Born to End – Stop StubHub

Yesterday, Sky Sports, when previewing Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to Swansea City, spoke about the club making history if they repeated something they had done before, albeit half a centuary ago. As if 50 years ago doesn’t count. But perhaps not surprising from the outlet that perpetuates the notion that football was only formed 20 years ago.

Younger fans must think yesterday’s pundit Greame Souness played in a parrallel universe, like a modern day version of Melchester Rovers when Bob Wilson, Emlyn Hughes and members of Spandua Ballet teamed up with Roy Race. Footage exists of goals Souness scored, but as they weren’t in the top flight Mark II, aka the Premier League, they must seem like a piece of fiction, dramatised in grainy cinematography with a thousands of extras and a voice over from an actor called Brian Moore.

Football history, with packed terraces, such as when Spurs last won five away games, is now only partially recognised. In the mind of Sky Sports, Souness’ League Cup winner in 1984, was really in the Year 8BEPL.

The hype about the Premier League continues, despite now a second consecutive season of a largely average standard of football across the divison, with only Man City, recently, showing any signs of class, aided by an abundence of riches and a positive manager. They still don’t sell their ground out though, because wages just aren’t failing to keep up with the cost of living, they are being towered over by the excessive costs of attending top flight English Football.

To paraphrase an old Alexi Sayle sketch “People say the poor will always be with us. The poor aren’t with us now. They can’t afford the bus.”

While football grounds aren’t empty yet, further to the Football Column about secondary tickets in September 2013 there is now evidence about how the already expensive prices of English Premier League tickets are being pushed up further in an unregulated market by StubHub’s association with Spurs. While Sky Sports paint the picture football was born twenty years ago, some top flight clubs are banking on football fans being born yesterday.

The Substantive continues to support this petition against StubHub and adds its name to this statement released today, with facts and figures about Tottenham’s association with StubHub so far:



20th JANUARY 2014

Having received headline data on StubHub sales for the first six Premier League home games of this season, it is clear that the StubHub resale platform is pushing up the price of tickets to watch Tottenham Hotspur.

The evidence provided shows that 91% of tickets are being sold above face value. At the two category A games included in the data, Chelsea and West Ham, tickets were sold at an average price of 135% and 53% above face value respectively.

These figures show that StubHub and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) are misguided to continue insisting that that the high prices shown on the StubHub platform do not equate to actual sales.

The evidence is clear for all to see.

A system in which 91% of tickets are being sold at above face value, and substantially more in a significant number of cases, is not one that supporters’ organisations can back.

We also believe the Club should be concerned at the fact that 19%, almost one fifth, of season ticket holders have not been able to make one or more of the opening six league games of the season.

We note the Club intend to make changes to ticketing T&Cs to prevent abuse of the ability to relist tickets on the StubHub platform, also known as ‘flipping’. We are not confident that a fair and transparent method of identifying what is legitimate relisting and what is abusive relisting exists. The Club is, in our opinion, dealing with a symptom of the StubHub system, which it has willingly agreed to.

We believe a ticket exchange should be a service to supporters, not a means of pushing up ticket prices or generating additional revenue.

In support of the campaign against licensed ticket touts the FSF said: “Fans already find ticket prices more than demanding enough. The introduction of an additional level of profiteering at our expense can only serve to price more fans out of the game, and must be resisted”.

We, therefore, call on THFC to end the partnership with StubHub at the earliest opportunity and instead to work with supporter groups, the FA and Premier League in their efforts to establish a genuine ticket exchange scheme that does not drive up prices or incentivise fans to exploit fellow fans.



The Board of Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust

Total Tottenham website

The Fighting Cock

Dear Mr Levy website

Alan Fisher – Tottenham on my Mind


Mel Gomes @ The Substantive website

Spurstalk website

Martin Cloake, author and fan

Stop StubHub Petition

Mel Gomes is the author of the e-book Glory Nights from Wankdorf to Wembley which documents Tottenham’s return to the European Cup, a competition where money is now valued alongside glory. It is available to preview for free and download in full for less than the price of a Champions League programme from Amazon and Smashwords. More details, including photos and links to reviews, here.

Glory Nights: From Wankdorf to Wembley

The Substantive is a platform for new, independent writing on popular culture. As well as the e-book, you can also buy the t-shirt, with all proceeds put towards the running of the site.


The Substantive ‘The Boss’ t-shirt, with an original Bruce Springsteen print by the artist Lilly Allen, is 100% ultracotton and made by an ethical and environmental partner. Pictures, more details and a link to order directly here