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Tottenham to host Men’s & Women’s double-header on May 20

It’s an interesting idea, but the devil is in the details.

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

In what the club is being billed as a first-of-its-kind, Tottenham Hotspur will host a double-header on Saturday, May 20, with the men’s team hosting Brentford in the early game and Spurs Women kicking off just afterwards.

So at first glance, this is a pretty neat idea and is designed to get additional people into the stadium for what is going to be an extremely important match for Spurs Women against Reading. Spurs Women are having a season that can be described as both miserable and unlucky; they’re currently three points up on bottom-of-the-table Reading, making this match a genuine gol-danged relegation six pointer. It’s quite possible that the results of this match could determine which WSL team will go down this season, and yes, if results go poorly Spurs could be that team.

The men, meanwhile, still can qualify for European competition next season, even if that competition is the Europa Conference League. Regardless of how the men’s team are doing, they sell out the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on the regular, and it sounds like the hope here is that some fans will just stick around for the second match as well, even though that means spending about six-plus hours in the stadium. (It is, however, a very nice stadium!) It will in theory increase crowd size for the late match and create a better, more raucous atmosphere for Spurs Women in what really is a must-win match.

However, the devil, as they say, is in the details, and there are some details here that are a bit head scratching. In particular, from what I’ve been able to gather online, there will be no reserved seating for the Women’s match, and that causes some logistical issues, especially for Spurs Women season ticket holders who may be coming only for the Tottenham-Reading match.

The implication here is that if significant fans decide to stay for the Women’s match it could be tough for people just arriving to find seats, as there’s no way to know which seats are actually open and which are just temporarily free. It also will almost certainly create some holes in the stands for the Women’s game making the crowd look a little patchwork in places. There are likely also going to be transportation issues for fans who are coming for the late game as well. It kind of feels like the way this is structured makes the Women’s team and the fans a bit of an afterthought.

To be sure, there’s a huge ticket price disparity between the men’s team and the women’s team, and if you’re sponsoring a double-header like this there’s no practical way that you can ask everyone in the stadium to clear out while you get Spurs Women season ticket holders into their purchased seats. I also completely understand the good-faith intent of scheduling a Men’s-Women’s match as a double-header to increase awareness and support of the Women at a time when they really, really need it.

So while this is a really cool and fun idea in theory, there are some pretty substantial logistical issues at play here that make it seem like it might have been just thrown together at the last minute (which it probably was). It might not be as big of an issue — if enough men’s game supporters opt to take off after the Brentford match then some of the seating issues could be ameliorated somewhat. Maybe it won’t be as bad as what some suspect.

I don’t know if there are good answers here or ways that this could be avoided, but it’s starting to feel a bit slap-dash upon closer inspection. Hopefully supporter concerns can be addressed and it’ll turn out to be a better experience for fans than what it looks like at the moment.