Posted on 19th November 2018
Jonathan Waite RIP
This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.
Above – Jonathan (left) receives his 2016 Award from James Richardson.
The FSF was very sad to hear that Spurs’ Head of Supporter Services Jonathan Waite passed away yesterday (18th November 2018). Jonathan was the FSF Supporter Liaison Officer of the Year in 2016 and a real advocate for fans from within the game. Our thoughts are with Jonathan’s friends and family during this time. FSF caseworker Amanda Jacks shares some of her fond memories of Jonathan below…
I’d like to be able to say I remember clearly the first time I met Jonathan but I can’t. He’s just one of those people who has always been there – funny, exceptionally helpful, wry, quick to reply to an email or voicemail, and often at the same meetings in London that I was. He was a powerful voice and advocate not just for Spurs fans but also visitors to White Hart Lane and, more recently, Wembley.
In my last professional dealings with him, Jonathan acted swiftly and helped to overturn a ban recently imposed on a Spurs supporter. Only last Friday we’d exchanged messages commenting on something that had happened in football. I thoroughly enjoyed his sometimes scathing but unerringly accurate messages always sent with humour and often tinged with exasperation. Suffice to say, we agreed on much and both shared the same desire to improve the lot of supporters.
Like his colleagues at Spurs, he’d been working exceptionally hard and very long hours in recent months dealing with the delayed move to the new stadium. He didn’t grumble though, just saw it as part of the job, which is indicative of how much he cared and his utmost professionalism.
We’d met for a few drinks the Friday before last and as ever, Jonathan was superb company. He spoke with great pride of the work being done to make Spurs’ new home as great as it possibly can be.
We also spoke a lot about one of his great passions – music. There’s only a few months difference in our ages so we spent a couple of hours comparing notes of the impact music (The Specials, The Jam etc) had had on our teenage years. He had many tales to tell about growing up in London, the gigs he went to and the lengths he went to get tickets for some of them.
I laughed my head off when he told me about meeting Liam Gallagher – he had to go into a box he had at Spurs and tell Gallagher and his party to turn it down a bit. He’d been expecting to be told where to go, but contrary to expectations Liam was contrite and cooperative. I think Jonathan was a little disappointed at that – not particularly rock and roll!
Of course fashion and music go hand-in-hand and, over his Belgian bottled beer and my red wine, Jonathan was especially funny when comparing the differences between southern and northern style. Another love of Jonathan’s was fashion even though by his own admission his own style hadn’t changed for 35 years. That day he arrived at the pub wearing a particularly fetching hat and removed his Mod-style silk scarf with an unselfconscious flourish. I was impressed, he was quite the dandy and wore it well. I wish now I’d stayed for just one more drink.
We spoke about family, mine and his, and Jonathan’s obvious love and pride in his children shone through. I can’t begin to imagine what they’re going through and can only hope they find a fraction of comfort in the many, many messages testifying to what a great person Jonathan was.
Plenty of Spurs fans will know just what they’ve lost and there are many, many more who will have benefited from Jonathan’s hard work and dedication without even knowing it. Alongside Kat and Martin at Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust he was absolutely driven in improving the “matchday experience” for fans, even if he hated that expression as much as I do!
God speed, Jonathan. Your snazzy brogues will never be properly filled because you absolutely were one of a kind.
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