Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United – 4 Jan
AFC Wimbledon FA Cup pricing – 7 Jan
Champions League Round of 16 v Juventus
THFC Fans’ Forum – 11 Dec
APPG on impact of broadcast scheduling on match going fans – 13 Dec
Catering at Wembley: Meeting with Delaware North – full report and progress
Business Community Liaison Group Meeting – 5 Dec
Premier League Schools Enterprise Challenge – 12 Dec
Zeelo coach travel to Wembley and Boxing Day travel
- Members’ questions answered
- THST casework
- FSF Awards – 4 December
- Studio 306 Collective – THST’s charity partner for 2018
- The Mayor’s Winter Gala Ball – 1 December
- Football to Amsterdam – June 2018
As we’re wrapping up for Christmas, this edition of THST News is coming to you slightly earlier than usual. With a busy festive season for Spurs, our work won’t stop, but we’ll spare you the details until the turkey is a distant memory and Dry January is out!
Keep in touch through our social media channels @THSTOfficial on twitter and THSTOfficial on Facebook in the meantime. You can also email us at info@THSTOfficial.com with anything urgent.
Thanks for your continued support throughout 2017 and we hope you and your loved ones have a lilywhite Christmas and a fabulous New Year.
Kat, Martin C, Adam, Pete, Martin B, Rachel, Michael, Keith, Kev and Paul
1. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V WEST HAM UNITED – 4 JANUARY
We devoted considerable effort throughout the second half of November and start of this month to resolving the issues around the scheduling of this Premier League fixture, after Sky originally announced it wanted to move the game to New Year’s Eve for broadcast. This involved, among other things, submitting a Freedom of Information request to Brent Council to get details of the discussions at the Safety Advisory Group. It is regrettable we had to resort to the FOI route. Fans are the only stakeholder not represented at Brent SAG, despite our requests for a place on the group. This is in marked contrast to the attitude taken by Haringey Council, with whom we have built a working relationship on Haringey SAG.
The result of our FOI request can be read in detail here.
As is clear from the information we received, objections to moving the match to New Year’s Eve – initially to 5pm – were made almost immediately by the emergency services and transport providers. At this stage a sensible solution would have been to seek an alternative broadcast slot. Instead, discussions were prolonged for almost a month, during which a capacity cap that would have meant THFC could not guarantee a seat to all its season ticket holders was proposed.
When THST became aware of the possibility of a capacity cap, we made it clear we would be taking legal advice to challenge that decision. We also contacted the Mayor of London’s office to ask for an intervention that would properly take into account the interests of fans, the concerns of the capital’s emergency and transport services, and the need for London to reinforce the message that it is open for business.
As we said in our news piece, we accept that the public safety ‘risk’ of staging a football match is often the subject of media hype, but there are basic logistical concerns that must take precedence over commercial interest. The fact that there seems to have been a debate over which should take precedence is cause for concern.
The delay in announcing the game caused considerable inconvenience for many fans who were unable to book travel arrangements, and many fans who had already booked on the basis of the original announcement lost money. While THFC is to be commended for making every effort to remind fans the date was not confirmed while discussions continued, Sky needs to reflect on its decision to repeatedly advertise the date before it was confirmed.
It’s unprecedented for a rescheduled game to be confirmed as late as this one was, or for a game to be moved three times. In the circumstances, we have urged THFC to open the ticket exchange in plenty of time for this fixture.
2. AFC WIMBLEDON FA CUP PRICING
We are pleased with the highly accessible pricing for the third round of the FA Cup tie v AFC Wimbledon taking place at 3pm on Sunday 7 January at Wembley stadium. The balance between maximising revenue and maximising attendance is a delicate one for many Clubs in the early rounds of the Cup and we believe the Board of THFC got this one right by charging the minimum allowed under FA Cup rules: £10 for Adults and £5 for Juniors. It’s an incredibly busy time in the fixture calendar and an expensive one for fans so hopefully this pricing will encourage a healthy attendance.
We also agree with the decision to close Level 5 of Wembley and to offer 15% of the open capacity to fans of AFC Wimbledon. Abiding by the 15% away allocation rule is something we at THST are keen to preserve as one of the USP’s of the FA Cup.
We are aware there were some issues with the ticketing operation for this match, however. Any Gold or Platinum members normally on the autopay scheme who were required to move seats owing to the larger AFC Wimbledon allocation and subsequently charged a booking fee should contact the Ticket Office for a refund should this not have been done already. Similarly, any Season Ticket holders or members who had difficulties purchasing the family pack online or over the phone should contact the Ticket Office.
3. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND OF 16 v JUVENTUS
Arrangements for the away and home legs of the Champions League round of 16 tie against Juventus were confirmed as we published.
For the away leg, the Club has secured just over 2,000 tickets at the stadium, which has a capacity of 37,000 for CL games. We’ve been told that names on tickets will be checked against passports and that this will be strictly enforced. We’re aware that these warnings have been issued before, but feedback from the Club, fans of other clubs who have played in Turin, and the Football Supporters Federation strongly indicates that these checks will be strictly enforced this time. We can only pass on the information we are given, but we would ask fans to consider the advice being given by a number of agencies, including the UK government, around this tie. We should stress these arrangements are solely down to the Italian authorities, and that we have again made the point that requiring fans to carry passports at all times is not something we are in favour of.
We’re also disappointed to see that the Club will not be teaming up with Thomas Cook Sport to offer flight packages to the game. We understand that the risk of underwriting a flight when many fans would already have booked travel was considered too great. We’ll be working with THFC to make sure fans travelling to the game have as much information as possible, and to ensure that fans are treated as well as possible on this trip.
For the home leg. We are disappointed but not surprised to see THFC has opted to charge Category A pricing. As soon as the draw was made we asked the Club to settle on a price that recognised the financial strain on supporters, allowed for a sell-out crowd and also balanced with commercial realities rather than simply reaching for the top price available. The Club has opted to charge the top price available.
When we objected to Category A pricing for the group stage game against Real Madrid, we received a lot of support for our stance, but also some criticism. Our objection to Category A pricing at the group stage was based partly on the realisation that, having charged Cat A at that early stage, it would be easier for the Club to charge Cat A in later rounds should we qualify. Having charged Cat A at group and first knockout stage, there is of course now the chance that the Club could charge even more of a premium should we qualify for subsequent stages. With this season already proving an extremely expensive one for fans, we hoped the Club would recognise this. Our thoughts on the pricing of season tickets this season are already well known.
Some fans have observed that we should expect this level of pricing if we want Spurs to pay players higher wages. We’d point out that gate receipts form a relatively small part of total income, and don’t go anywhere near funding the wage bill. As an organisation for fans, we have never taken a stance on player remuneration, but we do constantly point out that being a fan of a rich club doesn’t make you a rich fan.
No doubt the home tie will sell out. We hope the Club is aware of the long-term effects of its pricing policy.
4. THFC FANS’ FORUM – 11 DECEMBER
THST Board Members Martin Buhagiar, Rachel Martin and Keith Sharp attended the Fans’ Forum at the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) in Lilywhite House on Monday 11 December, along with the 3 Trust members who’d most quickly expressed an interest in attending after our November newsletter dropped.
Chairman Daniel Levy, manager Mauricio Pochettino and skipper Hugo Lloris were present to answer a range of questions.
A number of issues were discussed including the latest on the stadium development, on-field matters and transfer targets. Here are the main points from the Forum:
- DL confirmed the stadium development was on schedule and was confident it would open as planned in August 2018. He added talks over stadium naming rights were progressing well and assured supporters finance was in place to complete the process while the Club would also be in a position to continue to support MP in the transfer market.
- He was asked about the Club’s wage ceiling and fears players could leave if they were not offered contracts on a par with that paid by other Premier League title challengers. DL stressed it was important fans did not believe everything they read in the papers and confirmed the likes of Hugo Lloris and other important first team players would not be sold.
- DL and MP were both asked for the latest information on Toby Alderweireld’s contract talks. DL said the centre-back still had two and a half years to go on his current deal. MP added he was ‘calm’ about the situation. It was also confirmed the player will be sidelined with his injury for a further five to six weeks.
- MP was asked what his priorities were for the season given our current position in the league, Manchester City’s lead and the recent draws in the FA Cup and Champions League. He said the coaching staff and team still believed they can win a trophy this season. He added he prioritised every competition and was desperate to win a trophy for the Club and our supporters. MP added the League Cup had also been a priority stating at 2-0 up the team selection seemed fine. He was disappointed with the second half but accepted this can always happen during football matches.
- HL added the players remained committed to achieve this objective and said he felt the Club was building something ‘strong’, a DNA and an identity within the Club which would hopefully lead to success. He was asked if he saw any similarities with the Lyon side he played for that got to the Champions League semi-finals and was also asked if he believed Spurs could get as far. HL said he felt we could and the players had proved that with our performances against Real Madrid. HL said to get that far (CL semi-finals) you need to work hard, put in performances of a similar level and also have a little bit of luck.
