Should We Stay or Should We Go?
It was all looking up. A 60,000 seater stadium built in the heart of Tottenham, improved facilities whilst retaining the special atmosphere that is always generated inside White Hart Lane. OK, there was the issue of having to put up a brand sponsoring the stadium, it wasn’t ideal, but fair enough, what had to be done was done and as long as the financial side of it was secure, great.
There were a few setbacks, planning permission a major obstacle, mainly down to the listed buildings near the site. But refreshed drawings and clever thinking allowed them to be incorporated, all perfect, and Haringey Council said yes to the plan. All it requires now is the thumbs up by London Mayor Boris Johnson and everything is fine.
Or is it? Whilst waiting for the council to approve plans, Daniel Levy and co. also submitted their interest in taking over the Olympic Stadium, alongside one of those other teams in London, West Ham United, a pretty average team who can’t even sell out their current home games. The list of issues with the Olympic Stadium is lengthy.
But sure, just a back up plan in case worse came to worse and Haringey Council said a big fat no to the new stadium. That would be fine, we were left with no choice in the end.
And then news breaks that Spurs are prepared to make the Olympic Stadium first choice, scrap the plans for the new stadium, tear off the running track, beat those men from West Ham.
Is it the end? No. It is just news, West Ham are still favourites for the stadium. Logistically they are closer and have one thing in favour for them.
There is a so called Olympic Legacy that is trying to come from the 2012 Olympics. Part of this is of course retaining the 2012 Olympic Stadium for use, whether it is at 80,000 or the supposed post Games decrease to 25,000 and for whatever sport decides to move in. But one big favour they’d like the new owners to do is keep the running track. Yes, the running track. The same thing that football fans worldwide detest for the life of them. The horrific, atmosphere sapping, horrendous, running track. You feel miles away from the action in a stadium with one (and not watching the running on them).
West Ham have said fair play, we will keep this running track. Probably let athletics be run on it every now and then, just to prove a point.
Tottenham on the other hand have went a different approach, no running track. Never. Out of the question it is. Fantastic news, surely you would think, improving the spectacle for the fans, Spurs for the win etc.
You would think that of course, but that is not what the likes of Boris Johnson want. A running track is required. You know, just to make things awkward.
There have been a lot of negatives around the application for the Olympic Stadium. The fact that the stadium is in Stratford, East London, nowhere near the rightful home of Tottenham Hotspur FC. Yes the move won’t be as bad as Wimbledon relocating to Milton Keynes. But it would ruin what is special about the club, Stratford isn’t Tottenham. It doesn’t deserve to be the home of Tottenham. The heart and the soul of the football club is in North London, not the south, not the west and certainly not the east. West Ham can have it, with all the problems they are having, annoying owners, a poor team and poor attendances.
Still, there is a chance Tottenham could end up at the Olympic stadium. AEG with their partnership with Spurs seem to be backing the bid, saying bring Spurs to Stratford.
I, along with many others, don’t want that to happen.