1. Crowd management at Stamford Bridge – 3 December
2. NUFC entry problems at White Hart Lane – 17 December
3. Burnley FA Cup Match – 5 January
4. Capital One Cup Semi Final – 21/ 28 January
- Liverpool train – 10 February, FA Cup review, Department of Culture, Media and Sport Expert Working Group, Premier League Meeting, Community Update, OFCOM survey, THST Annual General Meeting
1. Crowd management at Stamford Bridge – 3 December 2014
A large number of supporters contacted us in connection with the serious problems our fans encountered entering the away end at Stamford Bridge for the league match v Chelsea on 3 December. We compiled a dossier of all the comments received and are working with the FSF’s case worker and the Chelsea Supporters Trust to raise a number of issues with the Metropolitan Police and Chelsea Football Club.
An update can be read here.
We have replied to both CFC and the FA expressing the view that the responses they sent are not adequate, and pressing for further consultation on how such situations can be avoided in future. As yet, we have had no reply. We’re making allowances for the Christmas and New Year break, but will follow this up.
We have also been in contact with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust over this, and the CST has expressed its dismay over the recurrence of entry problems for away fans – an issue they have raised with their club in the past – and with their club’s response.
We are also in contact with Liverpool FC’s Spirit of Shankly ahead of their League Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge, and are sharing information and experiences.
We’ve had informal indications from within the Premier League that they are unhappy with how this situation has been dealt with so far, and with the response to such complaints in general. As usual, it’s difficult to get the football authorities to take on any responsibility, but we’re mildly encouraged that the message about fan safety and treating fans as paying customers in these circumstances seems to be being heard.
We will continue to work with the FSF and other fan organisations to secure genuine improvements in this area, and to challenge unacceptable attitudes from the football authorities and the police.
2. NUFC entry problems at White Hart Lane – 17 December 2014
We are aware that Newcastle United fans experienced significant problems entering White Hart Lane for the League Cup quarter final tie on 17 December and are, of course, concerned when any set of supporters experience problems entering a football ground.
More details can be read here.
Following contact with THFC and the FSF, a meeting took place on Friday 9 January 2015 to discuss learnings from the incident. We await a joint statement from both the FSF and THFC on this matter. Early indications are that this meeting was positive, with THFC agreeing to implement a number of improvements and to contact Newcastle fans regarding their experience. We will use any positive steps taken to illustrate best practice as we continue to pursue issues such as the one outlined in point 1.
3. Burnley FA Cup match – 5 January 2015
The scheduling of the FA Cup third round tie away at Burnley understandably prompted protests from Spurs fans. Our supporters faced a long trip on the evening of what was the first working day of the year for most. The last scheduled train left Burnley for London at half time. And those who travelled by coach needed to find their own way back from White Hart Lane at 4am in the morning.
THST endeavoured to ascertain who was ultimately responsible for this decision, one which neither THST nor our counterparts at Burnley had been involved in.
At the same time, we worked with the Club to find the best solution for those fans who did want to travel. The train companies were extremely unhelpful, and air travel was not practical. We acknowledge the Club’s decision to provide free coach travel, and thank the 2,494 fans who made the journey to support the team.
Our initial statement can be read here.
Our follow up statement can be read here.
And our final statement on the matter can be read here.
We have made it clear to the Club that we would have preferred an honest explanation of why both Clubs wanted to play on the Monday, a decision that would not have been popular but which, we believe, most supporters would ultimately have understood if the coaching and playing staff insisted it was the best option. And we expressed concern at efforts by both Clubs to blame the police for their own decision on future relations between the Club and the police.
4. Capital One Cup Semi Final – 21/ 28 January 2015
THST worked with THFC to secure an additional 1500 tickets for the away leg of Capital One Cup semi final at Bramall Lane on 28 January and to also provide a subsidised train to Sheffield at a cost of £25 return per person.
Train tickets can be booked here.
We also pushed for competitive pricing for the home leg of both this tie and the Burnley FA Cup replay. We’re satisfied neither game was pushed into categorised pricing and consider the Semi Final pricing of £25 for adults, £10 for OAPS and £5 for U18’s to represent decent value for the latter stages of a competition.
We are in contact with South Yorkshire police and are working with them and both Clubs to ensure that the fullest information possible is given to fans travelling to Sheffield for the away leg. Bramall Lane is an old-fashioned ground that many fans will not have visited before and we’ve stressed the importance of full communication when 5,500 fans turn up on a weekday evening for a high-profile cup tie. We are also continuing to push the message that away fans should not be dealt with as a potential problem, and that the attitude of police and stewards on the night should reflect this.
