Tottenham Hotspur's home during the 2017-18 season has just become political. Today, Tottenham's Member of Parliament, David Lammy, a candidate to be London's next mayor, wrote an open letter to Greg Dyke, the chairman of the Football Association, urging the FA to allow Spurs to use Wembley Stadium as their home base while their new stadium is being built. The open letter was published in the Evening Standard.
...The development ongoing at White Hart Lane means that Spurs will need to find an alternative home stadium for the 2017-18 season, while the new ground is under constriction.
This will bring considerable disruption to supporters and to the local area, but is of course unavoidable. What I hope is avoidable is a scenario in which the club is forced to leave not just White Hart Lane but London too.
A season spent playing at Milton Keynes, for example, would making following their club extremely difficult for Tottenham supporters, the vast majority of whom are based in north-east London. It would be also detrimental to London, given that Tottenham contributes £120 million a year to the London economy.
Lammy, who was born in Tottenham and is the Labor Party MP for the London Borough of Haringey, is is adamant that a move to Milton Keynes, the other location listed as a viable target for a ground-share by the club, would be detrimental to the Tottenham fans who attend matches, many of whom live in the north London area close to White Hart Lane. Lammy also argued that relocating Spurs away from London, even for a year, would have a negative impact on the local economy, as local businesses rely on match-day income for their livelihood.
It is my understanding that, having considered various options for an alternative stadium for the 2017-18 season, Spurs have concluded that Wembley Stadium remains the only viable option. I am therefore writing to request that you do all in your power to help facilitate this arrangement.
There is a significant difference between Spurs moving across North London to Wembley for one season and moving the 50 miles to Milton Keynes. Forcing a club to move so far away from its community and its supporter base is counter to the community-based approach to football that I know the FA supports, and I would therefore ask you and your team to do all you can to help Spurs stay in London.
You can read the full text of the open letter at the Standard.
Daniel Levy recently admitted that Wembley was the club's first choice for home matches during 2017-18. There are several logistical challenges to Wembley, including a cap on the number of events that Wembley can host in a single calendar year, as well as operations and rental costs associated with hosting football matches. Chelsea is also looking at ground-sharing Wembley during that season as they remodel Stamford Bridge, and Lammy also asked that a solution be devised so that the two teams can share Wembley if needed. Chelea's redevelopment plan is much farther behind Tottenham's and it is thought that this might give Spurs an edge in negotiations, should it come down to it.
Spurs have not given a time table as to when they might announce their relocation plans.