Board to Board meeting with THFC: 12 March
Season ticket pricing, match day pricing and process
THST Board meeting: 18 March
Premier League meeting with fan reps: 21 March
Business & Community Liaison Group meeting: 19 March
Metropolitan Police IAG meeting: 11 March
Sponsorship of Spurs Ladies v Sheffield United: 24 March
- Spurs Charity Quiz Night at The Annie: 25 April 2019
- Football to Amsterdam: 7-9 June 2019
- Wingate and Finchley upcoming matches
- Getting to White Hart Lane with Zeelo
No one needs reminding what the biggest event of the past month was, the confirmation that we are finally going home. It’s the moment we had been waiting for, and the first test event was a wonderful day. Everyone was so positive, and the party in the south concourse after the game was a real Tottenham celebration. We know Club staff put in a huge amount of work to get that event away, and continue to do so as this newsletter goes to press to get the second test event away before the opener against Crystal Palace. As always, we thank everyone at Spurs who works to give fans a day out to enjoy.
We’ll continue to work with the Club where we can as all of us get used to the new stadium and the challenges it will undoubtedly bring. We know some issues around ticketing are already building up, and we cover many of those in a detailed ticketing section later in this newsletter. But the overwhelming feeling this month has been one of joy. We’re going home!
1. BOARD TO BOARD MEETING WITH THFC – 12 MARCH
Members of the Trust Board met with members of the Club Board and senior executives on the evening of Tuesday 12 March for a scheduled meeting. As always, we invited questions from Trust members and Spurs fans, all of which were collated into a pack and sent onto the Club in advance of the meeting. Those questions also help shape the meeting agenda and help to sense check our position on certain points, so a big thank you to everyone who took the time to send over their questions. We don’t always have the opportunity to cover every single point in those meetings, but the pack is left with the Club for follow up.
During the meeting we concentrated on the overarching, strategic questions around ENIC’s future plans, ambitions and priorities, player recruitment policy and Club finances. We also covered stadium delays and plans for the new ground, ticketing, policing and safety.
As ever, we produce as full a set of notes as is possible as a public record of our meetings with the Club Board. These are agreed by both parties and can be read here.
While these meetings are symbolic in demonstrating Club engagement with their recognised fan group, and are important in terms of giving supporters a direct route into and an audience with the Chairman and other Board members, it’s not possible to have the kind of detailed practical discussions needed to resolve particular issues. Those discussions happen in the regular day-to-day contact we have with various Club departments.
We will try to schedule another meeting for early June, after the conclusion of this season and once we all have learnings from the first five League games in the new stadium. Date tbc.
2. SEASON TICKET PRICING, MATCH DAY PRICING AND PROCESS
The Club has announced Season Ticket pricing for next season and match day pricing for the new stadium for the remainder of this season. Season Ticket prices are to be frozen for next season, which we think is the right decision from the Club. We made comment after the announcements, which can be read here. We’re still trying to clarify whether the match day pricing is also in place for the 2019/20 season or whether there is any room for manoeuvre after the end of this season.
Over the past few years, we’ve discussed pricing with the Head of Ticketing and the Club Board in advance of any announcement. This year, there was no specific discussion or prior consultation other than the Club telling us it was aware of our views. We formally registered our request to be involved in those discussions at our meeting with the Club Board in October and this remained an outstanding action point at our meeting in the middle of March. We hope to see a return to a genuine dialogue over ticketing in future years, especially as this year’s announcement underlines many of the points we have been making on ticketing since we left our old stadium. We thought it would be useful to set out our position in a little more detail.
Our view is that prices across much of the new stadium are too high, increases on equivalent positions are too high, and that this will have a negative impact on our support in years to come. We are aware stadiums don’t pay for themselves, but we have a responsibility to voice our concerns. We know some supporters have already been priced out, and many more are stretched to the limit by the current pricing. In coming seasons, we doubt the stadium will be full on, let’s say, a cold mid-week night in the run-up to Christmas against unattractive opposition if people are asked to pay upwards of £60 for their seat.
