Are we deluding ourselves? There are loud celebrations now the Compulsory Purchase order for land needed for the development of the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium has been agreed by portly Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and so now the redevelopment plans for the stadium can go ahead. I keep reading that at last we can compete with the big boys as the extra revenue will mean we can attract top world class players. Sadly I think this is just wishful thinking.
Lets have a look at the figures, this is an extremely high level, non-professional ste of calculations and I am sure that there will be experts who can tell me how wrong I am.
The new stadium will have an estimated 20,000 more seats, nobody know the exact number, but 20,000 seem to be the accepted amount. If we work on an average of £50 per ticket for the 19 Premiership league games that works out at £19m per year, add a few quid for the cup games and let’s say the extra income will be around £25m. Being massively optimistic I am going to estimate the naming rights for the new stadium to bring in £10m per year, Arsenal only get around £7m so £10m would be a typically Levy style deal. That would see us achieving a total increase in turnover of around £35m.
There will be increased revenue from the Spurs shops and catering etc but there will also be increased costs involved in the running of the new stadium, so let’s say these two will cancel each other out.
The cost of the redevelopment has been estimated at £400m, so I am going to imagine that Spurs will borrow £300m to pay for this, of course I have no idea how much will THFC will need to actually borrow, but even if Mr Levy finds the money down the back of the sofa, interest will need to be paid! Using a very simple mortgage calculation, a 25 year mortgage at 6% on £300 would result in repayments of £15.5m each year. If we take the £15.5m from our increased annual revenue of £35m that leaves us with £20.5m to attract the new superstars that will ensure our Champions League future.
Wow, that sounds like a lot doesn’t it – £20.5m per year, unfortunately it is a drop in the ocean. The salaries paid by the 6 teams paying the most in wages in 2013-14 were:
Manchester City £242m
Manchester United £187m
Tottenham Hotspur £112m
So, even if we use the entire £20m extra revenue we will get from the new stadium, we will still be way behind ALL of the other top paying sides. Plus of course we will have to fork out huge amounts of money to buy these world class players before we can even think of paying them wages!
I think the new stadium is a terrific project, the more people able to go and see the mighty Spurs playing the better. Regeneration of the area around White Hart Lane ‘should’ benefit local people, but like the rest of London we we will probably see property speculators and foreign investors being the real winners, sad that. It will hopefully be much easier for me and other Spurs fans to buy tickets to games now and our places on the season ticket waiting list will not seem quite so hopeless. But, I don’t think the new development will bring the massive football benefits that some people seem to think, the new stadium will not produce the massive amount of money needed to compete with the richer clubs in the Premiership. Unless real financial fair play rules are brought in, and that is seriously unlikely, we will have to cement our place in the Premiership hierarchy by punching above our weight – the good old Spurs way!
There is nothing wrong with self-delusion though when it comes to supporting a football team, I have been saying that we will win the league for 50 years now. I expect us to win the FA Cup every year and I am as positive now as I have always been that next season will be our season. So, maybe I am totally wrong and the new stadium will mark the restart of the glory years for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, I hope so. My feelings are that the stadium redevelopment will merely increase the value of ENIC’s property portfolio and Joe Lewis will divert even more holdings away to his tax haven in the Bahamas – like the properties they have purchased around White Hart Lane – this needs to be watched very carefully, if ENIC avoid Capital Gains Tax on the profits they will make form the regeneration of the local area then there may be need of an ‘uprising’.
One of the major problems that has not really been addressed is transportation. OK, they are going to move White Hart Lane station a bit closer to the ground but that will not make it easier to get to and from White Hart Lane. I have queued for over an hour for a train back to Liverpool Street after a match and that gets really frustrating. The best way to get home from the Lane is to take the long walk from N17 to Seven Sisters underground but some of us are not as young as we once were and it’s flipping horrible when it is snowing and raining. 20,000 extra supporters on match-days is going to result in a travel nightmare!