As we prepared this newsletter, news of the death of Dave Mackay broke. Dave was not only a Tottenham Hotspur legend, he was a true giant of the game of football. In the coming days and weeks, we know the Club, its supporters and the game itself will pay tribute to the life and achievements of our former captain, and we wanted to open this newsletter with our own small expression of appreciation. Our thoughts are with Dave’s family and friends at this sad time. Dave’s was a life well lived and the legend will go marching on.
1. THST AGM /Board Meetings
2. Archway Sheet Metal Compulsory Purchase Order
3. Season Ticket renewal deadline
4. Ticket pricing reductions - Premier League consultation
5. High Road West Regeneration – White Hart Lane station
6. Capital One Cup Final - Wembley
7. Fiorentina Away – UEL Round of 32
8. Football Governance and Ownership Act
9. Upcoming board-to-board meeting
10. Liverpool Away
1. THST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING/ BOARD MEETINGS
February was a month of process and meetings for THST, with the old board sitting for the last time on 3 February ahead of the Annual General Meeting on 16 February. All resolutions were passed at the AGM and we welcomed four new members to the THST Board on the night.
At the first meeting of the new board on 23 February, the following positions were agreed for 2015-16:
Co-chairs – Katrina Law and Martin Cloake
Secretary – Suraj Sharma
Treasurer – Adam Bailey
Board members – Paul Head, Kevin Fitzgerald, Adam Nathan, Adam Manson, Keith Sharp
The AGM section of our website will remain live until the end of March to give an opportunity for members to catch up on anything they may have missed.
We’ve published an Annual Report, which covers the work undertaken over the past year. This can be downloaded here.
Audited accounts are also available to view here.
Thank you to all members who participated in the AGM process, which has now concluded.
2. ARCHWAY SHEET METAL COMPULSORY PURCHASE ORDER
The CPO appeal for the final piece of land needed to begin construction of the new stadium was heard at the High Court on 17 and 18 February, with the appeal being rejected by Justice Dove on 20 February.
As there is still the opportunity for a further approach directly to the Court of Appeal before 13 March, we’ve issued this holding statement for now.
3. SEASON TICKET RENEWAL DEADLINE
Following the Club’s surprise decision to move the renewal deadline for season tickets forward two weeks, meaning that fans will have to pay for next season’s ST with four league games remaining, we wrote to the Club asking for an explanation of the move, and asking it to either reconsider or take on board our constructive suggestions on how the financial burden on supporters could be eased.
The Club responded with an explanation that we put in front of our Finance Expert Working Group. Like us, they did not find the explanation put forward particularly credible. So we wrote again to the Club on 23 February, asking specific questions about the reasons the Club had put forward, and expressing regret that not one of our suggestions had been addressed.
As we compiled this newsletter, no reply had been received from THFC. We will press for a response and, depending on that response, consult Trust members on what further action they wish to take.
4. TICKET PRICING REDUCTIONS – PREMIER LEAGUE CONSULTATION
Discussions on ticket pricing now take place against the backdrop of the Premier league’s £5.14bn TV deal for the three seasons from 2016/17. That, it should be remembered, is just the total sum to be paid for domestic UK rights, not foreign rights. We firmly believe that ‘Enough is enough’, and that some of this huge income must be used to reduce ticket prices across the board.
We agree with the sentiments of FSF Chief Executive, Kevin Miles, that the benefits of this unprecedented income must be shared, and with the FSFs’s ‘Share TV Wealth’ campaign.
Following on from the meeting held on 23 January at the Premier League discussing measures to reduce ticket pricing, a conference call was held on 11 February with representatives from Trusts, the FSF and the Premier League to again move this forward. THST played a leading part in those talks.
The Premier League promised to provide data on all away pricing across the division and away allocations by 13 February. This arrived on 2 March but the quality of information fell far short of what we were led to believe we would be getting.
Reps will now review and report back to the PL with workable suggestions for measures to cut initially away pricing across the division.
We are focussing on away pricing as it is the area we are currently most likely to get agreement on, largely thanks to the efforts of fans through the Twenty is Plenty campaign. However, THST is one of a number of fan groups determined not to let the issue of home ticket prices fall by the wayside. We recognise this is a tougher nut to crack, especially as the Premier League is an organisation controlled by 20 separate shareholders, each of whom has resisted any attempt to engage in meaningful discussion about home ticket pricing. But we believe pressure must be stepped up to secure reductions in ticket prices across the board, a position we believe has support from within the game itself.
We will continue to work with fan organisations to strengthen the call for a reduction in the price of going to matches.
