Why Talk Of Tottenham And The Olympic Stadium Feels Wide Of The Mark

19 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   July 26, 2010  |     10

Supporters of  both Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United could have been forgiven for choking a little if they happened to see this article on the BBC’s website today. On the front page of the site was a story that would certainly leave both sets of supporters with a feeling that their hearts were beating in their throats – that Spurs were looking at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford as a possible alternative to redeveloping White Hart Lane. Not only are some Spurs supporters unhappy about such a story entering into the public domain, but West Ham United supporters would also have cause to be angry if there was much behind the story, because they have coveted the Olympic Stadium ever since it became apparent that it would probably be available to a football club after the 2012 Olympic Games have finished.

Since making their plans for the redeveloped site, Spurs have reportedly encountered considerable difficulties with such organisations as Transport for London – their particular corner of North London is particularly badly served for public transport – and Haringey Council. It’s not unthinkable that building a 56,000 stadium on Tottenham High Road could conceivably be considered to be more trouble for the club than it is worth. Could it be that Spurs are starting to look slightly further afield than their traditional home? The club has been linked (although largely through something approaching Chinese whispers) with the Olympic Stadium for a couple of years, but how would such a move go down with supporters?

West Ham United supporters could, of course, be forgiven for thinking, “Hang on. Don’t we have first shout on the Olympic Stadium?”, and they would perhaps have a point. The common consensus at West Ham is that the Boleyn Ground is too small for their needs in the long run, and moving the short distance to Stratford has become popular with supporters as well as something of a rallying cry for their new owners, David Sullivan and David Gold. The good news for West Ham supporters is that they don’t really need to worry too much, because there are plenty of sound reasons why Spurs wouldn’t and couldn’t leapfrog West Ham in the pecking order for the Olympic Stadium, not least of which is the fact that the deadline for expressions of interest in the new stadium passed on the 17th of May without, as far as anyone is aware, Spurs having expressed any interest in it.

Indeed, the most interesting aspect of the article that appears on the BBC’s website is what it doesn’t say rather than what it does say. The only official comment from Tottenham Hotspur FC or its owners (which is the only comment on the subject specifically referred to in the article) comes from an anonymous spokesperson for the club:

Tottenham Hotspur has not, to date, submitted a bid for the Olympic Stadium and, all things proceeding well with our current plans to build a new stadium within Tottenham, we see no need to.

West Ham United, therefore, remain the favourites to get the Olympic Stadium and by a long way. It seems likely that Spurs may be using the extremely remote possibility of heading to Stratford as leverage in the discussions that they are having ahead of final planning permission being granted for the new White Hart Lane. Haringey is one of the less well-to-do parts of North London, and the damage to local businesses by the club pulling out of the area would be not inconsiderable. However, it has already been established that, based on the current designs they wouldn’t even need to leave the site on a temporary basis while the new ground is being built and, in addition to this, work is due to begin shortly on their new training complex at Bull’s Cross in nearby Enfield.

Also, for all the talk about traffic and police concerns about the new stadium (and anybody that has ever been to White Hart Lane will understand how 20,000 extra supporters every other weekend could cause them to furrow their brows somewhat), closer investigation of the issues raised by such bodies seem to point more towards a desire to work with the club towards ensuring that the new ground meets the requirements of planning law whilst keeping it in the location that the club has identified. Indeed, this letter from Chris Ramsey, the Acting Haringey Borough Commander for the Metropolitan Police, concludes that:

We are pleased to have been consulted on the stadium proposals from an early stage and reiterate that further consultation should take place throughout the life of the project. This will be essential to deliver a safe and secure sporting venue together with new homes, retail and public spaces.

In the current financial climate, any new project of this scale is going to come under very close scrutiny from all angles. The estimated cost of the rebuilding of White Hart Lane is believed to be in the region of £400m-£450m, so Tottenham Hotspur can scant afford to get it wrong. It is also critical that the building of the new ground is beneficial to the area that gave birth to the club and, as such, it is only right and proper that every single detail should be given proper consideration at the planning stage. It may take the club a year or two longer than they had originally hoped to get there, but it remains difficult to believe that it won’t happen, with appropriate amendments, in the fullness of time. West Ham supporters, meanwhile, can continue to hope that the Olympic Stadium will one day be theirs.



Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • July 27, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Steve Robins

    Yet another extremely poor and little researched “article” from the BBC’s Adrian Warner. He does seem to “learn” the most obscure things. Perhaps the BBC should start looking for an Olympic Correspondent that can actually find some real news?

  • July 27, 2010 at 12:32 am


    This is just what Spurs need to do!

    NOW don’t go off……just think about it for a second.

    I have followed Spurs at White Hart Lane since the mid Fifties….I grew up and lived within 700mts of the ground for over 20yrs, so I love the lane as much as anybody.

    The constant dithering and time wasting by incompetent Haringey Council needs to be bought into check.

    Whatever plans Spurs come up with they will be undermined by influences inside council and other MINORITY groups that have loud voices, and that just do not want Spurs to advance.

    Spurs need to let these bureaucratic morons know that we will “up sticks” and move, and spend our hundreds of millions in another council area, if we are constantly undermined by these subversive elements within the council and other bodies.

    Once the majority of councillors see that Tottenham will miss out on this major re-development of the area, they might just stand up and overrule the few that are hell bent on stoping this project.

    Tottenham needs this kind of development more than we need to stay at the lane…..however hard that will be for us loyal fans.

    Take our money to a borough that will appreciate us for what we will bring to the local community…….be tough Mr Levy.

    Time for these imbeciles to realise that we mean business and they will be responsible for the Tottenham area, and it’s resident’s to lose…BIG TIME.

    We need to be serious and state that we will be reluctant to go….but we will.

