Fan-Led Review and Governance update
UEFA European Competition Reform update
Ticketing: NLD and Brentford allocations
Human Rights Not For Sale
Her Game Too at Tottenham Hotspur
April’s Catering Survey
THST Charity Spurs Quiz for Studio 306 Collective
THST Summer BBQ for Prostate Cancer UK
Football to Amsterdam cycle ride
Tottenham and North Enfield Foodbanks during May
Antwerp Arms Trust offer for May
THST Official Video Podcast
1. Fan-Led Review and Governance update
The government has endorsed the 10 key strategic recommendations of the Fan-Led Review into English football governance. And it will legislate to establish an Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF), giving it statutory powers to “improve financial sustainability and corporate governance across our national game, and place fans squarely at the heart of decision-making”, according to a press release from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issued on 25 April.
This is a victory for fan-led campaigning and a comprehensive defeat for the Premier League, Club boards and the FA which opposed the establishment of an independent regulator. Their complete failure to read the room only served to underline the need for independent regulation in the game, and the focus now turns to how this will practically be delivered. The next step is to be the publication of a government white paper with further detail on:
- A greater role for fans in the day-to-day running of clubs;
- Regulatory oversight for fan engagement on club heritage issues such as club colours and stadium location;
- Stronger action to improve equality and diversity in club boardrooms.
“The FSA urges the Government to move fast and legislate now.”
This latest development should focus thinking at THFC, where discussions between the Club and the Trust have been in progress for several months. Some initial agreement had been reached on aspects of the basic structure of a new relationship between supporters and the Club Board, but discussions have currently hit some bumps in the road and we’re working to resolve those issues.
We continue to base our approach on the principles we put forward in our submission to the Fan-Led Review. To be clear, our primary objective was never to place a single fan-rep on the Club’s Executive Board. That individual would have been in the impossible position of having to speak for all fans, and then be constantly outvoted by an inbuilt majority. Instead, we proposed a Supporter Board composed of representatives from a broad range of supporter groups, including the Trust, and complemented by independent non-executive directors on the Club’s Executive Board. This Supporter Board would be empowered to have real influence on Club affairs while also being subject to the normal requirements laid down for directors.
This week’s Government announcement makes specific reference to what it calls Shadow Boards being established “in order to give fans a greater voice in the running of their clubs” and says further detail will be set out in the summer.
We appreciate there will be some frustration at the slow pace of progress, but it is important we get this right from the start while leaving room for development. And we also need to discuss any basic framework with other constituted supporter groups. Please keep following progress reports in our monthly newsletters and on our website.
In related news, the Football Supporters’ Association and its constituent fan groups have been nominated for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s Best Consumer Campaign award. The nomination is for the successful campaign to stop the European Super League. The Foundation is named after the former director of Shelter and the Consumers’ Association and seeks to develop the power of civil society to make social change. So consider yourselves congratulated.
2. UEFA European Competition Reform update
We continued to publicise and campaign against proposed changes to the UEFA Champions League format that would undermine competitive integrity and further widen the gap between rich and poor clubs. UEFA’s latest proposals are not, in our opinion, the failed European Super League by the back door, but they are highly damaging and not what fans want to see.
We are part of the FSA Premier League Network that unanimously agreed a position statement that was published on the FSA website. That statement also links to further information on the planned changes and the opposition of supporter groups across Europe, including Football Supporters Europe (FSE), to them. We recommend you read the detail in these links.
Work continues through FSE to lobby UEFA’s Executive Committee not to adopt the proposed changes, and we are also working with colleagues to encourage the FA and Premier League to oppose and, where appropriate, vote against these proposals. Sadly, we still have not been able to get a clear answer from our own Club on where it stands on the proposed changes – further underlining the need for meaningful governance reform.
Fan reps from the so-called Big Six English clubs are pushing for a further meeting with senior UEFA executives to remind them of the commitment they made in the wake of our successful campaign to stop the breakaway European Super League to take supporter views on board. The FSE has also launched a European Citizen’s Initiative called Win It On The Pitch which aims to gather one million signatures from European citizens in order to write legal protection of sporting integrity into European law. The initiative has been backed, to our pleasant surprise, by UEFA. After the UK’s exit from the EU, fans in the UK do not have the opportunity to sign the initiative, but fans living in other EU countries can.
The campaign has already achieved some limited success in softening plans to undermine the basic principle of progress through competitive integrity, and in forcing a rethink on the number of extra games. A decision is due to be taken in early May.
