Change in THFC Managers
Away fans in home sections
Sanctions policy update
Informal ticketing catch up
Boxing Day travel plans
Red Star Belgrade away debrief
Latest catering report following pre-SUFC tour
November Business & Community Liaison Group Meeting
Planning for West Ham away
Q4 THST Board Meeting
THST 2020 AGM
FSA Fans’ Manifesto launch
Trust Social Media accounts
- Tottenham Foodbank update
- PCUK London to Amsterdam 2020 bike ride
- THST Pin badges
- The Spurs Show
- Wingate and Finchley FC
- Zeelo coach travel
- One Hotspur Moments
1. Change in THFC Managers
Our members won’t need telling what the biggest news of the month has been. Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff have been sacked and José Mourinho and a new coaching staff appointed.
The Trust received no prior notice of the sacking, and no explanation of the reasons beyond the official Club statement. Inevitably, we were asked for comment, and put a short statement out focusing on the need to make a new appointment quickly and the need to reassure fans there was a strategy in place. The Club did move quickly to make an appointment but, again, the Trust received no prior notice or explanation beyond what was issued on official channels. To help deal with the inevitable volume of questions we got from fans and the media, we issued a short statement on Mourinho’s appointment.
While we’ve made it clear over the years that our remit does not extend to the detail of on-field affairs, clearly a change of the entire coaching staff does raise the kind of questions it is legitimate for a supporters organisation to ask. Obvious questions in this case are will a manager with a reputation for spending big in the transfer market be backed by the Board, and, given the reported unrest over wages and contracts in the squad, will the Board be changing its approach in this area?
We’ve also heard a lot over the last five years about a vision and a plan. It would seem that there has been some change as far as the vision and plan goes, and it would be good to hear the Board’s thoughts about how and why this is changing, and what conclusions it has drawn about its own role in a situation that has led to it appointing yet another new manager, 18 years into its tenure.
As yet, there is no indication that Club sees the need for any such communication.
Our stance since the announcement has been to acknowledge all Mauricio did for this Club, to raise the questions we highlight above, and to back José and wish him and the new coaching staff every success. We all want the best for Tottenham Hotspur.
Many of you asked if there was a way to express thanks to Mauricio and his staff for what he did at our Club, and we offered to pass on an address the Club gave us if people wanted one. We were deluged with requests, with almost 1,000 people contacting us in the first few hours. Despite the usual attempts by a few on Twitter to portray this in a negative light, we don’t think acknowledging the highs of the last five years in any way dismisses some of the problems or undermines the strength of our support for the new regime. Harry Kane seemed to have much the same attitude when he visited Mauricio after the news broke. It’s a sad feature of modern life that a bit of basic decency attracts criticism.
Our request to the Club to explain its thinking remains on the table.
2. Away fans in home areas
It’s becoming a regular occurrence, particularly after European home games, to get complaints from fans about away supporters in home areas. We know it’s a part of football that fans try a variety of methods to see their team, and we know Spurs fans have in the past bought tickets in home areas of grounds where we play away so they can see their team. But we also recognise the issue fans at our new stadium have had with large numbers of away fans congregating in home sections, in colours, and supporting their side at European games particularly.
We raised the issue with the Club again after the Olympiacos game, and particularly emphasised the growing perception that many stewarding staff take a softer line with away fans in home sections than they do with home fans over issues such as persistent standing.
The Club told us that the Olympiacos fans who had gained entry to home sections had mostly done so on single tickets at various entrances, and then congregated in the Upper North Stand. The game hadn’t sold out and the top of that stand had again been identified, as it had been by Red Star fans, as a soft area to assemble. Some were stopped on entry, while 46 were ejected on the night. Others were allowed to remain in their seats after a risk assessment.
We were told stewards are briefed to stop away fans entering home areas but this seems to be another example of what is happening on the ground not matching the briefing given by senior staff. We have numerous reports of stewards shrugging fans in when they are obviously away fans. And we’ve made that point strongly to the Club.
