Tottenham fans want power on board amid concern of token gesture by club

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust wants to ensure the proposed fan representation at boardroom level has real power as it expressed concern the initiative had got off to a bad start.

Spurs announced the creation of a club advisory panel on Tuesday, comprising elected supporter representatives and with the chair appointed annually to the board as a non-executive. That person would have full voting rights. The move comes in response to the anger felt by fans over the club’s drive to join the failed European Super League.

The Trust has reservations about the plan and has made it clear it cannot be a token gesture. “The dogged stance of the Trust and the wider supporter base has forced the club to concede the principle that fans must be represented at board level and to adopt some of our specific suggestions,” the Trust said. “But announcing this without consultation on detail is not a promising start. And the measures set out in the club’s statement do not give fan representatives any real power.

“It is vital the club advisory panel has the support of the fans, including the Trust, if it is to be a credible vehicle for fan representation. We are very willing to meet with the club to discuss the mechanics of genuine supporter representation at board level.”

The Trust hit back strongly at the club’s accusation that it had refused to meet them to discuss the way forward after the ESL fiasco. It said the club had misrepresented its position because it was actively pursuing mediation via the Football Supporters’ Association aimed at scheduling a meeting.

“The club fails to acknowledge that in previous meetings with the Trust, it repeatedly denied that any talks were taking place in relation to any European Super League, even while it is now clear that those talks were taking place,” the Trust said. It has called upon the chairman, Daniel Levy, and his board to resign.

The Trust added: “What cannot go unquestioned is the club’s decision to publish a statement that misrepresents the position and attacks a volunteer fan organisation at a time when the club is facing sustained criticism over its relationship with the fanbase and for its decision-making. It is simply destructive. To do so while we were pursuing a mediation process via the Football Supporters’ Association in good faith is regrettable in the extreme.

“The club’s latest statement is another attempt to deflect criticism at a time when they should be seeking to rebuild relationships and repair trust. Relationships matter, not only with fans but with the wider football family, and when those relationships have been so severely damaged the time has come to reassess.”

The Trust ridiculed Spurs’ move to “apologise unreservedly” for their part in the Super League, noting they had detailed their reservations within it. It also highlighted how the apology came “three weeks after the collapse of the ESL and over a fortnight after everyone else”. It added: “An apology is better late, however, than never.”

Spurs’ comment that “like many clubs, we shall need to recover from the loss of substantial revenues” was described by the Trust as “ominous indeed from a board that has imposed the highest ticket prices in Europe and charged £60 for the partial return of fans to our stadium [next week] after a year of the pandemic”.