3. Ticketing: NLD and Brentford allocations
With confirmation of the 12 May as the date for the rescheduled North London Derby came the need to clarify ticketing processes for the match. As explained in our January newsletter, THST had lobbied for those who had sold via Ticket Exchange for the original fixture to have as many chances to purchase a ticket for the rescheduled fixture as possible, be that via a priority purchase window on TEX or via the purchaser being able to return to the seller should they no longer be able to make the rescheduled match. We had also lobbied for the recipients of Ticket Share to be able to return their gifted tickets to the original donor, should they wish.
So, we were extremely pleased when the Club confirmed the ticketing process for the NLD, incorporating many of our requests. In summary:
- Those who had sold on TEX were given a priority window to purchase an alternative seat, along with first refusal to buy their original seat should those be returned by the purchaser;
- Those who had bought on TEX were given an option to return the ticket for refund should they no longer be able to make the match up to 7 days out, with any returns either going back to the original owner or being released to TEX;
- Those who had received a ticket via Ticket Share were contacted by the Club to ask if they no longer wanted to attend. Tickets from those who couldn’t make the game were then reallocated back to the original owner (providing they hadn’t bought another ticket in the meantime);
- In circumstances where the recipient of a Ticket Share seat wanted to attend the match, the original owner was given priority to purchase from TEX in the same window as above.
On Saturday 23 April, Spurs visited the Brentford Community Stadium for the very first time. With a capacity of just 17,250 the 10% allocation for this game was roughly half the usual 3,000 tickets for an away Premier League match. Accessing those was going to be at a premium, as well as putting the Ticketing Points Table under intense scrutiny.
The announcement of a cut off of 498 points prompted a flurry of traffic into the Trust’s inbox. Out of the allocated 1,725 tickets, seemingly only 1,150 or so fans had sufficient points to qualify for a ticket. So where had the other 600 gone? We followed up with the Club and here’s their explanation:
“We have allocated tickets for the Brentford match using the same formula for all other away matches. A combination of a small allocation and huge demand for this crucial match at a London-based stadium we’ve never played at before has led to us being significantly oversubscribed.
In terms of the ticket allocation breakdown, the vast majority are covered by Season Ticket Holders:
Season Ticket Holders
Premium Season Ticket Holders
Access Season Ticket Holders
Total 1,360 (79% of the full allocation)
The remaining 365 tickets are used to fulfil demand from players, staff and Club partners’ contractual obligations.
We’ve been asked specifically about the proportion of tickets that have gone to Premium Season Ticket Holders, to clarify, this is c12%, in line with the ratio of Premier Season Ticket Holders in the stadium for home matches.”
For several seasons, THST has encouraged more transparency over the away ticket allocation breakdown, so the level of detail was welcomed. However, the pot for players, staff, partners and sponsors at 21% is far too high, especially for a game with so few tickets to begin with. We join the chorus of voices expressing concern and frustration at the size of that pot. With over 48,000 GA and Premium ST holders vying for a total pot of 1,725 tickets, to then allocate one in every five tickets to commercial partners and sponsors is a bitter pill to swallow. We respectfully suggest those ‘contractual obligations’ are redressed back in the fans’ favour when next up for negotiation.
The forum set up by the Club to discuss and organise initiatives to add to the match-day atmosphere looks to be making some progress at last. The subject is one that a lot of people have a lot of opinions about, and which creates a lot of fuss on social media. For anything practical to happen, it needs people to volunteer their time and effort and a group of individuals around the @THFCFlags Twitter account have done so.
We’ve always said we’d help whoever wanted to get involved and do something practical, and after @THFCFlags got in touch we’ve passed on advice and the experience we gained from organising flag displays, surfers and tifos at the old White Hart Lane and Wembley. There’s broad agreement from all involved that any initiative has to be fan-led if it is to come across as genuine. @THFCFlags have launched a fundraising page to help get flags and banners produced, and we’re happy to share that here. If anyone can give up some time on match-days to help put on displays, at the moment in the lower South Stand, please get in touch with the group or with us and we’ll pass your details on.
We really want to stress that for anything to happen, it needs individuals to put in the time and effort. And it helps if those who do aren’t constantly criticised by people who don’t.
There’s also been some conversation about pre-match music since the Club played Can’t Smile Without You before our game against Brighton. To be clear, we hadn’t discussed this with the Club in advance, and nor had we when the song was played before our game against Everton. The Club is aware of the song’s connections with supporters, and we’ve discussed that with the Club in the past.
