The meeting was attended by, from THFC: Daniel Levy, Chairman; Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director; Jonathan Turner, Non-Executive Director; Levi Harris, Supporter Liaison Officer.
And from THST: Martin Cloake, Co-chair; Katrina Law, Co-chair; Pete Haine, Secretary; Rob White, Board Member; Stephen Cavalier, Board Member.
The meeting acknowledged that the events of the last month had damaged faith in existing relationships, and that the best interests of the Club and its supporters would be served by creating something new. The Trust and the Club have both put forward ideas for how fans could be more involved in decision-making, and these proposals were the focus of the meeting. Both sides acknowledged that any detailed plans may need to consider the framework set down by the Government’s fan-led review.
Club Advisory Panel
THST asked the Club to expand on the proposals for future fan representation it had outlined in its statement of 11 May. THFC said that it wanted its proposed Club Advisory Panel (CAP) to be as representative of the diverse fan base as possible, and that it had been looking at structures currently in place at other clubs. The fan view would be funnelled through the Chair of the Panel to the Club Board, with the CAP Chair appointed as a Non-Executive Director (NED) on the Club Board.
The CAP would be advisory. The terms of the discussions with the ESL would have prevented discussing that proposal with the CAP, but the NEDs were fully aware of those discussions.
The Fan NED would have full voting rights on all Board issues at THFC and would be appointed annually by the Panel. That person would have to be agreed by the Club Board as someone who met the criteria for being a director at an enterprise such as THFC. The same person could stand for election as CAP Chair in consecutive years. The role would be remunerated with a donation to a charity of their choice plus expenses.
The Club is currently consulting its in-house lawyer and an external recruitment firm. It will also consult on the remit and composition of the CAP with THST, Proud Lilywhites, SpursAbility and its Official Supporters Clubs, plus any other groups it thinks will be able to usefully contribute, including the Football Supporters’ Association. After this first phase of consultation, it will move to agreeing how the Panel is to be constituted.
THST asked the Club why it was bringing these proposals forward now, and whether it acknowledged that there would be widespread scepticism about its commitment to fan engagement at Board level. THFC said that sometimes disruption was needed to create change, and that it was seeking to create a better framework for the future. The only way people would be convinced that framework was working was to see it working successfully, and that was the responsibility we all carried.
THFC said it was approaching the exercise from a positive perspective and wanted to achieve a framework that set the standard, while recognising that the report from the Government’s fan-led review would set the baseline.
Government’s fan-led review
The Trust asked for the Club’s thoughts on the fan-led review. THFC said it welcomed the review and would be very engaged if asked to give evidence. It stressed the importance of sustainable business practices being a key consideration. The Club also said it was open-minded on the issue of an independent regulator, and that the areas for regulation needed more definition. There did not, for example, appear to be a need for the rules of the game to be regulated, but in other areas it was perhaps evident that the game could not regulate itself.
Share ownership scheme
Asked to comment on the Trust’s suggestion to consider an equity release scheme, the Club’s view was that there are already 30,000 shareholders at THFC and there is brisk trade in those shares each month. The possibility of new equity is complicated because of the process needed to undertake it, and the need to be convinced the funds raised would be significant.
European Super League fines
Discussion on these issues concluded with THST asking the Club to clarify the position on whether the owners would pay any fines or costs resulting from the European Super League episode. The Club said its position was that the owners would be responsible for any fines.
Once discussion on the main focus of the meeting finished, we departed from normal practice as an organisation that deals with off-field matters to ask for a comment on the reports that Harry Kane wanted to leave the Club. THFC said it was focused on the final two games of the season and backing the squad for a strong finish. It was not prepared to offer any further comment on Harry Kane or indeed on any other player while two games of the season remained. That is their only focus.
It was agreed to reset and restart collaborations around the Tottenham and North Enfield Foodbanks (Kick Off Against Hunger), on a mental health awareness initiative (Terrace Talk) and on PCUK cycling fundraisers.
In the coming weeks, THST will be setting out in more detail our ideas about how any future Advisory Panel structure could work. And we will be explaining our views. We welcome comments and ideas from our members. We will also continue to discuss the detail with the Club, without a running commentary. Once there is enough of a framework proposal to make an informed judgement, we will consult fully with our members. We are committed to achieving a robust structure that would avoid a situation such as the ESL arising in the future.
While these discussions progress, we are conscious that many people will have priorities they feel should be taken into account. We'd ask for your trust and support that we are seeking a solution that genuinely does deliver a real voice for fans in the Boardroom, and which increases the influence of ordinary fans on the direction of our football club. There will be no secret deals and no decisions taken by us without seeking the agreement of our members.
We thank all supporters who have backed us so far. You have helped create a situation from which there is a genuine chance of securing something many fans have wanted for some time.
20 May 2021