An invitation to the new stadium

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

The Christmas period is a hectic time, not only for families but also football fans. More so if you are a Spurs supporter; we had Everton, Christmas, Bournemouth and then my visit to our new stadium. Season ticket holders – a selective few – got to see the South Stand on the 16th (before us).

Round the beginning of December, I got an email from Premium sales to say that I will get an invitation to visit the new ground and see my seat. But they didn’t give a date then. Of course, I was planning to go to my daughter’s for a Christmas dinner (not on Christmas day), but I couldn’t really arrange anything as I didn’t know when exactly I would be going. My daughter and I settled for the 28th or 30th. My son could only do the 30th, which complicated things. I kept putting her off until finally, I got an email to say that my/ our visit was scheduled for the 27th (Thursday). Relief! I phoned my daughter and son to say we shall have our Christmas dinner (at her house) on the 30th. That was settled.

The email gave us time slots to pick; 11am, 12pm, 1pm or 2 pm. I stayed at Hanna’s for Christmas, originally was planning to go back home on Boxing day evening, after the Bournemouth game, but because of the invitation, I stayed an extra day. The invitation said I could invite a guest, so I invited Hanna as my guest and the time slot we picked was for 2pm (the last scheduled time slot). This was also the time slot that Martin, his mum and dad, Jerome, Ian, Colin and Terry, along with their partners or guests, had picked. Steve had booked 11 am.

As I had my dog at Hanna’s over Christmas, her daughter, Isabel, looked after her for a few hours. We left at 11 am and got a taxi to Newbury Park. From there to Liverpool Street and then to White Hart Lane. Arrived at about 12.10.

As we were on the train approaching WHL, we noticed the dome dwarfing the surrounding buildings. As we left and started walking up White Hart Lane, maneuvering ourselves through the dog mess and litter (sadly, a common occurrence at N17), past, what looked like attempts to create a small garden structure in the pavement, but was just an unkempt jungle, we finally reached the High Road. Looking across to where the old stadium had been for 118 years the view that greeted us was a magnificent homage to the greatest football club in the world. After being mesmerised for, what seemed like an eternity, we finally started walking up the High road. At last we arrived outside this spectacular creation. You didn’t know whether to jump for joy, bow or just go wobbly at the knees. Whatever one decides, it dwarfed those that were on the sidewalk before it, also looking upwards towards their/ our new home (home-away-from-home).

Once the goose bumps had started to go, we then look around the stadium and took pictures. Then a quick visit to the Spurs shop, bought a Beenie hat and a Spurs shirt. Paid for it (no cash allowed) and then went for a cappuccino near the stadium.

One thing it made me think of when looking at our impressive stadium, was that somebody had lifted Buckingham Palace from its elegant surroundings and dropped it in the middle of an unkempt derelict council estate. Maybe that is the next thing on the agenda for the local council, a bit of sprucing up so that visitors to the great Spurs monument that sits proudly in N17, can be proud, not just of the stadium, but what surrounds it.

After our refreshments, we made our way to the stadium’s main front entrance (where the West Stand Premium members will enter on match days), through the doors, bag search, and then instructed to go to the reception desk. There they asked for my name, and my guest’s name, then they gave me a slip of paper with my seat number on it, row and the section it is located at. We were both tagged, and then told to go up the escalators and to floor 3, but also we should look around floor two as we could use both dining areas. As we went up the escalators, there was a glass partition between us and the High road, which gave us an excellent view of the buildings opposite, the surrounding area and eventually the tops of the buildings (as the escalators took us upwards).

On level 3 we met Latisha, the Premium Admin Assistant, a lovely lady, who took us to my seat. There she left us to look around. The Premium staff are so helpful and polite.

My seat was just on the bend, overlooking the corner flag area (but not entirely on the corner, if you know what I mean?). I thought it was a magnificent view, and a brilliant piece of architecture. Far better than Wembley or any other stadium I had been to, here or in Europe. I tried out my padded seat, only one row was in front of me. I was the first seat in my row (easy to get out without disturbing everybody else). The seats had cup holders in front of them and plenty of leg room (actually somebody could pass you without you getting up). I then took a load of photos, and then Hanna took some pictures of me in my seat. I spied Martin and the others and went over to talk to them. Introductions all around and discussed the stadium/ our seats. Spoke to other seat holders and then moved to the lounge/ dining area. It was massive, and there were two floors we could use. Smooth, relaxing chairs or stools for one to sit on and chat before, half-time or afterwards. We would be entitled to enter the ground three hours before and stay two hours following the final shitle. The food will be help-yourself-no-limits; this is what we were told. Free drinks at half-time and free programmes. There was also high-class restaurants’ dotted around the Premium areas (West and East Stands), and you could book a seat – at a price – for you and your guests. The menu will be designed by top chefs’.

We joked before our visit whether we would be served Champagne, tea or coffee and a few biscuits, we got neither.

The view of the pitch from your seat, and outside of the stadium (from inside) was breath-taking, as I had previously said. I thought the package I purchased was well worth it. And of course, the new friends’ one will make there. As I have always done wherever I have sat; home, away or abroad.

Another quick look at the stadium, our seats, then a another check on the lounges on both floors, a look in the toilets (they have TV screens in them, so if you pop in for a quick pee or something more energetic then you can keep an eye on what is going on in the arena). They thought of everything. There are much more expensive seats (the dearest are £15,000 each) and of course Boxes. One wonders, going by what I will be getting, whether the dearer seats will have anybody on standby to wipe their arses when going for a quick shifty in the Spurs little-big-boys(or girls)-room. You never know what such businesses will do to entice one to purchase their expensive packages, but whatever they do it is not within my realms of reality.

Finally, an attendant came along and said that it was 3pm and it was time to go. We left, down the escalators and outside. Said our goodbyes and then went to White Hart Lane station. From there back to Newbury Park. Got a taxi from there to Hanna’s house, had something to eat and then finally left for home. Got home at 8.10 pm. What an exhausting couple of days. But the exhaustion was well worth it. A good Christmas, three good results (Everton, Bournemouth & Cardiff… don’t mention the war… erm, Wolves!) and an enjoyable look around the new stadium, my seat and grazing area (as they call it). What more can a Spurs fan ask for? (how about a cup or two? Cheers, I don’t mind if I do!).

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.

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