Tottenham Hotspur have made apology after apology with each update regarding the shiny new stadium that currently sits in north London on the old White Hart Lane site. It’s been a frustrating time as a Spurs supporter, especially those who expected to be well into the new era by now and, instead, have had to make a long haul to Wembley Stadium for the second consecutive year. It looks like that time is about to end, though, if reports are to be believed. According to Standard Sport, specifically Dan Kilpatrick and Jack Rosser, Tottenham have scheduled a match between our U-18 squad and Southampton for the new stadium as a test event.
The article doesn’t waste any time getting to the vital information and re-asserting the facts that we already knew:
The club’s Under-18 fixture at home to Southampton, originally scheduled for today, has been rearranged for Sunday, March 24, and is expected to be the first event. The club could then host a legends match at a later date, possibly the following weekend.
The stadium must host two successful test events with increasing levels of capacity in order to earn a safety certificate from Haringey Council. Yesterday, the Council gave official notice of traffic restrictions around the stadium, which will come into force from March 16.
The man we call “Dank P” is as trusted as source as it gets when it comes to Tottenham news, along with journalists like Alasdair Gold and Ben Pearce. It seems that this is the final set of hoops to jump through in order to get the approvals necessary to go ahead with the stadium. The article also gives a bit more insight on the stance of the Premier League and UEFA:
Standard Sport revealed last month that the Premier League were keen for Spurs to play at least five home games in the new ground before the end of the campaign. If they were unable to do so, the governing body would prefer them to stage home fixtures at Wembley for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Uefa are reluctant to allow the first official game in the new ground to be a Champions League tie. Tottenham will discover their quarter-final opponents in next Friday’s draw, with the first leg taking place on April 9-10, and the second a week later.
The Haringey Council and, more specifically, the city of London have all said they do not want a mid-week match to be the first official match in the new stadium, citing logistical concerns. It’s understandable, but still frustrating. Spurs also have the minor annoyance of not knowing their next home fixture due to the FA Cup. As it stands now, Spurs are set to play Brighton and Hove Albion on April 7, but the Seagulls are facing Millwall in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup after the international break. A victory there sees them into the semifinals, which would be that same weekend.
It’s a scheduling nightmare, because we also don’t have an official date for the rescheduled Crystal Palace match yet either. The south London club are playing Watford in the quarterfinals, which they are slight favorites even at Vicarage Road. Initially I thought that Palace could be rescheduled for April 7 pending their FA Cup result, but they’re scheduled to play Newcastle United that weekend, so forget that idea.
The wild card in all of this is the Champions League quarterfinal round. Spurs desperately want to play their quarterfinal home leg at the new stadium, but as mentioned before, a mid-week match is out of a question as the first match. Spurs can get a little help via the draw next Friday. If they draw the second leg as their home match against whoever they play, and the test events go off without a hitch, it would almost certainly guarantee that Huddersfield Town on April 13 will be at the new stadium and pave the way for the UCL Quarterfinal to be played there as well, regardless of whether or not Spurs play Brighton or Palace before then.
To sum it up, this is still a massive clusterf*ck, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re in the last stretch of this frustrating timeframe. We know the stadium is about ready to go and two test events will lock things in place. It’s still not a slam dunk, but this is as promising as it gets with all of the delays, so we’ll take it. Here’s hoping that light at the end of the tunnel is the positivity train that doesn’t derail.
EDIT (11:42 AM ET): Looks like the stadium is getting some work done this week in prep for matches, according to Lilywhite_Rose on Twitter, who has been following the progress of the stadium for awhile now: