Wembley restricted bag policy
Wembley events cap
THST analysis of THFC’s financial update
Business Community Liaison Group meeting – 20 November
Unified Football Supporters’ Organisation – National Council appointment
Richard Scudamore’s golden handshake
PSV away ticket collections – 24 October
FOI update – West Ham United in the Carabao Cup
THST Auditors – an update
THST Board Meeting – 26 November
Advice for fans attending the upcoming derby games at the Emirates
- Cycle On You Spurs London to Amsterdam for PCUK
- Premier League Challenge: Preview
- Wingate and Finchley upcoming matches
- Zeelo coach travel
It was with huge sadness and a great deal of shock that we learned of the passing of Jonathan Waite, Head of Supporter Services at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, on Sunday 18 November. Jonathan was our most regular point of contact with the Club and we had worked exceptionally closely with him over a number of years. We tried to put into words how valued Jonathan was as a colleague and as a friend in this piece, published on 19 November. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and strength go to his family.
We’ll be looking for a more permanent way to remember JW and to honour his memory in the future and will share details once we’re able to do so.
We would like to put on record our thanks to Head of Ticketing and Membership, Ian Murphy, and to Interim SLO and Disability Access Officer, Jon Dyster, for their exceptional support during what has been a very difficult period for all who were fortunate enough to have known Jonathan.
1. WEMBLEY RESTRICTED BAG POLICY
A significant number of fans contacted us voicing concern over Wembley Stadium’s proposed restrictions on bags. We recognise the very difficult situation all those responsible for running major venues face in balancing security concerns with minimising disruption to our everyday lives. We do have to emphasise that turning up earlier and, where possible, not bringing bags into the stadium are things we have to get used to.
But we also recognise the difficulties two groups of fans in particular have – those who come from work with laptops that cannot be left unattended, and those who travel long distances, particularly with children. We also recognise the lack of suitable women’s handbags in sizes compliant with the new policy and the issues this presents for a number of our female fans.
So we asked Wembley for a conversation, and asked the Club to join us. The call, which we reported on our website, was extremely constructive, and resulted in some changes that recognised our concerns. Fold-up umbrellas and laptops will now be allowed, and a number of measures to smooth the implementation of the new policy were also agreed. The situation will remain under review and we’d advise you to keep checking our website and Club social media.
We’ll continue working closely with the Club and Wembley to learn some lessons about how any bag policy is implemented at our new stadium, when it opens.
2. WEMBLEY EVENTS CAP
News that THFC had applied to lift the events cap at Wembley inevitably prompted more speculation about how long it would be before the new stadium opens. Our view is that the Club is taking sensible contingency precautions given there is a restriction on full-capacity events at Wembley. We thought it would be useful to clarify what has been asked for.
Documents submitted to Brent Council by Lichfield’s, Wembley’s planning consultants, stated that the Club has a maximum of 17 home games that could take place between 15 January and 12 May, across league, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League competition. Planning restrictions mean Spurs has played several games with capacity limited at 51,000. The Club is asking for a temporary increase in the cap so 10 games can be played with a capacity of 62,000 and a further seven – including its league games against Arsenal and West Ham – for a 90,000 capacity.
This request does not cover the Manchester United home game, as the full-capacity allowance already in place covers this game.
The Club published an announcement on 11 November. Given that no date had, as we went to press, been announced for the opening of the new stadium, applying for this contingency is, in our view, not only sensible but advisable.
Ticketing matters continue to take up much of our time, and we thank staff at the Club’s Ticket Office for their continued efforts to resolve day-to-day issues during a difficult period. However, there remains significant discontent with ticketing policy on a more strategic front.
We have clearly communicated fan discontent with the refund policy for Season Ticket holders and pricing for games at Wembley, and made suggestions on how this could properly be addressed. The Club’s Executive Board has so far chosen to ignore those concerns and suggestions, and instead tell us that our job is to encourage fans to attend games. Our response has been that addressing fan concerns will encourage higher attendance.
Attendances are clearly down on last year, and we believe this cannot be divorced from the concerns we have pointed out. We are receiving a growing number of press requests to comment, and have taken the decision to make minimal comment to avoid yet another crisis narrative. We have, however, made supporter feeling clear and we don’t share the Club’s view that not talking about something means it’s not happening. We are extremely concerned about the possible effects of the decision to price the December midweek evening game at Wembley against Southampton at Category B prices.
We continue to be contacted by Premium ticket holders unhappy with various aspects of the packages they were sold, with refund mechanisms and with allocation policies for tickets at away games and showpiece games. It is proving very difficult to get clear and consistent answers from the Club. As in all other areas, we’ll continue to look for resolutions that reflect people’s support for their club as well as how they would like to be treated by the club they support.