Reaction illustrated the difficulties with anything relating to atmosphere. Some liked it, some didn’t and some blamed it for the fact we lost to Brighton (although they didn’t credit it for us winning against Everton). And some would prefer no music at all in the five minutes before kick-off, preferring to let the crowd find its voice. On the day against Brighton, the song got a pretty good reception from fans, with the South Stand, in particular, singing along and belting out the “Tottenham”s throughout.
Maybe sometimes, things are simpler than they seem; they just come along and brighten your day.
5. Human Rights Not For Sale
We supported a request from the Proud Lilywhites to have a presence outside the ground before our Premier League game against Newcastle United to draw attention to the execution of 81 men in a single day in Saudi Arabia, and the continued imprisonment of gay man Suhail Al-Jameel. The action was intended to keep human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia in the spotlight in the face of efforts by the Saudi-government-linked investment fund that owns Newcastle United to use the club’s proud reputation to sportswash their reputation.
This was never intended as a mass protest, and we were proud to stand alongside the Proud Lilywhites and LGBTQ+ fan groups who have staged similar actions at other clubs. We’re also grateful for the support expressed by a number of Newcastle United fans who contacted us to show they understand the difference between supporting your club and backing everything its owners do.
There was some criticism that we were prepared to organise a protest against Newcastle’s owners but not our own. As we’ve explained above, this action was not the sort of protest some have been calling for. Our stance on our owners has been made very clear and remains so, despite the deliberate efforts of a small minority to misrepresent it. And finally, we’d say that anyone who thinks there is an equivalence between opposing state-sponsored executions and discrimination and being discontent about a transfer policy might need to check their values.
6. Her Game Too at Tottenham Hotspur
THST was contacted by Kirstylee Richardson, the Tottenham Hotspur ambassador for the Her Game Too campaign, with a view to forming a partnership with THST. For those not familiar with the campaign, Her Game Too was founded in May 2021 by female supporters from a number of clubs with the aim of working with football clubs to end sexist abuse towards female fans.
Her Game Too now has over 100 partnerships with various groups from grassroot teams to Premier League clubs such as Everton, Brentford and Leeds United. They are keen for Tottenham Hotspur to join that list.
THST Co-chair Katrina Law and Board Member Rachel Martin met with Kirstylee and campaign founder Caz May on the 4 April via Zoom to discuss objectives and how best to practically deliver those at Spurs. THST recommended and subsequently introduced the campaign to knowledgeable and experienced women working within the supporters’ movement and within the game itself who can help develop a fully-rounded proposition designed to achieve real change.
We are in contact with Kirstylee regarding the best ways of working together to promote Her Game Too within the Spurs fan base and to support their lobbying of THFC to sign up to the campaign.
7. April’s Catering Survey
Rachel Martin met with the THFC Catering Team on Wednesday 20 April to share the Catering Survey feedback from March It was the first face-to-face meeting for two years and well worth the wait. Here’s a link to the report. There’s lots to digest including some good news about the sausage rolls, information about a new stadium app for next season, and a plea about beer mugs!
Thanks to everyone who’s filled in our surveys this season. Ray Watson, Head of Catering, reads every single response so please let us have your views on what you thought was hot and what was not at the April matches.
8. THST Charity Spurs Quiz for Studio 306 Collective
A fantastic time was had by all when we got together at The Antwerp Arms in Tottenham on Thursday 21 April. Seventeen teams competed for the honour of winning the THST Quiz, demonstrating an incredible knowledge of all things Tottenham. This event was a fundraiser for local mental health charity Studio 306 Collective and the incredible £1,000 raised will transform the work that they are able to do during the coming year.
We were delighted to welcome teams from far and wide, but all sharing a love of Spurs. Some had attended every previous quiz, and for others it was the first time. THFC sent a staff team including some very recognisable faces, not least the legend that is Ledley King. The contest was extremely close and at the very end the title, and medals, were grabbed by THFC. It was wonderful to be able to meet in person again and we are already planning next year's event.
We'd like to thank our wonderful compere Theo Delaney from The Spurs Show, as well as question setters Pete Haine, Henry Ellis, Mike Blee, Martin Cloake, Rob White and Rachel Martin. The marathon round is on the THST Forum in case any of you missed the quiz but would like to try this round.
