Spurs in play for government cash

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The Independent Online
THIS week Alan Sugar, Terry Venables and Tony Berry, directors and shareholders in Tottenham Hotspur, are set to discover whether the club is likely to secure government cash for its multi-million-pound redevelopment plan.

The club's scheme, whose features range from a new 140- bedroom hotel to a football hall of fame, forms a vital part of a bid to win a City Challenge award put forward by Haringey, the North London borough that includes Spurs' White Hart Lane ground. The Department of the Environment will announce the winning local authority schemes on Thursday.

Mr Berry has a dual interest in the outcome as both a director of Spurs and the owner of extensive property interests next to the ground. In March 1991, Mr Berry, as we recently revealed, purchased DR Thorn, a catering equipment business whose main assets are its properties along Paxton Road on the north side of the club. The properties were later mortgaged to Landhurst Leasing, a City firm run by Ted Ball, a well-known figure in the sporting world.

Mr Berry's property play could turn out to be highly valuable since Spurs' plans reveal that part of Paxton Road could be turned into a supermarket and extensive parking facilities.

The ambitious nature of the plans has been outlined in the match programmes put out by Spurs, which after last year's change of control is 48 per cent owned by Mr Sugar, the Amstrad multi-millionaire who is chairman. Mr Venables, chief executive, owns 22 per cent, and Mr Berry 5 per cent.

The plan has upset a local businessman, Julian Usher- Smith, managing director of Edward Barber, an engineering company that occupies more than an acre of land in Paxton Road. He had not realised the possible impact of the scheme until one of his employees, a Spurs fan, showed him a match programme outlining it. Mr Usher-Smith was astonished to discover from the outline plan that his business had vanished from a site that it has occupied since 1908.

'I find it extraordinary and almost laughable that nobody from either Spurs or Haringey tried to talk to me about a plan involving this business,' said Mr Usher-Smith, who recently received an unsolicited approach asking if he was interested in selling the business.

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