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

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