A: We don’t believe calling for any owner to leave without knowing what comes next is a responsible course of action. We understand the anger of many fans, but football has seen too many changes of ownership fail to deliver change. Remember, ENIC were the new broom when Alan Sugar stepped down. In addition, a large section of our support takes the view that the business side of the Club has been largely well-run. In the absence of any prospective new owners, we have to seek to influence the ones we have.
Q: Will you be backing the ENIC Out protests?
A: We are not in the business of telling anyone how they should express their views, as long they are lawful and respectful. We understand why people will be calling for ENIC Out, but as we explain above, we don’t think that slogan alone provides the solutions that are needed. We will have a presence at the stadium on the day of our home match against Aston Villa, 19 May, and we have asked fans to express their views with us then. Details of what we are doing will be released over the next week or so. We think the success of any campaign depends on it being positive and unifying and that’s the approach we will be taking.
Q: Why are you refusing to meet the Club?
A: We are not refusing to meet the Club. But we can’t just carry on with business as usual and pretend nothing has happened. We do not believe our members would accept a meeting going ahead without a clear idea of what it was for and what it could achieve, or without it being fully reported. Trust in the Club’s commitment to genuine conversation has been severely damaged, and that trust needs to be repaired. With communication proving difficult, we have asked for independent mediation.
Q: What would you like to see happen?
A: We have put forward a six-point plan that we believe gives Tottenham Hotspur FC a way forward. This plan is in line with measures being pushed for at other clubs across the country, and with proposals being actively considered by the government’s fan-led review. Our view is that only by fans being properly involved in the decision-making structure of football clubs can we ensure that the football side of the football business is given priority.
Q: Isn’t the idea of fans having power over decisions just wishful thinking?
A: No. It is the result of carefully considered proposals that take account of the realities of business and of the unique nature of sporting businesses. Former commercial secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill, is just one senior figure who has backed legislation “to enforce proper representation of fans’ needs and desires”. Change is coming to English football, and we have a chance to make sure that change works.
Q: So isn’t this just a power grab by THST?
A: No. Our six-point plan proposes representation for a wide range of fan constituencies – for example Season Ticket holders, members, and Official Supporters Clubs – as well as the Trust. The Trust is able to play a unique role because of our democratic structure, articles of association, and the knowledge and contacts we have built up. The Trust’s rules mean that no member of the THST Board can be a director, non-executive or otherwise, of the Club. Our plans are about giving fans a greater say, not any single organisation.
Q: Would those changes mean THFC bought the players it needs?
A: Who knows? No fan group anywhere is asking for direct influence on playing or coaching matters. That wouldn’t work. But what we can do is ensure that sporting success is the focus of the business, rather than being a desirable by-product of the business. That’s what we mean by ‘putting fans and football back at the heart of our club’. Anyone who promises they can bring in whatever players they want and guarantee success – whether they be a prospective owner or a protest group – is making a promise they cannot keep. We need to work for changes that mean our clubs are primarily sporting institutions, not investments.
Q: But wouldn’t making those changes at Spurs put us at a disadvantage compared to other clubs?
A: We are working to secure changes across the game that give every club a better chance of succeeding where it matters – on the pitch. We’ve seen from the huge opposition to the European Super League plans that fans are prepared to speak up and take action to defend the integrity of the sport. This gives us a chance to put right some of the things that have undermined that integrity.
Q: OK. You’ve convinced me. What do you want me to do now?
A: Join THST and strengthen our voice. Thousands of you have done so over the last month.
Write to Daniel.Levy@TottenhamHotspur.com and tell him you support our proposals.
Write to your MP and ask them to back the plans to reform football, establish an independent regulator for the sport, and give fans a voice on club boards.
Argue the case for supporter involvement at board level and reform of the game wherever you can.
10 May 2021