- MP and HL were asked how affected players are/were with chanting of a positive or negative nature and the general atmosphere at Wembley. MP said against Liverpool and Real Madrid the players could feel the energy in the stadium which lifted them, while at other league games the atmosphere had been a little ‘flat’. HL said the fans’ support was important but the difference between White Hart Lane and Wembley and the close proximity of supporters at WHL meant they could not always hear exactly what supporters were singing or saying. He was asked specifically about Moussa Sissoko and whether a negative response from fans had affected his performances. He said the midfielder had shown great character to come back from last season and was now showing supporters his worth.
- DL was asked about the London Living Wage and confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur employees were paid this rate. He said the Club had no power to ensure contractors used by the Club paid their employees the London Living Wage, however.
With thanks to THFC for organising the event at short notice. Dialogue between the Club and fans is always something to be encouraged and we hope to see similar events throughout 2018.
5. APPG ON IMPACT OF BROADCAST SCHEDULING ON MATCH GOING FANS – 13 DECEMBER
THST Co-chair Kat Law was the guest speaker at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters at the Palace of Westminster on 13 December. This session, arranged by the Football Supporters’ Federation and entitled “Football and TV: Won’t someone think of the fans?” saw some healthy discussion around the continued issue of games being moved for broadcast with little thought for the match going fans. The audience was sympathetic to the frustrations and supportive of suggested improvements, including mandatory supporter representation on all SAG’s and the advancement of the flexible train fare for fans initiative (Fan Fare).
Work to reduce and mitigate the impact of the displacing of matches on fans has been underway for well over a year now, with Kat leading the efforts of the FSF’s Kick Off Times Working Group, alongside Tim Rolls of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Anna Burgess of the Spirit of Shankly. The group has met with both major broadcasters, the Premier League, the Shadow Secretary of State DCMS and the Shadow Sports Minister, among others, in an effort to secure greater consideration for fans.
While there are some indications we’re moving in the right direction, there is clearly still work to be done when the Premier League and the broadcasters consider it acceptable to delay broadcast announcements without acknowledgement, apology or explanation, as we have seen with the December, January and now the February TV picks.
THST stands alongside 14 fellow fan organisations in calling for adequate notice of fixture changes in a petition launched on 15 December. Please read, sign and share. It’s about time all supporters made themselves heard on this issue.
6. CATERING AT WEMBLEY: MEETING WITH DELAWARE NORTH
As reported in the November newsletter, THST met with Wembley’s caterers, Delaware North, ahead of the West Bromwich Albion game. A full report from this session is available here.
We’re pleased to report that the price of bottled water has subsequently been dropped from £2.50 to £2.00 and that there is a commitment from DNC to revisit the pricing of several other items as we move into the New Year.
As soon as the catering maps of the stadium are available, detailing the location of each kiosk and the food on offer, we’ll share on our website. This will also include the locations of water fountains, and we have asked for a full price list of all food and drink on sale on Spurs event days.
We’re pleased to have a point of contact with Wembley’s caterers and thank them for their responsiveness to queries and complaints to date.
7. BUSINESS COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP MEETING – 5 DECEMBER
THST was represented at the recent meeting of the Business Community Liaison Group on Tuesday 5 December at Lilywhite House. There was a lot of discussion around the stadium build and the transport plans for the opening of the new ground next season. The main points to note from the meeting were as follows:
- The TfL proposals for a change to the match day bus diversion route will be piloted first with the 149 for the first six games, then extended (if successful) for the 259, 279 & 349. The diverted route will be via Northumberland Park and Lansdowne Road.
- THFC will be providing shuttle buses from Alexandra Palace (with a stop in Wood Green) and Tottenham Hale pre and post-match.
- Unlikely that all rail infrastructure improvements will be completed by August. Work has now started on WHL station.
- Improvements will be made around the High Road/White Hart Lane junction and to the pavements leading to WHL station.
- 3 sets of public toilets are included in the project.
- It was confirmed that parts of the build are ahead of schedule, parts on schedule and some parts behind schedule, as is to be expected in a build of this complexity.
- All precast elements have now been installed in the NW/NE part of the stadium.
- The pitch slab for NFL will be installed by Christmas.
- The 99 trays comprising the football pitch will delivered and installed January/February.
- As of 5 December, 1600 workers are on site at 10am, 800 on Saturdays and 300 on Sundays.
- There will be no work at all on site on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/New Year’s Day.
- There will be no night working during the holiday period.
- The roof lift will take three weeks and is planned to start towards the end of January.
- Plans are being made for test events in August 2018 with the first NFL game scheduled for October 2018.
