduced the volume of traffic to our and the Club’s inboxes over the days following the opening of Phase 1. We will always encourage clear and thorough communication on complex issues such as this and continue to feed into Club communication pieces when invited to do so. Subsequent communications have improved, and we were pleased to see the Club has now discovered the benefits of SMS alerts as well as email.
On a positive note, some 70% of existing Season Ticket holders accepted their original seat at Wembley during Phase 1, leaving just 5,800 to relocate to a seat of their choice during Phase 2, and 5,000 of those had selected an alternative seat on the first day of the second phase.
We now turn our attention to Phase 3 of the ticketing process, which will see Bronze members at the top of the waiting list offered the opportunity to take up Season Tickets at Wembley and into the new stadium. We’ve clearly articulated, both verbally in meetings with the Club Board and in writing, our preference for how the waiting list should be handled next season and have pointed out the existing terms and conditions of the membership scheme. We await a final decision from THFC.
Finally, we were disappointed not to secure a blanket amnesty for Season Ticket holders for the season at Wembley. We have always advocated that there should be a choice, based on fan surveys and based on a sense of what is morally right. Should any Season Ticket holder have genuine difficulties that will make attending games at the national stadium extremely challenging next year, please do get in touch with us. We never believed there would be a large take-up of any amnesty offered – the vast majority of fans want to go and see their team. The Club tells us it has received few special requests to opt out for the Wembley year, and we have also had very few people getting in touch. All of which means the Club would have lost little commercially but gained much goodwill if it had agreed to our request to offer an amnesty.
2. Stadium financing
On 31 May, Tottenham Hotspur Limited announced details of the bank financing to support the building of the new stadium. That statement can be read here. We issued a comment piece shortly afterwards, which can be read here.
3. Meeting with the THFC Board – 2 May
Members of the THST Board met with members of the Club Board on the evening of 2 May for an additional session to address the outstanding points from our meeting at the end of February. As it happened, most of those key decisions had been announced in the days preceding the meeting. So we took the opportunity to get some updates on the new stadium build, the wider Northumberland Development Project, detailed arrangements for Wembley next season and plans for the last match at White Hart Lane against Manchester United on 14 May. Full minutes are linked here.
Our next meeting with the Board of THFC will take place in early September, after the close of the transfer window and once we have all experienced a few league matches at Wembley.
3. The Lane – The Finale
THST was relatively uninvolved with preparations for the ceremony which closed White Hart Lane and the Trust Board very much appreciated being able to enjoy and savour the moment as fans, without having to arrange for 32,000 flags and T shirts to be laid out on the morning of the match or without any of the other distractions that occur frequently on match days. We did, however, help the Club source fans willing to recall their memories of White Hart Lane to camera for a very elegant piece produced by Sky Sports for broadcast the day before the United match. We thank those supporters who took time out of their days to film with Sky Sports and hope they enjoyed the experience.
After reading fan reaction, we also formally wrote to Donna Cullen, Executive Director at THFC, expressing our thanks to all involved in delivering such a fitting and moving farewell to our beloved home. Donna responded by saying the Club had been determined to give the fans and the Lane a Finale to be proud of. We think we can all agree that was definitely achieved.
4. Away match data – Season 2016-17
THST has tracked away match loyalty point cut offs, allocations and prices for all away league games from the 2012-13 season to date. We have now published the figures from the recent campaign, along with a comparison piece from the previous 4 seasons. This can be read here.
With special thanks to Justin Ford of Hubert and Ford for producing the infographic detailing the comparative data.
5. West Ham United away – advice for fans
Following a planning meeting with the Metropolitan Police, WHU, THFC, the FSF and representatives of the London Stadium in April, THST issued detailed advice for fans attending our match at West Ham United at the start of May. This covered more detail than usual, with it being our first visit to the London stadium, and we’re pleased that supporters attending the game found the advice (particularly around travel) useful.
The match passed off without any notable incident (barring the result) and we’d like to say thank you for the positive feedback we’ve received in relation to this work throughout the season.
6. Leicester away – Virgin Media subsidy and chartered train
Fans who attended the rearranged away game at Leicester City on 18 May can claim up to £10 of the price of their match ticket back, thanks to an initiative by Virgin Media and the Football Supporters’ Federation. The move comes as a result of the Twenty’s Plenty for away tickets campaign that has been running over the past few years.
Fans can claim their subsidy by clicking here, completing a short form and posting it, along with their ticket, to the address provided on the form. A cheque will then be sent by return in the following weeks.
We would also like to thank THFC’s Head of Supporter Services, Jonathan Waite, for negotiating a chartered train for this fixture priced at £20 return. We’re pleased to report the train encountered no problems on its journey to Leicester from St Pancras and the mood was certainly jubilant on the return leg back to London after a terrific performance on field.
7. THST End of Season BBQ at the Antwerp Arms – 28 May
For the second year running, THST hosted an End of Season party at the Antwerp Arms and this year’s was just as successful as the first! With tickets completely sold out, we released another 30 places a few days before the event that were snapped up in hours. This meant pushing 200 Spurs fans would be enjoying one last day in N17 before the big move to Wembley next season.
