Tottenham search for ways to spur more fervour in fans

Supporters’ trust flies flag to boost sagging Lane atmosphere after AVB’s stinging criticism

Although Andre Villas-Boas’s frank judgement of the atmosphere at White Hart Lane was a surprise at the time, it will not have been to Tottenham Hotspur.

On Sunday evening Villas-Boas went where many managers fear to tread, but the club – who appreciate what a problem this is – had already been working on exactly this issue earlier that day. The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, in the form of vice-president Darren Alexander and secretary Katrina Law, were in White Hart Lane hours before the turnstiles opened, measuring up the blocks of the Park Lane lower where they hope to introduce a large “surfing” flag.

The last remaining barrier to this is a meeting with the safety advisory board of the local Haringey Council on 5 November.

The THST has been working constructively with the club for months for new and updated flags and banners inside the ground, which – Uefa games aside – should also hang down from the balconies of the Park Lane and Paxton stands. The THST is taking submissions from fans on designs for new banners, and the club are relaxed about supporters using the club crest, while the names of former players or the famous words of Bill Nicholson and Arthur Rowe might also be used.

Tottenham are, on this issue, sympathetic to the THST, understanding the benefit of increased engagement, especially with younger supporters. Some club officials are excited by the prospect of seeing White Hart Lane decked in flags and banners, not just for their sake but for the international television audience. There is a hope among fans for safe standing at White Hart Lane, on which the club are keeping a watching brief.

There is certainly a wide understanding that the atmosphere at White Hart Lane is not what it was and there was more sympathy than one might expect for Villas-Boas’s comments. “We agree with Andre that the atmosphere at White Hart Lane has been declining for some time,” Alexander of the THST told The Independent last night. “It is nowhere near as good as our atmosphere at away games. We absolutely back Andre in what he said.”

This might just be the cost of success. It has always been suspected that there is an inverse correlation between wins on the pitch and noise off it, and the evidence of Spurs could well support that. “It says to me that the more competitive we get, the worse our atmosphere gets. The expectation at White Hart Lane is so great, and now because we are chasing top four every game has a great significance.”

“It could be that a game against Hull, if you slip up and draw 0-0, that could be the difference between Champions League football next year or not.”

As with many Premier League grounds, the average age of fans is older than ever before. The THST estimates the average age of season-ticket holders as 42 or 43, and there is a fear that young fans are being priced out. This, of course, is a league-wide problem, although Spurs’ prices for their six Category A league games are certainly high – ranging between £48 and £81 for adults. Tomorrow night’s Capital One Cup game against Hull, though, is £20 for seniors.

In the secondary ticket market there is another concern which is starting to frustrate some fans. Once games sell out, Spurs allow season-ticket holders to sell their unwanted tickets on StubHub for higher prices, with an estimated 3 to 4 per cent of tickets for each game ending up there. There is a petition – backed by the THST – against this practice, described by the Football Supporters’ Federation as “legalised touting”, which has been signed by more than 2,000 Spurs fans. Tottenham, though, insist it has no impact on the atmosphere.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week