Fan-Led Review of Football Governance
THST Fan Survey 2022
THST Q3 Board Meeting
THWFC Supporter Group Meeting
Full Members' Forum
We’d like to sincerely thank Kat Law and Martin Cloake who have done so much to build THST into the well-respected and influential organisation that it is today. We are pleased that they will be remaining on the Board until February 2023, to ensure that there is a smooth handover to the new officers. There is so much to learn and we do not take our new responsibilities lightly. We hope to meet a lot of you over the coming months but in the meantime, we’d like to introduce ourselves as the new Co-Chairs of THST.
I’m Rachel Martin and I’ve been on the THST Board for five years, working mainly on Catering, the Fan Led Review into Football Governance, Safeguarding, the Podcast and our Full Members’ Forum. I’ve supported Spurs since I was a child, following in my father’s footsteps. My daughter and I have season tickets and my 3 year old granddaughter supports Spurs too, although she doesn’t know it yet.
I’m a retired headteacher and have had a wonderful career teaching primary children in several London schools. I prided myself on finding ways to shoehorn Spurs into my assemblies, with Lucas Moura featuring heavily in the one on resilience!
I am Steve Cavalier and I joined the THST Board in February 2021. I have been closely involved in the Trust’s evidence regarding the Fan Led Review and discussions with the Club regarding new structures for fan engagement, as well as anti-discrimination initiatives and issues affecting match going fans. I had been Secretary of the Trust since this year’s Annual General Meeting. Many congratulations to Koonal Shah who has now been elected to take on that role.
I’ve been a regular at the Lane since the mid-80s and a Season Ticket holder since the mid-90s. I am now retired. I was the head of a law firm specialising in workers’ rights, so I am used to dealing with major companies, lobbying, campaigning and representing the rights of members.
We know there will be huge challenges ahead but we’re looking forward to working with a lot of talented board colleagues, you - our members, THFC and the football world, to ensure that the interests of Spurs fans are at the heart of all decisions made by the Club, wider football authorities and the broadcasting companies.
1. AN UPDATE ON THE FAN-LED REVIEW OF FOOTBALL GOVERNANCE
We’ve previously mentioned that we’ve been in discussion with the Club about a new framework to give fans a voice at board level. This comes in the wake of the recommendations in the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, and of the Club’s commitment after the collapse of the ESL breakaway attempt to establish fan representation on the Club Board.
We said we wouldn’t conduct negotiations in public, but we’re also aware the process has taken some time, so we wanted to try to give a general idea of where we are. We think we’ve made progress in ensuring the new body is representative of a broad cross section of Spurs support, and on preserving the independence of existing fan organisations. We’ve also made progress on making sure the body is as accessible as possible. Discussions continue about the body’s remit and powers, and about how these will relate to the future establishment of an independent regulator and a ‘golden share’ held by fans on key matters.
We are keen to ensure that what is agreed is fit for purpose and recognise that this may take time to achieve. There was originally some discussion at Premier League level about getting proposals in place for the start of the forthcoming season, but they are no longer pursuing that deadline. Negotiations between the Premier League and the Football Supporters’ Association over a national set of standards are also continuing.
What’s encouraging is that THST, the Proud Lilywhites, SpursAbility and Spurs REACH are broadly agreed that the framework as it currently stands has much to commend it, but still needs some improvement, and we are jointly in discussions with the Club about achieving an outcome that we can all support. We hope to be able to report further progress in more detail very soon.
2. THST FAN SURVEY 2022 - Out today!
The results of our eighth annual survey of Spurs fans are now out. This year, 6,001 of you completed it, the highest number of respondents aside from the huge 8,000+ response we had in the wake of the European Super League debacle.
Top line results are that fans are happier with the performance on the pitch and have more confidence in our owners than last year, but there is significant discontent around ticketing and pricing. There are also some interesting findings on broadcast and matchday atmosphere, a strong endorsement of THST’s position on ENIC, and continued significant support for giving fans an effective voice in the Club boardroom.
The survey was open to all Spurs fans, whether Trust members or not, anywhere in the world. You can read the full results here.
