Stadium Schmadium

20Jan11

We are Stratford,
Super Stratford,
We are Stratford,
From Tottenham

could be the chant from the stands of our new shiny stadium in 2015.

With a decision for a preferred bidder to be decided on the 28th of this month the future of the club is interesting to say the least. The pros and cons for moving have been debated for the last two weeks and the discussions have raised a lot of emotions and seemingly split the fans in three with fans siding with History, with business sense and the people in the middle who are just undecided.

Rivaling our bid are West Ham but also, with our proposal to redevelop the Crystal Palace National Sports Center, Crystal Palace who are looking to move back to where their club started and redevelop the NSC into a new football ground.

The Crystal Palace bid is of massive interest. Planning permission has been given to take down two of the stands at the NSC providing there is an athletics track in East London following the Olympics as part of a masterplan to remove a lot of the concrete surroundings and training pitches and return to them to green areas. Any work to the NSC would also have to take into account the whole of Crystal Palace Park (CPP). The NSC is considered Metropolitan Open Land so any changes will only be considered in exceptional circumstances or will provide an overall gain for the whole of CPP.

Proposed Crystal Palace Masterplan

The Spurs Stratford proposal has the athletics track being removed so Spurs would have to regain planning permission from Bromley council for any development work to be done to the NSC while the proposed masterplan has already been given the green light. Spurs would also require approval from the London Development Agency (LDA). This does not take into account the people who live locally who have seen off many a development for the NSC over the last 10 years and are historically against CPFC using the NSC as a football ground. They have also opposed any form of redevelopment of the NSC which would increase the visitors to the area on mass due to the poor traffic system and transport links.

The business side of the Spurs proposal is simple. Moving to Stratford would cost them less. The surrounding area is already there. The transport links are already there and it has been commonly reported that using Stratford, even though Spurs plan to rebuild most of the stadium would save them £200m from the reported £450m it would take for the new WHL to be built.

As a Spurs fan it is hard to comprehend Spurs not being where they are now. As it is our generation of fans that will make or break a move 5 miles East obviously it is a lot to take in if you are for or against the move. Spurs is largely a romantic club with ideas of the way football should be played and traditions of beautiful football and glory days, change is never embraced. Looking at our neighbours Arsenal; who remembers them as Woolwich Arsenal? They have been a North London club since 1913, I’m sure they had opposition from their fans and from the locals of the destination they moved to but to our generation of football fans they are Arsenal of North London and the same could be said for a move by us to Stratford, we, as the current fans take the brunt of it but in 20 years time there will be new fans for the club, supporting whatever guise the club is in at that point, cheering for a team that still has a history and traditions even if it has moved…and changed it’s name.

I am not pro-Stratford but I do understand why the club is considering the options. Everyone’s ideal is to build the stadium next door to WHL. My reasons for supporting this club aren’t because I was born in the area, I could easily have ended up supporting Liverpool, Arsenal or a multitude of other clubs. I understand the need to support your local club, something I currently do while still having affinity to my beloved Spurs. My heart says stay in Tottenham, we belong in North London, we want to maintain our rivalry with Arsenal (something I fear we could lose if we move East) but we need help and support to do that, not just from the fans but the council, our MP David Lammy and the Mayor. My head says I understand why but I also think if there is a requirement for athletics then Spurs will lose out both ways as West Ham will be ahead of us in the Stratford bid but also I cannot see Crystal Palace as an option due to the pitfalls I highlighted earlier.

Will it ever happen?

Spurs appear to be in a no-win situation and may have to go back to the drawing board and look at the options if they are going to go ahead with the Northumberland Project.

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6 Responses to “Stadium Schmadium”

  1. 1 hdeagle

    Palace have called a Press Conference revealing our stadium plans at the NSC for 3pm
    Thursday.

    Watch this space !!!

  2. 2 Jimsthename

    Great blog post – as a CPFC fan, all will be revealed in 10 minutes.

  3. If I may add a little about Woolwich Arsenal’s move, and indeed about comments I have heard on the radio about the League “allowing” clubs to move.

    Woolwich Arsenal ran into deep financial trouble from 1906 onwards because of a new approach to finances introduced by two new directors that year. The old guard resigned and the new “wide boys” came in – and in 1910 the club went into administration. Henry Norris who owned Fulham came in and proposed a new club called Fulham Arsenal.

    This was when the rules were clarified. The league made it clear that it has no control over where anyone plays – but it has control over mergers. So there is no question of the league allowing or not allowing Tottenham to move anywhere it likes, since these rules have never been changed, save to accept the ground safety regulations that have come in.

    Woolwich Arsenal moved because their old ground was small, and the crowd was never likely to rise, and the population in the area was declining. Indeed in their final season in Plumstead they twice got crowds of only 3000 for first division games. At Highbury the numbers were instantly up to 25,000 plus, and that was in the second division.

    Woolwich Arsenal kept their name for the first year in Highbury, and then changed to “The Arsenal” (similar to The Wednesday, who preceded Sheffield Wednesday).

    The story of the original Woolwich Arsenal is told regularly on http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk

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