Trust in the Trust?


As long time readers are probably well aware by now, I am an American Tottenham fan. I follow the team, players and happenings as much as I can, but I don’t live a stone throw away from the stadium or in the neighborhood. This is important to distinguish, as one of the many things English fans like to say is “you aren’t in the stadium, you aren’t a real fan.” I’ve never gotten how one’s living situation has anything to do with their fandom, but maybe it another one of those cultural things that I have yet to understand.

This leads me to the Tottenham Hotspurs Supporters Trust (full disclosure: I am a member of) and the recently published minutes of a recent meeting. THST , as a group, “a representative, not-for-profit organisation (sic) run by fans for fans. We believe that by building our collective strength, fans can have a real influence at club level, and at national level within football.”

Something that caught my American eye, from the May 20th meeting minutes, is the obvious disagreement between the THST and the club regarding the stadium situation. As fans, we are naturally only giving so much information regarding the inner workings of the club. That is the nature of the beast. All businesses operate this way, and a soccer club is no different. This is why rumors, in-the-know (ITKs), and gossip/ blog sites (this one included) are so popular.

In the minutes the following exchange between the club and the trust happened:

“Co-chair Martin Cloake reported that the Club had reacted to the survey by calling it premature, biased and based on a possibly incorrect assumption that Wembley and Stadium MK were the only options. Jonathan Waite said the survey was received “with consternation” by THFC. THST had replied that the two options were those the Club’s Board had said were the only ones that remained at the last Board to Board meeting, and the Club had replied that those options were the only two available at the time the question was asked.

Questions from the floor and discussion revealed a continued dissatisfaction with the information coming from the Club, and concern that, having confirmed the Club would not play at White Hart Lane for the 2017/18 season, there was apparently no progress in finding a venue for the team to play at. There was an understanding of commercial sensitivities, but still a strong feeling that more solid information on an issue as important as this needed to be communicated to fans.

The point was made that it was 10 years since stadium plans were first announced, that a stadium build and relocation plan widely supported by fans had been discarded with what was felt were incomplete explanations, and that there was continuing equivocation even on the latest available options. Members at the meeting were mystified that there appeared to be no knowledge of any timetable for decisions to be made within. It was felt that a normal PLC board would have been required to explain and account for far more than the current THFC Board seemed prepared to.

 THST Board Members reiterated their determination to push the views of supporters to the Club Board, to seek genuine input into this vital area, and to seek answers to concerns raised by members present who had expertise in the areas of finance and construction. The strong feeling of the meeting was that any temporary relocation should be within the Greater London area.”

From the minutes alone, I can see why the club isn’t going to tell the trust much. The trust, good intention aside, can’t keep a secret. The talks with whomever we “may” share a stadium with is ongoing, and the bad PR that would happen if the club decides to do something that the trust doesn’t fully agree with could be too much.

I hope the trust can appreciate the nuisance of negotiations a little better. I hope that they fight more for what is going to happen once the new stadium is completed, for which I agree with them more on those stances, then where Tottenham is going to rent out for 19- 25 games in three years. I wish THST well, but I also hope that they would try to a bit more like adults, and less like spoiled teenagers who are upset that Mommy and Daddy didn’t give them an explanation as to why they can’t go to Wiz Khalifa concert this weekend.

To read the minutes of the THST meeting or to join THST, click the link.