SO MUCH NEWS. There was ANOTHER draw involving Tottenham Hotspur today — the League (“Carabao”) Cup — and it has presented a problem both to the club and to Spurs fans. To make a complicated situation short, Spurs have been drawn at home to Watford in the third round, but Spurs’ new stadium won’t be ready.
Soon after this tweet, Spurs posted an update on their official home page, stating that they have appealed to the Football League to have this match played at a neutral venue — specifically, MK Dons’ home ground, Stadium:mk, in Milton Keynes.
We appreciate that Stadium MK may not be an ideal destination for every fan to get to on a weekday evening, however the Club felt it would not be beneficial to request a reverse of the fixture as it would have resulted in no more than a 10 per cent allocation of tickets for our supporters at the venue of our opponents. In contrast, we shall have a ticket allocation of up to 90 per cent at a neutral venue, ensuring greater access for our fans.
Consideration was given to a number of different football stadia and for a variety of reasons – capacity, availability, facilities, accessibility, pitch quality and clubs still being in the competition themselves – it was simply not possible to secure a neutral venue within the M25.
We are extremely conscious of having to ask our supporters to attend home matches at more than one venue and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Remember how Stadium:mk was considered as one of the options for Spurs last season as they tore down White Hart Lane and constructed the new stadium? That was hugely unpopular with supporters, because Milton Keynes is outside of the M25 beltway and is a pain for local supporters to get to due to rail and transport issues.
That hasn’t changed, and this probably won’t be the most popular of decisions either, but it sure seems as though the club was literally out of options for this match. The third round match will take place the week of September 24, which places it squarely between the road matches at Brighton and Huddersfield. That’s not a bad time to take a midweek trip to Milton Keynes, and I’d expect that the youth and fringe players will get a lot of game time for this one also.
The EFL still has to confirm the proposal, but there doesn’t seem to be many reasons for them to be a stick-in-the-mud about it, especially since it sounds like this is literally the only option Spurs have apart from reversing the fixture.
Large scale construction projects are complicated and it involves everyone being flexible when there are delays. Nobody’s going to be enthused about going to Stadium:mk, especially not the club, but it sounds like they’re making the best out of a bad situation.