SPORTS

When will Spurs’ new ground open?

Answer: April 3 in London derby versus Crystal Palace*

It’s been a while coming, but London’s newest football stadium will finally host a Premiership game on April 3 when Spurs entertain Crystal Palace. It’s a Wednesday night.

For Tottenham fans it’s bound to be a case of better late than never because the ground really does look something special. But don’t take our word for it. There are some great pictures on the official club website, some of which we feature here.

Also, there is this video with music-only soundtrack.

Will Spurs first game in new ground be on TV?

I posed this question on the internet and, at the time of writing the answer seems to be “no”. Although it should be pointed out that the Radio Times website says it will be shown.

The problem has been that … to give supporters of all teams a chance to make arrangements to attend matches the TV games are scheduled some time in advance. At the time of picking the TV games, it was not clear that Spurs would be able to play their first game in the new stadium on the 3rd, so the fixture was overlooked, it seems.

Anyway, when you get towards the tail-end of the season the TV companies tend to concentrate on the teams in with a chance of winning the league or dropping out of it.

Although, mathematically, Spurs are still in with a chance of winning the league you won’t find many of their fans talking up the prospect.

However, and not surprisingly, there are plenty of fans out there who think an exception should be made and the match should be televised. Maybe by the time you read this there will have been a change of heart, but we wouldn’t bet on it. The match that, to the best of our knowledge, is being shown is Manchester City V Cardiff City. It affects both top and bottom of the league so it makes sense that Sky chose this one.

Social media is alive with conspiracy theories that the TV companies favour close rivals Arsenal (whose first game at the Emirates was televised). It is not in London Inspire’s best interests to bid to prove, or disprove, these theories.

The fact is though that the stadium was due to open last September and there have been a few false dawns since about when it would or wouldn’t open.

It’s our hope here at London Inspire that a way can be found to give the opening a good showing. There’s no doubting it is a big event and, if out-and-out coverage of the game isn’t available, let’s hope the “news” channels give it a reasonable amount of time.

What will the new Spurs ground be called?

At the moment it’s simply the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium though expect that to change once the naming rights have been sold for a sufficiently high sum. Many fans are simply calling it the New White Hart Lane, given it is built on the site of the old one.

What facilities will The Spurs ground have?

Plenty, is the short answer.

Among them is what the club is claiming to be the longest bar in Europe. At 65 metres the Goal Line Bar in the South Stand is said to run the entire width of, you’ve guessed it, the goal line. Does longest bar also mean longest queues to be served? We think not … for one major reason. The new stadium is set to be the world’s first fully cashless stadium.

Everything will be paid for by one of the following: cashless card, mobile, stadium access card, stadium pre-paid card or gift card. Chip and pin will still be required if purchases are more than 30 quid.

So it has the longest bar and is the first completely cashless stadium. But the claims to uniqueness don’t end there. The club’s main shop, the Tottenham Experience, has the largest retail space of any football club in Europe. It even has a 100-seat auditorium area for the staging of special pre- and post-match events.

Also planned is a Sky Walk, which will take participants to the top of the stadium to travel along a glass walkway some 40 metres above pitch level. Finish the walk by abseiling back down to ground level. Not one for fans with vertigo! This one is not ready just yet.

Oh, and let’s not forget there will be the odd football match going on also! The ground is the latest in a long line of new football stadia completed in recent years. We examine this in the article: Does building a new football stadium lead to success?

*Strictly speaking the ground has already opened with an under-18s match to test all the facilities. But the big opening will be for the game against Palace.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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