The latest twist in the Northumberland Development Project was telegraphed by most Spurs supporters. We knew when the club announced details stating a proposed completion date of 2018 that this was nothing more than an inception that would then be superseded by another delay. The club didn’t promise but alluded to the fact that if all goes to plan, we could expect to move home in four years’ time. A fantastical suggestion considering the issues relating to the compulsory purchase order and the reluctance of Archway Sheet Metal to agree to any proposal ENIC have allegedly offered. The blame suitably deflected to the last standing local business.
This delay is not a shocking revelation considering many joke that the stadium will never be built. A case of cynicism festering too deep for some. The stadium has to be built for a multitude of reasons, mainly to elevate the club’s stature and potential to allow ENIC to maximise their profit margin. The football side of the business will flourish as a consequence with the extra revenue and branding. Still, it’s hardly an over-night transformation.
There’s no guarantee that a 60k stadium will give us the launch pad for certified success – but it will make the club (the owners) richer and allow for a far more competitive blueprint – on and off the pitch.
As previously written, there is some concern about ENIC’s end game. The suggestion that the club is on a slow cook but will taste wonderful when finally dished up…for a new investor to purchase. There’s impatience from many because we’re not privy to the inner workings, especially the manner in which we appear to hold back (low net spend) when delving into the transfer market. Many question the ethics of those with custodial responsibilities at Spurs, claiming they prioritise their own agendas. Do these benefit the club and the supporters in the long term? How much time will be spent waiting?
Spurs don’t have the money to speculate on football and a new ground. So they balance, to the detriment of those that just want team progression.
Regardless of ENIC’s end game and why Archway and THFC can’t seem to agree to a severance (seven years...SEVEN YEARS...they've been discussing a deal...try harder maybe?) – the fact is, Spurs are going to build a new home and the delay, frustrating for all concerned, is hardly a shocking revelation. Development, the politics of both government and community have been cumbersome and laborious.
The impact means we’ll have to ground share for a season - no surprise here either. Wembley and MK Dons stadium have previously been tagged as interim homes along with Upton Park and comically, the Olympic Stadium. The Arsenal rumour? Ground sharing with the original franchised club that was on the brink of extinction before desperately moving home for financial gain (isn't that the common template?) with its broken, corrupt and classless identity? Drown me in a swamp, it would be a better experience.
Wembley might be too expensive. MK Dons is the rumoured favoured option, one not popular with many due to its own recent franchised re-birth and betrayal of Wimbledon’s spirit. Spurs have already reiterated the fact that the destination we select will probably not be universally popular. So any of the above then.
Is the single season sharing with MK enough to dirty our own soul? Or is it a sacrifice that we have no way of disputing if we wish to finally see the development of N17 complete?
A re-post re: a potential MK Dons move:
MK Dons, the potential short term home of Tottenham Hotspur whilst the stadium that has yet to materialise in the form of actual building work is...er...built. Two years is the rumour. Two years playing football 70 miles away in the stadium of a franchised club. Should we kick up a fuss about this? What with it being a possible necessary evil (as other options like Wembley appear to be too expensive). Or do we continue the fallacy of hatred towards the ills of business in football and live in the fantasy that standing against the suits can somehow retain our sense of identity and morals?
Whimsical soundbites aside, giving money to the Dons whilst we ground share there doesn't exactly fill me with a sense of dignity. This of course is a football club that stole the soul of another and moved for financial gains (even though some will argue this as another necessary evil).
Okay so this isn't exactly comparable to say Stratford as it will not be permanent and we'll be back home in N17 in a season or two, but is it the only available ground out there? Is it really? Or will those business ethics once more rule the roost over any of the lesser emotive reasons to turn our heads firmly away from playing there?
The crux here is; just how much of the business side of decision making sits solely with business, never taking into account what football fans think and want? I'd say all of it. In some ways, this is like Stratford because the club is willing to do absolutely anything to make the football club better but to the detriment of the actual football club. The football club being the supporters and the heritage of our history rather than the accountancy.
