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Open Letter From Tottenham Chairman Shows Strong Support For Olympic Stadium


white hart lane1 Open Letter From Tottenham Chairman Shows Strong Support For Olympic Stadium

White Hart Lane. Photo by Captain Snaps'

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy published an open letter to Spurs fans today to share his feelings regarding the club potentially leaving White Hart Lane and moving to Stratford in East London, home of the Olympic Stadium. The issue has been a derisive one thus far among Tottenham supporters.

In the letter, Levy comes out strongly in favor of a move to Stratford by promising supporters “one of the finest stadiums in the world” and “the best public transport and access for any stadium in Britain.”

Levy also pours cold water on the Northumberland Development Scheme, to build a new stadium adjacent to White Hart Lane, by saying that “no progress has been made with the remaining land owners and this is a potentially costly issue. As such, we have yet to conclude the site assembly. Compulsory Purchase Orders are of course one route to resolving this, but that process is uncertain and can take years to conclude.”

Levy concluded his letter by stating, “You could say that the one choice we do have, is the choice between standing still or moving forward. I know what my choice is.”

Despite Levy and the club coming out strongly in favor of the move to Stratford, he does add that if Tottenham is accepted as the winning bid for the Olympic Stadium that “we shall engage with and fully consult our supporters.”

Here is the open letter in full:

Dear Supporter

I write to update you on the Club’s stadium plans. I am conscious that there has been an exceptional amount of coverage on this subject over the past couple of weeks. We submitted our final bid for the Olympic Stadium site at noon today and I should, therefore, like to outline our proposals and to update you on the position of the Northumberland Development Scheme (NDP).

Our proposals for the Olympic Stadium site include an iconic 60,000 seater stadium, the construction of which is fully financially guaranteed. It is designed along the lines of that which we incorporated in our planning application for the NDP, with a single tier end and seats close to the action on the pitch. It would rank amongst the finest in the world and deliver one of the best fan experiences anywhere in Europe. It would also host major concerts and other sporting and cultural events to be delivered as part of a year-round programme by our partner in the bid, AEG, the operators of The O2.

The proposals include the re-use of the existing infrastructure in order to maximize the benefit of the public investment to date. Surrounded by an exceptional public realm which would host community-focussed events and activities, the stadium would benefit from the best public transport and access for any stadium in Britain and our plans also include a major tourist attraction based around extreme sports and incorporating specialist sports retailing, restaurants, cafes and bars.

We proposed a comprehensive athletics legacy which included facilitating a permanent 25,000-seat athletics venue at Crystal Palace, with the ability to convert to 40,000 for a World Championship, along with support for grassroots athletics.

The easiest option for us would undoubtedly have been to bid for the Olympic Stadium site with a retained athletics track. But it would have been the wrong option. The front row seats in the Olympic Stadium with a retained athletics track will be up to 45m from the pitch; in our stadium design they would be 8m from the action.

Football and athletics cannot co-exist successfully in the same stadium. There are examples all over the world of where clubs have removed tracks or moved stadiums simply because of the poor spectator experience and the lack of sustainability in the long-term due to decreasing attendances. We never considered for one moment placing our fans in such a stadium environment.

The decision now rests with the Olympic Park Legacy Company as to who they will select as their preferred bidder, with whom they would then enter into detailed negotiations in order to reach a final agreement. This is scheduled to be announced following an OPLC Board meeting on 28 January 2011. As I have stated previously, should we be selected as the preferred bidder, we shall engage with and fully consult our supporters.

In respect of the NDP, the S106, the planning agreement required before full planning consent can be issued, has been signed by ourselves, Haringey Council and Transport for London and is in the process of being signed by the relevant financial institutions.

That said, I must once again repeat the concerns we have about the viability and deliverability of the NDP. The cost of consent has been high. This is not attributable to any one stakeholder, but is rather the result of the cumulative nature of the various obligations. We have worked well in partnership with Haringey Council and I should like to thank them for their support in reaching this stage in the process.

