‘That Tottenham Group‘, a Facebook group established in October last year, is one of the fastest growing Spurs fan forums having attracted over 1,700 members in just four months. Jack talks to its founder, Michael Cook, about TTG, his role as a steward at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, and his predictions for the rest of the season.
What inspired you to establish ‘That Tottenham Group’?
I was joined to one Facebook THFC group for a while and used to see updates now and again. The updates were not really up to date and news that I was seeing had already escalated. This got me thinking about starting my own group. I wanted to start a group that was present, relevant and still provides a platform for Spurs fans to freely express themselves. The group name came from what I used to call the group I followed in conversation. I used to say to my wife “you know that Tottenham group on Facebook?”…I imagine loads of people call the groups the same thing! That Tottenham Group.
Despite launching only in October, you’ve already got over 1,700 members. Why do you think it has been so successful?
I really believe TTG has been gathering pace very quickly due to the concept. I think TTG is very different to other Facebook groups. My vision and plan were to create a group that is a blend of Instagram and Twitter but still with a Facebook theme. I create all my own graphics and visuals to give this an eye-catching edge like Instagram, up to date news as it happens like Twitter,but still connecting to members and building relationships like Facebook. The visuals and branding I have created have given TTG its own identity is very recognisable in a crowded news feed – almost like a brand in a way.
What are your ambitions for TTG?
I am fully aware this is a brand-new group and we have long way to go! There are one or two very stong THFC groups already established on Facebook but I really feel we can be there with them given time. The TTG members we have already joined have been fantastic in helping me and the other admins grow the group. I am very appreciative of their time spent to interact and give TTG its heartbeat. My long-term target is to have enough members to fill the TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM. So far, we fill 2.73% of it. I would love to achieve >62,000 members! As I said we are different and unique so I am sure we will achieve it.
In normal times, you’re a steward at the ground. How much have you missed live football?
Working for THFC is an absolute privilege. I am a boyhood fan and have been a fan now over 30 years. I am a local lad from Enfield and have such great memories of White hart Lane as a lad growing up. (Tough in the 90’s supporting Spurs as you all know). My grandad, mum and dad were all stewards’ years ago at the old ground so I have followed suit.
To be part of the team at THFC playing at Wembley and then helping the club transition to the new stadium by securing safety permits from the council and be a huge part of the new stadium test events was an honour for me. I really could not have been part of the club at a better time. Now we are in probably the best stadium in football is amazing.
“I also featured for 1.8 seconds on the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ documentary last year. I was holding the door for Jose Mourinho as he made his way to the press conference. Absolutely over the moon with that!”
I really enjoy working on a match day. I work in the media sections so the press tribune on the west stand and also within the auditorium for post-match press conferences. I really do feel lucky. I also featured for 1.8 seconds on the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ documentary last year. I was holding the door for Jose Mourinho as he made his way to the press conference. Absolutely over the moon with that!
Due to Covid we are now working at limited events to ensure all stewards have the chance to participate. My last game working was West Brom in the 2-0 win in February so haven’t been away that long at all. The behind closed doors games are very different, I feel this has and will continue to effect players on the pitch.
It must be pretty difficult sometimes to do your job as a steward and not spend your whole time watching the game? Are there any games that really stick in your memory?
Yes, this is difficult – especially when you have 62,000 fans singing and driving the team on. Boring but true answer – we have a job to do no matter how big of a fan we are. People’s safety is at risk and we must stay focused on the task at hand as a steward. Of course, there are times when you catch a bit of the game or a superb goal from Sonny or Kane and you have a little fist pump discreetly… but we do have a job to do and I really enjoy it.
Games I have worked at that stick in my memory:
Barcelona – Wembley – 80,000+ fans – lost but what an atmosphere. Kane cut back and finish caused mayhem in the stands!
Crystal Palace – first ever official match at the new stadium. Sonny scoring the first ever goal and the winner.
