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Spurs fans get first look inside the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This is what they saw...

The i logo The i 17/12/2018 Rob Hastings
a stadium full of people © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

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There are some questions for Spurs to answer after football fans were allowed into the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time on Sunday.

Firstly: how do the beer cups fill up from the bottom? (It really does look like magic the first time you see it happen at the bar.)

More importantly: how will the players be able to take corners when the edge of the pitch is slanted so steeply?

And the most eagerly awaited query, of course: when will Spurs’ elegant but delayed football ground finally open?

Whatever the answers, the 6,000 Tottenham supporters who were lucky to get tickets in the ballot for this “fan familiarisation” event will have gone home delighted.

Many have grown frustrated at spending a second season traipsing across north London to their club’s temporary home at Wembley while this new ground is being completed on the site of their beloved old White Hart Lane. It was hoped the £1bn new ground would be open for the first game of the season, before this was delayed until the second match in September, and its debut has since been postponed indefinitely.

But the views of the retractable pitch from the seats here are great, no matter whether you’re high or low. The concourses, the bars and even the toilets of the new Spurs stadium look just as classy as the external design. And you can get a pint of beer for £4 - cheaper than most pubs in the capital these days.

What did fans get to see?

The South Stand of Spurs’ new stadium - the largest single-tier stand in the UK, with 17,500 seats - was opened for two groups of supporters on Sunday, to each spend a couple of hours exploring their club’s new home.

a stadium full of people © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

As a Tottenham season ticket holder, I was fortunate to get a ticket in the ballot to be among those 6,000 lucky fans, together with my dad - and what has been created since I visited the building site for i in the final months of the old White Hart Lane’s existence is remarkable.

The architecture of the stand is the first thing you notice, with the giant structural ‘trees’ that hold up the impressive South Stand visible behind the glass facade as you approach the doors.

To enter, season ticket holders use their membership cards like the Oyster system on London’s transport system, while paper tickets can be self-scanned.

a man and a woman smiling for the camera © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Inside, that giant glass wall offers views from the top level stretching across Tottenham to the skyscrapers of the Docklands and the City, and the spire of Alexandra Palace.

What are the pitch views like?

The stand on show today will be the home end, designed with the potential to host “safe standing” sections if the laws regarding football stadiums are relaxed in England.

The lower seating is relatively shallow, with the stand becoming steeper the higher you go.

a large stadium © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Compared to Wembley, or West Ham’s London Stadium which was redeveloped after the 2012 Olympics, the seating feels much closer to the pitch.

At least one of the four huge television screens for replays can be seen without obstruction wherever you sit, unlike the old White Hart Lane where the roof cut off the view for those in the back rows.

Will the sides of the pitch be a concern for players?

Standing in the first row, closest to the pitch, fans were surprised to see the pitch is raised upwards - which gives everyone watching a better view, but may have players wondering if they will get injured.

a stadium full of people © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

If they are sprinting towards the byline or the sideline to keep the ball in play, take just one step off the pitch and they will find themselves running downhill, surely making it easier to turn their ankles or lose their balance and crash into the advertising hoardings.

It may also make it harder to take corners - though the Spurs faithful were joking this might not impede them very much, as the otherwise brilliant Christian Eriksen often fails to get his corner kicks over the first defender at the near post.

What are the bars and food stalls like?

The South Stand boasts the longest single bar in Europe, The Goal Line, at 65 metres long. Pints of Amstell here cost £4, Heineken £4.50, while other alcoholic drinks such as Bulmers cider or a glass of wine cost £5.

a group of people standing in front of a store © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Bar staff place special pint cups with plugs at the bottom on upward facing jets,  filling them with beer quickly and efficiently while they can get on with till work or collecting other items in your order.

The Beavertown microbrewey also offers several varieties of craft beer made fresh, on site. And there is plenty of room for spectators to gather before the game and to remain behind afterwards.

On Sunday Spurs fans enjoyed their drinks while watching highlights of Tottenham’s draw in Barcelona last week - and following the score in Arsenal’s eventual loss to Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

The food options in the Market Place were impressive and also available at reasonable prices. I got a chunky buttermilk fried chicken burger in a big bun with a generous portion of fries for £6.95 - good value as it was much better quality than any takeaway.

There are also stands for curry, fish and chips, freshly made pizzas, and more. Pies and sausage rolls are available from smaller bars in other levels of the stand as well.

When will the stadium be finished?

Though the South Stand is virtually complete, evidently there is still a lot of work to be done before the whole stadium can be opened to host a Premier League football match.

a group of people walking down a street next to a building © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Pieces of metal had been left at the top of the stand for more work to be done, cranes still look over the ground, machinery and construction tools and materials could be seen waiting for workers to continue on Monday morning.

The club has confirmed that the Manchester United home fixture will be held at Wembley in January, but after Sunday’s taster, Spurs fans will be even more keen to move into their new ground in time for the games in early February against Newcastle United and Leicester City.

Gallery: Sports photos of 2018 (Microsoft GES)


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