THST meeting with THFC – 3 October
Dedicated ticketing meeting with THFC – 20 October
Christmas Eve Football
Festive fixture moves
Train for Leicester away – 28 November
Fan reps meeting with the Premier League – 10 October
The Spurs Beat – THST Members’ Event – 12 October
Champions League away matches – Real Madrid and Dortmund
- Business Community Liaison Meeting – 3 October
- Catering meeting – 23 October
- Mayor’s Winter Gala Ball – 1 December
- Football to Amsterdam 2018 - June 2018
- Zeelo coach travel to Wembley
1. THST meeting with THFC – 3 October
As reported last month, the scheduled Board to Board meeting with THFC was replaced with a meeting of the Trust Co-chairs, one of the Club’s Executive Directors and THFC’s Head of Supporter Services at the start of October.
This gave us an opportunity to discuss the frustrations on both sides following a difficult summer and to move forwards constructively at what is a hugely important time for both the Club and the fans.
We issued a statement on 10 October, which updated our members and the wider fan base on the situation, which can be read here.
We were pleased to hear ticketing systems and resource issues were being addressed as a priority by the Club, as many of our frustrations – and those of individual fans who’d been in contact with us over the past few months - had been ticketing related. These improvements should ease the pressure on the online servers, and on the customer service team considerably.
As reported in our statement, we have mutually agreed to focus primarily on ticketing for and migration into the new stadium for the immediate future, with the first of a series of dedicated meetings taking place on the 20 October.
We will then look to restart full Board to Board meetings over the coming months.
2. Dedicated ticketing meeting with THFC
Trust co-chairs Martin Cloake and Katrina Law met with the Head of Ticketing and Membership, Ian Murphy and Head of Supporter Services, Jonathan Waite on the evening of Friday 20 October to discuss initial plans for moving fans into the new stadium and various points of ticketing detail, including overall pricing policy and concessionary areas.
These are early stage discussions, with further meetings planned for next month. At this stage, we have no granular detail to share with members as nothing has been signed off, but we will inform and update as soon as we reasonably are in a position to do so.
Our position has always been balancing the commercial realities with the need to make the new stadium as accessible as possible for the widest group of fans. We are lobbying for the lowest ticket price in the new stadium to be equivalent with those at White Hart Lane; for concessions in more than one stand; for the introduction of a Young Adult pricing category for those aged 18-22; for the South stand to be priced appropriately to attract the demographic needed to create the desired atmosphere and for deposits and balances on Season Tickets to be processed to reasonable timescales. We are also discussing the process and priority order for migrating Season Ticket holders into the new ground.
Please bear with us while these discussions progress over the coming months.
3. Christmas Eve football
At the end of September, rumours began circulating that Sky Sports was looking to utilise both of its Super Sunday slots to televise Premier League matches on Christmas Eve. This would include a match being broadcast in the most valuable slot of the weekend, 4pm on Sunday 24 December. Matches rumoured for displacement included Arsenal v Liverpool and West Ham United v Newcastle United. In both of these instances, there would be no return rail travel available for visiting fans and those driving would be looking at reaching home just before Santa arrived for his mulled wine and mince pies.
Collectively, all Premier League fan groups spoke out against the suggestion of Christmas Eve football on the basis that this was a day too far. No match has been played on 24 December for 22 years and there was no need to start encroaching on family time on a day when public transport closed down early.
We co-signed a statement alongside fellow fan groups, published here and backed the Football Supporters Federation’s calls for no football on Xmas Eve, too. We were pleased to see Tom Watson MP also voice the same opinion in a letter to the Premier League.
Following a year of dialogue with Sky Sports, we were able to ensure the fans point of view was articulated directly to the broadcasters, who subsequently decided against televising a match in either Sunday slot.
It is worth noting that the Premier League and its constituent Clubs are not without fault here. The set of fixtures for 23 December do not lend themselves easily to displacement for broadcast. 7 of the 10 matches would be extremely problematic for visiting supporters considering the distances involved. The Premier League admitted prioritising Boxing Day and the New Year’s fixtures ahead of the 23 December in terms of distance.
It should also be remembered that each of the Clubs agreed to Sky Sports buying the rights to broadcast two matches on a Sunday when the TV deal for 2016-2019 was signed. And without a caveat excluding Christmas Eve.
The positive to come from this is a demonstration of the power of the collective. Together, fan groups made their point so clearly that the most valuable broadcast slot of the week was dropped. And to such an extent that we are assured no broadcaster will try to encroach on Christmas Eve again in the near future. And that the Premier League will be very aware the next time Xmas Eve falls on a Sunday in 2023. A line has been drawn.
4. Festive fixture moves
The announcement of the TV picks up until 28 December by the Premier League on 19 October saw Tottenham moved twice across the festive period. First, Spurs’ visit to Burnley was put back to a 5.30pm kick off on Saturday 23 December. Then Spurs’ Boxing Day match against Southampton was brought forward to a 12.30pm kick off at Wembley. Both will present challenges for match going fans.
