- THST / THFC Board to Board Meeting – 28 February
- THST Board Meeting – 6 March
- WNSL application to Brent Council – 23 March
- FA Cup Semi Final v Chelsea – 22 April
- Fixture rescheduling
- Fan conference ahead of Millwall – 8 March
- Subsidised train for Swansea away
- Burnley away allocation
- Blue Plaque for Bobby Buckle
- FSF Membership renewal for 2017/18
- Taking football to Amsterdam on bikes
- THST End of Season BBQ at the Antwerp Arms – 28 May
- Antwerp Arms second birthday party – 1 May
- Premier League Enterprise Challenge
1. THST/ THFC Board to Board Meeting – 28 February
The Boards of THST and THFC met on 28 February for one of our regular meetings. Much of the discussion centred around plans for next season and details of those discussions and the rest of the meeting can be found on our website.
The stadium project is at a very delicate stage, and we understand the Club wants to be extremely careful about over-promising or provoking speculation. We also understand that, with the end of the season now very close, fans are anxious to be kept informed, as we believe they should be. So we are faced with maintaining a balancing act – pushing for the answers we believe fans should have while recognising the commercial and practical realities and sensibilities. And, of course, dealing with the Club’s natural tendency to play its cards very close to its chest.
Our main aim remains to ensure the views of supporters are heard when the Club is making key decisions. Our priorities have been ticket pricing and fan migration (the process of moving from White Hart Lane to Wembley and then the new stadium) – issues we believe we can have most influence on and which are important for fans.
As you’ll see from the report, a number of discussions were deferred until further conversation had been had at Club Board level, and until other decisions such as the Brent Council planning application had been made. That has meant we’ve continued discussions on, for example, issues around ticketing on a day-to-day basis as more information has become available.
The latest figure cited for the build cost also attracted some comment. We took some time after the meeting to put together a detailed set of questions about project financing which we sent to the Board, asking for a dedicated meeting to discuss them. The Club’s response has been to say that some financial detail will have to remain confidential, and that it intends to announce information on financing “at the appropriate time”.
We have replied saying that, while we appreciate the need for commercial confidentiality, we still believe supporters should be provided as much information as possible. We have also queried whether acceptable answers to questions around three key, general, themes would really compromise commercial confidentiality. Those three themes are:
• Is the level of debt sustainable?
• How much are the new costs of the stadium likely to impact on ticket pricing for the average fan?
• Does the increased cost of the project impact on the Club’s ability to remain competitive on the field and in the transfer market?
On the same basis, we have also asked for clarity on whether the latest figures quoted refer to the stadium itself or the wider stadium project, and for clear definitions of what is mean by ‘stadium’ and ‘stadium project’. We await a reply.
THFC released financial results to the year ending 30 June 2016 on 29 March. Headline figures can be read here. We’ll be picking up on pertinent points with the Club shortly.
2. THST Board Meeting – 6 March
At the first meeting of the Board of THST after our AGM, the following posts were agreed:
• Co-chairs – Katrina Law and Martin Cloake
• Treasurer – Adam Bailey
• Secretary – Pete Haine
Areas of work for the coming year were reviewed, with work on issues around the move to Wembley and the new stadium obviously the priority. We’ll also be looking at ways to maintain and improve our membership numbers.
It is also likely our regular hosts, Nabarro, will no longer be able to accommodate our meetings after the end of March so should any members have office space in Central London we would be able to use, we'd be delighted to hear from you.
3. WNSL application to Brent Council – 23 March
On 23 March, Brent Council’s planning committee approved Wembley National Stadium Limited’s application to increase the number of games allowed next season at Wembley Stadium at over 51,000. This means Spurs have the option to play 27 games with a 90,000 capacity.
Obviously, this has implications for the ticketing offer next season, and we continue to discuss options with the Club. The publicised deadline for the Club to activate the option to play at Wembley next season is 31 March, however it is understood WNSL are flexible on this date and that discussions are still ongoing around the option to play home matches at Wembley next season, and other items.
