The Chairman's address to the EGM at White Hart Lane at 2pm this afternoon, Monday November 26.
Before we start on the official business I should like to say a few words to the meeting.
We have much to be optimistic about going forward and that is what I wish to concentrate on today. We have made changes recently in order to strengthen our position in several areas. This is a dynamic business and as such we have to constantly respond to changing circumstances, some within, but many outside, of our control.
As a result, these last three months have been testing times for us all. Both the Club and I personally have endured much criticism. We have absorbed much blame – very little of which was justified with facts. But we elected not to respond and rather to hold our counsel. We took the clear decision that we would not discuss private matters in public and we did this in the long-term interests of the Club and all parties involved.
I should now like to take this opportunity to once again thank Martin Jol, Chris Hughton and Hans Segers and wish them well in their future careers.
We have a new and respected coaching team and I look forward to introducing Juande to you after the formal proceedings today and for you to hear his thoughts on the remainder of the season.
The performance of the business means that we retain the ability to invest and, in respect of players on long contracts, we have no need to sell. It is noteworthy that all key players are on long-term contracts with the exception of Jermain Defoe, who has expressed publicly that he wants to remain at the club and I put it on record that we want him to stay.
I should also like to correct newspaper reports that have existed, despite my denials, that ENIC has agreed to sell its shareholding in the Club. For nearly 7 years we have, I believe, moved this Club forward, but have had to endure constant speculation from those who would seek to detract from what we are achieving. For the record yet again, no offer has been made for the Club during my time here, not even by Roman Abramovich as was so incorrectly reported.
This year sees us report record financial results. TV, sponsorship, retail, ticket and corporate hospitality revenues have all contributed to an increase of 39% in turnover and good management of the business has seen profits rise to 31% of turnover. We have continued to upgrade the Ticket Office and this has now been relocated to Paxton Road. Service levels are critical in this area of the business and it is important that we continuously evaluate and raise standards of delivery. We have centralised customer service and this has been well received – we shall, however, continue to seek further improvements.
Investment and work on valuable community-based projects through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation continues to go from strength to strength. In conjunction with our application for the Training Centre at Bulls Cross is a commitment to deliver a 10 year outreach programme within the local community worth in excess of £2.3m.
We currently have a minimum of one player per week attending a community event in areas local to the club and our facilities. It is a tremendous commitment not only by your club, but also by the First Team and Academy players who derive a genuine benefit and enjoyment from this aspect of their footballing lives. It is also a much valued and appreciated service to the communities.
Earlier this month we also launched our Spurs Learning Zone – a dedicated state of the art facility located here at the stadium, that will host daily classes of up to 30 local children, providing them with access to cutting edge information, communication, podcasting and digital editing technologies - a resource much welcomed by our local council.
Not only as a football club, but as a business in general, the level, quality and effect of our contribution to communities and good causes, is outstanding and sets us apart. We should recognise this and be rightly proud.
Looking to our capital expenditure projects - In respect of the stadium I can report, as promised in January, that we have refined our options. At this stage, as I am sure you will understand, it would be commercially inappropriate to discuss these in further detail. To date, Matthew Collecott and I have directed the project and we are making substantial progress. Last week we added to our project team with the appointment of Paul Phillips, who will be the project manager on a day-to-day basis. Paul has a proven track record in delivering complex stadium solutions and was the project leader on the Emirates Stadium.
We should all be conscious of the fact that we face significant hurdles and disadvantages in our search for an optimum solution to increased capacity. For example, with our current location, we do not have inherent land values in Tottenham that could drive enabling development and regeneration. Additionally, the Olympics is taking significant public funds out of the public purse which could assist with any major schemes. There is no easy option for us but we are determined to find a solution. We shall announce our preferred option in the first half of 2008.
Please be assured that your Board is applying the same vigour and determination towards achieving a successful outcome on this capital project as we did for the Training facility and I am pleased to be able to report good news on that now.
We achieved a terrific step forward with future plans when earlier this month Enfield Council Planning Committee voted to grant planning permission for our Football Training Centre – a combined First Team and Academy facility - at Bulls Cross, Enfield. We were absolutely delighted with this outcome, the culmination of years of hard work and determination by a dedicated in house team and external consultants. The application will now pass to the Mayor of London and the Government Office for London for final approval.
I shall now ask James Budd of architects KSS to make a brief presentation on an overview of the scheme.
Thank you James.
As you can see it is an outstanding facility – the creation of a world class First Team and Academy training facility set on over 60 acres and we have now achieved an important first step towards realising this vital project for the Club. It will be instrumental in attracting the best young talent and afford our current squad state of the art facilities in which to train over the season.
Our Academy is already home to some of the most outstanding young talent in the country. When much has been said about the need to nurture young home grown English talent, you can be proud that your Club boasts no fewer than 8 academy players in the England youth teams. Additional to this are a further 8 players who represent their countries at youth international level. The Club now has a total of 34 international players and 7 full England internationals.
We shall keep you informed as we progress the Training Centre project – our current timetable aims for completion in the summer of 2010 but I would stress once again that there are still further stages to be passed in the next few months and we should also expect opposition to continue. I would ask that you continue to give it your support as we progress through those stages.
In closing, I should like to thank everyone at the Club for their contribution to last season's success and to the Club's supporters for their magnificent support. This year we celebrated our 125th Anniversary – a notable landmark for a great football club – but equally important that we now look ahead with confidence and ensure that glory is not a term used only to recall events from the past. We have much happening now that will impact greatly on our future.