Fan-Led Review – lobby your MP
Season Ticket Renewal deadline
THFC supports Hillsborough Law Now campaign
European competition reform
THST Charity Quiz Night at the Annie
Online Safety Bill update
Support for Ukraine
Antwerp Arms Trust offer for April
Tottenham and North Enfield Foodbanks during April
THST End of Season BBQ
March’s Catering Survey
THST Official Video Podcast
Another subject that we’ve had a lot of correspondence on is the possibility of a South Stand TIFO or other display of support at our game against Arsenal. It’s something we are talking to the Club about, as are a number of grass roots fan networks on the atmosphere group established by the Club’s Supporter Liaison Officer. With the date and circumstances of the game as yet unknown, it’s difficult to make any plans. What’s encouraging is that a conversation is happening, and also that more people are beginning to understand what’s involved in organising this kind of event.
1. Fan-Led Review – lobby your MP
With the Queen’s Speech looming, there’s been a renewed push to ensure that a commitment to establishing an independent regulator for football is included, along with a firm timetable. That has prompted a flurry of activity around the issue of governance, a subject brought into even sharper perspective after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The war, of course, raises far bigger issues than football club ownership, and we’re going to restrict ourselves here to the impact of the latest developments on the game.
The obvious issue raised is around how wise it is for any club to be completely reliant on one individual, and Chelsea’s sudden switch from a dominant force to an organisation unable even to sell tickets for its own games underlines why many have been warning of the dangers of current ownership structures for years. Organised sections of Chelsea’s support, most notably the Trust and Chelsea Pitch Owners, have correctly said that a requirement for any new buyer must be to commit to providing proper representation for supporters in the running of the club, including a commitment to the Golden Share measures outlined in the Fan-Led Review.
We’re conscious that many Spurs fans, and those of other clubs, will be aware of the irony here. But Chelsea’s current troubles prove the point many of us have been making for years, and now provide a golden opportunity for fan representation to be embedded at the heart of football clubs. It’s important to consider the bigger picture and back progressive measures to improve the game and boost the influence of fans. That would help defend principles such as the English football pyramid and qualification for competitions based on current success – measures that Chelsea fans stood with the rest of us against when the self-appointed Big Six of English football tried to form a European Super League.
The Chelsea situation has focused thinking, so it’s really important that as many of us as possible contact our MPs.
The government has not yet formally responded in full to the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, published in November 2021. The recommendations included the creation of an independent regulator for professional men’s football in the English leagues. Legislation will be needed to create the regulator and give it the necessary powers to enforce the recommended new requirements on football clubs in relation to ownership, finances, governance and supporter engagement.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on 23 March 2022, Boris Johnson agreed that an independent football regulator should be created. Earlier that month, the Sports Minister said to a parliamentary committee “we’re going to set up a regulator and that will require primary legislation. The timing of it is something that we are discussing at the moment.”
THST supports the full implementation of all the recommendations of the Review, including the creation of the regulator and giving fans a Golden Share in our clubs. We’ve published our response to the recommendations. We believe that urgent action is needed and that the legislation should be brought forward without delay. The need for prompt action has been emphasised by the situation at Chelsea, the previous debacle around the European Super League and the disappearance of clubs like Bury FC.
Working with the Football Supporters’ Association, we have written on behalf of the Trust to the opposition spokespeople on sport and to MPs who support Spurs. We have also encouraged Trust members to write to their own MP and have provided a template for you to do so. It asks MPs to call upon the government to bring forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech in May 2022, which will set out the programme of laws to be introduced by the government in the next year. If you have not already done so, please write to your MP on this important issue. These letters do work, as they show MPs what their voters care about.
We continue to discuss a mechanism for improved supporter engagement at Spurs with the Club, basing our approach on the one we outlined in our submission to the Fan-Led Review. In short, that is to provide democratic, accountable representation for a broad range of supporters through a body that has real power. Those discussions have been detailed and we hope to have something to put in front of our members and then the wider supporter base for approval very soon.
2. Season Ticket Renewal deadline
The Club’s announcement that the deadline for renewing Season Tickets was to be brought forward from its usual May date, requiring fans to pay for next season before this one has finished, was not a popular one. We were contacted by many fans, and copied in to many complaints to the Club, about the decision.
