Tottenham are leaving White Hart Lane for good - but what's next?
Jack Pitt-Brooke has all the answers...
What is happening on Sunday?
Tottenham Hotspur are pulling out all the stops for their last ever game at White Hart Lane. The players will be wearing special shirts with a new club crest on, a half-time even featuring Chas and Dave and Harry Winks, and then a special ‘Farewell Ceremony’ after the game. This will involve famous former Spurs players and managers on the pitch, starting for 15 minutes after the final whistle.
What happens next?
Late on Sunday evening when all the fans and players have left White Hart Lane for the last time, Spurs staff will work through the night to strip the ground of what they describe as “essential memorabilia”. Spurs season-ticket holders have been given the chance to buy their current seats for £50 each. But by 8am on Monday, the stadium will be emptied and then formally handed over to contractors Mace and DSM for the next stage of the project, the dismantling of the stadium and club megastore. This will start from the inside of the ground and work outwards and is expected to last until early September.
How is the new stadium progressing?
Every trip to White Hart Lane this season gives perspective on the building work that is going on right next to the current ground. Harry Kane even said it is a motivation when driving to the current ground to see the expanding frame of the new one and the clearest sign that the club is on the right track. Fans can see the progress although the best views, down into the bowl, come from high up. The main bowl of the new ground is well established and, according to Mace, work on the concrete and steel structure will continue until December 2017. Then they will start working on the inside of the ground in preparation for opening in August 2018.
How much will Spurs miss White Hart Lane?
Tottenham’s home form this season has been brilliant and they go into Sunday’s game with Manchester United on a remarkable run of 17 consecutive wins there in all competitions, dating all the way back to a 3-2 win over West Ham on 19 November last year. They have the best home record in the league, with 50 points from a possible 54 so far, 16 wins and two draws. Their last defeat at White Hart Lane came more than one year ago, against Southampton on 8 May 2016.
How many people will Spurs play in front of at Wembley?
Tottenham successfully lobbied Brent Council to make sure that they can play almost all of their home games for next season in front of Wembley’s full capacity of 90,000 people. Wembley did have restrictions on the number of ‘full capacity events’ that can be staged there, which would have forced Spurs to play most of their games in front of a reduced 51,000 capacity instead. But a meeting of Brent Council’s planning committee at Brent Civic Centre on 23 March allowed for another 22 ‘full capacity events’ to be held there during the 2017-18 season.
This means Spurs can play 27 full capacity home games next season. This raises the slim possibility that Spurs will have to play some of their games in front of the half-capacity crowd: in three of their last 11 seasons they have played more than 27 home games.
What will the new ground be like?
Spurs’ new ground will be the largest club stadium in London, holding 61,000 people. The plans have prioritised proximity to the pitch, so the front row of seats will always be between five and eight metres away from the pitch, as is the case at White Hart Lane, but not always at new grounds. The three tiers of the stadium are steeply packed onto each other but the highlight is the 17,000 seater single-tier ‘kop’ style south stand. There will also be the world’s first football stadium micro-brewery, producing 1,000,000 pints of craft beer each year.
How much will it cost and who is paying for it?
The cost of building the new stadium is expected to rise up to £800million. Spurs are hoping to cover close to half of that in a funding package of roughly £350m from banks HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch which is expected to be confirmed soon. The other half of the cost, roughly, will come from a naming rights deal that Tottenham are currently negotiating. The NFL have also contributed £10m towards the cost of the new stadium, in recognition of the fact that it will host NFL games as well as Tottenham Hotspur.
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