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Should Tottenham Hotspur Play Its Champions League Matches At Wembley?

 Should Tottenham Hotspur Play Its Champions League Matches At Wembley?

Many Tottenham Hotspur supporters must be giddy with delight knowing who their opponents will be during their first ever entry into the Champions League group stage. Spurs will be facing current Champions League title holders Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and Dutch champions FC Twente, who were formerly managed by Steve McClaren.

The anticipation is already building for Tottenham’s matches against these three very tough European opponents. But the shame of the matter is that Tottenham’s capacity at White Hart Lane is only 36,310. And that capacity may be reduced slightly to adhere with UEFA’s strict guidelines in terms of advertising boards. Oftentimes in grounds where the seats are close to the pitch, such as White Hart Lane, the front rows of seating cannot be used as their views of the pitch are blocked by the extreme size of the boards; Plus, some season ticket holders are not guaranteed tickets for games and have to sit in seats other than their usual ones for games.

Financially it would make more sense for Tottenham to consider playing their games at Wembley Stadium, which has a capacity of 90,000. Knowing how passionate Tottenham supporters are, and how many of them are around the world, Spurs would have no issue selling out Wembley for all three of their home matches.

Interestingly, Tottenham’s hated rivals Arsenal played their Champions League matches during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons at Wembley. At the time, Arsenal’s home ground was Highbury which had a capacity of 38,419, almost two thousand more seats than White Hart Lane. But due to UEFA’s restrictions, Arsenal had the choice of reducing the capacity to accommodate the advertising hoardings or they could seek permission to play elsewhere. Arsenal decided to play at Wembley, which then had a capacity of 70,000. As a result, the Gunners were able to double their “home” attendance after they received permission from UEFA and The FA to play the matches there.

The FA’s stance on Arsenal moving to Wembley issue was this: “Bearing in mind Arsenal’s exceptional circumstances, the demands of Uefa and the fact that the matches are in Europe’s premier club competition, the FA feels able to consent – on this occasion.”

As for Tottenham, one of the biggest advantages for them playing their matches at White Hart Lane is the incredible atmosphere which can be like the twelfth man for Spurs.

When you think about it, Tottenham has a decision to consider. What is more important to them? Playing at White Hart Lane where the home-field competitive advantage may help them advance to the knockout stage, or moving their home matches to Wembley where the atmosphere will not be as intimidating for the away teams but where Tottenham Hotspur can generate far greater revenues? The bottom line is how good does Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp thinks this team is. If they think they’re capable of qualifying to the next round, they should play at home. If they feel they’re going to have a tough time, maybe they should “cash in their chips” now, seek permission to play their games at Wembley and, if approved, use the revenues generated to buy better players in the January transfer window to ensure they qualify for the Champions League next season?

Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground is still a few years from being ready so it may be wise for Tottenham to consider seeking permission to move its Champions League matches to Wembley. Yes, it wouldn’t be the same atmosphere as White Hart Lane. But if Tottenham could create the atmosphere like they did at Wembley for the 2008 Carling Cup Final when they beat Chelsea 2-1, then it’s definitely worth considering.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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33 Responses to Should Tottenham Hotspur Play Its Champions League Matches At Wembley?

  1. sam says:

    Does it really matter? They’re going to get destroyed by Inter and Bremen..

  2. liamyid says:

    I would prefer to stay at WHL for the atmosphere, i doubt it’ll even be brought up, WHL has a great european history and you can feel it on nights like last night. We would bang out wembley easily, we have a massive fan base and could create a good atmosphere but we’d lose a bit of home advantage. And to Sam,I’m loving all this stick, must mean other teams are starting worry a bit, we’ve got a good chance in all the games apart from inter away, the others we are capable of winning, were actually a very good team nowadays!!!

  3. JimB says:

    Quick answer – No!

    WHL is a special place on European nights. You can sense the history and the great games and players of the past. It would be a terrible shame to sell out and play at Wembley instead.

    @ sam the gooner – no club will get an easy game at WHL. Not even Inter. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City all found that out to their cost last season (Man City this season too).

    It’s a tough group but Spurs have a chance. Inter will be clear favourites to finish top but Werder aren’t unbeatable. They’ve lost Ozil and they only just scraped through against Samp. Twente will also be a tough opponent – though they have lost last season’s league winning manager (as have Inter).

  4. If our stadium held 500, my answer would be no.

  5. MonkeyD says:

    Wembley would be good it would mean I could get a ticket. But I think because of how Tottenham’s membership system works it will not be a possibilty. I also think the WHL pitch is alot better and our team knows how to play on it. There’s no need to put ourselfs in an unnecessary disadvantage, by playing on an inconsistant pitch with unfamiliar dimensions.

    • Kevin says:

      What type of member are you? I’m a Lilywhite and am crossing my fingers hoping I can book an Inter Milan ticket!

  6. EngNor says:

    And lose the atmosphere of The Lane, it`s our extra man. NO!

  7. Hoe says:

    Don’t think the Atmosphere is an issue, I have been to Wembley when we played Chelsea and the atmosphere was great there too, I would however sincerely miss WHL and will forever more once replaced, there is just something so special there, memories, parties and nights I can’t remember (must have been good).

