According to the Evening Standard, Tottenham Hotspur are expected to begin the process of laying down the pitch at their new stadium this week. This action would be the strongest indication yet that things are progressing at the yet-unfinished ground, and would corroborate the hinted-at timeline that Spurs could be playing home matches there before the end of 2018.
The delays to the stadium are well known, but the pitch itself has been considered a bellwether to when we might expect the stadium to actually be completed. It takes a while for new grass to bed in after being laid — the Standard says that four weeks is ideal but it could be ready for play in as little as two — but Spurs clearly weren’t going to start laying down the sod into the retractable trays until the club was sure about the timeline. If fans start seeing green replacing the sand currently on the pitch surface in Tottenham’s live cameras of the stadium, that’s a pretty strong indication that they feel good about the current timeline.
Spurs still need to host three test events with gradually increasing levels of attendance before they will be granted a safety certificate that allows them to host any event at full capacity. As of yet we don’t know what those events are or when they will be held, but we can probably expect them to be similar to the original test events scheduled before the first major delay. Those included a development squad match and a Spurs Legends exhibition match.
Mauricio Pochettino had hinted that the current plan was for Spurs to play their first home match before or around Christmas. That would make the December 15 match vs. Burnley the most likely candidate; the next closest home match would be the match against Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
Obviously we have heard nothing official from the club and I don’t expect to yet. The backlash from the last delay was such that they are likely to withhold any official public statement until they are absolutely sure that what they say will happen, and there’s still time for a meteor to hit the south stand. However, just seeing bits of green grass on the stadium pitch in the coming days should make supporters feel confident that everything is going according to plan.