By Martin Cloake, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust board member

After a bad home defeat, there are inevitably recriminations. And make no mistake, last Sunday’s home defeat was a bad one. The players looked clueless, leaderless, passionless in a second half performance that was as far from the traditions set down by the great Bill Nicholson – whose death ten years ago was commemorated on this afternoon – as it was possible to be.

Coming, as it did, hard on the heels of speculation that the club may need to spend time playing away from White Hart Lane – and possibly away from London altogether – the sense that things are going nowhere either on or off the pitch was hard to avoid. It’s no wonder fans are angry and disillusioned. Those who turn up pay some of the highest ticket prices in the Premier League, and those many thousands who don’t turn up but who still carry the club in their hearts are no less incensed and disillusioned by what they see. And everyone wants someone to blame.

Depending on your point of view it’s the fault of the players, the manager, the board, the owner or the Supporters’ Trust. Yes, we get stick too after a bad game. Now, we don’t do this for the thanks. We do it because we think it needs to be done. We think that the gap between the fans and the club is too big, that the fans’ interests are not central enough to the corporate thinking at the top. And not just at Tottenham Hotspur. But how do we go about articulating that?

We could print up some ENIC Out banners and get a bunch of fans outside the gates for the benefit of the cameras on a match day. We could demand a meeting where we shouted “Resign” at the board. But what then? Whether we like it or not, and we certainly have our differences, the current board is the one we’ve got, and so we have to work out how best to communicate.

For years, the Trust seemed to exist as an idea only; while the club seemed to use its existence as a fig leaf for consultation – a word that too often seems to be defined by those who run football as ‘telling the fans what we’ve already decided to do’. But since the club’s attempt to move to Stratford, the Trust has been invigorated. Membership is up and so is activity on a number of issues. And so, ironically, is criticism that we are not very effective.

We haven’t called for ENIC Out, or for the board to be sacked, because we remember that the current board is the one we got after the last one went. Remember all those ‘Sugar Out’ protests? Remember ENIC as the new broom that was going to sweep clean? One thing that is dawning on supporter groups across the country is that merely calling for a new benefactor when the old one seems broke ain’t going to fix the deep-seated problems football has.

And, anyway, asking for a meeting at which you say you’re going to do lots of shouting and finger pointing rarely meets with success.

Instead, we try to put the arguments to the board that’s there. We’ve had limited success, but success nonetheless. It’s not enough, and we need to keep pushing. But we need to do so consistently and constructively. That’s not easy when those who run the club seem to be genuinely amazed that anyone could have a legitimate criticism of the way they do things. But we’ll keep asking the questions we think need answering.

So we’ll be asking for the club to make clear exactly what the plans for the new stadium are. At the moment, there is much rumour and speculation, but no plans to assess and discuss as there once were in the heady days of the Northumberland Development Project. As I write, it is 1,096 days since planning permission for the stadium was applied for. And yet none of us knows what kind of stadium or development is being proposed.

We want to know the criteria the club used in deciding why it is not possible to expand the current stadium; and on why it is no longer possible to build while staying at White Hart Lane. If the new design – whatever that may be – means the club has to move away from the area, then that design would seem to be the wrong choice. And we want to know why, this far on from the original announcement, the club appears to have no contingency plan for the delay caused by the CPO, or the need – caused, let’s not forget, by its own decisions – to move away from White Hart Lane.

We will be asking why the good relations built with local residents and businesses in the wake of the riots have been squandered, replaced by enormous suspicion over the motives behind a plan that appears to many to echo the social cleansing currently being carried out at the Elephant and Castle – something the wrongheaded plans for a walkway from WHL station to the new ground seems to epitomise.

And we will be continuing to forge links with the local communities in Tottenham to put the case for a sporting club and stadium that everyone can be proud of and benefit from. Most of all, we will be continuing to ask fans to sign up with the Trust.

We know campaigning is not for everyone. Football is a leisure pursuit after all. But just letting the gap between supporters and the club grow benefits no one. Contrary to what many would have you believe, fans want our clubs to be run sustainably because we think that is the best way they can be run successfully. Tottenham Hotspur should be able to point proudly to the fact that it balances its books and doesn’t engage in the kind of financial doping that now seems essential to win titles but, because of the distance those who run the club have allowed to grow between the Club, the team and the support, that is seen as elevating money above glory.

It was that apparent juxtaposition between the glory glory traditions of the Bill Nicholson era and today’s attachment to financial probity that has sparked the latest round of anger among supporters, making it more likely a tribute to a true club legend would be seen solely as a tawdry marketing gimmick. Even the mainstream press – so often quick to dismiss the concerns of the fans – began to pick up on a feeling that the tide is turning against the current owners.

We’re all for a bit of mass protest if that’s what it takes – after all, that’s how the Trust was finally sparked into life. But we want anything we do as fans to have a lasting effect, not just usher in another regime change. And that means working together with whoever is running the Club, asserting our independence where necessary, but always looking to build for the future rather than simply oppose the present. 

• Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust website