Tottenham Hotspur won legal clearance on Wednesday to challenge a decision to hand the 2012 Olympic stadium to rivals West Ham United after the Games.
The Premier League club had sought a judicial review after the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) awarded West Ham preferred bidder status for the £486 million stadium earlier this year. This was a decision welcomed by most Spurs fans, as they would prefer not to see a move out of north London. The massive cauldron also doesn’t bode well with most fans as it is not ideal for football. However, it is necessary for Spurs to get a bigger stadium if they are to consistently compete at the top level. Alternatively, fans would rather see a new stadium built near White Hart Lane, which was considered but then put on the back burner as raising costs made the plan less probable.
With that said, the recent events of the court ruling and the riots that left Tottenham in shambles has given Spurs a lot of clout in convincing the mayor that he may have no choice but to help Spurs out with their new stadium plans. Spurs’ proposal for public funds would not only help the construction costs of the stadium but would improve the surrounding area and public transport in Tottenham, which after all the vandalism and burning, cannot be ignored.
It is not clear at this stage whether Spurs will pursue their legal case or whether they will use Wednesday’s decision to strengthen their hand in long-running talks with the government and Mayor of London Boris Johnson over a possible alternative new stadium next to their current site at White Hart Lane.
Building a new multi-million pound stadium near their existing site, as part of the Northumberland Park project which would also include shops and housing, would provide an economic boost to one of the most economically deprived areas of London. High youth unemployment was one of the reasons given for this month’s riots in England which began in ethnically diverse Tottenham after police shot dead a black suspect.
The riots have added new urgency to the talks, and the mayor’s office had said only hours before the High Court decision that they were “hopeful” a deal could be reached. Judge Andrew Collins, on hearing the appeal, gave Spurs permission to mount a legal challenge, the Press Association reported. The decision overturns an earlier failed attempt by Spurs in the High Court.
“We are waiting to hear from Tottenham Hotspur on their plans to rebuild on their current site before any agreement on financial support from the Mayor can be confirmed,” a spokesman for the mayor said in a statement.
It appears as though Spurs are holding all the cards right now. Now they have the leverage of possibly derailing the use of the new Olympic Stadium and are in one of the most depraved areas of London. Does the mayor have any choice at this point?