Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium Tour

tottenham

Well it has been a while since we went on a stadium tour. Probably too busy watching Leicester win their first Premier League trophy.

Anyway, it is Saturday and I decide to make my way back up to North London but this time to Tottenham Hotspurs. In terms of transport it was not as straight forward as I thought it would be. Got to Waterloo and then jump onto the Jubilee Line to Green Park. Then we take the Victoria line towards Seven Sisters. Finally, we take a train to White Hart Lane. A bit of a trek but we got to the stadium just 5min before the tour started.

Tottenham Football Club

Founded in 1882, Tottenham won the FA Cup for the first time in 1901, making them the only non-League club to do so since the formation of the Football League in 1888. Tottenham were the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double, winning both competitions in the 1960–61 season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, in 1963 they became the first British club to win a UEFA club competition – the European Cup Winners’ Cup. In 1967, Spurs won the FA Cup for a third time in the 1960s. In the 1970s Tottenham won the League Cup on two occasions and were the inaugural winner of the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies. In the 1980s Spurs won several trophies: the FA Cup twice, FA Community Shield and the UEFA Cup in 1984. In the 1990s the club won the FA Cup and the League Cup. When they won the League Cup once more in 2008, it meant that they had won a major trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United.

White Hart Lane Stadium history

White Hart Lane is an all-seater football stadium located in Tottenham, London, UK. Built in 1899, it is the home of Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and, after numerous renovations, the stadium has a capacity of 36,284. However, this is to decrease for the 2016–17 season to allow for the new stadium to be completed on time.

Along with housing Tottenham, the stadium, which is known amongst fans as the Lane, has also been selected for England national football matches and England under-21 football matches. White Hart Lane held capacity records in the early 1960s with numbers entering the 70,000s but as seating increased in popularity, the stadium has levelled out to a modest number in relation to other Premier League clubs. The record attendance remains an FA Cup tie on 5 March 1938 against Sunderland with the attendance being recorded at 75,038

White Hart Lane underwent redevelopment in the early 20th century with stadium developer, Archibald Leitch, designing a mainly square stadium seating 15,300 and incorporating a standing paddock for another 700 fans along with the famous cockerel being placed on the mock-Tudor apex at the end of the 1909–1910 season. Redevelopments continued in the 1910s, with the wooden eastern stand replaced with an enlarged concrete stadium, vastly increasing the stadium capacity to over 50,000. The ground continued to be renovated and in 1925, thanks to the FA Cup win in 1921, both the Paxton Road Stand and Park Lane Stand were enlarged and mostly covered from the elements.

Most British stadium were designed by Leitch. Leitch’s stadia were initially considered functional rather than aesthetically elegant, and were clearly influenced by his early work on industrial buildings. Typically, his stands had two tiers, with criss-crossed steel balustrades at the front of the upper tier, and were covered by a series of pitched roofs, built so that their ends faced onto the playing field; the central roof span would be distinctly larger, and would incorporate a distinctive pediment.

The outer White Hart Lane frame is designed in a rectangular shape, with the inner seating tiers being rounded to maximise the amount of seats possible within the structure. The cockerel is placed upon the West Stand, with the West Stand located on Tottenham High Road, the East Stand being on Worcester Avenue, the North Stand on Paxton Road and the South Stand on Park Lane. The stands are officially named after compass points, but are more colloquially referred to by the road onto which they back

The stadium Tour

My first impression when I saw White Hart Lane was “what a horrible stadium”. It looked really old and dated. To be fair it was a real building site as they are building the new stadium (well needed I understand the Spurs fans). We made our way through Bill Nicholson Way towards the megastore to meet our stadium tour guide. To my surprise they were two of them. Very nice people but lacking of energy (maybe it was too hot -25 degrees!)

We first make our way to the press room. It is quite compact so there can’t be too many tv crews. The manager seats not too far from his translator but the guide tells us that is English is improving by the minute. Next door is a room where the journalists can write their articles.

We then make our way to the VIP lounge with nice boxes but apart from some old shirts and few cups, it looks pretty much to me like a local bar. After being left wandering around for 15 min in the area (not too sure why), we got to go down to the dressing room. The joke is that we cannot access the showers for hygiene reasons but it is no problem in the away dressing room (in fact it was recommended to go their if we had germs). The dressing room is spacious and simple. A simple white board to write the tactics on, few mini bars filled with Lucozades and you are pretty much done. Now, what I loved, was looking at the names on the shirts. So many talented young players. I thought it was refreshing to have a young team doing well this year and if it had not been for Leicester I would have wanted them to win the Premier League.
Then we make the final walk towards the pitch and we get taken back to reception with a view of what the new stadium will look like.
The reality is that I have been really disappointed with this tour. I had high expectations, especially as it is one of the most costly. A club with some much history and the guides had so little to shout about. When I think about the Champions League games with Gareth Bale or Gazza and their fa cup run. Yes disappointed. The Club may argue that it was down to the individuals but I felt a complete lack of history trudging through the stadium. Pretty dull and boring. I do hope they get it right for their new stadium
Some interesting facts from the tour:
  • Coquerel is now 107 years old –  the original is in reception not on the roof
  • New stadium will be 61,000 seater
  • Bill Nicholson is buried with his wife under the pitch. Only 3 people in the world have that privilege. They will be moved under the new pitch.

Official information regarding the stadium tour: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/stadium-tours/classic-tours/

Cost: £20 adult
Stadium architecture: 5/10
Stadium history: 8/10
Stadium Tour: 3/10
Overall mark: 5/10

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