4. FA Cup Semi-Final v Chelsea – 22 April
We contacted the Club as soon as the draw for the semi-final of the FA Cup was made, and asked if information on ticketing could be shared. We worked together with the Club to produce an FAQ sheet to answer some of the most common of the many questions we received by email and via social media. That sheet has been updated regularly as we learned more information, such as which pubs have been designated for Spurs fans. The Club also produced an FAQ sheet.
We’re aware quite a few supporters again experienced problems with the online booking system when purchasing tickets for this match and we raised this with the Club, feeding back specific details of problems encountered. The Club pointed out that a large number of people did manage to buy the tickets they wanted but acknowledged that there was still room for improvement.
We appreciate the challenges of selling tickets in a manner that allows individuals with unique membership numbers and permissions to choose specific seats when there is intense demand, but we still feel Ticketmaster could and should be addressing some of the issues that come up time after time more successfully than they are. We’ll continue to work with the Club to suggest improvements and to ensure the fan experience is fully understood. We know the ticket office staff are as keen as we are to ensure fans’ experience is as trouble-free as possible.
There will also be a meeting with the Metropolitan Police, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Club officials ahead of the game. These meetings are standard practice ahead of semi-finals.
5. Fixture rescheduling
We continue, alongside our colleagues from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, to represent Premier League Trusts in ongoing discussions with the broadcasters about fixture rescheduling and its effects on travelling fans. We’ve made some good progress with Sky, and have just secured a meeting with senior executives at BT Sport for mid April.
Both the broadcasters and fan groups are anxious for the Premier League to accept an invitation to join and contribute to the discussion, but so far the PL has failed to participate. It did offer to make a presentation at the upcoming so-called ‘structured dialogue’ meeting with reps from all 20 PL club fan groups, but we have said we favour the proper, focused and practical discussion format that we have been having with the broadcasters. We don’t want to be talked at, but with.
The last round of discussions received widespread press coverage, including in the Evening Standard and the Mirror.
It’s now imperative the Premier League shows its commitment to this process by joining these discussions.
6. Fan conference ahead of Millwall – 8 March
We were invited by the Metropolitan Police and the FSF to a meeting ahead of the Millwall FA Cup quarter final, and attended alongside Millwall fan reps, the British Transport Police and THFC officials. This was a standard meeting ahead of a London derby, as we pointed out when calming some of the more excitable initial press reports.
Our report of that meeting is on our website. The Evening Standard also carried a report.
A “wash-up” meeting is being arranged as we wrote this newsletter, and we’ll report back on that next month.
Subsidised train for Swansea away
THFC’s Head of Supporter Services, Jonathan Waite, once again put in a huge effort to secure a train for our away Premier League game at Swansea, something we had been asking for since the start of the season when the date was known. The Club also provided a one day extension on the application window while this was being confirmed after we’d been in discussion.
There are still issues around the booking of train and match tickets and we continue to ask the Club to come up with a solution. It’s worth reiterating what we said last month about this:
“However, some difficulties were highlighted with the coordination of the sales process between Thomas Cook Sport and THFC. At present, TCS will accept bookings on chartered trains and take monies ahead of the Club allocating match tickets. This inevitably leads to a situation where fans who have missed out on match tickets are left with train tickets they’ve paid for, with no option of a refund. We think this is unacceptable and while we managed to secure refunds for fans affected this time, have asked that the process be reviewed by both THFC and TCS to ensure there is full integration between the sale of train tickets and the allocation of match tickets moving forwards.”
Burnley away allocation
The away allocation for the Burnley game dropped to 2,400 this year, compared to 4,000 the last time we played at Turf Moor. We asked why. The reason we were given is that Burnley FC have segregated the Fishwick Stand to include home fans too, whereas in previous years it was given over in its entirety to visiting fans.
This is still more than 10% of a stadium with below 30,000 capacity, and so is within Premier League rules. So it was impossible for us to secure any more tickets for our fans.
Blue plaque for Bobby Buckle
We have backed a campaign to secure a Blue Plaque for Bobby Buckle, one of THFC’s founding members who played 54 games for the Club over 10 years. The plaque would be placed on the White Cottage at number 7 White Hart Lane. This was timely as three generations of Bobby’s family recently attended the Southampton match, including Trust member and Bobby’s grandson, Michael Mackman.
