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Government Should Do More To Help Spurs Say in Tottenham

BY Boon Koh
Published 18 January 2011

If you are a football fan, live in Tottenham or Stratford, you’ve probably already heard about Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s bid to take over the 2012 Olympic Stadium after the summer games. Even if you aren’t a football fan and located in other parts of London, you might have heard snippets of this brewing controversy.

At the heart of the matter is the sale of the Olympic Stadium after the games. The government is keen to avoid a white elephant a la Beijing or Athens, but it seems through several twists and turns, no-one wants the brand new state of the art Olympics stadium as it is. That’s right; £500m spent constructing the stadium, and only two parties are interested the stadium: West Ham and Spurs.

The controversy is that the Spurs plan involves literally tearing most of the £500m just-built stadium down, and rebuilding it. That is because the plans for the Olympic Stadium has been designed with a wide athletics track and seating that is too far away from the pitch in the middle to be suitable for football games. And Spurs bidding for the Olympic Stadium is a farce by itself; football teams normally relocate to another spot in the same area, as traditionally they have strong supporter roots in the area they developed in. Arsenal a couple of years ago relocated to the Emirates Stadium, which is just literally a stone’s throw away from their old Highbury Stadium in North London. If Spurs were to move to the Olympic Site, they will literally be just a few minutes away from their London rivals West Ham ground, Upton Park.

So how has this come about? Well, Spurs are being stymied in their plans to build a new stadium in North East London or redevelop their existing one. The council of Haringey and the residents there are making it difficult; lots of red tape here and there and interest groups and angry Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) local residents making it difficult and expensive for Spurs to redevelop and stay in Haringey. So they’ve done what any right-minded business would do and seek alternative plans. Only now, leader of Haringey Council Claire Kober is demanding that the Olympic Committee reject Spurs bid for the Olympic Stadium, so to “force” them back to redeveloping their White Hart Lane at Tottenham.

Claire Kober said: “Spurs staying in Haringey is good for Tottenham, good for Haringey, and for London as a whole. It Spurs leave, not just Tottenham will miss out.”

For me, this just smacks of pure nonsense. If Claire and the rest of Haringey want to keep Spurs in the area, they should be doing all they can to cut the red tape and accommodate the expansion of a thriving club in the area. Certainly a bigger White Hart Lane will draw in more customers to businesses in the local area on match days as well as create new jobs. If redevelopment was possible within the area, I am sure Spurs would prefer to stay than to move to their rival’s backyard and have to buy an Olympic stadium only to demolish it.

If David Cameron is reading this, its time to get back to his real Conservative roots and really cut all the government bureaucracy that drives businesses up the wall trying to comply with. Its what’s driving Spurs to make a controversial last-choice bid for the Olympic Stadium, what’s driving the shortage of new housebuilding in London, and whats driving small business up the wall.

  • http://thelondoneer.blogspot.com The Londoneer

    Frankly I don’t think the Government has any place involving itself in football. The whole professional game is completely screwed up these days moneywise – if football clubs were operated along the lines of regular businesses they’d have all gone to the wall years ago. I blame Jimmy Hill…