- Footings for the Hotel are underway. Piling will be finished by Christmas.
- The keys to Percy House will be handed over on Friday 15 December.
The next meeting of the BCLG is due to take place on Tuesday 9 January 2018.
8. PREMIER LEAGUE SCHOOLS ENTERPRISE CHALLENGE 2017/2018
This annual national challenge for school students, years 9/10, got underway for Tottenham Foundation linked local schools in the pitch view rooms at Wembley Stadium on 12 December.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Trust was represented on the judging panel, once again by Board member Kevin Fitzgerald. His fellow judges were Spurs fan Lee McQueen, the 2008 winner of BBC’s The Apprentice, Chris Paouros from Proud Lilywhites and Nick Harding from the Wembley Stadium Learning Zone, also a Spurs fan.
Four local schools presented their ideas and findings on strategies for increasing diversity amongst Spurs match day fans, with St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox School, Barnet, being unanimously judged the winning team. They will now go on to the regional final in January and hopefully on to the national final in April next year where they will then attempt to go one better than last year’s national runner up, and also a contestant this year, Enfield Grammar. The other school teams were from St Mary’s High, Waltham Forest and Ark Academy, Wembley.
Spurs Ambassador Ledley King joined the judges to announce the winner, present certificates and conduct a Q and A, following the students being provided with a stadium tour.
A great occasion that should live in the memories of the school team members.
9. ZEELO COACH TRAVEL TO WEMBLEY AND BOXING DAY TRAVEL
Recognising the challenges faced by many fans in getting to Wembley, we’ve been pleased to inform supporters that coach company Zeelo continues to move an increasing number of Spurs fans to the stadium from an increasing number of locations across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex.
We’re especially pleased that Zeelo is continuing to expand the routes it offers on Boxing Day. While the London Underground is running on the day, we appreciate there is a restricted rail network outside London, and we are pleased to publicise the additional help Zeelo is providing.
New Boxing Day routes are:
- M1 Corridor, capturing Luton, Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempstead, Dunstable
- M40 corridor, capturing Banbury, Bicester, Oxford, High Wycombe
- Reading, Maidenhead, Slough/Windsor
Full details can be found here. Get in touch directly with Zeelo with any route requests or queries via email, live chat on their website or by tweeting @gozeelo.
- Members’ questions answered
- THST Casework
- FSF Awards – 4 December
With thanks to the Football Supporters’ Federation for organising another successful and enjoyable event.
- Studio 306 Collective – THST’s charity partner for 2018
They are a group of skilled arts and crafts practitioners who have come together to form an exciting community enterprise. Specialising in designing and making hand-crafted high quality ceramics, silver jewellery and screen printed products, all of the work is produced in their Wood Green studio.
The aim of the Studio is to empower disadvantaged local individuals who are recovering from mental illness by offering a space where they can rediscover forgotten skills, develop new ones and boost their confidence.
As a social enterprise, Studio 306 is a not-for-profit organisation, so all of the money they make from the sale of their goods goes straight back to the collective.
To start the ball rolling, we will be making a donation of £200. We will post a link to their website from our homepage which we hope will create some interest amongst our members, and make collections at our members’ evenings. We will also be inviting them to our end of season BBQ at The Antwerp Arms in May 2018, where you will be able to see and purchase some of their products.
We hope you’ll join with us in supporting this very worthy cause throughout 2018.
- The Mayor’s Winter Gala Ball – 1 December
Pete arranged for Paul Stewart to be interviewed by Theo Delaney as part of the evening’s entertainment.
- Football to Amsterdam – June 2018
There’s plenty of time to get the training in and the fundraising done. Make it top of your list of New Year resolutions.
Any questions then contact Kevin at the Trust.
Donations to Prostate Cancer UK via our team fundraising page can be made here.
ESPN - Pochettino urges Spurs to make earlier signings for next season
HITC - Tottenham defend late transfer policy in supporters' trust response
FSF - Fan groups call on Premier League to stick to TV deadlines
Daily Mail - Delay in announcement of TV KO times
Football London – Fans back petition over fixture changes
Football London - Revealed: The truth behind why Spurs' home match against West Ham was moved from New Year's Eve
Hertfordshire Mercury - Watford Supporters' Trust back Spurs' petition calling for Sky and BT to give fans more notice of fixture changes
Daily Cannon - Arsenal Supporters’ Trust back petition over fixture changes
The Club has also set up a dedicated information portal online which answers many of the questions we are frequently contacted with. We’d urge fans to read and familiarise themselves with the details available on the portal as we continue to receive a high volume of questions asking for this information.
22 December 2017
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