By Tony Attwood
We’ve covered the story about Tottenham’s new stadium a number of times, about the uncertainties and delays, and indeed the changes of plans.
Of course there have been some sniggering from the Arsenal end at the club’s delays and misfortunes, and outrage at their having a compliant local authority (which Arsenal most certainly did not have for its bid to grow Highbury, nor for its bid to build the new stadium.)
But moving beyond the tribalism we’ve all got an awareness of just how convoluted the process was for Arsenal – and how it must be for Tottenham.. Our process that included the complex arrangements of playing Euro matches at Wembley (just to prove the club could sell 60,000+ tickets – a prime requirement of the funding), and the break up with David Dein, who opposed the building of the Emirates and wanted Arsenal to play at Wembley = something he is said to have propagated even after the board voted the other way.
Because we’re so settled at Stadium Wenger these days we can easily forget that Arsenal not only looked at Wembley but also at a site on the M25 (which would have suited me down to the ground, but would have been a shift as big as the move from Plumstead in 1913.)
I think most of us now also forget the delays when the price of the development suddenly went up and there was a real fear that the apartments built on the site of the old ground would not attract the prices hoped for – but of course it all turned out right in the end.
But what of Tottenham’s new ground? Of course whenever I start speaking of Tottenham there are always a few emails from people who’ve never bothered to read the banner at the top of the home page about this site being “Football news from an Arsenal perspective”. But still….
Tottenham got their high court ruling a month or so back which which means they can purchase of the final piece of land required to build their new stadium.
There have been delays, but so there was with Arsenal as there was a long hiatus which stopped work until February 2004. Overall the work cost £390m.
Which is interesting since the current estimates for Tottenham’s ground is a remarkably similar £400m for a stadium about 4000 seats smaller than Arsenal’s.
But there are two issues I’ve not heard much about for a while. I say “I” because I have a great habit of missing some of the vital bits of information on topics like this, and then making a complete idiot of myself by getting it wrong, so I’m preparing the ground in advance.
The issues are, where Tottenham will play when they move out for a year to allow for the redevelopment, and where the money is coming from.
Tottenham had originally planned to move into the new stadium, while it was partially built, for the beginning of the 2012–13 season, and the stadium was to be completed by July 2014. This was to be their inaugural season. But the Haringey Independent then said, issues that arose due to the need to submit revised plans and seek funding have delayed the project
The last documentation I can find on funding is a Tottenham press release dated April 2014 saying that it had sold some properties to the west of the High Road relating to phase 1 of the project to TH Property Limited, a subsidiary of ENIC, with the proceeds used to pay down debt secured against those properties.
The last announcement for Tottenham on its web site was on 6 November 2013 – 16 months ago – saying, “Sainsbury’s has opened a new 78,000 square foot store as part of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium development – employing 280 colleagues from the local area and giving this dynamic and exciting community great new opportunities to Live Well For Less.”
Since then nothing.
Except for an article in the Daily Mirror on 18 September 2014 which said,
“Asking when it will happen is almost like asking how long is a piece of string,” says Martin Cloake of the Tottenham Supporters Trust. “ENIC and the club are very secretive, and while we understand the commercial sensitivities, we would like to see a much more open style of communication.”
But then on 2 January this year the Telegraph published a piece which quoted 2018 as the opening date, again came up with the £400m cost and saying the stadium is being looked at “by the NFL as a potential venue for a London-based franchise.”
They added, “It is widely anticipated that an NFL team will eventually relocate to London, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, owned by Shahid Khan, who bought Fulham in 2013, the favourites to make the move.”
But as the paper notes, “The biggest challenge for the NFL in wanting to use Tottenham’s new stadium would be ensuring the pitch was not damaged as a result.”
Mind you the article also spoke of “fresh optimism around White Hart Lane, with Spurs very much in the race for a top-four finish.” (Sorry, cheap jibe.)
But what is missing from all the press releases, web pages and discussion is the source of the money. When I have raised this in the past correspondents have written in and said, “It is coming from…” but with no information as to the source of that knowledge or, if the source is secret, some indication to suggest that teh writer really is a person close to the club.
The money is the key – not because it might not be there – of course they can raise the money. But because if the club is borrowing much of the £390m it needs, then it will face exactly the same problem Arsenal has had, and which Arsenal has just emerged from. All the money from sponsorship, property sales, and indeed profits from the club, went to pay off the debt. There was no money to pay for the transfer of top stars, or to keep those players happy at the club.
Arsenal sank from its two doubles, Unbeaten Season and cup wins, to the year after year run in the Champions League, but no trophies, because of this problem – and the arrival of Chelsea and Man C and their unlimited wealth. Do Tottenham have a way of avoiding this – perhaps by having the funding from the owner who then sells the whole package of the club, and the completed ground to another extremely rich person or oil company. Or state.
So we wait to see. And indeed to see quite where the club is going to play during its year away from the High Road, unless that plan to move out has now changed.
Anniversary of the day – showing how from seemingly insignificant games something wonderful can grow…
- 11 March 1998: Wimbledon 0 Arsenal 1; after blackouts and security alerts for what should have been the 19th league match of the season, the game was finally played and marked the start of the 10 consecutive victories that ends with the title
- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?