One of the ideas that has been floated in the media was that the new White Hart Lane may also be used for American football and would involve the use of a retractable pitch. I have the suspicion that this is more journalist than fact. One major problem is with space at a premium you now have to ‘park’ the pitch outside. Would such a scheme be workable?
There are currently several such arenas in the world. FC Schalke in Germany use one and in the USA Arizona Cardinals American Football team have another. This was actually featured recently on the Discovery Channel series “Really big things.” Other schemes are in Japan and Holland. Top picture is the one in Arizona and you can see the pitch waiting to be rolled in. In case your wondering the stadium is meant to resemble a coiled rattlesnake.
Whilst my personal view is it is highly unlikely to be included in the plans. There would be two major advantages to the scheme. The first is that we currently only use the ground 30 times a year and the rest of the time it stands empty. The other is that by ‘parking’ the pitch outside the playing surface can grow under normal outside conditions without suffering from a lack of circulation and light as in other arenas. Much of the current pitch never sees direct sunshine.
t takes approximately one to two hours to ‘load’ the pitch in place. Outside the stadium the pitch stands on and is moved along underground rails. Once the pitch is placed in situ the outside area can be used for extra match day parking etc. Of course that would not apply in the case of ‘indoor’ concerts.One point that the journalists who came up with this idea have overlooked is that the standard NFL pitch is a different size to our full scale soccer pitch. Some of you will remember I mentioned my friend who works in Russia, well his son-in-law played College ball and when we mentioned this some time ago he did give me the dimensions but basically NFL pitches are narrower than our pitch. Not a major problem as they have 50 odd people on the bench. It is however longer than our usual pitch and I think that’s before you include the run off areas.
Will the NFL have a London franchise in the near future and will it be at the Lane ? My personal thoughts are the first part - possible, the second part - unlikely . Which will be good news to the fixture list people as the NFL play on Sundays. At least your have this information when the story resurfaces .
Thanks - FC Schalke, Arizona Cardinals, Discovery channel, Arizona Tourist Board, BBC
Please note article first appeared under the title Planet Spurs but was changed for administration reasons.
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