A transcript of questions taken from the audience (Q) and answered by Mark Panton (MP), Dave Morris (DM) and Martin Ball (MB) is below. The conversation part of the event is in the process of being transcribed and will be posted on this blog as soon as it is available. The event was hosted at Housmans Bookshop in London on April 4 2018. A film of the Q&A is here and an audio recording of the whole event is here.
Click here for more information about "Tottenham's Trojan Horse?" including reviews, upcoming events and how to buy or borrow it.
TRANSCRIPT OF BOOK LAUNCH Q&A 4/4/2018
Click here for more information about "Tottenham's Trojan Horse?" including reviews, upcoming events and how to buy or borrow it.
TRANSCRIPT OF BOOK LAUNCH Q&A 4/4/2018
Q I mean obviously there’s no walk-way there, but they got away with it there (Arsenal stadium) . That was definitely sports-led ala Americana and I was a mature student in the Metropolitan University on Holloway Road and it must have been the same 24 hour working and you could see it going up and up if you missed 2 days in the college and so I’d like to know was there any study done on that because it is obviously very relevant, not being far away.
MP So the question on the Arsenal development, the person who supervised my thesis, my PhD is a chap called Dr Geoff Walters and if you wait until the end I can try to dig out some sort of reference for you and he did his thesis on the development of the Arsenal stadium. They being in Islington and Islington maybe being a bit wiser to the value of property in that borough, as far as my understanding goes they did pay a section 106 contribution of something up to £60 million. It may not have reached that amount. A lot of that was to do away with the re-cycling plant which I think was nearby to the stadium and to remove that and reposition it elsewhere and they didn’t end up doing anything to Holloway Road station, which was part of the original plans I think, which was to relieve the congestion that is caused in that area. Well obviously this is going to be a major issue for Tottenham, for the football club. Anybody who goes to games there as Tottenham supporters will know that with a capacity as it is at the moment of something like 41,000, it is very difficult to get people in and out of the area. Although there is talk of re-vamped train services, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. But there are other studies on Arsenal.
DM Where they've got the stadium I used to work in the post office, the sorting office there, Queensland Road that was demolished to build the new stadium I think. For 6 years I worked as a postman in Islington so I know the area quite well but I would say that yeah I mean I think lots of these major developments sports-led developments have the same problems but also it's not just sports-led. Developers are getting increasingly confident that they can build bigger and bigger developments and they are less and less about what the community needs. They are about luxury housing, corporate malls core values and anything that can make maximum profits and it’s happening all over London it's lots of smaller ones that are just about just the same problems they're not developing in London in a way that is for the benefit of the people that live here so we have to get organized in every community in every borough in London to assert our rights. We have to have strong residence groups and campaign groups and networks and there is actually a London wide network called Just Space and they have regular conferences, they have different kind of campaign groups and residence groups from all over London attending, so we're trying to build up a London-wide kind of movement of opposition to this kind of top-down obnoxious developments, of which Spurs is just a particularly bad example.
Q I live on the other side of Haringey. I mean perhaps you might give some indication of how we might vote; there that's a side question. I don't know with the comparison with your experience with both Arsenal and spurs that you couldn't make some sort of comparison and my limited knowledge would put Arsenal way ahead of Spurs historically and Spurs dissociation from the community, except as a sort of send the supporters along and let them spend the money but I mean you may know that more. Okay, so that's on history and I think that sort of comparison do a good thing to do and maybe come out with a lack of trust in the first place in Spurs to do anything that might be you that useful. The second minor thing is you were talking about sort of money making or something you know. I wonder whether the sports clubs of present are not there just to make a big loss which they leave on… Some people will make a lot of money like say Manchester United owners will make a lot of money. The owners at West Ham will probably make a lot of money and will leave the clubs themselves with a helluva lot of debt. So it’s just a bit careful about let’s hope that Spurs makes money, because that needs a bit more investigation as to who exactly is going to make the money doing what.
MP Trying to summarise those points. In terms of the money coming in to football now, most clubs, over the last few years there has been so much money coming in from TV revenue that what we saw previously was quite a few clubs going out of business and over-reaching themselves. Certainly in the Premier League now a lot of clubs are declaring profits and it’s just how much profit. Then you need to look at the books to see where that is going. Obviously Daniel Levy awarded himself a considerable increase and he’s now paying himself £6 million per year. I’m sure he’s worth that and other CEOs at other football clubs are doing something similar.