And we have indicated to THFC that, in our view, the 1.3% price increase already announced for the 2016/17 season is a proposal for negotiation. We do not believe any increase is justified against the backdrop of the new TV deal and the rise in prices since 2001.
5. HIGH ROAD WEST REGENERATION – WHITE HART LANE STATION
Representatives of THST met with Haringey Council and TFL on 17 February to discuss detailed proposals for White Hart Lane station. Notes from the session can be read here.
This meeting was an important step forward in establishing fans as a key set of stakeholders in discussions, and we hope to build on this in both our stadium and community work.
6. CAPITAL ONE CUP FINAL - WEMBLEY
Whilst the result was ultimately disappointing, THST tried to be as helpful and supportive in the run up to the big day on 1 March as possible. While we speak up when we believe the Club is wrong, we have no hesitation as supporters in expressing our support for the Club.
We co-ordinated the volunteer programme for the laying of 30,000 flags at Wembley the day before the final and received a fantastic response, with upwards of 80 people giving up over 5 hours of their time for free in a cold and wet stadium to try and make the day visually spectacular.
We published a list of Spurs pubs for the day.
We were also represented at the police meeting for the final at New Scotland Yard on 24 February, pushing our line that fans should be policed in a low-key manner and given the benefit of the doubt from the outset. This was a very positive meeting, with the police explaining their approach clearly and recognising the value of engaging with supporter reps. We are, again, indebted to the FSF’s caseworker, Amanda Jacks, for her help.
In terms of ticketing, we received a lot of traffic around the members cut off point and endeavoured to obtain a clear breakdown from THFC as to how tickets had been allocated for this match, which can be read here.
We are also assisting fans who had issues with the bar codes on their tickets resulting in delayed entry to the stadium – a fault of Wembley and not THFC, it should be stressed.
7. FIORENTINA AWAY – UEL ROUND OF 32
As with all European games, the Club’s safety team and Supporter Liaison Officer spent much time preparing for the trip, and we helped circulate advice from both THFC and the FSF for travelling supporters ahead of the game. We also did what we could to publicise the late changes to well-laid plans prompted by nervousness on the part of the Italian authorities after Feyenoord supporters rioted in Rome the week before we travelled.
THST Board members who travelled also kept in contact with Club officials to ensure that fans were as well informed as possible. Both ourselves and the Club have a number of concerns about the failure to lay on buses to the ground from the town centre that we were told would be provided, and at the lengthy and intrusive search procedures travelling fans were subjected too. We’re working with the Club to compile something to send to the Italian authorities, and with the FA to draw attention to the treatment fans experienced.
We’d like to hear from any fans who have specific issues they want to raise.
In the circumstances, we believe Spurs fans showed a great attitude and superb support under testing circumstances.
8. FOOTBALL GOVERNANCE AND OWNERSHIP ACT
THST Co-chair, Martin Cloake, working alongside the CEO of the Manchester United Supporters Trust, Duncan Drasdo, published a policy proposal on the Supporters Direct website that called for a new Football Club Ownership and Governance Act. The article can be read here.
The article builds on proposals put forward by a number of Premier League Trusts, including THST, in submissions to the Government’s Expert Working Group that has been set up to look at this area. Support for the proposals is currently being sought and received from other fan organisations, and we will be asking fans to lobby their MPs and prospective MPs to back the proposals as the General Election campaign hots up.
9. UPCOMING BOARD-TO-BOARD MEETING
The next meeting between the THFC board and the THST board is set for 30 March. We expect the stadium, ticket pricing and squad development to be major topics of conversation, and we will need to prioritise key areas for discussion. As always, we want to hear from members what you want raised, so please let us know at info@THSTOfiicial.com We will compile your questions, decide priorities and positions as a board, and report back as soon as we can.
10. LIVERPOOL AWAY – 10 FEBRUARY
Martin Cloake and Katrina Law were guests of the Premier League, alongside counterparts from the Spirit of Shankly, at the recent fixture away at Anfield. On the day the new TV deal was announced, this gave us the opportunity to discuss pricing initiatives directly with representatives from the Premier League. We will continue to use every opportunity to put the case for price reductions, and to report back to members.
Owing to the large number of requests we get to survey our members on a variety of football-related issues from college students trying to complete dissertations, we have had to adopt a stance of turning down all requests. While we want to help as much as we can, we cannot keep pushing surveys out to our members, and individual board members simply don’t have the time to deal with the growing volume of work. We have posted an explanation on the Contacts page of the Trust website.
We are considering how we can most practically help dissertation and research students and, if any members have ideas on how we could do so or even expertise in the area, we would be pleased to hear from you.
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