THST Secretary, Pete Haine, hosted a sponsored Spurs History Walk, written by Julie Welch, ending at the Annie in time for the first BBQ sitting.
We’d lined up special guest, Gary Mabbutt, for an interview with THFC’s master of ceremonies, Paul Coyte. The pair also oversaw a raffle of some magnificent prizes, before Tom Mitchell provided live music and DJ Alex got the pub on its feet, too.
The day raised over £1,000 and all proceeds from the event go to Prostate Cancer UK via their Football to Amsterdam initiative, and we wish our team of 24 cyclists departing for Amsterdam from the Olympic Velodrome on 9 June the very best of luck. We’re sure they’ll do us proud!
It’s not too late to donate to the Cycle on You Spurs team, raising money for PCUK. Simply click here and give what you can afford. We’d be very grateful indeed for any donation, large or small. Last year, our team of cyclists topped the fundraising table and we want to keep hold of that title.
8. Premier League Structured Dialogue meeting – minutes published
We reported last month on the second meeting with senior Premier League representatives following the call by the Government’s Expert Working Group on Fan Engagement and Supporter Ownership for improved dialogue between the PL and supporters’ organisations. We promised to share minutes from the meeting as soon as they became available, so here are the Premier League notes and the Football Supporters’ Federation notes.
Once again, we are not overly impressed with the detail included in either record, especially those issued by the Premier League, whose minutes fail to mention any contribution from any supporter rep. It’s not for nothing this so-called ‘Structured Dialogue’ process has been dubbed ‘Structured Monologue’. Nor are we satisfied with the time it has taken both sets of minutes to be produced and circulated. We have fed back accordingly and will look for a commitment to improve both ahead of the third meeting, to be scheduled for October 2017.
We’ll be pushing for discussion of the approach to this whole process at this summer’s fan summit, and we’re already taking soundings among other Trusts and fan organisations. While keeping channels of communication open is always preferable to no communication at all, our worry is that these set-piece meetings are designed to convey the appearance of consultation in order to keep the government off the game’s back, and that the more valuable day-to-day work that has been slowly yielding results over the last few years is being sidelined in favour of these twice yearly showpiece sessions.
9. Update from Mace re: Park Lane closure
Stadium constructors, Mace, has issued a notice to local residents and businesses amending the dates for the closure of Park Lane. This has been brought forward as a result of changes in the demolition works programme, meaning the South Stand will be demolished sooner than originally anticipated.
We are uploading the full communication from Mace as a PDF at the end of this newsletter. Scroll to the end to read this notice in full.
- Supporters Summit 2017 – 1 and 2 July
- US Tour – ticket accessibility and pricing
It seems the issues were due to decisions taken by the third-party agents handling ticket sales for the games. We understand THFC had concerns about the way the process was conducted too, and put those concerns to the third-party agents. Feedback we had from the US tells us everyone there was satisfied with the way the Club dealt with the issues they raised, but there’s still much bad feeling about how the third-party agents acted. We understand the Club has asked its partners for more transparency and clearer communication in future.
- Swindon Spurs AGM – 10 June
- THST End of Season Survey
- ‘The Lane’
The Lane is also shortlisted for the overall Sports Book of the Year and you can place your vote here.
A busy month for THST on the media front. Most links are listed below, grouped by subject.
Kick off times working group:
THST / THFC Board Meeting:
Football.london – White Hart Lane demolition
Football.london – meeting minutes
Football.london – Wembley move and build timings
The Lane - The Finale:
- Martin Cloake in the Evening Standard
- Martin Cloake in the Evening Standard – Stadium timeline
- Martin Cloake in the Irish Examiner
- Martin Cloake in the Independent
- Pete Haine on Premier League TV
- Martin Cloake on Hawksbee and Jacobs, Talksport
- Martin Cloake and Katrina Law in The Times (£)
- Martin Cloake and Katrina Law on the Tottenham Hotspur Family podcast
- Katrina Law on the e-Spurs podcast
- Pete Haine on the Hotspur America podcast
- Martin and Kat were also interviewed by Norway’s biggest-selling daily paper ahead of the final game at White Hart Lane!
Members and supporters may have experienced problems accessing our website over the past few weeks. We have spent hours on support calls with our domain provider, 123.reg, and our website provider, Weebly, attempting to solve the problem. The initial response of each organisation is to deny any problems are down to them, and then to blame the other organisation. When we have managed to get some recognition there is an issue, we have been given incomplete advice and the problem has remained unsolved. As we write, we are still attempting to get a sensible answer that enables us to provide the service we want to provide. It’s intensely frustrating to suffer reputational and practical damage because services we pay for are not being provided properly, and we can only apologise to members and supporters as we try to resolve this. Moving providers is an enormous task, but it is something we are looking at. In the meantime, we wouldn’t advise anyone to use 123.reg or Weebly.
And a reminder…
iSpurs information portal
The Club has also set up a new, dedicated information portal online which answers many of the questions we are frequently contacted with. We’d urge fans to read and familiarise themselves with the details available on the portal as we continue to receive a high volume of questions asking for this information.
1 June 2017
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