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Tottenham Hotspur will have fan representation on the board

The apology isn’t great, but fan representation is a step in the right direction.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - General Views Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The European Super League is all but dead, but the ramifications of it’s demise continue to be felt. This time, it involves our own Tottenham Hotspur.

We’ve been waiting for a while to hear from ENIC and/or Daniel Levy in regard to their involvement in this failed endeavor. Most importantly, to get an actual apology and how they’re going to try and make it right. While the #ENICOUT banners are getting bigger by the day, the club have been trying to mitigate the damage. Today is a step in the right direction:

Normally we take snippets from announcements but I’m making an exception this time and posting the full release:

We have seen football fans around the world come together to show their strength of feeling regarding the future of the game we all feel so passionately about, with strong views expressed on the proposed establishment of a new European Super League (ESL).

It’s important to underline that we entered the ESL with the expectation that the format, rules and structures would evolve through dialogue with key parties, namely the Premier League, FA, UEFA, FIFA and, crucially, fans. It should never have been conveyed with certainty when it was in fact a framework agreement for consultation going forward.

We should have challenged and reconsidered the annual access system. We wholeheartedly regret that we involved the Club and that the legal process itself meant we were unable to consult our fans early on – we apologise unreservedly.

We have all learnt lessons from recent events and have reviewed fan engagement as a priority. As a result we shall be liaising with key stakeholders and establishing a Club Advisory Panel, comprised of elected representatives from the different constituencies of our fanbase, inclusive and reflective of our fans’ diversity. The Chair of this Panel will be appointed annually as a full Non-Executive of the Club Board. We believe this provides for authentic, genuine representation and will ensure fans are at the heart of Club decision-making, something we greatly welcome.

The selection criteria, mandate and constitution will be developed by independent advisors in consultation with fan groups to ensure it is truly representative of our supporter base. Further details will be released in due course. Going forward we shall constantly look to review and improve these new lines of consultation. We shall also fully support the government review into football governance.

We are disappointed that the Board of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST) has not yet met with the Club. The THST, with whom we have worked and, indeed, promoted, for 20 years has called for the resignations of the Executive Board over the ESL – individuals who have lived and breathed this Club for the best part of two decades. We have offered on several occasions to meet Board-to-Board and discuss an open agenda – excluding a change of Club ownership and the resignation of the Board. Our door remains open on this basis.

We are excited to be welcoming 10,000 fans back next week. Our stadium will hopefully soon re-open to full attendances and non-football events will return. Like many clubs, we shall need to recover from the loss of substantial revenues. The still-new stadium is the game changer in our progress – it will deliver the revenues for investment in the First Team. Be assured, we are absolutely clear that the heartbeat of the Club is success on the pitch and our fans. It’s important to now get behind Ryan and the team as we look to finish the season as strongly as possible and strive to retain a European spot.

There’s a lot to unwrap here. Let’s start at the top with the apology: It’s....well, not great. It reads more like a “sorry we got caught” and not an actual “we f*cked up” type of apology. The wording tries to spin the blame a bit on the people at the top of the ESL (Madrid, Barca) and also paints a picture that says the EPL, FA, UEFA and FIFA, were going to be on board with this. Clearly, this is a club doing damage control, as one would expect.

Skipping ahead, let’s talk about their “disappointment” with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust. THST has every right to be upset and I don’t blame them one bit for not wanting to visit with the board. Trust is broken. They’ve made their requirements clear in a six point list before they’ll come to the table again. This is usually how negotiations start: You make your demands, get some of what you want, and then the groups agree to come back together. THST are at least getting some of those concessions, which leads us to the good part of this statement: Fan involvement.

Getting a Club Advisory Panel created is good. Involving your most loyal supporters in key decisions is important and prevents catastrophes (See: Columbus Crew SC rebrand debacle) like this from happening. Taking it a step further and allowing the head of that panel to be involved with the Club Board is even better. Honestly, this should have happened a long time ago but sometimes you only get things like this as a result of disaster relief. Dan Kilpatrick also pointed out that Levy is taking it a step further than Chelsea did with their supporters:

Credit where it’s due: It’s a strong move by Spurs.

We’re a long way off from this story’s final chapter. ENIC may never be forgiven by a large portion of the fanbase, and I don’t blame them one bit. This was a disaster from start to finish that I’m certain was pushed for because of financial constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, the EPL clubs were not nearly as desperate for this as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are, given they are clinging onto the ESL for dear life in hopes that litigation will allow them to squeeze cash out of the nine clubs that bailed out.

We’ll wait to see what the response is from THST on this and if it brings them to the table. They’ve gotten a couple of pretty big concessions from the club but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough. Supporters are p*ssed off for good reason. If fans were allowed in the stadiums right now, I can only imagine the songs being sung and the banners being flown. They would certainly not be G-Rated.

UPDATE (11:34 AM ET): THST has acknowledged the message.