Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, has admitted that building a bigger stadium than Arsenal ‘wasn’t the sole driver’ meaning that it did play at least some part in their decisions.
Spurs have opted to build a 61,000-seater stadium so that it is slightly bigger than Arsenal’s by 568 seats, probably not aware that the Emirates has been designed so that it can be expanded to 100,000 (I was also told this by Charlie George).
“That wasn’t the sole driver [building a bigger stadium than Arsenal],” Levy told NBC.
“The reason was simply that we have a season ticket waiting list of 58,000 people and had to find a solution.
“Clearly we went for the maximum we could.”
Levy was also quick to highlight that Spurs could be heading into a financial wilderness such as the one that plagued Arsenal for a decade.
The difference is, Arsenal were pretty much guaranteed Champions League football every season thanks to Arsene Wenger – 17 years in a row and 19 of the last 20. Spurs have managed to get there just twice in their history (three if you count the year they finished fourth but Chelsea got their place), so it’s a big ask to expect it every season.
“Everybody thinks just because you have a bigger stadium you get more revenue and you’ll have lots more money,” Levy continued.
“But when you’re spending this amount of money on a stadium we’ll have a lot of debt we will have to repay.
“Over the medium to long term it gives you greater financial security and also as a player if you’re playing for a big club you want to play in a big stadium.”
When asked in 2015 about Spurs decision to make their stadium slightly bigger than Arsenal’s, Wenger simply replied, “Are you surprised?”