Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust urges club 'to do the right thing' and restore staff wages

THST: "Our worry is that... the board of THFC have damaged the club's reputation and exhausted any future goodwill they will need from fans."

Daniel Levy
Image: Daniel Levy said Tottenham would utilise the Government's job retention scheme

Tottenham fans have again urged the club to "do the right thing" and restore staff to their full salaries or risk damaging Spurs' reputation across the game.

In another strong message to the club's board, which cut the wages of 550 non-playing staff and placed some on the Government's furlough scheme, the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) has outlined five key objectives it wants Spurs to pursue in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Chairman Daniel Levy has received widespread criticism for following Newcastle in using the furlough scheme despite the club's wealth, and Liverpool have since reversed their decision to do the same after a fierce backlash from fans.

These moves helped direct the spotlight onto highly-paid players and whether they should also take a pay cut, which the trust says has "backfired" on the clubs. Last week, THST told Sky Sports News it wanted players to donate wages instead.

THST said on Friday: "It's now 10 days since Spurs announced their decision ... during which mass supporter opinion against these decisions has solidified … and the reputation of our club has repeatedly taken body blows in both national and international media.

The second leg of Tottenham's Europa League tie against RB Leipzig could be in doubt due to concerns over the coronavirus 0:34
Speaking on April 3, Martin Cloake from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust said it wanted the club to be more transparent about its finances

"It's also been 10 days for us as a trust of listening to our members, relaying supporter sentiment and urging the club's board to rethink. We now want to give THST members clarity on our approach and to update fans on our position, appreciating that the situation is both fast moving and unprecedented.

"Our ultimate aims are to ensure all non-playing club staff are retained on 100 per cent of their salaries for the coming two months, ensure no non-playing club staff are made redundant over the same period, ensure all casual and zero hours staff are remunerated appropriately, ensure the club remains financially viable and ensure the financial burden on the state is as minimal as possible.

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"We have not condemned the use of the furlough scheme outright … however, we are asking for the club to make the case for needing to use the furlough scheme public. Our preference would be for non-playing salaries to be funded through a voluntary reduction in executive, player and coaching staff remuneration for at least the next two months.

"We know hard decisions have to be taken that will affect everyone, but we also believe football has to take people with it. The game is an easy target because it flaunts its wealth, and because it has a natural aversion to explaining itself. Other private companies that make more than football clubs are using the furlough scheme. People who earn more money than footballers are not coming under the same pressure.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was speaking as the club announced their financial results for 2018-19 1:59
Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara would like the club to reverse their decision to furlough non-playing staff

"But reputation matters in football, not just emotionally but commercially… this is why we have asked the club to explain its options and the consequences of those options far more clearly than it has. Doing so would have avoided the PR disaster of the past 10 days and, more importantly, would have been the right thing to do.

"Attempting to push the players into a corner has badly backfired, at THFC and across the game. The players see an attempt to make them scapegoats and have asked what guarantee there is that any reduction in wages will not be used by clubs to boost reserves or profits.

"They have now launched their own initiative, #PlayersTogether, directly supporting NHS charities. We wholeheartedly support that initiative and the example it sets. We understand and support the PFA's call for clubs to open their books. To protect commercial confidentiality, we propose this is done through an independent adjudicator.

"We should emphasise again, though, that there is nothing stopping the players at THFC making a voluntary contribution, alongside the club's directors, to ensure that no one at the club loses their job or has a pay cut in the short-term.

"THFC, like every other business, has to take the decisions it thinks are right to secure its future. But the nature of football means those decisions need to be understood and supported. Our worry is that, by doing what they have done in the way they have, the board of THFC has damaged the club's reputation, exhausted any future goodwill they will need from fans, and affected the Club's standing with sponsors, players and governing authorities.

"This is an unprecedented situation and no one, including supporters' organisations, will get everything right from the start. We have made this statement in good faith and remain willing to work with all parties for the best outcome. We still believe there is time for the Board of THFC to show they have listened and to do the right thing."

Tottenham have previously told Sky Sports News: "We shall continue to work with the Trust in the interests of the club."

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