    New Supermarkets, Hotels, Public areas anyone?


  • July 27, 2010 at 1:34 am


    TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR’s needs, being a Champions League club with the superior history and superior support TRUMPS the likes of West Ham. You wouldn’t give Orient preference, just because they’s asked first, would you? If West Ham took it over it would be half-empty every other week. The Boleyn Ground is more than adequate for them. The superior club needs to have preference – it’s obvious.

  • July 27, 2010 at 4:48 am


    If the club moved there I would give up my season ticket, that I’ve had for twenty years, in protest. The club must stay in tottenham.

  • July 27, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Steve Robins

    The only quote in the whole BBC “article” is from a Spurs Spokesman:

    “Tottenham Hotspur has not, to date, submitted a bid for the Olympic Stadium and, all things proceeding well with our current plans to build a new stadium within Tottenham, we see no need to.”

    No bid from Spurs submitted yet and guess what? The deadline to do that passed two months ago. If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the raffle!

    This widely known fact was somehow missed by Adrian Warner.

  • July 27, 2010 at 7:44 am


    spurs in all talk no trousers shock /

    who’d have thought

  • July 27, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Marco Boogers

    Champions League club? LOL. Spuds will be lucky if they dont finish bottom of their group. Whipping boys is a term that comes to mind.

  • July 27, 2010 at 8:28 am


    Stratty you seem to have missed the point. West Ham only has an inferior number of fans (at games) because it has a smaller stadium than Spurs. Champions league football and your own biased opinion of what makes a better fan have nothing to do with a decision about who gets a stadium. Would Spurs be less likely to get it next year when you fail to have champions league football as part of your lame “Superior” argument. Cheaper ticket prices would mean that the Hammers would be filling it in no time.

  • July 27, 2010 at 8:28 am


    Stratty. I think you are getting a bit above yourself there. Just because you’ve reached the champs league for the first time doesn’t make you that much bigger than the Hammers. Come down a peg or two will you, you do still have to qualify for it anyway.

    I simply cannot see Spurs ever wanting to move to the new Olympic stadium because if it’s location. at least half your supporters would boycott the move and as Stoney would, many will simply give up their season ticket causing financial problems for Spurs.

    I simply cannot see it happening to be honest and anyway, the date for submitting proposals has passed, so it can’t happen full stop, they won’t suddenly open it up again just because Spurs want to join in the bidding. Who do they think they are eh!


  • July 27, 2010 at 8:28 am


    Stratty you’re not a Champions League club. You’re champions League qualifiers club…once.
    You’re right you are a big club but for once it would be nice for Spurs fans to wait till they achieve something big before they spout how great they are.

  • July 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Dazza London

    Sounds to me to be another example of a poor quality “journo” having a to meet a column inch deadline so comes up with a non-story.

    Knowing Levy I’d not be surprised if this, as has already been mentioned, has been deliberately “leaked” to put pressure on the red tape brigade in Haringay Council.

    The Do-gooders complaining about the demolition of 19th Century buildings?? So what>? Have you seen them?? It’s not like the Art Deco frontage of the old Hoover building on the A40. That front wall still stands but the building is now a Tesco. The historic marble hall of *spit* Highbury which is now the entry hall of the new apartment complex.

    No, these are poorly maintained building fronts with chipped brick and rotting woodwork. None of these conservationists were bothered about the state of them until we wanted to flatten them! They’re falling to bits anyway.

    Someone lend me a fully loaded tipper truck and I’ll “accidentally” lose control driving down Tottenham High Road and save us all the arguements!

  • July 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Two Left Feet

    Controversial, but how about they share the ground.

  • July 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Mr Moon

    As someone said on another site: Spurs moving to Stratford is about as likely as Liverpool getting the Commonwealth games stadium in Manchester.

    You can just imagine the agro every other weekend with Spurs based in East London, when both sides play at home!

  • July 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm


    Sorry about my spelling in my previous post – you can tell that I’m a thick chas n’ dave loving Spurs chav can’t you? haha.

  • July 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm


    Ooh Stratty. You’ve upset Skinny Chris who so obviously isn’t a SApurs fan but is so obsessed that he dovours evry item metioning them avidly. Come on Chris, who do you support and why so touchy about Sputs? Fatal attraction strikes again.

  • July 27, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Why Talk Of Tottenham And The Olympic Stadium Feels Wide Of The Mark « Scissors Kick

    […] Why Talk Of Tottenham And The Olympic Stadium Feels Wide Of The Mark “Supporters of both Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United could have been forgiven for choking a little if they happened to see this article on the BBC’s website today. On the front page of the site was a story that would certainly leave both sets of supporters with a feeling that their hearts were beating in their throats – that Spurs were looking at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford as a possible alternative to redeveloping White Hart Lane.” (twohundredpercent) […]

  • July 27, 2010 at 8:14 pm


    Lots of dumb ass wet spam fans on here. Obvious jealousy from a liitle club in east ham. Silly boys.

  • July 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm


    All of the above posts seems to have missed the point. Why should another oportunity to develop a centre for Athletics in this country be sacrificed for the ego of Premiership football? West Ham already have a stadium, as do Spurs, yet any time a major sporting event comes along in this country, the athletic’s stadium is snaffled up by Football (Eastlands and Meadowbank spring to mind).

    Football even took its metaphorical ball away when it was mooted that Wembley should be a multi-purpose stadium, instead of the vulgar concrete celebration of all that is bad with football, that it has become.

  • July 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm


    From good source there is nothing in ‘Spurs moving East’, fighting talk yes – which is needed with some of Haringey top nobs(c/o Dazza You know it). To sum up – Spurs Fans don’t want it And I hope west ham don’t get it

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