Fan ban could have massive financial impact on Spurs

A leading football finance expert believes clubs like Tottenham Hotspur must be creative to limit the financial damage of playing games behind closed doors.

The Premier League’s decision to complete the 2019/20 season without supporters in attendance potentially creates a huge financial headache for every top flight club.

Recent research by Betway Online highlighted the problem Spurs could face if they are forced to operate without matchday revenue for a sustained period of time.

Fans generated £82 million for Spurs last season, a figure that represents around 18 percent of their total turnover of £461m.

Kieran Maguire, who authored The Price of Football, says that Spurs and the rest of the Premier League clubs will have to think hard about how they are going to plug the financial gap. 

“They will be trying to claw that back in some shape or form,” he said. “I think football might have to reinvent its relationship with fans in terms of its ability to offer an experience.

“Those clubs with good lines of communication to their fans will be successful – they will work hard to engage with them. The industry is big, but it’s got to innovate.”

In addition to the financial aspect, playing in an empty stadium could also have a detrimental effect on Spurs’ on-pitch performances during the rest of the campaign.

As highlighted by the increase in away wins since the Bundesliga resumed, barring fans from games appears to have negated home advantage.

As Spurs prepare to face Man Utd on the weekend and keep an eye on arch-rivals Arsenal (a point behind but having a game in hand), not having fans supporting them could be a added obstacle for them. Former England international Alvin Martin regularly played in front of big crowds during his career and believes it made a huge difference to his performance levels. 

“I remember a time under Harry Redknapp when I had three injuries in quick succession,” he said.

“For two or three weeks I was playing with a fractured elbow, fractured hand and a nasty gash on my head.

“One day, I was doing the warm-up at the Boleyn and thought: ‘I’m not going to be able to play here, I’m in a lot of pain’.

“But as soon as the dressing room bell went and I knew that we were going out on the pitch, it gave me a kick of adrenaline.”

With the possibility of finances and results being impacted by playing behind closed doors, Spurs fans would be forgiven for feeling a little nervous right now.

Maguire insists that supporters across the country have every right to be concerned and has urged clubs to adapt wherever possible.

“Clubs have got such high fixed costs and they might have to think of ways they can cut back,” said Maguire. “The return to some form of live action is essential. I’m not trying to be sensationalist.”

 

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