We'd also like to thank Ben Abrahams and all the staff at The Antwerp Arms in Church Street, Tottenham who looked after us so well and provided the delicious food and drink. We feel sure that a lot of us will be paying return visits to The Annie. And a big thank you to Levi Harris, our Supporter Liaison Officer at Spurs, for bringing the THFC team and donating the signed football as a raffle prize.
9. THST Summer BBQ for Prostate Cancer UK
We are looking forward to welcoming THST members to our Summer BBQ at our local community pub The Antwerp Arms on Sunday 29 May. This is traditionally a time for us to get together to celebrate or commiserate at the campaign-end. Let’s hope it will be a celebration of a European tour next season. We will be raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK and promoting the Cycle On You Spurs team, who will be undertaking a sponsored cycle ride to Amsterdam in June. We have some very special guests lined up including, we are delighted to say, the honorary president of THST and Spurs legend, Steve Perryman. It’s sure to be an afternoon not to be missed.
Entry is by ticket only and bookings are now open. We are very grateful to Antony Marcou of Sports Revolution for sponsoring the BBQ. And to the Antwerp Arms for their ongoing support of the Trust and for their incredible hospitality.
To let us know you're coming, please register for this FREE event via Eventbrite and remember to indicate whether you'd like to be fed at our earlier (1.30pm - 2.30pm) or later (4.30pm - 5.30pm) BBQ sitting.
10. Football to Amsterdam Cycle Ride
On Friday 10 June our Cycle On You Spurs team will set off from the Olympic Velodrome to cycle 93 miles to Harwich, and the next day will complete the remaining 60 miles to the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam. With all our good wishes for a safe and enjoyable ride will go tens of thousands of pounds raised in support of Prostate Cancer.
The team has raised around £46,000 to date, bringing the total since the team was formed to over £150,000. The generosity of all donors is not only appreciated by PCUK but is the greatest possible motivation for our riders. In this final month let’s redouble our efforts to send them on their way to Amsterdam.
PCUK is currently highlighting the need for a UK-wide screening programme. To achieve this goal requires more effective, accurate tests. Clinical trials are underway but money is urgently needed for the research that will bring the screening programme to fruition and thus save untold lives and heartache.
Cycle On You Spurs are grateful for the money Spurs fans have raised to date, all the more so given the other causes many of you have been supporting in these troubled times. If you can see your way to donate, please do.
11. Tottenham and North Enfield Foodbanks during May
As we signed off this month’s newsletter, details of which home game would host the foodbank collection during May were not confirmed. So please keep an eye on our Twitter feed and we’ll announce as soon as we can.
UK-based fans not attending games can still help to support the foodbanks at any time by texting COYSFOODBANK and any donation amount to 70085. To donate £10, text COYSFOODBANK 10, for example. Anything you can afford would be hugely appreciated.
Those living overseas or unable to use a text donation service are encouraged to donate via Tottenham Foodbank's crowdfunding page.
12. Antwerp Arms Trust offer for May
The pub’s generous offer to all full members of a 10% discount on all drinks and food from the menu will continue for the remainder of the season. You can utilise this offer on production of a Trust badge. If you require a badge, please contact email@example.com to collect by arrangement at the pub.
For those participating in our BBQ on 29 May, the pub will be donating 10% of all takings to PCUK in place of the discount.
13. THST Official Video Podcast
We hope that you watched or listened to last month’s vlog/podcast from regulars Martin Buhagiar, Rachel Martin, Rob White and our new Board member Koonal Shah. We were pleased to welcome fellow Board member Steve Cavalier who gave a really detailed and illuminating account of where we are with the Government Fan-Led Review.
Listen here on Spotify;
On Apple podcasts;
Or watch on YouTube
Thanks for the positive feedback we’ve received to date and please let us know if there is anything that you’d like us to focus on in future episodes.
14. THST Forum
This month on the Forum the emphasis has been very much on ticketing. There are conversations about ticketing for the North London Derby, Ticket Exchange and Ticket Share, Season Ticket renewals and issues for people wanting concessionary prices but who are seated in areas with prices above the price threshold, as well as the disappointment of so many of us who were unable to secure tickets for the away match at Brentford.
There’s a space to put responses from MPs who’ve written back to us with their views on the recommendations and next steps for the Fan-Led Review, and a thread on cycling to Spurs and the availability, or lack of it, of safe cycle storage. As ever, there are links to the latest Trust podcast too.
The THST Forum is open to full and life members of the Trust. Full and life members should to apply to join through the link on our site, and set yourself up an account. We should emphasise that 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.
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29 April 2022
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