Stadium announcement and refunds
THST meeting with the Board of Tottenham Hotspur FC – 9 October
Bag policy at new stadium
Return of the Spurs Beat: Members’ Event – 16 October
Fan rep meeting with the Premier League – 11 October
Planning meeting for West Ham away in the league and cup – 17 October
West Ham away in the Carabao Cup: FOI request
Arsenal in the Carabao Cup
Business Community Liaison Group meeting
Crowd management v Liverpool at Wembley – 15 September
Proposed closure of White Hart Lane station ticket office
BACS refund schedule for league matches moved to Wembley
- Bobby Buckle 150th Birthday: Blue Plaque campaign
- THST cycling jerseys and Football to Amsterdam 2019
- Wingate and Finchley upcoming matches
- Zeelo coach travel for this season
The weekend of 27/ 28 October was an extremely difficult one for the football community. We have extended our sincere condolences to our friends and colleagues at Leicester City's Foxes Trust following the tragic incident at the King Power Stadium, and to our colleagues at Brighton on the loss of a fan ahead of their match v Wolves. We have also sent our well wishes onto Glenn Hoddle after being taken ill at the BT Sport studio last Saturday. Glenn remains very much in our thoughts and we hope for positive news over the coming days and weeks.
1. STADIUM ANNOUNCEMENT AND REFUNDS
On the evening of Friday 26 October we were given 15 minutes’ notice of the Club’s announcement on the latest delays to the opening of the stadium, and the refund mechanism. We pointed out that 15 minutes’ notice was utterly inadequate given the level of detail and the fact that we would have to answer questions from fans and be asked for comment by the press. The timing of the announcement meant that Club phone lines were closed until the Monday so the Trust would be the main point of contact for fans with immediate queries over the weekend.
After we’d digested the detail, we went back into the Club with a number of questions. We had to do so quickly and were encouraged that our questions were in line with those being asked by numerous fans on social media.
• We asked for refunds for all five matches that were confirmed as not being played at the new stadium to be paid in one payment.
• We said the Chelsea game should be charged at Category B prices for season ticket holders, not Cat A, referencing exactly the arguments we had put forward at the recent board-to-board meeting (reported in item 2, below).
• We said booking fees must not be charged at source for these game tickets – Ticketmaster must rectify any issues preventing this.
• We asked for a full and clear explanation of why fans’ bank details needed to be entered AGAIN in order to get refunds, when those same details can be held for the cup ticket scheme and the Season Ticket HP scheme.
We have been asking for earlier confirmation of where games will be played, so it’s good that the Club has taken this on board with this statement, and that the level of detail in the latest communication has improved. However, the financial details were not expressed in the clearest of language, with even some of our more financially literate members saying they couldn’t make much sense of them. We will be publishing some financial analysis in the next few days.
The bottom line remains that we do not have a date confirmed for when the new stadium will be open, and that Season Ticket holders are paying match day pricing for seats in a completely different stadium from the one they bought seats in. They are paying more than last year to sit in a stadium they shouldn’t be in.
Many fans who have contacted us remain pragmatic about the delays on a project of this complexity, and think that the Club wants to move in as quickly as possible. But since the news that we would not be able to move in for the start of the season, they feel the Club should be doing more to make them feel considered. Bad communication and poor decision-making – for example making Chelsea Cat A after agreeing to make Man City Cat B – plus an increasingly difficult and complex refund and purchase process have severely damaged the relationship between Club and fans. The fact that the Club is earning interest on the money fans have paid in for a product they were heavily sold the benefits of but is yet to be delivered has also not gone unremarked upon.
As we went to press with this newsletter we were awaiting a final decision from the Club on the points we put above. We have made supporter feeling extremely clear to them. They are aware that our view is that the minimum we feel is required to acknowledge fan concerns is for the four games now remaining at Wembley – the Chelsea refund process is already underway – to be refunded in one block, and the prices for the Chelsea game to be made Category B. We are expecting an announcement imminently.
2. THST MEETING WITH THE BOARD OF TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC - 9 OCTOBER
Representatives of the Board of THST met with representatives of the Board of Tottenham Hotspur FC and senior Club executives on the evening of Tuesday 9 October for a scheduled Board to Board meeting. This was the second meeting of the year, following the meeting in February; a report of which can be read here. We should emphasise this meeting took place before the latest stadium announcement.
