Recognising this was happening in the week leading up to the match, the Club again used its communication channels and London-based media organisations to urge fans to collect their tickets during Thursday or Friday or arrive extra early to collect tickets on Saturday. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many fans were unable to collect their tickets in advance of matchday or arrive at the Stadium as early as they had perhaps planned on Saturday.
In addition, many fans chose to purchase tickets on Saturday. The Club had anticipated fans turning up without booking tickets in advance and opened all available Ticket Office windows and opened as many cash turnstiles as it was possible to do. We also opened both the Ticket Office and the turnstiles early to ease the likely congestion caused by ticket collections and cash payments.
Despite all these warnings and actions, it is very difficult to predict and ultimately manage large numbers of people turning up to collect or buy tickets at the same time. Modern Premiership football stadia rarely, if ever, take cash payments on the day of matches and are no longer geared up for mass ticket collections as so many of our fans are Season Ticket Holders and the majority of One Hotspur members buy and receive their tickets well in advance of the match.
In addition, we are limited by the number of secure windows we have available for ticket collections and sales, hence the advice for fans to buy early, collect early, and/or leave plenty of time on the day of the match. Even for a normal matchday with very few ticket collections to contend with, we would always advise fans to allow a minimum of 90 minutes before kick-off for ticket collections as collections always take much longer than people imagine.
A number of other factors contributed to delays for some fans getting to and entering the Stadium on Saturday:
- road delays on the A10 and M25 which meant that many fans were delayed getting to White Hart Lane
- additional security checks for vans and lorries in the main roads leading to the Stadium - further delaying those arriving by car and bus
- the large number of people arriving at the same time
- postal strikes earlier in the week - and previous weeks - which inevitably delayed the arrival of some tickets for fans who, as advised, had purchased their tickets early
In the circumstances, the Ticket Office staff and stewards did the very best they could to ensure that everyone entered the Stadium as quickly and as safely as possible - safety being our paramount objective.
The vast majority of the near 31,000 crowd were in their seats well before the kick-off which was delayed as far as possible to ease congestion and help fans into the Stadium. Unfortunately, it was not possible to delay kick-off any further. Kick-off times are carefully agreed by the host club, visiting team, Police, local authorities, travel operators and TV companies. Delaying a kick-off, even by 15 minutes, is a decision that is not taken lightly as it may have a huge knock-on effect across a very wide area.
Once again, we apologise to fans for any inconvenience and thank everyone for their co-operation in ensuring that everyone entered the Stadium as quickly and as safely as possible.
We are obviously aware of the delays for some people collecting and buying tickets and entering the Stadium for our friendly match with Torino on Saturday. We apologise for any inconvenience these delays may have caused.The Club used every available communication channel in the days and weeks leading up to the match urging fans to buy their tickets as soon as possible so that the Club could post tickets early and avoid the various postal strikes. Many fans heeded this advice and the vast majority of fans were able to access the Stadium without delay on Saturday. However, in the event, many other fans chose to buy their tickets in the couple of days leading up to the match or chose to wait until the day of the match itself and buy their tickets on the day.