LONDON: Tottenham throw open the doors of their new 62,000-capacity stadium on Wednesday, hoping it will give them the financial firepower to compete with the Premier League and European elite.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men will also bank on a short-term boost, with a dire run of results threatening to leave Spurs without Champions League football next season.
Tottenham played their final game at their old White Hart Lane stadium in May 2017 but the address is the only thing that has remained the same, with a gleaming new ground rising out of the rubble of their creaking old home in north London.
The new stadium, with a capacity of 62,062, is the biggest club ground in London and second only to Manchester United’s Old Trafford in the Premier League.
Tellingly the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, built at a reported cost of £1 billion ($1.3 billion), is marginally bigger than the home of Tottenham’s great north London rivals Arsenal.
Crystal Palace are the first Premier League team to visit on Wednesday, but the stadium has ambitions beyond football — underneath the retractable turf is an artificial surface to be used for NFL games. Spurs have an agreement to stage at least two matches a year for 10 years.
In an effort to match the atmosphere at grounds such as Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park, the stadium boasts a special single-tier stand with a capacity of 17,500, dubbed the “White Wall”.
And it’s not just about the action on the pitch.
Tottenham claim the stadium offers levels of food and drink that consign the old British stadium offering of pies and soggy chips to history. Craft beers are made at an on-site microbrewery — and the feature that excited many fans at the test events were pint glasses that filled from the bottom.
Spurs boss Pochettino is bowled over by the club’s new home and will hope it can give his faltering team the lift they need for a late-season push to secure a Champions League spot.
“The stadium is the best in the world, we can confirm that now,” he said. “Every space is the best I have seen in my life, you can’t compare that with anything.