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'I love the feeling of being one big family'

2 Dec 2016
Spurs, International Persons with Disabilities Day, Harry Kane cele, 021216

How one Premier League club is helping disabled fans support their team

This weekend marks International Persons with Disabilities Day, celebrated every year on 3 December to promote inclusivity for people with disabilities or impairments around the world.

Here, we take a look at how Tottenham Hotspur engages with fans and local residents with disabilities or impairments - from striving to improve the matchday experience home and away to providing opportunities in sport, education and employment through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. 

The Tottenham Hotspur Disabled Supporters' Association (THDSA) works closely with the club in planning and delivering accessible facilities, ticketing and travel while the Foundation provides life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities and impairments.

The Foundation engages with approximately 350 disabled people on a weekly basis through sports and physical activity, education and employability programmes.

And two Spurs fans have described how the club has helped them support the team they love. 

Jo McNicol, 39

"When I first travelled to games I was able to walk and sit in the main stands but as time went on I started to struggle with stairs due to my condition - Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 3. Spurs arranged for my season ticket to be at the end of an aisle to enable me still to attend.

"These days I have to use my wheelchair but that doesn't stop me attending matches. I just need a little extra help to be able to go to the match, which is why it's important that Spurs has a dedicated access team that we can call on.

"I love going to the fixtures just like everyone else - the atmosphere and the feeling that we are just one big family.

"I've met loads of lovely Spurs supporters over the years and look forward to meeting up with them at games.

"Everyone looks out for me and I enjoy the whole experience of travelling to the game, drinks in the pub before and the game itself for those 90 minutes nothing else matters apart from me watching Spurs play, and I feel just like all the other fans.

"Once in the ground we have a separate entrance and accessible toilet facilities and dedicated access stewards to look after us. Away matches are pretty much the same, Spurs arrange for an access steward to accompany us so we always have a familiar point of contact no matter where we are in the country or Europe.

"They also arrange tickets for non-visible disabilities or impairments as some people need to be closer to the pitch if visually impaired; at the end of a row of seats if they have mobility problems or need a headset with audio commentary if hearing impaired."

Daniel Angus, 17

"I was born blind but through multiple operations I was able to regain sight in my right eye thanks to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

"Despite my visual impairment, I've loved playing football from a young age and currently captain the East Region Talent Centre for VI&HI Futsal (an indoor 5 a-side version of football).

"It is always amazing to see the disability game thriving in all sectors and see how the players develop. 

"I always dreamt of being a regular at the Lane and whenever I could I used to log on and try to persuade my Dad to buy tickets. However, due to my visual impairment I used to struggle to see clearly who was who on the pitch if I was sat in the upper tier.

"At the beginning of this season, I was contacted by the club and they placed me on the disability membership scheme, which has allowed me to be seated lower in the ground so that I am able to see the game more clearly.

"The access stewarding team is great and I am extremely thankful for what they have done for me and other supporters with disabilities or impairments."

For all disabled access ticketing enquiries please contact Shirley on 0208 365 5161 and for all other access enquiries please contact Jon on 0208 365 5360.

You can also contact Tottenham Hotspur via email at access@tottenhamhotspur.com.

Please also visit Spurs for all up to date access information at http://i.tottenhamhotspur.com/hc/en-us/categories/200992345-Accessibility

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