We joined the Proud Lilywhites and SpursAbility in writing to the Club, pointing out why the early renewal date was an issue, and asking the Club to reconsider. That letter, containing the points we made, is on our website. There was some further exchange, during which we pointed out how the decision would put further financial pressure on some fans, and in which we suggested a compromise. That exchange is also on our website.
THFC rejected the compromise and did not take on board any of our points. It also failed to provide an adequate explanation as to why it was necessary to move the date forward to 29 April.
The Club often likes to say it sees its supporter organisations as “a sounding board”. All three organisations made their feelings very clear on this issue, to no avail. As we pointed out in our conversation with the Club, the lack of consultation made finding a solution even more difficult. To be clear, the Club had not raised the prospect of bringing the renewal deadline forward with us before it announced its decision. Not for the first time, the Club seems to think consultation is defined as telling people what you are going to do and why after you take the decision. On this occasion, the Club has not even provided a satisfactory explanation of why it is taking the decision.
This is a clear example of why we need the governance reforms we are pushing for, to give fans a real voice in decisions such as this and to prevent Club boards ignoring and dismissing fan sentiment.
As we said, the backlash against this move obscured the positive news that Season Ticket prices have been frozen. Although that decision, welcome as it is, needs to be seen in the context of prices already being among the highest in Europe. An increase would have been even more tone deaf than requiring early payment of a significant sum in the middle of the biggest squeeze on the cost of living since records began.
We know some fans will not have a problem renewing by the early deadline. We also don’t think that whether you renew early or up against the deadline has any bearing on your commitment as a fan. And we know how valuable holding a Season Ticket is to so many fans. But we always have a responsibility to speak up for our most vulnerable supporters, and we did so.
The frequent response in cases such as this is “Why don’t you ask people to boycott Season Tickets?” We know that for many fans, holding a Season Ticket is something they are proud of. We also know that for all, giving up a Season Ticket would mean losing the ticketing points they have built up. And we can’t help but notice that many of the loudest calls for a Season Ticket boycott come from people who don’t hold Season Tickets.
So we don’t think a boycott is practical and we’re not prepared to set fan against fan to feed the social media appetite for conflict. The way to prevent the Club taking advantage of supporter loyalty is to gain a genuine voice in the decision-making process.
We do think the Club has made a bad business decision as well as a bad decision from a PR perspective. While we don’t expect many to give up their Season Tickets as a result of the deadline move, there is strong anecdotal evidence that the Season Ticket is becoming a less attractive option. People with fewer ticketing points are increasingly questioning why they need to hold a Season Ticket, and tickets for individual games are more readily available than they were.
We will continue to push for the Club to improve its offer to fans, including by dropping booking fees for Season Tickets, applying concessions to the person and not the seat, and returning cup vouchers to the package. We’ll also be asking for the renewal deadline to return to after the end of the season.
3. THFC supports Hillsborough Law Now campaign
We were extremely proud when Tottenham Hotspur responded positively to our request to become one of the first football clubs to back the campaign to establish a Hillsborough Law. You can read about the campaign and why the Club is backing it here, and our story announcing the Trust’s backing can be found on our website. When the Club and its fans work together, it sends a powerful signal.
4. European competition reform
We wrote to the Club for clarification of its position after press reports that it had been one of the six Premier League clubs to oppose an Owners’ Charter on the basis that it involved signing up to a commitment to participate in competitions based on current sporting merit only. Rumours that plans to include clubs in European competition on the basis of a “historic coefficient” were strongly circulating.
We asked THFC to confirm its stance on the issue, reminding it that opposition to qualification for competition on criteria other than sporting merit had formed a particularly strong part of fan feeling over the plans for the European Super League. The Club was unable to confirm its stance and told us instead to contact the Premier League. We have asked the Premier League to confirm what the Club’s stance was. We await a response.
The inability to get a straight answer to a straight question in football is yet further evidence of the need for the kind of governance reform we are pushing for. This particular issue is important at THFC because Club chairman Daniel Levy is a member of the Executive of the European Club Association, which is pushing for changes to the Champions League format that would see more games played – something that will increase to pressure on domestic cup competitions and increase costs for match-going fans – and for moves away from sporting merit being the sole or main criteria for participation. Fans have made their feelings very clear on these issues and we’ll continue to push for our clubs to accurately represent fan views.