The Club says that tickets are available at many price points starting from £30. Those £30 tickets are only available in two blocks, to supporters in family groups, and for Category C games only. For most fans at most games, prices are considerably higher. The Club also argues that no comparison with prices at the old stadium can be made. We disagree. A fan who has watched home games from, for example, the lower East tier at the side of the pitch will most often want to continue watching from the same position. They will see they paid £865 at the old stadium and must pay £1,500 in the new stadium. They will look at their income. And they will conclude that is a very steep rise.
We have always taken the decision that match day pricing and Season Ticket pricing are linked, and should be announced together. Having announced ST prices already, the Club had little room for manoeuvre when announcing match day pricing, and our criticism of price points was based on the reality that match day pricing would have to be at the levels announced. Now that all cup credits have been removed from the Season Ticket package, match day pricing has an even greater impact on Season Ticket holders.
Someone holding a £975 ST on the edge of the Park Lane (South) Stand could be faced with the following additional costs for cup matches if we qualify for the Champions League and have a good run in the cups.
Three CL group games, one at Cat A (£62), one at Cat B (£52) and one at Cat C (£42); one CL knockout stage game at Cat A (£62); two league cup games at Cat C (2 x £42) and one at cat B (£52); one FA Cup game at Cat C (£42), one at Cat B (£52). That adds up to almost £450 on top of a £975 Season Ticket. At the sixth cheapest price point in the ground.
We will continue to lobby for reduced prices for Cup games, and for a rethink of the pricing policy. And we believe match day pricing should be announced at the same time as Season Ticket pricing so ST holders know how much their seats will cost for Cup games.
We think the Club needs to rethink and more clearly articulate its ticketing offers. The ST used to offer a discount on match day pricing, include five home cup ties (latterly 2 cup credits) and offer a very good chance of tickets to showpiece games. All elements of the ST other than 19 home league games and the chance to get priority on away tickets have been stripped away while the price has risen steeply. We would like to see that trend reversed. We have also regularly expressed concern that too many Season Tickets have been sold, increased from 18,500 to 42,000. That has created problems for both Season Ticket holders and has had a wider knock on effect on every other part of the ticketing jigsaw.
With 42,000 Season Ticket holders the priority on the roughly 3,000 away tickets means very little to most ST holders. We think the current ticketing points system is the still the fairest method overall of allocating away tickets, but the fact remains that the majority of ST holders will not get close to an away ticket. And we are aware of the problems with the application of the current system and the abuse in some quarters.
For members, the options are even more restricted, with only around 7-9,000 tickets available for each home game. We argued that the Club had sold too many Season Tickets, and the anger we’ve seen from members as they realise how limited access to tickets will be underlines why we argued that point.
The Club has made a rod for its own back and it is now essential that it sets out a clearly articulated tickets offer to various levels of membership, is honest about what that means in terms of access to tickets, and bases pricing on that.
We welcome the re-introduction of the in-house Ticket Exchange and the introduction of Ticket Share. Again, the Club needs to more clearly articulate how this works as we have over 20,000 new Season Ticket holders who are far less familiar with the ticketing process than those who have used STs for some time. And we have welcomed thousands of new One Hotspur members during our time at Wembley, who need to understand how both Ticket Exchange and Ticket Share will operate in practice. Communication on both of these services was late and lacked clarity. Considering the Club first spoke to us about Exchange and Share 18 months ago, that was unfortunate. As we go to press, there are several fundamental problems we have with both services. The inability to recognise concessionary tickets on either platform is an obvious issue. Concessionary ST holders will receive full adult prices for selling their season tickets on Exchange whereas concessionary One Hotspur members will be expected to pay full adult prices for buying tickets in concessionary areas on Exchange. On Ticket Share, there is no upgrade fee for a concessionary ticket passed onto an adult. This is apparently owing to insurmountable technical difficulties. In our view, this is final proof of our long held belief that Ticketmaster is unfit for purpose.
The Club also needs to be clearer about exactly what ticketing benefits being a member of an Official Supporters Club brings. It has pushed for the establishment of more OSCs, and recently announced a landmark of 200 OSC’s had been reached. It must be clear on what it is offering in terms of access to tickets and in terms of the wider proposition to be fair to both the OSC’s and to One Hotspur+ and One Hotspur individual members.