We also asked about the ticket sales process. Tickets were only available to One Hotspur members and Season Ticket holders for the Olympiacos game, with date-based restrictions imposed so that only people who had been members before the group stage draw was made could purchase additional guest tickets for this match, on the advice of the SAG. Whilst date restrictions can help in these circumstances, the Club believes many of the tickets that ended up in the hands of away fans are likely to have been extra tickets purchased by members registered on the database before the cut off or local fans with ties to Olympiacos.
They are currently tracing where tickets confiscated from Olympiacos supporters originated. Individuals found to have sold tickets to away fans will be banned indefinitely, as was the case after the recent Red Star Belgrade match. We’ve asked the Club to look at the how to stop people rebuying memberships after they have been cancelled, accepting that this is a tricky issue facing every club.
We’ve made the point very directly that fans are expecting to see an improvement at future games and that robust measures need to be in place for the Round of 16 match early next year.
3. Sanctions policy update
We’ve been working with the Club and the Football Supporters' Association for some time to arrive at a clear, fair system for dealing with various sanctions on fans. This covers various aspects of fan behaviour including ticketing offences. Our view has been that a clear tariff of offences and sanctions will be of benefit to fans and those Club employees who have to enforce them, bringing greater consistency and transparency. We’ve also worked together on an appeals system to ensure fans get a fair hearing.
The work has involved considerable detail, and the need to ensure policies are co-ordinated across various departments. We also pushed back on a number of areas where we had concerns, and the Club has taken comments from us and the FSA on board. We’d like to thank Amanda Jacks, the FSA’s Director of Casework, for her help on this.
We understand the Club is now close to publishing its policy, and we’ll make further comment if necessary once they have done that.
4. Informal Ticketing catch up
As part of our ongoing work with the Club’s ticket office, we caught up informally on a number of relevant issues recently. Some of the key points are listed below:
- The new queuing system for One Hotspur Premier League ticket sales seems, at this early stage, to be a very welcome success, and THST thanked the Club for implementing this improved technology with Ticketmaster. It was felt there was sufficient ticket availability for One Hotspur Members once Exchange was added to the mix and the Club didn’t feel there was an imbalance between the ratio of Season Ticket holders and One Hotspur members at this stage.
- The Club has agreed to review the possibility of opening up Ticket Exchange for Cup games, for those on the automatic cup scheme and for those unable to attend less than 7 days out from a game, primarily, from next season. Similarly, the Club will investigate the pros and cons of opening up Ticket Share for Cup games from next season.
- THST put forward the view that we would like to see the Automatic Cup Scheme continue, as fans like the convenience this scheme offers, and that the now well-established progressive pricing policy for Cup games should continue.
- We also lobbied for the return of group stage packs should the Club qualify for Europe next season.
- The Club is continuing to clamp down on ticket resale via social media, forums and secondary sites. Their Touting Policy is prominently displayed on the Spurs website and working to eradicate touting and resale is something the Ticket Office team remain heavily committed to. It is not always possible to publish details of bans but we do encourage the Club to share top level figures to reassure other fans that action is regularly taken on this issue.
- There are a number of technical options being considered to ensure European game away tickets are used to attend games, not just to build points. More information will follow once those technical options have been explored in more detail.
5. Boxing Day travel plans
In preparation for the Boxing Day game against Brighton & Hove Albion and the anticipation of travel disruption, Spurs are working closely with Big Green Coach to create an extended network of regional coach travel for the day.
It has been confirmed that there will be 97 pick-up locations in total, including 66 new pick-up locations that have been added to the usual network.
There are unlikely to be any National Rail or London Overground services running through White Hart Lane, Northumberland Park or Tottenham Hale stations on the day. This is expected to cause significant disruption to fans making their way to the match.
