Annual General Meeting
Trust calls on THFC for clarity and commitment
Fan Engagement and Fan Advisory Board
Preston North End away in FA Cup
AC Milan away in Champions League
Club flag policy
TV picks for March
Business and Community Liaison Group
Mental Health awareness
Gluten free beer
Date for your diaries
1. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
7pm on Tuesday 7 February 2023, CMS Cannon Place, London EC4N 6AF
The AGM is a key event in our calendar. As a Community Benefit Society, registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, we are required to hold an AGM each February and it’s important for our democracy and accountability that as many members as possible take part.
One third of the Trust Board are required to resign each year (on rotation) and can seek re-election if they want to. Adam Bailey, Martin Cloake, Kat Law and Rob White have resigned their posts and, of those, Rob White is seeking re-election. We are indebted to Adam, Martin and Kat for their determination and commitment to the Board and to Spurs fans. We are especially grateful to Martin and Kat’s for their tireless leadership as Co-Chairs of the Trust between 2015 and 2022. We wish them all the very best for the future. You can read more about their commendable achievements here.
Three vacancies for the Board therefore arose. Two nominations were received - Jo Gibbons and Anthony Morkos (who has already been co-opted as Treasurer) and they will, therefore, be elected subject to approval at the AGM.
All Life and Full members can vote on the Board membership either at the AGM itself or by proxy vote in advance of the meeting:
- Proxy votes need to be received by 18:00 on Thursday 2 February via email, post or online survey. Thanks to everyone who has submitted their proxy vote already. Full details can be found on the dedicated AGM page of our website;
- Once the proxy voting period has closed, Full and Life members who haven’t yet voted can register to attend the AGM in person. We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible on the night.
Once the formal business of the AGM has been concluded, attendees are invited to stay for a Q&A with the THST Board on current issues, the relationship with the Club and the work of the Trust. Members will be able to ask questions and express their views in what is sure to be a lively discussion. Please take time to read the Annual Report, which we will share before the meeting, as it sets out our work on your behalf over the last 12 months.
2. TRUST CALLS ON THFC FOR CLARITY AND COMMITMENT
Supporter disquiet about the situation at Spurs has been growing and it’s been exacerbated by a lack of communication with supporters and, in particular, the lack of a clear articulation of the Club’s strategy by the THFC Board. Therefore, we wrote to them setting out our concerns and seeking open and constructive answers to four key questions.
The Club responded and committed to providing a full response once the January transfer window was closed and to coincide with the Club issuing its financial results and a statement from the Director of Football.
Whilst we welcomed this commitment, we further made it clear that we, and Spurs fans generally, would have preferred an immediate response. The need for an early and clear statement of strategy was reinforced by comments made by Antonio Conte in his press conference a week later and we pressed the Club for immediate clarity and commitment later that same day.
In the light of further uncertainty at the Club, and increasing fan unrest, we again set out the Trust’s position in a statement in which we, once again, called for a clear demonstration of strategy and solutions from THFC. We believe this is what Spurs fans want and can unite around.
We are writing as the transfer window draws to a close. We will continue to press the Club for the promised full response to the issues raised. We will scrutinise the answers, along with the financial results and the report from the Director of Football and will seek answers to any outstanding questions. We will, of course, share the Club’s response and our analysis with Trust members and the wider fan base.
3. FAN ENGAGEMENT AND FAN ADVISORY BOARD
We have not yet received revised drafts of the Fan Advisory Board documents from the Club but will review them as and when we do. We will consult Trust members before we take a definitive position on the Club’s final proposal for the terms, remit, scope and composition of the Fan Advisory Board as we want to be sure we are taking an approach that our members support.
For now, we are continuing to work with the Club, and with other supporter groups, on developing a Fan Advisory Board that provides a genuine opportunity for fans to have a greater say in the way our Club is run. We know that some fans are of the view that the current owners should sell up but whilst there is no apparent alternative we continue to do all that we can to get the current owners to do better. We will continue to do that, articulating discontent and proposing solutions.
4. PRESTON NORTH END AWAY IN FA CUP
One of the wonderful aspects of away games in the FA Cup is the opportunity for many more Spurs fans to travel to support the team, and for everyone to visit grounds that they may not have visited before. Notwithstanding the TV scheduling, which meant there would be no trains back to London that night plus Avanti’s further efforts to rain on everyone’s parade by cancelling trains up to Preston at the last minute, the day was a great success.
