Goals from Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen ensured that Tottenham’s first-ever game at its new 62,062-seat stadium yesterday (Wednesday) ended in victory.
The 2-0 win brought to an end Spurs’ fans wait to return ‘home’ after spending almost two full seasons at Wembley while work on the new stadium was carried out. A crowd of 59,215 attended the match, which kicked off following an opening ceremony featuring Welsh tenor and Spurs fan Wynne Evans, and local singer Lanya Matthews.
Prior to the game, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy wrote an open letter to supporters welcoming them ‘home’, with the new stadium having been built next to the old White Hart Lane, which staged its final match on May 14, 2017.
Levy said: “Eighteen years ago we embarked on what has been a monumental and, at times – I don’t mind saying – almost overwhelming, task. The financial, operational, logistical, planning and resourcing it has taken has been immense. There is a reason massive projects like this are seldom undertaken by private entities, particularly ones of our modest size.
“It was 2001 when we realised that a key part of making this club one of the top 10 clubs in the world was building an increased capacity stadium. You simply cannot be a big club with a 36,000-seater stadium.”
Levy went on to discuss the stadium delays, which led to Tottenham spending more time at Wembley than was originally planned. The club had initially hoped to open the stadium last September with a match against Liverpool but problems with its critical safety systems pushed the opening date back. At one stage it was unclear whether the stadium would open at all this season.
“Yet again we looked for the positives,” said Levy, who confirmed the stadium will come with a price tag of around £1bn (€1.17bn/$1.32bn). “The increased capacity at Wembley meant that over 90,000 additional, new ticket purchasers joined our database, and saw the team play, buying 340,000 tickets between them. This would never have been possible at WHL and also not possible at our new stadium.
“We broke the record for the attendance at Premier League matches no fewer than three times – beating Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal on those occasions. In the Champions League we filled Wembley and witnessed remarkable games against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. While we played at Wembley, we built at home.”
Two test events have been held in recent weeks, with Tottenham’s U18s hosting Southampton before a legends match between Spurs and Inter Milan last Saturday. The successful staging of these events paved the way for the stadium to fully open last night and attention will now turn to the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City next Tuesday.
“We have created a new landmark in London, one that is truly global, and one that will stage the world’s two most popular sports, Premier League football and NFL, along with many other sports and world-class entertainment,” Levy said.
“The area will see a massive influx of tourism and visitors – we have the third largest conference facilities in London, you’ll be able to climb the roof with the Skywalk attraction, we will have a museum and soon a hotel.
“All of us working together – government on all levels – have a real opportunity to support a new sport, leisure and entertainment destination in London – one that will be vibrant 365 days a year.
“Our hope is that we shall now see the ripple effect of what we have delivered embraced and built upon so that we deliver opportunities for all.”