Big Green Coach will be offering these locations for Boxing Day only:
BALDOCK, BEACONSFIELD, BENFLEET, BERKHAMSTED, BIDDLESWADE, BILLERICAY, BISHOP’S STORTFORD, BOREHAM WOOD, BRICKET WOOD, BROXBOURNE, BURNHAM, CAMBERLEY, CHATHAM, CHESHAM, CHESHUNT, CHIPPING ONGAR, CHORELYWOOD, COBHAM, DORKING, DOVER, DUNSTABLE, ESHER, FRIMLEY, GERRARDS CROSS, GREAT DUNMOW, GREAT SHELFORD, GUILDFORD, HADLEIGH, HARLOW, HARPENDEN, HODDESDON, INGATESTONE, KINGS LANGLEY, LAUNDEN, LEIGHTON BUZZARD, LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY, MALDON, OXSTED, POTTERS BAR, PURFLEET, RAYLEIGH, REDHILL, REIGATE, ROCHFORD, ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS, ROYSTON, SAFFRON WALDON, SANDY, SAWBRIDGEWORTH, SEVENOAKS, SHENFIELD, SOUTH OCKENDEN, SOUTH WOODHAM FERRERS, ST IVES, ST NEOTS, STAINES, STROOD, TONBRIDGE, TRING, WARE, WEST MALLING, WEYBRIDGE, WICKFORD, WINDSOR, WITHAM, WOKINGHAM
Please note, services from these new locations will only run if there is sufficient demand. Big Green Coach and Spurs will confirm with each customer booking from these new locations that their coach is definitely operating by no later than 14th December. Please book your coach seat early to help ensure that the coach does operate.
Regular match day services will be running as normal from:
AMERSHAM, AYLESBURY, BASILDON, BEDFORD, BRAINTREE, BRENTWOOD, CAMBRIDGE, CHELMSFORD, COLCHESTER, DARTFORD, GILLINGHAM, GRAYS, HADLEIGH, HATFIELD, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HITCHIN, HUNTINGDON, LUTON, MAIDENHEAD, MAIDSTONE, MILTON KEYNES, RICKMANSWORTH, SHEFFORD, SLOUGH, SOUTHEND, ST ALBANS, STEVENAGE, TRUMPINGTON, WATFORD, WELWYN GARDEN CITY & WYCOMBE
Seats start from £13 return.
All coaches will drop in the Official Coach Park (10 minutes walk from the stadium). Coaches will depart 45 minutes after the final whistle. Book Here
6. Red Star Belgrade away debrief
The start of November saw an interesting trip to Serbia for our travelling Season Ticket holders. Stansted Airport at 4am on 6 November resembled Market Place on a match day and there was a good deal of anticipation at visiting a new ground in a country unfamiliar to most.
The Trust had been in contact with the Club regarding this fixture since the draw in August and we had some concerns over the standard of facilities at the Red Star stadium. First, there were no toilets in the away section. Secondly, there was one small serving hatch for food and beverage for the entire away section. Thirdly, the away section resembled a Dairylea triangle, in that there were fewer seats at the front of our allocation that fanned out to c 80 seats wide at the rear with no aisles and only one entrance and exit point, and only one gangway from this entry point.
Add to that concerns over racism and homophobia and the Club and Trust had its work cut out on this one.
The Club worked hard to maximise the safety and minimise the inconvenience of our fans on the night, by working to provide well over 20 portaloos and by arranging free transport to and from the stadium from central Belgrade and by careful crowd management planning.
Four hours before kick off, the local police decided to re-route the shuttle buses from their central Belgrade starting point to one 9km away, despite pleas from the Club, UEFA and the FCO. This meant only fans coming directly from the airport realistically used those buses, with others taking often over-priced taxis and crowded public transport to the ground. This raised questions over the value of planning meetings when, at both Olympiacos and Red Star, arrangements were changed by local police at the last minute.
The condition of the away end at Red Star is not, to our mind, fitting for a stadium in the top tier of UEFA competition and we continue to push for UEFA to impose minimum standards for facilities and for the approach to inclusion and diversity through our contacts at the Club, the FA and Football Supporters Europe.
We’re pleased to report that there were no reported incidents at the match. Belgrade itself and its residents proved to be welcoming hosts, too.
7. Latest catering report following pre-SUFC tour
Board member Rachel Martin met with George Robertson and Levi Harris from the Club prior to the Sheffield United match to tour the stadium catering outlets. The tour was useful in order to understand some of the issues that have been raised by individual Trust members. Rachel will be communicating specific responses to those who raised them, and of course all the survey responses are sent to the catering team so they can take comments on board.
