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The Buchler Files 2

Posted on 21 June 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

More from the executive vice-chairman’s meeting with the THFC Supporters’ Trust, where David discusses the subject of White Hart Lane, possible expansion or re-location.

DB: Early days in terms of thinking about the ground. There are a number of issues I will throw out at you.

The issue of White Hart Lane as it exists; we played to 98 per cent of overall capacity during the last season and seasons before. If we can play to 98 per cent when we’re doing lousy — what is it going to be like when we’re doing well?

I think therefore that we have to look at what the situation is regarding White Hart Lane. I have to be honest with you - I’ve got a real attachment to this ground. This has been like a second home for me in a way, and probably for most of us. It’s difficult to gage, new stadiums have been built and are outstanding, but I think we’ve got one of the best stadiums in the country at the moment and think we can improve both the East and West stands.

We have applied for planning permission for the East stand which would increase our capacity for where it is to around the 44,000 mark which I think will be a real improvement. I think the West Stand has got a lot of capacity for improvement, but we have a number of different problems, we have issues of access, parking and transport to the ground.

There is a new stadium being built out at Picketts Lock where they are hoping to extend the underground link. If that happens, one of the things I’m going to press for is that they put a stop at Tottenham — that will make a big difference.

There is also European licensing regulation that is coming onto stream. If that comes on in its present form, we as a club won’t conform. We don’t have wide enough facilities within the stadium and stands — our club will not conform to those exacting standards that UEFA are trying to introduce within Europe.

It is still under discussion, and I will say to you that probably 60 or 70 per cent of clubs in Europe would conform to those standards. So we have to understand where this is all going before we finally commit ourselves to exactly what our future is.

It is not an easy choice; people have said to us ‘why don’t you ground share with Arsenal?’ I can’t see that, can you? I know it works in some countries — that would be a very difficult one.

There have been other possibilities. Could we be a sitting tenant at Wembley? But that’s quite a long way away from where we are. Is there a site at Kings Cross? Could we go to Picketts Lock?

There are a number of possibilities, none of which really attract me or Daniel to the degree of what we might be able to do in terms of staying here — this is our historical home.

But there is a journey to travel because, what we can’t afford to do, if we want to play in the top leagues, is not to have a criteria which is possible within UEFA and we have to work out what that is — and how we can conform to it within our existing ground.

Their criteria also goes to space outside the ground and parking, it does go much wider than just playing football. We have to plan for a capacity that is going to be right for the club, bearing in mind a possible effect of pay-per-view on crowds.

I’ll give you a comment on that. To me there is nothing like going to a football match, you can’t get the atmosphere on TV. You have to be there, experiencing the atmosphere first hand — so I think PPV is for those who cannot get there due to distance or family commitments — like wife’s birthday when you could sit in the corner and switch on…

I’m not sure PPV will have a huge effect on capacity, but we have to have a club that is capable of having the right capacity.

I promise you that before we make any decision which might mean abandoning White Hart Lane, which I think is a very remote possibility, we’ll be coming to the Trust and supporters and talking to you about it.

I think it is much more likely that we will do what we can here within the ground, subject to any external matters such as UEFA’s proposals.