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Home ticketing at Spurs: The inconvenient truth

4 min read
by Kat Law

Kat Law, Co-chair, of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust shares her views on the new ticketing system for games at White Hart Lane next season.

Since the Club announced its home ticketing policy for next season on Tuesday afternoon, social media has been no place for the faint hearted. ‘It’s a farce’. ‘It completely disregards loyalty’. ‘There was nothing wrong with the old system’. ‘If ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it’.

It’s fair to say we don’t like change. I get that. As a race, we are incredibly sceptical of anything that challenges the norm. But change is something we, as Spurs fans, will need to tolerate if not embrace over the coming seasons. There are challenging times ahead, starting now.

The closure of the North East corner of White Hart Lane has reduced capacity by 4,000 seats. These 4,000 seats have come out of the pot of tickets available for members. So, from the off, there is a huge squeeze on tickets for both Bronze and Lilywhite members. Roughly 50% of those available last season have now gone.

This creates big problems.

There was already a supply and demand issue at White Hart Lane well before the loss of 4,000 seats, which is a major reason why THFC is building a new stadium. And which is a reason why the Trust campaigned for a larger temporary venue than the 30,000 capacity Stadium MK offered, which would have seen virtually no tickets available for members for an entire season.

There was already a supply and demand issue at White Hart Lane well before the loss of 4,000 seats, which is a major reason why THFC is building a new stadium

Next year is not going to be a year like any other. The final season at White Hart Lane will see ticket demand increase even further. And with significantly fewer available.

‘But the old system worked fine for me. I got every ticket I ever wanted.’

The old system, otherwise known as the Grey Circle of Doom. You may have been one of the lucky ones but the volume of complaints the Trust received after every in-demand match tells a different story.

Confidence in a Ticketmaster platform stretched to capacity had been completely eroded for many. Let’s take the Southampton match, for example. 12,000 members were online when tickets went on sale at 9.30am. That’s bang on 9.30am. Securing tickets depended on how fast your server connected from whatever device you were using. Nothing more. It didn’t take into account the fact you’d had a membership for a decade, had 1,000 loyalty points and had already cleared your diary for that weekend. It was an online lottery.

Now, imagine that system next season for all 19 premier league home games. When half the number of tickets are available. And tell me how that would be fair?

What we now have for Category B and C games next season is an offline ballot. Offline ballot, online lottery. There’s not much difference there, except the ballot allows members the chance to apply at a time that is convenient for them and allows all wanting a ticket equal chance of getting one. So, it’s a fairer system. That’s a fact. A system that allows more fans an equal opportunity is a fairer system.

What we now have for Category B and C games next season is an offline ballot. Offline ballot, online lottery

Of course, the ballot does not take into account ‘loyalty’. Which is why the Trust argued against 18 of the 19 home games next season being allocated this way. We felt strongly that the fans that have been to the most matches in the loyalty point cycle (let’s not get into that right now!) deserved a greater chance of securing a ticket for the last ever North London Derby at The Lane, the last match against the Spammers, the last win against Chelsea. So we pushed for all Category A matches and the last ever match at White Hart Lane to be allocated by loyalty points.

This guarantees those members in the top 4,000 loyalty point bracket tickets at these games next year. Something which was far from guaranteed with the old Grey Circle of Doom.

‘But why couldn’t all games for next season have been run by loyalty points? Surely that’s the fairest way?’ If you’re in that top 4-5,000 then yes. If you’re one of the 66,000+ members outside of that but still paying your membership fee each summer you may think differently. Running all 19 league games by points would have created a closed shop and shut out the vast majority. Something which wasn’t sustainable or fair. And for that reason, this option was never on the table.

The truth is there is no ideal solution. And the truth is that the best solution is usually the solution that suits you best

So, what we have is a system where every member gets an equal bite at the cherry for Category B and C matches and where loyalty is actually rewarded for the biggest home games next season. For the first time.

Moving Champions League matches to Wembley negates this problem for European cup matches, where a minimum of 30,000 members’ seats will be available for the group stage games. Positive news.

There is no argument from me that next season will be challenging. And with the supply and demand ratio as it stands, not every member will be happy. The truth is there is no ideal solution. And the truth is that the best solution is usually the solution that suits you best.

What I can say is the new system is both fair to the wider membership base while recognising the loyalty and commitment of the most frequent match goers.

It’s change. But it’s for one season. Let’s try and give it a go.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.


  1. 3GamesToLove
    02/06/2016 @ 4:34 pm

    Before I say this, full disclaimer: I’m an American fan who’s only been to games in one season–I did six matches during ’10-11 as I was studying in the UK. Five home matches (including Chelsea and Inter) and an away match. I don’t know if it’s gotten any easier or more difficult to get tickets in the last five years or how much the online ticketing system has changed, etc…

    But I really do think this is as fair as you can make it. I totally get the griping–I do. But I don’t know how else they could’ve done it without making this a completely closed shop, as you said. Luckily, with Wembley and the new stadium on the horizon this problem will soon be (largely) solved!

  2. TommyHarmer
    02/06/2016 @ 4:50 pm

    Agree with Kat absolutely …… it is effectively a situation we can’t win, but one where the Trust has as ever done it’s best to get the best deal possible.

    I think also that, in general, the club has responded well also.

    Of course, MY one gripe remains Stubhub – this is a disgrace that should be against the law. If I stand outside WHL and offer you a ticket for £150, I get arrested: if I’m a big corporation that ‘pays all UK taxes’, I can charge you £150 and that’s OK!

    And one more thing, if you want to influence the way the club does it’s business, join the Trust, and get behind them in getting the best deal for all of us; the more members we have, the more leverage we have!

  3. Martin
    05/06/2016 @ 8:34 pm

    Difficult to argue with that article. Exciting time to be a Spurs supporter. One season of disruption, one season watching as many games as we like at the best stadium in Britain then moving in to the new WHL. Who in their right mind can complain about that!

  4. Ian Forward
    22/07/2016 @ 1:49 pm

    The article is a fair exposition of the ticketing dilemma facing the club this year – however I do object to THFC continuing to promote and issue memberships in the face of the ticket supply problem. Every additional member represents diminished chance of longstanding members being successful in each ballot. The growing cohort is of course a nice earner for the club and virtually 100% marginal profit for every extra lillywhite or bronze signed up. Surely there’s a case for halting recruitment now?

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