Introducing the THST Official vodcast
Return of fans to Tottenham Hotspur stadium
Ticketing bans 2019-2020
Trust meeting with Club Board
Trust Q4 Board Meeting
Lobbying UEFA over competition reform
Help a Haringey child this Christmas
Marine FC offer for Spurs fans
Tottenham and Enfield Foodbank initiative
Studio 306 Collective donation
Football to Amsterdam, 3-5 September 2021
Old Tottenham programmes
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your incredible support in what has been an extraordinary year not only for the Trust but for those in greater need throughout the most challenging times many of us have experienced. Your donations to Meals for the NHS, Tottenham Foodbank and the JE3 Foundation have made us even prouder to represent you over recent months.
This year has also demonstrated how much fans can achieve when we stand together and how strong our collective voice can be, even when we’re physically distanced and isolating. Your passion, commitment and strength of feeling forced the Club to reverse on its furlough decision and persuaded the Premier League to scrap its PPV charge. These are incredible achievements for the supporter movement and set a blueprint for future campaigns.
With the focus now turning to the government’s promised ‘fan-led’ review of the game, it’s even more important we are organised, unified and confident in the power of our influence.
So, congratulations on your part in making 2020 a pivotal one for fans. Enjoy Christmas and the New Year safely with those you love, and we’ll see you in 2021, recharged and ready for the next challenge!
1. Introducing the THST Official vodcast
Communicating with you, our members, is one of our most important roles as a Trust. We’re always looking for new ways to keep you informed and so we took a leap in December and launched our new video and podcast.
A regular team of THST Board Members – Martin Buhagiar, Anthoulla Achilleos, Rachel Martin and Rob White – will cover the key talking points off-pitch and add detail and colour to the work of the Trust in an easy-to-digest format available on YouTube, Apple podcasts and Spotify. They’ll be joined by other Board members to delve deeper into some of the more specialist areas of our work, like ticketing, finance and governance. We aim to bring to life how things work behind the scenes in the run-up to games, how we operate as an organisation and how we typically interact with the Club.
If you’re a match-going fan interested in the decisions that affect your experience at the game, this is a must listen for you. If you’re a fan interested in how you can influence policy decisions at your Club, give it a listen, too. If you want to dissect the performance of our defence in last weekend’s game, other podcasts are available! We deal with off-field matters as a Trust and this podcast delivers a unique perspective on everything that isn’t the 11 players on the pitch.
You can watch our opening episodes on YouTube here and listen on Spotify and Apple podcasts, also. We hope this provides another channel to keep you informed, and encourage you to subscribe to those accounts if you like what you hear!
We’re also keen to cover the areas of specific interest to you or to answer any questions you may have on the show, so feel free to email us at info@THSTOfficial.com with any suggestions.
2. Return of fans to Tottenham Hotspur stadium
Fans returned to our stadium for two matches in December, against Arsenal and Royal Antwerp, before the reintroduction of Tier 3 restrictions that mean no crowds are allowed at sporting events in London. Each match featured just 2,000 fans in attendance – although the noise at the North London Derby did make us check the figure!
THST had been liaising closely with the Club over the detail of plans for fans to return to the stadium, and advising on communications. We were aware it was a balancing act between ensuring safety and public health requirements were met, and ensuring football was treated the same as other sectors so that what was possible to do safely was done. This happened through regular contact with the Club’s Supporter Liaison Officer and THST’s presence on the Haringey Safety Advisory Committee.
Our confidence that the environment inside the stadium would be as safe as possible was borne out by reports from those two games, and credit must go to Club, local authority and emergency services staff who worked so hard and inventively to ensure at least some fans could attend games. There was more worry about how safe travel to and from the ground and movement around the stadium footprint would be but, again, we were reassured by the confidence of local public health officials that the numbers permitted could be handled safely.
We received quite a few questions about car parking. There was enough off-street parking provision to ensure the area could handle traffic, and the high return rate for the Club’s transport questionnaire really helped predict travel patterns. So information you provide does make a difference. There’s a balance to be struck between acknowledging people may be more likely to opt for car travel in the current circumstances and not encouraging more drivers into the area.
What happens next is, as we finished this newsletter, anyone’s guess. It doesn’t look like we’ll back to any definition of normal for months, and so all we can do is continue to liaise with the Club over the detail of any permitted return in future. We will also continue to lobby government and the decision makers for fair treatment for football whilst respecting the need to prioritise public health.
3. Ticket ballot
Once it became clear that a limited number of fans may be allowed back into games, we initiated discussions with the Club about how tickets would be issued and what we thought would be the fairest process. We based our views on seven years of experience dealing with the detail of ticketing with the Club, and our knowledge of the views of fans. We also drew on our experience of the One Hotspur members’ ballot for reduced capacity games at the old White Hart Lane in its final season.
With such a detailed and ever-changing process, it was not possible to decide our approach by poll, so we’re setting out what we did here in the interests of accountability.
