The fallout from Tottenham Hotspur’s decision to join the now-failed European Super League continues to develop. Today, the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST), the organization that serves as the officially-recognized link between Spurs supporters and the club, released the results of a members-only vote taken in the wake of the Super League’s formation and has put its foot down decisively, with 90% of participating members voting to demand that the Spurs Executive Board resign immediately.
Excerpted from a statement posted on the THST website:
“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 is a remarkable statement from the THST. For sure, the relationship between the THST and the club has had its ups and downs — the job of a supporters trust is to communicate concerns from fans to the club and to try and continually improve the fan experience in an environment that has greatly skewed towards big business. However, as an outsider viewing things from across the Atlantic Ocean, the only other time I can remember the relationship between the two being as strained as this during my time as a Spurs fan was when the club was considering moving to Stratford a decade ago before the Northumberland Development Project got underway.
The THST went on to expound upon the above statement and what has led to it:
...[T]he 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.
I find it extremely unlikely that the Trust’s statement will cause any of the Executive Board to resign their positions, though I admire the Trust’s incredibly strong and forthright position on the matter. It is clear that Spurs’ participation in the ESL has caused significant damage to the relationship with the THST, and by extension, to Spurs fans. The THST calls that relationship “irreparably broken.” That is a very strong phrase and I have no doubts whatsoever that it is used without any hyperbole.
The THST has gone on to demand that a new Executive Board be appointed, but one that “has elected and accountable fan representation on it.”
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.
The THST does not have the power to force Daniel Levy, Donna-Maria Cullen, Rebecca Caplehorn, Matthew Collecott, or any other member of the Executive Board to resign. However, they have significant support from and representation of local Tottenham supporters and season ticket holders. This statement effectively serves as a vote of no confidence from Tottenham supporters on the current governance of the club and a clear statement on the need for comprehensive structural reforms in the sport of football.