End Of An Era

Earlier this week I received formal notification that Tottenham Hotspur PLC is proposing to de-list its shares and become a private company again. As a shareholder, I’ve been kept fully informed even though the postage on the thick wad of legalese cost twice as much as the value of my holding. I have one share, literally a share holder, so that’s very sweet of them, although as a responsible shareholder I feel disappointed and concerned that the board have wasted this expense on schmucks like me for whom it makes no difference. Add up the postage, labour and paper, it’s enough to pay Manu’s wages for at least 12 hours.

Frankly I have no idea what it means for the club’s finances. Daniel Levy says the listing “restricts our ability to secure funding for its future development.” That is, the new ground is easier to fund this way and if that means we are a step closer to the NDP, I’m delighted. Levy is a master of his world, finance, and has always looked after the club in this respect. Even with our low capacity we made an operating profit of £32m, a rise of 42%, boosted by the Champions League pot of gold.

Management Today(what do you mean, you don’t read it daily?) takes a more cynical view, wondering

spurs blog 57

Buy Al's Share, Buy! Buy!

if the furore over the Olympic Stadium has lead Spurs to prefer life without the added scrutiny of external shareholders. Then there’s Redknapp’s forthcoming court case which is scheduled for January, the same time as the de-listing. Pure coincidence, but the assuredly bad publicity can now have no affect on the share price. It doesn’t mention suspicions that the ‘I’ in ENIC means they have half an eye on a future sale.

What I do know is that this is the end of an era. Nowadays it’s commonplace for football clubs to be listed companies but Spurs were the first and it wasn’t that long ago. In 1983 an ambitious businessman called Irving Scholar was determined to make his mark as our new chairman. Before then, the club had for many years been run as a private company by the Wale family but by applying the same business principles that had made him a wealthy man, Scholar aimed to drag football finances into the twentieth century even though it was almost over. In the process, Spurs would become the richest team in the land.

As well as going public and raising money on the Stock Exchange, Scholar took over two clothing and sportswear companies, including Hummel, fondly remembered for providing Alan Ball’s revolutionary white boots. The ground was empty save for one or two days a month, so use it for alternatives at no extra fixed cost. The space under the Park Lane became a factory. The income was to be ploughed back into the club, a secure stream unaffected by the uncertainties of league position.

Scholar shrewdly assessed the zeitgeist. Leaving aside the rights and wrongs (not easy for me to do but anyway..), we were in the midst of Thatcher’s property-owning democracy where the public could buy pieces of the de-nationalised industries, make some easy money and feel part of things. To borrow from contemporary politics, we were all in this together, except that times were good.

On top of that, Spurs fans were offered the unique chance to be a part of the club. Long excluded, unlike like any other fans we could now have our say and influence the future. It proved popular. I don’t have any statistics to back this up but I reckon the number one Christmas present for Spurs fans that year was a share certificate.  There’s no doubt that the share offer caught the prevailing mood.

spurs new stadium

I've helped buy that

I was given a hundred shares by my then girlfriend. It was worth about £160 but to me it was a priceless token, sealing my attachment to her and to the club. These were the only shares I have ever owned and I kept an eye on their progress, all the while thinking that like the family heirloom on the Antiques Roadshow, I will be delighted to be told it’s worth a fortune but I would never sell. Many fans of different clubs have their certificate framed on display, proving it means something.

At one point they were valued at over £500 but soon they plummeted, as did the relationship. By the time I was kicked out and the shares sold to get rid of a painful reminder of happier days, they raised less than £100. Spurs’ romance with the new ways faded just as brutally. We sold our finest players Waddle and Gascoigne to stave off financial ruin and the businesses failed. Maxwell was a telephone call away from taking over the club so perhaps we should be grateful for Alan Sugar sorting out the mess Scholar left behind. Actually, perhaps not, but again, that’s a story for another time.

It was then that the true nature of the new era became clear. Thatcher’s meritocracy was nothing of the sort. Power and wealth became concentrated in the hands of the few and the gap between rich and poor widened. As with society, so it was with football. The advent of the Premiership and the Champions League meant that the top clubs and Sky TV held sway. Rocketing admission prices transformed the fan experience with many alienated for good, never to come back, and others priced out of the game they loved. Kick-off times were at the whim of television. PLC not F.C. Far from being part of things, football fans had never been more helpless.

