With Tottenham’s new 61,000 seat, $800 million dollar stadium on the way, the club is headed for a big and bright future, in more ways than one. The new stadium will lead to more revenue, and a potential deal to allow the NFL (American football) to host a couple games there is in the works. And while the economic side is looking good, so is the actual football. Spurs have one of the youngest starting lineups in the Premier League, and yet sit in 2nd place in the league. All of this is creating a lot of buzz around the club, and that was just fueled even more when the club recently found out they could play next season’s home fixtures at Wembley’s 90,000 seat-capacity stadium. And yet, Spurs remain indecisive about whether or not to play there. So, why is this?
Well, first of all, the reason Spurs are looking into playing these games at Wembley is because their new stadium isn’t set to be completed until around the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 season. But since construction has started, White Hart Lane, the club’s current stadium, has had parts of it shut down or removed, leaving a much smaller stadium for the club to play in.
Now, why would the club still be indecisive about almost tripling its stadium’s capacity for a season? Well, to start, the reduced stadium size seems to have no effect on performances, as Spurs have taken 41 points of a possible 45 from home, and haven’t lost a single game. This makes them the best club at home this season, 5 points ahead of Chelsea’s 36. They experimented with playing at Wembley in the Champions League, playing their 3 home matches in the group stage there. The results were less than stellar – 1 win and 2 losses left a lot of fans skeptical about how the team would fare playing 19 league games there next season, in addition to any cup fixtures.
To make matters worse, Spurs then crashed out of the Europa League at home to heavy underdogs Gent, as they drew 2-2 (lost on aggregate 3-2). With home results like this, it may not be the best idea to move to Wembley for next season. While it may mean more revenue for the club, it would sacrifice performance. This would be especially killer for Spurs, who have depended on their home form to keep them in 2nd – in contrast to their league-best 41 points at home, they have taken just 18 points away (6th in the league). Based on those numbers, home form has been critical in Spurs’ great league campaign thus far.
So why have Spurs struggled at Wembley. Some say that their opponents are just so inspired by playing at Wembley (a once in a lifetime opportunity for those clubs in other leagues), that they simply outplay Spurs. Others believe the club isn’t made out for a big stadium, much like how West Ham have struggled (READ: West Ham’s struggles in their new home). Others believe the big stage of the Champions League was too much for young players to handle. Whatever the case may be, something just hasn’t clicked for the club.
They will have another chance to prove that Wembley is the smart choice, as they take on Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on April 22. If they can knock of the title-favorites, it may convince chairman Daniel Levy to make the move. However, as of now, I don’t think Spurs should leave White Hart Lane just yet – I think they wait another season to see how their stadium develops. If it is ready in time for the 2018-2019 season, then they can make a seamless switch, without involving Wembley. And if it’s not ready until the next season, they can still play that 2018 season in Wembley, and maybe that extra year of experience will bode for better results.
Whatever Levy decides, Spurs are on the cusp of cracking into England’s big 5 financially, and so the club has a lot to be excited about with their new stadium on the way.
Vote above and let us know what you think in the comments!