Spurs To Become Stratford Hotspur?!

By on January 6, 2011

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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.

VOdds

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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9 Comments

  1. Spurs Hardcore

    January 6, 2011 at 10:10 am

    The only thing that’s constant is change. We’re living in a different era and i can understand the reason spurs need to move if necessary. We’re talking about more than $200m savings as compared to rebuilding its existing location. Whose going to bear excessive cost of $200m at the end of the day? It is us at the end of the day – the season ticket holders n wouldn’t it be nice to use the extra cash to invest in world class players? Football is purely business at the end of the day. Mismanaged and the club goes into administration and along goes its proud tradition & history. I’m definitely supporting Spurs for the Olympic Stadium – no question about it…..

  2. Lasse sand

    January 6, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Good article, which I read with great interest. I live in Denmark and I travel over to watch Spurs approximately once a year. I enjoy coming to Tottenham and I love the atmosphere in the local area on matchdays. But I am not totally against a move to the Olympic Stadium. I mean, the things you write about concerts and other use of the stadium would probably also happen at a new WHL! I would just be harder to get people to go there and therefore generate less income.
    I get your point with history and being a football club rather than a franchise, but I am also thinking that clinging on to that could jeopardize our aim to be a big European club. Weather we like it or not – top football is all about money! So I understand the reasons for trying to get a new stadium and also make sure we have a financial sustained football club. It has been done with succes in Copenhagen. FC Copenhagen play in the national stadium (which they own) and there are many concerts, speedway and other stuff there. But the stadium is still regarded as there fottball stadium.

    Well this was just to give another view to your very good article!

    COYS!!!!

  3. Spurs4ever

    January 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

    It’s time to look forward, not back. As a club we’ve given everything to the area, and got SFA in return – even now they are insisting on screwing us over on the section 106. So little of our paying fanbase actually live in Tottenham now, it really isn’t a gut wrenching decision to get away from the under-invested, drug/criminal run streets asap. I’ve been going to WHL for 30 yrs and the decline in the area is for all to see – instead of penalising the club the local authorities should have been chucking money at us to stay, sure we’ll lose a few thousand fans when we move, but they will be easily made up for. Getting into and out of WHL is a nightmare and it’s certainly not worth paying a £200 million premium for. As you can guess I’m all for Stratford and getting out of Tottenham for good. History doesn’t pay the bills, doesn’t make you competitive and means nothing to the future. The World, the area and Football has changed, I don’t want to be stuck in the past, it’s time to move on and look forward, just as the good people that have left the are in the last 30-40 years have done.

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  5. Catcher

    January 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Your article if anything makes us all realise that the whole football market place is changing and for us to move forward maybe infact the Olympic stadium is the only way ahead. If you look at all the teams that have followed this format they have been successful, like FC Copenhagen who had even heard of them until recently !!!!

  6. DaveK

    January 6, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Excellent article. I remember being in a bar in California once and the Angels were playing the Dodgers on TV. I asked a guy what the score was and he said “2-0 to the Bums”. I assumed he was a disgruntled Angels fan (which he was) but the reference to the Bums was because the Dodgers used to be the Brooklyn Dodgers from NYC until the owners deceide to move the franchise to LA. I’m not sure if the “Bums” nickname was created by the Brooklyn fans on account of the move or not, but I can sympathise!

    I too believe that this about positioning the club for a sale which will be inevitable at some stage so I guess the question is who would make a good new owner? Of all the possibilities, maybe AEG would not be so bad, and given the potential business model in terms of events and world-wide distribution capabilities, the debt-burden experienced by Utd. and Liverpool could be avoided.

    In spite of all that, and inspite of the chorus of “football is just a business”, I want us to stay in N.17. Football may be “just a business” to the money-men but it is so much more than that to the fans. Yes true fans want a succesful club, but not at any price.

  7. Spurs Fan

    January 6, 2011 at 11:16 am

    where do these rumours about a 200m saving come from?

    What guarantee’s are Enic or AEG willing to give regarding transfer spend?

    when will Enic run a full consultation with season ticket holders/fans?

    when these and other questions are answered perhaps our fanbase will feel suitably informed to actually make a logical decision rather than everything being based on myth and half truth released to try and sway opinion.

  8. Spurs4ever

    January 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Until a decision is made about the preffered bidder for the Olympic stadium is made, there really is nothing to be consulted about…

    If and when that decision is made and it’s in our favour, then and only then I suspect some form of consultation will occur, however if the result of this consultation isn’t over-whelmingly in favour of staying at WHL then I’d expect to see the business decison to be self-evident.

    As for myths and half-truths, you obviously haven’t been following the Planning process and the need to amend our proposals in face of the opposition from CABE, EH, Hounslow and TFL…all of which have had a massive impact on the final proposal i.e. having to cut the number of new homes down from 400 to 200 and the subsequent loss of profits, the additional demands on the sec 106 have yet to be resolved, but even the local MP believes they are significant and that Spurs should cough up no matter what!!

  9. spurs 4 eva or maybe not

    January 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    i would prefer to stay in n17 but to me the biggest thing is changing the name. im a tottenham hotspurs fan if they change to stratford hotspurs or anything else i wont be a supporter any more im sure like thousands of other supporters.

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