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Chairman's message

Posted on 8 March 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

With the release of our half-yearly results earlier this week, chairman Daniel Levy reports on the progress he feels the club has made in the last six months.

Summary of Half Year Results
Tottenham Hotspur has had a successful season so far both on and off the pitch. Whilst it was deeply disappointing for everyone not to come away from Cardiff last Sunday with the trophy we should credit the team with reaching the final of the Worthington Cup. As we enter the final third of the season the team continues to perform competitively in the FA Premier League and has still to compete in the quarter final stages of the FA Cup where the team is scheduled to play Chelsea on March 10 at White Hart Lane.

We have continued to make progress with the development of the Club's proposed new Academy and work in this area is ongoing to secure a new site and progress the design work for a new state-of-the-art facility. In addition, we are progressing a number of new initiatives aimed at improving the level of services available to our growing supporter base including the development of a new web-based ticketing service, video streaming of delayed game highlights and a new Customer Relationship Management system at the Club. I am also delighted to report that demand for season tickets remains strong, clearly reflecting the renewed popularity and growing support for Tottenham Hotspur through the current season.

You may recall that last year we changed our year-end from July to June. As a result of this change, our half-year results represent the six-month period to December 31, 2001. The comparatives are for the six-month period to January 31, 2001. These two reporting periods are not directly comparable. The number of home first team competitive matches played for this reporting period is 12 games, 10 in the FA Premier League and two Worthington Cup games. The six months to January 31, 2001 contained 14 home games in total, 12 FA Premier League and two Worthington Cup games. All income from the games in this season's FA Cup and our Semi Final and Final of the Worthington Cup will fall in to the second half of this year's results.

The results in summary are as follows: Turnover at £29.4million (January 31, 2001 - £27.8million) shows a 6% increase on last year, despite the fact the period contains five trading months compared to six months last year. The main reasons for this are improved media and broadcasting deals and a better performance from our merchandise division. An operating loss of £2.6million was made for the period compared to a profit of £1.3million in the period to January 31, 2001 - mainly due to an increase in players' wages. A profit on the disposal of player registrations of £5.8million converted the operating loss into a profit before tax of £2.9million (January 31, 2001 - £0.9million).

Football
We appointed Glenn Hoddle in April, 2001. His appointment was made carefully, with the long term future of the Club in mind and I believe that all the hard work that the manager and his staff have made over these last 11 months are bearing fruit and have established a very solid framework for continued success.
Particularly pleasing is the style of football being played. This has certainly been encapsulated by the excellent performances in reaching the Worthington Cup Final and also in the FA Cup where the team has reached the quarter-final stages.

We are nevertheless mindful that each competition is becoming ever more keenly fought. This has been evidenced in the FA Premier League, this season in particular, where relatively few points separate teams in the top half of the table. There is no doubt that a number of clubs are some way ahead of us in terms of the strengths of their squads. Nonetheless, it is the Board's intention for the team to remain competitive in order to qualify for European competition. Our ability to achieve this level of success on a regular basis means that we must continue to utilise the funds available to the Club in a prudent fashion, balancing the revenues generated by the business with a manageable level of costs. We continue to achieve this at a satisfactory level and as a result, the manager has built a first team squad that has a good mix of experience and youth.

Youth and Academy
We have examined a number of potential sites for our new Academy and negotiations are ongoing. We intend to fulfil our objective of making the Tottenham Hotspur Academy one of the highest quality football training facilities comparable with any in Europe. I hope to have more to report on this in due course.
This season has seen the emergence of some young talent in to the first team squad. In particular Ledley King, Simon Davies, Gary Doherty, Matthew Etherington and Anthony Gardner clearly demonstrate that investment in youth and home grown talent brings significant benefits to the Club as we continue to develop the first team squad.

This period's results include the sales of Luke Young for £3.0million and Ian Walker for £2.5million. These two players were raised through our youth system and all the proceeds from these sales feed through to the bottom line. The progress of Tottenham Hotspur's youth teams within the Academy is also highly encouraging with the Under-18 side having currently reached the quarter-finals of the prestigious FA Youth Cup.

Marketing and Customer Service
Improving customer service is a primary objective for the Board. We have been made even more aware of the urgency to deal with this issue as the team has been so successful this season, with many home games coming one after another. We have taken four particularly important steps to address the issue of marketing, communication and customer satisfaction.

First, we expect before the end of the season to launch our ticket sales service on our Internet site www.spurs.co.uk This will be the first such scheme of any Premier League Club. The supporter will be offered a three dimensional view of all seats in the ground and can therefore make a precise seat selection. The transaction process can be completed in full on the Internet. This will alleviate some of the burden on our telephone system and, importantly, will allow our membership supporters from all over the world to purchase tickets 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Secondly, we have appointed a specialist agency to advise us on how we can enhance the efficiency of our ticket office. Our goal is that our ticket office is customer-focused and the purchase of match tickets and season tickets is a straightforward and simple process. To this end we have invited supporters
to e-mail their positive suggestions to us at ticket.suggestions@spurs.co.uk

Thirdly, game highlights are being shown 48 hours after all Premier League games. We are extremely aware that the Internet presents us with a unique opportunity to communicate with our supporters on a regular basis both domestically and overseas. Our Website has continued to receive critical acclaim and is being updated continually. The ongoing investment in this area should continue to work on a self-funding basis.

Our fourth key initiative has been to take steps to introduce a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system at the Club. The initial objective is to merge all our various databases and use the combined database in order to achieve a more effective service for our supporters and improved utilisation of the Club's resources and facilities. The longer-term objective is to improve our efficiency and maximise the revenue opportunities that this database will create.

In addition, the Tottenham Supporters' Trust is now up and running and enjoys one of the largest memberships in the Premier League. The Board holds regular meetings with the Trust's elected committee and liaison also takes place between their dedicated representatives and the corresponding Tottenham executives in all areas of the Club. With the Trust we have held a highly successful Fans Forum that was well attended and served to answer a number of the more pressing issues of the day. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Tottenham Trust.

Transfer Market
We are following developments in Brussels very closely in relation to the system on future transfers. As this issue is still ever changing, I intend to report your Board's views more comprehensively in the full year report.

Stadium Investment
I wrote to Shareholders in October confirming that conditional planning permission had been received on the East Stand. We are looking at all development opportunities on the stadium site. We are working closely with the local authority in this regard, to ensure that a master plan is developed alongside the Council's Redevelopment Programme. I hope to report more fully on this when we issue our full year results.

I look forward to reporting to you again later in the year and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank all the staff at the Club who have embraced the changes that have taken place with great enthusiasm and diligence. We are confident that we will continue to achieve our goals for the future.

Finally, I would like to thank you the supporters. Your continued depth of support for the Club and the team continues to create a great atmosphere for every game at White Hart Lane.

Daniel Levy
Chairman