Gary Mabbutt urges other Premier League clubs to follow Tottenham’s lead in calling elderly fans to discuss football and check on their welfare
- Gary Mabbutt wants other clubs to follow the initiative he started at Tottenham
- The former Spurs star spends an hour every day calling elderly supporters
- Mabbutt played 611 games for Spurs, captaining them to FA Cup glory in 1991
Gary Mabbutt would like other clubs to follow Tottenham’s example of making calls to elderly supporters to chat about the club and check on their welfare.
Mabbutt, one of Tottenham’s greatest captains who made 611 appearances between 1982 and 1998, spends an hour every day ringing fans aged over 70, birthdays and wedding anniversaries.
It started during Covid and Mabbutt passed the milestone of reaching out to 10,000 season ticket holders and club members earlier this month.
‘Every supporter has their own story about how they became a Spurs fan, their first match and favourite player,’ he said. ‘And if they aren’t in a good place, which could be the case particularly during Covid, we have support services in place,’ he says.
‘I haven’t missed a day apart from when I was in hospital for an operation. The most calls I’ve done in one day is 22 and thankfully I’ve been able to convince most fans it really is me, even those who don’t believe me at first!
Former Tottenham star wants other clubs to follow his initiative in calling elderly supporters
Spurs have impressed during the opening weekends of the new Premier League season
‘It’s interesting to hear input from fans who have followed the club for 60, 70, 80 years. They were disappointed with the team last season but the mood has changed since Ange Postecoglu arrived.’
Mabbutt’s wife and two daughters are understanding. After breakfast, even on holiday, Mabbutt does his calls.
‘The strangest one was Kruger National Park in South Africa. There was no Wifi or electricity so I drove half-an-hour for a signal and had these chats about Spurs looking at the wild animals.
Mabbutt spends an hour every day ringing fans aged over 70 to check on their welfare and discuss football
The reaction from fans has been overwhelming with Mabbutt often passed onto other family members and the club receiving plenty of letters and cards of thanks.
Mabbutt would like to see it trialled at every club. ‘From Manchester United to Enfield Town, there are fans who would love to hear from a player they used to watch,’ he said.
‘It would have multiple benefits. I am sure Age Concern and welfare charities would be happy for their numbers passed on if it was useful.
‘And the clubs can reach the next generation of fans. If an 86-year-old grandmother gets a call, the first people she’ll tell are her children and grandchildren.’