Keen readers of THST News will know that prior to games taking place in stadia we have not been to recently, any high risk fixtures or games where we take a larger than normal allocation, THST reps meet with THFC staff, Met police, away team staff and local police to iron out any potential difficulties and make sure that we have all the information fans need for a safe and enjoyable visit. We know, from the feedback we receive, that these detailed reports are valued by our members and that they help Spurs fans to plan their trips.
We are pleased that, on our request, Spurs laid on a total of nine subsidised coaches at £10 return for those who needed it, and that the Preston police and community were so welcoming of their visitors from London. This is the report that we shared in advance of the match.
5. AC MILAN AWAY IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND OF 16
We also met with THFC staff to plan for our trip to AC Milan in the Champions League this month. Katrina Law, Rachel Martin, Anthoulla Achilleos and Henry Ellis met with Supporter Liaison Officer Levi Harris and discussed plans and provision in fine detail. The SLO has already visited Milan and met with AC Milan staff and local police there to prepare for our visit.
Our purpose is always to ensure that supporters are safe, are treated with respect and that they have all the necessary information they require, in good time. There currently remain some outstanding areas on which we are seeking improvements and/or further details and we will send out the finished report as soon as these have been satisfactorily addressed, and the report agreed.
6. CLUB FLAG POLICY
This month we were contacted by the owners of the Spurs Cyprus Flag, making us aware the Club had removed and banned their flag from display at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. We assisted the owners in contacting relevant staff members at the Club to ascertain the reasons behind this and asked the Club several questions including why the flag had been banned, what complaints (if any) had been received and what had prompted the removal of the flag at this time, given it has been displayed at the stadium for many years.
After strong support for Spurs Cyprus across social media channels, THFC swiftly reinstated the flag. The Club said that, in their view, the flag contravened their flags and banners policy as it could be seen as inflammatory given the territorial dispute in Cyprus, but acknowledged that the policy is open to interpretation. As a result, they agreed to permit the flag back into the stadium ahead of a full policy review over the close season.
We sought answers to our remaining questions and reminded the Club that, when they developed the flags and banners policy in September 2019, the Trust Board had said that it was unworkable and extremely difficult to apply in practice. You can read our concerns about the policy here in Point 10.
We welcome that the Club has agreed to review the flag policy at the end of the season in consultation with the Trust and other supporter groups. We are keen to work with them to achieve a policy that can be applied consistently and fairly in all cases.
7. SPURS APP
THST Co-Chair Rachel Martin met with THFC’s Head of Digital Products, Russell Green, Head of Supporter Engagement Levi Harris, and Simon Blewett, Disability Access Officer, as well as Dee Bright from Spurs Ability last week, to discuss the effectiveness of the Spurs App and other digital platforms and to put forward the fan perspective on a range of issues. It was our first opportunity to meet Russell Green, who is relatively new to the Club but has worked in similar areas with a variety of organisations including the FA. Russell is a lifelong Spurs fan so has extensive knowledge of how the app works for supporters, and we found that he had already anticipated some of the issues we raised.
We used responses from our end of season survey, our email inbox and the THST Forum to highlight areas that cause frustrations for supporters. Priorities already being developed by Russell and his team focused around the following key areas:
- Making the app easier to navigate, including the incorporation of Ask Spurs into the main search tool, and having a separate menu tab for Food and Beverages.
- Access issues for those with disabilities including enabling supporters to adapt the app, depending on their individual requirements, eg visual impairment.
- Ensuring that all platforms use accessible font and background colours.
- Including an interactive stadium map to show where toilets, food and drink kiosks, stairs and water fountains can be located.
Future areas being explored include:
- Including dietary requirement filters on the app eg to enable supporters to identify where they can buy gluten free beer.
- Making audio descriptions available via the app so that they can be accessed inside and outside the stadium.
- Building ‘way-finding’ audio description into the app to make travelling around the stadium easier for the visually impaired.
- Improving the sound quality for pitch side interviews, for those in the stadium.
We’ve also asked that the app include which musicians are performing in different stadium spaces on specific match days.
