Advantages Super stadium on the inside.
Disadvantages Expensive to watch games
|Access by public transport|
|Quality of food & drink|
|How expensive are the seats?|
|How easy is it to buy tickets|
White Hart Lane is the home of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. It is located in the borough of Haringey, North London and has been home to the club since 1899. The current stadium has a capacity of 36,310 and it is not uncommon for games to be sold out on most home matchdays. In March 2009, some 28 years after becoming a fan of the team, I took the plunge and made my first ever visit to this magnificent stadium. Previously I had watched Spurs play in games closer to my home in the Midlands but up until then, I had never been to ‘The Lane’.
As I live in the midlands, these travelling directions will apply to anyone coming towards the stadium from the North of London. As travelling near the stadium via car on matchdays is not advisable due to lack of parking (a car park is available at £15 but you can expect at least a wait of an hour after the match to get out) I would recommend parking away from the stadium and getting a train to the ground. White Hart Lane main line station is only a 5 minute walk from the ground so is suitable for people of most ages. White Hart Lane Station is on the Cheshunt to Liverpool Street Station line so I would recommend parking at any station on the route. Stops are Theobalds Grove, Turkey Street, Southbury, Edmonton Green and Silver Street from the North or Bethnall Green, Cambridge Heath, London Fields, Hackney Downs, Rectory Road, Stoke Newington, Stamford Hill, Seven Sisters and Bruce Grove from the South. My personal preference is Turkey Street in Enfield. This station is only a mile or so off the M25 and only an 11 minute train journey to White Hart Lane Station. A return ticket from White Hart Lane to Turkey Street costs approximately £4 for an adult and only £1 for a child making it an extremely more attractive proposition than the £15 car park fee. Turkey Street station is in a residential area meaning street parking is fairly safe.
As well as the standard football element, the Tottenham High Road has its fair share of pubs, burger houses and general stores should you wish to grab a bite to eat or drink For home fans use the Cockerel or Corner Pin pubs. Away fans should use Bar 271 or The Park. On the 2 occasions I have been to the ground, home and away fans have mingled together quite happily and there has been a very friendly atmosphere.
Once inside the ground, you are presented with a majestic stadium. It is hard to imagine such a transition from the shabby looking outside of the stadium to a pristine high quality Premiership football ground. Wherever you sit, you are almost guaranteed a perfect, uninterrupted view of the pitch. Each of the stands is divided into upper and lower tiers, the upper tiers being the highest in price. Each of the stands has its own character and there really is something for everyone at this ground.West Terrace – This is the newest of the stands which also houses the players dressing rooms and tunnel area, the managers dugout and technical areas are also situated at the foot of the West Terrace. This stand is the football facing side of the offices that you can see from the main road and the most important corporate boxes are located here. This stand is for home supporters only and can accommodate 6,890 supporters. I was lucky enough to get seats in this stand for my first ever match. Although, I wanted seats for the upper tier which had sold out, I was more than happy with the view I got from my lower tier seat which was only five rows back from the pitch. Prices in this stand vary from £43 to £75 depending on the opposition for the upper tier and £40 to £65 for the lower tier.
South Stand – The south stand is located on Park Lane which is closed off to traffic around the match time. The lower tier of this stand has a number of disabled bays allowing wheelchair users and their carers a super view of the action. If you are looking at the pitch from the BBC or Sky cameras, the South Stand is the one behind the goal to the left of your television picture. For my second visit to the ground, I actually got seats for the South Stand Upper tier and the view from here was magnificent (see photo). We had to climb up roughly 5 sets of steps to get to our seats but once their, the view was breathtaking. My only concern was that in the event of needing to evacuate the stadium, there didn’t appear to be many natural exits although I’m sure an evacuation would have been conducted in an orderly fashion. On top of the South Stand is one of the grounds large video screens, the Sony Jumbotron. This is an amazing screen which shows the action as it is happening plus it also replays key moments just after they have happened and again at half and full time.The away fans at White Hart Lane are positioned in the corner of the ground between the West and South stands making this a great position to sit if you want to enjoy banter with the away fans. On the two occasions I have been to the ground, Spurs have won both times making this banter all the more enjoyable although I’m sure things probably do get a bit tense when things aren’t going our way. Home and away fans are segregated making for a safe afternoon (or evenings) viewing.
