Annual General Meeting
Club response to Trust questions on strategy and direction
Fan engagement and Fan Advisory Board
Government White Paper on Fan-Led Review of Football
Trust response to away fan experience at the San Siro
Information for supporters travelling to Sheffield United away
TV fixtures, kick off times and travel
SpursAbility Champions League screening
The THST AGM took place on Tuesday 7 February.
Thank you to those members who either joined the meeting or submitted postal/proxy voting forms in advance of the meeting. It was a real pleasure to be able to meet in person after two years of remote meetings.
All resolutions were passed on the night, as follows:
Resolution 3: That existing Board member Rob White be re-appointed to the Board of THST
Resolution 4: That the appointment of Jo Gibbons to the Board of THST be approved
Resolution 5: That the appointment of Anthony Morkos to the Board of THST be approved
Resolution 6: That the need for auditors be disapplied for accounts ending 31 August 2023
We also gave our formal thanks and farewells to former Co-Chairs Kat Law and Martin Cloake who have now stood down from the Board. Following the AGM, the THST Board now consists of Anthoulla Achilleos, Martin Buhagiar, Stephen Cavalier, Henry Ellis, Jo Gibbons, Michael Green, Rachel Martin, Anthony Morkos, Koonal Shah, Simon Sullivan and Rob White.
Here is the THST Annual Report 22/23, which gives a detailed account of the work undertaken by the Trust over the past year. Please take the time to read this report, which has been beautifully designed by Trust member Justin Ford. We’d also like to give a special thank you to Snapshot Spurs for the use of his fantastic photographs. In addition, here are the latest set of accounts (ending 31st August 2022).
The AGM process has now concluded.Following the AGM we had a short interval and then a lively question and answer session in which THST members asked the Board a range of questions on THST policy, and other issues affecting Spurs fans. Thanks to Martin Buhagiar for hosting this part of the proceedings, and for all the members who came and joined us for the evening.We are planning more member events for the coming months and we look forward to seeing you again.
2. Board Meeting
At our first meeting of the new Board, positions were agreed as follows:
- Co-chairs: Steve Cavalier and Rachel Martin
- Secretary: Koonal Shah
- Treasurer: Anthony Morkos
Jo Gibbons, who comes with a strong background in communications, as well as being a local resident, a lifelong Spurs fan, and a committed cyclist and Anthony Morkos who formerly audited our accounts, and was co-opted to the Board last autumn.
Anthony is of course also a dedicated Spurs fan and he has already hit the ground running with the work he has been doing in the role of Treasurer to the Trust. The Board also agreed our plans and priorities for the coming year and set up working parties and their responsibilities, as well as identifying training needs, in order to achieve our goals.
3. Club response to Trust questions on strategy and direction
We reported last month on our correspondence with the Club setting out supporter concerns in relation to the THFC Board’s strategy and direction and, critically, seeking answers to four key questions. The Club responded by committing to providing a full response after the closure of the January transfer window. We pressed further for clarity and commitment and a clear demonstration of strategy and solutions.
On February 2 the Club responded and we published their answers and our response the same day in full. We welcomed the Club’s direct engagement with the questions and the information provided, but highlighted areas of ongoing concern, the need for continuing communication and for greater clarity.
The following week, the Club published their financial results for the year ended 30th June 2022, which were widely reported and commented on. In his Chairman’s statement accompanying those results, Daniel Levy stated that the Club shared supporters’ frustrations at the lack of trophies and also acknowledged the impact of player purchases which had not worked out as planned.
We will continue to press for better communication with fans – we believe that they should operate a policy of full transparency as this will bring about a greater understanding for fans and enhance loyalty towadrs the Club. We feel strongly in the establishment of a formal mechanism for fan engagement at Spurs is a top priority and we are focused on continuing to hold the Club to account and, this, ensuring that supporters’ legitimate concerns are addressed.
4. Fan Engagement and Fan Advisory Board
Within the last few days, we have received revised drafts of the Fan Advisory Board documents. They include a number of new clauses which introduce substantive changes and which we are considering with our Board and with supporter groups before responding..
Once the documents are in a final form we will consult with all Trust members before taking a definitive position on the final arrangements.
