We are reproducing the letter here for full transparency.
Daniel Levy, Chairman, THFC
Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director, THFC
Matthew Collecott, Finance Director, THFC
Dear Daniel, Donna and Matthew,
We’re writing to you as the three officially recognised supporter groups at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to formally request the readjustment of the Season Ticket Renewal deadline from 29 April to 31 May 2022. Since the Club announced the timings, we have each been contacted by many of our respective members with significant concerns around the earlier deadline, and we are aware of numerous fans writing directly to the Club to express those concerns first hand. It is our firm belief that the Club should listen to those supporters and work collegiately with us to reach a mutually beneficial solution.
We note the Club’s rationale for bringing the deadline forward; to allow more time to manage a larger ticketing inventory, to manage seat relocations and to manage the waiting list ahead of an earlier start to the 2022/23 Premier League campaign. We would like to remind the Club of its co-innovation partnership with Ticketmaster and the technical advancements we’ve all witnessed over the last season, especially. Digital home tickets remove the need to distribute access cards each summer, for example, and new software will allow seat moves to be completed digitally as opposed to manually, resulting in a more streamlined process. All of this should compensate for a truncated window this summer.
Times are changing. The effects of the pandemic and the current economic crisis have prompted most businesses to move to a more customer-centric model. Football should not be the exception. Through difficult times, fans have backed the Club. We left 20% of the value of our Season Tickets sitting with the Club during the 2020/21 season, knowing we would not be able to attend matches. During the current campaign, many fans have lost hundreds of pounds on their Season Tickets because they haven’t been able to move tickets on due to the continuing impact of the pandemic. Financially, supporters have time and again demonstrated their loyalty and commitment to the Club, with arguably diminishing returns.
With the highest levels of inflation in over 30 years, increasing interest rates, a 10% rise in National Insurance contributions, increasing costs of diesel and petrol, the annual above-inflation rise in train fares and the upcoming increase in home fuel bills, fans’ finances are going to be stretched like never before. This means that budgeting becomes even more important, and whilst some fans will have saved to be able to pay for the extremely expensive Season Tickets, others will now be faced with a choice of utilising those funds for their Season Ticket or just to heat their home. Therefore, to only allow potentially a ‘2 pay-day’ period in which to pay for Season Tickets shows a worrying disregard for the economic realities facing many of your customers.
Your decision to bring the deadline forward has further brought into focus the value of the package and the relationship between the Club and its supporters. Over the past few years, changes to the concessions policy, the reduction of games offered in the Season Ticket package and continuing changes to the operation of TEX have led more and more fans to question the value of what they are paying for. When you set the highest Season Ticket prices in England, and some of the highest in Europe, it was against a backdrop of the ‘whole package’ on offer. It is undeniable that the sporting element of that package has decreased significantly since that time. And this season we have seen a rise in complaints about the standard of facilities in General Admission areas.
We warned about the optics of the decision to alter the renewal deadline. In the view of many, the Club is asking fans to commit to next season before they know what competitions we are in, who the manager is or who will be in the team. You may say there is a never a guarantee of any of this, but the Club’s decision is being widely seen as a signal that it is not confident the answers to these questions will be positive. And while, as you have pointed out, cup tickets are no longer included in the package, fans do sign up to Gold membership, which commits them to buying tickets for cup competitions. So knowing what competitions they may be watching is part of the equation.
The great pity here is that the welcome decision to freeze Season Ticket prices has gone largely unnoticed because of the reaction to the deadline move. Another opportunity to accentuate the positive missed.
Not only do we believe that adjusting the deadline is an appropriate move in the broader circumstances, we also believe it will be an important step in strengthening relationships between the fans and the Club Board.
We ask for your reconsideration of this matter and keenly await your response.
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust Board
Proud Lilywhites Committee