Now we’re all experts on football finance. We have to be because it’s all over the back pages and otherwise we can’t keep up with events at our clubs. Never mind 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, it’s the income to salaries gearing that holds the key to success. False 9 or false accounts? Ask some of the clubs that have gone down the tube. Despite the sterling efforts of fans’ organisations and protest groups, the legacy of football shareholding is that many of us feel more distant from the game, our game, than at any point in living memory.

I’m still in play, mind, thanks to the gift a few years ago from my daughter of a single Spurs share. It came in a fancy tin box (safety deposit, just in case?) with some blurb about the club. Now that’s a juicy business to be in – buy the share for next to nothing, add cheap packaging and charge £19.99. Football fans are nothing if not loyal and gullible.

So what to do about the de-listing? I don’t know where the certificate is but I recently found my last dividend cheque, £0.04, proudly un-cashed. The PLC tell me my share is worth 33p and I have until 11th January to decide. I could sell, and use the results of my foray into the murky world of high  finance to buy, say, a 6th of a cup of instant tea or coffee on matchday, or two gulps of water. I expect that I won’t be bothered, however, and will keep it as a souvenir of the days when the club couldn’t be bothered about me either.

Spurs And The Riots – What Next?

The disturbances on the night of August 6th following a vigil for local man Mark Duggan, allegedly shot by police three days earlier, became the spark that ignited the most widespread and sustained civil disobedience in Britain since the early 80s. Yet Tottenham remains the area that has suffered the most. As well as the damage to property that resulted in the subsequent demolition of several buildings, up to 200 people were made homeless. Urgent calls for donations of food, clothing and nappies were reminiscent of disaster appeals. A leisure centre provided emergency shelter for families in need.

The burnt-out Carpetright store heavily featured on the news is a few hundred yards from the ground but the club remained unscathed apart from some damage to the ticket office. Tottenham High Road, the main route to the ground by car and public transport, remained closed for several days, causing the postponement of the season’s opening fixture against Everton.

Tottenham is an area of considerable social deprivation. Tottenham Hotspur, regularly in the world’s top 15 in terms of annual income, falls within a ward that is amongst the 5% most deprived in England, while in Tottenham as a whole 80.3% of children live in low-income homes. It is natural therefore that both local residents and politicians should look to the club, the largest local private employer, as a major partner as the rebuilding begins.

Victoria Hart lives on the High Road and spent a long Saturday night comforting a frightened and bewildered 6 year old as the troubles raged outside her window. Not a fan, she is nevertheless convinced that the club has an essential contribution to make in restoring the health and well-being of this fractured community.

“We all feel very damaged by the riots and the destruction around us. We want to retain a pride in Tottenham but it’s difficult when the press perception seems to be of a locality where a riot was ‘just bound’ to happen. I hope the football club, being one of the really identifiable places on the High Road, can help us to rebuild. And I really mean more emotionally than financially.”

Early signs were positive. Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy swiftly promised support now and in the future:

“The Club is committed to supporting its community with help with both the physical clean-up of our area and the longer term rebuilding of community spirit. It is more critical than ever that community, business and political leaders…now work closely together to support the regeneration of this area and we shall certainly look to play our part in that.”

The fans responded too. Many travelled to Tottenham on their spare Saturday to labour alongside local people as the clean-up continued, whilst an internet appeal of behalf of 89 year old barber Aaron Biber raised over £35,000 as word spread amongst the messageboards and twitterati. The refurbished shop was reopened by Peter Crouch, looking decidedly edgy despite the carefully choreographed photo opportunity as Biber approached from behind with clippers in hand.

Otherwise it was left to Benoit Assou Ekotto to respond on behalf of the players. This comes as little surprise to Spurs fans. Derided by Hansen and Dixon from the comfort of the MOTD sofa, the full-back is fast attaining cult status for both his dashing if occasionally risky performances and his grounded attitude. Travelling London by public transport, he’s made a conscious effort to be close to the city and its people, eschewing the trappings of celebrity in order to ‘live a normal life’. Aware of his own impoverished upbringing, he understands that football is part of something much bigger. It is he rather than the British players who talks earnestly to local people a few days after the disturbances.

The club has developed an increasing awareness of the community over the past few years. In 2007 they invested £4.5m in a Foundation that boasts a proud record of achievement: 470 hours of sporting and education sessions for children a week, support for the unemployed, a chance for the homeless and adults with learning disabilities to play football plus the highest rate of charitable giving in the Premier League.

