agm 2004

11.11.2004

Having not intended to go to the AGM this year (09.11.2004), I made a decision to go with the promise of an interview after the press conference after it.  Thus, arriving late and having to be let in by the security guards on duty, I missed the business part of the meeting, but got there just after the free football questioning began.  I will run through some of the questions asked, although not in any particular order, but with the similar topics lumped together.

The board members and staff who were present were Daniel Levy (DL), David Buchler (DB), Frank Arnesen (FA), Mervyn Davies (MD), Matthew Collecott (MC), Paul Kemsley (PK) and John Alexander (JA).

HEAD COACH

  • Martin Jol was an obvious point of interest and when asked about the roles that he and Arnesen would carry out, FA made sure that everyone was clear.  It was FA's job to provide "the weapons in the hands of the coach" and then he picked the team from the players brought in.  FA said he had confidence and trust in the new Head Coach.

PLAYERS

  • The captaincy was under question and the need for a ball-winning midfielder, so FA replied that a leader is not made overnight, but has to grow, like Ledley King had done by playing in midfield for a while and being brought on in the proper way.
  • One question mentioned the availability of Mark van Bommel, who would be on a free transfer in the summer when his contract expires.  The Dutch midfielder was someone that FA knows very well, having been at PSV and he said that if the player would benefit the team, then he would go after him.
    Jermain Defoe has been touted as a replacement at Chelsea for Adrian Mutu, while the West London club and Arsenal have been linked with Ledley King and one questioner wanted to know if they would be sold for around 20 million each, while accepting that if a bid of 40 million per player came in, it would have to be accepted.  DL said there had been no bids for those players and that they would not be sold.
  • With FA signing the players at the club, one person asked where the buck stopped with buying and selling players.  FA reiterated that the Head Coach concentrates on the first team, while the Sporting Director is ultimately responsible for signing new players, while sales were discussed with the coach and the board.
  • Dutch players became a topic of discussion, especially those at PSV (Robben, Rommedahl and Kezman) , with Mark van Bommel being mentioned as being available on a free transfer in the summer and did we go after him last summer ?  FA confirmed the club had not pursued him last summer and if it was felt that a player such as van Bommel would benefit the team, then they would go after him.  With Robben, FA had been involved in negotiations to transfer him to Manchester United, but then Chelsea came in at the last minute and that was that.  Spurs did not need another striker, so did not move for Kezman, while with Rommedahl, who FA rates highly, there was not a place for him at the time when other areas were being addressed.
  • Did the club have a sports psychologist on the books and did they use one ?   FA was outlining that players need a lot of factors to be a professional.  They need to be lucky with fitness and talented, but they needed the right mentality - even in training.  He believes that if needed they can be brought in to be used with players as necessary.
  • With only a one point improvement on last season's corresponding fixtures, a fan asked would there be an opportunity to boost playing strength in the January transfer window ?  DL said that they would be looking to do business in the January transfer window.

STRUCTURE

  • Tottenham's set-up was also a point to be probed by the audience and the matter brought an answer form DL, as to why it was the way he wanted to go.  The chairman had looked at why the club had underachieved over many years.  A lot of money had been spent (much more than Arsenal), without similar success.  The structure stops big changes when a new appointment has to be made and promotes continuity, with the Sporting Director having an overall view of how the club operates.  As the Head Coach is only in charge of the First Team, the effect on the club is minimalised.  The reason that some people cannot assimilate themselves into the theory behind it, is because many British managers want to control everything, including the medical management of players, but here all they have to do is concentrate on the First Team.
  • MD said that we should realise that we are lucky to have someone like FA at the club, as he had great knowledge of the European game and also football in places further afield.  he is one of the most respected football men in the game.
  • Someone wanted to know how will the structure work differently to that at the start of the season.  FA said that he and Martin Jol were used to working this system in Holland, albeit at different clubs and it should not be regarded as a threat, but as a benefit, as two people run the club, not one, as is traditional in England.  For two years FA was assistant coach to Bobby Robson at PSV Eindhoven and Robson liked the arrangement.  it allows each person to concentrate on their duties, but communication between the two is very important.
  • A point was put forward that was this not storing up trouble for the future, as the Press had leapt to the conclusion that there had been conflict between FA and Santini.  FA cleared that up by saying that he had been responsible for appointing the coach and it was his job to make it a success.

