Tottenham Hotspur have issued another update on their new stadium update, pushing back the opening date even further. The match against Arsenal will now be played at Wembley on the 3rd of March. This continues the increasingly frustrating saga of failed safety standards at the stadium, with the next test event pushed back further.
Should Spurs Stay at Wembley For This Season?
After the Arsenal match, the club have only four more home matches left in the season. It could be argued that Spurs should remain at Wembley until the season’s end. As a result, this would give enough time to properly finish off the stadium. It would also provide some kind of integrity, instead of continuing their stadium hopping which many fans disagree with.
Tottenham’s new stadium delays have angered many. This is largely due to the fact Spurs continue to use Wembley, and even had to use League Two MK Dons’ Stadium MK for a Carabao Cup match against Watford. There is an argument of integrity involved, which states that the club should not play in a third stadium this season. Instead, they must stick to Wembley and wait for next season. However, the comments about integrity are unfair. Spurs have been at a constant disadvantage by playing at Wembley. Thus, moving into their new stadium would simply allow them to have a proper home ground.
Clubs further down the Football League and into the Conference, and especially even lower in the pyramid, have a stronger argument. Unlike a big Premier League club, they lack the finances, reputation and muscle. As a result, they are liable to struggle with their construction, expansion and modification of their stadiums. At a very local level, this often means there are barriers to promotion because a stadium simply doesn’t and cannot fit the standards of the next step up.
However, this is simply the hypocrisy of the modern game; the inequality and sponsorship of the Premier League. Tottenham’s new stadium will generate great revenue. Furthermore, it was supposed to be finished for the start of the season. It is only safety precautions that now hold it from opening.
One of the biggest arguments for the club choosing to stay at Wembley would be to avoid any transition. Wembley is hardly a home for the club. However, it has nevertheless provided some kind of home turf. With so few games left in the season, it may be worth avoiding having to bed into the new stadium. A new space will need some adjustment, just as at Wembley.
Furthermore, it spares the club from any kind of Wembley ‘Voodoo’ narrative that may be transferred onto the new stadium. There would be no excuse to drop any points because of a stadium move. Also, it preserves the sanctity of the stadium; starting the season afresh in a new ground with no past history.
The counter-argument is simple: get out of Wembley as soon as possible and into the new stadium. This new stadium is the home ground for many generations to come. Thus, there is no time to lose. As soon as the stadium is ready, even with a match to go, it can finally be opened. The club would definitely please the fans by getting the stadium ready as soon as possible.
Opening the stadium before the close of the season is good business for the club. There have been some pretty shocking attendances for some previous matches. Admittedly, some of these matches have been during the week or at odd times. A 41,219 crowd saw Spurs beat Newcastle 1-0 at the start of February. Only 29,164 fans turned out for the 2-1 win over Watford in the match before that. These attendances, and moreover, the atmosphere, regardless of attendance, really does not contribute to home advantage, nor does it bring much revenue.
However, the final few home matches currently stand as very important ones. Spurs are very much in the title race. By moving into the new stadium, attendances are sure to rise. Matchdays return to Tottenham High Road; more familiar and easy to navigate than the surrounding environs of Wembley.
Thus, staying at Wembley is a kind of defeatist, frustrated approach to the new stadium dilemma. If the club can get the stadium open by the end of the season, this could be all to the club’s advantage. Finally, Tottenham Hotspur can return home and possible battle for a title.