Spurs’ USA Tour 2018 to Presage Opening of Club’s New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium & Landmark Year in Club’s Famous History

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“The game is about glory. It is about doing things in style, with a flourish…” — Spurs legendary double-winning captain Danny Blanchflower

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have always strived to do things with style. Founded in 1882, Spurs are one of the game’s most famous soccer teams: they became the first English club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double in 1960–61; the first British club to win a UEFA club competition, the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963; Spurs were also the inaugural winners of the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies; and, Spurs have collected at least one major trophy in each of the six decades from the 1950s to 2000s.

Along the way, the proud Spurs’ cockerel has been worn by “style” players including Blanchflower, Greaves, Gilzean, Hoddle, Ardiles, Gascoigne, Ginola, Klinsmann, Ledley King, and by so many others including present players Harry Kane of England, who won the Golden Boot at World Cup 2018, and Spurs’ club captain, Hugo Lloris, who gloriously captained his France team to winning the World Cup.

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Tottenham proud of Club captain Hugo Lloris also captaining France to victory
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Stadium’s atmospheric bowl designed to place fans closer to the pitch

After all those achievements, Tottenham are now taking style to the next level by moving into a glorious new stadium for the 2018–19 season, one that’s simply described as a “game changer.”

That’s exciting news for Spurs’ fans worldwide and in North America where Tottenham have 66 Official Supporters Clubs across the region, more than any other Premier League (EPL) team.

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THFC’s Executive Director Donna-Maria Cullen at the Club’s world class training ground

Now, on the eve of Tottenham’s USA Tour 2018, the Club’s sixth visit stateside in nine years, THFC Executive Director Donna-Maria Cullen talks about the glorious new era that Spurs are entering:

Q. What will make this 2018–19 season one to remember for Tottenham’s fans over here and worldwide?

“This is a landmark year for the Club, one of the most significant periods in our history. We are returning to Tottenham after playing a year away at Wembley Stadium. The completion of our new stadium will be realization of a dream that started for (Chairman) Daniel Levy back in 2001 when he first took over the Club. This stadium will be here for generations to come and so we wanted to create something truly special for fans and the local community. On the pitch, we have an exciting young team that has emerged as competitors to the top teams both domestically and in Europe. We will be competing in the Champions League (UCL) for a third consecutive season, our longest run in the competition, and we will be aiming to build on last year’s promising showing, where we finished top of our group ahead of the holders and eventual winners, again, Real Madrid.”

Q. What can we expect from the new stadium in taking us into the very top echelon of European and World football?

“We had a season ticket waiting list of more than 60,000 at White Hart Lane and had to find a solution. We therefore went for the maximum capacity and now have the biggest football club stadium in London. The stadium is a game changer. More fans can now come to watch us play allowing our fan base to grow even further. We want continued success for the team, to be competing at the top of the EPL and UCL for years to come, and the new stadium will play a big part in this. Unlike most stadium builds, however, this is not solely driven by the desire for increased revenues. We wanted to do something unique, regenerate the local area and create a vibrant destination. We have pushed the boundaries of stadium design in order to set a new standard in fan experience. Atmosphere has been fundamental to our designs — the seating bowl places fans closer to the pitch than at any comparable venue in the country, and we will have the biggest single-tier stand in the UK. We want to replicate and surpass our famous White Hart Lane atmosphere.

“This will also be the first stadium in the world to house a microbrewery, we will have a 65 meter-long goal line bar, our stadium bowl screens are the biggest in Western Europe, while all our fans will also be able to enjoy free WiFi across the stadium and a huge range of food and drink options including a street food emporium. It will be an ultra-modern, cashless venue helping to reduce queues and speed up service.”

Q. Have you seen the American “gridiron” pitch rollout, and what will Tottenham’s NFL agreement offer Spurs?

“Testing of the sliding pitch has successfully taken place over the past month and the installation of the artificial surface is now complete with the NFL badge. We have always been a club of firsts and this will be the first stadium with the Premier League and NFL. The NFL has been involved in the absolute detail of every facet of this stadium, and it is vital they are part of every aspect of the construction. We want the stadium to be seen as a joint venue — it’s the reason we have implemented dedicated entrances, playing surfaces, dressing rooms, medical and media facilities for both sports. Our agreement with the NFL will position the stadium and local area at the forefront of two of the world’s most popular sports. It will bring a new audience to the local area, showcasing Tottenham and bringing further economic and social benefits with global coverage and attraction.”

Q. What impact will the stadium and associated nearby development have on the immediate Tottenham area?

“The vision was always to deliver far more than a stadium — this is about a new sports and leisure destination for the capital and somewhere that will be a hive of activity 365 days a year. The stadium sits at the heart of a major regeneration project that will see the transformation of Tottenham over the next 20 years. We want to start real place change in Tottenham — our home and an area we are extremely passionate about. The scheme represents a near £1bn private sector investment in one of the most socially and economically deprived areas in London. Our commitment to hosting events such as NFL, concerts and more will help bring additional spend and opportunities that are so needed in this part of London and further elevate the profile of Tottenham nationally and internationally. The additional developments, new homes, new schools and shops, restored historic buildings and new jobs delivered so far has started to transform this area and it’s vital that the momentum we have created is supported and utilized to the benefit of the local community.”

