Toby, New Stadium and Art of Communication

Article by Charlotte Henry

Even before the news of skipper Lloris’s drink-driving arrest broke, the beginning of the season, off the field at least, was looking rather chaotic for Spurs.

There was the will-he stay, will he go saga with Toby Alderweireld and others, that managed to last most of the summer. Then, no new signings came in over transfer window, followed by the club admitting the new stadium was not going to be ready for the Liverpool game in mid-September, as previously announced.

On their own, each of these are unhelpful but relatively unspectacular issues for a football club to deal with. When combined, however, they indicate a rather concerning pattern. At the heart of that is a lack of communication between the club and the fans and their representatives.

I’ve heard a number of Spurs fans who have bought tickets to the new stadium who are now deeply confused about what is happening to their money and who are, frankly, feeling a little bit ripped off. The club was very happy to charge handsomely for new season tickets based on being in a fabulous new stadium, but less keen now to explain when we might actually get in there or to give proper details as to what is causing the problem. In fact, it was left to builders, Mace, to explain that faulty wiring was the issue.

We all remain completely unsure of when we will be moving into the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Given the date has been pushed back twice already, one can only really speculate as to when the first match their will actually take place. While I appreciate the club cannot give daily progress updates, they are not communicating the developments anywhere near well enough given what fans have laid out for tickets.

Likewise, we do not expect a running commentary over the transfer situation, but fans were left pretty much in the dark over what the club tried to achieve this summer and why it failed. It is not even like we needed a huge number of players to improve our hugely exciting team, but a couple were needed and something clearly went wrong.

The Tottenham Hotspurs Supporters’ Trust board summed it up perfectly in an excellent statement following the transfer window closing and us being the first team to not buy a single player since the window was introduced:

“We do not believe in spending money or signing players for the sake of it…But fans come to watch the team. A team that will start the season with many of its key members still tired after the World Cup. And a squad that most rational observers would agree could benefit from more depth. It is not unreasonable to question if it was really the case that, alone among Europe’s top clubs, Spurs could find no player who would improve their squad while our rivals strengthened theirs.”

Crucially, they added: “Earlier this year, the Club objected to THST’s criticism of steep ticket price rises. It told us we could not expect players to be signed or wages to be competitive while we opposed those ticket price rises. Fans have paid the prices asked. And yet no signings have been made.”

It terms of outgoings, no fan really knew what was happening with Alderweireld this summer, nor Moussa Demebele and Danny Rose. Today we finally learn that Mauricio Pochetitno expects everyone to stay, even though the transfer window in many European leagues remains open. The fans knew there was an issue over the summer, particularly with Alderweireld, but the club largely tried to ignore it, treating us as if we are stupid.

The THST board concluded their statement on the transfer window by saying that “fans are entitled to a full and credible explanation of what has happened this summer”. They are absolutely right, but I suspect none of use are holding our breath waiting for one.

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1 Comment

    • Hootspur
      August 26, 2018
      4:15 pm

      Good article Charlotte, balanced and fair in it’s criticism. These are complicated issues and some things are commercially sensitive, but given the steep increase in prices, this was an accident waiting to happen.

      Although I have no aspirations to be a season ticket holder, I feel that their loyalty has at best, not been rewarded.

      A bit of bridge building is called for by the Board.


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