Future fan representation at THFC
Fans and Football First campaign
Government’s fan led review – THST evidence
Broadcast contract Exclusion Order – THST submission
THST meeting with UEFA
Tottenham Foodbank leaflet drop
Business and Community Liaison Group Meeting
Football to Amsterdam 2021
THST Official Video Podcast
Football is for the Fans – Scarf offer
Studio 306 Collective
1. Future fan representation at THFC
It’s no exaggeration to say the events of the last month or so have changed the landscape for fan representation forever. In this newsletter we are going to try to summarise the latest position at THFC and in the wider game.
In the aftermath of the European Super League’s collapse, we laid out a clear set of ideas on how we saw the way forward. That included a six-point plan to rebuild the current governance structure of the Club with supporter representation at its heart, to protect the Club and to open up greater opportunity to purchase equity in THFC.
We held a members’ meeting, our largest ever, to discuss the response to the ESL episode, and the THST Board recommended a motion calling for the resignation of the Club’s Executive Board. That was done, as we explained in our statement, because we believed directors should be accountable for a decision that could lead to sanctions being imposed on our Club. The recommendation was endorsed by the meeting.
We made it clear that any conversation with the Club could not be business as usual, and when agreement could not be reached on the basis for any talks, we asked the Football Supporters’ Association to mediate. We also published a list of FAQ's that we intend to add to over the coming weeks in an attempt to ensure our position was clear.
The Club then put out a statement detailing initial ideas for a new governance structure, and included a number of points that can best be described as not helpful to the process of mediation. We responded to the proposals, detailing some of our reservations and continuing to call for real change. With the mediator unable to continue, we made a further attempt to advance discussions with the Club. We felt members would expect us to make every effort to open dialogue as long it acknowledged that it would have to be conducted on a new basis. This led to an agreement for representatives of the THFC and THST Boards to meet, and we reported on that meeting.
The meeting gave us a chance to hear the Club’s ideas first hand, and to give some initial reaction. We made it clear that we are looking for a robust solution that would prevent an ESL decision from happening in the future, and that we would continue to develop and put forward our own ideas to see if agreement could be reached. The bottom line is that any final structure will be determined by the outcome of the Government’s fan-led review.
We need to make it clear here that the representation we are pushing for is line with a growing tendency in businesses across the world to require boards to consider the interests of a wider set of stakeholders than just shareholders. Those who say the calls for fan representation at board level don’t understand basic principles are themselves failing to understand how modern business is beginning to operate. A look at Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 may be useful. The proposals currently being worked up by fan groups across the country and by national and international supporter groups are based on sound business practice and a recognition that football is a business like no other – something football itself trades upon. Do not let people who do not understand business as well as they think they do discourage you from pushing for the change that is needed.
We should also make it clear about the sort of fan representation we would like to see, and we’ll be setting the mechanism for this out over the next few weeks. Anyone who is a member of any company board has to meet a certain set of criteria and take on legal responsibilities to carry out the role. We want to see someone whose legal responsibility it is to prioritise the interests of the football club and its supporters above the interests of the shareholders or owners should there be a conflict. And we want to see that person be more directly accountable to ordinary supporters. But we also want to ensure that fan representation at board level does not become the sole domain of a particular type of fan. And so we want to build on the Club’s idea to set up an advisory panel and create a body that draws on representatives from across the fanbase to provide some scrutiny of the main Club board’s activities, and the conduct of the fan director.
We think that board should be comprised from representatives of as diverse a cross section of the fanbase as possible. THST would provide some and not all representatives on that board, based on the fact that it is the largest and most democratic fan body at the Club, and that its remit covers a wide range of sectional interests. Those who see a “power grab” by the Trust in these proposals are blessed with fertile imaginations.
So where do things stand between us and the Club? Obviously a lot of damage has been done to a relationship built up over many years. The meeting we had went some small way towards acknowledging that, but it’s clear more has to change. We are continuing where we can to handle individual casework and to pursue joint initiatives such as the Foodbank fundraiser and #TerraceTalk mental health campaign.
