Wasn't expecting the Boris decision today. Happy days he's approved it. The below article was written pre-decision (with the last paragraph or so amended post-decision), but as there is still some way to go (at least until Levy makes a statement on the official site) I'll continue to entertain the Stratford debate for arguments sake. Because going on the last statement made by the club, it's still a feasible option for the board.
All of the below (a mix of random musings and thoughts on the last statement) is still more or less relevant in that the final decision on our move will remain with the club.
It's now down to us.
Back onto the Stratford debate.
For anyone who wants the club to place heritage and history above and beyond the urgency to build it (and they will come) somewhere outside N17 then click here. Financial stability and growth is imperative, no doubt, but it's not quite gun to the head trigger to be pulled make a decision now or else. Is it?
Or is it?
If Northumberland doesn't get the green light (from all approvers) or Levy decides against it - is Stratford the only viable option? Unless there are underlying agendas as to why ENIC would want to get the ball rolling quick sharp. Not pulling a Lammy here and suggesting anything sinister. Just that their roadmap might have the here and now as prudent to moving forwards with an approved plan rather than left scratching our heads for potentially many more years.
I know - in comparison to others - we are 5/6 years behind and some. But it's not like we've been financially crippled in recent years and arguably we have competed in the transfer market with clubs who have double/triple our gate receipt revenue. Yes, we have 30,000+ waiting for season tickets. Our fan base is a strong one. Our development on the pitch is hardly being effected. But I do get it, get the stadium sorted now and in 5 or so years we'll be raking it in and you can't dispute the extra monies won't help us maximise the club further. Won’t count for much if it isn't working on the pitch. And I'd hate to think we are going to place all our eggs in the one basket with what goes on off it.
The football landscape is changing and emotional attachments are sold on for future investment. It's hard to accept which is why we are divided. Some wont let go, others want to conquer new territory with just a nod to the past. Them lot down the road left their original swamp and moved into another, remaining within North London. There are hardly any alternative options for us within N17 other than Northumberland/WHL.
Yes, I want us to get stronger and yes if the only way to dodge the bullet is to opt for East London then our hands our tied, but I can't help but believe we are more Jack Bauer than we are Jack on top of the hill, tumbling down.
Hopefully Stratford is taken out of the equation. Ask yourself, if Stratford was not in the equation - what would we do? Settle for nothing? Of course not. And there's your answer. Jack Bauer - never say die and do everything in your power to preserve. Let only the weak fall down and break their crown.
Again, some of us are back arguing whether Levy is using his Machiavellian tactics booklet to instigate some positive action from the local authorities or he's considering the brand of THFC has out grown the siren-ridden badlands of Tottenham. You can take a name out of Tottenham but you can never take Tottenham out of the name. Or something. A move away is just a new chapter in our history, what came before it will not be forgotten. There are countless philosophical for and against arguments to be had.
Last week Levy released an open letter/statement on the OS. Strategically (for the conspiracy freaks) not that long after Lammay's comments about Levy being serious about moving Spurs to Stratford were shared on Twitter. Again, if this is a tag-team to heighten awareness of why the Northumberland project is stagnating in theory then bravo. If it's not then at this very late late stage, it's either ballsy hard ball from Levy or desperation to save the N17 vision by gaining public sector assistance. You could say the gun is pointing at their head, trigger pull at the ready as much as it's pointing at ours. To dare is to do, right?
One issue is funding from the public sector where money is probably going to be prioritised for a dozen other projects to aid with unemployment and housing etc. I guess in terms of long term investment it's probably worth looking at the work we are trying to do for the community.
I don’t quite grasp how it all works politically but in the initial survey Spurs conducted surely they would have understood the potential for additional costs and problems with funding outside of the clubs power to invest?
As a side note - according to one or two people who work in civil engineering - they say all this listed buildings drama is much ado about nothing and that in several years they will probably be knocked down. Which is an expensive irony. My argument has always been - why have these listed buildings been left alone and allowed to degrade for so long but now suddenly it's vital they are retained and have to be pencilled into a re-design? Don't answer that question, it's obvious why.
As for the Olympic Stadium being our original choice, did this not get rejected out of hand because fans did not want to move from our current home? Anyone care to share?
And re: Stratford and travel, to be honest I can see it being carnage, thousands upon thousands of people using the one station (yes I know it has plenty of routes in and out and platforms and overground trains etc). Try using it on any working night from Monday to Friday. Carnage. I guess much like Seven Sisters is carnage, but at least fans disperse thanks to the walk/bus journey down the high road to the station and others opting for the over-ground to Liverpool Street. Also, three soul-destroying words for ya: The Central Line. Welcome to a world of signal failures.
Re: Stratford (and travel again) - The Olympic games will probably be a decent enough test for the transport there. I'm sure what with the money spent it will cope admirably. And if I wanted the easy option I would actually opt for the move because I could travel in from Essex within 30 minutes or so with a guaranteed seat every time. But my travel arrangements for match-day are hardly pressing.
Like I keep saying, you travel to see your team no matter what.
These are not serious discussion points by the way, I'm just pointing out you can make anything look big or small look bad or good thanks to personal opinion. And yes, Tottenham is not a great place to look at and there's plenty to moan about but its got its charm and character not because of what it is from one day to the next but because of what it is on match-days. And I guess my point here can be hijacked (I did say it myself to be fair in the last Stratford article - linked at the end of this article) that it’s the fans that make the experience worthwhile. But it's glued together by the identity of the club and where it stands at the moment in N17. To say Stratford is five miles away, then we may as well move to any place in London because 'you can still get to it quickly by tube'. Any choice locations South of the river?
One thing to note, we've acquired most of the land for the Northumberland project. I know it can be easily sold on (you would hope, surely, shopping centre where once Mackay and Blanchflower graced the ball around), but again, unless I'm ignoring the business sense Levy has used in also bidding for Stratford, I just think we are far too involved to give up on N17.
And moving further North of Tottenham is pretty much on par with moving to Stratford, in terms of moving. The whole point is to stay in N17 and not move out of Tottenham. Gun to head permitting. If we can't build on the current site.
Yes it would be cheaper/easier to move to Stratford. I get it. I appreciate the travel infrastructure is there, ready and willing. Yes we would appeal to tourists and day-trippers. But since when has any of this really mattered? Or is making as much money possible going to be the reason we evolve as a club?
You support Spurs. You will travel to see them. You won't bemoan a walk to and from the station.
"Any new stadium option must necessarily be one which is feasible in both land acquisition and financing terms" - Levy.
So was the Northumberland Project ever feasible?
Of course it was/is. Compare it to Stratford and it isn't. First choice or second?
I'd be interested to see the club possible survey all the current season ticket holders and everyone on the waiting list - to gauge opinion. Yes or no. Just the one question. For demographic purposes.
One more thing - I'm not planning on throwing water balloons of urine over the West Stand entrance here. I think these types of discussions have a value because of the arguments for and against shared by supporters of the club. I actually think nobody is completely wrong and nobody is completely right. What I do believe is - if you want something bad enough then you fight for it. Underhanded in the shadows or out in the open throwing punches.
I want us to stay in N17.
Boris has today approved the plans. No surprise. It was never in doubt. It's now up to us to push ahead with them. Still a question with the public money we want. It's still one step closer.
In Levy we trust. We have to. He's the one responsible for representing us.