Finally, we’re pushing for the Club to more clearly explain what action is taken against those found to be passing tickets on, and against websites claiming to offer tickets at highly inflated prices. A clear, high-profile explanation will go a long way towards reassuring fans that the current ticketing systems work.
3. THST BOARD MEETING – 18 MARCH
On the evening of Monday 18 March, the THST Board met for the first time since the AGM at the end of February. Newly elected member, Anthoulla Achilleos, was warmly welcomed to the Trust Board. First on the agenda was agreeing positions for the coming year. Martin Cloake and Katrina Law were reappointed as Co-chairs, Pete Haine was reappointed as Secretary and Adam Bailey was reappointed as Treasurer. Main areas of responsibility were also agreed across the Board.
Following the approval of new society rules at the AGM, relevant bodies including TUFSO and the FCA have now been informed and are in receipt of relevant documentation. Work continues to finalise the 5 side policies to the new rules, which will then be adopted by the Board over the coming months.
There was a debrief on the recent meeting with the Club Board and an update on Trust finances and membership. Board members reported back on the costings of THST enamel badges, agreed to have business cards designed and printed and are still exploring the practicalities of sponsoring a grass roots football team for the coming season.
Plans for the sponsorship of Spurs Ladies v Sheffield United on 24 March were finalised, including the running order for the day, distribution of THST literature, presentation of the Player of the Match Award and associated photo opps. Artwork was shared with the group.
Preparations for the THST Quiz at the Antwerp Arms on 25 April were discussed, with take up from previous teams going extremely well, ahead of a general marketing push. There was an update on Prostate Cancer UK’s Football 2 Amsterdam cycle ride in June and on arrangements for the annual Trust BBQ at the end of May, details of which will be available shortly.
Updates on National fan group meetings, Met Police IAG meetings and on outstanding issues relating to THFC, such as stadium bag policy, transport, cycling provisions and the renaming of White Hart Lane station were also discussed.
The next meeting of the THST Board is scheduled for Monday 20 May.
4. PREMIER LEAGUE MEETING WITH FAN REPS – 21 MARCH
On Thursday 21 March, representatives of Premier League fan groups met with senior Premier League executives for the latest meeting under the “structured dialogue” banner, as per the recommendations of the Government Expert Working Group into Supporter Ownership and Fan Engagement, 2017. THST Co-chair, Kat Law, represented Tottenham Hotspur at this session.
The agenda, compiled by both The Unified Football Supporters Organisation (TUFSO) and the Premier League covered VAR, Brexit, Standing, supporter behaviour, concessionary pricing, travel initiatives and other topical issues.
TUFSO has now published a report from this meeting, which can be read here.
As always, these are large meetings with around 30 delegates and the opportunity for tangible outputs is limited owing to the size of the group and the differing levels of knowledge and accountability across those in the room. The Premier League is also dependent on its member Clubs agreeing to any policy or strategy changes, meaning simultaneous dialogue with both the Premier League and the individual Clubs is essential on issues of key importance. These meetings are, however, valuable for advancing the fan agenda with those at the top of the organisation and for uniting as one fan movement, regardless of traditional club rivalries.
5. BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP MEETING – 19 MARCH
The monthly meeting of the BCLG took place on 19 March with THST Secretary, Pete Haine, in attendance. Main points are as follows.
Northumberland Park station will not be open for the two test events. Aiming to be open in time for the Crystal Palace game on 3 April.
Work continues on the White Hart Lane station upgrade. As far as the renaming of the station to Tottenham Hotspur FC is concerned, THFC is in ongoing discussions with TfL at present. Pete reminded those present of the THST position on the renaming of White Hart Lane station. This is based on two successive years of research of the views of our members and the wider Spurs fan base. Answering questions on the proposed renaming of the station, only 12% of over 7,000 fans surveyed expressed support for the name change, with 68% in outright opposition. With this mandate, we will be lodging our objection at the appropriate point in the public consultation.
For many Spurs fans, now the ground has lost the White Hart Lane identity, it’s crucial to keep as much heritage and as many links with the past as possible in our ultra-modern home. For many fans and for many locals, White Hart Lane is the name of a place. They live on or near White Hart Lane, they don’t live on or in a football stadium. This is about retaining community connection and recognising Tottenham as a place, not just as a football club.
