THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

17 January ~ After months of speculation, Tottenham Hotspur have finally outlined their plans for the Olympic Stadium, should they be selected by the Olympic Park Legacy Committee as the preferred bidder on January 28. However, the potential move is being met with opposition from the club’s own supporters and local politicians. While the five-mile move to Stratford pales in comparison to the 70 miles from Wimbledon to Milton Keynes, it does represent a move from north to east London and takes Tottenham Hotspur FC out of Tottenham.

“I’m surprised such a move would even be considered,” says David Lammy, the MP for Haringey. “It's as if we're willing to tear out the page and start anew, allowing the big business of football to triumph over history and community.”

Most fans accept that Spurs’ long-term future lies way from White Hart Lane. With a capacity that is just over 36,000 – almost 20,000 lower than the average of those who reached the last 16 of this year's Champions League – each home match played at the Lane represents unfulfilled revenue potential. With a season-ticket waiting list that has recently swelled to 34,000, the stadium is simply too small to meet the demand to see Harry Redknapp’s newly successful team.
 
Having gained planning permission from Haringey Council and the approval of the Mayor of London for their proposal to build a new 56,000-seater stadium in Northumberland Park – adjacent to White Hart Lane – many felt that the club’s interest in the Olympic Stadium would subside. However, in recent weeks the campaign has only intensified. After being forced to make revisions to the original plans, the estimated cost of a stadium in Northumberland Park is £450 million. The project will not benefit from public funding, but there can be no suggestion that this is due to a desire of Haringey Council to see the club leave the area. As one of the poorest boroughs in London, it is simply not viable to offer money that is needed elsewhere to aid in the building of a football stadium.

Lammy fears that the loss of jobs if Spurs were to move to Stratford would have “terrible repercussions” for his constituency. He is also bemused by the impression of some fans that the council's demands are the reason for the escalating costs. He said: “There can be absolutely no suggestion that Haringey is driving the club out. The sums spoken of are in fact £17m for a Section 106 Agreement which, in comparison to projects such as the Emirates, is highly reasonable.”
 
West Ham’s vice chair, Karren Brady, has condemned the Spurs proposal for the stadium, describing it in her Sun column as a “smash and grab raid in our manor”. Where Spurs plan to partially demolish the stadium and rebuild it, West Ham have promised to retain the running track that circles the pitch, gaining the support of UK Athletics in the process. However, there are doubts whether they could draw sufficient crowds to fill the stadium, especially if they are relegated.
 
Opposition from Spurs fans has increased with the potential move seen as more than a negotiating tactic in an effort to secure funds for their preferred option. Bernie Kingsley, head of the Tottenham Supporters Trust, outlined the position of the fans when he said: “We would very much prefer Tottenham Hotspur to remain in Tottenham and press on with the Northumberland Development Project, which we have supported throughout although we accept it has to be financed without compromising the club’s long term viability.”

The desire for the club to remain in their historical heartland has lead to the formation of the group We Are N17. With an online petition that has already amassed over 4,500 signatures, the group aim to provide an outlet for a fanbase angered by the club’s failure to consult them in any meaningful way during this process. Jonathan Bradley 

Comments (9)
Comment by Lincoln 2011-01-17 13:07:30

As an Athletics fan as much as a football fan it would be awful if Spurs got their way. Take a soon to be iconic stadium and then rip it apart to meet their needs. There has to be some form of legacy from the Olympics and to be honest as a football fan I am getting tired of it riding roughshod over any other sport. Sometimes the co-existance helps the smaller sports but this is a step too far for me.

Comment by PRB 2011-01-17 15:42:33

A reason I like West Ham as a club is the intimate atmosphere of their current ground. Playing in a large stadium they are not guaranteed to fill with a running track between the crowd and the pitch would not be good for them.

As for Spurs, well, if they get their way we'll have to refer to them as Stratford Hotspur

Comment by Lincoln 2011-01-17 16:35:36

Having been to Don Valley in both its guises I concur. Great for athletics, dreadful for football

Comment by Dalef65 2011-01-17 17:43:27

I dont really get all this "Stratford Hotspur" thing.I think it was David Lammy who started it in some kind of desperation to stop Spurs moving......

Without having an opinion one way or the other on the stadium matter,I would like to ask,Why exactly would Spurs moving to Stratford neccesitate a name change....?

There are at least two clubs in London who dont play in the Borough that they "should" be playing in.

Do Crystal Palace FC play at Crystal Palace.....?
Do,or did we,have misplaced calls for them to change their name to something like Norwood Thornton Heath Eagles.

How about Queens Park Rangers,Lets see some MPs asking them to change their name to any one of the following..;
Hammersmith Rangers,
Sheperds Bush Rangers,
White City (whatevers)....!
etc etc

When an MP starts saying that a club cant move 3 or 4 miles down the road IN THE SAME CITY then you know things are getting desperate...

Comment by madmickyf 2011-01-18 01:44:51

I wonder how many of those 34,000 on the season ticket list are locals and how many are Home Counties Bandwagoners? If the latter could be persuaded to go and support their real local team instead that would help solve the problem and maybe Spurs could stay at WHL after all.

Comment by Lincoln 2011-01-18 14:51:49

Dale, there is an athletics stadium near Selhurt park called Crystal Palace. This is on a site near Sydenham where the orginial Crystal Palace was before it burnt down. The football club a little bit down the road was named after the Crystal Palace workers. The name of the team is not tied to the place of Crystal Palace but was taken from the Crystal Palace which also gave its name to a near by area.

Comment by Dalef65 2011-01-19 17:56:44

Lincoln,whilst you are most likely absolutely factually correct,(and Im aware of the Crystal Palace Athletics Stadium and its history) I dont think you are exactly grasping what my point is.

Crystal Palace FC do not play at Crystal Palace,they play(perfectly legitimately.....!!)in Selhurst/Norwood/Thornton Heath,which is approx (depending which way you want to go) 3 miles away I would say.
Im not asking for them to have to change their name,Im saying that would be silly.
In the same vein Im saying that an MP asking for Tottenham Hotspur to have to change their name just because they want to move 3 miles down the road is also quite silly.

Comment by Lincoln 2011-01-20 08:10:30

I know what your point is and agree with it, I was just saying Palace might be a bad example as their name is not linked to their location, like Port Vale, and therefore a change of location or current location is not necessary. Tottenham however are called Tottenham because of their location.
For the record I hope they do move, but are forced to keep the stadium. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing how their fans cope with having done the same as Woolwich Arsenal all those years ago that they still complain about to this day coming in and stealing their fans.

Comment by English Republic 2011-01-20 19:15:12

Dale,

You could add to that list Millwall (play on the borders of Bermondsey and New Cross), Chelsea (Stamford Bridge is just inside Fulham) and West Ham (on the East Ham side of Green Street). On the other hand Clapton Orient became Leyton Orient when they crossed the Lea Valley and Arsenal dropped the Woolwich when they moved to Highbury, perhaps Tottenham will do likewise and become known as "Hotspur FC"?

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