No progress has been made with the remaining land owners and this is a potentially costly issue. As such, we have yet to conclude the site assembly. Compulsory Purchase Orders are of course one route to resolving this, but that process is uncertain and can take years to conclude.

So, in some ways much has happened and in others, we are still determining new stadium plans.

Our guiding principles remain the same – we are committed to taking this Club to the next level and an increased capacity stadium is central to that intention; and we have to seek a stadium solution which does not undermine the financial stability of the Club or its ability to continue to invest in the First Team.

If you look at the stadium capacities of the top 20 clubs in Europe, they all exceed ours. The new Financial Fair Play rules will mean that we shall only be able to outlay income generated through the activities of the Club – increased match day revenues play a major role in a club’s finances and we need to ensure that we are in a position to thrive and to continue to compete at the highest level.

Perhaps more importantly, we now have over 35,000 fans on the paid for waiting list for season tickets. It is an astonishing figure and a real reminder of the strength of support for this Club and the hunger there is to come and see the team playing some of the most attractive and exciting football in the Premier League and in European competition.

I am ever conscious of the feelings of our fans – on all fronts. I have never made any secret of the fact that I am ambitious on behalf of this Club and our fans. You could say that the one choice we do have , is the choice between standing still or moving forward. I know what my choice is and, judging from the emails we receive at the Club, you join me in wanting to see our Club progress. A new stadium is critical to our continued success. I shall keep you updated and thank you for all your support.

In the meantime we have a season to be getting on with and some fantastic football to enjoy.

Yours,

Daniel

What do you think? Based on the arguments that Levy outlines in the above open letter, has your opinion regarding whether Tottenham should move to the Olympic Stadium changed or not? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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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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21 Responses to Open Letter From Tottenham Chairman Shows Strong Support For Olympic Stadium

  1. SpursSi says:

    Hats off to Daniel, I am Spurs and all for us moving, history is what it exactly is HISTORY… let’s look to the future I support Spurs… I don’t care (as long as it’s London) where they play – so much easier to get to the Olympic park and not that shit hole of a place that is tottenham, ok if I had a afro or wanted to eat a kebab bar that it’s a horrible place… hats of to levy he wants us to be a mega club and think of the millions we would save and then can spend on the team!

    • trickybrkn says:

      Wow… racist Spurs support in the US… NICE ONE Spuds…

    • werer says:

      Have you ever been to east ham where west ham play !!! Crappiest place in London, east end a complete poo hole wont see an Englishman within a mile unless its match day.

      • trickybrkn says:

        Xenophobic as well it seems.

        Yes the East end is a hub of multi cultural Britain. And I think you’ll find most are citizens and THUS ENGLISH.

  2. Matt T. says:

    As a US fan, I really don’t care where they play. I understand for fans in the area it’s a different story.

    • trickybrkn says:

      and who says Americans have no understanding or appreciation of history.

      • Joe says:

        I’m an American fan who thinks this is a complete shame. Part of what attracted me to Spurs in the first place was how devoted they seemed to their history, their old unique stadium, and the neighborhood they’d always become home. If they move and basically become Arsenal East, I’m finding a new team to root for. I think they’ll be surprised to see how many of their London supporters feel the same way.

    • warren says:

      I understand where you’re coming from Matt (the land of the movable pro sport franchise) but in English, and most other countries’, football, the location is very important. If Spurs move to Stratford, I don’t see how they would still be Tottenham Hotspur as Tottenham is a specific area of London. It’s not as extreme as Wimbledon FC’s move to Milton Keynes a while back (they had to rename themselves MK Dons) but it’s not great.

  3. dlink09 says:

    hmm.. he forgot to mentio,n name has to be changed from Tottenham Spurs to Stratford Spurs.. lawsuit in waiting from MP

  4. trickybrkn says:

    Gee then why no move to a cow patch up in Herts. Right off the M1 and all.

    FFS… I get that football may be foreign to some of the readers here, but why not put the Yankees in Queens… Big patch of land near Citifield. Just rip down all that ‘crap’ from the World’s Fair.