Once up and running the activities of the Fan Advisory Board will run in in parallel to our own continued structured dialogue with the Club as we will remain the independent, democratic organisation representing fans.
5. Government White Paper - Fan-Led Review of Football
On February 23, the Government published its White Paper “A Sustainable Future – Reforming Club Football Governance”. This sets out their formal position on legislating to implement the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football governance, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, which reported in November 2021.
We very much welcome the positive news that the Government intends to create a statutory independent regulator for football, despite the voices in opposition from some in football and in the media.. The Regulator will oversee the financial stability of clubs, the overall stability of the football pyramid and the protection of the heritage of football clubs. It will operate through a licensing system that will require clubs to demonstrate compliance with defined standards on financial regulation; corporate governance; owners’ and directors’ tests; fan engagement and club heritage.
The Regulator will set a minimum standard of fan engagement as a prerequisite of the club’s licence. For Premier League clubs this is likely to be based on the recently adopted Premier League Fan Engagement Standard, which would require the creation of a Fan Advisory Board (such as the one we are currently discussing with THFC).
Regrettably, the Government has moved away from the original approach of protecting club heritage assets by the creation of a so-called Golden Share to be held by supporters trusts which would have entitled supporters to a vote, and possible veto, on significant changes to club heritage items. It now proposes that any changes to club badges or home shirt colours would be governed by FA rules, which would require fan approval of any changes. Also, whilst any sale or relocation of a club’s stadium would require approval of the new Regulator, it would not now be subject to fan approval – the views of fans would only be one factor to be taken into account.
The conditions of the licence will also provide that clubs will only be able to compete in competitions that are approved by the Regulator. This is intended to allow the Regulator to prevent English clubs from joining breakaway competitions that did not meet predetermined criteria, in consultation with the FA and fans. This is intended as the safeguard against any future European Super League or similar breakaway competition and is welcome
There are some undoubted limitations to the proposed legislation. The Sports Minister has said that any new proposed owners and directors’ test would not prevent state ownership of clubs or takeovers by individuals from countries with questionable human rights records. That would not be a matter for the Regulator, but would be a political issue for the government.
There is no timetable yet for the legislation. The Government says that it will “legislate for a new Regulator when Parliamentary time allows” and that there will then be further consultation and a further study by the Regulator before the new laws and regulations are implemented.
As many have observed, the need for reform is pressing and the fundamental underlying issues need to be addressed without further delay. We continue to work with other fan bodies to make the case for legislation to be brought forward as soon as possible.
6. THST response to away fan experience at the San Siro
There can be no doubt that a visit to the San Siro in Milan can be perceived as an elite visit to an iconic stadium. However, the treatment of Tottenham Hotspur fans for the away match against AC Milan on 14th February was marred by unacceptable levels of risk and it is surprising that no serious injuries were reported.
THST Board members witnessed unacceptable levels of risk, lack of provision of basic facilities (toilets, food and drink) and treatment by Milan security staff. Further reports received from THST members and responses to the Fan Supporters Europe survey highlight the inadequacies in the way our fans were treated, and the general lack of care they were afforded by their hosts, despite the best efforts of THFC staff prior to and during the match
There is a perception amongst fans that there is no point in complaining about this kind of treatment and that ultimately no-one cares, and won’t care, until lives are lost. We must fight against this. THST and other supporters groups are doing what they can to highlight the issue and demand changes.
We believe that the Gold Standard is seen at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, not just in the facilities provided, but also in the way away supporters are treated. From the seat allocation, the entry and exit strategies, the catering provision, the stewarding, and measured response to supporters.
UEFA would do well to ensure that other clubs adhere to minimum standards of safety and understand that the vast majority of football supporters are well behaved and seek merely to follow their team home and away in a safe and enjoyable manner. It is down to UEFA to ensure that these supporters are safe and that disaster is averted.
