This is not going to turn into a football blog. Let me just get this off my chest.
I may be from Hertfordshire, but I’m N17.
My dad was Tottenham born and bred. I was brought up in the era of Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Jones, Dave Mackay, Maurice Norman and (Sir) Bill Nicholson. Most of the 70s was spent supporting from 3500 miles away, shortwave radio stuck to ear on Saturday mornings.
Later on, every other Saturday in the 80s, I stood on the Shelf at White Hart Lane (which isn’t on White Hart Lane).
Hoddle, Waddle, Archibald, Perryman and Crooks; the ’84 UEFA cup final; Burkinshaw; the nearly season (’84-’85); frantic dashes to Liverpool Street station after weeknight matches.
I’m not the supporter I was. In the 90s I more or less gave up on the Premier League – the money and Murdoch – and followed non-league football. But, the lure of the cockerel badge remains strong and the current side has all the hallmarks of some of those classic sides.
That out the way, I have to admit I’m not impressed with the club’s manoeuvres and machinations in the Olympic stadium saga.
Unlike a certain other football club, Tottenham’s roots are north London: N17. Like any other Premier League club, Spurs has a wide-flung fan base. You’d hear plenty of Scandinavian voices when walking to the Lane in the 80s. But, take the club out of N17 and it becomes another MK Dons.
On the other hand, increasingly White Hart Lane hampers the club’s development. You can’t get a ticket. There’s a huge season ticket waiting list. And, even back in 1980 getting to the ground was a nightmare; not to mention travelling back on public transport after a match.
The Northumberland Development Plan whilst delivering a first class 21st century stadium always looked like fudged compromise. Haringay council, Transport for London and other partners have never appeared totally convinced by the project.
Tottenham High Road both benefits and suffers from the position of the ground. Like most Victorian football grounds, it’s wedged into an odd plot, surrounded by houses, a typical ugly inner London shopping street and light industrial units.
Transport? Horrid overground service to Liverpool Street from the inadequate White Hart Lane station. Underground from Seven Sisters, about 15-45 minutes by bus or walk (usually accompanied by running battles when Man U came to town in the 80s). Car parking? Try parking in Edmonton or Hackney.
So. I’m torn.
The Olympic option presents an opportunity to develop a ground for the next century with excellent transport links, helping drive the post-Olympic legacy (ahem, I’ll blog about that and the bogus economics of stadium developments another time).
Yet, it tramples on Leyton Orient‘s territory. It rips the club from the community. It’s all about money, not the fans.
It’s not N17.