This Photo – The Shape of Things To Come?

Spurs blog 152

This is the ticket availability for Spurs’ three Champions League matches at Wembley Stadium, as of 9.30 on Friday morning. Never red? I’ll make an exception this time. It could prove to be one of the most significant pictures in the illustrious history of Tottenham Hotspur.

As of about now, it means that almost every seat available at the moment has been sold, not for one game but for three, without knowing the identity of our opponents. The screenshot doesn’t actually mean that Wembley is sold out. Yet. The club say they have sold over 41,000 packages to season ticket holders and members. Some tickets are being held back for sale for individual matches only. Assume the away allocation will fill up but there’s Club Wembley, UEFA seats and the ring of shame, the executive boxes. But any remaining tickets will be snapped up by Spurs fans, of that there is no doubt. 75,000 Spurs at Wembley. It will bring the house down.

It’s an uplifting affirmation of the loyalty and passion of Spurs supporters. Any lingering sadness that these games could not played at White Hart Lane as part of the final season there was dispelled when out of the navy blue, the club announced a three-game package costing £70. Even then people on social media were complaining, until it was gently pointed out to them that it wasn’t £70 for one game, but three. No, I couldn’t believe it either.

The significance of this goes way beyond August’s credit card bill. The club’s future revolves around the new stadium. It has breath-taking potential. 61k capacity, stands close to the pitch, an end, in N17, ours not the taxpayers. One thing obstructs progress – the price of seats. Tottenham On My Mind has consistently and vehemently argued that accessible pricing will safeguard Spurs’ future, not just this generation but generations to come. Young people and families now excluded will be able to experience the unique pain and joy of being there. That picture proves it. For the first time, Spurs put that theory to the test. Not bloggers, supporters’ groups, fan activists or serial whingers, but hard evidence that the club cannot ignore.

Drop the price and keep supporters happy. You don’t have to be Brian Cox to solve that equation, yet in the last two decades the Spurs board have struggled to grasp the concept. In that time they have disgracefully exploited the peculiar football laws of supply and demand as distorted by the loyalty of supporters to charge some of the highest prices in the league.

In our People’s History of Tottenham Hotspur, Martin Cloake and I contend that a major theme of our history is how fan culture and identity is shaped by the interaction between the club and its supporters. Organised supporter protest has been a feature of Spurs’ fan culture since the early 1960s when Spurs fans demonstrated against the unfair allocation of cup final tickets. With Scholar, Sugar and Levy, Tottenham fans were one of the first to take protest from the fanzines and the streets into the AGM, the council chamber and the media.

Long aloof and unresponsive, gradually the board have shifted their approach. Partly this is down to economics. The PL luxuriates in a floatation tank filled with the effluence of sponsorship, commerce and distant ownership, isolated from what affects fans’ day-to-day lives, like being able to pay to get in, or racism, or financial probity.

Partly though this is due to fan pressure – from blogs, social media, individual complaints and the tireless efforts of the supporters’ trust. Partly it picks up the national mood. Slowly, too slowly for sure but something is happening none the less, supporter organisations are getting the message through that fans need to be treated with respect. Away tickets are now capped at £30, some teams like Watford and W Ham have introduced highly competitive price tiers. Dinosaurs such as Hull – no concessions for kids or pensioners – will be in for a shock, although in their case they seem to think they can manage without players as well as fans.

Spurs being Spurs tried their best to chuck away the goodwill achieved by the CL pricing by ramping up fan frustration as they watched the Ticketmaster Wheel of Doom move as quickly as Tom Huddlestone on the turn. Dismiss the mealy-mouthed platitudes on the official site about ‘unprecedented demand’ (ask the fans, we could have told you) and time checking memberships before allocating seats. It’s down to money – Ticketmaster did not provide enough server space and/or peoplepower. The less they spend out, the more profit they make. Either it’s their fault period and/or the contract they have with Spurs gives them too much leeway. Either way, the interests of fans come second.

So there you have it. Next year, keep prices reasonable, fill Wembley. It makes the club money, fine by me if fans are looked after too. Year after, fill the new White Hart Lane. Ten, twenty, forty years after that, it will still be full because those fans will have become fans for life. The people have spoken. Great idea. Make it a permanent part of being a Spurs and write the next chapter in the People’s History.



7 thoughts on “This Photo – The Shape of Things To Come?

  1. The red isn’t all sold, the whole of the south upper tier and a few other areas were red on day one. as of Thursday spurs official website said 41,000 packages were sold.


  2. Hi Alan

    Call me cynical if you like, but I’ll think you’ll find this is part of the long term marketing strategy for the club. If we are playing in front of a half empty stadium (Wembley) for what some might say is the most prestigious competition in football then it is less likely that new major sponsors will be attracted to the club and also make the marketing of the new stadium less of an attraction to existing sponsors. These deals are worth many millions of pounds and will more than cover the lost revenue for only 3 games.
    Lets see what the prices are if and when we get past the group stage
    Don’t under estimate the “Levy Man” . He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have never doubted his financial acumen

    Up the Spurs

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Would be very interesting to know how the uptake of seats compares to the club’s expectations. They must have done price elasticity studies. Are they wishing they had charged more? Are they happy but surprised? All this may impact on prices for the ‘Wembley year’ and the new stadium. It will also be interesting to track the seats sold graphic as more seats are released after the draw.


    • Alan, sage observations indeed. Is there a more passionate thoughtful Tottenham blog on the web? Nah, Let’s hope Daniel takes note of this experiment with Prem footy economics. I actually think he will, He’s not daft. Nor as malign as many seem to think IMO. Keep up the good work!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Its unclear how many seats we have sold every time i look a block that was red before turns green. All I know is the Spurs website is a joke, especially regarding purchasing memberships. It makes the whole process of buying a membership a pain and I’m sure there are many fans maybe not as hardcore as some of us would’ve given up trying to purchase one thanks to the awfully designed website and assigning process.
    Also some more fair weather fans may have given up getting the CL group package believing it to be sold out thanks to the pathetic exploits in selling them last Wednesday.
    The whole Tottenham Hotspur website needs an overhaul.


    • Lordy, Lordy… agree with your comments regarding the unbelievably amateur, shoddy Spurs website. But perhaps it’s not quite as bad as our beloved Beeb. Their Sports>Football>All Teams page is still showing our most recent result as the loss to Atlético on 29 July. Even now, a mere 44 hours since we are rumoured to have duffed up some Italian non-entities 6-1 in Oslo.

      Note how Manure, the Arse and Bindippers’ results are ever contemporaneous!!


  5. I think it’s great that Tottenham have managed to sell so many tickets but if I were a Spurs fan I would indeed be expecting a price spike in the event of reaching the last 16.Also I know from experience that if you havent been in CL very often,it’s initially exciting.But it doesnt take long for supporters to become blase and the Spurs board need to keep group stage prices realistic to ensure fans dont start shrugging their shoulders if the club keep qualifying for the group stages – a rising co-efficient generally means one group game against a big team, then likes of Gent, Apoel Nicosia and Kiev on a regular basis.That,plus trekking to Wembley,needs careful management.


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