It feels as if a small lifetime has passed in the respective quests of both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, to find a solution to their stadium capacity woes. Both clubs have endured relatively painful legislative sagas as they’ve sought to develop a blueprint to maximize matchday revenue; no doubt spurred on by having to sit back and watch their fiercest rivals turn their own home grounds into Premier League cash cows.

But as Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre announced plans to renege on building a new stadium in favour of redeveloping Anfield, there have been some in the white half of North London, that have been left scratching their heads. Both clubs have been entrenched in the financial mire of getting stadia projects, estimated to cost in the region of £300-£400milion plus, off the ground and bricks and mortar finally lay.

Yet all of a sudden, Liverpool appear to have saved themselves half the financial burden, with a more modest redevelopment of Anfield harnessing a price tag of around £150million. It’s a development that will bring The Red’s a similar number of seats as what the new White Hart Lane will. The difference being, Spurs are still looking to tie up a private funding package for the development during the worst economic downturn in recent memory – for over double the money.

This has led some to ask the question as to why Spurs can’t go down a similar route? If Liverpool can shave off half the money needed to increase the capacity, then why can’t Spurs? Although it’s a fair question to ask – and at one point in the last decade, a highly relevant one too – the fact is that it just isn’t as simple as knocking up a new stand at White Hart Lane. Each case must be judged on it’s own merits and although there are similarities between Spurs and Liverpool’s stadia headaches, there are huge differences to.

None more so, than the fact Spurs are edging oh so close to the  finishing line of getting their expansive Northumberland Development Project off the ground.

But first of all, we’ll look at the scope that Tottenham Hotspur could have, theoretically, if they chose to dispose with their grand new stadium plans and push on with a Liverpool style redevelopment.

It’s important to note that while Spurs’ new plans are by technicality, a redevelopment, it is in essence, a completely new stadium in an almost identical, yet slightly altered footprint

With a very haphazard and cautious estimate of the current White Hart Lane, you could probably make a case that three of it’s four stands, would have the capacity for some kind of redevelopment. On the premise that the bulk of the NDP is set to be built on the industrial area to the back of Paxton Road, you could safely assume that the North Stand has plenty of room for elaborate development. The West Stand on the High Road has a fair area of space behind it, incorporating a small car park, which you would have thought would offer room for some form of expansion.

Perhaps ultimately, the only stand that couldn’t be developed would be the South Stand. Indeed, towards the end of the Alan Sugar reign, Spurs were granted preliminary planning permission to redevelop the East Stand, in a move that would have increased capacity to 44,000. It is maybe only the South Stand that would face some severe issues, given the proximity to houses down Park Lane – an issue that Liverpool have similarly faced with housing down Lothair Road behind their main stand.

But for Spurs, it isn’t as black as white as just knocking down the stands one by one and starting again. With Liverpool, although we are yet to see stonewall architectural plans, the crux is that they already have boast a capacity of 45,276. As Ayre said, they don’t need to be paying £300million to increase stadium capacity by 15,000. Spurs are looking to expand by near on 20,000 with potentially the scope for a little bit more. The grander the size, the harder it becomes.

Because although an estimated £400million for the NDP may seem an astonishing figure, for the price it could cost the club redeveloping White Hart Lane stand-by-stand, it makes no sense to not go through with it.

For example, by choosing to resurrect the Worcester Avenue plans, Tottenham would have to kiss goodbye to the matchday revenue that the 10,691 capacity stand brings every week, during the duration of the works. If we go with a very general bracket of 12-18 months construction time at a time, the club would have to live with a huge loss in revenue while paying out for the works; of which you couldn’t guarantee would be covered by a lucrative naming rights deal.

The beauty of the NDP is that Spurs can stay in White Hart Lane, for the majority of the works, ensuring they don’t suffer a loss in revenue as they would do by redeveloping the stands individually. Plus when they do move in to their new home (which will be three-quarters built around the old ground) it will still , in theory, offer a greater matchday revenue than what they receive at the moment, while the old White Hart Lane is demolished.

Furthermore, the issue of finance would be a real issue. Phase one of the NDP, which encompasses the construction of a huge supermarket development, is under way, and the proceeds of what they will receive from the incumbents (Sainsbury’s), will go straight towards paying for the new ground. Furthermore, the club’s income will be boosted by the sale of housing and commercial space in phase three of the development, which will again, help fund the stadium. None of this would be possible if Spurs went down the Liverpool route- let alone the potential lack of scope to develop the all important hospitality space.

The notion of redeveloping White Hart Lane in its current guise is a romantic one, but while it may work for Liverpool, it simply won’t work for Tottenham. It may seem like just another acronym, but the Northumberland Development Project means so much more both the area and the prospect of financing, than just a shiny new stadium.

Give me your opinion on Spurs, White Hart Lane the NDP and more, on Twitter: follow @samuel_antrobus and tell me what you think about the long term future of Tottenham. 

