We take another look back at the history of the club and its White Hart Lane home. This time its a story of how we nearly left the Lane behind 38 years ago to set up home with the neighbours in London's "super stadium". Why we didn't and how the West Stand changed because of it.
In late 1977 Tottenham and Arsenal had serious discussions about ground sharing a new ‘super’ stadium. At the same time there were some serious concerns over the future of Wembley stadium. A few miles from the clubs two grounds stood Alexandria Palace the answer to everyone's problems.
The two clubs were both keen to increase their gate capacity and match-day revenues. At that time The Greater London Council (GLC) were desperate to rid themselves of the site. The idea was floated that the two clubs would build this “super” stadium which they would share. With the future of Wembley in doubt, England would also use the stadium. The Daily Express was the first paper to break the news on Nov 26th (top image) With the headline Arsenal Hotspurs !! Possibly not the greatest headline ever and there was no suggestion of the two clubs merging. They would co-exist in the same way the two Milan clubs do. It did however ensure they sold a LOT of newspapers. You will notice at that time we were London's big two. The story even carried a photo of the two sets of Directors meeting.(below, thats Spurs on the left) It is one of the few occasions that the two sets of fans were in total agreement, to oppose the plan.
A local residents group was formed and they were quick to point out that events that at the site currently attracted 10,000 people and this caused endless problems as the local transport system couldn’t cope. How did anyone think football crowds of 50,000 would be managed. Even more at England games.
Would this also have meant the two teams playing in half empty stadiums the rest of the time?
One suggestion was that a monorail system be built to connect the site with Central London.
In January 1978 Arsenal even gave over a page of their programme to try and convince their fans it was a good idea. Then after a few months with the idea being universally disliked the GLC decided to scrap the plan. Arsenal would start looking at moving to Ashburton Grove and Tottenham looked at building on their current site.
At the end of the 1979/80 season the club revealed these images.
Above - Is the center pages of the programme from the last day of the 1979 / 80 season.
You will notice that it still doesn't link up with the two stands at either end of the ground.
Right - The programme cover.
Not sure that’s what the West Stand looks like today, well later changes in the Tottenham boardroom led to further revisions before building commenced.
Below left and this is from 1966. Showing the old West Stand clearly. The stairs leading up to the seated areas. Either side are the passage ways that led to the standing paddock beneath. If you look at the Park Lane End ,on the right, you will notice how that stand conforms to the road rather than the pitch.
Below right and November 1980 and the old stand is pulled down.
Hotspur Towers regularly carries old views and stories about White Hart Lane. You may enjoy checking out Hotspur Towers 5, 16, and 33 as well as White Hot Lane
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
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