Wem­b­ley woe

Should Spurs play there?

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

IMUST ad­mit that I haven’t heard of peo­ple com­plain­ing that Tot­ten­ham are play­ing all their home games at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium this year, but, for me, it’s not right.

Why? Well, let me ex­plain. Wem­b­ley is the home of foot­ball in this coun­try, a special place. It’s where Eng­land won the World Cup (ad­mit­tedly be­fore the sta­dium was knocked down and re­built) and the likes of Hurst, Moore and Peters carved their names into English foot­ball folk­lore.

Every­one will have their own favourite mem­o­ries. Per­haps it’s Alan Sun­der­land scor­ing that last-gasp win­ner for Ar­se­nal against

Manchester United or Tot- ten­ham’s Ricky Villa netting his FA Cup solo goal against Manchester City.

In the past, there weren’t that many games at Wem­b­ley and that helped to keep the mys­tique. It was a special place and very few foot­ballers got to play there.

But over the years it’s opened up more and more. To a cer­tain ex­tent that’s fine. There should be the chance for a de­cent pro­por­tion of play­ers at all lev­els to play at the home of foot­ball, but there’s a dan­ger that it’s gone too far. In my opin­ion, play­ing the FA Cup semi-fi­nals at Wem­b­ley isn’t right.Yes, I know the

FA want to claw back the money they spent on re­de­vel­op­ing the sta­dium, but the chance to play there should only be for the fi­nal­ists. It takes away from the fi­nal if the semis have been staged there be­fore. I’ve got a sim­i­lar point to make with Tot­ten­ham.Yes, I un­der­stand they needed a ground to play at while their new sta­dium is con­structed, but did it have to be Wem­b­ley? Could they not have played at West Ham’s Lon­don Sta­dium, for ex­am­ple? Why am I against them play­ing at Wem­b­ley? I just think it should be a ground re­served for special oc­ca­sions and not one that be­comes rou­tine. For ex­am­ple, what about this sea­son’s cup com­pe­ti­tions? How much of a pull is it go­ing to be to get to an FA Cup fi­nal or Carabao Cup

fi­nal at Wem­b­ley? Not much, I’d sug­gest, if you’re a Premier League team who’ve al­ready played there.

Ev­ery Premier League team is go­ing to play at Wem­b­ley this sea­son what­ever hap­pens. That has to take away some­thing from the magic of get­ting there in a cup semi-fi­nal or fi­nal.

And what about Spurs them­selves? Where is the in­cen­tive to ‘reach Wem­b­ley’ when they’re play­ing there ev­ery other week any­way.

And it’s not just league games that Tot­ten­ham are play­ing there. They’re also host­ing their cup-ties at Wem­b­ley, giv­ing op­po­nents an­other chance to take the stage.

Is it tak­ing away from the magic of Wem­b­ley for the play­ers, too? Will Harry Kane, Dele Alli et al still get that buzz of ex­cite­ment about play­ing there in years to come after hav­ing it as their home ground for a sea­son?

Sure, Spurs have strug­gled at Wem­b­ley in re­cent times, but you would ex­pect them to im­prove as time goes on and they get used to their sur­round­ings. Will that then give Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s men an un­fair ad­van­tage if they do get to a Wem­b­ley semi-fi­nal or fi­nal?

Their play­ers will know ev­ery blade of grass at Wem­b­ley, they will be ac­cus­tomed to the sur­round­ings and the at­mos­phere. Doesn’t that give them an ex­tra edge?

What about Tot­ten­ham fans? Once the ini­tial ex­cite­ment of play­ing at the fa­mous venue has worn off, will they en­joy go­ing there on a reg­u­lar ba­sis? Will that ex­cite­ment of a game at Wem­b­ley dis­ap­pear as it be­comes the norm? Yes, the Tot­ten­ham board are no doubt de­lighted at the ex­tra rev­enue fill­ing the club’s cof­fers, but it just doesn’t sit right with me.

The sooner they are back home in north Lon­don, the bet­ter.

Let’s leave Wem­b­ley for special oc­ca­sions and not just turn it into a run-of-the-mill ground. It’s bet­ter than that.

Goal: Spurs’ Dele Alli scores against Barns­ley

Man City Magic: Ricky Villa’s solo goal against

High point: Eng­land win the World Cup

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