Stratford Thinking In The USA

LONDON ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Work continues on the London 2012 Olympic Stadium on January 12 2011 in London England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

I have a dirty confession to make: despite being a diehard Spurs fan, I've never been to White Hart Lane. I've only been to London once and it was long before I had found Spurs (I even got one of those Vodafone Manchester United kits on the trip - please forgive me).

So when it comes to the debate over White Hart Lane, Stratford, and the Olympic Stadium, I feel a little awkward.  Who am I to come down with a viewpoint when I've never seen the stadium itself?

Having grown up in Philadelphia as a fan of its teams through and through, I find the regionalization of London a bit tough to relate to. If you walk around Philadelphia on an American Football Sunday, you see the city in a sea of Philadelphia Eagles green. The teams of the city have been located in many different neighborhoods throughout their respective histories, and moves to new, better stadiums have always been held as progress.

When I turn to London then and it's rivalry between it's districts, it is a bit of a culture shock. As this fantastic map of footballs supporters in London shows, the city is a wonderful melting pot of it's many football clubs. North London is a fight between Spurs and the Arse, West Ham is East London, Chelsea, QPR and Fulham in the West, Crystal Palace in the South, and many more.

These clubs are beacons of their neighborhoods and uniting forces for its citizens. But as football becomes an international game, the meaning of what a club is changes. For me, and for many other foreign fans, the club is about something different. Tottenham Hotspur, for me, is about the emblem, the colors, the history, the style, and passion of the club.

I didn't become a Tottenham supporter because I'm from North London. I became a fan because of a random set of circumstances where they were Kasey Keller's team, I got FIFA 06 and they were one of the best teams you could manage initially, I thought Edgar Davids was the coolest, and I learned about their pro-Semitic history.

Even still though, I have been working very hard this year to ensure I can spend a semester abroad next year in London, with the full intent of spending as many games in White Hart Lane as possible. I want to see the Lane, with all its history and all its scars. And it would sadden me if my one chance to see the Lane would also be my last.

But in the end, the strength and survival of the club is the most important thing to me. If Levy and ENIC truly believe that the move to Stratford will help the club and push them into the upper echelons of world football, so be it. But if this is only a move to line their pockets whilst the history and people of North London behind them, then I say no. Make the right choice. 

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