Martin Cloake, co-chair of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, said the Premier League team can still “repair the fractured relationship with its fans” following a series of conflicts over ticketing.
Tottenham has been criticised by fans and former and current football stars after announcing its decision to hike season tickets up to 70 per cent at its new stadium.
The dearest ticket at the Premier League club’s new stadium, which is to open in time for the 2018-19 season, is priced at £1,995. That price is an increase of £295 from the current highest offering at Wembley Stadium, the club’s temporary home for 2017-18. The least expensive passes are £795, which is just £30 more than the cheapest seat at White Hart Lane.
Cloake, in an article in the Guardian newspaper, claims that the hundreds of fans that contacted the Supporters’ Trust since the price announcement have been using words such as “disgusted,” “betrayed,” exploited,” and “let down.”
He said: “The Spurs board can still repair the fractured relationship with its fans. It can rethink the pricing before the 16 May deadline. It can rethink its flawed concessions policy. It can restore cup vouchers to season tickets.
“It can offer discounts on cup games. It can offer discounts on tickets for future years. It can commit to a price freeze for a set period or it can commit to dropping prices when the debt is paid off. And it can take what a large section of its supporter base is saying seriously, rather than dismissing it.
“Or it could carry on regardless, changing the nature of the product. Spurs could end up just another high street destination rather than a unique brand with a living history. The current board could be remembered as the visionaries they want to be. Or they could be remembered as the builders of a monument to the folly of modern football.”
Some 42,000 seats will be reserved for season ticket holders at the 62,000-capacity stadium, which is double the figure at White Hart Lane, the club’s former ground.
Former Tottenham and England striker Gary Lineker and Manchester City and Belgium defender Vincent Kompany highlighted the need to fill stadiums as more empty seats plague English football. Kompany recently completed a Master’s degree at Manchester University’s Alliance Manchester Business School with a dissertation that focussed on the positive effect that cutting ticket prices could have on a club’s performance.
Following the pricing announcements, Kompany said: “Less empty seats leads to a better TV product (money) but also better atmosphere, which in turn affects testosterone levels and territorial behaviour in players, therefore increasing home advantage. There’s financial value in every added league point too,” Kompany said.
“The PL is unique, financially dominant and global. I imagine that a general decline in stadium atmosphere can damage the value of that product. Link to ticket pricing, seating location and safe standing is almost inevitable. Long-term gains vs short-term profits, eternal dilemma.”
Image: Tottenham Hotspur