Thursday, February 07, 2008

We are herewith repruducing correspondence from Ms Diane Smith (ONE HOTSPUR) and Mr. Paul Barber, Executive Director (THFC) about the lack of allocation of cup final tickets to supporters clubs.
Dear Supporters’ Clubs

We are pleased to provide the following update to questions some Supporters’ Clubs have raised in response to Paul Barber’s letter to you at the end of last week.


Diane Smith, One Hotspur

Dear Supporters’ Club

Further to my letter to you last week, I am pleased to update you further on your various queries concerning our decision not to allocate Carling Cup Final tickets to Supporters’ Club and, for the benefit of all Supporters’ Club branches, to reiterate or clarify one or two points that have been raised in various e-mail exchanges with either myself or Diane Smith directly.

Supporters’ Clubs were not guaranteed or promised an allocation of tickets to any Cup Final the Club may have reached during the 2007/8 season. Ticket allocations for all matches are always subject to availability - and particularly so for Cup Finals where the Club’s ticket allocation will be varied depending on the competition owner’s regulations, the event itself and the venue (none of which we control).

Since our appearances at previous League Cup Finals in 1999 and 2002, season ticket, Club membership and Executive membership numbers have grown considerably. Those events were also held at different venues (to each other and indeed this month’s new venue) and the Club was subject to different ticket allocation levels and competition regulations.

All Supporters’ Club members are required to be One Hotspur members. We are however aware that some Supporters’ Clubs have advertised higher numbers of members than those that are registered as One Hotspur members with the Club itself. (We do not know why this is).

One Hotspur members, affiliated to Supporters’ Club branches are entitled to (and do frequently) purchase tickets directly from the Club when they are available and as such those individuals will have accrued loyalty points in the normal way. It has therefore been possible for Supporters’ Club members to apply for tickets to a variety of matches both as a direct One Hotspur member and as a member of a Supporters’ Club, where they will have secured priority access.

All records for Supporters’ Clubs going back to the start of the loyalty point scheme are intact (they have not been destroyed). Loyalty points have been accrued to the Supporters’ Club through combined ticket purchases for their members in each season. In order to be fair, and given that many different members may have accumulated the points for attending different matches at different times and may not have been members throughout the period, those points can only be averaged across current group members.

Diane Smith and her team have worked tirelessly in recent days to check all records and to ensure that Clubs have been credited with the loyalty points they believe they are due. These points have then been divided by the current number of members in each Supporters’ Club branch. This means that some current members have benefited from this policy as they may not have been around throughout the entire accrual period. Others may have slightly lower levels of points than if they had collected them individually (but may also have benefited from securing priority access to some matches).

The maximum number of points accrued by any one Supporters’ Club branch is 11,798 to date. This Supporters’ Club currently has 180 members and therefore, to be fair to all current members in that Club (and accepting that some people may have attended more matches than others) each member is assumed to have the average of 65 loyalty points.

The Supporters’ Club branch with the highest loyalty point to member ratio has accrued 4735 points and currently has 67 members. The average loyalty points per member is therefore 71.

In both cases, and based on information currently available to us, no members in either of these Supporters’ Clubs’ will qualify for a Carling Cup Final ticket based on our current estimates of what the likely loyalty point requirement for One Hotspur Bronze and Lilywhite members will be (please note that the final loyalty point number requirement won’t be known until final One Hotspur Bronze and Lilywhite member allocations are considered in light of the remaining ticket allocation early next week, but with more than 30,000 applications made before today’s 5.30pm deadline, it’s fair to say the loyalty point threshold will be very high).

We have not created an uneven playing field against Supporters’ Club members. Supporters’ Club members receive priority booking opportunities for all matches. If anything, this creates as uneven playing field in favour of Supporters’ Club members as they have a greater opportunity to secure tickets and therefore loyalty points for all matches, particularly the bigger matches, ahead of non-Supporters’ Club affiliated One Hotspur members.

On various occasions, various Supporters’ Clubs at various times have been permitted to purchase match tickets while not meeting the minimum ticket order requirement. Diane and her team, in an effort to be as supportive as possible, have overlooked this. Again, if anything, this has provided Supporters’ Club members with an advantage over One Hotspur members not affiliated to a Supporters’ Club as technically such ticket applications should have been denied and loyalty points should not have been accrued.