Q. Worldwide Spurs’ fans have to get up at all hours (4–7am for matches televised in US), so what is Tottenham doing to repay their commitment?

“We recognize we are a global brand, fans therefore get up at all hours to watch our games and so we always aim to repay them for their support when we travel on tour through our engagement programs. Our Supporters Clubs are communities of their own and forces for good in their areas and we always look to support and raise awareness, including recent examples: Austin Spurs assisting with the Hurricane Harvey relief effort in Houston; Malaysia Spurs organizing a visit to an elderly care home to celebrate Chinese New Year; and, Punjabi Spurs and Yorkshire Spurs giving cooked meals for the homeless at the Antwerp Arms community kitchen in Tottenham. We always activate with our US Supporters Clubs on tour, including: Q&A evenings with club legends — previously, there were 2,000 fans in Nashville from across 50 cities; open training sessions, and fan zone activations on matchdays. This tour, we will also be involving ourselves in their local events to mark our visit — there’s a beach party with San Diego Spurs, a “4-a-side” tournament with LA Spurs and a photo opportunity at the Hahn/Cock statue with Minneapolis Spurs.

“We have a growth appeal in the US because we are the challenger Club, we have been the one Club recently that has successfully managed to break the mold at the top of the table, and fans want to be part of that journey and are excited to see where it can take us. That sustained progress has been achieved by giving young players an opportunity, not spending huge sums of money, and also playing a style of football fans can enjoy and appreciate.”

Q. Where have you seen a growth in engagement?

“Every metric inside the Club continues to grow year-on-year, from the number of Supporters Clubs, to social media and membership numbers. Additionally, our time at Wembley Stadium has also allowed us to grow our matchday attendances both in terms of attracting young and international fans, and resulted in us breaking (attendance) records in the Premier League and UEFA/UCL competition. That just shows the strength of the fan base and we are confident this can continue in our new increased capacity stadium.

Q. Tell us about the work of Tottenham’s global coaching staff?

“Our Global Coaching team always go out at least a week before the first team and deliver a comprehensive grassroots youth football development program across the cities we are visiting, engaging the younger fan base. Over the past five years, the Global Coaching team has coached over 12,600 players in 18 different US cities including Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. We also have a three-year agreement with Florida Elite Soccer Academy, one of the largest youth football organizations in the USA, as part of our continued drive to support the development of the game at grassroots level in North America and are looking to secure similar arrangements elsewhere in the US. The relationship means a fully-qualified Tottenham Hotspur coach will work alongside Florida Elite’s coaching staff all year round, using renowned coaching methods developed within the Tottenham Hotspur Academy.”

Q. Could you explain “embedding ourselves” a whole lot more than just going out there and playing matches?

“Engaging with our fans is a core part of any visit we make overseas, we want to give the American soccer fan a reason to choose us over another club, while we always look to embrace the local cultures and traditions. This tour alone we are doing approximately 30 events across two weeks including activating with local sports teams, a foster children charity, coaching sessions with underprivileged children and visiting notable hotspots in all three cities, all the while with a commitment to making our players accessible to our fans.”

Q. Speaking of first-team players, what’s been the impact of Tottenham players at the recent World Cup?

“The World Cup was a great success in terms of the club’s players participation. Nine of our 12 players went as far as the semi-finals — more than any other club — while we had the top goalscorer (Harry Kane) and the World Cup winning captain (Hugo Lloris) among our number. A strong performance at football’s biggest tournament by our players increases awareness of them and can capture the imagination of the floating fans seeking to then follow that player going forward.”

Q. Why is the present and future “Lilywhite”?

“We are already seen as one of the top clubs in the EPL and an emerging threat across Europe, yet there is still so much potential we can realize. It is not just about money and spending, we want to give young players opportunities. This team is still one of the youngest and can therefore get even better. The team receives great plaudits not just for our progress but the way we play — we want to entertain. We already have one of the finest Training Centers anywhere and the new stadium offers so many possibilities for this club to get even bigger. The future is also bright for our local community — the stadium development will create thousands more jobs and pumps hundreds of millions into the local economy each year.”

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Tottenham Hotspur are currently on their USA Tour 2018, where their schedule has them playing AS Roma (San Diego), Barcelona (Los Angeles) and AC Milan (Minneapolis). Check out Club related Fan Events, and for additional fan info, drop in on San Diego Spurs, LA Spurs and Minneapolis Spurs.

Written by

Award-winning journalist-author-blogger for Playboy, TO Star, Movie Entertainment, HuffPost, Hello Canada & my novel REJEX (Pulp Hero Press) is on Amazon.

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