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Tottenham apply for non-refundable government money to redevelop WHL. We talk to the minister

By our undercover reporters M. Adeup and T. Ruth


Following revelations that Tottenham Hotspur FC have applied to the government for a non-refundable grant for the redevelopment of their White Hart Lane “ground” we decided to seek an interview with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the Right Hon Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt MP, BA (Hons).

Us: You are the minister for both sport in general – including football – and for the olympics.  Is that right?

Streynsham: Actually I am secretary of state old boy, but minister will do.

Us: And what does that job entail?

Streynsham: I just sit in my office and curse a bit.  Generally something then happens.

Streynsham: Indeed.  And if I may say it is an honour and privilege to….

Us:  So concerning football, you said in June 2010 that  hooliganism played a part in the death of 96 football fans in the Hillsborough disaster, rather than administrative incompetence, police incompetence, ground staff incompetence, and a complete inability of the UK government at any time in the previous 100 years to ensure that health and safety inspections were undertaken at football grounds.  Is that true?

Streynsham: Yes.

Us: Do you want to apologise to the families of the 96 specifically, and to all football supporters in general.

Streynsham: I make it a rule never to apologize.   Good people, decent people, honourable people do not want apologies, and the other sort just take advantage of them.  But yes, I have apologised.

Streynsham: I did but I later apologised.

Us: Is it also true that you have no interest in sport whatsoever, although you have had a lot to do with campaigning about hospitals, you speak fluent Japanese, you were head boy of the private school Chaterhouse, you went to the elitist Oxford University and were deeply involved in politics there?  In short there is no serious reference to sport on your cv.

Streynsham: Well, no, yes… Success came to one gradually and I find it something of a shock to wake up and realise the power and prestige I now have.

Us:  And is it is not also true that you remain in government as a secretary of state, despite having fiddled your parliamentary expenses?

Streynsham: I was not found guilty of any criminal offence.

Us: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh?  The official record suggests you were in breach of the rules in not reducing your claims on the Additional Costs Allowance.  And don’t the records also show that as a result public funds provided a benefit to your agent – which is against the law?  And when your wheeze was tumbled is it not true that you repaid half the money?

Streynsham: Well yes.

Us:   So to find a man’s true character, we find we have to put the truth to him until he admits it.  Do you want to say more?

Streynsham: No.

Us: Anyway didn’t you also admit that you made a claim for services on a Farnham home in the period when it was actually your main home – which is against the law.  And is it no also true that the official record of the House of Commons shows that your “office arrangements were at best disorganised”?

Streynsham: Yes.

Us: So now we have a situation in which here we have you, secretary of state, a man whom the public record shows runs an office that is at best disorganised, who sought to move blame for Hillsborough onto fans, a man who has no history of interest in sport, and a man whom the public record also showed fiddled his expenses, and is the man who has to oversee the future of the location of Tottenham Hotspur, in terms of their application to get the Olympic ground from the West Ham firm, and their application to have the state pay for the redeveloping of White Hart Lane home.

Streynsham: Well, they can’t have both!

Us: How can we believe you are competent to run a government department in this way when you can’t even run your own office or honestly handle your own expense accounts?

Streynsham:  The chairman of Tottenham, Mr Daniel Levy, told me they are working hard to make the Northumberland Park Development Scheme viable and enable Tottenham to stay and redevelop the existing site.  But they also want to move to the east end.  It is perfectly natural that they have applied  to the Regional Growth Fund for a grant.  I don’t control the RGF.

Us: We are not surprised with your organisational record!

Streynsham: Mr Levy told me that public sector assistance for infrastructure and public realm works would enable the club to deliver the project and the RGF represents the single most important route for funding.  Our hope must be that there is a recognition of the real need for investment in the Northumberland Park ward and that this project presents a real opportunity to deliver sustainable long-term, private sector-led regeneration.

Us: Did Mr Levy give you any money to sway the deal?

Streynsham: No!  That would be outrageous!

Us: Fair enough.  So what’s going to happen?

Streynsham: Look, Tottenham need a new stadium, and it is not my job to find them one, but their local MP is keen on the project so you should talk to him.

Us: Are you a Tottenham supporter?

Streynsham:  I don’t know anything about football.

Us: You don’t know anything about sport do you secretary of state?

Streynsham: As it happens, no.

Us:  And yet this issue will fall under your office, at least in part.  So can you give us any reason why a commercial enterprise like Tottenham Hotspur FC should have public money to help them build a ground, while Arsenal FC have to find their own money and do everything commercially and properly?

Streynsham: Oh come on.  Tottenham’s a shit hole.  No one in their right mind is going to put money into a scheme to build a new ground there.

Us: But the government will?

Streynsham: Almost certainly.

Next up our intrepid pair interview the extraordinary David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham.

Untold Arsenal on Twitter is in the top 1% of all Twitter sites for followers @UntoldArsenal

19 comments to Tottenham apply for non-refundable government money to redevelop WHL. We talk to the minister

  • Dan

    It’s sad, really sad that you make these attempts at ‘humourous’ articles. I would have thought that after the recent Lady Nina Bracewell-Sunlounger debacle you would have gone back to writing serious articles.

    If you’re having a pop at the Spuds for trying to obtain a non-refundable grant (I stopped reading about 10 lines in), it’s pretty petty. I don’t blame them for trying to obtain such a grant and it’s irrelevant to us anyway. Who cares what that minnow club

  • Dark Prince

    i guess being sarcastic n funny at the same time is really tough….

    Better luck next time.

  • walter

    Dan,
    I think it would be very relevant if another team gets money from the government for something we have done ourselves without any support.
    Mr. Levy can build a stadium as big as Nou Camp for my part at WHL but it will have to be done with money he brings in from his tax paradise island. I don’t think the tax payer in the UK must pay one penny to let Tottenham build a new stadium.

