David Prosser: Spurs shareholders'interests relegated

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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur has a lot to answer for. Its stock market flotation almost 30 years ago now sparked a string of copycat IPOs from other big (and not so big) football clubs – almost all of them proved to be bad news for investors, more often than not the long-suffering fans of the clubs themselves.

Now Spurs is walking away from life as a publicly listed company and its shareholders aren't being offered much by way of recompense. Since ENIC, the investment vehicle controlled by Joe Lewis, controls 85 per cent of the stock, the 30,000 Spurs fans who hold shares in the club have no hope of blocking the proposed delisting from the Alternative Investment Market. They'll have the option of selling their stock, rather than being left with illiquid holdings, but only at the prevailing market price. And guess what? Spurs shares fell by more than a quarter yesterday.

This is no way to treat your loyalsupporters. Offering to buy out shareholders at Tuesday's closing price would have cost the club peanuts in the grand scheme of things. And this is not abusiness afraid to spend money – it was quite happy to shell out for legal fees for a possible legal challenge when it lost out to West Ham over who would get to move into the new Olympic stadium (even though its fans wanted to stay put).