ENIC’s £150m investment in THFC
Away Ticketing Points Data 2016-2022
THST Summer BBQ for Prostate Cancer UK
UEFA European Competition Reforms
Atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Bag policy at Anfield
THST Fan Survey 2022
THST Forum update
The announcement from the owners of an injection of £150m was also welcome. It indicates recognition that the product on the pitch is key. We’ve called for the Club to put Fans and Football First, and it seems the football part of the equation is now in place. We’ll continue to push for an improved deal for fans. There’s more on that injection of funds later in this newsletter.
To complete a positive set of events, we were able to run our summer BBQ again after a two-year COVID-induced gap, raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK. More on this, and some changes for the future, in the rest of the newsletter, along with the usual round-up of what we’ve been doing.
The football might be paused for a few months, but work at the Trust continues and here we update on events over the month of May. As always, we hope this provides useful insight and updates for our members and for the wider Spurs community.
Remember, you can reach us at any time via email at info@THSTOfficial.com or on our Forum with any questions or should you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this newsletter in more detail.
1. ENIC’s £150m investment in THFC
On 24 May, the Club announced that majority owner, ENIC, was putting up to £150m into the Club by way of an equity increase in the form of convertible shares and warrants. This is the first new money contributed by the majority owners for some years and, assuming that most of this money will go toward squad development, can only be described as good news. The majority owners appear ready to capitalise on the perhaps unexpected success of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, in a way that they didn’t in the summer of 2018, and back the manager in a summer transfer market in which our main rivals are also set to be active.
What does the new equity issue mean for the Club’s valuation and for the c.14% of minority shareholders, many of whom are regular fans who bought shares when they were freely traded on the London Stock Exchange and AIM? THST Board Members Michael Green and Henry Ellis took a deeper dive in this article from 27 May.
2. Away Ticketing Points Data 2016-2022
Each year, we collate the ticketing points required for THFC Premier League away games and summarise those points in a handy infographic. Data from the last five seasons with fans present can be viewed here.
After a barren 2020-2021 season, fans were back at games for the 2021-2022 season and we monitored the points cut offs once again, for your reference. The curtailed 2019-20 season meant that roughly 3.75 seasons’ worth of points were held on accounts at the start of August 2021, as opposed to the usual full 4 seasons of points, which may explain a minor downturn in the points needed to access tickets for some of the matches compared to pre-pandemic years.
The opening away fixture against Wolves saw a discernible drop from the previous season with fans present, which could be attributed to uncertainty around returning to full stadia with COVID-19 still present. Whilst the original cut-offs for Burnley, Leicester City and Brighton away are quoted on the infographic, the likelihood is these were reduced in reality as a result of returns for the rearranged midweek fixtures after the original games were postponed for bad weather or as a result of COVID-19.
The lowest number of points required for Premier League away games was 203 for Newcastle United. The three highest number of points required all came at lower capacity stadia, where our visiting allocation was significantly less than the usual 3,000. For Brentford, 498 points were needed, 415 for Watford and 413 for Norwich City. With Fulham and Bournemouth both promoted to the Premier League for the 2022-23 season, and with the limited allocation at Brentford, high totals are likely to be needed again for at least three of Tottenham’s away games next year.
The highest cut off for a full allocation of 3,000 visiting tickets was Liverpool with 388 points followed by Arsenal with 367 points. Points needed for Chelsea were lower at 332, possibly as a result of playing them three times in the space of three weeks. Let’s not mention the results.
The biggest increase in points needed for an away game was for the trip to Old Trafford in March, which jumped by 105 points last time out to 319 points in the 2021-22 season.
Looking ahead to next season, “older” Season Ticket holders will have points accrued during the 2016-17 season removed from their ticketing accounts over the summer, leaving points accrued during the 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons, along with points accrued during the upcoming 2022-23 season. “Newer” Season Ticket holders who joined during the Wembley season of 2017-18 will keep all of the points in their accounts over the summer before having their first deduction at the end of next season. The 2020-21 season has been wiped from accounts as a result of COVID-19.
3. THST Summer BBQ for Prostate Cancer UK
There was a real party atmosphere at our end of season barbecue on Sunday 29 May at the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham. The sell-out event was a fundraiser to support one of our nominated charities, Prostate Cancer UK, and their cycle ride to Amsterdam next month, in which the Cycle On You Spurs team will be leading the way.
Our special guest was the Trust’s Honorary President and Club legend, ‘The Skipper’ Steve Perryman. Steve deserves a medal for his valiant efforts just to get to our event. Having flown in from Portugal during the small hours of the morning, he then took a train from the West Country, where he had to stand the whole way. We can’t believe that no-one realised they were in the presence of greatness and offered him a seat, but we hope that he felt he was treated like royalty once he got to the Annie!
