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Tottenham Hotspur

Inside Spurs' new stadium as £1bn arena opens its doors for the first time

16:14 GMT 24/03/2019
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 240319
Following extensive renovation work and a considerable delay to the scheduled completion date, Tottenham are finally back on home soil in north London

A new era is being welcomed in at Tottenham, with the club throwing open the doors to a renovated White Hart Lane for the first time.

After 118 years, an iconic venue took in its last action in May 2017.

The decision was taken to bring Spurs into the 21st century with a modern stadium that mirrored the ambition being shown on the field.

Initially, the project in north London was due to cost around £400 million.

By the time building began in earnest, the expected outlay had nearly doubled to £750m.

It is now claimed that the work carried out by Tottenham will have seen the club splash out more than £1 billion.

They will be hoping that investment is rewarded following the best part of two seasons spent elsewhere.

Wembley Stadium has been a makeshift home for Spurs during the construction work and subsequent delays to the planned opening.

They are, however, returning to familiar surroundings.

Mauricio Pochettino’s senior side are due to be back at what will now be called the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace on April 3.

They then have the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash with Manchester City to take in on April 9.

A further four top-flight fixtures will be staged before the 2018-19 campaign comes to a close.

In order to ready themselves for those fixtures, Tottenham have decided to schedule some test events.

The first of those took place on Sunday as the club’s under-18 side played host to Southampton.

A second will be held on March 30 when a legends side takes on Inter.

Over 25,000 fans were able to take in the youth team clash with the Saints - with the official capacity of the new stadium set at 62,062 - though Goal can report that some areas of the stadium still required the paint to dry!

Spurs’ new home is now bigger than the Emirates Stadium base of their arch-rivals Arsenal (60,260).

Club chairman Daniel Levy said in his programme notes for the first game of a new era: “It is my pleasure to welcome you back to Tottenham as the first visitors for a football fixture inside our new home.

“You are playing your part in history this afternoon. This is the first of two test events that we are staging to achieve a formal safety certificate that will allow us to officially open our new stadium against Crystal Palace on April 3. 

“This afternoon presents an exciting opportunity for our Under-18s to become the first team to take to the pitch as they play their league fixture against Southampton.

“We are extremely proud of the club's reputation for developing players for our first team squad. We hope today marks the first of many appearances these players will make for the club and that they follow a similar route to many of our other successful academy graduates. 

“This stadium has been built for future generations of Spurs players so it is entirely apt that our Under-18s kick off here today. 

“We hope you enjoy your afternoon with us and on behalf of everyone at the club, thank you for your support in helping us open our new stadium.”

Among those in attendance on Sunday was first-team head coach Pochettino.

He will be hoping to take in many memorable occasions at the venue in the coming weeks, months and years, with Spurs seeking to end a barren run on the trophy front which stretches back to 2008.

They now have the perfect surroundings in which to chase down those goals.

Tottenham also have a winning start on which to build, with their U18 side having opened things up with a 3-1 win over their counterparts from Southampton.