Football Travel: Tottenham Hotspur

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Another season, another long farewell to one of London’s iconic football grounds. 2016-17 season will be Spurs’ last at White Hart Lane before possibly moving into Wembley for a term while its new stadium is completed. I made my tenth visit to Spurs’ home for the last cup tie in soon-to-be-demolished White Hart Lane. What comes next already looks impressive.

Last season London football lost the fabled Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, as West Ham moved across to the London (Olympic) Stadium. At the end of 2016-17 Tottenham Hotspur aims to move out of the tired-looking White Hart Lane. It’s a great move at the right time and the club will be in the same spot.

Unlike ground moves at Arsenal and West Ham, there is no need for fans to change their usual route. In fact, those sat in the North Stand during development, as we were, are able to walk across the spot where the pitch will be. It’s surreal – a great grey building site, like the Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

Spurs fans observe construction progress on their way into the North Stand.

The capacity of the new stadium will be 61,000, up significantly from the current 32,000. Those interested in the new ground should visit the new stadium website.

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I first visited White Hart Lane in 1987-88 season. I was taken by my dad to see Spurs play Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. All I remember was a long walk from Seven Sisters tube. These were the days before Google Maps and it put me off becoming a Spurs fan at a young age.

I’ve been a few times since and always seen goals. This final cup match ever at White Hart Lane was against Millwall in the FA Cup quarter-finals. As predicted by pretty much everyone Millwall brought an edge with them, which involved sporadic incidents outside the ground and the club faces action for its fans’ racist chants against Spurs’ South Korean attacker Heung-min Son.

Son responded perfectly with a hatrick as part of a 6-0 rout.

The atmosphere was electric, as the acoustics at White Hart Lane are fantastic. I hope that can be replicated in the new ground.

Spurs’ record at Wembley, where its played its European matches this year, is not great, so fans may not see the high-flying Spurs they’ve got used to in the last few seasons when they move there. And then the club has to get used to the new ground, and we’ve seen how West Ham struggled at the London Stadium.

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For both clubs, their moves to big capacity stadia could prove to be a really solid platform to get up to the next level. For anyone interested on London’s lost football grounds, read this.

How to get to Tottenham Hotspur, White Hart Lane

From London’s Liverpool Street, take the train overland to White Hart Lane station and it’s a 300m walk from there.

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