Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the subject of much speculation these days, especially after a series of delays that have prevented Spurs’ new home from opening on time. After the most recent, an issue with “critical safety systems” that prevented Spurs from debuting against Liverpool in September, the club has stayed quiet regarding any new targeted opening date, leading to some reports that have suggested that Spurs could even stay at Wembley Stadium for the entirety of the 2018-19 season.
However, that’s not what Mauricio Pochettino says. When asked about the stadium in a recent press conference, Poch said that he speaks with chairman Daniel Levy about the project frequently, and that he’s confident that he will be walking out onto the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium pitch before Christmas.
“I am confident. This year. I am confident this year. I had some private conversations with Daniel, no not private, [assistant manager] Jesus [Perez] was there. I think they are confident. They are working hard to try to find the solution. I hope before the year, before Christmas, we can play. That’s my wish.
“We have conversations every day. He called me this morning before training and yesterday we took a coffee here at the restaurant. Yes it’s tough. Sometimes he tells me, sometimes he opens the conversation about the stadium, sometimes I open the conversation and say “Daniel, how is the stadium?” and sometimes it’s tough to explain.
”But yes we hope and we heard before, I am very confident before the year. I hope that after that comment Daniel doesn’t kill me tomorrow. ‘Why you put this expectation on me?’ He’s going to kill me!”
That would be a phenomenal thing to happen, but if Spurs are to make that date it would need to happen soon. Spurs would still need to schedule three reduced capacity test events before it would be cleared by the FA for full-capacity matches. The grass would also have to be bedded in before the test events as well, and as of yet Spurs haven’t started laying the turf in the retractable field.
That’s probably the key metric — for those who are watching the live cams of the stadium, the pitch is perhaps the best way to know if and when the stadium is going to be ready. It will take time for the pitch to settle and be ready for physical activity, but the club won’t lay it before they have a firm date. Once you start seeing green going down on the ground at stadium level, that will be a strong indication that things have turned a corner.
The club knows this too, and it’s likely by that point or soon afterwards the club will make some sort of official announcement about the stadium, but I doubt Daniel Levy will countenance that without assurances that there will be no further issues.
If we assume mid-December, Pochettino’s timeline would put the home match against Burnley on December 15 as a possible debut date, or the following home match, a Boxing Day fixture against Bournemouth.
We’ll know soon enough, but Pochettino is closer to the stadium build than any of us. If he feels confident, so do I.