4. THST ANALYSIS OF THFC FINANCIAL UPDATE
After the Club’s update on the stadium and Club finances, we were asked by Trust members to provide analysis and further clarity on what had been said. So we asked our Board finance expert Michael Green to do some analysis for publication on our website. We took care not to do anything that would compromise the Club commercially when we did this, and checked our workings with the Club. Our analysis can be read in full here.
5. BUSINESS COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP MEETING – 20 NOVEMBER 2018
THST Board member Keith Sharp represented the Trust at the November meeting of the BCLG. The turnout was lower than usual, roughly 15 people, owing to a local Haringey event taking place on the same evening. Attendees were a combination of Tottenham Hotspur FC, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Mace, local councillors, London Borough of Haringey officials and Resident Association representatives.
Blue badge/disabled parking at the new stadium was questioned by THST, with LBH confirming disabled parking permission for the new stadium has been given. THFC acknowledged this and said that the meeting on the allocation of the blue badges will take place ‘shortly’.
The official opening/inauguration of Percy House was confirmed for January 2019, with the precise date to follow.
In terms of the stadium build, Mace reported good progress with the stadium ’bowl’ — the pitch and seating. Regarding the externals, the west front facade work has been completed and the northwest corner has been ‘opened up’. The South podium will be completed in December.
There are currently 2200-2300 workers on site during the day time; 150 at night.
There was much discussion on noise levels, which is supposed to be below 75 decibels. Tracking reports showed noise to be typically at 60-65 decibels. Residents Association reps questioned the veracity of these reports and requested remedial action if the levels are exceeded.
In a follow up to the last meeting, it was confirmed that access to the public toilets next to the No.8 pub (formerly the Bell and Hare) and at White Hart Lane rail station is still under consideration, with support from local councillors for those to be reopened.
Club representatives confirmed Tottenham Hotspur FC is an audited London Living Wage employer.
6. UNIFIED FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS' ORGANISATION - NATIONAL COUNCIL UPDATE
On 22 November, the new Unified Football Supporters’ Organisation, resulting from the merger of the FSF and Supporters Direct, held its inaugural EGM at Unite the Union in Holborn. Positions on National Council and the Board were agreed and ratified. THST Co-chair Katrina Law was elected to serve a three-year term as one of 3 x Premier League network representatives on National Council. Full results can be viewed here.
Kat is looking forward to continuing to represent peers across the division, following on from her time on FA Council and on Supporters Direct England and Wales Football Council. The UFSO and PL reps will be formally writing to welcome new Premier League Chief Executive Susanna Dinnage shortly.
7. RICHARD SCUDAMORE’S GOLDEN HANDSHAKE
News that outgoing Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore was to receive a £5m pay-off, funded by £250,000 from each club, prompted a strong reaction across football. We were among the supporters’ groups who contacted our own clubs to find out what was happening, and to express concern about both the possible donation of club funds and any decision to vote in favour of it.
Our colleagues at Brighton and Hove Albion FC got a detailed answer from their chief executive, who coincidentally is a former THFC board member. He was happy for his explanation to be made public. There was no vote, and there was no contribution from individual club funds. There was a decision taken to back a recommendation from the Premier League board and audit committee, which determines staff remuneration, and this would be met from central costs.
The Premier League’s own statement confirmed the recommendation to give the package was “supported and endorsed by clubs”. Subsequent media reports suggest the payment is a form of retainer to prevent Richard Scudamore from offering his knowledge of the TV rights market to other leagues.
It’s not really for us as a Supporters’ Trust to comment on the structure and extent of contractual arrangements at the Premier League, and we’ve seen a number of different views expressed by fans. What is interesting is the admission by the Premier League that there is in fact a central pot of funding available. When we have asked for such a central fund to be drawn on to help compensate supporters left out of pocket by TV-driven late changes to kick-off times, we’ve been told no central funds exist. So we’ll be revisiting that suggestion at future meetings.
8. PSV AWAY TICKET COLLECTIONS – 24 OCTOBER
A significant minority of fans did not collect tickets away at PSV. Because of the tight ID required to collect tickets, this obviously fuelled suspicion that some fans bought tickets for points and to sell on. Understandably, we were contacted by many fans who missed out on tickets who complained about this.
So, when the Club decided to deduct the points awarded to those who had not collected, we understood their reasoning and knew this decision would be backed by many fans.
Inevitably, however, we were contacted by some fans who had not collected tickets for genuine reasons. As they pointed out, the Club had changed the basis of awarding points without announcing it in advance.
And this is the problem with the small minority who buy tickets to collect points. Not only does it deprive other fans of tickets and undermine the points system, it makes it harder to challenge the Club retrospectively changing the rules.
The abuse Club staff were subjected to in the Netherlands by some fans also made it difficult for us to argue the case for those fans who had genuine problems. Some lessons to be learned, here.
9. FOI UPDATE – WEST HAM UNITED IN THE CARABAO CUP
We await a response to our request under the Freedom of Information Act for the background to the decision to reduce our allocation for the recent Carabao Cup tie at the London Stadium. We were also promised an updated version of the minutes of that meeting, but this has also not been done. We’ll continue to press for the information we need and will share as soon as that becomes available.
