Pub takeover thwarted

Founder of the Democratic Football Lads Alliance stopped from running Tottenham pub

By Luchia Robinson

The Elmhurst Pub
Credit: Stephen Furner

A petition to stop a Tottenham pub being run by a member of the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) has been successful.

Last month, campaign group Haringey Stand up to Racism (Haringey SUTR) started an online petition to stop Philip Hickin, a founding member of the DFLA, from running the Elmhurst pub in Lordship Lane.

The DFLA describes itself as a working class voice that combats terrorism and extremism. According to its website, the group is ‘seeking to bring justice to anyone who believes they are above the values and traditions of our country.’

It has close links to the English Defence League (EDL), and is known to support the former, EDL leader, Tommy Robinson, who is known for his anti-Islamic stance.

Philip Hickin had announced his takeover of the pub through various social media posts. When alerted to this, Haringey SUTR set up the petition calling for Haringey Council and Star Pubs and Bars (a national estate of independent pubs), to refuse Philip Hickin’s pub application.

The petition for 4,000 signatures stated that with the prospect of the pub takeover, ‘there is a real danger that this would become a centre for organised racists in the heart of Tottenham.’

The petition gathered support from Haringey councillors and Tottenham MP, David Lammy who tweeted: ‘Tottenham does not want racist bully Tommy Robinson supporters taking over any of our pubs. Star Pubs and Bars should cancel the tenancy of any DFLA member. If they don’t, Haringey Council and the police should block the licencing.’

At the time, Star Pubs and Bars stated that Philip Hickin’s involvement with the Elmhurst was a ‘rumour’, and that they had not entered into any lease negotiations. They tweeted that they would only assign a lease to ‘someone the community would embrace.’

Philip Hickin was refused a lease to run the pub following the petition having acquired the necessary signatories.

In response to this decision, Philip Hickin posted online: ‘[Star Pubs and Bars] have said they would rather leave [The Elmhurst Pub] closed and not trade, than go against the local community that obviously believe I am a racist because of the lies [David] Lammy and SUTR have posted on social media about me. I will have great pleasure in proving I am no racist.’

The Secretary of Haringey SUTR said: “We wanted to alert Star Pubs and Bars to who it was they were dealing with, and what the local feeling was. I think this was instrumental in them making a good decision not to associate their business with Philip Hickin and his organisation.

“I think the supporters of Tottenham Hotspur in general are anti-racist and inclusive people. Philip Hickin– who is a Tottenham supporter, is a minority within the supporters of the club.

“I’ve supported Spurs all my life, which is why I don’t want to see racists in any way associated with the club, or in our community.

“I think this is a victory for all of us – all of the people of Tottenham, and all of the supporters who don’t want this to be what their media presence looks like.”