A lot has happened (and not happened) in the intervening months so it won’t be a surprise to hear the agenda was necessarily detailed, covering the main topics of the stadium build, Wembley, ticketing, transport, membership, transfer policy, policing and safety.
As always, we canvassed questions from members and fans ahead of the meeting. All questions were collated into a pack and sent to the Club ahead of the meeting. Questions were referred to frequently throughout the meeting, also. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. It’s important we are covering the areas of importance and interest to our members during these sessions.
A full report from the meeting can be read here and we’re chasing up on outstanding questions – particularly on ticketing.
Our feelings on new stadium pricing and the need for clear and early communication are well known, and we pushed those views firmly at this meeting, as we do in our day-to-day contact with the Club. The Club Board’s attitude at this meeting was very firm and clear. They view the pricing policy as a success because the tickets were purchased. And they do not want to make any firm commitments to finish dates for the stadium project because it might slow things further. We don’t agree that it is acceptable to exploit loyalty by pushing prices ever higher, and have expressed our concern about the long-term effects of doing so on our support. We also do not believe the right balance between project management and customer care on the stadium has been achieved.
Given what we were told at this meeting about how transfer policy would be communicated in future, we’re sure fans will be interested in the manager’s comments last weekend.
Our next session with the Spurs Board is scheduled for early February 2019, after the close of the transfer window. We will, however, keep a close eye on developments over the coming weeks and should we require a meeting sooner, will certainly request that.
3. BAG POLICY AT NEW STADIUM
Since the Club revealed details of its intention to prevent supporters taking bags into the new stadium, a practice Wembley is likely to adopt soon too, we have been contacted by a number of supporters expressing concern.
The reality of the world we are living in means that, throughout Europe and America at least, major venues are trying to reduce or eliminate the instances of bags being taken into events. We understand the security issues here, just as we understand the security measures now in place for boarding flights. However, we also understand that in some instances a strict ‘no bags’ policy causes considerable problems for people and we are lobbying for practical solutions.
We’ve been contacted by fans who:
• Need to carry laptops with them on weekday evenings if they are coming from work
• Need to carry laptops that they cannot drop off at designated bag drops because they work for local government, government, the civil service or jobs that forbid them from leaving work laptops unattended
• Travel long distances to home games and need to work on laptops and/or carry food, drink and other items with them – particularly if travelling with children
• Travel with young children
• Are disabled or who travel with disabled people
Simply charging for a bag drop does not act as a deterrent. It imposes an additional cost that some fans cannot avoid. For others, even a bag drop is not an option.
We’ve also had concern expressed about the see-through ‘bag for life’ the Club is encouraging fans to use. A number of people have contacted us saying they don’t relish walking around the vicinity of the stadium with valuable personal items such as car keys, iPads, mobile phones etc. on clear display. And many female fans also don’t want the contents of their handbags on public display.
We have to say this is an uphill struggle at the moment, with an almost blanket response of ‘People must change their habits’. But we’ll keep pushing for common sense to prevail.
We’re lobbying for a sensible, practical solution that addresses security concerns while also recognising the realities of everyday life. One such is establishing a register of fans who want to carry bags in, along with designated entry points.
4. RETURN OF THE SPURS BEAT: MEMBERS' EVENT - 16 OCTOBER
Following our enormously successful members' evening last autumn that saw some of the journalists who regularly cover Spurs answer questions from our members-only audience, we ran a follow-up event on Tuesday 16 October over at CMS’s Cannon Street offices.
Trust co-chair Martin Cloake once again chaired a panel session with four guests from a wide range of media outlets: Gerry Cox, Michael Bridge, Chris Cowlin and Dan Kilpatrick. A lively audience of c 60 THST members learned of their views on the communications approach taken by the Club, the difficulties trying to obtain interesting, unique interviews from heavily media-trained players and the growing importance of Mauricio Pochettino as the de facto Club spokesperson for all Spurs-related issues – including stadium delays and transfer activity. There was a general wish that the Chairman, Daniel Levy, would communicate with the media more, too.
Questions from the floor included whether there is an anti-Spurs agenda in the media, Pochettino’s commitment to Tottenham and his ‘winning’ mentality, Levy’s ambitions and intentions, reaction to the summer transfer window and how Spurs was perceived by journalists on the continent.
We don’t publish notes from such events as we want our guests to be able to speak freely and honestly. However, those present enjoyed a highly informative and enlightening evening, which also raised £70 for Studio 306 Collective.