  • Aaron

    Yea, was not feeling this at all.

  • Sam

    Dan’s right. These humerous articles just don’t work. They’re not funny and it’s confusing.

    Have Tottenham applied for a non refundable grant? I hadn’t heard this so I put ‘tottenham non-refundable grant white hart lane’ into google and this is the only article that refers to it. Did you make it up? If you did, why? If you didn’t, why don’t you write something that actually explains the situation rather than mixing fact with fiction, because at the moment it’s not clear what, if anything in this article is commentary and what can be ignored.

  • Dan

    It’s relevant to us as taxpayers, but not as Arsenal supporters. From what I understand, such a grant would be provided by the London Borough, in this case Haringey, which is different from our local Borough, so it’s their decision.

    By the way, you could have made fun of Jeremy Hunt’s surname. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjH4arIn-80

  • Dan

    Besides, I have a problem with most government spending anyway: useless wars across the world, huge banker bailouts, massive amounts of ‘international development aid’, etc. etc. They might as well add a stadium to mix too.

  • Andy Kelly

    The crux of the matter is that Tottenham have applied for publci funding to help make the building of a new ground on the existing site “financially viable”.

    They have issued a statement that they should be propped up by the taxpayer because Arsenal were when the Emirates was built.

    However, Totttenham’s local MP, has refuted this and has published a letter from Islington Council’s CEO verifying this.

    Now, if they have p’eed off the local MP who is adamant that the club should stay in Haringey, then what hope have they got with people who have no interest in supporting the club? I can’t see Haringey offering any money as they have just gone through wholesale redundancies and cutting of services.

    Maybe Levy should think back to all the money he and Comoli fritted away over the last 10 years (£17m for David Bentley FFS) before he goes cap in hand to the taxpayer.

  • mr creosote

    I THOUGHT IT WAS QUITE FUNNY. NOT HA HA FUNNY, BUT AMUSING NEVERTHELESS. SAD TO SAY THAT THEY’LL PROBABLY GET THE GRANT, BECAUSE LETS FACE IT, PARITY IN OUR DOMESTIC SPORTS DOESN’T EXIST IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.

  • willybilly

    I’ve been blooging about arsenal for 2 weeks now.

    I am a wenger loyalist to the max.

    Why are you printing pointless articles like this when you need to be doing what your actually meant to do, ie supporting wenger.

    Dont get me wrong, you can write about whatever you want, although in a time where Arsene needs people like us to come up with great arguments for him, to beat the negative greedy arsenal fans who want him out.

    Instead you are writing about Referee corruption or someone else’s stadium.

    Do what I do on that awful blog Le grove. Listen to what is going on every day in our anti arsenal media, and defend the great man Wenger from the growing number of hounds.

    I was told on le grove that I work for Arsenal PR and that I was best mates with Tony Attwood!, so I looked up the name, and being slightly disappointed with what i found, have to tell you again,

    NOW is the time to defend wenger, not hide away behind interesting but largely irrelevant stories

    I want to read a blog from you in the next couple of days that actually makes people think that wenger is not the man to be blamed.

    If you don’t I will, and with your permission would love to use it as a guest post on your blog

    Lose Arsene Lose Arsenal ( got a ring to it no?) That one drives them mad on Le grove!!!

  • finsbury

    Oh dear.
    I don’t think ‘The Friends of Untold’ liked this post.

  • Gooner Gal

    Wow, tough crowd Tony! It’s not a bad article at all.

    I am shocked at the cheek of the Spuds! As a UK taxpayer and Gooner, I think they are taking the mick really. It’s like in their world debt, cuts and the credit crunch doesn’t exist. I hope the taxman catches up with this group of bandits very soon before they leg it.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Lighten up, guys!
    there isn’t much to write that hasnt already been written, there isnt anything out there thaat isnt speculation. we all want news but who wants to talk about how much fabregas is worth again or whether clichy is a traitor? bloody hell all i want is football soon. that is it. in the mean time i will indulge tony i a little look over the fence to pass the time and for those who think it is irrelevant, this children is history in the making. enjoy it while you can, and show some manners.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Yup ,its a real tough crowd and they are missing the woods for the trees ,Tony !As for me , thanks for such articles ,humour
    is an essential part of my life and it helps when you take a break from the banalities of life.
    You could get Billy the Dog to start a ” Humour for Dummies ” class for those who would like to appreciate British humour (something along the lines of ” Mind your language”) or add Google Translation -where unintended jokes and gaffes are aplenty.
    In the meantime throw them a bone and repeat thedaily mantra – 6 years with no trophy , 2 new goalkeepers ,3 centrebacks (6′ 5″ or more ),5 new midfielders and 1 battering- ram striker or at the very least a jack-in-the-box .
    I pedict UA will be number 1 soon if you do so .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Oops, forgot- AW has lost the plot ,and sack the board !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Double oops – rabbit in the box , we have already have Jack !

  • Richard B

    What happens down the road is absolutely vital to understand (via humourous articles or not) because it impinges on the long term viability of Arsenal. The two clubs compete for local support in the long term and, while we may be winning that battle hands down at the moment, the long term future is more difficult to predict.
    What the piece didn’t highlight (even though it’s ripe for ironic comment) is the fact that so many properties in the area around WHL have been bought up and boarded up by Spurs ‘for future development’ and this has contributed majorly to the feeling of the area being run down. They have become architects of their own problem.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Seems to be a tempest in a teapot! Should funding be approved there would be a storm of protest from any taxpayer (supporter or not) whose lives have been further depressed by recent tax hikes and funding cuts and who is unemployed. Describes quite a few people I fear!