So, it looks as though it is going to happen. Tottenham Hotspur are to leave White Hart Lane for good. No, it might not be for the Olympic Stadium in Stratford; that decision has been delayed to allow the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) more time to mull over proposals from Spurs as well as West Ham. Bigfreebet may place them as second favourites behind West Ham, but a move is on the cards nonetheless.
If Spurs were to miss out on the chance to move to the stadium in East London, it still wouldn’t signal the end of Chairman Daniel Levy’s plans to take the club out of North London. In an interview with Sky Sports, when asked if the club will look further afield if the bid to play in Stratford is unsuccessful, Levy replied “that is correct”.
Do not let the Spurs Chairman pull the wool over your eyes just yet. Having described any plans to develop the current site as not “viable”, Levy is proposing that there is no other option than to move out of the current ground.
Most Spurs fans will agree that a new stadium is necessary to aid the growth of the club. But most Spurs fans will agree that a move to Stratford is undesirable at best. But to suggest that Spurs have to move out of the area to be able to grow as a club is fundamentally wrong.
If there is any sport that can sustain the financial burden of a new stadium it is football, and if there is a club who can support the financial burden of a new stadium it is Spurs. Levy cannot have it both ways. He cannot charge the second highest amount for a season ticket (up to £1,700) and charge up to £80 for a ticket and then blame the financial aspect for the main reason behind the move away from the ground. You cannot have it both ways Mr. Levy. Spurs posted profits of £50 million in March 2010 and have turned a large profit every year under Levy.
In order to make more money for Levy the fans have to make sacrifices when he is not willing to himself? Football is the most popular and financially successful sport in the country and if Levy is not willing to spend money in the best interests of the club when the vast majority of supporters want to stay put then how can the relationship between the board and the supporters continue? The Stratford bid was backed by the same company that runs the O2 as an entertainment venue, and if White Hart Lane was redeveloped then surely that would be used as an entertainment venue as well, providing another revenue stream.
If the club are to make it to the big time they will have to spend money, there is no avoiding this, but with the long term future of the club at stake, it surely makes sense to spend more money and guarantee a long term return. Spurs fans will be much more inclined to fill a brand new White Hart Lane ground than the Olympic Stadium.
Levy has suggested it is too difficult to get to White Hart Lane currently, and while this is true it is a weak argument. Most clubs faced with the prospect of building new grounds have to deal with transport links and the problem facing Spurs is one that other clubs have successfully overcome. Why spend millions on designing, developing and getting permission from Haringey council if the move was never on the cards? The truth is that the development of White Hart Lane IS viable and is a possibility. Levy is trying to have it all his own way, and that is simply not acceptable to Tottenham supporters. He cannot plead poverty and charge the earth to watch the game. The Emirates and Wembley are just two stadiums built in London recently that faced the same problems that Spurs face and yet they overcame the obstacles and, in the case of Arsenal, the stadium now supplies financial stability for the club. To make an omelette you have to break eggs, it is as simple as that. While big free bet may see the move to Stratford as unlikely, any other move is years away, so the debate will continue to rumble.
The name White Hart lane evokes an emotion and is at the heart of the club. But, putting emotion aside for a moment, Spurs fans rightly feel aggrieved with recent developments. Daniel Levy has been a good chairman for the club and has backed Harry Redknapp where it matters, in the transfer market. The move to Stratford represents a good financial move but with thousands of people involved and the future of the club at stake the financial aspect shouldn’t be the only consideration.
But he runs the risk of not listening to the fans and alienating himself, and where would that leave him and more importantly, the club? He must listen and he must understand, otherwise any progress the club has made over the past four years will be rendered useless. After all, what use is a football club without supporters?