Yet the local impact is questionable. Mark Perryman, author, co-founder of Philosophy Football and West Stand season ticket holder, trenchantly dismisses the club’s performance in the 25 years he’s lived locally:

“The club makes the name of the borough known worldwide but otherwise I don’t see what it gives the area. Away from the ground itself the club’s presence physically is almost non-existent and it’s painfully obvious how disconnected the club is. It’s just not a significant institution in the community in which I live.”

The club’s investment in ‘Football in the Community’ schemes is generous and laudable, but the question is, which community? The popular coaching sessions and soccer schools reach out primarily to the relatively affluent suburban fan bases in Hertfordshire and Essex rather than the N17 estates and thus are designed to win fans rather than directly benefit the local community.

Perryman also casts doubt on their claim as a major employer, pointing out that most of the jobs are on matchdays only and are not filled by local people. Also, some of the highest ticket prices in the country mean locals cannot afford to watch their team.

This problem is not confined to Spurs. Rather, it’s one of the consequences of the modern game as supporter demographics change in response to increased prices and the blurring of social boundaries. Perryman again:

“London clubs aren’t London clubs, they’re Home Counties clubs. Those who can afford season tickets don’t live in inner London. They are not in the community where those kids emerged from. Where I sit, they [fellow supporters] don’t seem to like Tottenham as a place. There may have been a connection a generation or so ago, not now.”

The meaning of all this is not lost on Victoria Hart: “I’d say a lot of people like me who live locally retained a kind of benign neutrality towards the club. It is a part of the local area and the local history and of course, carries the name of the place we call home but especially recently with the attempts to bid for the Olympic Stadium, we didn’t kid ourselves that they’d really rather be further out towards Essex where most of the fan base seem to live.”

This is the paradoxical nature of the Hotspur in Tottenham, an attachment to an area but distant and out of reach at the same time. “I see the fans coming and going past our homes and regard them fondly but I’ve never been to a Spurs match – too expensive!”

Her words hint at the most revealing measure of the club’s relationship to the community of which it has been an integral part for 129 years, the planning for a new ground. Precisely as he talks about increased community engagement, Levy is actively exploring a move away from Tottenham entirely. Economics overrides history or community responsibility when it comes to the option of the Olympic Park site in east London to replace the venerable but creaking White Hart Lane, which will be cheaper to build and generate greater income from non-football activity. Undeterred by opposition from a large and vocal section of the fans and a public aghast that Spurs propose to demolish the Olympic stadium built with taxpayers money and which will be the focus of world attention for two weeks next summer, Levy is keeping the option open for as long as possible. Even the decision to award West Ham the dubious honour did not stop him launching an expensive and ultimately successful judicial review. His sympathetic and compassionate support for the local community suddenly sounds decidedly hollow.

The alternative is a 56,250 capacity ground with an ‘end’ and stands close the pitch right next to White Hart Lane. Properly called the Northumberland Development Project, it includes housing, a hotel, supermarket and renovated listed buildings. Together with improved transport links it should reinvigorate the area as well as the finances of the football club. Supporters’ groups continue the campaign to stay in Tottenham but now the project takes on a significance greater than merely preserving the club’s heritage.

It’s an ill wind and although the area lost out on the latest round of government regeneration money, the recent problems have boosted the case for grants from the Regional Growth Fund, which could cut the costs Spurs will incur in upgrading public transport links and other improvements around the ground, costs they have long claimed should come from the public purse. It would not be factor if they moved to Stratford, of course.

I have asked the club for a comment regarding their response to the community in the wake of the riots but they have not replied. Levy would say that he must do the best for the club. His business acumen has left the club financially secure and has won grudging admiration from most fans, even those who wanted greater investment in the team over the last two years. His deadline-day brinkmanship has become legendary and I respect his refusal to pay over the odds. However, for every great deal – Lennon, Keane and a pound of flesh from a destitute Leeds comes to mind – there have been opportunities missed because of his refusal to compromise. He would do well to ensure that he doesn’t make the same mistake over what is effectively the future of the club.

