Here’s some more of the thought provoking piece by our old mate, author and journalist Martin Cloake.
In this installment (and believe me there will be more) Martin looks at getting to and from the ground and the buzz phrase of our generation, the ‘Olympic Legacy’.
One ‘issue’ with Tottenham’s current ground is transport links. It’s taken as given that they are ‘poor’ and that substantial improvement is needed. This in turn feeds into the argument about Stratford having better links due to the Olympic infrastructure works. But take a breath here.
There are five mainline rail stations and one tube station within walking distance of White Hart Lane. Driving is a problem, but driving anywhere in London is a problem. Congestion at White Hart Lane rail station and Seven Sisters tube can be bad, but not as bad as the congestion outside the Emirates stadium which sees Holloway Road tube closed and Highbury and Islington overwhelmed on match days.
The problem with getting to White Hart Lane is that the, and this is obviously a personal opinion but one based on bitter experience, greedy and incompetent people who allegedly ‘run’ the transport system in this country are in charge of it. That’s why trains are regularly cancelled for engineering work on days when 36,000 are expected to use them to get to Spurs, why short trains are scheduled and why timetables are so bad.
To get to Stratford, punters on public transport will have to use services provided by the same greedy incompetents – who will doubtless be on their best behaviour for the Olympics but return to providing the kind of transport ‘service’ that has made this country a laughing stock afterwards. While maintaining profits, of course.
Even driving may not provide the answer, for to get to and from Stratford’s swanky new roads people will at some stage have to use the less than swanky old ones such as the A10, North Circular, M25, A13 etc. So I need some convincing about this transport thing. One thing a European tour does show us fans is how a transport system can work when a country has the sense to realise it is a key service rather than another commodity.
Having whipped up a storm of condemnation for the plans to demolish the Olympic Stadium should Spurs be awarded it, the club is addressing the criticism that this betrays the legacy promised by the London organisers. So much is being made of plans to refurbish the crumbling Crystal Palace Stadium – ironically very close to the site of Tottenham Hotspur’s historic 1901 FA Cup win when the club became the only non-league side to win the trophy. (In my mind’s eye I can see the club’s PR guru scribbling that one down). That’s going to be funded from profits made by the new stadium. Really?
The first, and obvious, question is how long will it take for the new Spurs football stadium to generate enough money to refurbish Crystal Palace? Then there’s how long will it take to build? How long a gap does this leave between an existing athletics facility at the Olympic Stadium being torn down and the new one going up?
And how much of a priority will funding and building that facility be for a club (hopefully) still competing at the top of English and European football, with all the financial resources that involves?
You don’t have to be a professional cynic to have more than a few doubts.