In initial informal discussions with the Club we found the reasons given for the decision to be unconvincing. So we sent a formal letter to the THFC Board, outlining our concerns and making constructive suggestions for easing the financial pressure on fans. Those suggestions can be read in detail here.
The Club responded. It told us that the decision to bring forward the renewal date was primarily to do with cash flow and servicing debt associated with the new stadium project. It drew attention to next year’s price freeze. And it failed to address any of the constructive suggestions we put forward.
Based on the information we had in the Club’s response, we consulted the financial experts in our Finance Expert Working Group – Trust members who work in the field of finance who have volunteered to advise us on issues such as this.
They told us the Club’s justification for bringing the renewal date forward was, at best, “curious”, and lacking in credibility. The ‘cash flow’ explanation suggests, to our panel of experts, bad financial planning by the Club. So it seems unlikely this is the whole reason. And modelling likely gains in income based on what we know about the number of ST holders and the average price of a ST suggests the financial gains associated with debt servicing are marginal.
Today, we sent a detailed reply to the club, outlining the concerns we explain above in detail.
We have said that if fans are being asked to fund a boost in Club cash flow, they should be given a more detailed, credible explanation of why they must bear an extra financial burden for a change that appears to provide marginal benefit to the Club.
We have registered concern that the Club’s reference to “earlier cash income… subsidises the ability to hold ticket prices” suggests fans are being asked to provide an interest-free loan to subsidise the price freeze, somewhat of a contradiction in terms.
And we have pointed out that there are many more methods of drawing on supporter funding that offer more tangible benefits to all sides – methods we have long indicated we would be happy to explore.
Finally, we have asked the Club to give proper consideration to the suggestions for phasing payment we have put forward should the insistence on early renewal be maintained. And we have emphasised how badly the current justification and dismissal of constructive proposals is likely to play with fans.
We remain committed to securing a solution that can benefit supporters and the Club. We hope that, against the background of the 20 Premier League clubs securing an unprecedented £5.14 billion TV deal, THFC will recognise the value of taking on board the suggestions we have made.
We will share the Club’s reply with members and the wider Spurs community.
23 Feb 2015