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Tottenham Hotspur’s answers to the THST, as written by ChatGPT

Can a computer write better answers to hard questions than the Spurs board?

ChatGPT Photo Illustrations Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Yesterday’s article on the club’s response to the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust questions generated and continues to generate a lot of good discussion. The general consensus was similar to my assertion that the THST asked the wrong kinds of questions and received mostly bland, corporate answers that, while containing some small nuggets of insight, don’t really do much to appease either side of the ENIC In/Out divide and were essentially a waste of everyone’s time.

Someone in the comments (Jcharden?) suggested that a computer might have generated similar responses. I thought this was a fantastic idea, so I took THST’s questions directed to the Tottenham Hotspur board and ran them through ChatGPT. Why? Buddy, have you read this blog at all over the past five years?

Here’s how the Robo-Board responded to the four questions asked by the THST.

1. Will the Club share its medium and long-term strategy for success, both on and off the pitch? How is the Club measuring progress and how does it judge current outcomes against those measurements?

As the board of directors of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, we understand the importance of transparency and communication with our fans and stakeholders. To that end, we are willing to share some information about our medium and long-term strategies for success, both on and off the pitch.

On the pitch, our focus is on developing a strong and competitive team through a combination of smart recruitment, player development, and tactical innovation. We are investing in our youth academy, scouting network, and tactical infrastructure including a new stadium to build a foundation for long-term success.

Off the pitch, we are committed to creating a strong and engaged community around the club, leveraging technology and innovative partnerships to grow our global reach and connect with fans in new and exciting ways.

To measure our progress and judge our outcomes against our goals, we regularly review a range of performance metrics, including team and player statistics, financial results, and fan engagement metrics. We also engage in regular dialogue with our players, staff, and supporters to gather feedback and ensure we are staying aligned with our goals.

In summary, our medium and long-term strategy for success is focused on building a strong and competitive team, a engaged and supportive community, and a financially sustainable future for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

2. The manager employed by the Club has not signed a new contract and tells us that we should lower our expectations about on-field outcomes. He has said publicly that the Club needs to spend big money every window just to compete. How does this align with the Board’s philosophy for achieving success?

The board appreciates the manager’s perspective on the challenges and expectations for the team. However, it is important to note that our philosophy for achieving success is centered around financial sustainability, smart investment, and building a strong foundation for long-term success.

While we understand that investing in top talent is important, we also believe that a balanced approach that includes player development, tactical innovation, and smart recruitment is essential for sustainable success. Our goal is to build a team that can compete at the highest level, while also ensuring financial stability and long-term success for the club.

We also recognize that success on the field can come from a variety of sources, including teamwork, tactical awareness, and individual brilliance. Our focus is on creating an environment where all of these factors can thrive and where our players and staff have the resources and support they need to perform at their best.

While the manager’s comments provide valuable insight, they do not necessarily align with the Board’s overall philosophy for achieving success. We believe in a balanced approach that combines smart investment with player development and tactical innovation to build a strong and competitive team for the future.

3. Are you satisfied with player recruitment in recent transfer windows and with the performance of the youth teams and the development and supply of younger players through to the first team? Are there any plans to improve this?

The board regularly evaluates the club’s performance, including player recruitment and the development of younger players through the youth teams and into the first team. The club has a commitment to youth development and has invested in its academy and scouting network to provide a pathway for young players to reach the first team.

While the club has had success in bringing through talented young players, the board recognizes that there is always room for improvement. To this end, the club may implement plans to enhance its player recruitment process, refine its youth development programs, and provide additional resources to support young players as they progress through the ranks.

The club is generally satisfied with its recent player recruitment and youth development, but it recognizes the importance of continuous improvement and may have plans in place to enhance its processes in these areas.

4. Does the Club have a plan for further investment to ensure that the Club remains competitive on the pitch in the face of substantial additional investment by other Premier League clubs? Is the Club closer to securing a naming rights provider? Is there a plan for further investment from ENIC, or from other potential investors or buyers?

We are committed to ensuring that the club remains competitive on the pitch and is in a strong position to succeed in the future. To that end, we regularly evaluate opportunities for investment, both internally and through partnerships and collaborations with external stakeholders.

The club is constantly exploring options for securing a naming rights provider, as well as other potential investors or buyers, to help drive growth and support the club’s ongoing success. While we cannot provide specific details on the status of these efforts, we can assure our fans and stakeholders that we are working hard to secure the best possible outcomes for the club.

In terms of investment from ENIC, the club’s majority shareholder, we are always open to exploring opportunities for further investment from all stakeholders, including ENIC, to support the club’s growth and success.

The board can can assure our fans and stakeholders that we are constantly exploring opportunities to ensure the club remains competitive on the pitch and is in a strong position to succeed in the future.

I expected bland, corporate gobbeldy-gook from ChatGPT’s answers and that’s exactly what I got. This also would’ve been an appropriate non-answer answer to vague and open ended questions directed to a football club board by a supporters’ organization.

In point of fact, these AI-generated answers, which could’ve come from any sports team executive in any sport in any league, illustrate that Tottenham actually did put some effort into their response to the THST. One thing computers can’t really do is talk well about the future, and that’s where the board’s answers were more illuminating, specifically when it discussed coming financial regulations and how the club’s business today should be anticipating those changes down the road. In that sense we should consider that the club’s actual responses were submitted in, if not good faith, at least something pretty close to it.

I’m not trying to slam the THST with this article. OK, maybe I’m poking them a bit with a stick, but only as a proxy for the more unhinged side of the fanbase that cannot look at Daniel Levy and ENIC’s tenure at Spurs through anything except the “trophies” lens. The THST has an essential role as advocates for Spurs supporters, especially in areas relating to the fan experience (tickets, away support, infrastructure, transportation, safety, etc.). These are VITALLY important topics, and the Trust has a long and successful track record of working with the club on these, and many more issues. They do very good work and I am grateful that they exist.

But I hold to my previous position that the Trust did not do itself a good service with its line of questioning here. If the Trust (and by extensions supporters) want answers to questions about policy and philosophy, they should be much more specific and directed towards more direct issues than “why aren’t we spending more money and winning trophies.” It’s possible to ask hard questions of a sports team’s board of directors, and it’s also possible to get real answers. But if a computer can provide answers that are nearly as appropriate as an actual corporate executive, then you’re asking the wrong questions.