  8. MennoDaddy says:

    No. Effing. Way.

    And for one reason: the pitch at Wembley has proven to be terrible, time and time again. I’d rather see Inter have to come to WHL than dilute the atmosphere for the sake of making a few extra pounds.

    • Dave C says:

      @ MenoDaddy: This is EXACTLY what I thought as soon as I read the headline. Can’t believe no-one else brought it up sooner.

      Wembley is currently infamous for it’s bad pitch. Tottenham have players like Ledley King, Aaron Lennon and Jonathan Woodgate (is he still alive?) who could tear a hamstring/twist a knee just getting out of bed in the morning. Put those two things together and you have a bad combination!

  9. Steve H in SLC says:

    How much would Tottenham have to pay to play at Wembley?

    Three games would be about 90,000 extra seats. I would guess you are talking about an extra 2-3 million pounds. Would that even be enough to buy a decent player?

  10. Fee says:

    And suffer the embarrassment of the not being able to fill it?… YES!
    As much as I hate them it would be a mistake to play Wembley, you lose home advantage and the Wembley pitch is scandalous.
    When Arsenal did it it was a nice idea on paper but in practice it didn’t work out. Once we went back to Highbury for the Champions League it was so much better, over sized advertising hoardings be damned!

  11. davspurs says:

    Are you Arsenal in disguise we coulnt beat Portsmouth on that shity pitch. I no its bean ripped up but you cant trust it for the next twenty years .We may as well play at Arsenal ground and the money the thirty six thousand pay his worth more than Wembley ha. this is a no brainer.

  12. Jason says:

    I don’t think anyone should play at Wembley. That pitch is terrible. White Hart Lane deserves some champions league matches.

    Come on you Spurs!

  13. Scott Alexander says:

    so that would be about £10 million in ticket sales right? How much would Spurs actually keep of it?

  14. Panda says:

    To maximize profits…I could see them move to Wembley for the Inter match since that should be a big enough draw.

    Question though…Stamford Bridge only seats around 40K. Why aren’t Chelsea given the same opportunity to move to Wembley? Not that games sell out for group stage game anyway…

    • The Gaffer says:

      Wembley is in north London… not too far away from Arsenal and Tottenham. Chelsea is in west London which is much further away.

      Chelsea have been talking about moving their ground somewhere else for a while. But that doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Jeff says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a clause that could force Chelsea to change its name to something else if they move away from Stamford Bridge? At the same token, with a railroad track on one side of the stadium, and loads of residential complex in the neighborhood, I doubt Stamford Bridge could get any space to expand. As for Tottenham, it’s really an interesting dilema because there maybe a chance for a big financial opportunity to play at Wembley, yet with the continuous issue with Wembley’s turf, I would be worried about playing there instead of White Hart Lane.

  15. Kadek d'lilywhite says:

    Home sweet Home..i guess that’s mean something.I agree with a comment said that WHL need champion league matches,stadium of us for the lilywhite’s,stadium of pride maybe our legend Bill Nick would be smile,this is our history to get a game here,so..what else?

  16. I doubt the additional income would offset the uncertainty of the Wembley pitch coupled with losing home advantage.
    Its worth considering but I dont think its the right move for Tottenham.

  17. Smokey Bacon says:

    This just about sums up the champions league….milk it for all its worth. Whatever happened to the pride of simply playing in Europe? If anything detests me about the modern game it is this sort of thing. It’s just about ok for a non-league team drawn against Man Utd in the FA Cup 3rd round to switch the tie to Old Trafford. But not this. Let real Spurs fans enjoy their home games at WHL rather than have the bandwaggon jumpers show up for a day out at Wembley. Wembley should be for England games, the Cup finals and play-off finals. No More.

  18. col says:

    Absolutely not Wembleys pitch is a joke,when Ar5enal got ideas and used Wembley as a home[drifters that they are] their results were poor and they seemed to lose the home advantage ,almost as if the away teams seemed to lift their games at Wembley.When teams come to White Hart Lane the roar of the home fans can lift Spurs and intimidate the visitors,the atmosphere at Spurs is electric[not that Sam the gooner ]would know what atmosphere meant him being used to the plastic library.As for Spurs chances in champions league,we are in it and will have a go,no ones name is on the trophy yet and we have often surprised some of the so called big teams and i think we have a good chance of getting through and i would not want to be going with pretty football babes to the Ukraine if my team kept getting turned over there.So we shall see but remember there were goons who said we could,nt win the cup winners cup or the UEFA CUP BUT WE DID AND THEY DID,NT

  19. go u spurs says:

    why dont they ask people that really count? Harry and the players!!!!
    Its not always about money, im sure the players would all choose to play the champions leauge games at WHL.
    I would love to watch spurs play at the lane, there is something special about that ground and im sure the place will be a buzz on european night.

  20. Derrick says:

    I’d like to see Tottenham play in Wembley.

  21. Bob Norwich says:

    I’d like to see us play at the Emirates & then destroy it afterwards

  22. Jay Cam says:

    White Hart Lane has become a fortress and a huge home field advantage over the past season. No, I would not want my team to play away from home for their home games.

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