The only certainty was that, with far fewer tickets available than season ticket holders and members, more people would be unhappy than were happy. We asked the Club:
1) to conduct a straight ballot of season ticket holders without any weighting given to ticketing points, for example;
2) to eliminate successful applicants from subsequent ballots until everyone had a chance to be drawn;
3) to match the normal match-day proportional split of tickets between general admission and premium season ticket holders;
4) to price tickets fairly;
5) to maintain the accessible pricing policy for cup games;
6) to be fully transparent in publishing how tickets were allocated by category.
The Club delivered on 1) and 5). On 4), pricing for the Arsenal game and the Leicester match that subsequently could not admit fans showed the Club was pricing on the average match category price of a South Stand ticket. Notwithstanding our view that ticket prices are too high throughout the stadium, that seemed a fair policy in the circumstances. The Club has also promised to implement 2) but has not yet provided a clear explanation of the mechanic.
That leaves 3) and 6). The Club stressed it would apply “a proportional approach”. But it would not specify numbers. It did confirm that there were not two pots, as commonly assumed. In addition to a general admission pot, there was a pot for premiums, a pot for sponsors and partners, and a pot for access scheme members.
We pushed hard for full transparency. We believe faith in the process would be boosted by publishing how many tickets were allocated to each pot. And we believe faith in the process is undermined by not publishing figures. The Club’s belief is that publishing the figures might be misleading. Our belief is that the figures present a true picture of what actually happened.
Given the amount of rumour, and it has to be said fantasy, circulating on social media about the process, the only way to put an end to speculation and boost confidence in the ballot process was to be fully transparent.
As the Club continues to refuse to publish the figures, we can have no confidence it delivered the proportional split we asked for. And, importantly, we cannot measure how that split is managed if in future more people are allowed back in short of full capacity. The Club should publish the figures, as we were led to believe it would.
4. Ticketing bans 2019-20
A frequent criticism from some fans is that the Club takes little or no action against people breaking ticketing terms and conditions – for example by passing tickets on. We asked the Club how many ticketing bans had been issued in 2019/20. It told us there were 1,188 ticketing bans issued over that season.
These bans are solely for ticketing-related offences, not for anything behavioural. No exact breakdown is available, but most are for the unauthorised and above-face-value selling of tickets. Most are cases where a number of connected accounts that are selling tickets are identified.
This is an excellent example of how publishing statistics build faith in a process.
5. Trust meeting with Club Board – 1 December
THST Board members met with members of THFC’s Executive Board on 1 December for one of the three meetings a year at which both boards meet formally. This latest meeting was delayed and had to take place via video link because of social distancing requirements.
These meetings give both boards a chance to table and make public issues they feel need to be brought to wider attention. They are set-pieces, intended to show fans and those who run the Club can speak directly to each other. The focus is on top-line policy rather than the day-to-day matters the regular lines of contact between members of both boards deal with.
An agreed summary of the latest meeting can be read here. It’s normal practice for minutes from these meetings to be mutually agreed so that both sides can have confidence in their accuracy and that any commercial sensitivities are considered.
Although we’d like to see the Club take a more proactive approach to these meetings, and also to see some more depth in some of the answers given, we think there were two particularly interesting parts of this meeting.
One was on broadcast of games, with the Trust Board taking some encouragement from views expressed by Club executives about the value of the collective TV rights deal, and potential broadcast access for members and season ticket holders.
The other was the discussion on how major decisions on subjects such as the type and structure of competitions the Club would play in were taken. It’s clear there is a difference of opinion about how fan views are taken into account, and this is a subject we’ll be pursuing, not just at Spurs but as part of the wider debate on governance in football. We expanded on the point in this post on our website.
6. Trust Q4 Board Meeting – 30 November
THST’s Board met on 30 November for one of its quarterly meetings. In addition to planning for the following night’s meeting with THFC’s Executive Board, we started planning for an AGM that will have to be held virtually in February, agreed support for a number of charity initiatives including a special sponsored bike ride in memory of Ray Clemence, took reports of membership and finances and approved updated disciplinary and life membership policies.
7. Lobbying UEFA over competition reform
THST, along with supporter groups from Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City and the FSA, backed a call by Football Supporters Europe for fans to be properly involved in consultation over the reform of European competition, and for fairer revenue distribution.
UEFA is due to discuss the future of European club competition over the next few weeks, and so far consultation with fans has been minimal, if that. The fan approach is based around six key points:
- Promotion and relegation based on sporting performance – from the bottom of the pyramid to qualification for European competitions.
- No to closed leagues or franchise football – qualification exclusively based on performance, not through history or wealth.
- Weekends are for domestic leagues – protect fan culture, home and away.
- Competitive leagues – keep domestic competitions open and fair.
- Protect the pyramid and cup competitions – domestic football comes first.
- Share the wealth – redistribute revenue from elite football across the whole game.
We have also written to UEFA regarding the kick off time for our Europa League Round of 32 tie on 24 February. A copy of that letter can be read here.
8. Help a Haringey child this Christmas
The Trust has made a donation of £300, including personal donations from Board members, to buy toys for children who are being supported by Haringey Children’s Services at this very difficult time. The money will be used to buy toys and vouchers for children to enjoy at the end of what has been an incredibly challenging year.