We will continue to work up proposals to deliver a real voice for supporters, and to make these the centrepiece of our submission to the Government’s fan-led review. There are more details of what we are doing in the items below.
We should clarify that our focus is firmly on securing genuine influence for supporters over the Club’s decision-making process. We believe this is possible, desirable and in line with moves in other businesses to deliver stakeholder representation. This will involve a new governance structure at the Club. We are not calling for the owners to go simply because, until a credible new buyer appears, these are the owners we have. So any changes have to be discussed with the owners in post at the time. We also cover this on our FAQ page, linked here.
Should the Executive Board embrace genuine change and should we feel that there is a sincere will to formally embed supporter influence in their decision-making process then we would return to our membership and discuss whether they wanted to remove the call for resignation or not. But until that point, we remain in the unusual situation of the Club refusing to discuss our call and the Trust keeping that call on the table, while discussions about a new governance structure continue on a number of fronts.
2. Fans and Football First campaign
We believe our chances of success in securing a voice for fans in the boardroom will be increased by mobilising behind a positive call for change. We wanted to simply promote the core values behind the calls for reform, and so we launched the campaign to put Fans and Football First.
We said we’d have a presence at the Villa game that saw the return of fans, and we distributed 10,000 leaflets outlining the detail of our six-point plan for reform, and explaining why we were asking for fans and football to be put back at the heart of the Club. We also encouraged fans to help us film a short video letter to the THFC Board. The film is the product of a collaboration between the award-winning duo of filmmaker Kevin Thomas and copywriter Dan Coles, and was launched on 26 May 2021.
The campaign gives us a chance to keep the call for reform visible over the months when supporters are not at grounds, and to set the context in which the Government’s review is conducted. You can get involved by sharing the film on your social channels and using the hashtags #FansAndFootballFirst #StandUpForSpurs #TrustTheFans.
We’d also encourage fans to write to Daniel.Levy@TottenhamHotspur.com supporting our six point plan, and to write to your local MP backing the wider reform of football.
3. Government’s fan-led review – THST evidence
The recent extraordinary developments in football convinced the Government to act on its manifesto commitment to carry out what it termed a fan-led review of the game, and to commit to a tight timetable in order to deliver reform. The panel has just been announced, and evidence gathering began in the third week of May.
The announcement prompted some to question why only one member of the fan-led review was clearly identifiable as a fan – FSA Chief Executive Kevin Miles. What we have been told is that it is the evidence given by fans and fan groups that will lead the review's work, and initial discussions with the DCMS indicate there is a commitment to putting the voice of fans front and centre of the process. One of the aims of the exercise is to convince decision-makers of the sort of change needed, and we think there is a genuine opportunity here. It is also worth noting that the final recommendations will be down to Tracey Crouch MP, Chair of the review, alone and not the panel.
THST is preparing a submission on how Supporter/ Club relationships operate at a Premier League club, and this will include proposals for a new structure that can deliver above and beyond what was previously in place.
4. Broadcast contract Exclusion Order – THST submission
We submitted a statement to the DCMS in support of the Premier League’s application to be excluded from the terms of the Competition Act 1998 in order to allow the rollover of its broadcasting deal. We believed it was important to provide some level of financial stability throughout the pyramid after the crisis caused by the pandemic, and recognised that – whatever the arguments about how broadcast monies are distributed – it was important that some certainty that funds would be available was provided.
We did, however, make the conditional point that granting this exclusion would only make sense if considered against the need for wider reform of the game. Our submission said: “We believe the only way to truly preserve the important cultural asset that is our national game is for competition organisers to be given greater power over individual clubs, and for supporters to be fully integrated into the decision-making process at club and game level. This integration needs, of course, to balance power with responsibility. We believe this principle, applied across the game, will help preserve it for future generations, and help to make it thrive as a generator of wealth.
“Granting this exclusion order is, in our opinion, a recognition that the business of football is unique, and that special circumstances apply. But granting the exclusion can only make sense if the structure is put in place to stop any individual owner using the gains for their own benefit.”
