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Tottenham on tour: the stadium mystery deepens again

By Tony Attwood

Just when I thought that we had done with the issue of Tottenham and their stadium, thinking that any minute now the massive presence of Eric Pickles would shake the world about and give permission for the compulsory purchase of parts of the High Road so the development of the new stadium could go ahead…

… then things take another turn.

We’ve recently had the tale of Tottenham taking over West Ham’s old ground and the story of sharing Wembley, and now we have… the 2016-17 season as Tottenham on Tour.

What all these rumours seem to suggest is an underlying problem – that the development of the new Tottenham ground in the High Street, can’t be done as originally conceived – with Tottenham playing at the old ground all the while the new ground is being developed.

It was a clever idea – three sides of the stadium could be built in the High Street without disturbing the existing ground known as White Hart Lane, and then one stand in the old ground would be redeveloped to make the fourth side – leaving Tottenham playing on a three sided stadium for one season while the fourth side is completed.

But the continuing stories printed in the English press suggest that something has gone wrong with this plan, and Tottenham will have to move out of their stadium for one season completely.

However no one is saying why the plan has changed.  Why can’t they build 3 sides and then have the 4th side built during the final season.  After all that way the capacity of the ground would be at least the same, if not more, than it is now, during that intermediate season.

The only reason being whispered is the one we keep coming back to – the fraught issue of the distance between the touch line and the fans.  Arsenal’s ground obeys these regulations to the letter, but Tottenham’s plans suggest they could have the pitch much closer to the fans.  As I pointed out before, the problem is that even with the distance Arsenal has, it is still possible for fans to pelt players and ambulance men with coins.

It has been suggested that there never was an intent to build closer to the pitch, but simply to get more people closer to the pitch by having a higher elevation of fans in the lower tier, but I am not clear how this will work.  But that means nothing – I am not an architect.

But until we see the revised plans it remains a possibility that the notion of fans much closer to the pitch than at Arsenal has been declined by the Premier League, and so much more building work is going to have to take place in the final year with the existing stand not just being “turned around” but actually being rebuilt much further back.

However that’s still a guess, but the story of Tottenham ground sharing looks more real day by day, with the Telegraph now following on where the Mail and Independent have been, with the new tale of Stadiummk in Milton Keynes being one of the stadia will use during the building year!

One problem is that where ever a Premier League club play they have to have Premier League permission to play there.  The ground regs are strict although exceptions can be given – especially in the case of older stadia where moving over to the new ground regulations (incorporating for example the extra distance of the fans from the pitch which is now required) cannot be met.

Each ground used must also be able to meet the requirements of Sky, BT Sprout and the rest of the motley crew that now dominate the schedules.

Apparently one approach that was considered was a tour of stadiums of London, but now it seems that, like the original plan of a 3 sided stadium for one year,  is not on.   Rotation around a few of the grounds is now being considered – at least according to the press.

But then there is the notion of trotting 50 miles up the motorway to junction 14 of the M1 (a route those of us from Northamptonshire know well).  It seems the idea is that big games are played at the Olympic Stadium courtesy of West Ham, and at Wembley, while the rest are played at Stadiummk, which would be far, far cheaper to hire.

The use of Wembley was a ploy devised by Arsenal as a way of proving to themselves and the bankers that there was enough demand for tickets to fill the 60,000 capacity Emirates.  In fact Arsenal had more than enough ticket applications to fill Wembley each time they played there, even though Arsenal.  Tottenham however rejected a permanent move to Wembley on the grounds that they would not be able to fill the stadium.

The capacity of Stadiummk on the other hand will be increased to 32,000 in time for next year’s Rugby Union World Cup, and although that is less than the current stadium, it is not that much less.

Playing at the Olympic Stadium is itself not certain since relations between WHU and Tottenham are at a very low ebb following the series of legal challenges that Tottenham brought against West Ham during the bidding process for the right to public finance and the stadium.  WHU move in, once the public money has been spent on the project, in July 2016.

The FA on the other hand are gagging for someone, anyone, to use Wembley, as the costs of the loan for building the stadium continue to drag the association into the mire.

If Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, actually manages to drag himself away from the table and gives Tottenham the compulsory purchase order everyone anticipates Tottenham will get, the Tottenham will put the building work to tender for construction in the late summer or autumn this year.

Presumably the companies tendering for the contract will then indicate if they would need a final year of the contract without anyone in the stadium, to be able to complete the building of the ground, or whether they can find a way to build the final side with football being played in the ground every couple of weeks.

This story, which I thought had ended long since, still keeps coming back.    Odd that.

26 comments to Tottenham on tour: the stadium mystery deepens again

  • Mark

    Is there a single Arsenal fan on the planet interested in this?

  • colario

    If THFC need a temporary ground then the best ground for the fans is the Ems. The local fans (and a vast number are local) are within easy reach of the EMs. Its easier for them to get to than Leyton for the Wet Spam Olympic ground and of course much easier then getting to Wembley.

    I realise there could be a problem if say Arsenal and THFC were drawn at home in the same round of a cup. But I am sure a way round this problem could be found.

    On the pitch ‘love they neighbour’ does not apply. Off the pitch it must apply. Tot have been a good neighbour to us in our times of need even though they didn’t want us near them.

  • colario – ha ha ha ha ha, you do know that April Fools Day was on Tuesday?

    Let spurs overstretch their supporters / themselves – with no european football next season the climbing costs to redevelop an under required ground will be hilarious.

