Is The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium As Good As It Looks ?
Monday, 30th Sep 2019 11:30
After our first visit to Spurs new ground, we take a look to see if it is the best stadium in the Premier League or all smoke and mirrors.
No one can fail to be impressed by The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium visually, it is state of the art and looks almost space age in it's design, but is it really fit for purpose and a truly iconic football ground or another example of a soulless stadium with little atmosphere.
I think they have erred by building it next to the old ground, the same transport issues are happening and the fact there is so little parking within a mile or more of the stadium puts more pressure on the transport network, if they had moved it to a site a couple of miles north they could have had ample transport and parking facilities not to mention more room around the stadium which is pretty squeezed in.
We went to a bar near to where they parked the away coaches and at 6pm over an hour after the game as we headed to the station, the away coaches were only 50 yards from where they had parked, the area was gridlocked.
At 6.15pm at Northumberland Park station there was a big queue to go north, but only a small one to go back to London, but that is almost 90 mins after the game ended
My first impression of the ground was that it seemed to blend into the skyline, there were little high rise buildings around, but from the direction I came from, you didn't catch a glimpse of it till you were almost upon it.
On arriving before you could even climb the steps to the away turnstiles you had to have your ticket checked and scanned, for what purpose I don't know, then you had to queue to go through an airport style metal detector augmented with stewards with portable detectors.
To be blunt you could again ask what was the point, it was poorly operated and many just walked through without putting change and belts and metal into their trays and the machines never went off.
But at 2.45pm and the Saints fans arriving in droves the Stadium really fell short, the turnstiles stopped operating, at first it was a trickle with some people getting their ticket to get a green light and get in, then it became a flood and virtually everyone was blocked from entering after putting their ticket in the scanner.
Whether this was because the tickets had been scanned earlier and were now showing as being in the stadium I don't know, but the fact was that hundreds of Saints supporters were shut outside with 10 mins to kick off and the atmosphere was getting edgy and Spurs security staff did not have a clue what to do apart from tell people to go to the ticket office, that is unacceptable and poses safety questions.
I spotted one man in a Spurs Suit who clearly was a supervisor of sorts, yet he was rooted to the spot, he did not know what to do next, no one was taking charge and it had the potential to get ugly.
In fairness said man in suit tried to do something, he had a master card for the turnstiles and stood on them letting fans in one by one, but this was a trickle.
I got in this way and could then watch from inside and there seemed to be no one doing anything, someone should have made a decision and perhaps opened the exit gates and let people in, they had enough stewards to check tickets and this would have alleviated the problem and calmed down Saints supporters who thought they would miss kick off.
With the game kicking off I have to admit I went to my seat and so I'm not sure how long it took to get everyone in.
So that wasn't a great impression of the stadium to start with, the seats though were good with a barrier to enable them to be used for safe standing, the view from the bottom tier was OK, but although I was only a few rows from the back, I wasn't very high above the pitch, the rake of the stand was very shallow unlike St Mary's.
The ground itself looked impressive, especially the big single tiered end, but when you looked closer you had the feeling they had gone for spectacular not practical, the roof was too high above the highest seats in the stadium, meaning that the atmosphere was not kept in and also when there was a brief shower I got wet even though was as far back in the bottom tier as you could get.
It just felt too open, spectacular yes, but not practical if you want a stadium that can hold in the atmosphere.
The big open end was just too big, the view from the top must have been a long way from the pitch and if they sought to create a big Kop type end they have failed, if they had lopped the top block off the back of this end they would have lost 3,000 seats but I think this would have helped the atmosphere a great deal both in centralising their support and keeping the noise in the ground.
The Spurs supporters themselves didn't seem to have a singing section as such, yes on the occasions they got a big communal song going it was impressive, but that was not that frequent and you couldn't here much singing in between or where it was coming from.
The concourse area were big and with plenty of food and drink outlets, this is the one area without fault, they have put in good facilities and made prices reasonable £4 for Amstel and £4.50 for a Premium beer a pint is cheaper than most pubs in the area.
Only criticism is that they have put in a second bar on an upstairs level but they haven't put a signpost to it, so queues downstairs remained big whilst upstairs was minimal.
Overall you can't fail to be impressed by the architecture, but that is not what we go to a football ground to do and I think they have sacrificed building a great football ground to build a big stadium, if that doesn't sound stupid.
The ground is massive, yet only holds about a thousand more than Arsenal, 6-7 K more than Liverpool & Manchester City, yet they feel like football stadiums not vast concrete structures.
Perhaps I went expecting too much, it looks brilliant, but it is not a football ground it is an arena and will be well suited to the NFL games they hope to attract there and the big rock bands.
Photo: Action Images
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