5. THST Charity Quiz Night at the Annie
Thank you to everyone who has emailed in to book tickets for our Quiz Night in aid of Studio 306 Collective on Thursday 21 April at the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham. The event is now completely sold out and we have already filled our waiting list. We are so looking forward to seeing everyone for what promises to be another very entertaining evening. Make sure you bring plenty of cash as there is a raffle with some fantastic prizes.
6. Online Safety Bill update
The Online Safety Bill was introduced in Parliament by the government on 17 March 2022 and will now go through the various stages of parliamentary scrutiny before it is passed into law. There’s been too much abuse of players and fans via social media, which is why supporter organisations are backing changes to the law.
The Bill covers social media platforms and search engine providers and gives new powers to OFCOM to act as online safety regulator. The new duties of care on social media platforms and search engine providers include: assessing their user base and the risk of harm to users; taking steps to mitigate and manage risks of harm; putting in place systems and processes for reporting and a complaints procedure; and protecting users’ rights of freedom of expression and privacy. Social media companies are additionally required to offer adult users the opportunity to verify their identity, but users are not obliged to do so.
The Bill includes new offences of harmful communications, false communications and threatening communications.
The legislation will place obligations on social media companies to deal with illegal content and legal but harmful content (which is to be specified by parliament). OFCOM will have the power to fine companies failing to comply with the laws up to 10% of their annual global turnover, force them to improve their practices and block non-compliant sites. Bosses of companies who fail to cooperate with OFCOM’s information requests could face prosecution and criminal conviction.
It is important that social media platforms are placed under strong legal obligations to prevent and tackle illegal and discriminatory posts and to protect users from facing online hate and abuse, with strong sanctions to ensure that the laws are enforced.
7. Support for Ukraine
In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the well-publicised issues with owners/ sponsors at Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United, the Trust asked THFC whether it had any commercial relationships with entities sanctioned by the UK, EU or US. We also asked the Club to use its influence to press for a suspension of Premier League broadcast rights in Russia. The Club has confirmed that it has appropriate compliance checks in place and had found no evidence of sanctioned entities amongst its sponsors or suppliers. The Premier League subsequently announced the suspension of its contract in Russia.
THST asked for a visible show of support with the people of Ukraine ahead of the Everton home match, including lighting up the stadium in blue and yellow, after many messages from concerned Trust members.
The Trust also suggested that the Club issue a message of solidarity with Ukrainian Official Supporters Club, Kyiv Spurs. No doubt their members have other issues on their minds at this time, but it goes without saying that THST stands behind the message that the Club put out and we hope that sanity will prevail and peace return to Ukraine as soon as possible. There are numerous channels for humanitarian relief but Trust members should consider Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal | Disasters Emergency Committee (dec.org.uk) if they are able to contribute.
8. Marine presentation
Rob White represented the THST Board at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 18 March when Marine fan group The Crosender Way presented a thank you award for the fundraising efforts of Spurs fans after our behind-closed-doors FA Cup tie against the non-League side two years ago.
Due to the money raised, Marine AFC has been able to fast forward its 10-year plan in the past year. Among the things achieved are:
- Updating a lounge at Marine’s stadium with a modern kitchen and TVs and additional seating; something that will allow the Club to operate a source of revenue seven days a week. The outside has a flagged patio area with additional outdoor seating.
- Modernising the main function room, allowing the club to generate more income.
- Moving on with plans to install a 3G football pitch for Marine’s teams and the local community to enjoy all year round.
- Advancing plans to include a roof and seats for the Crosender Road stand.
- Employing eight full-time members of hospitality staff.
- Employing a full-time general manager to oversee the operations of the Club’s day-to-day business and hospitality.
- Employing a full-time admin officer to oversee other areas of the football club.
- Employing a scout and additional members of the coaching staff for the men’s first team.
- Improving equipment and transport for the men’s, U23’s and women’s teams.
The charity side to Marine AFC has been able to offer more events to the Crosby and wider community, including a heavily subsidised Wednesday Cafe afternoon, line dancing classes and yoga, while still providing free lunches delivered by volunteers.
Once again, a big thank you to every Spurs fan who contributed. Your efforts have really made a permanent difference.
