• Football

Tottenham force non-league club into badge change

ESPN staff
November 15, 2013
The Fleet logo is still used by the club's Twitter account © @FleetSpursYouth

Tottenham Hotspur have been accused of "bullying" penniless non-league club Fleet Spurs into changing their badge as it is too similar to their own, which could cost the minnows up to £4,000.

The Wessex League Division One club believe their Premier League counterparts have adopted a "heavy-handed" approach in making them alter their crest.

Even though Fleet Spurs were set up in 1948 and have no affiliation with Tottenham, the club's crest includes a cockerel and a football and was deemed a threat to the White Hart Lane club's identity.

Fleet chairman Bryan Sheppard admits they had no option but to agree to the demands to Tottenham, who play a full ten tiers above them in the football pyramid.

He told the BBC: "We haven't got a penny to our name, we couldn't afford to fight it. It's been quite stressful, we just felt really intimidated by the heavy-handed approach. But I can see where they are coming from."

Fleet Spurs official Keiren Gurrie claims the likeness between the logos was only discovered when the Hampshire club contacted Tottenham regarding the possibility of arranging a charity match with a veterans' XI in the summer. And Gurrie admits he is disgusted with the way the tiny grass-roots club has been treated.

Fleet have already removed the logo from their official website © Fleet Spurs FC

Gurrie told GetHampshire.co.uk: "I cannot believe they have gone down this route, it's absolutely ridiculous and disrespectful that they have simply used their financial power into bullying us, a tiny local club, into what they want.

"We did consider fighting our corner as they only registered their logo in 2006, but frankly we do not have the resources to take them on and the threat of having to pay their legal costs would simply end our club.

"There is a feeling within the club that they have used a sledgehammer to crack a nut here. Tottenham could and should have made it clearer at the outset of what they wanted instead of bringing in lawyers; they have treated our club very disrespectfully and this could have been avoided."

Tottenham have defended their decision, and have allowed the club to keep their current badge until their kits are next replaced.

A spokesman said: "If we do not take action to stop Fleet Spurs using our cockerel logo, it can undermine our ability to stop other unauthorised people who use our logo for commercial purposes, such as counterfeiters.

"We are very conscious that Fleet Spurs is a grass-roots club. For this reason we have been very careful not to ask them to do anything that might incur costs.It was always the club's approach to deal with this matter amicably and with a large dose of common sense."

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