Liverpool (A) train – 10 February 2015
THST also worked with THFC to try to secure a train for the forthcoming trip to Liverpool on 10 February. As we write, this is not going to be possible owing to a lack of availability in Virgin trains schedule for that evening.
FA Cup Review
Following our participation in the joint discussions around away allocations with AST, CST and SOS at the FA in the summer, THST has been invited to contribute to a formal review of the FA Cup competition. We very much look forward to inputting into the review and will be canvassing members around key questions shortly.
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Expert Working Group
THST was asked to contribute to the Dept for Culture, Media and Sport’s Expert Working Group consultation into the barriers to Supporter Ownership of Premier League football clubs.
Our response focused on the particular difficulties faced by fans at Premier League clubs in securing representation or part ownership of our clubs.
We provided some background on THFC’s pioneering steps to float the club on the Stock Exchange, and emphasised how the FA’s failure to implement the spirit of its own rules on preventing dividends from being taken out of a club enabled THFC to make this step.
We also outlined how flotation on the Stock Exchange had not led to any increase in mass supporter ownership of the Club, and how the Club’s subsequent delisting from the market and current valuation made it impossible for fans to now build a significant stake in the Club.
We also referenced the lack of awareness of what rights our remaining small shareholders have and the difficulties they have in organising, and concluded by making a number of suggestions for legislation that could incentivise PL clubs to open up board level representation and help boost long-term financial commitment by fans to the clubs they support in return for a stake in their club.
Once our submission has been acknowledged, we will make the full text available on the THST website. And we continue to work with colleagues in the PL Trusts group to develop solutions to the particular problems PL club trusts face.
Premier League meeting - 23 January 2015
Following on from the 'Affordable Football' march in August 2014, THST will be represented at a further meeting with Premier League executives on 23 January where the push for an end to away match categorisation and ticket pricing in general will be on the agenda.
We declined an invitation from the Our Tottenham community campaign to speak at a rally held before the home game against Crystal Palace. We felt that many of the demands being put forward around the event went beyond our remit as a Supporters’ Trust.
We remain conscious of the concerns within the local community about the stadium redevelopment plans, and that there are a variety of views on those plans within the community. We will continue to speak to all parties concerned, and to maintain an independent approach in line with our status as a Supporters’ Trust.
We were contacted by OFCOM at the beginning of December for permission to share the findings from our recent survey with other relevant stakeholders including all Premier League clubs. The survey gauged thoughts on the live transmission of matches scheduled outside of the closed period of 1445 and 1715 on Saturdays and was in response to the OFCOM investigation into how the Premier League sells broadcast rights for its matches.
We were happy to grant permission for our findings to be shared and once again thank those who took part in this brief survey.
We’ve had an encouraging response to our call for members with expertise in various areas to put their names forward to be on a series of expert working groups. We’ve had a particularly strong response from members with financial, legal and lobbying experience. We’d still like to hear from any members with areas of expertise they think will be useful, particularly in the areas of architecture and planning. We will be contacting members of the financial working group in the near future with details of a particular project we are working on, and contacting everyone who has put their name forward in due course.
Overseas Supporters Clubs
We’re currently working with colleagues from Houston Spurs and India Spurs to look at how we can build on our offer to OSCs, and to get more information on what overseas members want. Once there’s more detail around these discussions, we will share with the whole membership.
The THST AGM is scheduled for Monday 16th February 2015 at Nabarro LLP Solicitors at London Wall. Full members were sent the Convening Notice on 9 January 2015. Nominations for Board Election need returning to the Trust Secretary by 20 January at 5pm, please. The next communications will drop on Monday 2 February 2015.
Full details can be viewed on our website.
Two existing Board members are stepping down due to pressure of work in their day jobs. We thank Darren Howlett for his contribution over a long period and Ellie Kershaw for her work on relaunching the Trust and developing a number of community initiatives. Ellie has also led our work on credit union funding for fans who want to spread the cost of their season tickets, and we hope to be able to announce full details of a scheme that will serve as a marker of her contribution very shortly.
Existing Trust Secretary, Katrina Law, is standing for reappointment to the Board.
We have also decided to open up further places on the Board to reflect the significant increase in the amount of work we do as a Trust. That means there are five vacancies to be filled, and we would encourage all full members who can contribute some time, expertise – and a bit of passion – to consider standing. Full details are on the AGM section of the website.
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