In the opposite corner of the South Stand is the TV presentation room. If there is a live match from the stadium, this is where Richard Keys, Gary Lineker or whoever will be sitting doing their pre and post match analysis of the game. South upper ticket prices range from £33 to £47 with the lower tier prices between £28 and £43. Disabled supporters also pay between £28 and £43 wherever they sit in the ground.North Stand - The North Stand is affectionately known to Spurs fans as ‘The Paxton’ due to it backing onto Paxton Road. The Paxton is usually the stand which makes the most noise during games and for this reason, Spurs prefer to kick this way in the second half when the fans can help suck the ball into the net if needed. The second Sony Jumbotron screen is situated on top of this stand meaning that wherever you are sat in the ground, you will always have a clear view of at least one of the screens which both broadcast the same feeds.
If you have opted to collect your tickets from the ground or wish to book your seats in person then the clubs ticket office is located in the Paxton Road stand on the ground floor. North Stand adult prices are identical to those in the South stand but discounts are available for both senior citizens and juniors.East Stand – This is the oldest stand in the ground by a long distance. The roof on this stand is still supported by giant pillars which means this is the only stand where a perfect view is not guaranteed as the pillars do get in the way of the action. When I first saw this stand in person, I was amazed to see that there was actually a seat directly behind one of the pillars and I couldn’t believe that someone would actually buy that seat but they did.
The East stand is where all TV pictures are broadcast from. This is a clever ploy by the club as it means the East stand rarely gets shown in TV coverage, instead the cameras focus on the three newer stands. East stand lower tier prices range from £36 to £55 for a clear view seat (£31 to £44 for restricted view) and £40 to £65 for a clear view in the upper tier (£35 to £54 restricted view).
There are plenty of refreshment stands in the foyer before you get to the seated area of the stadium. Here you can purchase all the standard football junk food such as burgers, chips and pies plus a good choice of soft drinks and quite surprisingly in my opinion, beer. You cannot take the beer into the seating area however and it must be consumed in the foyer. A 500ml bottle of Pepsi cost me £1.70 which I didn't think was too bad considering I was in London at one of the most expensive stadiums in the country. I didnt sample any of the food as I had already eaten before entering the stadium.
Television pundits have always said that White Hart Lane is one of the hardest premier league grounds to get away from. I disagree wholeheartedly with this statement. Sure, if you are trying to leave by car then you have a problem as 36,000 pedestrians are walking down the middle of the road but if you are crazy enough to attempt to park anywhere near the ground (which is illegal anyway) you deserve to be delayed.The five minute walk from the station to the ground earlier in the day now becomes a 10 minute walk as you fight your way through the crowds, most of whom are heading for the same platform as you. To their credit, London transport do put on more trains that stop at White Hart Lane station on matchdays. Within 40 minutes of the final whistle, I am normally back at my car which I think it pretty good going when you think how many people must be catching the train. I have always caught the first possible train without it being completely full.
A 36,000 seater stadium is no longer sufficient for Tottenham’s fan base so planning permission has been sought for a brand new 56,000 seater stadium on the same site as the existing ground. This planning application has been submitted and it is hoped that work will start within 2 years on the stadium. The new stadium has even been included in England’s 2018 World Cup bid.When work does commence on the new stadium, the current one will still continue to be used. When the new stadium is three quarters built, the team will transfer over to this one, and the existing stadium will be knocked down in order to continue the building work. By doing this, the capacity of the new stadium will not drop below the existing 36,000 whilst the final phase of development is completed. The new stadium will be the focus of the High Road and not hidden behind old buildings as it currently is.
If you are a sports fan of any description, you must visit this historic stadium before it finally gets knocked down. Although it is one of the most expensive grounds in the country it is still well worth a visit. It is not one of the prettiest grounds from the outside but once you step inside and set sight on the pitch, it really is a sight to behold.
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