5. THST meeting with UEFA
THST was represented at a ground-breaking meeting of supporter reps from clubs across Europe and senior members of UEFA, including the organisation’s president Aleksander Ceferin. Ceferin called for the meeting partly in recognition of the role played by supporters in heading off the ESL. Until now, UEFA has declined to meet directly with fan reps from clubs, preferring to go through Football Supporters Europe, who were also represented at the meeting.
Supporter groups recognised there was a certain amount of politics being played around the meeting, but took the opportunity to open dialogue and to reinforce three main points:
- Having defended the principle of sporting merit being a key factor in competition qualification, UEFA must now re-examine its own plans to undermine that principle
- Supporters oppose the further expansion of the European game calendar
- A fairer system of distributing wealth has to be enacted to strengthen the game at all levels across Europe
We felt it was an encouraging first meeting, but evidence there is some way to go came the next day when UEFA announced the all-English final of the Champions League would not be played at Wembley because the UK government would not waive requirements for sponsors and VIP guests to quarantine.
6. Tottenham Foodbank leaflet drop
Members of the Trust Board had a very successful day participating in a targeted leaflet drop around Haringey for Tottenham Foodbank alongside Armed Forces Spurs and Ossie Ardiles on Saturday 15 May. It’s vital we all continue to support the Foodbank initiative over the summer months. Hunger doesn't end when the season does. And so we'll be asking you to donate every time England kick off in the Euros.
You can, of course, donate to Tottenham and North Enfield 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.
7. Business and Community Liaison Group Meeting
There has been no Business and Community Liaison Group meeting this month, with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday 1 June. Discussions at the previous meeting focused on the Future Plans for the Goods Yard, Depot Tower and Printworks sites in Tottenham. You can read more about those plans here.
In early May there were two webinars, hosted by the Club, in which proposals for the sites were put forward. Members of THST attended these sessions and asked several questions around project funding, project management and planning application process. Subsequent to the consultation, and in response to feedback, there have been some alterations made to the proposals.
The number of storeys on the Depot Tower has been reduced from 31 to 29, which is now in line with the number in the consented scheme; two storeys have also been removed from the northernmost Good Yards tower; in addition to removing two storeys from the Depot Tower, it has undergone a re-design which has reduced the height of the building from 100 metres to approximately 88 metres.
We will continue to monitor the developments over the coming months.
8. Football to Amsterdam 2021
More disappointment for the Cycle On You Spurs cyclists and all the other club cycling teams as the ride originally timetabled for June 2020 has suffered a third postponement. There is an understanding from our team though, given the uncertainties surrounding international travel arrangements and quarantine regulations coupled with the need of the organisers to make irreversible decisions immediately. All of our 30 or so riders have the opportunity to defer entry to next June’s ride, so hopefully we’ll be back on the start line at the London Olympic velodrome then.
Meanwhile, to keep our legs turning and to renew social interaction, 16 of us rode past all the London league football stadia wearing our PCUK jerseys on Sunday 30 May.
9. THST Official video podcast
To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, the THST Official podcast team of Martin Buhagiar, Rachel Martin, Anthoulla Achilleos and Rob White welcomed Flav Bateman from the Fighting Cock podcast and Tara Hancock, founder of Sport Against Suicide to the show. They discussed the stigma surrounding mental health, some very personal stories and, crucially, the help that is out there for people struggling to cope. Well worth a listen. There is also a videocast version available.
We participated in a recent FSA webinar event event held during Mental Health Awareness week, where we heard some inspiring and thought-provoking views from Tracy Brown (Chelsea Pride); Andy Holt (Accrington Stanley Chair/Owner); Mark Marshall (Northampton Town player); Lucy May (WSL referee); Troy Townsend (Kick It Out). Once again the session was jointly chaired by Proud Lilywhites’ Chris Paouros.
11. Football is for the fans – Scarf offer
We are delighted to be working with "Reclaim the Game" organisers NotJustClothing to give THST members the chance to buy "Football is for the fans" scarves at a reduced rate of £9.99 + postage.
These scarves promote a cause that is dear to us all. Dear to the whole football community, in fact. The recent European Super League debacle accentuates more than ever that football is nothing without fans, and that supporters need to be at the heart of the governance of their football clubs.
