Tottenham Hotspur History: White Hart Lane
All good things must come to an end. White Hart Lane has been a faithful hotspot for the vast majority of Tottenham Hotspur’s successes and will be sorely missed by the entire Spurs faithful. There were more than a few Tottenham Hotspur trophies won at the Lane. 2017 marked the last of 118 years of gameplay and what a year to go out; Spurs remained undefeated at the Lane during the 2017-18 Premier League campaign – giving the ground the farewell it truly deserved.
The Lane was first written into the Tottenham Hotspur history in 1899. White Hart Lane was initially the disused site of a nursery owned by the Charrington brewery. Tottenham Hotspur decided to rent the land-space from the brewery and transformed it, with the help of local groundsman John Over, into a stadium that could hold roughly 5,000 spectators. White Hart Lane was host to its first ever football match on August 7th, 1899: an annual military tournament played in front of a crowd of 5,000. The official opening of the stadium was the match between Spurs and Notts County when Tottenham won 4-1. This was bookended on the 14th May 2017 with a 2-1 Spurs win over Manchester United.
Within 5 years of residency at the Lane, the ground boasted: the main stand of 500 seats, roofed accommodation for approximately 12,000 supporters, and a sizeable total capacity of 32,000. In 1905, shares were collected to purchase the lease of the stadium in order to suitably fill the ambitions of the club. At the end of the 1909-10 season, the famous copper cockerel that overlooked the stadium was erected on the roof of the touchline stand. Interestingly, White Hart Lane was commandeered by the Ministry of Defence during the First World War and was used as a makeshift factory to manufacture gunnery and protection equipment.
Over the course of the 20th century, the stadium saw transformations to every stand. In 1934, the East Stand was redesigned which meant that the ground could accommodate 80,000 spectators in total. Floodlights were introduced in 1953 and updated in 1972. In 1980, the West stand was dismantled and replaced with the structure that lasted up until the Lane’s last days. Between 1989 and 1996, alterations were made to all stands to help produce the safe, modern, White Hart Lane of the nineties and noughties; executive lounges and boxes were designed and introduced, as were the restaurants on the third and fourth levels. 2006 saw the last seat configurations which made the final capacity of the stadium 36,284.
As Tottenham Hotspur had a season ticket waiting list of 58,000, Chairman Daniel Levy commissioned the construction of a new stadium to replace White Hart Lane. This new construction is currently being built on the same site and will be home to the mighty Spurs for many years to come. It will boast a capacity of 61,062 and a single tier 17,500-strong home south stand and will be a sleek, modern and multi-purpose stadium that can help propel Mauricio Pochettino’s side upwards. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will offer a wide variety of hospitality packages including a range of boxes, suites, lounges, and restaurants and is due to open in 2019. Although White Hart Lane will be missed, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be a stunning and appropriate replacement.