THST lobbied THFC to provide transport for our travelling fans as soon as it became clear the match at Turf Moor would be a late kick off. THFC is exploring options as we publish this newsletter and we'll communicate details as soon as those are available.
The Boxing Day fixture against Southampton at Wembley will also present issues for many fans, with no national rail network running. Back in the spring, THST lobbied THFC to include an away Boxing Day fixture in their ‘wish list’ to the Premier League, which they duly did. This wasn’t granted when the fixture list was compiled. The early kick off now means Spurs staff will need to be on site from before 8.00am the day after Christmas, and that many fans living outside the London tube network will experience difficulties getting to the game earlier than usual.
We have asked that THFC confirm the service that will be running on the Jubilee., Bakerloo and Metropolitan lines and advise as to any additional travel assistance they can provide to mitigate this inconvenience.
At the time of writing, we are also awaiting confirmation of any changes to fixtures from 28 December to 31 January. Broadcast picks for this period were originally due to be announced on 12 October, with the December fixtures up to Christmas Eve being pushed back to 19 October and the remaining selection until the close of January due to be announced on 26 October. Disappointingly, this did not materialise last Friday. The Premier League has failed to comment so far, or offer an apology, other than a very brief statement on their website late on Friday afternoon. The point has been made that this is unacceptable and we are following up with the PL and Sky.
5. Train for Leicester away – 28 November
We thank THFC for providing a chartered train for the away match at the King Power stadium on the evening of Tuesday 28 November. As ever with a night game at Leicester, there is no public transport provision back to London, so a special train at a cost of £20 return is most welcomed. Fans with valid match tickets wishing to book on the train will find details here.
6. Fans rep meeting with the Premier League – 10 October
As part of the EWG recommendations on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement, the Premier League has committed to meet twice yearly with representatives of recognised fan groups for what is known as a ‘structured dialogue’ session. The second meeting of 2017 took place on 10 October at the Premier League’s offices on Gloucester Place, with one fan rep from each of the 20 Clubs present, alongside national reps and Senior Premier League Executives. THST Co-chair Martin Cloake represented Tottenham Hotspur supporters on this occasion, with other THST Co-chair Kat Law present as part of the national delegation.
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, joined the meeting for one hour and so the agenda was kept focused so as to maximise the time with him in the room. Safe standing was the first topic with Richard present, with the PL updating on their current position and the next steps of gathering an evidence base exploring aspects of safety and crowd dynamics before progressing further. It was acknowledged that the EFL were making the running on this, and the PL were happy for them to do so. The PL would not move faster than the research took. There was a commitment to make this a thorough piece of work and to ensure when presented to government, all areas had been fully explored.
The conversation then moved onto Fixture Scheduling and Kick off times, where we reported back on the continuing work of the Kick Off Times Working Group (KOTWG) and the ongoing dialogue with Sky Sports. The intervention of Tom Watson MP on the flexible train fare initiative was referenced as a positive step, also. Naturally, the debate included the issue of Xmas Eve football, as covered above. Finally, we touched on future broadcast contracts and what we’d like to see given back to fans from the proceeds of the 2019-2022 deal. This will be an ongoing negotiation.
An update from UKFPU on the latest police statistics and an update on counter terrorism initiatives were also covered, along with an update on Club travel initiatives before the meeting closed after two hours.
A full report on this meeting can be found here.
We look forward to progressing discussions with the Premier League in the next meeting scheduled for March 2018.
On a related note, the results of the Football Supporters Federation and Supporters Direct’s research on Club engagement with fan groups were also released this month and can be viewed here.
7. The Spurs Beat – Members’ Event – 12 October
For our Autumn Members’ Event, we wanted to host an evening that would offer a chance to access content and information not available elsewhere that would be of specific interest to Tottenham Hotspur supporters and would provide an opportunity to socialise with like-minded individuals.
Coming together as Board, Trust members and Spurs fans is vitally important to the long term health of THST, so we always value these events, and urge as many of you as possible to come along on the night to future events.
The Spurs Beat – in conversation with Spurs correspondents – saw four leading Tottenham journalists give up their time for free to talk all things Spurs. Huge thanks go to Tom Collomosse, Ben Pearce, Alasdair Gold and Seb Stafford-Bloor for speaking so candidly about their experiences of covering Spurs for various national and local media outlets. Topics covered included dealing with the press office at Spurs, the accessibility of the manager and players, the perception of Spurs fans to the media, the reporting of transfer rumours, THAT Danny Rose interview and the fascination with selling Spurs players through the press!
We were delighted with the very healthy turnout on the night and Trust members certainly came armed with questions ready to quiz the panel. The roving mics were very busy indeed!
Thanks also to CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro, and especially Gary Green and Nancy Wylie, for hosting this event for us.
Looking ahead to 2018, our next Members’ event will be our Annual General Meeting in February. We’ll then look to hold another evening event in April with a guest speaker of particular relevance to Spurs. We’ll then be holding our established End of Season BBQ at the Antwerp Arms in late May, which will also serve as a homecoming after our year away!