    • Maybee says:

      I think this issue (like the Liverpool ownership issue) shows the deep cultural divide between the most Americans and the English when it comes to sports. American sports franchises change cities all the time. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angles and became the LA Dodgers, and only those in Brooklyn (a very small percentage their overall fanbase, really) even noticed. The concept of sports as a community with a history and a place is literally foreign to Americans. For us, sadly, it is just a game.

      • trickybrkn says:

        Ok well Brooklyn is really poor example, basketball teams moving is better.
        Bobcats, Jazz, I have actually lost count of how many have moved and where…

        The other issue is that clubs that move move into other teams territory…

        Its not London Hotspud, its Tottenham. I also don’t wanna see West Ham move, but at least its really West Ham territory. And of course Leyton Orient. But most WHUFC support have a soft spot for the O’s, not so much for THS

      • EK says:

        Maybee,
        Respectfully disagree that history and place is foreign to Americans. Look at the uproar when the Colts left Baltimore, or when the Browns left Cleveland (for Baltimore, ironically). Back in the 90′s the Red Sox wanted out of Fenway, and everyone in Boston went nuts. The fans of the Celtics and Bruins are still not yet over the demolition of the Garden. And to your example, even though it was over 50 years ago and the team was replaced (by the Mets) people still complain about the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. For franchises that have been around a while, like Tottenham or the Red Sox, it’s a big deal. For others, like the Charlotte Hornets, or (possibly soon) the Jacksonville Jaguars, you’re not going to see that kind of uproar.

  5. Maybee says:

    I know, right?

  6. Andy K says:

    This is probably a done deal. Even if the Olympic Park Legacy Committee accept the West Ham bid, it is non-binding and can be overturned by the Mayor of London and the British government and awarded to the other bidder. West Ham (with all due respect) will not be able to fill a 60,000 seat stadium week in and week out. Already they are talking about whole families getting into games for the price of a single ticket and giving tickets away to local schools – hardly a way to make this a profitable project.
    Tottenham will sell out the corporate boxes and attract fans not just from all over London, but from Europe if the Eurostar train starts to make Stratford a regular stop.

    As a lifelong Spurs fan I don’t like this, but it is going to happen. Read the letter from Levy – he is offering so much more for this deal to happen than the Sullivan/Gold team at West Ham. By the time it takes place, the crying over the Olympic Stadium being demolished will be long forgotten and the British public will have found some other headline to protest about.

    • trickybrkn says:

      Where did you read that Eurostar trains will stop at Strafford? Cause on the Eurostar site it says they never will.

      As for Tottenham having a larger fan base then West Ham. Just wrong. The local council backs West Ham’s bid and in fact is loaning the team 40 million.

      If anything West Ham have worked with locals to meet everyone’s needs. Tottenham has assaulted the issue with arrogance and hubris and a very large case of entitlement.

      West Ham fans would prefer to stay local as well, leaving the OS to be whatever it might be… Many like the idea of moving to the Royal Mail Hub in West Ham proper… But for you to simply brush off West Ham because they can’t fill 60,000 seats. The same was said about Man City and their stadium move after the Commonwealth Games. Tottenham after all is not a bigger club then West Ham, they have similar histories. Spurs may have a larger silverware collection, but I seem to recall the season of 40 matches you where also having issues filling seats.

      • The Gaffer says:

        According to the BBC, Eurostar may consider running trains to Stratford but only after the Olympics, if they decide to do it at all. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10154343

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • trickybrkn says:

          Sure… Headline of the story is they won’t but they leave the smallest of windows open…. Sure sparks confidence. Thing is the Eurostar isn’t cheap. and the point of it is it gets you to Paris quick. Last thing they will do is add stops. I’ve taken it many times and the lull at Calais is bad enough. I don’t even understand how its even on the line… Eurostar comes up from the south, never passing the Thames.

  7. None says:

    good news.ney, great news

    lets hope that Spurs move as far away as possible from Arsenal

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