Unai Emery says he would gladly take the opportunity to play against Tottenham Hotspur in the first match at their new stadium.
Now into the second half of the season, Tottenham Hotspur are still yet to move into the ground they were supposed to be playing in all the way back in August. They’ve already ruled out the possibility of a first match in February, but on March 2nd they have a game scheduled against Arsenal.
Unai Emery was asked about the possibility of playing the opening fixture in the new ground as a North London derby, and he responded (via Hackney Gazette): “Yes, sure. I think it is good to play in a big stadium.”
Unfortunately, the police and other authorities involved in security aren’t so keen on the idea. A derby match always creates a hostile atmosphere, but you’d expect that to be doubly true for the opening of a new stadium. Arsenal fans will want to spoil the day as much as they possibly can, and things could well get out of control very quickly.
On the other hand, Spurs will want to move out of Wembley Stadium as soon as they possibly can. According to the Hackney Gazette, the FA negotiated an increased fee to keep playing matches in the ground, meaning it now costs Tottenham £500,000 for every game they play there.
We’ll see if the extra financial pressure on top of the debts they’re already running up to open the stadium convinces Spurs to play a risky first game against Arsenal.