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  • SP
    2 years ago

    Spurs can’t ‘go down a similar route’ because the feasibility of developing WHL has been investigated and found unfeasible. The NDP is a whole new stadium being built right next to WHL. The club was looking for an alternative due to the relatively poor transport infrastructure around WHL, among other reasons.

    If Liverpool can actually redevelop Anfield that is a wholly different thing. It does make me ask, however, why Liverpool were looking at so many alternative options in the first place, as redeveloping a club’s historical home should always be the first option, if feasible. I’m not an expert on Liverpool (the City) – is the transport infrastructure as bad as it is for WHL? I can’t think of any other reason that Liverpool FC should have been so seemingly desperate to escape from Anfield if it was viable to redevelop the ground.

    Reply
    • TonyRich
      2 years ago

      If Spurs transport links are commonly described as “poor”, why is it that the nearest station to Anfield is 1.5 miles away. Spurs has 2 tube stations that far away, plus 6 other British rail stations within 1.5 miles. The traffic is a nightmare, yes, and I think that that is the main difference. Arsenal are surrounded by tube stations, so by that comparison, Spurs’ links are poor.

      Reply
  • sickof cretins
    2 years ago

    For crying out loud. Give Levy a break. He seems to have a successful career in high finance and has no doubt consulted experts in the field of finance and construction. Why do you have the need to try to second guess him and them. What qualifications and experience do you have.. Perhaps

    Reply
  • sickof cretins
    2 years ago

    to continue..Perhaps you might care to write an article detailing all the financial pros and cons and a feasibility study. Finance? Blimey, yesterday you,apparently, had difficulty distinguishing naming rights from ownership. Cobblers and lasts spring to mind.

    Reply
    • Sam Antrobus
      2 years ago

      Have a day off, ‘cretins. As was the case yesterday, where you cited my article as ‘ill-researched’ in which I don’t believe you could cite any of my statistics as incorrect, you’ve flown off the handle about second guessing Levy. The article doesn’t second guess Levy.

      It is in fact, serving to shoot down the notion that WHL could be developed in a way similar to Anfield, while in fact praising the NDP. The only slight question mark suggested, was the raising of private finance; in which while the appointment of McLaren to construct Phase One of the project suggests it’s near, it’s still a good question to ask. It’s the biggest economic downturn in recent memory and our chairman is asking for an unprecedented amount of money. Nor have I said here, yesterday or anywhere that he cannot raise it. Merely that it will be a challenge. You don’t need a Land Economy degree from Cambridge to ask that question.

      Reply
  • gingeryid
    2 years ago

    I note your points, but what about potentially moving to Olympic Stadium or Wembley for a year or two, getting the stadium built in its entirety, so that commercial development can also proceed at the same time?
    The Ar5e seemed to struggle while the residential bits of Highbury were finished several months/years later.

    Agree that developing existing WHL would be problemmatic as the pitch would have to shift to make it feasible which would extend the construction period and increase costs. I can still remember West Stand Development when we had reduced capacity for 2 seasons, but admittedly it was cheaper to get in then and we had no boxes!!!

    Reply
  • spurian
    2 years ago

    in levy i trust

    Reply
  • chris gray
    2 years ago

    20,000 extra seats will probably increase income by say £30/40 million per season. However, expenditure on the stadium will also go up. Assume naming rights/other income of half the cost, there is still £200 million to repay – say over 40 years that’s £5 million a year, plus interest say £10 million a year. So the net additional income would be say £15/25 million per year. Spurs need that extra money to help compete at the highest level.

    Reply
    • Tony
      2 years ago

      The extra seats may generate £30m , but with Premium seats, extra corporate and naming rights, revenue should rise by about £50m- about the same as the Gooners when they moved to the death star. In addition Daniel Levy has said that the calculations are based on reaching the CL 5 years in every 9. If you reach the CL knock-out stages revenue with about 5 full houses at WHL would be about £50m extra. So in CL years our turnover can go from £125m to £225m, almost identical to Gooners and Cheatski, and more than the Scousers. Bear in mind also that Chelski and Man City are facing major challenges with FFP. There have been stories suggesting that a major sponsor may buy a stake in the club. I feel sure Danny boy has got something up his sleeve to keep the debt/repayment costs down.

      Reply
  • gillysbaldpatch
    2 years ago

    Does anyone know what is happenning with reintroducing standing areas. I remember standing @ WHL in 55000 crowd. I appreciate we would never go back to that but surely standing season ticket areas could be considered.

    Reply
  • paul
    2 years ago

    back of envelope calculations will not do. Levy Knows that Spurs are in the top 15 clubs in the World Financially and want to compete with Bayern Munich, PSG , Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Jeventus and AC Milan

    Reply
  • Chris grayy
    2 years ago

    Think figure for net income increase is there or thereabouts. A significant sum to compete with most clubs – as you say Spurs already financially strong. Need financial fair play regime to work properly though to outflank Chelsea and Manchester City even with larger stadium.

    Reply