dome roamin'


Dateline : December 2002
Our Sports Correspondent : Benny The Ball

With no decent bids forthcoming for the white elephant that is the Millennium Dome, it was decided that Tottenham would improve on the move of about 90 years earlier and take something worthwhile from South London to Tottenham.  The need to expand capacity at White Hart Lane became a major issue and rather than rebuild the stadium any further or to move to Picketts Lock athletics stadium, when it is eventually built, Tottenham Hotspur made the bold move to bring the Dome to N17 and having secured rights to have the land that was occupied by the school behind the ground (mainly by building the Tottenham Academy nearby at Northumberland Park), this became the ideal site for the edifice to be placed.  Not bad for an opportunist bid of £250 for the structure and most of the contents.

The new stadium was the start of a brave new era for the club and to go hand in hand with this it was decided not to keep the White Hart Lane name for the new ground, but to open the debate for a new moniker for it.  As it was not a traditional ground and the chairman of 11 years had moved on, the “Sugar Bowl” was out for a start.  Attempts to cover the roofing in a shiny metal protective layer and to remember Swiss boss Christian Gross were shunned when the “Chrome Dome” was suggested.  The winning contribution from a competition for the fans wrapped up the young players who were to take Tottenham forward and the shape of the new building and so the home venue for Tottenham Hotspur became known as the “Tottenham King Dome”, after the new England captain.

The Dome retained some of the characteristics of its previous existence.  These allowed fans to mingle and learn at the same time.  There were no great queues associated with the original Dome’s incarnation as tickets could only be obtained from the THFC Ticket Office and therefore the zones were never sold out.  The building included : -

