New Spurs Stadium
Away travel: Sunderland and Liverpool
FA Cup pricing and sales mechanism
Premier League Trusts Meeting with Supporters Direct
TV fixtures and broadcast picks
Home ballots and half season memberships
THST AGM – 13 February
THST Board Meeting – 25 January
THFC / THST Board Meeting
Football to Amsterdam 2017
1. NEW SPURS STADIUM
Inevitably, the new stadium and the belief that we have entered the last five months at the old White Hart Lane have been on the minds of many Spurs fans since the turn of the year. Over the past 18 months, we have made the Club aware that fans want to be informed about both the move to any temporary ground and the move into the new stadium as clearly and as early as possible, that we expect proper discussion on pricing and migration, and that there is a strong desire from a large number of fans to feed into the process of saying goodbye to our old ground.
We understand the Club does not want to make definite statements until it is absolutely certain about them. But we’ve also pointed out that fans are making travel and purchase decisions based on the belief that this is the last season at White Hart Lane. We’ve also reminded them the view that demand would be high for the last season at our old ground was partly behind their decision to introduce a ballot for home tickets.
At the beginning of this month, we asked if the Club would at least confirm the date by which a decision had to be made on where we would be playing next year. We were told that everything was in hand and that we were making an issue where there was none – a view that has been contradicted by the number of questions on this very subject we are receiving from fellow supporters. We also asked the Premier League for the date by which a club would need to inform them of any change in home venue. And we ran into a similar inability to provide a straight answer.
It eventually became clear through various comments in the media that the end of March was the date by which THFC has to take up its option to use Wembley for the 2017/18 season. We see no reason why the Club could not have told us this directly.
On 26 January, THFC released a joint statement with Wembley National Stadium Limited supporting WNSL in their planning application to the London Borough of Brent to increase the number of full capacity events at the stadium for the 2017-18 season, but fell short of confirming Spurs would actually be playing at the venue next season. It additionally raised a number of fresh questions that we are pursuing as this newsletter is being completed.
January also saw the press launch of the new stadium’s Premium packages, along with a more detailed view of what the new stadium would have to offer. This was generally well-received, although some of our American members did question why the Club chose Inauguration Day for such an important launch.
While we understand selling the Premium packages is key to continuing to demonstrate the stadium’s financial viability, we would like to have seen a little more about what the stadium will have to offer Season Ticket holders, Members and general admission fans. And, while the Trust has pushed for stretch pricing at the new stadium, the fact that Premium prices have been decided will inevitably have some bearing on the rest of the pricing structure. To date, the Club has held no detailed discussions around pricing at the new stadium with the Trust.
We know that members are keen to find out about pricing and migration into the new stadium, and prices and migration for next season. We will continue to press for the earliest possible discussion on and input into these key subjects, which we are reminded on a daily basis are uppermost in fans’ minds. We would hope to see an improvement in the level of communication with the Club here.
As referenced at our September Board to Board meeting, the long-awaited New Stadium website is now live, here.
2. AWAY TRAVEL
Our policy is always to push for help with transport when away fixture kick-off times mean public transport is difficult or impossible for fans. This was the case with the Liverpool and Sunderland fixtures, and we are grateful to the Club’s Supporter Services department for its efforts in securing a train for each game at a subsidised price.
We receive lots of mail from fans asking if trains and train times for such fixtures can be confirmed earlier. Securing these services depends on the willingness of the train companies to provide the service and their ability to fit them around existing timetables. So that means it’s often quite late before details can be confirmed. We appreciate the Club’s efforts in negotiating these services.
However, there’s one issue we will pressing for a better solution to. A number of fans who had booked train tickets for the Liverpool game were subsequently unsuccessful with their applications for match tickets. They were at first informed by Thomas Cook Sport that their travel would not be refunded. We told the Club this was not acceptable and, to the credit of both the Club and TCS, refunds were issued where appropriate.
We have asked that, in future, money for travel is not taken until match tickets are issued, or that the ticket application window is moved forward significantly. The ability to use a match ticket depends upon the ability to get to and from a match and it should be possible to acknowledge this in the sales and allocation process. We remain in discussion with the Club about improving this aspect of the system.
Details of the train services provided can be found here.
3. FA CUP PRICING AND SALE MECHANISM
Victory against Aston Villa in the FA Cup at the start of the month saw us in the hat for the fourth round, where we were the first ball out and drawn against Wycombe Wanderers at White Hart Lane, with the match scheduled for Saturday 28 January 2017. As always, we contacted THFC immediately after the draw had taken place to register our request for the continuation of the accessible cup pricing policy of £20 Adults, £10 Seniors and £5 Juniors, offering concessions in all stands and changing the sales mechanism back to an online sale for this game, restoring the Bronze booking window, also.
We were pleased when THFC announced the ticketing details with all of our requests in place. We believe the sales mechanism, especially, was the right call following our objections to the ballot used for the Villa match.