It’s clear that a great deal of thought has been put into the food and drink choices available, and that all feedback is taken seriously and responded to where possible. Changes are still being made in response to that feedback with new menu options, such as the recent introduction of fajitas, but some difficulties remain due to the physical layout of the stadium and infrastructure within some retail spaces.
There’s a very wide choice of food and drink in the South Stand Market Place, so obviously supporters who arrive early and stay late will head for this area. The feature bars are what they say they are: bars – and are not equipped for hot drinks and food. However, these areas aside, we would expect a basic level of provision in every outlet and that would include hot drinks. The new partnership with Tiki Tonga Coffee is clearly a big step in the right direction and we have been assured that this will available in all Tap Inns and Touch Line Grills.
One of the main areas members raise is difficulties around food allergies. It’s really going to need strong communication from the Club to make this work. Currently all stalls have very detailed packs, held by the supervisors (there is one supervisor for every outlet, and another for each stand) showing every food item and which diets it is appropriate for e.g. gluten free. The Touch Line Grills also have clear signage in the scrolling overhead screens – these are clear and very useful. However, these are not available at all outlets, and they need to be.
The Spurs app also needs major work to provide details of what is available at each outlet, and what allergies are catered for, where. We tried to use the app before the visit and we tried to use the app at the different outlets during the visit. We couldn’t see any information other than the menu and a list of which outlets each dish could be found at. Allergies are such an important aspect of catering provision that a rethink is needed here so that the information is easily located prior to the visit and supporters can plan in advance where they wish to eat or drink. And feel confident that they can find food that meets dietary needs.
We also visited the beer storage areas, which gave a better understanding of why it takes a while for beer kegs and tanks to be changed when they run out. The new vertical tanks from Beavertown will be a very welcome addition as they have far great capacity.
On a separate note, it was good to see that all staff were given a meal before the shift started and that everyone in the stadium is paid at least the London Living Wage.
Rachel would like to thank George Robertson from Levy Restaurants and THFC Supporter Liaison Officer Levi Harris for finding the time to escort her around the stadium and answer questions. It was plain to see that it’s a huge operation, and complex in nature, but a few issues notwithstanding, we have a service to be proud of.
You can take part in our November catering survey, covering Sheff Utd, Olympiacos and Bournemouth, if you want to contribute any feedback. We pass the findings directly to the Club and caterers, so it’s really important we hear your experiences and thoughts. And it only takes 5 minutes!
8. November Business & Community Liaison Group Meeting
Trust Secretary, Pete Haine, attended the November B&CLG meeting on 17 November on behalf of THST and the crux of the meeting was around transport.
The test of separate queues at White Hart Lane station for Enfield and Cheshunt trains northbound at the Sheffield United game did not work smoothly so there was only one queue in operation for the Women’s NLD, hence trains were again leaving half empty due to crowded platforms. The Club and TfL are reviewing the process for future implementation.
The Club, Police and the licensee are all aware of the issues of away fans returning to their coaches past the Bill Nicholson pub. They are working together to attempt to manage the situation.
There are new temporary parking restrictions in Bedford Road opposite Alexandra Motors up at Alexandra Palace. These are necessary to facilitate the turn round of the shuttle buses. Other temporary closures and a MED CPZ in the area are being considered by the London Borough of Haringey.
Alexandra Palace has never been advertised as a park and ride. A separate “consultation” is being held by Alexandra Palace on parking charges.
9. Planning for West Ham away
Calls between Clubs, fan reps and the Police before London derbies and other high-profile games are now well-established, and THST reps took part in one before our game with West Ham. Most of the people at this meeting have worked together for some time and THST has an established template of questions covering issues on entry, exit, security, travel etc. that helps to get the business done.
One notable success this time was getting agreement from the home club that alcohol would be served at half time, subject to fan behaviour beforehand. West Ham were the last club in London to hold out with a ban at half-time so we were extremely pleased both that they changed the policy and that it went ahead without any disasters occurring. In fact, we’re pleased to report the whole day went off very smoothly.
