Have Tottenham managed to buck the trend here?
For all the developments in the game, the notional of ‘modern football’ is forever characterised as a negative. The sterility of stadia, the excesses of players and the crippling financial strain on fans: These are the many legitimate grumbles that you hear bandied about on any given footballing weekend.
What is perhaps most symptomatic of our era is the development of modern stadia, and the associated loss of character they bring. Wonders of modern architecture they may be, but true bastions of football they surely aren’t.
So with this in mind it is easy to dismiss Spurs’ plunge into the modern era as a continuation of a trend, a modern bowl geared towards financial rather than acoustic success. Yet the clubs latest revisions to the existing Northumberland Development Project proved far more interesting than that, a genuine move towards doing something fairly distinctive.
The headline revision was of course the proposed accommodation of the NFL in North London, with a minimum of 2 games to be staged annually within the new stadium. A fairly unique move from Daniel Levy, but not one many would see as bucking the modern commercial trend. The real intrigue was around the design itself, and retention of a single tier stand (extended to 17,000 seats). The Spurs hierarchy are keen on fans being as close to the pitch as is feasibly possible, with a single tier ‘home end’ geared towards focusing the support. When you put this into the modern context, Tottenham’s offering is equally as novel as it is surprising.
You only have to cycle through recent builds to see that these two aspects will ensure Tottenham buck the modern trend.
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany (2005)
The Emirates Stadium, London, England (2006)
Wembley Stadium, London, England (2007)
Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2012)
This isn’t to say the stadia featured aren’t architecturally impressive, because they all are, but are they really well designed to host football?
The shrewd play from Spurs is the fact this is both a commercial and fan orientated decision. In the era of record TV deals, it is the global appeal and all round marketing packages that will make clubs a global force. The ‘yellow wall’ at Dortmund along with floating flags and tifos are fast growing phenomena, and Spurs clearly want a slice of this whilst it remains somewhat unique. The majority of fans and players benefit from playing somewhere both atmospheric and distinct, and this is clearly the concept Spurs are trying to adopt.
The caveat of course is that we are still in a planning stage, the finished article may not quite be this utopia for the nostalgic football fan, but given the current plans there is cause for optimism. A single tier stand, and an all round tighter bowl will ensure Spurs are not only an emerging modern power, but one that will surely boast a stadium to be proud of as well.
With this in mind do you think Spurs will reverse the modern trend?