New Tottenham Stadium: "This is my Spurs"

I wanted to stroll the streets around where the Lane once stood and take the chance to close the chapter on the old, and get my head around the new, writes our Spurs blogger.


As creatures of habit, football fans spend their summers longing for that sun drenched day in August when life resumes, with a return to familiar streets, smells, sounds and faces. 

Non-Tournament summers, like this one, are a football fan's worst nightmare! They're a wasteland where the craving for a return to the ritual and routine of the season gets ever more intense as June gives way to July, and the silly season of transfer speculation goes in to overdrive as July fades in to August.

After a season of self-denial, we Spurs fans finally said our heartfelt farewell to the Lane on the May 14, and in the intervening months we have plutzed about how we'll fare at Wembley and watched the bulldozers tear down the canvass on which so many memories were painted by heroes of yesteryear and whose final days were lit up by Pochettino's current day buccaneers. 

Football clubs (at least those which haven't upped and left their traditional homes) are rooted in their local community regardless of whether or not the supporters still live in the locality. For Spurs fans this summer marks the start of our very first, and mercifully short, departure from our community. The community we have been a part of since the day the Club was formed. 

It also marks the start of the countdown to coming home. 

It was with an eye on that homecoming that I nipped down for a close season visit to N17. 

I wanted to stroll the streets around where the Lane once stood and take the chance to close the chapter on the old (seeing the last vestiges of the old Park Lane stand certainly did that) and start to really get my head around the new. 

What better way to immerse myself in the new than to sample "SPVRS" the virtual reality tour of the new stadium's premium seats and lounges. 

I'd been to the VR suite when it first opened, mostly out of curiosity and hunger to hoover up information about the new ground. Back then I left hugely impressed (especially by the East and West Sky Lounges with their stunning lounge views out over London on one side and down through the floodlights to the pitch on the other) albeit overwhelmed by a sort of sensory overload from the pure visual theatre of it all. 

Ultimately, back then after consulting with the 20 of us in our season ticket group, it simply wasn't logistically or financially feasible for us to move en masse to the Premium Seats. As at the Lane and Wembley, we will share our match day experience together in the new ground.

However a lingering desire remained, I'd seen enough to want a second peak at the premium areas, and this close season break provided the perfect time to do so.

First and foremost as a fan deeply connected to the organic atmosphere that the Lane created, I'm relieved to see that unlike other relatively modern stadia in London there will be no corporate seats or boxes to interrupt the traditional hotbeds of atmosphere behind either goal (the 8,000 or so premium seats only run along the touchline at our new ground) whilst the stacking of the stands and the closeness to the playing surface means there will be no cavernous bowl from which atmosphere leaks. We have lost our shelf but the design of the stadium, especially that vast 17,500 seater single tier stand at the Park Lane end will hopefully become its natural successor.

With the maximum 40,000 season tickets available having been snapped up for the season at Wembley and with a usual attrition rate of just a few hundred each summer expected to be even lower next close season, realistically only a couple of dozen of those on the waiting list will get to guarantee themselves a ticket for every game once we are back home in Tottenham in that gleaming 61,559 monster whose roof structure now dominates the skyline as you approach the area.

And it's not just the season tickets that are sold out, along with most of the Suites, the Tunnel Club with its one way glass views of the moment the teams line up to head out for kick off is also now sold out. No doubt that's one tunnel in which no post-match pizza will be thrown! 

The remaining premium seats and lounges have also been selling like hot cakes. Huge areas of the West Stand are gone already and although the Club won't reveal numbers it seems that only several hundred premium seats are still available elsewhere in the ground, and it's not difficult to see why. Whilst they aren't for everyone - they are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination - but they are now pretty much the only way to guarantee a seat for every game at the new ground and there's little doubt they take the match day experience to a whole new level. Whilst the price tags are weighty, especially for those seats right on the half way line, serious thought has been put in to ensuring they deliver genuine value: this is not simply a padded seat, bit of extra leg room, a nice view and a programme!

The new H Club is truly jaw dropping. It's part of a concept called "On Four" which has the look and attributes of a swanky London private members club, only this is a club with panoramic views of the pitch! Roux family chefs, five different dining options (including dining with club legends and the right during the season to dine at the chef's table in the open kitchen) and a wine cellar the envy of the best restaurants in London - oh, and the best match day views in the house rubbing shoulders with the players when they pop up for the Man of the Match presentation. If you like your Michelin star calibre food and fine wines as well as your football (and have sufficiently deep pockets!) I suspect Level 4 of the new West Stand will be your Shangri-La.

What I found with the Premium Seats is that I could get the right balance between an asset I can use for my business when the need arises, an ability to sit with mates from abroad when they're in town and an unrushed and comfortable match day experience for my Mum on those cold and rainy days when some creature comforts and a posher loo with no queue will be a better option for her than sitting with the rest of our season group. 

That ability to bespoke the match day experience whether you're bringing your kids, your other half, your mates or a business contact was the clincher for me. Whilst the seat comes inclusive of pre-match bowl food and snacks, soft and hot drinks (and cheeky desserts after the final whistle) it also gives me the ability to pick and choose from various lounges and bar areas across the premium floors (including a very cool multi-screen Sports bar). For any particular game I want to, I'll have the option to upgrade to a selection of casual or formal dining options. Or I can nip out to the spectacular atrium behind the Park Lane end to grab a drink from the microbrewery and some street food with mates who sit in other parts of the ground. Handily, the premium seat also entitles me to a 15 per cent discount on event bookings, quite useful for any upcoming weddings, barmitzvah and the like. 

Having arrived a curious sceptic, I left Lilywhite House the proud owner not just of a (photo shopped) snap with Mauricio, but also a pair of premium seats to supplement our season tickets.

For supporters, our season ticket is amongst our most treasured possessions and from the huge open square behind the atrium, the enormous retail area inspired by Nike Town, through to the Tottenham Experience museum; it's going to be a home for us to be proud of, with enough choice inside and around the ground to make each match day just that little bit different each time. It will be a venue worth arriving early to and staying a little longer at. Even just wandering around the construction site it had the air of a project that will be the catalyst for serious urban regeneration. 

Whilst those of us who had the privilege to watch matches at White Hart Lane will always remember its idiosyncrasies with warmth, the new stadium is not just going to be big, it is going to be bold as well. From its two pitch technology to its fit out, from its single tier stand to its tightness to the pitch, from NFL to gigs, our iconic new home is going to be very special, and the countdown is on until we can experience it in actual rather than virtual reality. My sadness at the end of the Lane has finally be superseded by an unrelenting excitement at what is to come!

To register your interest in a premium package for the new stadium, click here: 

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