THST AGM 2022
COVID Plan B entry requirements
Fan-Led Review into Football Governance
Stewarding at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
West Ham United in the Carabao Cup
Concessionary pricing for Cup games
Late confirmation of home game v Palace
Continued support for local foodbanks
THST Members’ Quiz
Antwerp Arms January deal for THST members
The Fan-Led Review was probably the most significant event of the year, almost putting another important campaign in the shade. In any other year, the victory in securing safe standing at top-flight grounds – the culmination of a 30-year campaign – would have taken top billing. The significance of that victory should not be forgotten and nor should the role so many of you played in building the support that enabled us to achieve it.
But it was the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance that took centre stage. We worked with the largest ever working group of members who offered expertise as we put together our submission for Tracey Crouch and the review panel; members who provided invaluable insight and advice. The result has been a final report that could transform the English game, and one which embeds the principle that fans can and should have a say in how our clubs are run.
A full assessment of the year’s work will be published in our annual report, which will be released at the time of our AGM in February, but for now, our thanks go to each and every one of you. We hope you are having an enjoyable holiday season and that you and those around you stay safe.
1. THST AGM 2022
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust Annual General meeting will be taking place via Zoom video conference at 7pm on Wednesday 16 February 2022. We’ve opted to keep the meeting remote as a result of the continuing uncertain times we’re living in.
The formal Convening Notice will be landing in the inboxes of all Full and Life members on Monday 3 January 2022, so please look out for that. As always, full communications will also be posted on the dedicated AGM web page on the THST site throughout the process.
2. COVID Plan B entry requirements
With the Omicron variant of COVID now spreading extremely quickly, the situation is changing on a daily basis. As we went to press information had just been issued requiring match going fans to provide evidence of their COVID status to enter the stadium. Fans were also required to complete a declaration agreeing they would provide this evidence. For clarity, we’re linking to the Club’s announcement. The Premier League’s statement provides further information and emphasises the importance of wearing face coverings in crowded spaces.
Owing to the speed at which events are unfolding, we rarely have any prior notice of announcements, and the Club has very little time to respond and put measures in place. The Premier League has issued some guidance on the process for postponing matches, but fan organisations continue to push for more consideration for fans in this process. The fact that the majority of games selected for live TV coverage are not being postponed has not gone unnoticed.
We know there is some debate over various measures, and also over whether matches should be continuing at all. THST has always taken a public health first stance, and we’ve worked hard to push public health messaging and urge consideration for others. Whatever our views on the wider policy issues, we have to deal with the facts as they exist.
To be clear, we don’t think asking people to do their best to ensure they are not carrying a highly infectious disease before mixing at a stadium is too much to ask in the circumstances we find ourselves in. The current rules require EITHER proof of double vaccination OR proof of a negative lateral flow test before entry, and we do not think that infringes anyone’s rights. In fact, it supports the rights of fans who want to be reassured they are in the safest possible environment, and the wider community.
We will continue to help disseminate clear messaging, and put the case for fair treatment of fans over ticketing issues that arise from the current situation.
3. Fan-Led Review into Football Governance
Since the publication of the Fan-Led Review into Football Governance, we’ve been examining the proposals and starting to work out how they can be applied. This has meant speaking to governance experts at the Football Supporters’ Association and to our own governance working group about specific details and requirements.
We have held positive initial talks with THFC to discuss specific plans for fan engagement at THFC and what the recommendations mean for all of us in practice. Those talks will continue over a number of sessions in the new year. We will also consult with other fan organisations at Spurs where appropriate. Once a workable framework is established, we will ask our membership for a decision on whether to endorse it.
We will continue to report back on developments in the new year.
4. Stewarding at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
We met with Safety Officer Eileen Williams and Supporter Liaison Officer Levi Harris on 13 December to discuss a number of issues around stewarding at our stadium.
We have received a growing number of complaints from both home and away fans about stewarding issues and, while it should be emphasised that the vast majority of supporters visiting our stadium do not encounter any problems, we wanted to address those. The Club was also keen to put forward its view that there had been a marked deterioration in fan behaviour since lockdown, with a number of incidents of unacceptable verbal and physical abuse of match day staff.
