With Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium delayed until March, there’s an undercurrent to the discussion that’s starting to emerge in the media: whether it might just be better to wait until next season for Spurs to move in.
The thinking goes as follows: with Tottenham likely to only get five or six home matches at the new ground and the stadium beset with delay after delay, it might also be difficult for Spurs to make the transition to a new home ground late in the season. Since Spurs are playing so well at Wembley and are used to the national stadium, it might make more sense to just punt until the 2019-20 season, make sure all the stadium details are ironed out, and start fresh in August.
But that’s not what Mauricio Pochettino believes. When asked about the stadium and when would be the best time to move in, Poch said he wants in as soon as humanly possible, and that he’d play against United there this Sunday, if he could.
“For me Sunday would be perfect to play. How is the stadium today? To have the opportunity to move to our new stadium will be a massive, massive, massive, massive thing for us, massive for our fans. I cannot wait to move there and start to play.
“I told Daniel [Levy], for me, because you know he always listens to the rumours, listens to people talking and always arrives in my office and says ‘What do you think is going to be best, to move there or not?’. I said ‘200 per cent, Daniel, the moment that it will be ready to play, we need to move there and start to create our home there’. It’s going to be a massive impact for us.”
But why leave a stadium like Wembley when you’re used to it and are playing so well, and are in the middle of not only a top four push, but also a potential title challenge?
“I’m a positive person. I believe that I can find a better place to play, a better situation, better things. If you are a person who is scared to go outside your comfort zone, it’s difficult to find something different.
“For me I am a person who always tries to cross the line, to put myself in a difficult situation, to be out of my comfort zone. That is why I am here. If not, you know if you are scared to cross this line, it’s so difficult to improve, to learn. For me, always think that in a place that I don’t know is going to be the happiness is going to be the positive things or better than today.”
There’s a couple of things to unpack here. First, and perhaps most interestingly, there’s the implicit suggestion that Daniel Levy actually is (or was) considering delaying the stadium move until the start of next season. It also shows the good communication that Levy has with Pochettino, and is probably why Spurs seem determined to open the stadium this season, come hell or high water.
It also shows the enthusiasm and excitement that Pochettino brings to this squad, and the drive he has to continually get better. There’t a hint of acknowledgement that Spurs will need a little time to adjust to their new home, but Poch seems to take that as a challenge, and not an excuse. Playing in the new stadium will make the team better, even if there are some growing pains and adaptation difficulties in the short term.
Tottenham recently announced that Spurs would stay at Wembley at least until March as the club works to achieve necessary building structural test certificates and schedules test events. Spurs play two home matches in March: the North London Derby vs. Arsenal on March 2, and vs. Crystal Palace on March 16.