By Greg Stobart
Tottenham plan to begin construction of their new stadium in the middle of next year - despite appointing the architects responsible for the Olympic Stadium to come up with new designs.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has not ditched the 56,000-seater designs produced by architects KSS but has appointed Populus - who also designed the Emirates Stadium and the new Wembley - to come up with alternative plans.
Regardless of whether the north London club continue with the original plans - first revealed in 2008 and already considered slightly out of date - they are confident of beginning construction by June 2014.
In such a scenario, Spurs would move into a partially completed stadium for the 2016-17 with the final venue completed in time for the following campaign.
The first phase of the Northumberland Development Project started last June, with a Sainsburys supermaket scheduled to open to the north of the new stadium site next year.
The £400 million project will mainly be financed by a front-loaded naming rights deal, with the club continuing to hold talks with a number of potential partners in the Middle East, Far East and the United States.
Tottenham are owned by Bahamas-based billionaire Joe Lewis, who is ready to guarantee bank loans for the stadium construction, while a £17m funding agreement was agreed with London mayor Boris Johnson in 2012.
The development is considered crucial to Tottenham’s chances of remaining competitive both commercially and on the pitch, especially in light of Uefa’s financial fair play regulations.
Funding difficulties and other problems have already caused a four-year delay in the project but the club are wary of being left behind by rivals and have noted the commercial success of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
Spurs supporters are also anxious to move into the new venue, the current design of which is based on proximity to the pitch and a huge single-tier stand.