Tottenham apply to remain at Wembley until end of season

The latest news in the shambles the is the New Tottenham Stadium Saga, is permission has been sought from Brent Council and local residents for an additional 17 Tottenham games to be played at Wembley Stadium.

This additional 17 games will take the club up until the end of the season.

This is the latest delay to the new stadium, which was supposed to open at the beginning of this season.

Back in March we were aware (through our 9-5 work) that the stadium would not be open before the start of the season. The Tottenham hierarchy would have also been aware of this.

Despite this delay, the club still sold season tickets based on the stadium being open on time.

In June, it was announced that costs were beginning to spiral towards the £1bn mark. The dramatically increased costs explained why Tottenham were hiding the delays and selling season tickets.

They have used the season ticket money – around £80million – as an interest free loan to help finance the stadium. They have only been refunding this money on a game by game basis; at the same time they receive money from selling tickets at Wembley.

By July it was our understanding that the stadium would open 3 months late. October at the earliest we were told.

At this point, the club announced that they had failed to secure stadium naming rights and were giving full refunds to those companies who had purchased an executive box. The writing was on the wall but still Spurs management denied any issues.

By the end of July, trade Unions were urging the Government to investigate the poor working conditions and breaches of both Health & Safety and Working Time Regulations.

Spurs had begun announcing – slowly – that there were delays. The first game had already been moved to Wembley. Having requested that 3 of their first 4 away games were to be at home, it was announced to great fanfare that the first game of the season would be against Liverpool in the middle of September. We knew different.

Middle of August and it was announced by the club that the stadium would not be ready until early October; with games up to and including Cardiff on 6th October to be played at the national stadium. This announcement was a full month after we revealed the news of “October at the earliest”.

A day after the October delay was announced, we discovered that builders had actually had their contracts extended until the end of November. That it was highly likely that Tottenham would not play at their new ground until early 2019. Why would Tottenham announce mid-October when we knew it would be 2019?

Had they announced Early 2019, they would have had to have given huge refunds in August to fans who bought season tickets. Instead they lied and kept the money to assist with cash flow.

It was then announced that Tottenham were due to play all of their Champions League group games at Wembley. Their poor performance in the competition led to an investigation by the Advertising Standards Agency.

October confirmed what we knew in September. That the stadium would not be ready in 2018

Despite this being confirmed by many industry sources, Tottenham did not announce this decision until late-October. Another delayed announcement meaning that they kept that season ticket money for another month. This announcement also revealed that Tottenham had increased their loan facility to £637m.

It was at this time speculation circulated that the ground would not be open this season. With 3 test events, a January opening was highly unlikely.

And now we have the news that Tottenham have applied to Brent Council to remain at the stadium until the end of the season. This will probably be announced by the club mid-December; based on previous experience of news being known a month before the club announce it.

The way Tottenham have treated their fans is an utter disgrace.

They have delayed announcements and hidden behind Health & Safety to retain season ticket money.

Whilst there have been issues with the fire safety installation, the project timescale was optimistic. It was based on their being no delays, no issues.

As someone within the construction industry, projects like these always have issues, always have delays. Crossrail has been delayed until August 2018 (it was scheduled to open December 2018. The completion of the Shard was also delayed. And both of these major projects did not have the aggressively short timescale of the Tottenham stadium.

When the Olympic stadium was being built, the aim was for an early 2012 completion. This gave LOCOG 8 months breathing space. It opened in March 2012; 6 months before the Olympics started.

The Tottenham Stadium was always an ambitious difficult project. Some UK construction firsts when building. When Tottenham announced that the ground was to be completed in 1 season – 15 months between the end of the 2016/17 season and beginning of the 2018/19, most industry insiders thought this was impossible.

Most felt it was at least a 2 year project. 24 months. That 15 months was impossible.

It is now a case of waiting and watching to see when Spurs announce that they will not be playing at their new ground this season.


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