On various other occasions, some Supporters’ Clubs have been allocated match tickets despite failing to submit lists of the members attending. Again, on occasions, this has been over-looked – and, for the purposes of this exercise, loyalty points for those matches have still been added to the totals. Once again, technically speaking, loyalty points should not have accrued for these matches.

More worryingly, on some occasions – and as recently as last Saturday - some Supporters’ Clubs have booked tickets and then failed to produce One Hotspur Club membership cards in order to verify One Hotspur membership entitlement to those tickets when asked to do so. For the Manchester United match, this led to over 40 tickets remaining unclaimed and unused by Supporters’ Clubs for one of our biggest matches of the season. Unfortunately, as result, the Club will now be requiring Supporters’ Clubs to verify individual member details on a more frequent basis for the remainder of this season.

Finally, whilst the Club very much recognises that many of our Supporters’ Club branch members travel long distances to matches, so do many other One Hotspur members. We now have a huge number of One Hotspur members who live across the UK, Europe, the USA and many other parts of the world. Many One Hotspur members travel to a large number of our matches at White Hart Lane and indeed to our matches away from home. Furthermore, a large number of One Hotspur members, who live in or close to London, but are not affiliated to Supporters’ Clubs, also travel to many of our away matches across the UK and, in the past two seasons, across Europe. We recognise that many, many fans spend large sums of money following our Club and we are grateful for this support.

Contrary to suggestions by some Supporters’ Clubs this week, I do think that the Club, over the course of many seasons, has in fact been supportive of and extremely fair to our various Supporters’ Clubs. We have also set out to recognise the hard work and organisation that goes into running Supporters’ Clubs in the UK and across the world by applying flexibility to our rules and to helping members get to matches that they might not otherwise be entitled to attend.

Recent events have, however, demonstrated the very real need for us to review and, in some cases, tighten up many of the current procedures for the benefit of the Club, our Supporters’ Clubs, and the wider and fast growing One Hotspur membership. We will be looking at ticketing rights, loyalty point awards and branch membership and operation criteria amongst many other things. This work has already started and, as I have mentioned previously, it has been accelerated by the nature of the correspondence we have received in the past week. On this point, I am extremely grateful to those Supporters’ Clubs who have written to us expressing their full understanding for the difficult decision we reached regarding the distribution of Carling Cup Final tickets and, in particular, for their appreciation for the excellent work Diane and her team have done on Supporters’ Clubs behalf so far this season. Those messages, during a particularly busy period, have been much appreciated by the One Hotspur team.

Finally, when demand outweighs supply for any match, most of all a Cup Final at Wembley, the Club fully recognises that a very large number of loyal fans – including many One Hotspur members with high loyalty point levels - from many different places, will be desperately disappointed at missing out on match tickets. We understand and appreciate this – and we sympathise. However, this does mean that our ticket distribution methods must, by definition, be as fair as possible and allocations should be determined, wherever it is possible to do so, by the use of contractual rights or a common currency. In our case, for the majority of supporters, this means using the loyalty point system. It is not perfect, but it is the best mechanism we have. Whilst I regret that we will not be able to accommodate a specific allocation of Carling Cup Final tickets to Supporters’ Clubs, I do hope that our letters to you have provided you with a detailed explanation as to why. Unfortunately, time constraints will not permit us meeting individual Supporters’ Clubs at this time. We will however involve all Supporters’ Club branches in our research to determine how we work together in the future and we look forward to involving a small group in some face to face discussions we will hold at the Club.

Thank you for your continued support for Tottenham Hotspur.

Regards, Paul

Paul Barber
Executive Director

Friday, February 01, 2008


As had been expected we have had a big number of requests for Carling Cup final tickets at Wembley on 24 February 2008.

Unfortunately our Club, like all Spurs Supporters Club around the World, has had no tickets allocated from THFC.

We wish to inform our Members that we are doing our best to get tickets from other sources but at the moment we have no guarantee about whether we will have tickets and/or how many we will have.

