By Jonny Garwood
This week could not get much better for Tottenham Hotspur fans. After moving into the revamped White Hart Lane with a thrilling opening ceremony, the club announced record profits of £139 million for the year commencing 2018, the day after they moved into their new 62,000 seater stadium. Much of this incoming revenue was driven by a number of notable player sales, such as Kyle Walker’s forty-five million pound transfer to Premier League rivals Manchester City, in addition to their Champions League exploits this year, whilst also from welcoming large crowds during their stay Wembley. Yet, none of this has been applauded in such the way in which the opening of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is expected to take on the name of a sponsor later this year. Most of the reaction to this has been of a positive note, however, there is still an element of division within the Tottenham Hotspur community.
As the Lilywhites stepped out onto the pitch for the first time since the closing of White Hart Lane in May 2017, the atmosphere in the stadium roared in a manner never seen before in this side of North London. Crystal Palace were the visitors, and played a fierce, defensive game to hold Tottenham to a nil-nil scoreline until the half-time whistle, despite the home side having a number of shots on target. Having lost to a 1-0 scoreline earlier on in the season, Roy Hodgson’s men were desperate for a tough contest given staying up is still no guaranteed circumstance, even despite the relegation of Huddersfield and West-London club Fulham earlier this week. For Crystal Palace, this was a close call, as the Eagles showed no mercy for the home side, yet only conceded to a defensive error which let Son Heung-Min put his name on the scoresheet before a frightening miss slightly later on.
Despite this tough opening fixture, much of the media coverage covering the fixture focused on the opening ceremony, with an opulent display of fireworks gracing the North London skyline ahead of kick-off. Tottenham’s striking single-tier South Stand was immediately apparent, with chants celebrating the club’s heritage, whilst also in praise of Mauricio Pochettino and chairman Daniel Levy encapsulating the stadium. As evident within dialogue before and after the game, much appraise was held in favour of the stadium’s impressive architecture, which drew inspiration from a number of world renowned sporting stadiums across the world – in addition to the aforementioned South Stand, which was inspired by Borussia Dortmund’s famous ‘yellow wall’. As impressive as it is, this is an exciting time to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan.
From a non-sporting perspective, the constituencies of Tottenham and Haringey have struggled from underfunding in recent decades. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, had his say ahead of the fixture, in which he praised Daniel Levy and the club board for their investment in the local community, suggesting children’s lives have been ‘transformed’ by Spurs’ return to the White Hart Lane area. Yet, many supporters were divided by stadium costs, which far overcome those which were predicted ahead of construction, with overall construction fees coming to over one-billion sterling. Nevertheless, Tottenham Hotspur and the local community will not benefit only from an impressive new stadium, but also a new academy and an abundance of educational opportunities which have been provided, in partnership with schools and communities within the local area.