By Mike Stevenson (mikeinparma)
6 November, 1995. Cleveland, Ohio. The NFL’s Cleveland Browns were losing revenue in the outdated and crumbling Municipal Stadium, nor were they receiving any civic support to renovate, owner Art Modell announced he and the Browns were leaving in the following season. And not 10 miles east into Euclid, but rather 311 miles to Baltimore, Maryland. It was a truly devastating moment. I had lost the team I grew up supporting. We were left empty handed, while the new team in Baltimore got a new stadium and quickly won the title that we in Cleveland had been craving since 1964. We ended up getting a new version of the Cleveland Browns, it wasn’t the same. MY team moved 300 miles away, left behind their identity, formed a new one, and are now bitter enemies. I feel disconnected with the new Cleveland Browns. Deep down, this isn’t the team I grew up with. They are stand-ins in my eyes. I’ll never be able to get that connection back, I fear.
Now, with all of that said, you can imagine my lack of vitriol as I heard that Levy was trying to lay claim to Stratford and expand its brand further. I honestly wouldn’t have been all that upset if we were able to build the same space-aged looking stadium in Northumberland Park or Stratford. Whatever was best for the club in my eyes. From a view across the ocean, it all seemed to make sense. Costs would be immensely reduced, and the ease of getting to the ground would be improved for most. What wasn’t to like? A big, shiny, 56,000 seater stadium would mean more revenue, the ability to keep up with the top echelon of English football in regards to transfers, wages, as well as being financially solvent while doing so. How could this American see anything negative about that?
I suppose if you live in and around Tottenham, you would see everything negative about that. On my few adventures across the pond to watch the Mighty Spurs, I’ve seen just what the area around White Hart Lane looks like. And let’s be honest here; you don’t have to be Anne Frank to see that it is a bit of a shit hole. The area is in desperate need of SOMETHING to liven it up. A new stadium plus all the extras that would go with it in that Northumberland Development Project could be just the ticket to get business back, get people back, and get some money back into that lifeless looking area. I was incredibly confused as to why there was such resistance by the Haringey Council. After all, wouldn’t you be desperate for such a potential rennaisance to happen if your area was crumbling down around you? Seems like a no-brainer to me. But lack of public funds being made available and bullshit like listed buildings that look in worse shape than an 80 year old dog made the whole thing really sour in my eyes. If Haringey couldn’t understand the importance of keeping Tottenham Hotspur in that area and made it so goddamned difficult and expensive, then it’s their own fault for losing them.
Again, I am a hell of a lot more detached about this Pro Stratford/Pro Tottenham movement than most of you on here. I didn’t grow up travelling up the High Road to watch Spurs. I didn’t have the pleasure of standing in the terraces in the Shelf and watching Tony Parks save that penalty in the 84 UEFA Cup Final. I wasn’t there when Gazza struck that ever so sweet free kick at Wembley. I wasn’t even there to see legends like Paolo Tramezzani & Ruel Fox roam the White Hart Lane pitch. I am without a season ticket, a nearby Spurs megastore, and if I’m being honest, any fellow Spurs to talk football with on a regular basis. What I AM attached to is my club. I only see them on television. I only interact with its supporters on Twitter, Facebook, & various Tottenham forums. I want what is best for this club both financially and on the pitch. If it takes moving 7 miles away, then so be it. However, I have no doubt that every possible avenue of keeping Spurs in Tottenham would have been exhausted. If it cannot happen, then so be it. I understand how most everyone in that area feels, especially about losing a team. Fortunately, 7 miles to remain with your childhood club is a hell of a lot less upsetting than having your team completely abandon you, your city, and their identity to move 300 miles away.