The never-ending saga of Tottenham’s new stadium, the Northumberland Development Project has taken another twist with reports that the club is now considering a redesign which would increase the ground capacity from 56,000 to 65,000 with alterations to make the stadium suitable for football and for NFL.
Reports earlier in the year that Tottenham had changed architects to Populous, the designers of the Emirates and the Olympic Stadium were explained as a matter of making some internal alterations to the new stadium. It would appear, however, that the changes would have a much greater impact.
A report in the Mail on Sunday, suggests that the new plans to build a multi-purpose stadium are linked to making the ground suitable for use for American Football with the possibility of a franchise for NFL in London in the future. In recent years the NFL have played one match at Wembley each season but this afternoon there will be a second game as Jacksonville Jaguars take on San Francisco 49ers. Next year there are to be three NFL matches played at Wembley where they are contracted to play until 2016.
Tottenham have growing links in America having undertaken two pre-season tours to the US in recent times and they have developed business and sporting associations in the country with the 49ers taking part in a community event with the Spurs Foundation at the Tottenham training ground on this current trip.
New Stadium Plans
The new plans that are being worked on would further increase the ground capacity to 65,000, would create a much higher stadium, greatly changed from the one for which Tottenham have planning permission and could incorporate a sliding pitch to protect the pitch when being used for NFL matches.
The NFL has a growing following in the UK and are thought to be interested in developing a franchise in London. This move by Tottenham could put them in pole position if a London-based franchise were to materialise in the future.
From a purely footballing point of view and as a Spurs supporter, the drawing up of new plans:
- will further delay the development of the new stadium,
- will greatly increase the costs if reports on the inclusion of a retractable pitch are accurate
- such drastic alterations to the plans will probably require Tottenham to go through another lengthy process of a new planning application without any guarantee that they will be successful.
- will attract further opposition from the many groups who have already attempted to block Spurs ground development plans
- will make the date for the completion of Tottenham’s new stadium some considerable time away.
Tottenham have been left behind in stadium development – Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Manchester City have grounds with a capacity of over 47,000 with West Ham due to move unto the Olympic Stadium in the coming years. News of further possible lengthy delays in the development of Spurs’ new stadium is not what Spurs fans wanted to hear especially as there won’t be any quick resolution to the situation with the delays to the start of any construction work being in terms of years rather than months.