Thanks to all of our guest panelists for giving their time and sharing their expertise and knowledge so generously.
We’re taking a break from the journalist evening in 2019 but will be returning to this popular format in 2020.
5. FAN REP MEETING WITH THE PREMIER LEAGUE - 11 OCTOBER
Supporter reps from every Premier League club, the Football Supporters’ Federation, Supporters Direct and senior officials from the Premier League met for the autumn ‘structured dialogue’ meeting on 11 October 2018.
After a six month saga securing the release of the minutes from the March meeting, a new Terms of Reference and an agreement for reps of the FSF and the Premier League to draft notes immediately after the meeting has paid off – and notes from the October session can be read here. Topics included structured dialogue between fan groups and the Clubs, progress on flexible rail tickets for fans on the train network, an update on standing at Premier League grounds, the impact of Brexit on football, ticketing, kick-off times and VAR.
In what was Richard Scudamore’s last meeting as Premier League Chief Executive, thanks were recorded for his help implementing the £30 away price cap in 2016; an initiative he committed to recommend that the Premier League chairmen continued with under the new TV deal from 2019 - 2022.
We await the outcome of those discussions at the Premier League shareholders meeting in February.
6. PLANNING MEETING FOR WEST HAM AWAY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE AND CARABAO CUP - 17 OCTOBER
THST reps met with both Clubs, police, London Stadium reps and fellow fan reps ahead of our Premier League tie at West Ham on 20 October, and the League Cup tie on 31 October.
We published advice for travelling Spurs fans, which can be read here.
Once again, we were disappointed to learn that fans would not be served alcohol at half time following what was called a ‘dynamic risk assessment’ by Newham Safety Advisory Group. First, ‘dynamic’ means assessed in real-time, so no such dynamic risk assessment could possibly have taken place before the event. Second, after Spurs fans were served alcohol at both Arsenal and Chelsea away last season without the sky falling in, it’s frustrating to see that other Clubs are still struggling with the fact that most fans manage to operate on the right side of the law for the other 6 days and 23 hours of a week, so one bottle of Carlsberg is unlikely to change that at half time at the football.
It was also disappointing to hear that there is no fan representation on Newham SAG and that Newham had, in fact, rejected approaches. THST is thankful Haringey is more open-minded.
After a number of the details discussed at this meeting were changed late on the afternoon of the Cup game, we will be asking for an explanation and a review of how these meetings are conducted in future.
7. WEST HAM IN THE CARABAO CUP - FOI REQUEST
THST Board member Martin Buhagiar submitted a Freedom of Information request to the London Stadium SAG and Metropolitan Police to request further details around the ticketing arrangements for our Carabao Cup tie away to West Ham on 31 October.
Under EFL Cup rules, visiting fans are entitled to 10% of capacity: 6,000 at the London Stadium. Spurs were awarded 5,200 tickets which reduced to 4,800 once segregation lines and seat kills were taken into account.
We are informed that West Ham has dispensation to offer less than the 10% competition rule and we are keen to understand why. We asked why Spurs fans were not given the full ticketing allocation for this match and on what basis that was decided. We will update members when we receive a reply from both parties.
We were also disappointed to see no senior ticketing category for the Cup tie and the junior category only extending to Under 16. Spurs moved from Under 16 to Under 18 back in 2014 and introduced a Young Adult category for 18-21 year olds this summer, for context.
We’ll update once we’ve received a response to our FOI requests.
8. ARSENAL IN THE CARABAO CUP
After we were drawn away at Arsenal in the quarter-final of the League Cup, we made our usual formal request to THFC to push for accessible pricing and maximum allocation. Pricing has to be agreed by both clubs, so THFC has a chance to acknowledge fan concern over pricing and expense so far this season by helping to ensure it is not a Category A fixture. Competition rules state we should be given 10% of the capacity as our allocation. Some of that will be eaten into by seat kill required for segregation and security, but we’ll be looking for as close to 6,000 tickets as possible. We’re aware of the imagination Islington’s Safety Advisory Group has deployed in reducing our allocation for previous ties, and will be FOI-ing any decisions that are not fully transparent.
9. BUSINESS COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP MEETING - 23 OCTOBER
THST Secretary Pete Haine was the Trust representative at October’s BCLG meeting. Matters of interest included the lobbying of TfL over the provision of toilets at the refurbished White Hart Lane station and the 2 x NFL games scheduled for New WHL in October 2019.
