I posted a link to the petition against a move to Stratford, and I’m surprised to read that there are some fans who have no problem with this mental idea.
Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion. I know that people have their own personal reasons for choosing to support a club, and it’s for not for me to tell them what should be important to them, but speaking from a personal point of view, here’s why I’d want no part of a THFC based in east London.
To start with, it always tickles me when people claim that “history” and “emotion” are stupid, unimportant arguments when it comes to football, and try to act as if fans should look at everything from a business point of view. There is nothing about being a football fan that makes business sense. There’s not even anything very logical about it. You go and watch eleven blokes you’ve never met kicking a ball around, and the result matters a lot to you. You spunk away your time and money in the process. That’s not sensible. The only thing that makes it meaningful is your emotional attachment to the club. The history is the whole point. It’s not just eleven men, it’s eleven men representing something important to you. And for me, a big part of what’s important about Spurs is that they represent north London, the specific part of the world that I come from.
Someone left a comment that I found absolutely bizarre. They said “Stop supporting Spurs if north London means so much to you.” You might as well say “stop supporting England if England means so much to you.” THFC is north London – the whole identity of the club is wrapped up in the area. If north London doesn’t mean anything to you, I have to ask why you’re supporting Spurs in the first place. Aren’t we always critical of all those Surrey Man United fans, supporting a team from a city they have no affinity with? We sing about being the pride of north London. We’re named after Harry Hotspur because his family owned the area which is now Tottenham Marshes. The most important game of our season is the north London derby (which we play against a team who we hate mainly because they moved across London to steal another team’s fans – er…) For decades we’ve competed against Arsenal for north London bragging rights, and now you’d be happy to just vacate the area and leave them to it for an increased capacity and an easier tube journey? I can’t understand that at all. If it costs us an extra 200 million, so be it…even if it bankrupts us, I’d rather stay in Tottenham because in my eyes if we moved to Stratford the club as I know it would cease to exist anyway. I’ve barely ever been to Stratford, except passing through on the Central Line. I don’t feel at home there. I don’t know anything about it. If I did, I’d probably support Leyton Orient.
I understand that lots of our fans are from Essex and Herts, and all over the world (although surely a lot of the fans who no longer live in north London support Spurs because their family were originally from there) and that maybe for them the area is not as significant as players past, the culture of good football, the glory, glory nights and all that. But you could go to Barcelona on holiday and see those things. Surely what’s special about the great Tottenham teams is that they did it not just anywhere, but on the High Road in Tottenham. Players change, so do managers, so do styles of play and levels of success. But the geography doesn’t, and what else is there apart from the name and colour of the kit that makes the Spurs of today the Spurs of 50 years ago?
Then there’s the people and businesses in the area that depend on the club. The Two Brewers, The Bell and Hare, all your favourite pre-game pubs and restaurants – I doubt any of them would survive Spurs leaving. All the kids who work in the club shop, and benefit from the club’s community work – it would all end, and Haringey is one of the most deprived boroughs in London. Whatever you think about the council, it’s not the fault of the local people. Stratford will be fine, they’re getting West Ham anyway.
On top of all this, I think there are practical reasons against the move too. We’re told that the plan would be to demolish the Olympic Stadium, months after its completion, and build a whole new one in its place. This just sounds to me like a totally ridiculous idea that I can’t believe the IOC would even entertain. And there’s no way that I’d want to play in the soulless bowl that is the current Olympic Stadium – the atmosphere would be terrible. West Ham are happy to take the stadium as it is, and I say we let them get on with it.
If you don’t agree, don’t sign the petition. You don’t have to sign anything you don’t want to, that’s why it’s fun to live here and not in Burma. If you do agree, sign it and make your feelings known. Let’s hope that, as some of you have said, the whole thing is just a ploy to put pressure on and get the Northumberland Park deal through.