Steve was interviewed by Spurs Show host, Theo Delaney, who asked him about leadership. He talked about Conte, Nicholson, Burkinshaw and Ardiles - and the role of chairmen and directors. It was certainly an interesting and insightful conversation! Steve was incredibly generous with his time and we all had the chance to have photos and autographs. But not only that. He took the time to talk to everyone and answer our own questions and listen to our own proud and affectionate memories of him and his time at Spurs. Steve Perryman has Tottenham in his veins and it was an honour to have him as our guest.
Ben and the team at the Antwerp Arms put on a fantastic meal with delicious meats and a selection of delicious salads. The food was free to our guests, and 10% of the bar takings went to PCUK.
We were also entertained by Alex Royffe the DJ, who won a lot of new fans with his playlists, and a fantastic set by Tim Winstone, who sang and played the guitar, leading us in a largely Spurs related sing-along.
Fundraising was boosted by a very moving speech from PCUK volunteer Jason, who told us why he became involved with the charity and how the money raised would be used. This encouraged everyone to dig deep to support the raffle and auction. The prizes ranged from a signed THFC football to signed photos, shirts, books and even a guest slot on The Spurs Show. In total we expect to raise well over £2,000 for PCUK.
Should you not have been able to attend the BBQ but wish to support Prostate Cancer UK, our team of cyclists would be extremely grateful for any sponsorship you can spare. Donate via this link and join us in wishing the riders all the very best as they depart from the Olympic Velodrome in Stratford for the Amsterdam Arena on Friday 10 June. PCUK has indicated this will be the last Football2Amsterdam ride, so let's make sure we send them off with a bang.
Thank you to everyone who came along on Sunday and made the event such a joyful occasion and helped to raise such a grand total. See you next season!
4. UEFA European Competition Reforms
Lobbying by fan groups across Europe has succeeded in stopping changes to the Champions League that would have proved damaging to the game. UEFA had indicated it wanted to expand the number of group-stage games from 6 to 10, and to introduce the principle of competition qualification based on historical performance.
THST was among the fan groups working with the Football Supporters’ Association and Football Supporters Europe to oppose these changes over the last 12 months. While UEFA did announce changes to the competition format this month, it agreed to drop the historic performance plan, and also agreed to reduce the number of extra group stage games from four to two. While we would have preferred to see no extra games, we were pleased to be able to work alongside not only fan groups from across Europe, but also a number of European League organisations worried about the threat the original plans posed to domestic football.
A fuller statement on the outcome can be found on the FSA website. Once again, the potential of organised fan groups working intelligently together has been shown.
5. Atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
There have been some encouraging developments on the atmosphere front over recent weeks. We were in touch with the Club soon after the date of the rearranged North London Derby was confirmed to pass on the view we were getting from many members that something special needed organising for the game. The result was the fantastic tifo in the South Stand which did much to help create what was a fantastic atmosphere on the night.
Our final home game against Burnley saw the first outing for the flags organised by the @THFCFlags group. Again, the atmosphere was one of the best for a Sunday midday kick-off we can remember, and the flags played a part in this.
We’re delighted to see a group of fans get stuck in to actually doing something, rather than just complaining about the atmosphere. They were prepared to put in the time to work up designs, raise funds and turn up early on match-day to ensure the flags were seen. And they are working on more. We have given advice when asked, and also helped the group to contact and work with the Club to make this all happen. Please consider helping them make displays next season even better.
We were disappointed but not surprised to see the group taking stick on social media from elements of the online community. While we’re more than aware people don’t like being told what to do, we’d suggest it’s worth respecting the fact that @THFCFlags are willing to put some effort in, and the ambitions they have. We should be encouraging initiatives such as this.
We also fed back views on the playing of Can’t Smile Without You, and encouraged the Club not to play it at kick-off in the final two home games. We are, however, working with the Club to find a permanent home for a proper Spurs anthem.
6. Behavioural messaging
Earlier in the month, the THST Board made a short statement asking Spurs fans to consider whether the “Sign On” chant heard at the Liverpool away fixture was appropriate in current times. That can be read here. It’s fair to say the reaction was polarised, with support from many quarters including The Guardian, the BBC, The Athletic, the Telegraph, the i Paper and numerous individual journalists. Many Spurs fans also expressed their support. As did Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, who we consulted before issuing our statement.