Man City – Champions League, Quarter Final, first leg. WOW! I will never forget the sound from the south stand as he kept the ball in play and drove home to put us 1-0 up. Great night.
Bayern Munich – lost 7-2 – Pochettino in charge. I will never forget that match. When you’re working you cannot leave at full time and cry – you have to stay and face all the aftermath of away fans rubbing it in.
Arsenal – limited 2,000 fans attended last December. Sonny scores an absolute banger! The last game to date with fans in attendance in a 2-0 WIN! COYS!
Do you ever cop much stick as a steward?
Boring answer again, I work in the press and media area for written and internet journalists so don’t really work alongside the fans. That being said we still remain vigilant as the fans are close by. In my experience I have not copped any stick or abuse which is great. Any altercations or incidents towards other fans, players or staff that is not acceptable are acted on and resolved in the correct manner.
What have been your thoughts on Jose Mourinho this season?
I backed the decision to bring in Jose as he is a winner. He has achieved so much in the game. We needed this type of manager. He has to be given time for me. I still believe he has a few players that Pochettino failed with at the end of his tenure and trying to get something out of them. Jose needs at least another two transfer windows to make his stamp in this squad.
We are in the latter stages of Europa League, the Carabao Cup final and still in the hunt for a European finish in the league. If I was offered this after the opening day defeat to Everton I would have snapped your arm off for it. Yes, he makes a few mistakes and he does play the low block but to be fair he has been very shackled due to our defensive mistakes, however, we have also scored a good number of goals this term.
The most recent win over Burnley was fantastic. We play like that we will win football matches. Jose has created a new version of Kane, a beast of a midfielder now in Tanguy Ndombele and also getting form out of Dele and Gareth Bale. I honestly feel Jose will deliver long awaited silverware to Tottenham Hotspur.
In my role at the club, I have seen Jose and spoken to him in person. He comes across a really caring and approachable guy with the team, staff and media professionals.
Is Bale back?
BALE IS BACK! He was very good in the second half at West Ham, decent in the win over Wolfsberger and superb in the win against Burnley. He is notching goals and assists and playing with a smile and a swagger. I am over the moon he is back with us and hope he has a huge impact on the last 15/16 games remaining this season. Bale could really be the difference in winning or losing a cup final. He has the ability to turn a game as well all know. Buzzing to see Bale linking up with Son, Kane and Dele. What a front three or four that is!!!
Player and signing of the season so far? Where do we need to strengthen in the summer?
My player AND signing of the season is Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The captain without the armband, our midfield general and puts a shift in every game. The Spurs Viking! I really do feel we cannot replace him if he was to get injured. He’s looked very tired in the past week or two due to the fact he is so important to us. A proper signing that one and an absolute snip for the fee paid.
Harry Kane, Sonny and Ndombele have also been magnificent so far this term and deserve all the plaudits they are currently receiving. Kane and Sonny are irreplaceable as I am sure most Spurs fans would agree. The obvious need is a CB. We have to strengthen the back line ready for next season and Jose will almost certainly do that before we kick off the new campaign. In the summer I feel we need to bring in a new goalkeeper to be the eventual replacement for Hugo Lloris. Nick Pope is the most likely fit for Spurs.
Predictions for the rest of the season? Where will we finish? Will we win any trophies?
Okay – don’t ask me why – but I think Spurs will lift the League Cup this season. We seem to have something extra against a very good Man City in the big games. I feel Jose will set up to be dangerous but calculated at Wembley.
With the draw in the Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb there is no reason why we can’t progress. Tough competition to predict that one. Jose knows how to win it so we have a chance.
I feel Spurs, given the resurgence of Bale and Dele along with a returning Giovani Lo Celso, can have a real crack at hunting down the top four. West Ham and Leicester City are there to be caught and we certainly have the players to do it with favourable remaining fixtures.
COME ON YOU SPURS!!!