As with all technology, these things can take time to deliver, especially alongside all the other development needs of the business. Whilst we’re reassured these things will be delivered, we’ve been asked to not set delivery times as immediate and would request some patience as some of these deliverables are complex in nature. Also, the delivery will be staggered, releasing all at once would risk destabilising the website and app.
We will update you as these developments are actioned and we will continue to share your feedback with Russell and the tech team at Spurs. Please keep your feedback coming – it is welcomed and ensures that we are putting the right proposals forward to the Club.
8. TV PICKS FOR MARCH
We were pleasantly surprised to see the Premier League release their fixture changes for March 2023 on time. No Spurs matches were affected as none had been picked for domestic TV coverage. We will leave you to make of that what you will, although the Southampton away match is subject to change should either side remain in the FA Cup by that point.
9. BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP
THST Board member Rob White attended a meeting of the Business Community Liaison Group (BCLG) at Lilywhite House on Tuesday 24th January. The Club view the BCLG meeting as a key part of their community relations, which help them to build relationships with local groups. The meetings are held every other month, with the primary focus being operational aspects of the stadium/event days, and how these are affecting the local community. Aspects of the Local Area Management Plan are sometimes included, which includes updates on building projects and/or highways management changes. The meetings are chaired by the Club’s Public & Community Relations Manager, David Knowles. The group is made up of representatives from Tottenham Hotspur, Haringey local councillors, Haringey council officers, local residents association representatives, and other local community groups.
The items on the agenda for the meeting were:
- Parking on match/event days; This involved a discussion regarding problems that are being experienced by local residents, particularly those in and around the Tenterden Road area
- Forthcoming third-party events; The rugby match between Saracens & Harlequins on the 23rd March was discussed, as was the announcement of the WizKid concert on the 29th July. The continued community ticket allocation from the Club for both of these events was acknowledged
- WhatsApp Communities; The Club shared it’s plans to look at launching some new WhatsApp ‘broadcast only’ community channels. This is a positive way of improving the way that information regarding local stadium focused news can be shared
- Update on Goods Yard Scheme; A brief update was given. This update cannot be shared at this point
The next meeting is scheduled to be held at the end of March 2023.
10. MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
As part of our ongoing mental health awareness promotion, we were approached by Rehab Recovery. Rehab Recovery is an organisation that provides addiction treatment and healthcare advice for a wide range of different addiction and dependency problems. We attach a link with some information on the work that they currently doing surrounding the cost of living impact on mental health.
11. GLUTEN FREE BEER
We recently heard from a Trust member who highlighted the lack of provision for supporters requiring gluten free drinks inside the stadium. We contacted Andy Taylor, Head of Catering at Spurs, who informed us that he will be introducing gluten free Moretti around the stadium from the Man City home game. This is excellent news, and we hope it will be warmly received by all who have this dietary requirement.
12. THST FORUM
This month on the Forum we have been thinking about the current dissatisfaction among sections of the fanbase towards the THFC Board, as well as the questions and statements that the Trust have published. This is a handy place for full members to give their views – are you ENIC – good financially, but could do better? ENIC out? ENIC In? Or somewhere in between?
Topics discussed have also included ticketing, stewarding, match day atmosphere and travelling to away games as well as our forthcoming AGM.
The THST Forum is open to full and life members of the Trust. Full and life members should apply via the link on our website and set up an account. We should emphasise Trust membership alone doesn’t give you automatic access to the forum, you need to register via the link.
To join the Trust, please register here. To upgrade from free Associate Membership of the Trust to Full membership, please click here. If you’re already a Full or Life member of the Trust, click here to register for our Forum.
13. DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES:
The annual THST Quiz Night, raising funds for Haringey-based Studio 306 Collective, will take place on Thursday 20th April at The Antwerp Arms in Tottenham. More details to follow.
14. MEDIA LOG
- Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust agree with Conte and demand 'greater clarity' about club's aspirationsTottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust issues fresh statement demanding 'clarity' from Spurs board
- Tottenham Supporters’ Trust demand answers amid ‘genuine concerns about direction of club’
- Tottenham supporters’ trust sends letter to board over ‘genuine concerns about the situation’ and asking 4 key questions
1 February 2023