Spurs stadium move bid row reaches fever pitch

Haringey Independent: Spurs fans protesting on Sunday Spurs fans protesting on Sunday

A ROW over Tottenham Hotspur's hopes to abandon their home in favour of the Olympic stadium - which they plan to demolish - reached fever pitch this week.

Betrayed fans staged angry protests outside the club's current White Hart Lane home on Sunday and chanting in unison "North London is ours - say no to Stratford" during the Spurs clash with Man United.

A female fan climbed in front of television cameras to hold up a banner calling on fans to "Say No to Stratford Hotspur" and was subsequently kicked out the ground.

The moment has been described as "iconic" by supporters commenting on video clips which have been posted on YouTube.

Anti-Stratford campaigner Ellie Kershaw said: "Football is tribal. It is fair to say a lot of Spurs fans do not live in Tottenham any more but our love of the club has been passed down from generation to generation and we see Tottenham as our home and our identity.

"The bottom line comes down to emotion. Nobody would spend £50 a week if watching our team didn't mean anything to us. A move to east London would change everything."

With just a week until the Olympic Park Legacy Company chooses its preferred bid former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell spoke out calling West Ham's plans, which include keeping the Stratford stadium's world-class athletics track, the only "honest" option.

She has been backed by former mayor Ken Livingstone - who was instrumental in making London 2012 happen - and Tottenham MP David Lammy who said a Spurs move to east London would kill all hopes of regeneration in his constituency.

But ex-British Olympic Association (BOA) chief executive Simon Clegg said the idea of athletics and football in the same stadium simply "would not work" clashing with former BOA chairman Sir Craig Reedie who was quick to condemn the Spurs vision to get rid of the athletics track.

He was joined by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, who said: "I'm astonished when I see all these articles that there's even a discussion, when a promise is made at the time that we made the bid."

Nearly 6,000 fans have signed an online petition condemning any move out of the borough where the club already has permission to build a new stadium.

But other fans have vented their fury over rumours Haringey Council had not done enough to seduce Spurs chairman Daniel Levy into keeping the club in Tottenham where it was founded over 100 years ago.

Haringey Council leader Claire Kober lashed out against the criticisms the council had placed "unreasonable demands" over Spurs plans to build a new 56,000-seat stadium in Northumberland Park which has been on the cards for the past two decades.

Cllr Kober said: "In reality, the council has been enormously supportive of the Northumberland Development Project from the outset has gone to considerable lengths to expedite the whole process to the benefit of the club.

"The development would be of major benefit to Tottenham and surrounding areas so we would have no interest in being unhelpful."

Last year, the council agreed to make it easier for the Premiership club to buy the remaining pieces of land it needed by granting approval for a number of compulsory purchase orders.

Haringey Council has also been on the receiving end of fans' fury over claims that Islington Council helped to fund Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

But in a letter to Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn from Islington Council's chief executive, John Foster CBE, said it had done no such thing.

Mr Foster wrote: "I have checked the position and can confirm we did not offer Arsenal FC any financial assistance as that would be considered state aid."

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