slow progress - the building of the new whl
|Nearly a year on from my last visit
to the new stadium site, much has happened, but there is still much
Going around the ground, there were a huge number of workmen in the streets surrounding the site, so you can only imagine how many more were inside, The structure might be sound, but there is still a lot of facing work to do. Not something that would constitute a safety risk, but some of these panels enclose concourses and staircases, which are currently external with nothing outside of the handrail. Some of the ground level stairways have not got handrails in place and some areas have not got glass in.
Some of the club ident pieces are in place, like the blue and white tiling and the relief cockerel logos, as well as the main entrance arch, which looks very impressive (although the glazing could do with a clean !). You could see some of the food/retail outlets inside some of the levels and these look all set to go, but other areas, looked a little bare and in need of fitting out.
The sheer size of the stadium still astounds, but the pavement at the front of the stadium does appear to be widening, to allow people to pass by without being overwhelmed by the cliff face that rises up out of the ground. While the new Store is the biggest in Europe, it looks like the size of the old original Spurs shop that occupied the corner of the Park Lane and High Road when Ossie and Ricky arrived in comparison to the size of the ground, The store has plenty of room and there is a lot of space around the merchandise, which must be backed up by a large storage area packed with stock under or behind the shop itself, as they surely won't say "if it's not on the shelves, we haven't got it". To take advantage of the NFL games that will be staged, there is a section dedicated to American football in the Store, with shirts, caps, hats and other memorabilia available franchised through the NFL. There is, however, some nods to the past with well-known landmarks preserved inside the store, such as the shirt printing shop lies behind the restored facade of the old Tottenham & Edmonton Dispensary building that was sited nest to the Red House. Also, Warmington House, the home of the Spurs Supporters Club on the High Road, has been incorporated into the store and will be the entrance to the Club Museum when it is completed.
Walking around the ground and looking at the photos when I got home, it was clear that there is still a lot of work to do to make sure that the stadium was safe to be open to supporters. Two days later, it was confirmed that the remainder of this year's fixtures would be staged at Wembley, with the earliest date to return hoped for in January 2019.
Let's hope that there are not too many more hold-ups (with the worst of the weather to come this year, it may not be the case), but to come back home (or as the doormat in the new Club Store said "Home, Sweet Home") will be a welcome resolution to the sense of displacement we have felt since the Manchester United match back in May 2017.
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