Tottenham Hotspur had a pretty big day yesterday, what with the signing of Toby Alderweireld, the release of new stadium details, and the big announcement of a ten-year partnership with the National Football League. But lost amidst all that excitement were two details that may be of equal interest to Tottenham supporters as the club begins construction on the new stadium in earnest, both of which were mentioned in a recent article in the Telegraph.
First, Tottenham apparently are in favor of keeping the club in London during its season away from White Hart Lane in 2017-18. The club had previously announced that the two most viable options for Spurs' home-away-from-home were either the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium, or the 30,000-seat stadiumMK in nearby Milton Keynes. According to the Telegraph, Spurs are leaning towards Wembley, despite Chelsea also looking at Wembley during their own renovation of Stamford Bridge, and it even has a quote from Daniel Levy:
Their preference would be to play home games at Wembley rather than Milton Keynes during the one-year construction phase away from White Hart Lane. Chelsea are also interested in using Wembley if they receive planning permission to rebuild Stamford Bridge and, although they could potentially offer more money, they are still only at the stage of consulting with residents on their plans.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is confident that Chelsea's situation will not threaten his chances of securing Wembley. "I think the FA will do the right thing and I'm sure they will be able to accommodate both clubs," said Levy.
Spurs have repeatedly said that there are no great options here and even went so far as to caution fans that many of them won't be too happy when the decision is made. Many Spurs fans were upset about the possibility of having to travel the 45 miles to Milton Keynes on match days, and that the club would be intrinsically supporting a mostly-reviled club, the rebranded Wimbledon FC, the UK analogue to the Baltimore Colts.
What's interesting here is that not only will Spurs not fill Wembley Stadium's cavernous seating on a normal match day, but it's a given that the stadium would be more expensive to lease, and the Wembley pitch is routinely panned by clubs that have to play on it. There are also concerns about the number of matches that Wembley can accommodate over the course of an EPL season. One possible solution would be a hybrid approach: use Wembley for big games and local derbies, but use stadiumMK for most home matches.
There has been no official word as of yet from the club, but the quote from Levy does give a strong indication as to where the club is leaning at present. Wembley would appease a good percentage of the local fan support (as well as the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust), even if it isn't the best footballing decision.
Second, the Telegraph also noted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been linked to the club as part of a consortium of California-based investors.
[Spurs] have no public funding commitments but, in consultation with advisors Rothschild, have been making positive progress. Various banks and investment funds are looking at the possibility of becoming involved and there have even been rumours, both in the city and the United States, that Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, could be involved with a group of Californian investors.
Spurs have stressed that they are not in takeover talks with anyone. Facebook said that they "did not have any information to share" on the subject.
One of the missing pieces in the stadium construction is the naming rights to the stadium. Obviously this is a huge cash-cow for the club, and there have been no hints or indications as to which company's name will be on the roof of the new stadium. However, Zuckerberg's possible connection to the club is interesting. The EPL seen a number of American businessmen and consortiums get involved in recent years either as investors or as outright owners of clubs as soccer continues to gain in popularity States-side.
Zuckerberg's involvement, if it comes to pass, could have a massive impact on the future direction of the club. It's all heresay at the moment, and nobody knows in what form that financial support would come. Could Spurs' new stadium be called Facebook Stadium at White Hart Lane? Could Zuckerberg's consortium be in the mix to purchase the club outright from ENIC? We don't know. Ironically, our own Salmon Chase half-seriously wrote about this very thing back in 2012, which makes him either a prophet, or a deep-cover member of the Illuminati.
Both of these stories are things to keep an eye on as we revel in the glorious artist's drawings of Spurs' new stadium and contemplate how it will feel to watch the New England Patriots play the Seattle Seahawks on Tottenham's new field turf surface. The stadium plans may be finished, but there are still big questions lingering that could bring massive changes to the club