3. THST Q3 BOARD MEETING – Thursday 14 July 2022
The Trust held its Q3 Board Meeting on the evening of Thursday 14 July. As had already been announced, long-standing Co-chairs Martin Cloake and Katrina Law were to step down at the meeting. Stephen Cavalier and Rachel Martin were proposed as the new Co-chairs, which was unanimously backed by the rest of the Trust Board. With Steve occupying the post of Secretary, it was necessary to appoint a successor to enable Steve to take up the position of Co-chair. Koonal Shah was proposed for the role of Secretary and was unanimously supported by the remaining Board members. Congratulations to Steve, Rachel and Koonal on their new positions.
As had also been announced, Treasurer Adam Bailey will be leaving both his post and the THST Board on the 31 August; the end of the Trust’s financial year. The Q3 Board Meeting was observed by Trust full member and accountant Anthony Morkos, with a view to co-opting Anthony into the role of Treasurer from 1 September, before standing for full election at the February AGM. The long-term health of the Trust is always our key focus, and we are committed to delivering stability and continuity in times of significant change.
A regular round-up of finance and membership, campaigns and communications followed, along with agreement of a plan to transition major workstreams from outgoing Board members to remaining members on the THST Board. The meeting concluded after a mammoth 3 hours on Zoom, with much ground covered and a road map for the coming months firmly in place.
The Q4 Board Meeting is scheduled for 18 October in person at our regular meeting home of CMS Cannon Street.
4. FSA AGM – Saturday 16 July 2022
After a three-year enforced break, it was great to be able to meet with some familiar faces again at the in-person Football Supporters’ Association Annual General Meeting, held on Saturday 16 July at AFC Wimbledon’s new stadium on Plough Lane. As well as a constitutional necessity, the AGM is also a good opportunity to hear from Chair Malcolm Clarke and CEO Kevin Miles on the biggest issues facing both the organisation and football fans in general. The implementation of the recommendations of the Fan Led Review featured heavily in terms of its impact on the make-up and remit of future Supporters’ Trusts, and in terms of ensuring it delivers on the core commitment to embed fan voices at the heart of the decision-making process throughout the game.
In addition to the AGM, workshops were held on a variety of topical subjects including Diversity, Sustainability and Cryptocurrency. New THST Co-chair Rachel Martin and former Co-chairs Katrina Law and Martin Cloake very much appreciated the chance to learn more about issues our members have indicated as being a priority for them throughout next season.
Rachel attended a workshop on Women in the Men’s Game. Some suggestions from the facilitator were not supported by participants: generally, women don’t want preferential treatment, but there are certainly questions that can be asked of clubs to ensure that the needs of women are better met. These range from the training of stewards in dealing with reported harassment, to considering the safety of coach drop-off points after overnight away travel.
Kat and Martin were particularly impressed with the presentation from Pledgeball, where football fans pledge to make small ‘green’ changes to their daily routines to benefit the environment whilst competing against fans from other clubs in a league table. The club whose fans make the most pledges each season win a trophy, and we know how much Spurs fans love a trophy! Watch this space for more news on Pledgeball and how you can get involved over the coming weeks.
There’s a round-up of the AGM on the FSA website and you can read their annual review here.
5. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR WOMEN’S SUPPORTER GROUP MEETING – Thursday 21 July 2022
Regular readers of THST News will recall that representatives of the Trust Board liaise closely with the Tottenham Hotspur Women’s Supporter Group, to share experience, knowledge and watch outs from the Men’s game, and to better integrate the Women’s game into the mainstream of fan experience. THST reps Katrina Law and Anthoulla Achilleos were pleased to attend a meeting with representatives of the Women’s group, the Proud Lilywhites, SpursAbility, Spurs REACH and the Club via Zoom on 21 July.
It's been a busy time for THWFC, with the move to Brisbane Road from The Hive for the upcoming season. Discussions focused on how to create the best fan experience for home games at Leyton Orient, including the PA system, flags, accommodating away fans and maximising the Premium space. It felt extremely encouraging, and the start of a genuine partnership with LOFC.