His decision is further complicated by the increased number of stakeholders who are now part of the equation. As chairman he is duty bound to keep the PLC on a sound financial footing. However, the interests of shareholders seeking a profit may not not be the same as fans wanting success on the pitch. Also, to ascertain the intentions of his employer, ENIC, look no further than the name: it’s an Investment company looking for long term return, which may best be served by making the club ready for a sale.

In addition, there’s now a responsibility to the local community who desperately want the club to stay where it is, a powerful argument that cuts little or no ice on the balance sheet. Indeed, these aims are in direct conflict with those of investors. In my experience of working in the charitable sector, private companies are comfortable with activities like fund-raising and donations but less sure-footed when it comes to the openness and adherence to goals that are not easily measured that true engagement requires. He may have to adjust his approach.

One outcome could please everyone, however: the riots as leverage for assistance to make the NDP a profitable option again. Some characterise Levy as a ruthless negotiator but it is a cold hard fact that the disturbances have suddenly shifted the financial impasse. In late August, London mayor Boris Johnson made available a large sum, at least £8m, to cover these infrastructure costs on condition that Spurs dropped the review. Even MP David Lammy thought agreement had been reached but the following day Spurs tuned up in court and went ahead as if nothing had happened.

The deadline for another offer came and went this week. ENIC say the City Hall deadline is unreasonable, and “the correct level” of public money is “critical … to create a community with hope and prospects … We cannot be expected to do this single-handedly.” Levy clearly believes the offer will not go away just because the deadline has passed. However, there may come a time when local politicians find better ways of spending their £8m windfall.

Another stakeholder has recently entered the fray. Spurs Future is a loose collective of fans who has have submitted detailed proposals to the club regarding a ‘community share’. Basically, this allows for up to £50m of investment from fans and other sources who purchase shares or bonds for the purpose of financing ventures of a community purpose. A return on the investment is possible and it encourages greater participation and involvement. I understand talks have taken place with the club but it’s at an early stage. £50m could come in handy for ENIC but they may baulk at ceding any influence over the running of the club to supporters. There’s also the question of how fans see the idea of giving this prodigious sum to a company owned by Joe Lewis, a man worth £2.8bn and 6th on the world football richlist.

Talking with residents, the club is part of their lives and has the potential to be the focus for their determination to rebuild relationships as well as bricks and mortar. The stadium project, important though it may be, is not in itself enough. “I have no great faith in the idea that stadia can regenerate an area,” says Mark Perryman, concerned about the future of his community and his club. “Spurs has to develop a relationship with those estates where the kids live,” says Mark Perryman. “They must develop dialogue not summer schools.”

I leave the last word with Victoria Hart. “I hope it helps the club and the community work together to make Tottenham a better place. That would help and it would help emotionally as we residents feel a little abandoned at the moment. We always needed the club but we need it a whole lot more now.”

League Leaders Spurs in Ticket Office Farce

Ten days ago the Football Supporters Federation, the country’s largest representative organisation for football fans, published the results of a nationwide survey of club charters, documents that set out standards of customer service. Clubs were graded according to a number of criteria, including accessibility, timeliness, quality, complaints procedure and contact details. Sitting proudly on top of the table are the mighty Tottenham Hotspur, scoring an impressive 31 points out of a possible 35 and fully 8 points clear of our nearest rivals, Arsenal. Where’s your St Totteringham’s Day now, huh?

Try telling that to anyone who went for Real Madrid tickets yesterday morning. The charter is on the web, if you have the time and inclination to work out where anything is on that messy and counter-intuitive  official site. It’s glossy, carefully constructed in well-modulated, easy to read language and about as useful as Aaron Lennon in the air, because in reality Spurs treat fans with withering contempt.

Madrid was always going to be busy and frustrating because demand massively outweighs supply. The boards and sites were bulging with tales of joy and despair as the infamous online site maroon bar tantalisingly stuttered from left to right along the screen. As ever the abundant ingenuity of fans reached new heights of creativity. Entire offices mobilised online and on the phone in pursuit of a single ticket. Different, non-premium rate telephone numbers. One person I know queued for 12 hours at the ticket to be successful.

We all understand this. Until we have a bigger stadium, sadly many fans will be disappointed for the big games. However, what truly infuriates is the manner in which the club handles these moments. The disappointment is bearable, a sense of being kept in the dark and of the club not caring is not, especially when some problems are entirely avoidable.