MACE updated that 90% of the roof on the new stadium was now complete; that the grass pitch was now in place; that certain areas had already been handed over to THFC; there were ongoing external works with public areas being paved; the Club Shop had opened that day and there were 500 workers on site by day and 150 at night, when the cladding is being installed.
The latest announcement re: the ground opening was imminent (statement issued Friday 26 October).
The next BLCG Meeting is scheduled for 20 November 2018.
10. CROWD MANAGEMENT V LIVERPOOL AT WEMBLEY - 15 SEPTEMBER
As referenced in our last newsletter, we received a number of complaints from fans concerned at the presence of away fans in home areas of Wembley at the Liverpool match. We’ve now received a response from WNSL via THFC, explaining their approach on the day.
Regarding away fans in home ends, this was part of the WNSL Safety Officer’s brief to deal with and act upon. WNSL reported incidents of away fans with legitimate home end tickets. Once discovered, they were then acted upon and ejected. There were 10 ejections of away fans in the home end in total. THFC will follow up with the original purchaser on occasions where away fans were in the home end with legitimate tickets and appropriate sanctions will be imposed.
Commenting on the pyrotechnic activated in the away end, WNSL confirmed a smoke device was set off at 13:08hrs in Block 118 when Liverpool scored their first goal. The person who threw the smoke device could not be identified by CCTV, nor could the location it came from unfortunately, so WNSL could not act. The response team were on the scene almost immediately to make the area safe for the fire team to come in and collect/dispose of spent device correctly. This was the only incident of any pyro/smoke device activation.
11. PROPOSED CLOSURE OF WHITE HART LANE STATION TICKET OFFICE
It was brought to our attention that White Hart Lane train station ticket office features on an Arriva list for potential permanent closure, as can be read here. THST has written to London TravelWatch with our concerns. Our submission can be read in full below.
Dear London TravelWatch
I am responding to your consultation on behalf of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust (www.thstofficial.com) concerning Arriva’s proposal to close a number of ticket offices on the London Overground and specifically the closure of the ticket office at White Hart Lane station.
As I am sure you aware, Tottenham Hotspur will shortly be moving back to a new stadium built essentially in the same location as its old White Hart Lane stadium. Before closure the old stadium had a full capacity of 36,000 spectators; the new stadium is nearly double that at 62,000. Outside of matchdays it is likely there will be a considerably larger number of additional events (e.g. NFL games, concerts) taking place at the new stadium than there ever were at the old. White Hart Lane is the nearest train station (Overground or National Rail) to the stadium site.
Our concerns/comments are the following:
- It seems precipitous to close the WHL ticket office just as that part of Tottenham is about to welcome visitors in numbers not seen since at least the 1960s.
- Passenger usage has not been tested under previous match day conditions let alone in the changed circumstances of significantly increased capacity. The evidence presented in support of closure cannot therefore be considered reliable.
- The proposals are light on detail on replacement facilities. Before acquiescing with closure respondents will need to know the proposed number of ticket machines on hand and the number of staff proposed to be working in the ticket hall on matchdays to accommodate the substantially increased usage of the station.
- In any event, it would appear sensible to keep the ticket office open until at least the end of the current football season to test demand under matchday conditions.
- During this time staff in the ticket hall should complement a manned ticket office rather than replace it.
We also raised this with THFC, and the Club has made its own detailed response to the consultation, calling for the station to be properly serviced.
12. BACS REFUND SCHEDULE
One of the most popular questions on THST social media is ‘when will my refund for XX league game arrive in my bank account?’ The Club has published a schedule of BACS payments on its AskSpurs platform, which would be useful to book mark! The schedule can be found at the bottom of this page.
Bobby Buckle 150th anniversary: Blue Plaque campaign
We continue to support the efforts to secure a Blue Plaque on the White Cottage at 7 White Hart Lane to mark the former home of Bobby Buckle, the Club’s first goalscorer, first captain, first secretary and arguably the most influential figure in the Club’s formation and early history. If you want to find out more about the campaign and give it your backing, visit bobbybuckle.co.uk.