There are unlikely to be any major event days in the stadium this summer as work will continue towards completion. A pre-season friendly has been scheduled for the stadium on 4 August against Inter Milan. There will be two NFL games at the stadium in October.
6. METROPOLITAN POLICE IAG MEETING – 11 MARCH
THST Board members Martin Buhagiar and Kevin Fitzgerald attended the latest Central Football Unit Advisory Group meeting on Monday 11 March. During the meeting, attendees were given a presentation by Safety Advisory Group Chair Ann Ramage and invited to ask questions.
Violent incidents at numerous games were discussed as well as racist and discriminatory chanting and issues with stewards at various stadiums in London – none of these were Spurs-related.
The THST representatives asked questions concerning SAGs replying to Freedom of Information requests, stewards and their rights by law and what action the Metropolitan Police was taking against ticket touts.
7. SPONSORSHIP OF SPURS LADIES v SHEFFIELD UNITED – 24 MARCH
We sponsored the Spurs Ladies game against Sheffield United and spent an enjoyable morning at Cheshunt talking to the owners and staff and to fans at the game, and we presented the Player of the Match award to full back Ashleigh Neville. Unfortunately Spurs lost a keenly-contested game 2-1. We’d like to thank all at Spurs Ladies for their time and hospitality. Our efforts to publicise the game helped draw an above average crowd of just over 500, and we’ll continue to publicise ladies’ team games as they push for promotion.
- Spurs Charity Quiz Night at The Annie: April 25th 2019
It’s also for a great cause with all proceeds going to Studio 306 Collective, a local Haringey social enterprise that tackles mental health issues through creativity. There will be a charity raffle with prizes including a Spurs signed football, copies of The Lane signed by Spurs legends, Spurs memorabilia and some wonderful arts and crafts items produced by Studio 306.
So roll up and register, gen up on your Spurs knowledge and tackle those questions quizmaster Richard Cracknell will be posing. Registration is £3.50 per player, £15 for a team of five (payment at the quiz).
Oh yes, and there will be food available from the Antwerp Arms bar menu.
- Football to Amsterdam: 7-9 June 2019
Since we first formed for the 2016 ride we have raised £75,000; our target this year is a further £25,000+ to freewheel past our £100,000 target. To date we are up to around £11,500 - not quite half way there - so we could do with a good push from all of you.
Please make a donation to the team page here. Many of the 400 plus riders who will be leaving the Olympic Velodrome on 7 June, including some in our team, have lost loved ones to this cancer; others are cycling having survived it and recovered. It’s a disease that 1 in 8 men in the UK will suffer from at some point, 1 in 4 black men. Your donation along with all the individual fundraising of our COYS riders will help raise the funds needed for PCUK to continue researching and making breakthroughs in diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
You can help push our team up the fundraising league table and hopefully relegate prostate cancer to a lower position as a killer of men. Donations will be very gratefully received at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/spurs-amsterdam2019
- Wingate and Finchley upcoming matches
For any of Wingate and Finchley’s home matches, adults presenting a proof of membership of THST at the gates will gain entry for half price. That’s just £6. And any juniors under the age of 16 will be allowed in for FREE. For Senior Concessions (over 65) and Students (proof required for both), the charge is a modest £3. More information can be found here.
Wingate and Finchley face Margate on 20 April and THST members are welcome at this game. Keep an eye on Wingate & Finchley’s social media for latest news.
We’d like to clarify that this is not an exclusive arrangement with Wingate and Finchley, and should we be approached by other local teams with a similar offer, we’d be very happy to explore similar partnerships.
- Getting to White Hart Lane with Zeelo
Zeelo are excited to let you know that they’ll be operating their service to the new stadium, beginning next Wednesday for the Crystal Palace game and you can get 50% off as a gift from them and us for being a loyal customer.
Enter the code NEWSTADIUM to receive your discount and travel to the new stadium from just £7 return! Don't worry if you have already booked, you can use it for the next game. Full details can be read here.
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1 April 2019
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