In terms of their contribution to the community, a lot of football clubs have unfortunately in my view outsourced their corporate social responsibility in that they have charitable foundations which themselves rely on government money or local authority money to fund what they do. That's not to say they don't do good work going into the you know council estates and other difficult areas, but they use that in their planning requests and say look you know we don’t need to put more money in, we're already putting four million in through our foundation and so they use it strategically.
Q Is that Tottenham or Arsenal?
MP I think both of those clubs would have similar sort of figures that their foundations do. They have slightly different structures because actually Arsenal’s, I think Arsenal’s and Aston Villa’s are the two clubs which haven't organized separate charitable foundations . They are still part of the club. Though they do rely on, you know when they're talking about the amount of money which is the equivalent money coming in from government schemes and the Premier League and their Kicks Foundation, they are taking part in that somebody knows a lot of money.
DM Do you want to say something about grass roots football, kids playing in their local park and how they are struggling.
MP Overall in the Premier League as everybody knows there is a lot of money coming in, but grass roots football, park pitches, we know it from kids’ games being cancelled recently because of the lack of investment in football pitches at a lower level. So you see a lot of money coming into the Premier League at the highest level and again the idea of it trickling down. Trickle-down economics, you know it doesn’t trickle down very far.
MB I’m not going to say who to vote for, only to make a reference to the one-party state of Haringey. What you should do is ask the candidates will in the future they be honest about their hospitality will they declare all of the hospitality. Not what’s above 25 pounds or 50 pounds. Will they refuse to go on developer sponsored jollies to the South of France for the MIPIN conference because that has been one of the little side stories of the developers taking over of Tottenham, is the number of counsellors that have had trips to the Spurs, no offence Dave, probably for a better tea or coffee than you got.
DM We didn’t get any.
MB These people have certainly had lunch. Claire Kober had a gift of a child's sports strip. Alan Strickland the member for regeneration, housing and something else. Oh regulation of course. What did he get? He got a trip to see an NFL, gridiron American football at Wembley; because of course it was important for him to be able to tell us via Twitter just how fantastic it would be when American football comes to White Hart Lane. And of course both Kober and Strickland and a number of other people have taken money from developers including Spurs sponsorship money to go to MIPIN in the South of France for the MIPIN developers’ conference. So one of the key things is asking will you please show some integrity if elected and if you are going to meet with developers why does it have to involve lunch? Why does it have to involve dinner? Why can't it just involve water, like we’ve got at the front here? And that's the key thing hopefully about the new style of Haringey politics is that people will have hopefully learned lesson from what has happened to the people before them but obviously show some greater integrity and not pretend as they said to me when I challenged them on taking money from people like Spurs and to go to the south of France and then actually giving planning permissions and giving large amounts of public money to them to (indecipherable) and they said oh Martin he said, and this is where I need clever people like Mark to be involved to help me explain this, they said the difference is we go to MIPIN as a land owning authority. When we sit down here in Haringey we are the planning authority and that's a big difference. I really do need somebody clever to explain that to me.
Q I'm a Spurs fan I've been going since October 1969 and have our missed many game since then? Very few. I think your new ground is brilliant. It’s brilliant for the club, it's brilliant for the area and I'm really excited to go next season and it will propel Tottenham even further in to competing in the Champions League and being the winning club I want to support, so perhaps I am the wrong meeting. I bought your book anyway, because I am interested in the points of view. Of course councils are incompetent and corrupt, but as far as Tottenham’s ground is concerned then I think it is a great thing for the club and the area and I hope it’s going to bring us greater success. Thanks.
MP Thanks very much for Coming along. I have tried to engage with Spurs supporters and even offered to attend at a Supporters Trust meeting, but was told, I understand that maybe there are other things that supporters have got on their mind such as securing seats and the new stadium and things, but it is good to have someone like yourself along here.
Q Well I would imagine that the Trust would be very happy to speak to you, because Martin Cloake who is the Chair is a friend of mine, has extremely left-wing views of everything and would be sympathetic to your view point.
MP I have spoken directly with Martin, it’s just I think it’s relatively low down the agenda.
