New Spurs Pitch to End Wembley Woes
The new Spurs pitch is now finally laid at the astounding stadium in N17. This marks the final stage of the construction process. Soon, the club can finally move back to its home, leaving Wembley behind.
Grass is Greener
Moving back to the old area is so important for many reasons. The amount of match revenue that will be channeled back into Tottenham High Road will benefit many locals. Similarly, most local of fans will be able to enjoy a shorter travel distance.
On the other hand, the grass will be greener at the new White Hart Lane since it will finally feel like a home to fans, players and staff alike. Spurs were squatting at Wembley with some Spurs colours splashed here and there. But, it wasn’t home. It was a temporary stay, a hotel room. It lacked any real sense of belonging or history specific memorabilia to the club.
Instead, the new stadium will mark an instant change in this feeling. Essentially, this new stadium is the new home for many generations to come. It signifies a landmark in history, a marker for change. Thus, a new era begins at a club when a new stadium is built. It is this exciting anticipatory feeling that may help to generate a positive atmosphere for all those involved.
No Spurs fan is likely to miss playing at Wembley. However, they may wish to hopefully see their team in a cup final there soon. An interesting factor to consider is the experience of having played at Wembley on the squad. Two seasons ago, Tottenham did indeed play at Wembley (but for a semi-final) and fell to Chelsea 4-2. There was no real inkling of a Wembley effect or curse, though. But, by so often playing at Wembley there may be an advantage for future matches. This is undermined a little after Spurs were defeated 2-1 in last years semi-final by Manchester United. In truth, the North London side had the bigger share of the possession, but could not take their chances.
Sports people commonly use a strategy of visualization. For an important match, they will create images of all their surroundings prior to the match; the stadium, the fans, the pitch. The Spurs stars can no doubt benefit from having spent so much time in the national stadium. There is no longer any mystery or novelty in being at the ground. It could be argued that this may work against them, losing any real buzz of playing at this special ground. However, it does rule out any excuses against nerves or adjusting to Wembley’s dimensions and atmosphere.
Clearly, an FA Cup final day is vastly different from a mere Premier League match. Preparation can go out of the window, fans are separated into walls of noise. And therein lies the main difference, the sense of urgency, of seizing silverware. Fans always perk up then.
Fans were slow to perk up at Wembley when Spurs played there for most matches. The issue was particularly in the Premier League, where even against Liverpool, the atmosphere was diabolical. A few fleeting songs would spark up here and there, and then fall flat. Meanwhile away fans can sustain their noise. This is partly due to the large number of tourists and families that can often get some cheaper tickets higher up in the stadium. There is nothing wrong with their presence, except that they will undoubtedly affect the atmosphere.
But, Wembley’s dimensions limit this argument to a certain extent. It’s the bigger factor, really. It is a stadium that isn’t that well built for atmosphere. Sure, in a cup final, there is a cacophony of noise. This could be the way the stadium is divided into the two sets of fans in either half of the stadium. But, for other matches, fans seem so far away from the pitch.
The new stadium could help to solve that. After all, it is very much built over the pitch. It is more like the old White Hart Lane. With more fans closer to the pitch, they are closer to the players, and this seems to encourage greater support. Furthermore, it does indeed have a ‘Kop’ style end, where more of the noisy fans are likely to sit. There is even some rail seating installed, prior to any legislation change on free standing in stadiums. The club have worked to really create a stadium conducive to a good atmosphere.
It cannot be long until Spurs finally open their new stadium. It is much delayed and has been much anticipated. But, the pitch calls forth a new era at the club. The replica gold cockerel will grace the new stadium. This fusing of old and new, carrying the history of 136 years to the new exciting present. To dare is to do, and Tottenham can start to build memories once again in a true home environment.