What are your plans over the festive period? Dinner, drinks, a full Boxing Day fixture list from the comfort of your own home? Well, whatever you're doing this year, spare a thought for the unfortunate supporters of Tottenham Hotspur, who will be spending their Christmas in a stranger's house that they don't even want to be at, watching their side play a mediocre Bournemouth side. Christmas dinner? How does a hot-dog and a pint for £7.50 sound? Merry Christmas.
It is fair to say that Tottenham fans have been put through the ringer this season, like very few clubs have in recent times. The promise was made prior to the curtain-raiser of this season that Tottenham would be in their brand new ground by the September 15 for a tantalising fixture with Liverpool. However, due to issues with the stadium's construction, that moving-in date has been postponed several times and now is set to be in the new year...apparently.
Besides the unfulfilled promises, though, why are Spurs fans so frustrated with their current situation? The media regularly use the excuse that the fans are simply 'fed up' with travelling further to watch the team play, but the problem lies much deeper than that.
The Tottenham board have exploited the devoted support of their club's fan-base. Not only have they failed to subsidise travel/ticketing costs, the club have actually asked their fans to pay more than they did last season.
When season tickets were renewed earlier in the year, the club promised fans the enticing prospect of a state of the art stadium rivalling some of the best in Europe. As a result, prices were hoisted to well in excess of £1000, which the vast majority of supporters were more than happy to cough up. However, since the club have been playing at Wembley, the board have offered fans a refund of 1/19th of the season ticket cost for every home game should they not want to attend.
A seemingly sound idea in principle, meaning fans who don't want to travel to Wembley will receive a full refund come the end of the season. But once again, Tottenham's board made another mess of it. So, if a fan paid £1000 for a season ticket this year and received 1/19th of the cost, they would get £52 back, which takes two weeks to transfer but that is another story. However, for their recent London derby with Chelsea, tickets were priced at £55 meaning Tottenham fans are paying even more still, on top of the original rise in costs.
Moreover, last year fans were offered to attend all three home Champions League group games
Of course, one may argue it is a matter of pounds, why such the big deal? But it is not the money that poses the greatest issue to the Spurs faithful, it is the mistreatment and exploitation of their support by their club's hierarchy. Similar mistreatment can be seen in the manner in which the club has managed this season's membership packs.
In recent weeks, Tottenham have sent out their annual membership packs to season ticket holders and One Hotspur members.
One would see this as an opportunity to provide the fans with some sort of peace offering, subsidisation or at least make those match day trips to Wembley that little bit easier. Instead, the fans received the equivalent of a child's party bag, with gifts including a string bag, a shoddy bracelet and a key with the club's crest on it, which in no way will grant the fans entry to the new stadium any sooner - unfortunately.
Spurs fans' anger has spread not only through the terraces, but also onto the often run-down pitch at the national stadium. Tottenham full back Danny Rose came out in the media this week to offer his sympathies to the fans, following the lowest attendance at Wembley since their tenancy began at the game against Southampton last Wednesday night.
Just over 33,000 fans made the trip to Wembley on Wednesday night - not even enough to fill White Hart Lane and it is clearer than ever that Spurs fans have had enough. The sooner Daniel Levy and his staff realise the importance of his club's fanbase, the better, otherwise attendance over the crucial Christmas period will fall even further. The current target for moving out of Wembley is the Man United game on January 13, with the club set to make an official announcement next week.
Ultimately, the fans feel disillusioned with the whole Wembley fiasco and it is starting to rub off onto the players and impact the atmosphere. The magic of White Hart Lane has been lost somewhere along the North Circular, and the aggrieved Tottenham fans, who deserve a whole lot better, are hoping that magic will be reignited in the modernised edition of their great stadium.
Source : 90min