The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust released the minutes from their meeting with the club this morning and there's some interesting information contained within. While I have been critical of how many board members of the trust have conducted themselves in recent weeks, this document should be evidence of how valuable a role the Trust can play. Their meeting is a fascinating insight into the club and their off the field operations. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.
You should go check out the whole thing at the link above, but we've isolated some of the highlights with some commentary below.
The new stadium was the first major issue discussed, which is unsurprising given it's importance for the future of the club. Perhaps most frustratingly is how rationally a lot of the fan base's most common concerns and conspiracy theories are explained or addressed. As I mentioned yesterday, some better PR surrounding this could have saved everybody a lot of heart burn. However it is comforting that the team understands that "... communications could have been better regarding the stadium. There was an element of them being ‘too close' to the project and a level of presumed knowledge. That was recognised as a misjudgement." So at least they understand that. In any case here are some of the juiciest bits.
Regarding the outstanding CPO on Archway Steel, THFC said all efforts had been made to reach agreement with the Josif family over the past 12 years. Deals had been agreed only for them to be rejected at the last minute. Their intention was to cause delay. The Club said it has relocated over 70 businesses amicably but has been unable to accommodate Archway. Archway were now challenging the legality of the CPO in order to cause further delay. The High Court appeal is scheduled for 15/16 January 2015.
THST questioned whether the amount of money needed to buy out Archway Steel was significant when considered against the effect of delays and loss of revenue that failure to reach agreement had caused. THFC reiterated that this was not a straightforward matter of paying an excessive amount
We're going to see this sort of thing a lot here. A perfectly reasonable explanation for something that fans had turned into a conspiracy theory. It's more than a little aggravating that this wasn't more widely shared, even if I can see Spurs not wanting to broadcast the details of their dealings here too loudly. Still, it's comforting to get out there that the issue with Archway isn't that Spurs are just refusing to give them enough money to go away. To put it in strictly legal terms, I think it's pretty clear from here that Archway are being jerks here.
Many reasons were cited [for leaving WHL for a year] with the most material being the level of risk associated with construction and the length of the build programme which would impact on banks' confidence in the project. When the project was originally proposed in 2007, banks were less risk averse. The recession had resulted in banks becoming more risk averse.
I'm starting to see how they were too close to this and didn't release everything. This is hardly press release material, but again, it would have saved a lot of aggravation and it makes sense.
THFC outlined the options for alternative venues. These were Upton Park, Olympic Stadium, Wembley and stadium:MK.
THST asked for reassurances any period away from WHL would be for one season only. THFC confirmed that this is the plan whilst acknowledging that delays could occur with a construction project of this size.
Why, it's almost like they're not dead set on stadium:MK and there aren't a lot of good choices here!
THFC confirmed that player recruitment was a collaborative process where the Head Coach would identify the positions where cover was needed. The D of F and scouting team would then provide names from which the Head Coach would make his final choice
THST questioned the balance of players being purchased. Successful teams in the past had had a mix of flair players and uncompromising, gritty players. The latter was, in THST's opinion, lacking at present
I struggle to understand how focusing on this is a worthwhile use of anyone involved's time. It'd be one thing if our player commitments were dragging the club into relegation or debt, but I'm not sure our fans have anything meaningful to add beyond "let's win please." In any case, I'm sure this has opened the club's eyes and they'll change their policy of purchasing middle of the road players without enough #spirit, #grit, and #heart. One can only hope the Trust doesn't learn that Spurs had the opportunity to sign David Eckstein. Let's just assume that the Trust was briefly taken over by the spirit of Tim Sherwood and move on.
THST reiterated their position on the StubHub partnership, which is opposed on the grounds that a resale facility should be a service and not a revenue generator. THST urged THFC not to renew the contract, which is due to expire in May 2015 and confirmed they are in discussions with providers around an ethical exchange scheme, which will be passed onto the Club
THFC stated that the StubHub deal was a commercial one and that commercial revenue was vital owing to FFP, but they would review. The amendments in respect of flipping and pricing levels were acknowledged as positive outcomes of the dialogue
Real Madrid Partnership
Yes, they have an entire section of their minutes dedicated to the Real Madrid Partnership. It should be noted when it was announced, it was obviously a fig leaf for losing our best player and mainly concerned behind the scenes personnel. Regardless, it was hardly a big deal and while it is a frequent conspiracy theory among Spurs fans (seriously put on your tin foil hat and do a google search), I question if this is the best way to use your time when you have an opportunity to talk with the club's senior management.
THFC explained how the original partnership had revolved around access to younger players. This required buy in and co-operation between both sets of coaching staff, which hadn't transpired.
There had been an exchange of information on the marketing and commercial side previously.
THFC confirmed that in terms of tangible benefits, the partnership was not active
Questions were raised by THST around THFC's flag policy and, in particular, the removal of the #LevyOut protest banner at the Stoke City match. THFC stated this had caused disagreement amongst fans with contrary views who did not agree with the banner and had thus been removed. THST questioned this as a legitimate reason, drawing attention to protests articulated by other fans at other clubs without significant conflict breaking out and putting the view that fans had a right to express their opinions. THFC maintained its position that the guiding principle was removing anything which caused an issue in the stands
Hahahahaha. The Trust is totally right to ask about this, but that is some hilarious CYA by the club. They SHOULD be acting like United did with the green and gold stuff and just ignore it, because this hashtag isn't going to actually do anything but get a few people called legends on twitter, but whatever. If you're GOING to do this, just be a baller about it, and say that it was taken out because they didn't like it and what are you going to do about it? Needless to say this should have been followed by taking their lunch money and striking a match on the supporters' face to light a cigarette.
THST asked a member's question around Benoit Assou-Ekotto. THFC confirmed he was still under contract and remained on the payroll. He was not training with the first team and is not included in the 25 man squad for this season