STYLE OF FOOTBALL

  • One shareholder wanted to know if the style of football would change under Martin Jol.  FA said that it was the players who did the entertaining and not the coach.  The main idea would be to go and get results and then the flowing play would come from that.  The Sporting Director believed that if the team played with confidence, in a style that they liked to play in, then we will win, but that wouldn't happen all the time (results and style).  This season under Santini, the early results were gained to establish some points on the board for the team and to help the large number of new players settle in.  There will always be ups and downs in a long season, but FA had confidence in Jol after the battling performance in the last 30 minutes fo the Charlton Athletic match.

STADIUM

  • How the stadium would be developed and even where it will be was the next issue to be asked about.  PK is responsible for making the redevelopment work and will receive a big percentage bonus should more than 2.5 million profit.  He said that the plans for the redevelopment had been completed for a greatly improved stadium.  The Greater London Authority (GLA) and the London Borough of Haringey (LBH) have not shown a great commitment to the plans, so they had not been submitted yet.  The club have made strategic acquisitions in the area and believe that the redevelopment will make a big contribution to the regeneration of the area.  Some of the dealings in gaining planning permission revolve around the benefit that will be gained for the area (planning gain) weighed up against the effect it has on the area.
  • The matter of transport links is closely tied to the planning issue and LBH has shown no commitment to assisting the planning application to go in.  PK hoped that everyone would be able to see the plans very soon and he was sure that everybody would be hugely impressed with them when they do get to see them.
  • A question about the stadium being more welcoming for fans travelling a long distance for home games was raised and this was to be dealt with in the redevelopment plans.
  • The old chestnut of the transport links to Tottenham was raised once more.  Was Northumberland Park being linked to the Victoria Line on the Underground and how would things be changed to make it easier to get to the ground.  PK explained that the redevelopment was over 16 acres (0.25 million feet of residential, leisure and car parking) and that was a large project, so things take a lot of time to achieve what is required. One consideration would be the access into and out fo the area for fans, but the negotiations on the tube station was ongoing, although this needed the assistance of Transport for London and the GLA.

SIR BILL NICHOLSON

  • Sir Bill Nicholson's death was raised and the fact that there had been no minute's silence throughout football as there had been for Brian Clough.  JA answered that the Premier League had sent a circular to clubs saying that the minute's silence for Clough was discretionary and that there was no direct instruction about it.  There had been no such communication about the death of Sir Bill.
  • The club were praised for their handling of the Bill Nicholson tributes and memorial service, but with the club shop being open on the Sunday of the service, the takings over any other Sunday were requested.  Those figures were not available. 

COMMUNITY

  • Young players were being creamed off to Arsenal from the local area, a youth worker in Haringey claimed and asked what was being done to improve the links with youth groups in the area to increase the interest in the club from the next generation of supporters.  JA answered by saying that lots has been done by the Football In The Community scheme over the last 5 years and especially the last 2-3.  With the appointment of Kathryn Robinson as Community Director it is hoped to expand on the successes, especially the "Playing for Success" scheme that has targeted underachievers at school to improve attendance at lessons and this has been done to achieve 98% attendance.  There was still a problem in allowing tickets to go to local youth groups at the moment, because of the lack of capacity in the stadium.

MEMBERS DISCOUNT

  • The loss of the 10% discount in the Spurs Stores was raised and DL said that a decision to make special offers to Members throughout the season would compensate for the loss.

TICKETING

  • A question from the floor concerning the club's policy in taking the lower end of the allocated tickets for away games was posed.  JA said that under Premier League rules the home club had to offer the away club 3,000 or 10% of capacity and these are usually offered on a sale and return or guaranteed sale basis.  THFC accept tickets on the basis of historical information and for the Chelsea match, it was felt that there would have been a financial loss to the club had they accepted the whole allocation.  
    With a general drop-off of away support in the Premier League, the effect of Sky Sports Pay Per View service and the new Football First extended highlights package, coupled with the cost fo tickets and the lack of capacity for away fans, this means that most clubs are reducing the amount of tickets they are taking.  In fact, Bolton asked Spurs to take back more tickets after being unable to sell them for a Saturday 3.00 p.m. kick off League match.

 

Previous AGM's:

1998

1999
2000
  2001
  2003

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