Eileen took us through the training requirements for stewarding staff, and recapped on how information is briefed into the teams. There is currently a problem across the entire leisure and hospitality industry with recruiting and retaining staff. THFC is looking to accelerate training initiatives and develop mentoring programmes to help address this. The aim is to take as much of the match day operation as possible in house, reducing the reliance on agency staff.
Lessons have been learned from events this season, with all incidents investigated and stewards whose behaviour is not of the required standard prevented from returning to work at the stadium. But the issue of deteriorating behaviour by some fans also needs to be addressed. The FSA has also noticed the trend, and there are initial conversations going on at national and Premier League level to work out how to successfully address this. THST is fully committed to playing our part in those conversations and to working with the Club to ensure the match day experience is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
We also discussed members of the Trust Board shadowing senior safety staff on match days to increase understanding of the issues for us and the Club.
There was brief discussion around the management of newly licensed safe standing areas from January and we continue to work with Club on how this will be handled. We were also told that the number of complaints about standing has reduced substantially, suggesting the stadium is beginning to find its natural rhythm.
5. West Ham United in the Carabao Cup
We met with fan reps from the newly-formed West Ham United Supporters’ Trust, both clubs and the Metropolitan Police on 17 December to discuss the Carabao Cup quarter final game scheduled to be held the following week.
While everyone present emphasised their desire to treat the game as an entertainment event at which everyone could enjoy themselves safely, the reality that this would be a high-tension game was also recognised. Much of the conversation was about how to balance those considerations.
As is often the case on these calls, the away fan reps had most questions – particularly as at least half the away support had not visited the new stadium.
At the end of the meeting, club reps said how valuable they thought meetings such as this were, and fan reps agreed to put out comms emphasising some of the main points to follow up official club comms. Our comms were published on 21 December.
6. Concessionary pricing for Cup games
While we were pleased the Club maintained the policy of keeping home Cup games out of price categorisation – something achieved as a result of Trust lobbying – we were extremely disappointed to see that concessionary pricing for senior citizens and the 18-21 age group were not offered for the Morecambe or Chelsea home Cup games.
It’s worth us explaining why it is important to defend the principle of concessionary pricing, which is under attack across the game – partly due to the mistaken belief in some senior football circles that all pensioners are well-off.
Concessionary pricing is important because it recognises people in certain demographics are often less able to afford the same pricing as other fans. Accepting the withdrawal of concessions within any pricing model makes it easier for clubs to undermine the principle more widely. At THFC, that principle is already under attack after the Club decided to make concessionary pricing available only in certain areas of the ground in seats under a certain price. And we’ve seen some clubs in the Premier League withdraw senior concessions for away fans in the wake of the £30 price cap. (Junior concessions have to be offered under Premier League rules).
Whenever we raise an objection to the lack of concessions at games where ticket pricing has been lowered we are criticised by a small number of fans – who don’t seem to be either seniors or young adults – for not recognising commercial reality or for unfairly criticising the Club. The critics are not seeing the bigger picture, but thankfully the majority of fans seem to support our stance. It’s particularly embarrassing that THFC has withdrawn senior concessions for the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea when Chelsea have continued to offer them to over 65’s for the first leg at their stadium.
We will continue to defend the principle of concessionary pricing, and push for it to be applied in the spirit it is intended to be across the game.
7. Late confirmation of home game v Crystal Palace
When rumours that our home game on Boxing Day could be cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests at Crystal Palace began to circulate, we contacted the Club and the Premier League. We accept these are difficult circumstances, but it was unacceptable that confirmation that this game would go ahead was not issued until around three hours before kick-off. Once speculation began to circulate, however that originated, it was the Premier League’s responsibility to clarify the situation and keep fans informed. They didn’t, and once again the interests of fans came last.
We had circulated the Premier League’s own information about how applications for postponements due to COVID were handled on our social media feeds just days before. So if an application had been received, the Premier League as the competition organiser should have said so. And it should have continued to keep everyone informed. It chose not to, allowing rumours to circulate and speculation to grow, and inconveniencing supporters on a day when travel was already difficult.
This was a failure of communication and we will be pressing for a commitment to do better in future, and for a deadline on decisions about postponements that takes the needs of match going fans into account. We’d also appeal to the media to double source all stories before publishing.
Given that Palace were able to field almost a full-strength team, clarity on exactly what happened on this occasion would also be useful to inform the process in future.