All requests are being entered into a waiting list just in case we manage to get tickets. In the eventuality of acquiring tickets, we will distribute these on the ususal criteria with the International Members who have been paying the International Membership the longest heading the list.

In the meantime please be patient as this is totally out of our control.

THFC have received a lot of complaints about the lack of ticket allocation to Supporters Clubs. Here we are reproducing a letter by THFC executive director Paul Barber who explains the Club's position about this.

Dear Supporters’ Club member

Carling Cup Final 2008

I thought I should write to explain in full the reasons why we have not been able to allocate tickets to Supporters’ Clubs for the Carling Cup Final at Wembley on 24 February 2008. We are aware that many of your members have been disappointed by this but I can assure you that we have set out to be as fair as possible to everyone.

As with most Cup Finals, demand for tickets will almost always massively outweigh supply. For example, allocations for an FA Cup Final at the new Wembley Stadium is around 25,000 tickets per competing club, while, for the UEFA Cup Final this season, the allocation is likely to be less than 14,000 tickets per competing club. Should we be fortunate enough to reach either of these Cup Finals in the next year or two, we would have an even more difficult situation to manage – and unfortunately many season ticket holders would most likely miss out on tickets. For the Carling Cup Final it’s difficult enough. Our Club has been allocated a total 31,018 tickets – and demand for these tickets is many, many times that level. In fact, it is greater than we have ever known it to be.

Tottenham Hotspur now has an (independently) estimated 1.5 million fans in the United Kingdom and almost 5 million fans worldwide. Of these supporters, more than 80,000 fans are One Hotspur Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Lilywhite members, while just over 2,300 fans are currently affiliated to our 55 official Supporters’ Clubs worldwide and, as such, are also confirmed members of the Club’s One Hotspur scheme.

From our Carling Cup Final ticket allocation, we must satisfy our One Hotspur Platinum, Gold and Silver members (that’s all 23,500 season ticket holders), our executive membership (a further 3,000 plus fans, all with annual contracts), the Club’s own players, coaches and staff, our Academy players and staff, the Club’s own guests, and our commercial partners. Just as importantly, we also must consider the needs of more than 60,000 One Hotspur Bronze and Lilywhite members, many of whom have accumulated large numbers of loyalty points over a long period of time and attend matches both here at White Hart Lane, all over the UK, and, in some cases, many parts of Europe in the past two seasons.

As members of our official Supporters’ Clubs are also required to hold personal One Hotspur memberships, they are free to apply for our match tickets directly and independently of their Supporters’ Club at any time and to accumulate loyalty points from the Club in the same way as all other One Hotspur members do. Indeed, many members of Supporter’s Clubs do just this and those individuals are therefore in no way disadvantaged by the Club’s decision not to allocate Cup Final tickets to Supporters’ Clubs. Other Supporters’ Club members prefer to apply for tickets through their Supporters’ Club as, in some cases, this will help them to secure tickets for the bigger matches through the Supporters’ Club priority application period. In such circumstances, it is by definition harder to accumulate individual loyalty points over a consistent period as Supporters’ Clubs naturally rotate their ticket allocation usage across their membership.

I am of course also aware that many Supporters’ Club members make very long journeys to see the Club in action. In truth, so do many One Hotspur members who are not affiliated to Supporters’ Clubs. The Club’s wide and fast growing supporter base now stretches far and wide from its original North London roots. We also know that our Supporters’ Clubs organise local events, generate goodwill and positive press coverage for their efforts, and that all of this supports the good name of Tottenham Hotspur. We do appreciate and respect this work and the huge amount of time, effort and organisation that goes in to it.

We feel that we recognise all of these efforts and the large amounts of money spent travelling to matches by making match tickets available to our Supporters’ Clubs throughout the season. Such ticket allocations are made available to Supporters’ Clubs as a priority and therefore, whilst we cannot guarantee to meet all ticket requests, we do make tickets available to Supporters’ Clubs often at the expense of One Hotspur members who are not affiliated to Supporters’ Clubs, particularly where the bigger matches are concerned. As One Hotspur member numbers grow, you will appreciate that such booking priority is becoming harder for the Club to manage and even harder to justify. Inevitably, it generates complaints from One Hotspur members not affiliated to a Supporters’ Club who feel that a two tier system is in operation to their detriment.

