Tottenham Hotspur issued an update on the still-to-be-completed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to its supporters on the club website today, and it’s not the news most fans wanted to hear. The statement, which includes direct quotes from chairman Daniel Levy, confirmed that Spurs will not play their first match in their new home until the new year.
“Whilst we are conscious of the need to keep pressure on our contractors to deliver as soon as possible, we are also acutely aware of how difficult the lack of clarity is for you, our supporters, to plan around games, particularly those at Christmas and New Year.
“In light of the above, and taking into account the restricted availability of manpower over the festive period, we have taken the decision to confirm today that all home games will be played at Wembley Stadium up to and including the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29 December.
“We know the continued delay is a source of immense disappointment to everyone and I can only continue to apologise for this - it is a sentiment felt by all of us.”
The timing of this update is not a complete surprise. Spurs needed to inform the FA about their continued plans for use of Wembley Stadium no later than Thursday, and it was suggested that Spurs were hoping to move into the new grounds in time for the home match against Burnley on December 15. This new timetable represents a further delay by a couple of months, but does take the club through the busy holiday fixture schedule.
This kind of makes sense. The holidays are crammed with matches, and it would be a bit of a logistical nightmare to have the club open the new ground during that time. It also represents Spurs being extra cautious with the date of their debut — the club was burned in embarrassing fashion after previously announcing that they would open the stadium in September against Liverpool. Spurs have yet to formally announce any information about the required three test events that must be staged before safety certificates can be issued.
Tottenham’s first home fixture in 2019 is a big one — home to Manchester United on January 13.
In the statement, Levy also noted that construction resources no longer needed for the stadium have been diverted to work on transportation infrastructure, which needs improvement to service the additional tens of thousands of fans who will be traveling to north London for matches.
“Our investment has been supported by over £100m investment in transport infrastructure which will see the stadium and the local area served by one of the best public transport networks in the country – facilitating the creation of a new sport, leisure and entertainment destination in London.
“The delay in the stadium opening has made it possible for some track and station improvements to be brought forward due to the fact that previously non-available construction dates have become available for works.”