With Tottenham Hotspur set to make the biggest move in the club’s history – just down the road – Spurs fans are excited about a potentially bright future. But there will be obstacles along the way.
Tottenham’s new stadium, situated within a stone’s throw of the current ground, will seat 61,000 spectators in what appears to be both a nod to the club’s past and a dig at neighbours Arsenal. Spurs last won the league in 1961, and the number of seats exceeds Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium by 1,000 – a meaningless victory over their local rivals, but a victory nonetheless.
The real issue
Of course what really matters to the Tottenham supporters is success on the pitch. A talented young team came close last year. They finished third in the end, their poor finish to the season a result of seeing the title go elsewhere, falling below Arsenal in typical fashion on the final day. If not for the stunning success story that was Leicester City, Spurs would have likely retained the momentum to become English champions for the first time in 55 years.
With injuries and suspensions mounting up towards the end of the campaign, Mauricio Pochettino surely rued the lack of depth in his staggered squad. There’s no debating Tottenham’s title credentials would have been strengthened had they added a quality player or two in the January transfer window. But with most of the club’s finances going towards the new stadium, Spurs are in no position to take risks on big money signings.
That said, they’ve already added £11 million Victor Wanyama this summer, followed by the promising young Dutch striker Vincent Janssen for a hefty £17 million. Players are likely to be moved on, too, justifying the fees paid out. Any other additions will fit Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy – young and hungry with a penchant to work for the team – but potential new signings will also have to suit Daniel Levy’s doctrine: in other words, be willing to work for peanuts.
Footballers’ wages aren’t usually associated with low earning figures, but when compared to Tottenham’s European contemporaries the club spend very little in the way of pay packets. No Spurs player is thought to earn more than £100,000-a-week, which is staggering considering Andy Carroll is rumoured to make upwards of that amount at West Ham United.
The expectation is that Levy will be prepared to shell out more on wages when the new stadium is ready. With bigger attendances, revenue from ticket sales will inevitably increase and there will be more funds available to improve the team. But Tottenham fans know better than most that expectation and reality are very different things; just look how Roberto Soldado turned out…
Spurs must take on a large degree of debt in order to fund the new stadium (which is why Daniel Levy was so keen on moving to the Olympic Stadium before West Ham pounced). To prevent those debts from becoming monumental the club will sell the naming rights to the stadium, likely to bring in around £30 million a year. On top of that, hospitality tickets will be sold in advance, and deals with the NFL continue to be struck in order to aid the club’s financial growth on a global scale.
But this all takes time. If Tottenham fans think the club will become a financial powerhouse immediately after the move, a reality check is on the cards. Levy will be as cautious as ever for an unforeseen period of time, which – despite some questioning the chairman’s ambition in the past – has always served Spurs well. One of the key reasons Tottenham continue to linger in around the top four year in, year out, is because of Levy’s prudent business mind.
Promisingly, another steady period could potentially result in greatness. If Tottenham are careful, they will undoubtedly find themselves in an enviable financial position, which usually leads to silverware in a sport now dictated by the big spenders. If and when Spurs are able to match the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in the wages department, their North London location and state-of-the-art new stadium could be enough to persuade the world’s best players to choose Tottenham over their league rivals. Until then, they must keep the current stars on board with the on-going project. Staying in the top four could prove crucial to immediate success at the new stadium. The sky’s arguably the limit for a club already on the up, but for now uncertainty lingers in the clouds.