THST co-chair Martin Cloake was interviewed on BBC Radio London in the run-up to the game, and you can listen on the link in the media log at the end of this newsletter up until 26 January.
We’d also like to express our appreciation to all at THFC who turned up at the ground from 6am in the morning to prepare for the game despite the uncertainty, and in particular to those fans who had to travel long distances in challenging circumstances to support the team.
8. Continued support for local foodbanks
Among the many disappointing things about the postponement of the Europa Conference League game against Rennes was the fact that THST had been working with both Tottenham Foodbank and THFC for months to identify a game that could be dedicated to promoting the Foodbank text giving service. In the media log below, you can find details of what was planned: match shirts were to carry the details of the text giving service and there would have been promotion on the night in the stadium, potentially reaching a massive worldwide audience.
The Club website carried this quote from THST Secretary, Pete Haine, on the initiative.
"THST is proud to have been supporting Tottenham Foodbank since its creation in November 2019 and is grateful to all of our members and the wider fanbase for raising over £60,000 to assist the great work Foodbanks undertake on our behalf. We stand with THFC in encouraging our generous fans to donate items at the drop-offs in the area, donate using the text giving service or donate their time.”
As it has not been possible to reschedule the Rennes game, THFC is now looking at the possibility of a future home game to publicise the Foodbanks.
In addition to the planned home game takeover, on Tuesday 14 December, Club Ambassadors Ledley King and Michael Dawson made the annual THFC drop-off at the Tottenham Foodbank and, starting at 10pm the following day, THFC promoted our ongoing collaboration on the fundraising initiative for local Foodbanks with a 24-hour live stream on their official Twitch channel. At the time of writing, we await a total amount raised. Many thanks to Rebekah Walker and Matt Tarr for their sterling efforts and to all at THFC involved in the initiatives.
We are awaiting details for match day collections for the month of January at the Tottenham Community Sports Centre, but donations can be made at any time in Tesco at Seven Sisters. Currently most wanted items are toothbrushes, custard and rice pudding.
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.
9. THST Charity Members’ Quiz
Here’s a date for your diaries – 7pm, Thursday 21st April 2022, Antwerp Arms, N17 8AS. After a two-year pandemic-imposed absence our pub quiz for our wonderful local mental health charity, Studio 306 Collective, will be back (with the usual COVID caveat).
Theo Delaney, of The Spurs Show and Life Goals podcast fame, will be quiz master, there will be a raffle and auction with an array of prizes and, of course, the usual multitude of questions to test your knowledge of all things Spurs. So whether or not you know your history, now is the time to start assembling your team or start your revision.
Further details, including registration and entry fees, will follow in early March. Most importantly, it will be a fun night with all proceeds going to a very deserving cause.
10. Antwerp Arms January deal for THST members
The Annie will be continuing with its December discount offer of a 10% reduction on all food from the menu and all drinks – on match and non-match days – for January. This offer is for all full and life members on the production of a Trust badge. Badges can be obtained at the pub from Pete Haine. If you require a badge it would be helpful if you could contact Pete in advance. Email him on email@example.com.
11. THST Forum
This month on the forum discussions have focused largely on match-day experiences and the issues around related ticketing. While there is a lot of sympathy for staff who are working in very trying times, supporters have shared frustrations around trying to contact the ticket office to sort out individual queries. We’ve also been discussing the imminent introduction of safe standing in selected areas for home and away supporters.
There’s an opportunity to comment on our latest response and work on the recently published Fan-Led Review - a massive opportunity for supporters of clubs across the football pyramid.
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.
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust have taken positives from the fan-led review
Complaints about kick-off times a reminder to broadcasters who bemoaned lack of fans last season (£)
Late confirmation of home game v Crystal Palace
Premier League needs to communicate clearly with fans (from 20 minutes in)
It’s time for fans to stand up
Tottenham Hotspur stadium
Everton new stadium can make good with help from Premier League rival
Club to raise awareness of local Foodbanks at Rennes match
Covid outbreak threatens Spurs Premier League fixtures but Rennes game set to go-ahead
Club to raise awareness of local Foodbanks with 24-hour live Twitch stream
What to Do Before a Spurs Match in Tottenham
Oh No! It’s Liverpool! – The Spurs Show
30 December 2021
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