At long last, final word appears to have arrived as to Tottenham’s home for the 2017/18 season.
Though long-rumored and once-seemingly-confirmed, Tottenham’s powers that be were until recently still pondering the possibility of staying at White Hart Lane for another season.
That scenario was far from ideal however. Tottenham’s new stadium is currently being built around — and through — White Hart Lane. Staying on in Spurs’ historic home runs the risk of delaying the construction of their new one.
Wembley was always the ideal scenario for Daniel Levy and company. The only hitch — and what held the deal up with the season rapidly winding down — was an agreement with the Football Association over use of the England national team’s stadium.
With that matter resolved, Tottenham can look forward to playing all of their home fixtures in both the Premier League and, should they qualify, the Champions League.
As White Hart Lane began to be demolished, Tottenham were obliged to play their Champions and Europa League fixtures at Wembley this season. The result were not exactly promising.
First came defeat to Monaco in the UCL group stage, then another to the hands of Bayer Leverkusen. A victory over lowly CSKA Moscow in December qualified them for the consolation of the Europa League, but that brief glimmer of hope was extinguished when Spurs failed to overcome a deficit in the second half of a tie against Gent in February.
Those results suggested that something about Wembley — be it the cavernous, difficult-to-fill interior or the wider pitch — threw Spurs off their game. The 4-2 loss to Chelsea there last Saturday only deepened that impression.
Mauricio Pochettino will be tasked with finding a way through his team’s Wembley jinx. For now, though, he will attempt to wring the most he can from Spurs’ last home games ever at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham have two more matches at home this season, against Arsenal on Sunday then against Manchester United in mid-May. Those represent the biggest obstacles in Spurs’ chase of Chelsea, who currently lead them by four points at the top of the table.
Both occasions, then, will be especially laced with meaning and expectation. These will be the last matches Spurs will play in a stadium they have occupied since 1899. Pochettino will hope that that sense of history will spur his players on to the results needed to overtake Chelsea.