DM We had a joint meeting with the supporter’s trust in the sports centre opposite football ground and it was a good constructive meeting. I think were three or four from the supporter’s trust and three or four of us from Our Tottenham. You know they are as I said before in a difficult position because they're trying to get more influence with the Spurs hierarchy who had to some extent frozen them out, but seemed to have cozied up to them a bit more recently and I think the fact that we exist and we had a meeting with the supporter’s trust, Spurs actually realised we ought to be actually in better relations with our own supporters or they're going to turn on us so yeah obviously supporters are just ordinary people like us and anything we can do to work with you know the supporters of Tottenham wherever they're from because also they're gonna have their own issues wherever they live. Probably not so many people from Tottenham can afford to buy tickets at the ground anymore, but wherever people live there are going to be similar issues of having to defend our public facilities, our green spaces, stand up for our communities and so on.
Q I happen to live near Arsenal and I don’t want to take any football position on it, I know because the residents of the area are very upset with Arsenal, because they broke many of their planning promises about underground parking, about replacing Holloway (Road tube station) and I don't think Tottenham have done that yet, perhaps they will in the future I think if you talk to the residents around Arsenal they may regard the stadium as a good thing overall but they certainly feel let down by the club I believe.
MP Any more questions?
Q I’m a Haringey activist against the HDV. I haven’t been directly involved with Tottenham, but this is very interesting. I wanted to ask a question, my question is about whether the walkway is still going to happen? I’m not clear whether that is going to happen and also the national organisation, I was only thinking yesterday, I’ve been watching a film on social housing, social cleansing on the BBC, which I recorded and I watched that yesterday. A very good film. And the thing that crossed my mind really is that this is going on all over the country. Big business is very powerful and what we desperately really need is that we know what's going on elsewhere, that if needed we can support other people and they support us and so on. We really need to all know what is going on so that big business can’t do Trojan horses without people knowing. People will know in future. So that’s the other thing, I think that’s really important.
MB On the walkway, I assume the walkway is happening because on the very latest Haringey press release there is a super picture of this super walkway with the new facilities in it including the public square and that was the only thing me and Dave got excited about because it created a place where we could have a bit of dissent. But it certainly will happen. You remember of course there's already a walkway between White Hart Lane station and highway it's called what's called White Hart Lane but there’s also the Whitehall Street as well. So there's a number of routes through. What of course I think the idea of the walkway is you go straight from the new station which is further south than the existing one with the new glass-fronted all along, they're being built now and then you'll be able to sweep straight down past the climbing frames and gather for some pre-match entertainment maybe in the square and all of the chains along the side and all the rest of it. No doubt banners across and all the rest of it. So there's still that existing sort of plan and I can tell you that only last week, I think it was last week Lendlease, who are the preferred developer on the Love Lane Estate, code-named High Road West scheme, I’ve been out there leafleting, telling people that these are the people that are going to be deciding their destinies and already talking about various master planning consultation events. Of all sorts of activities building up towards a planning application at some point later in the year. The book has the details that all of that area is under a demolition notice and there's seven year demolition notice so the people do know in the shops are aware in that sort of sense. Lend lease don’t just deliver their leaflet about how wonderful we're going to make your houses in this new walkway, they decided to deliver it to the other side of the new stadium on the Northumberland Park Estate which of course is where they were rebuffed in terms of getting their development vehicle sort of their permission sort of right, so you can certainly see they've got ambitions not just to have a walkway from the spurs stadium to White Hart Lane whatever that's called whenever it’s built, but also the other way down from the stadium towards Northumberland Park. So as far as they're concerned yes it is one of the many things that they try to tell you it's going to be brilliant about the new landscape and I mean the facilities at the ground are obviously going to be first class. There's no doubt about that it's going to be some fantastic entertainment and for those was living in it we might have to experience this every day of the year in terms of the stuff but they certainly the walkway that is the sort of thing I think they want. They want to create that shopping center really like a 1960 shopping mall precinct as far as I'm concerned, but it's one of their ambitions.
MP One last question.
Q They were very happy days at Spurs at the 517 Club. Whenever Spurs lost, they came and drank themselves senseless out of sheer merriment for the power of the opposition. I just wonder, Spurs management replied to that by putting up the prices. I wonder with these success of Spurs at the moment they are actually putting down the prices?
MP No, I think the new season ticket prices, there are complaints from existing season ticket holders about the price of the new tickets.
Q There was joke that it was cheaper to go to watch the Cameroons than it was to go to watch Spurs.
MP On that, we will close it.