Yesterday I logged on to the system at 12.10 on behalf of my son who wanted to register for a Chelsea away ticket – applications closed at 5pm and he wasn’t near a computer. On the home page of the official site there was no direct link to Madrid home tickets. Plenty of knockabout hilarious banter between JD and Bale over today’s international or the breaking news -hold tight to something solid – that Crouch was looking forward to that game. Nothing about the single most important thing that any fan wants to know about their club – match tickets.

I went onto the online ticket section to be greeted with the usual message about waiting a queue, don’t refresh you putz or you’ll lose your place. Nothing happened. About 20 minutes later a sliver of maroon appeared which steadfastly refused to budge for another half an hour. By 1.20 I was about an eighth of the way along, an hour later not much further.

This could only be due to one thing – people still believed they were in with a chance of Madrid tickets. Yet a messageboard post at 10.53 stated tickets had sold out. On the ‘forthcoming matches’ page Madrid was listed as sold out but you would not access this page if you clicked on ‘buy tickets’ and were taken straight into the system. Just after 2 I had another go on a different browser. This time, a message came up saying the tickets had gone but people who logged on hours earlier had no way of knowing this – “don’t refresh” and still nothing on the home page of the main site.

About 2.30 I suddenly shot across to 75%, then was unceremoniously booted off just gone 3. My son called the box office who confirmed my suspicions – so many supporters had by this time been left hanging in the wind for at least 4 hours since tickets had ceased to be available. The club said they were intending to clear the system and start again.

This doesn’t affect me personally as I’m fortunate enough to have a season ticket. My original standing season ticket lapsed in the late 80s when my children were young and family life was busy. As they grew older, we started going regularly to matches and bought season tickets in 1999 (no waiting list back then) because of the increasing problems of getting members tickets for important matches. Even if we couldn’t go to every game, it was still worth it. Yet yesterday makes my blood boil because better communication and a better system could have prevented the frustration and anguish of my fellow fans. It’s made all the more insulting because of the mealy mouthed empty platitudes of the Charter written by club mandarins who keep themselves as far away from the unwashed public as they possibly can. Here’s a bloody charter for you from this fan.

Tell people what’s going on. We are old enough and ugly enough to handle bad news. What we don’t like is being the mushrooms under the crap, kept in the dark. Have clear, updated ticket information on the club home page. If I could do that in 30 seconds on my pony blog, then that’s easy for you too. Use the £3.70 admin fee you charged for the costs of the electric pulse that uploaded my ticket purchase onto my season ticket card, there’s probably about £3.699999 left over.

If tickets have sold out, clear the system and replace it with an up to date message. If the start time for tickets is 9.30, don’t allow people on the system before then, thus avoiding the myths circulating about when you can and can’t log on in the mornings.

The loyalty points system is not perfect but it’s the best we have and by far the fairest way of selling tickets. Use it for games like this. Publicise a number in advance, you can’t apply for a ticket unless you have, say, 200 points. Once you meet that threshold, it’s first come first served. Not perfect as I say, but better that what happens now.

I know nothing about the logistics of ticketing but these measures are straightforward. Perish the thought that any of this might cost the club money…

In my experience the individuals at the club ticket office, including the manager, are very helpful. When Paul Barber was at the club, he used to reply to genuine concerns and enquiries personally, via his Blackberry sometimes. The current system is better than in the old days. My first game at Spurs was against Sheffield United in 1967. As it was the final home game before the Cup Final, ballot cards were distributed at the turnstiles, so I could have obtained a Final ticket on the basis of attending precisely a single game. However, the system could so easily be improved. As for the Charter, not worth the glossy paper it’s written on and the FSF, noble though they are, would be better off surveying the actual experiences of fans with clubs who depend to a large extend on taking our money. About time they put some effort into treating us better.

 

Spurs Lose the Olympic Stadium But the Real Conflict Has Only Just Begun

Politics. All down to politics, as this blog has been saying for a while. The BBC has ‘learned’ that West Ham will win the Olympic Stadium bidding process. In the language of politics, it’s a leak from a sound source, otherwise the BBC would not have gone so big on it. It will happen. Rejoice, oh rejoice unto the heavens! Yet the abiding feeling this morning is the realisation that far from being over, the real issue for Spurs fans, the plans that will affect our development in the next hundred years, that battle has only just begun.