Fan reps expressed concerns around match scheduling, with several clashes with the Men’s games last season, and with THWFC games often being moved into anti-social time slots. Without primacy at Brisbane Road or The Hive, there were several factors at play when arranging Women’s fixtures, but challenging the short notice of TV moves was a major focus for the upcoming season, along with the Club exploring the possibility of subsidised travel for fans unable to attend away games by public transport.
A broad agenda saw discussions on ambitious future plans for the Women’s team, on an enhanced dedicated communications team for the Women’s team and an update on Partner and Sponsor activity. Ticketing being taken in-house at Spurs was also a huge leap forwards in terms of both practicalities and of better data segmentation, however the possible introduction of booking fees was a concern for fan reps.
The Women’s Euros have catapulted the game into the national psyche and now is the time to capitalise on what is likely to be an explosion in popularity. Those on the call were reassured by the positive steps being taken by the Club to further develop Tottenham Hotspur Women as a top elite team in the WSL. It’s shaping up to be a fascinating season!
6. CATERING MEETING - Monday 25 July 2022
On Monday 25 July Rachel Martin, THST Catering Lead, and other Board members met with the catering team at THFC led by executive chef Mark Reynolds, as well as Venue Director Andy O’Sullivan, and THFC Supporter Liaison Officer, Levi Harris. They shared some of the changes to the menu for general admission areas for the coming season in the Market Place and N17 Grills and Tap Inns. A large proportion of the food is made at the stadium, including pies and sausage rolls and the provenance of much of the food is as local as possible. We were very impressed with the range and quality of the new additions to the menu. Look out for lamb kofta wraps, thai soups (vegan and meat), a new range of burgers as well as spicy chicken wings and pizzas made to a standard that Antonio Conte would enjoy. The packaging has been updated too, reducing the use of plastic, and hopefully making food easier to eat in crowded concourses.
It was particularly noticeable that the whole catering team felt genuine pride in the work they do and enjoyed developing new dishes. They also understood how their work contributed to the Club’s goals, and ultimately helped to enable investment in the football team and the success we all crave on the pitch.
Of course, we continue to push the need for improved speed of service and queue management, as well as communications around where different items can be purchased. Catering at this standard for such large numbers is a massive operation and we understand that it is not financially viable to keep the whole stadium open after the game.
We asked that the Club continue to find ways to publicise where different items can be found before, during and after the match, including, for example, the coffee stands in the Park Lane Square. We were pleased to hear that this season fans will be able to find more detail on the new items, as well as where they can find different items, in their pre-match emails. So, give them a read, enjoy the food, and let us know what you think, either on our forum or our next catering survey.
7. SPURS REACH
THST Co-Chair Rachel Martin attended the inaugural meeting of Spurs REACH: an online event with guest of honour Ledley King. It was a chance to meet, albeit online, the Spurs REACH Board and to hear about their mission and plans. REACH stands for Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage and the organisation will further promote and encourage the sharing of information and good practice around the inclusion of diverse and under-represented ethnic communities within football, working closely with the Club and other supporters' groups, such as THST, SpursAbility and Proud Lilywhites.
A very interesting presentation on South Asian Heritage Month included a short but fascinating history of colonialisation and partition. More information can be found here.
There followed a Q and A with THFC legend Ledley King. Questions ranged from the players who most impressed him during the PL era, his time coaching alongside Mourinho, and his own career plans, to how racism was dealt with during his playing career and how different things are today. Perhaps the response that was most warmly received was when Ledley explained that there can be no better feeling than winning a trophy with your Club, your one and only Club. And why would anyone want to leave when that was a realistic goal?
8. FULL MEMBERS’ FORUM
This month on the Forum we’ve been talking about a variety of subjects including atmosphere initiatives, safe standing areas, the 1882 offer, advice for new Season Ticket holders and the amazing, ongoing work of club legend Gary Mabbutt. The forum also provides a space for you to ask us for further information and to clarify points – it’s well worth a read. Log in and join in, or sign up if you’re a full member and you haven’t already.
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.
1 August 2022
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