Is our long stadium-related nightmare about to end? Today, Dan Kilpatrick is reporting an exclusive in the Evening Standard that Spurs are set to in due course announce two upcoming test events at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium that will take place the weekends of March 16 & 23. This would complete the necessary safety certification and would pave the way for hosting the first home Premier League match of the season in early April.
According to Kilpatrick, planning is underway on the test events, which is likely to include an open training session for a crowd of about 20-30k fans, and a second event that could be an academy or U23 match at close to full capacity.
As we’ve said before, the date of the first official match at the stadium is still an open question. Much depends on Brighton & Hove Albion’s FA Cup status — they drew an away match at Millwall in the quarterfinal draw yesterday, and should they advance then the April 6 league match against Spurs will also need to be postponed. That would likely push the opening date to the April 13 match against Huddersfield.
Kilpatrick also notes that Spurs’ hopes for playing Champions League football in the ground (assuming they advance past Dortmund) could hinge on whether their first leg is drawn home or away. If the Brighton match is postponed and Spurs are drawn with a first leg at home on April 9-10, it is likely they will need to play at Wembley as Spurs will probably not be allowed to open the stadium on a weeknight. Otherwise, the second leg will be held on April 16-17, and UEFA has been open to the idea of Spurs playing at their new ground if possible.
Based on all this information, it is now very likely that Spurs are waiting for the results of the Millwall-Brighton match before making an official announcement as to whether they open April 6 or 13. It does sound like we’ll be getting official word of the test events soon, regardless.
This is good news.