NotJustClothing is a social enterprise who will be donating the profits from this venture to Football Beyond Borders, a charity who support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are passionate about playing football. The scarves are ethically produced in the UK with the living wage being paid to all employees.
Normally priced at £12.99, we're delighted to be able to offer a discount of £3.00 to THST members, bringing the price down to £9.99. In order to get your scarf with the THST discount, just apply the code THSTFANS at the checkout on their website.
You can also follow NotJustClothing on their social channels:
12. Studio 306 Collective
We have been able to make a further donation, £1,160 this time, to our nominated local mental health charity, Studio 306 Collective. This was made possible thanks to the painstaking work of THST Secretary Pete Haine in selling old Spurs programmes for charitable donation.
13. THST Forum
The main topics discussed on the Forum this month have related broadly to the aftermath and fallout of the disastrous so-called European Super League, the role of fans in the decision-making processes at the Club, the return of fans to the stadium for the match against Villa, and ticketing for the coming year.
Particular highlights this month include the report on our recent meeting with the THFC Board on the Fan engagement, the Club’s account of what happened to the end of season lap of appreciation, and an invitation to a party at The Antwerp Arms this Bank Holiday weekend.
The Forum provides a place to find our statements and strategy, how you can get involved and make your voice heard, and links to articles relating to it. It can also be quite therapeutic to know that you are not alone with some of your frustrations with current events.
It’s your forum so keep checking in and see what’s new.
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.
It’s a bumper media log this month!
BBC News Channel - Three Days That Shook Football
Spurs boss Mason is crafting the perfect script for Kane’s willing support cast
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust unveils six-point plan to transform club
Spurs fan group rejects Levy meeting as calls for board to resign strengthen
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust rejects Levy meeting
Tottenham fans want to meet owner Joe Lewis after rejecting meeting offer from Daniel Levy
Report: Tottenham ‘disappointed’ with fan group over decision
Tottenham fans want to meet owner Joe Lewis after rejecting meeting offer from Daniel Levy
Tottenham fans group turn down meeting with Daniel Levy over Super League
Tottenham fan group turns down Daniel Levy meeting
Tottenham Hotspur director steps down from the club's board
Spurs fans upset at ticket prices for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium return
Fans demand input at board level - Football Supporters' Association
Tottenham Supporters’ Trust asks FSA to mediate talks with club board
Spurs apologise for Super League mistakes and announce fan board representation
Tottenham to put fan on board of directors after European Super League debacle causes rift with supporters
Tottenham add fan representation to board in wake of breakaway backlash
Spurs will appoint a panel of fans to join its board after ESL debacle
Spurs to allow fans to sit on club board
Tottenham announce fan move following "unreserved" European Super League apology
Tottenham make fan concessions after Super League protests but rule out two things | Football | Sport | Express.co.uk
Tottenham fans want power on board amid concern of token gesture by club
Tottenham to put fan on board of directors after European Super League debacle causes rift with supporters
THST hit back against plan to include fan representative on the board
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust say board plan won't give fans 'real power'
UEFA President meets with fan groups and Football Supporters Europe | Inside UEFA
War of words continues as THST calls club 'destructive'
Fans out to reverse Champions League reforms after bringing down ESL
Explained: Tottenham Hotspur's Club Advisory Panel and the club's strained relationship with the Supporters' Trust
Fans buoyed by backing from Govt and Premier League in owners battle
Ryan Mason hopes for realignment between Tottenham fans and board ahead of possible protests
Angry voices, an unsavoury chant and crucial meetings this week at Tottenham
Tottenham fan group to meet club’s board on Tuesday
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust to meet with club board
'Spurs left reeling by Kane reports'
Tottenham board admits 'sometimes disruption is needed to create change'
What we learned from Daniel Levy’s letter to Tottenham fans – and what we didn’t
Tottenham admit time has come for change amid fan anger over ESL plans
Daniel Levy and Tottenham board meet Supporters Trust
The Spurs Show on Twitter
31 May 2021
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