We also plan on calling specific meetings to discuss ticketing in the new stadium. These may be at short notice owing to the Club’s timelines but we’ll do our best to communicate in advance and to engage and consult as much as we practically can over the coming weeks and months.
We very much look forward to seeing you and your friends and family at a forthcoming Trust event.
8. Champions League away matches: Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund
Ahead of two major trips to Europe in the Champions League, THST worked with the Club to try to ensure a common sense approach to match day planning and that as much information as possible was shared with fans in good time before the games.
THST made representations to THFC around the proposed security procedure at the Bernabeu, which originally included a ‘no bag’ and ‘no bag drop’ policy, subsequently relaxed to ‘small bags’ being permitted. We also pushed back on the need for original passports only as ID, with Madrid officials subsequently accepting UK driving licenses and, late in the day, agreeing to accept photocopies of passports as well after further Club representations. We challenged the ban on cameras, when every smart phone has a built in camera, also.
As those who travelled will be well aware, Madrid insisted on each fan completing an online form beforehand with passport details and full name and address. Names were then written on tickets to be checked against the photo ID upon arrival at the stadium. Any that did not match were to be refused entrance to the stadium. In reality, the vast majority of names on tickets matched the accompanying ID and only 5 fans were refused entrance just before kick off, due more to alcohol consumption than non matching names!
With only 1 arrest from the 4,000 strong visiting support, this was a very successful night both on and off the pitch.
Looking ahead to our visit to Dortmund in November, THST was in contact with THFC ahead of their familiarisation tour to remind officials of the problems experienced during our last visit to BVB in March 2016, where several fans suffered minor injuries as a result of crushing at the entrances. We reported extensively to UEFA, BVB and THFC at the time and are keen to ensure our fans’ safety will not be compromised again at Signal Iduna Park.
We have since spoken with Tottenham’s Safety Officer, Dean Smith, who has assured us that significant changes have been implemented since our last visit, including a new outer turnstile area and new barrier configuration. Spurs fans have been moved to a new entrance, North Left, which will now be a dedicated away entrance, also.
We’re promised the management of our fans in the entry queue will be handled by Spurs stewards and the Club is confident that the new operational plan is fit for purpose.
- Business & Community Liaison Group Meeting – 3 October
An update on the new stadium build was provided. Work on the steelwork on the South stand is now up to level 5, and will eventually reach level 9. In the basement, all services have now been installed.
There were 1226 workers on site that day, with the 20% target from local people having been achieved.
Piling was scheduled to finish in mid-October and would then recommence at some time in the future for the Hotel site.
The concrete slab for the NFL pitch is now in place. Sometime in December or January, the football pitch trays (3 trays containing a total of 99 segments) will be on site.
It was confirmed that test events will be required at the new stadium before a licence can be granted.
THFC is about to discuss the provision of fan zones for NFL games with local authorities.
The redevelopment of Percy House is nearly finished and the Foundation is hoping to move in by the end of November.
- Catering Meeting – 23 October
The Club is aiming to provide variety and quality at reasonable prices. The aim is to attract supporters before and after the game as well as, of course, in the customary time immediately prior to the game and at half time.
The season away is providing a valuable opportunity to source the right products and design the infrastructure, though training new staff obviously has to be done off-site.
THST's catering lead, Rachel Martin, has provided a full report from the meeting,which can be found here, but highlights include a state of the art ‘bottoms up’ rapid beer pouring system for general admission areas, the provision of mainline and craft beers, a range of sandwiches and pies including healthy and gluten free options, more choice of wine, more accessible fresh water supplies, on-site bakery to create more home-made products, cashless payment systems to speed up service, and Michelin star chefs catering for batches of games in the premium seat restaurants.
- Mayor’s Winter Gala Ball – 1 December
We are proud to announce that THST has arranged for ex Spurs player Paul Stewart to be interviewed by Theo Delaney as part of the evening’s entertainment.
More information on the event can be found here. And details of the evening and tickets are here should you wish to attend.
- Football to Amsterdam - 1-3 June 2018
Registration is now open for the event and we already have eight Spurs cyclists signed up.
In addition to being an excellent cause to support, it’s a brilliantly organised fun event with a Saturday night in Amsterdam thrown in. It’s also a great way to get fit. What’s not to like?
Any questions? More information? Contact Kevin Fitzgerald at the Trust.
- Zeelo coach travel to Wembley
Cambridge - Royston - Wembley
Southend - Rayleigh - Wembley
And they are also exploring pick-ups from Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent.
Full details can be found here. Get in touch directly with Zeelo with any route requests or queries via email, live chat on their website or by tweeting @gozeelo.
Ticketing at Spurs in the Evening Standard.
iSpurs information portal
The Club has also set up a new, dedicated information portal online which answers many of the questions we are frequently contacted with. We’d urge fans to read and familiarise themselves with the details available on the portal as we continue to receive a high volume of questions asking for this information.
1 November 2017
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