Back in 2004, construction started on Arsenal’s new home, after a couple years’ worth of site clearing and preparation; the initial pillars were set in the spring of 2004, and in July of 2006, a scant two years later, the stadium was offically opened, to much fanfare, with Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial match. The stadium was finished on time, at a total cost of £390 million, £260 million of which was converted into manageable, fixed-rate loans payable at £20 million a year.
Back in 2015, construction started on the stadium portion of the White Hart Lane redevelopment, after construction on the club offices and other spaces started in 2012. In December of 2018, a scant three years later, the club announced a delay in the stadium’s opening, and then in early January, that delay was also extended, putting yet another dent in the club’s hope to play in its new home in 2019. The stadium was not finished on time, is spiraling upwards in cost to somewhere between £750 million and £1 billion (or more), and it remains to be seen when said stadium will be opened and the final price tag determined.
Why do I bring up this little history lesson? Well, it was confirmed today that Spurs’ continuing stadium woes officially mean that the away version of the North London Derby will be played not in north London, but at Wembley.
I mean, it’s not a surprise; the last announcement of a delay pretty much meant Spurs would be home-from-homing it for a while yet, but today was the official confirmation that Arsenal will be at Wembley on March 2 instead of Cheese Shop Stadium as they had planned.
At this point, since I live in the US and haven’t been to London since White Hart Lane was theoretically demolished for this new thing, I prefer to believe that “Spurs’ new stadium” is a fever dream that isn’t actually happening, but is a thing that a bunch of Spurs fans are trying to wishcast it into existence while frantically repainting the outside of WHL in an effort to make it look new.