Spurs fans vote on 'surfing flag' to boost White Hart Lane atmosphere

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Tottenham fans are voting on the design of a 'surfing flag' that will be introduced at White Hart Lane in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at the ground.

The initiative is the brainchild of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, who, after talks with Spurs, Haringey council and the Safety Advisory Group, asked fans to submit designs for the flag which will displayed in the lower south stand before home games.

Fans have the chance to vote for their favourite of the final ten designs, all of which have been approved by the club.

Katrina Law, secretary of the THST, says the idea has been well received by Tottenham fans and is hopeful that the 6m x 6m flag will be introduced before Christmas.

"We put the online poll up yesterday and we've had around 2,500 responses already," she told Givemesport.

"The people who've been engaged and certainly the amount of traffic we've had on our Twitter account has been pretty positive on the whole. I'd say. Probably 85% of people have been really positive."

She added: "We're closing the poll on Friday December 6th. We want to give people plenty of time in case they are on holiday and that kind of thing, and to give it a little bit more time to push it across different platforms.

"At the moment it's mostly on social media, and we're really aware that we have 36,500 fans there [at White Hart Lane] every week who aren't all on Twitter or Facebook.

"So we're going to try and reach different demographics in different ways, and we need a little bit of time to do that. 

"Hopefully fairly soon after voting closes, on the following Monday, we can put it into production and it will take a few weeks, so maybe mid-December [it will be ready].

The move comes after Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas criticised the White Hart Lane faithful for not making enough noise during his side's narrow 1-0 home win against Hull in October. 

The problem is not restricted to the white half of north London however. A recent survey by the "Black Scarf Movement", an Arsenal fan group, found that over half of supporters considered the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium to be "poor", and nine out of ten would back the re-introduction of safe standing areas.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho also hinted that he was unhappy with the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, and pondered whether the "profile" of supporters was contributing to the lack of noise at the club's games after their 2-2 draw with West Brom earlier this month.

Law says both the THST and Tottenham are taking steps to tackle the problem alongside the introduction of the surfing flag - including a plan to display tweets from fans on White Hart Lane's big screen at half time - and believes that the lack of atmosphere at Premier League grounds across the land is an issue that needs to be confronted.

"The problem is a combination of factors, it's almost like a perfect storm really," she explained.

"I think traditionally if you look at football matches the demographic that made the most noise were the ones who paid for the cheapest tickets. When it was a working class game you'd go with your mates and sing your heart out. The gentrification of football has stamped that out sadly.

"Also, I think with all-seater stadiums it's not that easy to congregate with your mates. You kind of get the odd seat or the two of you sat together, so it's not that easy to create a good atmosphere." 

The Football Supporters Federation has called on the Premier League to reintroduce standing areas and encouraged clubs to reduce the cost of tickets for away fans in order to encourage a better atmosphere at games.

"The introduction of cheaper pricing and standing areas would go a long way to bringing back some of the atmosphere," Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSF, told the Guardian earlier this month.

The Premier League has pledged £12m over three seasons to encourage away support.

Tottenham fans wishing to vote for their favourite surfing flag design can do so by clicking here.

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