If Spurs were offered the money to pay for the stadium in one lump sum but we'd have to change our kit entirely to red, would a business man argue its case? Would you be accepting because it could secure the clubs future? What is a colour anyway? In fact, what is a couple of words making up a name if we looked to also change that for financial names? The history and memories remain the same so what does it matter if we have a touch of plastic surgery here and there? In fact, let's move the club to the USA to truly maximise profits and be eternally rich and always in the black. Just playing in red.
Hope you can see where I was going with that.
But of course, this is an argument that simply can not be won by myself or others. Why? Because football isn't geared towards appeasing romanticised notions. It's focused on progression and littered with cheap notions of what we all wish football is like. We'd never got as far as changing our colours but we endeavoured to move permanently to East London because of the transport links and geographical advantage of attracting tourist football supporters.
We're losing the war. We've been losing it for a long time.
The brutal conclusion is that when Spurs do move into the new stadium in 5/10/20 years time, even though it's in N17 and not in East London or somewhere else, we'll still suffer in the same way others have in bigger more modern stadia. So to twist it all back again, fighting against stuff like sharing with MK Dons is the only way we can remind the people in power that we still care for the type of things that nobody can profit off.
Stratford was permanent. MK would be a single season in a hellmouth. If the business doesn't care for sentiments then the question remains; should we care simply because they don't? Or is the hypocrisy of disliking franchised football clubs contradictory thanks to our futures end and a 60k stadia that might see us become a financial plaything for a US based investor? Not quite a franchise in the geographical sense but one with less of a soul than what came before it. When you consider how shallow and empty football is thanks to its consumption of money, where the rich prosper and the poor die, there's an argument that the only ones with souls these days are the supporters.
To further the brutality of this - there is no perfect conclusion.
There's an unsteady middle ground.
Supporters are slating THFC (ENIC to be precise) for the delay, yet they (Levy) appear to be doing everything they can do get things going (be it at their own slow pace, one that has always lacked transparency). Spurs with no property to sell on for a welcoming profit that can be re-invested into the development continue to wait for naming rights and an assortment of financial backers. So to clarify, we're going to build the new stadium with someone else's money.
We have to ground share because of the delay so naturally no interim home is going to be perfect. In fact no interim home is going to be White Hart Lane so how can we possibly be content with any given decision? We can't be content. But we have to be accepting. We need to wrap our heads around that realisation first and just wait to see where the club plan to settle for a season before we scream at them again. Scream but understand that no one can hear you in the boardroom.
As for the general lack of consistent transparency? I'm thinking this is the go to excuse these days, a stick to poke ENIC with. Granted, I would love it (the T word) from the perspective of the football. I'm not going to pretend to understand the business side or believe that any given supporter does to the same level as those that run the club.
People assume the worse when they don't get exactly what they wish to hear.
We'll always be on the outside looking in. After-all, we are nothing more than consumers. There isn't always a sinister conspiracy festering there, but you can hardly say the mistrust isn't warranted.
It's a shame we can't (as a majority) take everything at face value.
Talking of which, the latest club announcement states the club is not up for sale (no takeover discussions). Which I find ludicrous. The fact the club have to dismiss these rumours in the first place. How can we possibly be up for sale when there is still so much to be added to the portfolio? Unless an interested party wanted to buy the club as it stands currently and pay for everything themselves to get the ball rolling. Ha! I'd say that particular scenario would involve the buyer taking out a loan to do that. Tottenham Debtspur.
At least we have some transparency with the statement. It's not surprising information but the club is voicing what we have all assumed for so long:
The stadium redevelopment plans are a significant part of the future for both our Club and the local area and represent a complex infrastructure project that requires funding. This substantial construction project requires discussions with multiple providers of finance so that the optimum financing package can be achieved. To this end, we have appointed Rothschild to advise us on those options.
Accordingly, we are at a stage where we are starting to engage with a number of financing institutions and potential funders in respect of the new stadium development project.
Contrary to recent press speculation, neither the Club, nor its majority shareholder, are in any takeover discussions and the focus of the club is fully on delivering the new stadium project.
So there you have it. We don't have the money but we'll have it soon. Hopefully. Probably. Maybe. What was that about transparency again?
Now we're left with questions about the local community (the pubs especially) and the possibility that one season away from the Lane might stretch to a second. This narrative twists, turns and never moves forward.
Transparency now joins other banned blogs words like Machiavellian and pragmatic.