This week Spurs finally got the go ahead to start work on a new 56,250 seat stadium. First announced way back in December 2008, the project has been beset by red tape and delays ever since.
2008 was the year Lehman Brothers folded and the global financial crisis first hit home, not a great time to start looking for funding for a new £400 million project. Then came the diversion of the Olympic stadium, eventually won by West Ham – leading to sighs of relief from many Spurs fans.
Recently the club has been locked in a legal dispute to buy out the one remaining business that would not sell up, on the proposed 20 acre site. This week Tottenham finally won the battle to force through a compulsory purchase order and hope to move in for the start of the 2017/2018 season.
There are several reasons why a new stadium is vital to Spurs’ future. It could help solve many of the current problems at the club, or at the very least ameliorate them.
- Performance on the pitch
Looking at Spurs recent league performances, we’ve been pretty consistent. We generally hover around the top six, never really mounting a serious challenge for the title, or crucially, cementing a place in the top four and guaranteeing regular Champions League football.
Last season Tottenham finished sixth. If you look at our turnover and wage bill, that’s about par. Using the most recent figures, from the 2012/2013 season, we sit sixth on total turnover, sixth on wage bill and sixth on match day income. The teams that finished above us last season were the teams with higher wages, apart from the Moyes/Martinez anomaly that led Everton to finish higher than Manchester United.
|Team||Total Wages||Turnover||Gate and Matchday Income|
(2012/2013 season, figures in £ Million, source: the Guardian)
Tottenham supporters have got used to our star players leaving – Carrick, Berbatov, Modric, Bale. To stop this trend continuing we need to be able to compete financially. In the absence of a petrochemical billionaire, we need a bigger stadium to generate that income.
Arsenal took a gamble and built a new 60,000 seat stadium and they have reaped the benefits: in 2012/2013 Arsenal earned £93 million in matchday income, in comparison Spurs made a paltry £33 million.
One issue that demonstrates the clubs lack of thought for ordinary supporters is StubHub. Essentially, legalised ticket touting, it allows fans to sell their season ticket for a particular game to the highest bidder (you can read what I think of it here).
With more seats, games wouldn’t be so oversubscribed. The season ticket waiting list wouldn’t be so long and there would be more individual tickets available to members. With demand reduced and supply increased, sellers wouldn’t be able to command such a high price and, with more availability, the resale of tickets wouldn’t be such an issue anyway.
- Ticket prices
With a higher number of paying customers, the club wouldn’t have to inflate ticket prices so high. In fact, if supply and demand weren’t so uneven, the club wouldn’t be able to charge as high a price in the first place.
- Listening to the fans
Money talks. If the club derived a higher proportion of its income from matchday tickets and in-stadium sales – and therefore a lower proportion from, for example, merchandising in the far east – the Tottenham hierarchy would be more likely to listen to local fans.
At the moment if supporters are unhappy and stop going to games, there are plenty more to take their place, but this won’t be so true once our capacity is increased. Maybe I’m being too optimistic but this should mean Daniel Levy and friends would take more notice of issues that matter to fans, such as the Y word debate, StubHub, etc.
- Club status
Spurs supporters think of ourselves as a big club and given our history and fan-base this is patently the case. Yet in stadium capacity we are well down the Premier League table in 10th place, below the likes of Sunderland and Newcastle:
|1||Manchester United||Old Trafford||75,731|
|3||Newcastle United||St James’ Park||52,405|
|4||Sunderland||Stadium of Light||48,707|
|5||Manchester City||Etihad Stadium||47,405|
|7||Aston Villa||Villa Park||42,682|
|10||Tottenham Hotspur||White Hart Lane||36,284|
|11||West Ham United||Boleyn Ground||35,016|
|12||Southampton||St Mary’s Stadium||32,589|
(Source: Wikipedia, 2013/2014 Premier League)
A club with our history and supposed ambition needs a stadium to match.
- More fans get to see the games
The last and most important benefit of all, is that a new stadium will give more fans the chance to watch matches and support their team.
As a non season ticket owning member, I find the buying of tickets for games extremely frustrating at times. At present, home Premier League games at White Hart Lane all sell out. According to Daniel Levy, there are around 47,000 supporters on the season ticket waiting list – me included. Even if all extra seats at the new stadium went to people on this list, that wouldn’t even halve it!
Giving more Spurs supporters the chance to go to games will allow them to feel part of, and connect with, the team. They may even be able to take their children to some matches, which will help encourage the next generation of Tottenham fans.
|Spurs season review DVD||Spurs greatest matches||Biography of Tottenham|
Do you find it hard to get tickets to Spurs games? Do you think Tottenham should stick with White Hart Lane? Please let us know your opinion in the comments section below.