9. Antwerp Arms Trust offer for April
he pub’s generous offer to all full members of a 10% discount on all drinks and food from the menu will continue for the remainder of the season. You can utilise this offer on production of a Trust badge. If you require a badge, please contact email@example.com to collect by arrangement at the pub.
For those participating in our THST/Studio 306 Charity Quiz on 21 April, the pub will be donating 10% of all takings to Studio 306 Collective in place of the discount.
10. Tottenham and North Enfield Foodbanks during April
As we signed off this month’s newsletter, details of which home game the foodbank collection would be at were not confirmed. So please keep an eye on our twitter feed and we’ll announce as soon as we can.
We’d also like to see more volunteers helping out on match days to collect food and other essential items. Trust member and foodbank volunteer Sarah Edwards was interviewed by our very own Rachel Martin this month to find out what is involved.
UK-based fans not attending games can still help to support the foodbanks at any time by texting COYSFOODBANK and any donation amount to 70085. To donate £10, text COYSFOODBANK 10, for example. Anything you can afford would be hugely appreciated.
Those living overseas or unable to use a text donation service are encouraged to donate via Tottenham Foodbank's crowdfunding page.
11. THST End of Season BBQ
We are already planning for the return of our annual THST End-of-Season barbecue at our local community pub, The Antwerp Arms. So please put Sunday 29th May 2022 in your diary and look out for more details in our next newsletter. This is traditionally a time for us to get together to celebrate or commiserate at the end of the season, to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and promote the Cycle On You Spurs team who will be undertaking a sponsored cycle ride to Amsterdam in early June.
We have very special guests lined up including, we are delighted to say, the honorary president of THST and the absolute Spurs legend that is Steve Perryman. It’s sure to be an afternoon not to be missed. Tickets will be going on sale shortly.
12. March’s Catering Survey
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to meet up with the Club’s Catering Team this month but now that we are all fighting fit again, we have rescheduled our meeting for later in April. We will be sharing the results of our surveys for matches this year, so please let us have your views on what you thought was hot and what was not during the last month.
13. Football2Amsterdam 2022
With around 10 weeks to go, our Cycle On You Spurs team of riders are stepping up the training and asking for one last major boost to their fundraising efforts. To date, £45,323 has been raised for the ride, placing us firmly in pole position nationally. We are top of the league!
As the oft-quoted figures tell us one in eight men, and one in four black men, will experience prostate cancer at some point. Many members of the COYS team are participating in the event having recovered from the disease. many others are riding and raising funds for much-needed research in memory of a father, a brother, a close friend whose life was taken away by prostate cancer. All the team members and PCUK would be so grateful if you are able to donate.
14. THST Official Video Podcast
We hope that you watched or listened to our latest video podcast from regulars Martin Buhagiar, Rachel Martin, Rob White and introducing our new Board members Simon Sullivan and Henry Ellis. For the April episode, we will be joined by new Board member Koonal Shah and also our Secretary Stephen Cavalier. We will be talking about the work we’ve been doing in March and the issues that face us in the months ahead, including the ongoing work to achieve the best outcomes from the Government Fan-Led Review.
Thanks for the positive feedback we’ve received to date and please let us know if there is anything that you’d like us to focus on in future episodes. You can watch the March episode via the links below:
15. THST Forum
This month on the Forum we have been discussing a wide range of subjects including the difficulties supporters are experiencing as a result of the earlier Season Ticket renewal dates and the lack of clarity around fixture dates for the rest of the season.
We’ve been encouraging people to write to their MPs about the need to fix football’s broken model of governance, and to post any responses received. Linked to this is our support for Proud Lilywhites’ campaign about fit and proper ownership, prior to the Newcastle home game.
Not surprisingly, there’s also some discussion around the latest ‘atmosphere’ initiatives from the Club and as always, the range of views shows how hard it is to please all the people all the time.
If you haven’t already, do give this a read and add your thoughts on the Forum. As ever, there are links to the latest Trust podcast too.
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.
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust writes letter to Levy about unpopular season ticket decision
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Tottenham fans demand compensation after West Ham kick-off time is pushed back with just FIFTEEN DAYS' notice
Last Word on Spurs
THSTOfficial March podcast
31 March 2022
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