Tottenham Hotspur finally confirmed on Friday afternoon that they will, in fact, be playing all of their home games at Wembley Stadium next season while White Hart Lane is demolished and a new stadium built in its place.
That has long been the plan at Spurs but only after a board meeting today could chairman Daniel Levy give his approval that the building of the new 61,000 capacity stadium is on track to open in August 2018. “The Lane means a huge amount to each and every one of us,” Levy said, “and we needed to gain greater certainty on the delivery of the new stadium before we made the final decision.”
This means that Spurs will only have two more games at White Hart Lane in this form: against Arsenal on Sunday and against Manchester United on Sunday 14 May. While plans for an emotional farewell had been put on ice until today’s announcement, the club today confirmed a raft of measures to mark their departure from their traditional home. There will be a ‘Farewell Ceremony’ for the Manchester United game on 14 May, while White Hart Lane season ticket-holders will be given the chance to purchase their plastic seat.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of planning, both on the construction of the new stadium next to the current White Hart Lane site, but also on the temporary move to Wembley. Spurs have been lobbying Brent Council this season to ensure that they can play all of their home games in front of Wembley’s maximum capacity of 90,000 people, rather than 55,000.
Spurs even played their European home games this season at Wembley to prepare the players for the move to Wembley. But they lost to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, beat CSKA Moscow and then were eliminated from the Europa League by KAA Gent at the stadium. Last Saturday at Wembley Spurs lost the FA Cup semi-final to Chelsea 4-2.
This season Spurs have been in brilliant form at White Hart Lane, a run Mauricio Pochettino believes is inspired by the fact this is their last season in the ground. Spurs have won their last 15 straight games there in all competitions, a remarkable record, scoring 49 goals and conceding just nine.
Their new stadium will be adjacent to the current ground but will hold far more people and promises modern features including a one-tier ‘kop’ type stand behind one goal. “We shall return to what will be one of the best stadiums of its kind and the most unique in the world,” Levy said, “playing host to NFL games too, a stadium that will be key to our future growth and success.”