Read the full report here: THST response to away fan experience at the San Siro
7. Information for supporters travelling to Sheffield United away
THST Board Members held an online planning meeting with staff from Sheffield United FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and the Metropolitan Police to discuss our visit to Bramall Lane for the fifth round FA Cup tie this coming Wednesday. We produced a report which we hope will provide insight for the nearly 6000 Spurs fans heading to South Yorkshire. Read the information in full here: Information for supporters travelling to Sheffield United away
Information for supporters travelling to Sheffield United away
8. Television kick off times
We were again pleasantly surprised to see the Premier League release their fixture changes for April 2023 on time. We were less pleased, however, to learn that the away match at Everton has been rescheduled for a Monday 20:00 kick-off. We know from our 2022 survey that Monday night is supporters’ least favoured of the current broadcast slots. For away trips the Monday night slot is particularly problematic because train travel back to London after the match is not possible. The good news is that the Club has granted our request to provide subsidised coaches at £10 return.
We are occasionally asked by members about the possibility of the Club chartering a special train service in situations where no trains back to London are scheduled to run after the match. We do regularly ask for a train option, but we know that chartering a train is expensive and complicated due to scheduled line repairs and closures after the normal rail timetable concludes. That said, we appreciate that train travel is preferable to coach travel for many supporters, and we’ll keep asking.
Above all, we believe these issues could be avoided with a broadcast schedule that properly accounts for the impact on match-going fans. We’ll be pushing for greater consideration of supporters and for mitigation when games are moved into anti-social slots via our involvement in the FSA’s Broadcast Working Group, which will be convening soon.
9. SpursAbility Champions League screening
On Tuesday February 14, board member Rob White attended a special screening of our Champions League tie against AC Milan.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium provided the venue for this ‘CL Watch Party’ event, which was a social event hosted and organised by SpursAbility - an organisation that helps all supporters with any form of disability or impairment to get the most benefit and enjoyment from being part of the Spurs supporting community. They liaise directly with representatives of the Club to discuss issues that impact their members. The focus for them this year, and especially for this event, was community.
Before the match screening there was an enjoyable and informative Q&A session with the Spurs legends, Ossie Ardiles and Gary Mabbutt. The event provided a valuable opportunity to find out more about the great work done by the Access Team. It was enlightening to learn more about the work being done to focus specifically on match day matters which affect disabled people. As an example, it was fascinating to hear how the audio description team bring matches to life for blind and Visually Impaired supporters.
If any of our members would like any more information on SpursAbility please contact Dee Bright via email: Spursdsa@outlook.com or follow them on Twitter @spursdsa
10. Quiz Night
We are delighted to announce that the annual THST Quiz Night will be held on Thursday April 20 at The Antwerp Arms, Church Road, Tottenham. The event will be compered by long-time friend of the Trust, and Spurs Show and Life Goals podcast host, Theo Delaney. We are all busy researching some fun-but-tricky Spurs-related questions to challenge you with. Put the date in your diary and email us on info@THSTOfficial.com to reserve your place. You can come as a team or individually and we will join you up with others. Tickets are £5 each.
The event will be raising much-needed funds for local mental health charity Studio 306 Collective. There will also be a raffle with the chance to win Spurs-related prizes. It’s sure to be another great night – we can’t wait to see you there.
If any THST members have any Spurs-related items that they would like to donate to the raffle we would be more than happy to accept your donation.
11. Forum Update
This month on the Forum we’ve been thinking our recent experience as away supporters at the San Siro, atmosphere building at the Stadium, our AGM, Ticket Exchange and the Club’s responses to the questions we submitted.
The THST Forum is open to full and life members of the Trust. Full and life members should apply via the link on our website and set up an account. We should emphasise Trust membership alone doesn’t give you automatic access to the forum, you need to register via the link. Don’t forget – full members can start threads of their own so have a think about which off-field issues you would like to discuss?
To join the Trust, please register here. Whilst everyone who works with the Trust is a volunteer, we do have some costs and would encourage people to upgrade from free Associate Membership to Full membership if you can - please click here. If you are already a Full or Life member of the Trust, click here to register for our Forum.
12. Media Log
European Super League: This week was a glimpse of what that world could look like - The Athletic
Tottenham board dispute transfer theory raised by supporters' trust
Tottenham board admit mistakes but defend ‘first-class recruitment’ in letter to fans
Tottenham's awkward responses to questions
1 March 2023