There are a large number of families in Haringey who are facing challenges with housing, employment, health and care in general, and of course these have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to be able to support the local community with this donation. We were also delighted the Club itself publicised the appeal and donated toys left over from the annual hospital visits to a very deserving cause.
9. Marine FC offer for Spurs fans
The magic of the FA Cup was alive and well when the footballing gods placed 8th tier Marine FC against the then Premier League leaders (yes, that was us!) in the third round of this season’s FA Cup. The biggest ever gap between two clubs in the competition.
Since the draw was announced, Marine FC has been inundated by groups of Spurs fans visiting the Marine Travel Arena to take photographs of the stadium. This prompted the good folks of Marine to contact us with a very generous offer designed to strengthen the relationship between the two sets of supporters and recognise the difficulties caused by the pandemic in terms of attendance at live games to date.
Marine FC is offering free admission to one match next season to all Spurs season ticket holders to give Spurs fans the chance to experience a game at the club’s ground, having missed out on attending the FA Cup tie.
Spurs fans interested in taking Marine FC up on their offer should send an email at least 48 hours before any league game next season with their name and season ticket number to firstname.lastname@example.org stating the game they wish to attend. Instructions on ticket collection will then be provided.
Marine FC also thank Tottenham fan Matt Bridle for setting up a GoFundMe page for Spurs fans to donate to their club. The donations will be used to help support free coaching at local schools, delivering free meals to the elderly and vulnerable in the local area and will also allow Marine to continue to improve the infrastructure of their proud football club.
We appreciate that times are tough and there are a lot of pulls on people’s money at the moment but if any of our members can afford to donate in lieu of match tickets, travel and drinks on match day, we’d encourage you to do so.
Best wishes from the THST Board to all at Marine FC for offering the hand of friendship and camaraderie and for their generosity of spirit.
10. Tottenham and Enfield Foodbank initiative
We are proud to have been promoting the work of the Tottenham Foodbank since it opened in November 2019. While we were able to go to games, dropping off food at their collection point was an option supported by many of our fans. And some of you volunteered to help, too.
Once games went behind closed doors, our initiative to donate money to the Foodbank rather than pay for PPV games was supported by many of you. Spurs fans have donated a whopping £50,000 so far this season. With the average parcel of long-life food and toiletries costing around £50, this means the Foodbank is able to donate an extra 1,000 parcels to those who need them.
The Foodbank’s original JustGiving page closed after a year, but it has created a new site where you can find information on its achievements, how you can help and make a donation.
Our support will not stop at Christmas. In the New Year, we will be working with the Club to establish a fundraising page for fans to make donations to North Enfield and Tottenham Foodbanks on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for the launch.
11. Studio 306 Collective donation
Studio 306 Collective is a local mental health collective and one of the charities THST supports. With the ethos of “Recovery through Creativity”; the collective utilises the skills of arts and crafts practitioners to offer a creative space for those recovering from mental illness.
The THST Board has approved a donation of £800 to Studio 306, comprising our regular annual donation to our named charity plus funds raised through the sale of old programmes. We did this because we were unable to run our annual Spurs Pub Quiz which has raised over £1,400 over the last two years. Like all charities, Studio 306 has been affected by the reduction in fundraising events, and with the work they do more important than ever we wanted to make sure we continued to provide support.
Your fundraising efforts are greatly appreciated, as a lovely letter from the charity - attached at the end of this newsletter as a PDF - shows.
You can learn more about Studio 306 Collective here, including the wonderful array of arts and crafts products that they have for sale.
12. Football to Amsterdam, 3-5 September 2021
Our Cycle On You Spurs team wishes you all a safe, festive Christmas and a healthy New Year. Another recruit during December has taken our team to 31 for next year’s ride.
We will be stepping up our fundraising during 2021. Since the team’s formation in 2016 we have raised over £134,730 and our total for September 21 currently stands at just under £23,000. All proceeds go to Prostate Cancer UK. If you would like to join the team or make a donation you can do so here.
13. Old Tottenham programmes
Trust Secretary Pete Haine has just taken collection of another kind donation of programmes comprising almost every home game between August 1963 and May 2019, along with numerous away games. Some are in binders (73-4, 74-5, 75-6, 79-80, 80-1, 81-2, 82-3, 83-4 & 86-7).
He is happy to consider offers for complete seasons. He also has every home and away league game for the seasons 1974-5 to 1984-5. He is again looking for offers for complete seasons. There is also a list of programmes that can be sold individually. Please email him if you are interested in any of these complete sets or would like the latest list of what is available individually.
All proceeds from programme sales will be donated to our nominated charities.
14. THST Forum
Full Trust members can join our member’s forum to discuss any of the issues in this newsletter, or anything else Spurs-fan related. The forum is starting to become a vital part of our relationship with members, so make sure you are not missing out.
You need 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 THST Forum, you’ll need to be in FULL or LIFE membership of the Trust. 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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23 December 2020
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