3rd April 2019
‘Tottenham’s going home’ – London’s latest mega-stadium opens its doors
It’s been a season of delays for Tottenham fans as they’ve waited to return to N17 and their new home. But tonight, finally, against Crystal Palace, Spurs will kick off a new chapter in their history at London’s latest mega-stadium. UCFB’s Head of Employability & Enrichment and avid Spurs supporter, Neil Silver, was at one of the recent test events working for The Sun, and he saw first-hand just what players and fans can expect tonight…
It wouldn’t have mattered if we’d come to watch a game of tiddlywinks, we were there to see only one thing: the new, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It was almost as if a UFO had landed in the middle of Tottenham High Road, the way this shiny new spaceship stood out like an alien craft, with thousands of curious human beings wandering around outside, gawping at it in awe.
Then, at long last, the agonising wait was over and Zero Hour arrived. The gates were opened and we were welcomed inside to get our first glimpse of this multi-million pound, state of the art new home of the Spurs.
I’ve been going to what has always been known as White Hart Lane since the age of five, when my father took me to my first game, and I was instantly hooked. How I wish my dear dad was still around to have seen this.
Back then our seats were just behind the press box, and I used to watch with interest as the hacks in front of us filed their reports on the match. When I was old enough to understand that these people were getting paid to watch Spurs play football, I knew that could be a career for me.
I followed my dream and it was 30 years ago when I sat in the press box for the first time as sports editor of the local newspaper to report on my heroes.
So what better way to mark that anniversary than to sit in the press box for the very first match at the new stadium, an Under-18 game between Spurs and Southampton.
The stadium may have run eight months late and gone over budget, but everyone agreed that it was worth the wait, and more importantly, it felt like HOME.
Spurs may not yet be sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, but they are certainly now top of the pile when it comes to their home stadium, and they make rivals Arsenal and their Emirates Stadium seem like the poor neighbours.
Every last detail has been thought of at this 62,062-seat cashless venue, from the microbrewery to the separate NFL entrance and retractable grass playing surface so that gridiron and football can co-exist without turf wars. At 65 metres, the Goal Line Bar in the South Stand is said to be “the longest bar in Europe”. The ethos is craft in your beer and craft on the pitch.
And what about the acoustics? Sitting in the press box, looking behind the goal away to my right, are the 17,500 seats in that 34m-high, single-tier South Stand, the largest in Britain, which is designed to produce a wall of sound – and even with a reduced capacity it did.
We had to wait only 11 minutes for the first explosion of sound, when J’Neil Bennett scored the opening goal to set Spurs on the way to a 3-1 victory – now there’s a future trivia quiz question and answer for you.
After saying goodbye to their temporary home at Wembley Stadium, Spurs kick off for real against Crystal Palace in the Premier League tonight. Let’s hope the occasion lives up to the hype and, like the stadium, is out of this world, because one thing is for sure: It’s far more important than a game of tiddlywinks.