Our full advice for fans attending the match can be read here.
10. Q4 THST Board Meeting
Trust Board members met for the last meeting of 2019 on the evening of 25 November. Featuring on the agenda were discussions on community work, Trust finances and membership, communication and marketing, ongoing work with the Club, the recent managerial change and dialogue with the Club around that change, the Cycle On You Spurs team, operating the Trust’s social media accounts, and the Trust’s upcoming AGM. We meet again in January for our final meeting before our AGM.
11. THST 2020 AGM
The Society’s Annual General Meeting will take place on the evening of Tuesday 11 February 2020. The Convening Notice will be issued to full (paying and life) members of the Trust by email on Friday 3 January 2020. Please make a note of both dates as you will be required to vote and you may even want to stand for election to the Board! We’d also ask that you check we have your up to date contact details via your membership account. Here’s a link for you to make sure the email address on our file for you is still correct.
12. FSA Fans’ Manifesto launch
The Football Supporters Association, of which THST is an affiliate member, published its Fans’ Manifesto ahead of the upcoming General Election. Details can be read here.
13. Trust Social Media accounts
Our Twitter account has been one of our most successful tools for extending the Trust’s reach and communicating with fans over the past seven years of this incarnation of THST. Unfortunately, more and more time is being taken up dealing with abuse, misrepresentation and half-grasped arguments. And more and more people seem to want instant responses to something they post. We’re a team of volunteers with day jobs. We try to respond as quickly as we can, and we’ve tried to explain issues and attitudes wherever possible. We’re no longer prepared to deal with the level of abuse and aggression that too often results from engaging in conversation, especially when defending ourselves in response leads to accusations that we are victimising the perpetrators. And we’re no longer prepared to take flak for the Club because it chooses not to engage in the way fans would like.
So we’ve taken the decision to go transmit only on Twitter. From now on, our account will simply put out information. If anyone wants to contact us for information or discussion, the firstname.lastname@example.org address is available and will hopefully provide a more constructive platform. We are also looking into setting up a dedicated members only online forum in the New Year.
Basic practical information will still go out on our Twitter account. Information on ticketing is best obtained from the Club at ticket.office@TottenhamHotspur.com, and email@example.com is still your best point of contact for all Club policy decisions. Our monthly newsletter will continue to give members more information on the work we do.
- Tottenham Foodbank
Keep an eye on our social media accounts for more information nearer the time.
- PCUK London to Amsterdam 2020 bike ride
Register using our special discount code COYS50 to get a £50 reduction on the registration fee. It’s a great deal: you get a ferry crossing, a Eurostar return journey, a night in an Amsterdam Novohotel, two slap-up evening meals, two lunches, food and drink on the road… and our company. Oh yes, plus a night in Dam Square. Any questions? contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fundraising is under way and you can be the first to donate to the COYS team.
- Pin badges
- The Spurs Show
The Spurs Show holds regular, intimate events in Central London with ex-players and Club legends. These entertaining and informative nights are extremely popular with fans of all ages, are always well attended and have become a cornerstone of the Spurs social calendar.
Now’s your chance to be at all Spurs Show Live events for the coming season with your very own Spurs Show Live season ticket and, as a THST member, you’ll get a 20% discount! Full details are can be found here.
- Wingate and Finchley FC
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.
THST members are welcome at these matches. 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.
- Zeelo coach travel
If you haven’t entered your junior into this – then now is the time! The hugely popular Junior Christmas party, featuring first team players, is happening soon. Register your interest here.
You can still register your interest for the stunning Heineken rooftop bar that sits above the Tottenham Experience, with the added bonus of £50 spending money. Indicate your interest for matches right up to Wolves in February: Register your interest here.
Tottenham Ban Fans Who Sold Tickets On To Red Star Belgrade Supporters
Sky Sports News 19 November
Totally Football Show 20 November
BBC News 20 November
BBC London News 20 November
ITV London News 20 November
BBC Radio 5 Live 20 November
LBC 20 November
LoveSport 20 November
Football Focus 23 November (catch up available before Sunday 1 December)
29 November 2019
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