We had also asked for the visiting allocation to be in line with that granted to Aston Villa, which was 3,000. Wycombe Wanderers were originally offered 2,900 but pushed this up to 4,035 which resulted in some Season Ticket holders needing to be relocated for this match. In a break from normal procedure, THFC gave these fans a choice of where they wanted to sit for this game rather than automatically relocating them with no say, which we think was a positive move.
4. PREMIER LEAGUE TRUSTS MEETING WITH SUPPORTERS DIRECT
On 16 January, Katrina Law and Martin Cloake attended a meeting of Premier League Trusts as part of Supporters Direct’s Premier League Trust network. SD’s new Chief Executive, Ashley Brown, was present and there was a full and frank discussion about the work SD does with Premier League Trusts and how everyone saw the relationship developing.
SD still faces challenges with its funding, but a generally positive meeting identified some practical ways of working together, and renewed the focus on lobbying to improve the way the voice of fans is heard within the game.
5. TV FIXTURE RESCHEDULING
One of the campaign issues on the agenda at the above meeting with Supporters Direct was the work carried out by THST and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust on the effects of fixture rescheduling. It was agreed that other Trusts would contribute to the research work, providing more examples of how rescheduling had affected fans.
The Football Supporters’ Federation also took this issue to their National Council meeting on 22 January and subsequently agreed to make this a priority campaign.
A further meeting is planned with Sky TV for February, and we will also be looking to meet with reps from BT Sport as well as the Premier League.
6. HOME BALLOTS AND HALF SEASON MEMBERSHIPS
The first two home ballots since half-season memberships were issued saw a marked increase in applications, up to 9,267 for the Stoke City game and 13,168 for the Everton game. The increase in demand could be down to the team’s continued success, the fact that the number of games left at White Hart Lane this season is diminishing, the increased number of members created by the half season offer, or a combination of all three. The feedback we’ve had from fans so far suggests the increased number of members is seen as the main reason. We are currently seeking confirmation of the number of half-season packages sold.
We advised the Club not to go ahead with offering half-season memberships. Their response was that it was no different from what they usually did. We pointed out that the circumstances of this season were unique, and this decision also undermined the basis on which the home ballot was put forward. The Club said they had to consider the commercial advantages. We are forced to conclude that commercial advantage was considered more important than looking after existing fans, a stance we find extremely disappointing.
Following a positive meeting with caterers Levy Restaurants (no relation!) at the end of last year, we followed up on progress, noting that some of the improvements that had been discussed had yet to appear, and that complaints were still being received about various aspects of the service. We had to push a number of times for answers.
While we accept the limitations of the current stadium, we had hoped that some improvements could be made to the current service. There had been requests to reinstate the mobile bagel sellers in all stands, and Levy Restaurants had agreed to look at this, although they’d said few bagels were being sold. We replied that this was because no one knew where they were on sale, hence the request to bring back the mobile sellers. In following this up and reporting that the mobile bagel sellers still hadn’t appeared, we were told that few bagels were being sold. We will continue to make efforts to break out of the stage of this discussion that is as circular as the elusive bagels.
We’d also raised the pricing of small bottles of water at £2.30. We were told that the business model would not sustain a price reduction. This is clearly unacceptable, and we thought it might be worth trying to see how the business model would sustain receiving nothing for a bottle of water. So we are advising supporters who want water to ask for tap water, which there is a requirement to supply for free.
- THST AGM – 13 FEBRUARY
Formal convening notices were issued on Friday 6 January, with nominations for candidates to the Board open until 17 January. Voting forms and candidate manifestos will be issued to full members on Monday 30 January, who are encouraged to vote on all resolutions by post, proxy or in person at the AGM itself. The dedicated section of our website will also display all the information necessary from 30 January.
In addition, we have drafted our Annual Report, which is currently being type set and art directed by THST member Justin Ford. This rather chunky but hugely informative document will be available to download from our website on Monday 13 February.
We have also prepared our presentation for the AGM, had our accounts audited and made sure there will be sufficient biscuits for our members on the night so please make sure the 13 February is in your diary if you’re a full member of THST with voting rights!
- THST BOARD MEETING – 25 JANUARY
The first meeting of the new Board has been scheduled for 1 March 2017, where positions and responsibilities for the coming year will be discussed and agreed.
- MEETING WITH EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THFC
On 24 January, THFC informed us they needed to reschedule this meeting owing to a subsequent commitment with Haringey Council and we are, at present, pressing for an alternative date.
We’ll collate and send all submitted questions across to the Board of THFC in advance as a pre read and push for responses to the more timely issues accordingly.
- FOOTBALL TO AMSTERDAM 2017
Sign up and you’ll be cycling with Spurs fans and, as if that wasn’t enough, with Sir Les Ferdinand.
The team would love to see donations coming in from Spurs fans. You can help Spur them on here.
Contact Kevin at THST with any questions.
iSpurs information portal
The Club has also set up a new, 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.
27 January 2017
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