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Spurs To Become Stratford Hotspur?!

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I Hope West Ham Win! Not something you’ll hear a Spurs fan say everyday, and I know there are plenty of you out there that are all for the move to the Olympic Stadium but there are a lot of us that don’t want to. While you may think this is just another anti Stratford blog update it’s more than that and I hope even if you’re very pro moving, you’ll appreciate the possibilities of what I’m about to say.

Having spoken to members of the We Are N17 group in recent days I’m sure they will excuse me for publishing some of our thoughts in this blog. One thing you should be aware of is that just because things have gone a little quiet with regards to the campaign doesn’t mean ears aren’t to the ground and progress isn’t being made. Fundamentally the whole process is in limbo at the moment until the end of January when the Olympic Park Legacy Company will make their “preferred bidder” announcement. There are pro’s and con’s for both our joint bid with AEG and West Ham’s bid with Newham Council and if the West Ham bid is successful, the following is inconsequential, but if as it looks, Daniel Levy and the Tottenham board get the decision they want we could witness a massive change in our club.

Let me start with today’s news that the club have appointed Mike Lee. In what capacity isn’t exactly clear but given he’s a PR guru it’s likely he’ll be tasked with bridging relations between the board and those fans opposed to any possible move. The fact he’s already got links with the Olympic board is an added bonus, just like the appointment of Charlie Wijeratnaas back in November. A strange coincidence perhaps but one that makes you wonder if the links they have formed while working on Olympic bids are the main reason for their appointments. While it’s not 100% clear what the spurs board would prefer it certainly seems like they’re edging towards Stratford. If the Olympic Stadium was a bargaining tool as first thought there is little reason to keep it as such, now planning permissions have been granted in N17.

So, lets say we are the preferred bidder, and judging by the financial reasoning and the fact we’re in partnership with a company who seldom loses, it’s highly likely we will be, what will happen next? Well here’s a theory. Not long before Christmas I wrote a piece on the possibility of ENIC selling the club. At the time it wasn’t obvious who they would sell to but I thought it would be to the highest bidder.

If you look a little deeper, and this one is clutching at straws but bare with me, David Beckham joining Spurs, whether it’s on a 3 month loan or the rest of his career can also be seen as a potential building block for new buyers. David Beckham and AEG have long gone hand in hand. He’s a pawn they use for their needs and whether he plays for them in Los Angeles or in London really isn’t any concern of theirs. Told you that one was a little out there but it’s an interesting thought. He’s another who’s influence will no doubt reach as far as the people who make the Olympic Stadium decision.

So back to potential buyers of what we know as Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The most obvious one is already in partnership with us, AEG. A worldwide, massive company who’s business model revolves around buying sports franchises (teams in English), building new stadiums like The Staples Centre and The Home Depot Centre and putting sports teams in them to generate a steady revenue whilst also staging concerts and other events when the team isn’t playing. Rumours have it that AEG would be looking to stage approximately 100 concerts/events a year if they were allowed to buy the Olympic Stadium or whatever stadium is on that patch of land. If that’s true the obvious next step would be to buy Spurs from ENIC and cut out the middle man, making profit and running it like a franchise. They’ve already got a large portfolio of sports teams throughout the world, but Spurs would be the feather in their cap.

This is where we need to be careful. Many people will see this as a good thing. AEG being a very large company, and a well run one at that taking over Spurs would potentially give us more clout in the transfer market etc. However, take another look at it. What would become of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club? I genuinely understand the reason’s why people don’t mind the thought of leaving N17, personally I’m against it but I understand. The problem and the reason why there are differences of opinion is based on tradition and what football means to you.

I support a football club. A football club with a great history. Maybe not the most successful history but a history I’m proud of and for all it’s low points and failures, it’s that which keeps me coming back for more. To go on a slight tangent for a second, have you ever wondered why Americans have huge attendances for their college sport and we don’t? It’s because of the “franchise”. Many people support their college team as we support Spurs. The reason is because they know it’ll always be there. We’ve all heard of the LA Raiders American football team right? Sorry, I should say the Oakland Raiders because that’s what they’re called now. They were the LA Raiders for the 12 years they played in LA. They moved back to Oakland because they were basically offered more money to play in that area and promised a larger stadium. What about the San Jose Earthquakes who we’re partnered with and played a pre-season friendly with last summer. They moved from San Jose in 2006 to Houston to become the Houston Dynamo. A year later a new franchise was set up in San Jose which was allowed to use the name San Jose Earthquakes which means apart from name we didn’t really play the San Jose Earthquakes at all. At least not as their original fans would know them. Take a look at this list to see just how often it happens and while it’s more rare to occur on this side of the pond, it does still happen, the prime example being Wimbledon and MK Dons.

There’s little or no link between teams, sorry, franchises and their fans. Imagine putting your heart and sole into a team, only for them to move to another part of the country. Obviously, the distances we’re talking about aren’t the same as those experienced in America but the principle is the same. When you think about a shiny new stadium in Stratford and you think of all the plus points how do you feel when you think “our” stadium would be used for concerts more often than we would play there? How would you feel if when you went to book tickets for a game you had to search through the lists of various non Spurs related events before you found what you wanted?

The Olympic Stadium wouldn’t be the home of Tottenham Hotspur, or Stratford Hotspur if you prefer, it would be a stadium for everyone, that our once loved football club play in once every other week. We would have very little affiliation with it and lose an identity we all feel today. There’s nothing like having a home, nothing like knowing it’s yours. A new stadium in Stratford wouldn’t just be a new stadium, it would be a change in footballing culture and could bring in the age of the franchise. Something we would live to regret and something I dearly hope doesn’t happen.

Whether you think moving to Stratford is a good idea or not, take a minute to think about the possible repercussions and whether you want that. What looks good at first glance can sometimes, especially when it comes to money and football, be detrimental to the fan. That’s you and me. Just ask Liverpool and United fans how they felt when they saw changes coming and how they feel now. Of course this is all speculation and conjecture and there’s no proof of what I’m saying other than reading between the lines and coming up with 14. However, it’s definitely a possibility so shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. The other possibility is we stay/move and ENIC remain in charge and continue the good work they’ve done so far.

If you want to remain in N17 and build a new stadium there then please take a minute to visit the We Are N17 site and write to people at the club, local government, Olympic committee etc voicing your opinions. It’s looking more and more like Stratford is now Plan A and I believe those seats won’t necessarily be paved with gold, at least not for us fans.

COYS

Submitted by THFC1882

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