This decision has nothing to do with football or the clubs. It’s a political settlement based on the promises around the Olympic Stadium that date from the bid itself, the legacy and the perceived public reaction if the nod went to an organisation prepared to knock down Britain’s showpiece. The arguments advocated by Levy or for that matter the odious Sullivan in yesterday’s Standard (“the decision is about a promise made in the Queen’s name”) count for virtually nothing. Coe and the athletics lobby as 2012 approaches, Cameron and Boris with cold shudders down their spines as they imagine themselves pictured with the wrecking ball, the government being seen to renege on Olympic undertakings in the most public of ways – these are the factors.

I’ll tell you why this choice was made – my office. Two blokes in the workplace, me and one other who’s not interested in football in the slightest. The rest are women, only one of whom is keen on sport. Lovely people, and yes of course women like football, but not these. There’s not a lot of footy banter going on.

Except over the stadium move. Everyone knows about it. They have no idea who Daniel Levy is, no club allegaince or the faintest notion of a legacy. But they all know Spurs plan to demolish the stadium and they are livid. Many of them blame me personally, even when I point out my opposition. To them, it’s simple: ‘How dare they knock down our stadium?’ Our stadium. There it is. Not Spurs’ or West Ham’s. Ours.

The fans of both clubs, and Orient’s too for that matter, are so embroiled in claim and counter-claim about territory, heritage, revenue streams and sightlines that we fail to appreciate the big picture so beloved of politicians in local and national government. The public want the Olympic Stadium. They are proud of it and proud Britain is hosting the Games. Woe betide a politician who ignores the public mood, whatever they may consider in private, especially so in these straitened times when election promises are returning to haunt members of the government.

In saying that the arguments advanced by both clubs have been so much pissing in the wind, it has to be acknowledged that West Ham have caught the public mood much better than Levy and his PR department. To me, the notion of the Porn Barons and Karren Brady as champions of the people is incomprehensible and frankly nauseating. However, they have successfully presented themselves as guardians of the Games and upholders of decent, honest values, of keeping promises and keeping faith with ‘the youth of London’, whilst at the same time burying the news that theirs is the option that uses public money. Levy meanwhile has been caught on his heels, belatedly desperate to catch up as West Ham set the agenda and the pace. It helps to have a column in the Sun, mind.

Above all, the public and the media like a simple story, and West Ham have successfully cast Spurs as the baddies. This debate about the future of sport in this country has been dramatised as a battle between good and evil and we have lost. Serious damage has been done to our reputation, unwarranted in my view because this was not what it was about at all, but real in the eyes of the public nonetheless. Levy the Loser is the tag he will find hard to shake off, never mind the public, in the eyes of the media and his fellow Premier League chairman. Remember this is the guy who drives a hard bargain and as the deadlines approach, does not blink. Until now.

My opposition to Stratford has been implacable from the start. I’m pleased with this decision but this is just the beginning, because it throws the long-term problems of THFC into sharp focus. If not Stratford, then where? The club cannot challenge the top teams in the long run in a ground that holds fewer than 37,000 people. Figures published today by Deloittes show that of the top 7 clubs, only one, L’arse, made a profit. Spurs have the dubious honour of making the least loss, about £6.5m compared with Man U at nearly £80m, Chelsea at £70m and Man City £121m. The matchday revenues at Spacecity North London are 5 times greater than ours, their profit £56m last year.

I hope we can return to the NDP: I understand the costs have risen but remain wary of Levy’s sudden change of tack. Let’s leave the specifics for another day. One thing is certain, that Daniel Levy remains the key figure who holds not only the balance sheet but also our hopes and dreams. There’s no one else we can turn to: he’s the man in charge. Yet after this mauling, I wonder if he still has the stomach to fight a series of new, possibly protracted battles. We need him to be at his best but he must be feeling battered, sore and bruised. Despite his decade or so in the hotseat, he’s never given the impression of being a passionate man on a mission. Whatever you think about Stratford, it will be hard for anyone to generate the motivation for the challenges to come. It would not be a surprise if he  walked away.

This to my mind is the biggest problem Spurs and Spurs fans have to face in the coming weeks and months. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that Levy should have done so much more to take the fans with him. Most accept his arguments that the club must change in some way. The fans and board united has to be the way forward. I’ve been an opponent, at times showing a degree of bitterness that is not part of my character, but Daniel, here’s my hand. Reach out and take it.

 

 

 

 

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine