The ever increasing excitement over Spurs' new stadium may have taken a slight detour. Reports from the Telegraph claim that Tottenham's vagabond 2017-18 season may not end up at the grounds they covet, Wembley Stadium. The culprit, malice personified: Chelsea Football Club.
The crux of the issue deals not with the fee that Spurs are willing to pay, but for their proposed tenure at the national stadium. While Spurs have both broken ground in the basement foundation of their new stadium and begun to inquire about potential firms to build its main structure, Chelsea are in the infancy of their 500 million pound planned revamp of Stamford Bridge. This, combined with the fact that they must rehab an existing stadium, means that they'll demand new grounds for up to four years. Tottenham are offering 15 million pounds for one season, no different than Chelsea's per season fee, it's just that the
East West London Club will be offering 45 million more over an extra three years. Further, it is rumored that the FA has been swayed by, and now prefers, the prospect of a longer commitment to the stadium. The revenue bestowed upon them from this agreement is hefty; and considered to be the biggest variable in their final decision.
This doesn't look great for Tottenham. Chelsea are adamantly against a ground share for two core reasons. Firstly, they don't want to share a venue with Tottenham in terms of fixture lists. Chelsea are a predominant force not only in England, but in Europe, and don't want to deal with the annoyance of combining their clogged schedule with the calendar of another busy team. Secondly, the Blues' want to make Wembley their own for their fanbase. Unlike the transitory nature of a single year lease, Chelsea will be playing in Wembley a minimum of three, and maybe even four years. For such an extended hiatus from Stamford Bridge, they want their supporters to feel comfortable in their new "home". Sharing with Spurs would likely dampen that experience.
It is early, and nothing is set in stone, but this looks bleak. Levy has said that the FA must "treat clubs equally", but it seems doubtful that morality and ethics will be the trump card in their decision making process. The amount of funds being thrown at the FA is considerable, and it is unlikely that they will turn this money down. Like Spurs though, Chelsea don't have any great alternative options. The gleaming hope for Tottenham is that the FA plays hardball with both clubs. While the 60 million pound offer sounds great, wouldn't 75 million be even better? Sure, this could drive Chelsea away from the negotiating table, but what other options do they have that are as attractive as Wembley?
This saga will continue, and with West Ham openly stating that they will block any Spurs attempt at securing the Olympic Stadium for a year, MK Dons is becoming a terrifyingly realistic option. But Tottenham supporters shouldn't give up hope just yet. Daniel Levy is on our side and Wembley is the sexiest option for both clubs. If the FA hold strong, it seems silly that Chelsea would pull out just because of a single year ground-share with Tottenham. Regardless, stay tuned to these important developments.