  • Carl

    I believe Mr Pickles is no doubt not a Spurs supporter, he maybe be a Arsnenal , or a Chelsea , regardless he’s a public figure that should do his job and do the right thing and Give Spurs permission to start their project of building their stadium.

  • Every one talks about how Arsenal should be grateful to spurs for the WW11 ground share, how many people know:

    “White Hart Lane was taken over by the government during World War 1. The ground was used as a gas mask factory and a rife range. Tottenham would play their ‘home’ games at Highbury and Clapton Orient.”

    So they were only reciprocating an earlier favour.

  • hantsgooner

    Real shame that The Spuds didnt get either Upton Park or the Olympic stadium imagen after years of calling us a bunch of South London Gypsies how we could have laid into them!!

  • colario

    @Mystic

    As mark has made clear I couldn’t care less what The Horrible Football Club (THFC) do. They could play on Hackney marshes for all I care.

    However the fans I do care about I don’t care who they support. They in other words you and me should come first. And for THFC fans the Ems is the best option.

  • Nick the Gooner

    Hackney Marshes – that’s what I say
    Let’m play in a boggy rain soaked bumpy muddy field – just what their football deserves

  • They want to support spurs I really have no sympathy for them. Some of the abuse and target practice I have been subjected to makes me unsympathetic – and don’t get fooled by the ‘small minority’, minority involved, yes, but small NO.

  • nicky

    Spurs might like to follow Arsenal’s example of a few years ago and play home matches at Wembley Stadium.
    The attendances there would give some idea of the required capacity of any new ground.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If they tour London stadia, could they end up playing a few games…..in Or very near to Woolwich?

  • Jax

    It’s important that Spurs get their stadium and remain in Tottenham. It’s important from a rivalry point of view (North London derby has a world wide resonance), It’s important that they stay in the Premiership (as a big club), so that we can continue to beat them regularly, and without a large stadium stadium they’ll eventually struggle. If the problem with planning is just that the crowd are too close to the pitch, then it should be quite simple to alter the design. There’s obviously something going on that we’re not be informed of.

  • Dx

    @Mark, as a Gooner who works as an architect/urban planner, yes.

  • fred

    Daniel Levy has just got himself out of the firing line of the fans by making them believe that Enic/Levy will ever build a new stadium. “It is feasible” he said..

  • Sukebe

    The “soon to be built” 5 star uefa stadium vs the world class stadium… Pick one?

    I am agree to jax, we need bigger fish to fry. Not just bigger mouth to slap…

  • bjtgooner

    Agree Mandy, one of the most cretinous articles ever written about Arsenal.

    One consideration I am not clear on and I admit I have not followed the Spurs stadium saga all that closely. I may have missed it, but if the final plan for the stadium has not been finished e.g. distance of seating from the pitch, then the capacity cannot have been finalized, so is it correct to assume approval of the final plan has not been given and that this step will take additional time? I am assuming that an outline or provisional plan for the stadium and its effect on the area has been approved for the project to have progressed this far.

    In addition to seating regulations and council planning departments, there are a raft of others who would be involved – emergency services, transport, HSE etc.

  • Sukebe

    @mandy

    And they say we are “deluded fans” LOL

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true sukebe and bjt, this guy seems more concerned about us than his own team, not the first time I have come across,such a thing!

  • Micheal Ram

    I think Totties are so occupied by the neighbour’s success that they have fail to plan long term. I still cant believe they spend all the Bale’s money on other players instead of improving their infrastructure. Their lack of patience also costed them a lot of money when they keep sacking managers on long term deals.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Exactly….

    Bale gave them the big brick to build a foundation for future. But tynies. Well we all know what they did don’t we.

    We should be greatful that our manager and the club management had the courage and vision.

  • arse_or_brain

    this is a classic case of trying to keep up with joneses, seeing their neighbours with a brand new state of the art extended house must have made lewis green with envy. They will overspend in a venture once again, as they always do, this could relegate them and set them back years. Realistically clubs should move when they are ready and not just because their more successful neighbours are there already.

  • Blacksheep63

    i believe they already have a good relationship with MK Dons and that stadium is quite impressive so it makes sense to play some of their games there. I don’t think we should help them out – after all one of main reasons the neighbours have closed the gap on us in recent years has been the financial constraints placed on us by the move to Ashburton Grove. I am more interested to know what Liverpool will do now it looks as if CL football is secured. They have a 45,000 seater stadium and if they want to compete and stay in the top four for the future they need to move or expand it. Given the relative good relations between the two Liverpool clubs perhaps they should be the first English sides to build a stadium together?

  • colario

    @ Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for your link only just had time to check it out. I think while there is serious content, it is a I think a ‘tongue cheek piece’ with a touch of envy.

    For many Arsenal supporters living near to both grounds when a kid it could so easily ‘spuds’ and Arsenal they gave their life long loyalty to. For me spuds were just a bit out of my natural travelling reach, so by the time I arrived there I was already ‘hooked’ on Arsenal. Even though the spuds were crowing.

    For me the choice was Arsenal or the ‘Os’ Orient and they are my second team.

    Their season has followed ours this time starting off top and now falling away. I hoping they can win through to the play offs and and win the final.

    Here’s to day and next weekend – can’t wait.

    How I hate summer when there isn’t any thing to wait for!

  • Mark

    Sadly, Mandy it is this article and thousands others that show we have been reduced to obsessing/worrying about Tottenham rather than the other way round. Can’t believe the interest in whether Tottenham get round to building a stadium; why it’s on an Arsenal blog; why people are commenting etc.

  • titijustabitspecial

    Fans should be interested because as taxpayers look at the amount of money for the redevelopment will come from the public purse