10. THST AUDITORS
At our 2018 AGM, a resolution was passed to reappoint the Greene Partnership as THST’s financial auditors.
We have recently been informed by the Greene Partnership that, due to changes within their firm, they are no longer undertaking statutory audits and it is their intention to resign as our auditors.
Under existing Trust rules, we are able to appoint a different auditor without calling a general meeting as their indication of unavailability classes as a “casual vacancy occurring between general meetings”.
“Rule 90. Save as provided in this Rule every appointment of an auditor is to be made by resolution of a general meeting of the Society. The exceptions are:
a) the first appointment of an auditor is to be made within three months of the registration of the Society and is to be made by the Society Board if no general meeting of the Society is held within that time;
b) the Society Board may appoint an auditor to fill any casual vacancy occurring between general meetings of the Society.”
We are currently in the process of modernising Trust rules, as they date back to 2006 and still make reference to the “Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965”. The legislation under which we now operate is the “Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014”
The 2014 Act gives the Trust provision to disapply the need for an auditor and instead go down the route of having an independent examination of the accounts conducted in respect of “small societies”, as defined by the 2014 Act.
We, therefore, intend to appoint an independent examiner to examine the accounts for 2017-2018 and we intend to put a motion to the AGM to disapply the need for an auditor going forwards.
11. THST BOARD MEETING - 26 NOVEMBER
The THST Board met for its Q4 meeting on 26 November. We reviewed current work streams, took stock of the current financial situation, and discussed membership. A large part of the meeting was devoted to going through the proposed new set of rules we are hoping to adopt at our next AGM. These rules will bring us fully into line with current legislation and make a few processes easier. (We should emphasise our organisational status is currently fully compliant with requirements). We will need as many full members of the Trust as possible to vote to approve these rules, either in person at our AGM or by proxy, and we will be giving you more information about this in the coming months. Please do use your vote.
12. ADVICE FOR FANS ATTENDING THE UPCOMING DERBY GAMES AT THE EMIRATES
Ahead of the Premier League match at the Emirates this coming Sunday and the Carabao Cup quarter final on Wednesday 19 December, we spoke with the police and with both Clubs to clarify the operational approach for both matches. Advice for our fans can be read here.
Cycle On You Spurs London to Amsterdam for PCUK, 7-9 June 2019
Our COYS team now has 25 riders, our biggest team to date (and the second largest nationally for 2019). There is still time to sign up (and to use the code THSTCOYS19 for a £50 registration fee discount). For queries, contact Kevin.
And, if you decide not to enjoy the fun of this very worthy challenge, a donation to our team would be very gratefully received. Fundraising is just getting underway and our team is currently third in the league table.
Premier League Challenge: Preview
Each December sees the regional round of this contest for 14-15 year old school students. This year’s challenge is to produce a business plan to attract and engage 18-23 year olds to support and attend matches. The local participating schools are Enfield Grammar, Gladesmore Community School, St Andrews the Apostle, St Mary’s Cheshunt and from Brent, the Ark Academy.
They will be presenting (and meeting Ledley King) at Hotspur Way on 7 December, with Kevin Fitzgerald once again judging for the Trust, along with Proud Lilywhites’ Chris Paouros and Club and Foundation officials. Look out for results in December’s newsletter.
Wingate and Finchley upcoming matches
THST has partnered with non-league Wingate and Finchley to promote their home games with an offer to Trust members and Spurs members who may wish to attend if Spurs aren’t playing or are away from home.
For any of Wingate and Finchley’s home matches, adults presenting a proof of membership of THST at the gates will gain entry for half price. That’s just £6. And any juniors under the age of 16 will be allowed in for FREE. For Senior Concessions (over 65) and Students (proof required for both), the charge is a modest £3. More information can be found here.
Throughout December, Wingate and Finchley face Corinthian Casuals (1 Dec), Harlow Town (11 Dec), Dulwich Hamlet (15 Dec), and Carshalton Athletic (22 Dec).
THST members are welcome at these matches. Keep an eye on Wingate & Finchley’s social media for latest news.
We’d like to clarify that this is not an exclusive arrangement with Wingate and Finchley, and should we be approached by other local teams with a similar offer, we’d be very happy to explore similar partnerships.
Zeelo coach travel
On-demand coach service, Zeelo, continues to offer a 10% discount on all journeys for Trust members using promo code THST10.
In addition, Zeelo is also offering a 25% discount for bookings of 3 seats or more using the promo code GROUP.
Zeelo remain committed to taking Spurs fans to all home games, whether they be at Wembley or the new White Hart Lane Stadium, for the 2018/19 season.
ESPN – Tottenham fans could be prevented from attending games due to security measures
The Club’s iSpurs information portal has been rebranded as Ask Spurs. The portal 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.
30 November 2018
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