I bought 100 shares in Spurs in 1983, at a cost of £100, in order to hang them on the wall. I do think football memorabilia brightens up any bathroom, though it does attract lots of dust. On the other hand, where would the dust go? Just hang around, getting into mischief.
Over the years, they've proved a talking point when I give people a tour of my Spurs stuff in the bathroom. They've also provided a torrent of correspondence, great wads of glossy annual reports (why do they have to spend so much on expensive printing?), plus the occasional dividend. The last two cheques, which arrived some time ago now, were for £1.57 and £1. I haven't cashed them in. They're framed and on the wall as well. I not only consider Spurs one of my favourite charities but a source of cheap football memorabilia.
I don't know what the share price is at present, 27p last time I looked, and in 19 years I've never been to a shareholders' meeting. Last month, time was hanging, no desperate dusting needed doing, so I decided to attend the AGM. I drove there, went straight to the main carpark in the West Stand, the posh one, usually full of Ferraris on match day. The barrier came down as I was halfway through. "What you fink you doin' mate?" said an angry guard. Look here, my good man, I am a shareholder, 19 years ago I contributed £100 to this great club, the least I can expect is free parking. Fat chance. Though I did get to drive round inside the players' carpark. Then out again.
The AGM was in a side road, in one of those cavern-like hospitality bunkers. Around 500 people were already there, scoffing tea and buns. I had a coffee twice, plus two bits of cake - well, I did have 19 years to make up - and got talking to a man who said he'd been to every AGM. He was a retired stockbroker, very proud of having had a heated argument with Alan Sugar, when he was Spurs chairman, correcting him on a point of order. "He said: 'Who invited you?' I said: 'Excuse me, it is not a matter of being invited. I am here as of right, as are all shareholders.' He didn't like that at all . . . "
Looking around, and listening to the chat, it appeared that many in the audience were regulars, and well clued-up. The main object of the meeting was to enable the board to increase the share capital. One of the directors, rather patronisingly, said we should just have faith in the board, it was a bit hard for ordinary people to understand rules about shares. This was soon countered by one shareholder. "I think you'll find that many people here today have just as much experience of the City as people on the board . . . "
Once the main business was done, we were all free to ask questions, on anything. A chancy thing to offer, as I know when I have chaired meetings. It's always the idiots and obsessives who jump up. The questions ranged from why the new seats were painted Chelsea blue, not Spurs blue, and could the club not do more about people smoking, to were we going to buy Morientes?
The meeting lasted well over two hours, and I was impressed by the audience and their serious attention, and the board's desire to be open and accountable, though it was a bit of a nonsense. There was one heatedly debated motion that had 14 in the room voting against it - only to be told that the proxy vote in favour of it came to - wait for it - 47 million.
The very last question from the audience was asked by one of those dopey obsessives. Me, as it happens. I wanted to know if and when Spurs were going to have a Spurs museum. Arsenal have one, and Man Utd, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham. I was rather fobbed off, told it would be some time in the future.
Ah well, till then, any Spurs shareholder can always visit my bathroom. By invitation, of course.