Haringey Council have granted Spurs permission for a 61,000 seater stadium, but it could carry with it an unwanted hurdle in the way of Spurs’ progress on the pitch.
Understandably, it is a divisive issue amongst the club’s fan base, opposed by many due to the cost, but supported with equal vigour by many of those who make up a lengthy season ticket waiting list.
And while White Hart Lane typically sells out for Premier League games, some of this season’s low attendances in the Europa League could make for embarrassing viewing.
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Bitter rivals Arsenal should serve as a warning to Spurs. The Gunners took several years to pay off their stadium, and have suffered the added burden of disgruntling fans with a hike in ticket prices.
Tottenham’s tickets are already among the most expensive in England, and without the certainty of Champions League football, it would be difficult to justify any further increase.
Arsenal may be current favourites for the title, but it has taken a great deal of prudence on manager Arsene Wenger’s part for them to get to this point. Their lack of budget has all too often been blamed on their decision to swap Highbury for the Emirates, and free-spending Spurs will no doubt have to adapt their approach and tighten the purse-strings so they can afford a similar development.
A selling club?
Now that it has been given the green light by the relevant bodies, the mission now lies with the board and management to ensure the stadium does not prevent them from winning trophies. As it is, their last major win came with the Carling Cup in 2008, and prior to that the Worthington Cup.
The sale of Gareth Bale ensured money could be reinvested in the squad, albeit with questionable results.
The expense of the stadium could very conceivably curtail that kind of cycle. Just for Spurs to break even, a huge amount of their profits would most likely be pummelled into paying off the debt.
What is more, Spurs are set to spend a season away from north London to fill the gap between the demolition of White Hart Lane and the completion of the new stadium. It is impossible to foresee the level of impact the upheaval of moving to an unknown destination could bring, but it could be a difficult time of transition.
Nonetheless, Levy insists that in order for Spurs to compete with Europe’s biggest clubs, the stadium is a necessary expense and one from which, in time, the Lilywhites will reap rewards both on and off the pitch.
For their fans, the question therefore lies in whether they are happy to sacrifice what could ultimately be up to a decade of spending on the team, in return for what, at present, is nothing but potential.
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