This issue is at the very root of our decision not to allocate tickets to our Supporters’ Clubs for the Carling Cup Final. With tickets in very limited supply for all groups, particularly One Hotspur members, we are required to employ the simplest and fairest possible means to determine who does receive a ticket and who doesn’t. For us, this means using our loyalty point system. If they do have enough points, then Supporters’ Club members can of course apply like other One Hotspur members in the normal way. If Supporters’ Club members don’t have enough points, then it would seem to us to be entirely unfair to divert tickets to such individuals at the expense of a One Hotspur Bronze or Lilywhite member who does have the required number of loyalty points.

As you would expect, the Club took a great deal of time to talk to the Supporters’ Trust regarding our ticketing allocation for the Carling Cup Final. We assured representatives of the Trust’s Board at a recent meeting that we would use loyalty points to determine the destination of any tickets remaining after we had satisfied the groups listed earlier in the e-mail - and we are doing just that. I have also spoken to the Trust’s Chairman, Daniel Wynne, several times in the past 24 hours to fully explain the Club’s position and the stance we have taken on this matter. Daniel took the time to write to me to query our decision, following representations from some Supporters’ Clubs, and to repeat the views that many Supporters’ Clubs have expressed in their e-mails to the Club. Daniel also took the time to listen to the Club’s opinions and a different point of view. We did not ask or expect the Supporters’ Trust to take sides in this debate, but, like the Club, the Trust do appreciate, understand and accept that when demand for Cup Final tickets outstrips supply, the Club has an extremely difficult job and that we will have disappointed supporters to contend with regardless of their affiliation.

Going forward, we are committed to reviewing how our Club works with our various official Supporters’ Clubs, what benefits we can justifiably offer, and those benefits, such as guaranteed Cup Final tickets, that we simply can not. It is for the reasons I have described above that we did not, could not, and would not guarantee Cup Final tickets to Supporters’ Clubs in any scenario. Please be assured that we are extremely grateful and mindful of the work that Supporters’ Clubs carry out and the loyalty that our fans belonging to Supporters’ Clubs show to the Club each and every season. In reaching the decision we have, we did not intend to be disrespectful or ungrateful for the work you do. Our priority was simply to allocate our tickets as fairly as possible.

Finally, these events and some of the recent correspondence to Diane and her team have clearly highlighted the need for us to accelerate the formal review of Supporters’ Clubs I mentioned above. As part of this work, we do of course intend to consult Supporters’ Clubs representatives, Supporters Clubs’ wider membership and the Supporters’ Trust about how we might move forward in the 2008/9 season and beyond. Ian Murphy, Diane Smith and their team will be in touch shortly to invite small groups to the Club to discuss our plans and ideas and to hear your views. We will communicate with the wider membership, in the UK and across the world, by post and e-mail to ensure we gather the widest possible cross-section of views.

In the meantime, I very much hope that you will understand and appreciate the fair basis of our decision and I thank you for your continued support for the Club.

Regards, Paul

Paul Barber
Executive Director


It was a busy old night down at the Lane on transfer deadline day with 3 players leaving the club and Gilberto joining.

No doubt the biggest move out of Spurs was that of Jermain Defoe who moved to Portsmouth for a fee thought to be in the region of 8million pounds. Defoe was a big favorite with the fans at White Hart Lane and it's highly disappointing to see the England striker leave but with only 18 months left on his contract perhaps the time was right to cash in.

Other departures from Spurs last night saw Anthony Gardner join Everton on loan and Paul Stalteri move to Fulham also on loan.

Wayne Routledge had earlier left the club to join Martin O'Neill at Aston Villa.


Tottenham rounded off a busy January by signing Gilberto from Hertha Berlin just before the transfer window closed.
Gilberto, a versatile left-back who can also play in midfield, arrived at Spurs' training ground yesterday to complete the transfer.
The Brazilian joins Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Hutton and Chris Gunter as manager Juande Ramos' new recruits.
Hertha were keen to sell Gilberto before the midnight deadline as his contract with the German club was due to expire in the summer, with Tottenham paying around £2 million for his signature.
The defender, 31, provides much-needed cover for Ramos following the long-term injuries to Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.