FSF Membership renewal for 2017/18
THST renewed its annual affiliate membership with the Football Supporters’ Federation this month. We continue to work on national campaigning initiatives around such issues as Safe Standing, and to lead sub group work on areas such as fixture rescheduling alongside the FSF.
Taking football to Amsterdam (on bikes)
25 ‘Cycle On You Spurs’ cyclists will be leaving the Olympic Velodrome on Friday 9 June, clad in Spurs team shirts - kindly donated by the Club - on the London to Harwich leg of their two-day ride to Amsterdam.
On Sunday 19 March, before the Southampton match, a group of these cyclists shook buckets and rattled the increasingly full receptacles in front of the North Stand and, two hours later, had raised the princely sum of £1,207.70. It has been donated to our team Just Giving page. If you haven't already done so, perhaps you’d like to make a personal donation here.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far.
THST End of Season BBQ at the Antwerp Arms – 28 May
Following the success of last season’s event, THST will once again be staging an end-of-season BBQ at the Antwerp Arms. Alongside the Antwerp Arms Association, we are jointly hosting this event to say thank you to Spurs fans for their ongoing support of the pub, to celebrate the end of the season and to wish all the riders who are cycling from the Olympic Velodrome to Amsterdam for charity on 9 June the very best of luck.
The event will take place Sunday 28 May (and is free to attend, but we are asking for donations to our charity for this year, Prostate Cancer UK). There will be free food and music and we are delighted to announce that THFC legend and former club captain Gary Mabbutt will be there as a special guest, accompanied by Paul Coyte.
You’ll need to book your place in advance on Eventbrite, which will be live in mid-April. We’ll make sure we pass on all the details closer to the time.
Antwerp Arms second birthday party – 1 May
Monday 1 May sees community owned pub, the Antwerp Arms, celebrating its second birthday with family fun, a BBQ, music, an auction and surprise guests from 14:00. The event will be raising funds for a local charity.
THST is helping run a ‘Secret Spurs History’ walk, starting at Tottenham Hale station at 10:30am.
More details and tickets will be available through Eventbrite very soon.
Premier League Enterprise Challenge
We were very pleased to hear that the team of six 14-15 year olds from Enfield Grammar, who we helped to select to represent Tottenham way back in the local rounds of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge last Autumn, eventually finished as runners up in the national final of the competition last week.
Working closely with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Enfield Grammar saw off competition from Arsenal, Chelsea, Bournemouth and Southampton before narrowly missing out to Derby County in the final.
Trust Board member, Kevin Fitzgerald, had formed part of the judging panel in the local round and we would like to pass on our congratulations to all of those connected with the Enfield Grammar team for a highly commendable performance.
We continue to undertake a growing casework load. Details of this work must remain, in most cases, confidential, but we can give a flavour of the issues we deal with.
In the last month we have dealt with a number of disciplinary issues around the buying and selling of tickets via unofficial platforms, secured some loyalty points for the Gent home game after a ticket failed to scan but proof of attendance was received, investigated help that could be provided for pensioners to travel to Wembley, and referred a fan with legal issues to the solicitor we use for these cases. We’ve also been talking to affiliated fan groups in the US about issues around the sale of tickets for this summer’s friendlies in that country.
This is just a flavour of the work we do, and we endeavour to help wherever possible, referring on where we can and attempting to secure just and transparent results where possible. We are grateful to the Club for, largely, working with us on these issues and to fans for their patience as we undertake this work around our day jobs.
We take ticketing offences as seriously as the Club and we continue to believe there needs to be a clearer, more transparent system in place that clearly outlines offences and sanctions, and provides a robust appeals process that everyone can have confidence in. Such a system is operated by some other clubs, and we continue to lobby the Club to introduce a similar one here.
If you have an issue you think we can help with, please do get in touch with us. Your case will be treated in confidence and all we ask is for your patience and full disclosure of the circumstances of your case.
Two reports written after our last board to board meeting:
The Evening Standard
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.
31 March 2017
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