Twenty-four hours after the Club announced it was pulling out of the European Super League, we received an informal invitation from the Club’s Executive Board to meet for a conversation. We discussed the offer as a Board and decided to turn the invitation down. But we did offer the Club’s Board the opportunity to state its case in a written statement to the meeting.
They told us that given the current situation, and on legal advice, it wasn’t possible to put anything in writing and that they were disappointed we didn’t want to meet but did appreciate the difficulties.
Over the last two to three years, we have raised the issue of potential changes to European Club Competition and breakaway leagues with the Club’s Board. They have responded by saying they wouldn’t discuss hypothetical situations. We have told them that the position of most football fans is that, as a bare minimum, success in competition should be based on merit. They have “noted” our view.
In our last discussion in December 2020, we explicitly told the Club’s Board that we would expect them to consult fans before taking any significant decisions such as which leagues we should play in. We were told that as Daniel Levy was a fan and he had friends who were fans, he was aware of what fans thought; that many clever people were looking at the issue and that any wider consultation on such fundamental issues was not necessary nor practical.
What we now know is that, for much of the time they were refusing to discuss hypothetical situations and noting our views, they were engaged in very real conversations that not only ignored our views, but were based on an idea that was the polar opposite of the principle we had repeatedly told them fans most value.
They knew fans did not want these changes. But they believed they could make them and the fans would just accept it. They didn’t know how wrong they were.
The current incarnation of the European Super League is now dead. In the end the plotters could not distance themselves from it fast enough. So what does this mean for us, and for every fan group at the six clubs in England?
It means we cannot trust what our Boards say when we meet with them. It means we cannot convince people there is a value in trying to have a conversation. If they are not going to be honest with us, if they think consulting is telling us what’s been decided after it’s decided, we cannot tell you, our members and fellow Spurs fans, that it is worth having those meetings.
But the actions of the current Club Board also have more important consequences than just the relationship with the Trust. The consequences of their decision to attempt to launch this breakaway league could now lead to substantial penalties against Spurs – points deductions, suspension from competition, financial penalties, other sanctions. They signed up to this plan knowing they risked all that, and knowing they risked their players being banned from international competition.
The responsibility of the Club’s Board is to always act in the best interests of THFC. The current Board clearly has not acted in the best interests of the football club. In fact, its action could still lead to outcomes that are in the worst interests of THFC.
We think their relationship with us is irreparably broken. And we think their continued presence risks punitive action being taken against the club.
We believe the immediate resignation of the current Executive Board is in the best long-term interests of the Club.
A football club needs a board to run it. So if this Executive Board resigns, it needs to be replaced by another one. Otherwise the Club’s best interests are not served. And the board is appointed by the owners. Who happen to be Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy.
If the board resigns, they will appoint new people with the same ideas. And they will still be in charge. So why aren’t we calling for them to resign?
Owners don’t resign. They sell up. And they sell to buyers. On their own terms. What we will not do is call for the Club to have no board and no owners.
So, in addition to calling for the immediate resignation of the Executive Board, we are calling for the owners to work with us to appoint a new board that has elected and accountable fan representation on it.
That cannot be token representation. Alongside other supporter groups and the FSA, we are calling for the Government’s review into football governance to give fans an effective golden share in their clubs, so that no decision on key issues can be taken without the express approval of fans.
To be clear, we are calling for effective, elected and accountable fan representation at Board level and not for members of the current THST Board to be that elected fan representative.
Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy will have a choice. Make those changes or refuse and risk the Club becoming unmanageable because the Owners and Board do not have the consent of the fans. We have shown the influence we can have in the past week, just as we did over furlough and over the proposed move to east London. If the Owners do not make the changes we demand, we will then have to consider how we practically encourage new buyers to take over and work with the fans in the best interests of the football club.
The Trust Board has never believed in sloganising or grandstanding. We think this recommendation is practical, workable and achievable. There is more that needs changing in this Club, and in football. But we start from where we are.
The actions of the current Board have shamed and humiliated the Club, and wilfully risked its competitive wellbeing. It’s a sad day for this great Club, but it is also a watershed moment. We can show that our Clubs can only be run with the consent of the fans.
Tonight’s meeting saw 90% of members vote in agreement with the following statement:
“We call for the immediate resignation of the Executive Board of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and for the owners to work with us to appoint a new board that has elected and accountable fan representation on it. That representation must make key decisions about the running of the club dependent upon fan approval, and we would expect to see that made a legal requirement across the game.”
This has been adopted as the official THST position with immediate effect. We have informed the Board of THFC of this decision.
We await their response while continuing to work with the DCMS, Tracey Crouch MP and the Football Supporters’ Association on the fan-led review of football.
We’ll now be turning our immediate attention to Sunday’s League Cup Final, and we would like to wish manager Ryan Mason and the entire squad every success in bringing the trophy home to N17 for the fans.
23 April 2021