The journey towards the opening of the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium has hit another speed bump thanks to Crystal Palace’s win this past weekend in the FA Cup. Palace defeated Doncaster Rovers 2-0 on Sunday afternoon, clinching their progression to the FA Cup quarterfinals. With the next round scheduled to take place the week of March 16, that means that the match between Spurs and Palace at Wembley Stadium will need to be rescheduled to a date later in the season.
The Palace game was mooted earlier in the season as a possible date for Spurs’ first home match in their new ground, but the rescheduling eliminates that possibility. Spurs’ schedule and the international break in mid-march mean that Spurs’ next home match after Palace isn’t until early April when Brighton visits on April 6.
And the FA Cup may impact the stadium’s opening even further than that. Brighton also won their Round 5 matchup, defeating Derby County at home on February 16, and should they win in the quarterfinals, then the April 6 league match against Spurs will also need to be delayed to accommodate Brighton in the FA Cup semifinals. In that eventuality, the next scheduled home match is Saturday, April 13 vs. Huddersfield.
In fact, the Brighton match presents a unique conundrum for Spurs, even if the match isn’t rescheduled. If Brighton is knocked out of the FA Cup, Spurs will be in a situation where they will NEED to play the match at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Wembley will be used for the FA Cup semis, and there is also a MK Dons home match scheduled at stadium:MK in Milton Keynes, which rules that out as an option as well. If the new stadium isn’t ready by April 6, Spurs will have no choice but to ask the Premier League for a postponement, as they have literally no other place to play.
Another option would be to open the stadium in the Champions League quarterfinals, the first leg of which will take place on April 9 & 10. That’s assuming Spurs take care of business in Dortmund with a 3-0 lead after the first leg, and if the Metropolitan Police will allow the debut to take place in a mid-week match. UEFA had previously expressed support for Spurs hosting a future Champions League match at their new home ground.
It’s no wonder why Tottenham haven’t announced an opening date or scheduled test events leading up to the stadium debut — there are too many moving pieces right now to schedule anything with confidence. It isn’t the club’s fault as this is just the usual schedule fixture changes that happen every year, but they all just have a greater sense of importance thanks to the lengthy delay of the stadium’s opening.
None of this is particularly new information, but it does seem as though there is some cosmic force at work that is actively creating the worst of all possible scenarios. I still have full confidence that we will see Spurs play in their new home before the end of the season, but the only thing we can say for sure right now is that it won’t be for at least another month and a half.