Prostate Cancer UK: Football to Amsterdam 2019
With over seven months to go before we set off to Amsterdam (on 7 June 2019) we are already just one rider short of our 2017 record of 24 Spurs cyclists. How about joining us and helping us go way beyond that total? Not only is it for a great cause - helping combat a disease that effects 1 in 8 men in the UK - it’s a guaranteed brilliant way to get fitter.
In the last three years, around 50 Spurs fans have completed the ride, none have failed to finish at the Ajax Arena and all have enjoyed a real fun time.
Also, due to our exceptional fundraising (over £75,000 to date) we have been rewarded with a £50 reduction in the registration fee up to the end of November. Just enter the code: THSTCOYS19 when you register. Or if you would like more information contact Kevin at THST.
Donations: If any of you would like to contribute to our fundraising, in addition to all our individual pages we have a team page, here.
Spurs cycling jerseys
A Spurs fan and a cyclist? If the club produced a Spurs cycling jersey (official club branding, zipped front, back pockets etc.) would you buy one?
As you may be aware, the Club generously gave permission for the use of the Spurs logo on our jerseys for the 2018 Amsterdam ride and then followed this up with enabling us to produce 25 special edition Spurs/Trust jerseys. A number of fans, including those who missed out on the special edition, have subsequently enquired for a jersey.
Following this, at the recent THST/THFC Board meeting, we offered to look further to see if there was sufficient demand to sell 1,500 jerseys: the minimum requirement for the Club to produce as official merchandise.
Whilst we look into this further, if you would like to provide any feedback on this suggestion then contact Kevin Fitzgerald.
Wingate and Finchley upcoming matches
THST has partnered with non-league Wingate and Finchley to promote their home games with an offer to Trust members and Spurs members who may wish to attend if Spurs aren’t playing or are away from home.
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.
Throughout November, Wingate and Finchley face Kingstonian at home on Tuesday 20 November at 7.45pm and Carshalton Athletic on Saturday 24 November at 3pm.
THST members are welcome at both of those matches, and at cup ties yet to be scheduled for the coming month.
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
On-demand coach service, Zeelo, continues to offer a 10% discount on all journeys for Trust members using promo code THST10.
In addition, Zeelo is also offering a 25% discount for bookings of 3 seats or more using the promo code GROUP.
Zeelo remain committed to taking Spurs fans to all home games, whether they be at Wembley or the new White Hart Lane Stadium, for the 2018/19 season.
The Guardian – John Crace’s Digested Week (see Thursday)
Reaction to the B2B
Football London – Daniel Levy discusses new Spurs stadium delays, naming rights and when the next update will be
Mirror - Tottenham chief Daniel Levy breaks silence on new stadium issues and reveals when next update will be
Football London – Daniel Levy finally reveals why Spurs didn't sign a single player in the summer transfer window
BBC Sport – New Tottenham stadium not affecting transfer policy, says chairman Daniel Levy
AP News - Tottenham opposes selling temporary Wembley home to Khan
ESPN - Tottenham stadium costs didn't affect summer transfer policy - Daniel Levy
Sky Sports - Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy opposes sale of Wembley Stadium
Fox Sports – Tottenham opposes selling temporary Wembley home to Khan
Daily Mail - Tottenham opposes selling temporary Wembley home to Khan
Football 365 – Levy finally speaks out about Tottenham’s lack of signings
Independent - Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy opposes Shahid Khan’s £600m bid to buy Wembley
Evening Standard - Rising cost of new Tottenham stadium forcing club into cuts but transfer budget is protected
Building - Mace spells out reason for striking CM deal on Spurs stadium
Building - Spurs chairman says stadium delays down to 'several contractors'
Football London - How Spurs' new stadium & NFL plans will be affected by Shahid Khan withdrawing his Wembley offer
Football London - Mauricio Pochettino responds to Daniel Levy's comments about Spurs' lack of transfer spending
Daily Mail - Spurs stadium loan rockets up to £500m to cover rising costs of delayed construction
The Washington Times - Tottenham opposes selling temporary Wembley home to Khan
Rolling Street Sports News - Spurs braced for decisive week in bid to open stadium before Christmas
10z Soccer - Tottenham confirm new stadium will not be ready until 2019
Attendance at Man City game
The Telegraph – Why Spurs fans aren’t turning up at Wembley
The Sportsman – Tottenham season ticket holders consider future support
The Fighting Cock, 11 October 2018
The Club’s iSpurs information portal has been rebranded as Ask Spurs. The portal 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 2018
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