In the past three years Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has played in three different ‘home’ stadiums. WHL, Wembley and now The Tottenham stadium. Four if you want to include the MK Dons stadium.
So, what was it like going from one home to another and then another, our final resting place?
We were at White Hart Lane for just under 118 years, I must admit here that I haven’t been going to that ground for that long (not because of disloyalty or anything like that), but because of the simple reason my age wouldn’t stretch that far back, close, but not entirely. I was 61 years out, I am afraid (or maybe I shouldn’t be ‘afraid,’ as it probably means I can wallow in the new stadium for a bit longer). Anyway, I am digressing.
Since my time, I’ve seen so many wonders at the old ground, and many wonders even before my time at the Lane (FA Cups’, League title etc.), but in my time I’ve seen us win the double, trophies galore, European conquests and much more. I started off standing at different locations at the Lane, stood on the famous Shelf, became a Spurs Member and then a season ticket holder. All in the space of 58 years.
WHL was a home away from home. I made friends there and have some fantastic memories of that wonderful stadium. Of course, there was sadness as well, such as being relegated to Division 2. I saw us go from Division One to Premier league football, I saw us go into near bankruptcy, survive and rebuild. Do I miss WHL? You bet, but do I regret us moving on? No. White Hart Lane had gone beyond its sell-by-date. Our stadium wasn’t fit for the modern era. An era that has seen hospitality lounges, Boxes, rich folks coming aboard with all their lolly, fans become less poorer than those that went before them, season ticket applications hitting the roof and English Premier football turning into a global billion-pound industry. No, it wasn’t fit for purpose. But whoever graced that beautiful stadium will take a chunk of it fixed in their memories. What we got in its place was a magnificent 21st century stadium and fit for purpose.
At the beginning of the season 2017/18, we moved to Wembley for what was supposed to be a year. Many fans weren’t happy, some accepted and others couldn’t give a fig. Even though I couldn’t wait to move to our new ground, I accepted Wembley as a temporary measure, and to be fair, it was nearer for me to travel than the Lane. And my attitude was that it will take as long as it takes.
When I was in the last season at White Hart Lane, I had a simple choice, to become a season ticket holder at the new stadium or go upmarket and become a Premium/ hospitality Ticket holder. Slightly dearer than a season ticket, but there were perks. Such as one price covered all home matches (season ticket holders’ tickets’ only included home matches, cup matches were extra), free programmes and food, with access to top restaurants. Plus hospitality areas for one to rest before a game and afterwards. The deciding factor was my age and wanting comfort. So I become a Premium member (and never regretted it).
I found the facilities at Wembley ok and of course the Premium staff excellent in their handling of our concerns. Always there when needed or we wanted help. Even though the Premium staff where excellent, the Wembley staff didn’t have that connection with us, empathy even (it wasn’t our real home, and it felt like it). Wembley had bigger fish to fry (understandable really). I found the Stewards treating us like aliens and the security the same. But the hospitality lounge did what it said on the tin. When the final whistle came for us to leave and go back ‘home,’ we certainly didn’t shed a tear, but no doubt we’ll take some memories back with us, after all, Wembley had become part of our history now.
Now comes the piece de resistance, what we Spurs fans have been waiting for. The Phoenix rising from the ashes, a stadium fit for purpose, a stadium for the 21st century and beyond. And that finally happened on the 3 April 2019. It has been etched into my memory, and what a night and beginning it was. OK, let us be honest, it wasn’t mine or many others first trip to the new stadium. Mine started before Christmas when I, along with others, were invited to visit the new stadium to have a look around and get a gander at our seats and the hospitality area. And what a sight it was (it made your mouth water). But even that wasn’t it. No, there were two friendlies before the 3rd April. Spurs youngsters’ played at the new stadium and a bit later on we had Spurs old boys against Inter Milan’s stiffs. Both were excitable and grand occasions. Both where test runs for the opening of the stadium. And the facilities, excellent. Couldn’t have wished for more.
That magical date finally arrived and we were all excited and exhilarated at the prospect of finally and irrefutably going home.
And we weren’t let down, off or on the field. We beat Palace 2-0, on a fun fare driven kaleidoscopic bonanza night. As for the hospitality, it was the tops. The staff, Premium/ Hospitality staff and catering staff, were top notch. Of course, there were a few teasing problems, but expected really.
I arrived 3 hours before to take in the atmosphere, but then again I always arrive early (my day starts at Tottenham as early as feasible). It ended with an hour stay (with added cakes and drinks thrown in) and then a short walk to White Hart Lane station and from there, an hour and a forty minutes drive to home.
As for the security and Stewards, all part of the Tottenham family and all tried to make our way through security and checks as pleasant and painless as possible.
Was it all worth it? You bet it was, and there is more to come. Now they’ve got it right with the stadium, our next big task will be to see our team catapult from our fourth-placed position into a trophy and Premium League title-winning, aspirational one. Easy really! Aren’t you all glad that you are a Spurs supporters, and those that are not… it is never too late.
Now 2018/19 season is over, we just have to bide our time and watch the clock tick by until we finally again grace our home away from home. It really can’t get any better than that.
Our first match is at the beginning of this up-and-coming season will be a friendly against Inter Milan, and of course, I shall be there.
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