Others disagreed, which is absolutely fine, providing it is done in a respectful and reasonable way. Sadly the vitriol and bile directed at individual members of the Trust Board more than crossed that line on this occasion.
It’s worth outlining a little of the background to the statement here. During our Premier League game at Anfield, the chant was heard loud and clear on the TV and radio. That prompted a highly negative reaction from several members of the press online, and from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, on social media. The damage to our fans’ reputation happened in real time the moment that chant was reported. THST was contacted by Spirit of Shankly during the game, too, expressing surprise as they thought Spurs fans were usually among the better visitors to Anfield.
After the game, the THST Board discussed the pros and cons of raising the issue publicly. We knew any behavioural messaging normally invites a backlash from certain quarters. But we decided we needed to say something to counter the negative press stories already in circulation and to restore the reputation of our travelling support. Above all, we decided it was needed because it was just the right thing to do.
Chants move on. The Foxes Trust at Leicester spoke out after their fans’ ‘Feed the Scousers’ songs were widely criticised at Christmas. That’s another chant that has had its day. “Sign On” was always divisive, but it’s more so now we are in the midst of a huge cost of living crisis and when our own community of Haringey is experiencing the fastest-growing unemployment rates in the country. We cannot spend as much time as we do promoting foodbanks and working with the disadvantaged in our own community to then think it's appropriate to mock hardship in this way.
We make decisions as a Board not because those decisions will always be unilaterally popular, but because we think they are the right thing to do. We have an extremely demanding and opinionated fan base - which is healthy - and regardless of whether individuals agree with individual stances, members should be absolutely reassured that we always consider what is best for the organisation as a whole.
We thank the vast majority of our members for engaging in respectful and constructive dialogue with us on this issue.
7. Bag policy at Anfield
We were told just days before our game at Anfield that there was a strict “no bags” policy in operation. We challenged this, unsuccessfully. It’s simply not practical to expect fans who travel long distances to games not to carry a bag, and the policy disproportionally affects female fans who often – but not always – have more to carry and whose clothing tends to feature fewer functional pockets.
Liverpool FC weren’t exactly open to discussion on the subject and expressed surprise we were only raising it a few days before the game. We explained we’d only been told about it a few days before the game. They also said no one else had raised it, but we have been told by Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly that it has been raised throughout the season by that club’s own fans.
What made the policy even more incomprehensible was the fact that supporters were allowed to take the items they would normally have in a small bag in – just not in a bag!
We are very aware of the need to ensure large venues are secure, but virtually every other ground in the country seems to operate safely and securely without a total ban on bags. We worked closely with Wembley Stadium during our stay there on risk assessments for bags of various sizes and managed to come to an agreement that was both practical and secure. The strict safety argument is also somewhat undermined by the fact that we were told by unofficial sources that the no bag policy is often not enforced. So much for security considerations.
But fans can’t take a chance on whether they may or may not get a bag in to a ground. Especially if they are undertaking a long trip. And when the venue isn’t providing a bag drop. We’ve continued to push for a proper conversation to find a decent solution, as have the #HerGameToo group, who we worked alongside when challenging the ban. And we’ve raised the possibility of a league-wide standard being introduced that meets safety and practical considerations, so that fans have a clear idea of what is required at the start of each season.
We’re also following up on some issues with payment point failures, closure of refreshment counters and lack of adequate supervision in the away concourse at Anfield on the night of our game.
8. THST Fan Survey 2022
After months of preparation (seriously) we launch our annual Fan Survey on Monday 6 June. It will be open for just over 10 days, closing at midnight on 16 June and we’ll be encouraging as many Trust members and as many Spurs fans as possible to participate and share their views on all the key issues affecting Tottenham Hotspur. We’ll be publishing the results ahead of the season starting in August.
The survey findings help inform our work for the coming year and help give us a really valuable indication as to the mood amongst the fan base on some critical issues.
Please look out for the Survey link and be sure to put 15-20 minutes aside to have your say. Over 8,500 of you took part last year and we want to break the 10,000 barrier this time out.
The Survey is open to Trust members, non-members, UK-based and overseas fans.
9. THST Forum update
This month on the Forum we’ve been talking about the recent Trust statement on a particular chant at the Liverpool away match. It’s good to see very well-argued points being made on a controversial issue. The forum also provides a space for you to ask us for further information and to clarify points; it’s well worth a read. There are also conversations about the recent news of a sizeable capital injection; what does it mean in practical terms? Plus, there’s catering and the 1882 offer.
Not surprisingly at this time of year, there are threads about Season Ticket renewal and re-allocation, giving a space for Trust members to share their experiences and opinions on value for money and ease of operation.
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.
31 May 2022
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