The Work Zone  -  This imaginary ride is a magical trip into the life of a professional footballer that involves lots of virtual running, lots of looking at a blackboard with strange shapes on it and not forgetting lots of time at home with your feet up wondering what to spend all your money on.  Just on case you think this is the life of Riley, then there is a special sub-area in this part of the Dome called the “Hard Work” zone featuring an animatronic Christian Gross putting the players through their paces.
The Learning Zone  -  Take a trip into the virtual Spurs Lodge and find out how youngsters and experienced players alike learn how to play the Tottenham Way.  The “And If You Know Your History” ride takes you through the glorious past of the club, reminding you of what Tottenham stood for in the far off days of the 20th Century.
The Money Zone  -  A favourite among those with a keen financial mind.  See how Sir Alan Sugar managed to hang on to control of the club despite the crash of his computer and electrical company and how many famous brands bought into the club when Tottenham Hotspur shares hit rock bottom.  In the Millennium Biscuit Tin exhibition, you and see a virtual reality pile of money bigger than you have ever seen before in your life.  This is the Tottenham Hotspur transfer budget, which has remained virtually untouched for over a year now.  See if you can spend it all and create a team in the “Who Wants To Spend £30 million” computer game hosted by Chris Tarrant – Financial Director of Tottenham Hotspur plc.  Also an interactive exhibit shows you how much you could earn from a relatively small investment in the club.
Our Town Stage  -  Local school kids are invited to play out great matches from Tottenham’s past.  Very few wanted to volunteer for the part of Dave Mackay in the 1964 reserve match against Shrewsbury Town, when he broke his leg for a second time, but schoolteachers came up with some lucky children who had not been behaving themselves in class and playing truant.  The same children were threatened with being made to play the parts of Mitchell Thomas, Terry Fenwick, John Lacy, David Jenkins, Jason Dozzell and Paul Price, but attendance levels at the schools surrounding the ground increased dramatically.
The Rest Zone  -  Stop here for a breather and to meet your favourite Spurs players like Darren Anderton, Willem Korsten and Ramon Vega who are all availing themselves of the opportunity to take a break.
The Mind Zone  -  An area for those with an interest in protest and a chance to choose who you want to be Manager/Chairman/Director of Football in an interactive computer display of famous football personalities from the past.  Also the “We Want Our Tottenham Back” morphing machine helps you create the team of your dreams.  You will find this alongside a set of stocks that contains an animatronic version of George Graham that you can throw rotten tomatoes at while you sing along to anti-Arsenal chants played through top quality speaker systems.
The Faith Zone  -  An area where you can go to meditate on the meaning of Tottenham Hotspur and how it came to be.  Every match day there are services held for the congregation and The High Priest of Tottenham or St. Gary of Mabbutt as he is known, leads fans in praise of all things Lillywhite.
The Talk Zone  - or Fans Forum as it used to be known.  Speak to the Director of Football and a player by video-link (or so you think).
The Self Portrait Zone  -  This place reveals more about players than anything else can.  They are laid bare in self analysis for all to see as they provide an audio visual self portrait of themselves for all to see.  Under psychiatric supervision they are taken out of their body’s to reveal their fears and dreams.  Most interesting is Chris Armstrong’s sudden aversion to celebrating goals and an early experience in Darren Anderton’s life that makes him feel strangely drawn to nurses uniforms.
The Home Planet Zone  -  a safe and welcoming area where you can be happy that the team will win more than they lose.  There was going to be an accompanying Away Planet zone, but this was thought to have been far too depressing for fans to visit.
The Living Island Zone  -  This area contains a history of White Hart Lane, being on the island surrounded by High Road, Paxton Road, Park Lane and Worcester Avenue.  How the ground has gradually grown to take over the island and how in future it will expand to reach the land across the divide and bridge to the school land and beyond.
The Journey Zone  -  A virtual reality ride.  Imagine being on a coach trip and you have to sit next to someone who can tell you the Spurs team from the away match against Grimsby Town on 2nd March 1929.  Imagine a journey to the ground that takes four hours, through rain and motorway jams and service stations.  Imagine being subjected to the most vile abuse by Neanderthal home fans when you are in the minority of visiting supporters.  Imagine being herded into a ground like cattle and kept behind after another defeat for 30 minutes.  This is the journey zone.
The Shared Ground Zone  -  A fantasy area, where you can see what it would have been like if the Alexandra Palace stadium had come to fruition in the 1970’s, when Spurs and Arsenal were to share a super stadium together.  Not a pretty site (or sight) and not recommended for those of a nervous disposition.
The Body Zone  -  A giant model of Les Ferdinand and Darren Anderton lying side by side was commissioned for this zone and there is the ability to move around within it to witness all the injuries they have had in their time at Tottenham.  If you look carefully when you reach the top, you can see chinks of light breaking through the stitching that holds Les’ many head wounds together.
The Play Zone -  The pitch itself, where the team go to work on the opposition.  The crowd are seated surrounding the greensward, which becomes the focus of attention for the next one and three-quarter hours.  Half time entertainment comes in the shape of a musical extravaganza created by Peter Gabriel, featuring actors and tumblers provided by Liverpool FC.
Skyscape  -  A massive arena where live transmission of the game is relayed by new technology onto the pitch to show those who were unfortunate enough not to be able to get tickets, the live action in the form of a virtual match played out in front of them.   Using lasers and high-resolution projection equipment, holographic images are projected to replicate exactly what is going on next door in the Work Zone.  Formerly known as the White Hart Lane stadium.  The original stadium also doubled as a place for reserve, youth and junior matches to be played when first team matches were not on.  The old stadium and the screenings were sponsored by BSkyB TV who bought a percentage (believed to be a 1000th of the total shareholding to make them the major shareholder in the company after the great Amstrad collapse of Spring 2001) of the shares in the club when they were at an all time low of 7.4p per share.
So, why not pay a visit to this wonderful attraction.  Don’t believe all the negative press that the club gets in the media.  Make up your own mind and who knows, you might have one amazing day (when Spurs win the Championship) !!
(Grown at vigorous speed from an original seed of an idea from Bruce Lewis)

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