White Hart Lane

White Hart Lane
"The Lane"

White Hart Lane in 2011
Full name White Hart Lane
Location Tottenham
London, N17
Coordinates 51°36′12″N 0°03′57″W / 51.60333°N 0.06583°W / 51.60333; -0.06583Coordinates: 51°36′12″N 0°03′57″W / 51.60333°N 0.06583°W / 51.60333; -0.06583
Public transit London Overground White Hart Lane
Owner Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Operator Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Capacity 36,284
Field size 100 x 67 m
(110 x 73 yd)
Surface Desso GrassMaster
Built 1898
Opened 4 September 1899
Closed 2017 (planned)
Demolished 2018 (planned)
Construction cost £100,050 (1934)
Architect Archibald Leitch (1909)

White Hart Lane is the home of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in the Premier League and has a capacity of 36,284.[1] The stadium is located in the Tottenham area in north London, England.

Along with housing Tottenham, the stadium, which is known amongst fans as the Lane, has also been selected for England national football matches and England under-21 football matches. White Hart Lane held capacity records in the early 1960s with numbers entering the 70,000s but as seating increased in popularity, the stadium has levelled out to a modest number in relation to other Premier League clubs. The record attendance remains an FA Cup tie on 5 March 1938 against Sunderland with the attendance being recorded at 75,038.[2]

Plans are afoot for Tottenham to move to a new stadium with an estimated capacity of 61,000,[3] with the new stadium being built on the current site instead of moving from the borough of Haringey. The new stadium has been designed by Populous, who also designed derby rival Arsenal's home, Emirates Stadium. Initial design was created by KSS Design Group back in 2008, but long delays allowed for major changes to the scheme by a different company.[4]

White Hart Lane is also a ward of the London Borough of Haringey. The population at the 2011 Census was 13,431.[5]


Tottenham Hotspur moved to White Hart Lane in 1899, renovating it from a disused nursery owned by the brewery chain Charringtons, with the help of local groundsman, John Over, into a substandard football pitch. The first game at White Hart Lane resulted in a 4–1 home win against Notts County with around 5,000 supporters attending and witnessing the first game and first victory at the new ground, although referred to at the time as either High Road ground or White Hart Lane (though this in fact lies across the High Road, west of it rather than east).

White Hart Lane underwent redevelopment in the early 20th century with stadium developer, Archibald Leitch, designing a mainly square stadium seating 15,300 and incorporating a standing paddock for another 700 fans along with the famous cockerel being placed on the mock-Tudor apex at the end of the 1909–1910 season. Redevelopments continued in the 1910s, with the wooden eastern stand replaced with an enlarged concrete stadium, vastly increasing the stadium capacity to over 50,000. The ground continued to be renovated and in 1925, thanks to the FA Cup win in 1921, both the Paxton Road Stand and Park Lane Stand were enlarged and mostly covered from the elements.

The pitch was overlooked by a bronze fighting cock (the club mascot) that still keeps an eye on proceedings from the roof of the West Stand.

In the 1930s, football had a popular following, and despite Tottenham's lack of success, at the time, 75,038 spectators squeezed into White Hart Lane in March 1938 to see Spurs' performance against Sunderland in the FA Cup. The venue hosted some of the football preliminaries for the 1948 Summer Olympics.[6] 1953 saw the introduction of floodlights with their first use being a friendly against Racing Club de Paris in September of that year.[7] These were renovated again in the 1970s and steadily replaced with new technology since. By this stage, Tottenham were firmly established as one of England's best clubs which attracted some of the highest attendances in the country on a regular basis. Between 1908 and 1972, White Hart Lane was one of very few British football grounds that featured no advertising hoardings at all.

Perimeter fencing was erected between the stands and the pitch during the 1970s to combat the threat of pitch invasions from hooligans; however this was removed on 18 April 1989 for safety reasons in reaction to the Hillsborough disaster three days earlier, in which 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured, most of them crushed to death against the perimeter fencing in an overcrowded standing area.[8][9]

Aerial view looking east over the stadium

The West Stand was replaced in the early 1980s, however the project took over 15 months to be completed with cost overruns having severe financial implications. This West Stand is parallel with Tottenham High Road and is connected to it by Bill Nicholson Way.

In 1989, as a response to the Taylor Report calling for all-seater stadiums after Hillsborough, the large, raised terrace on the East Stand known by fans as The Shelf was redesigned to include a large roof and the installation of executive boxes and seats on the much-loved standing area. The early 1990s saw the completion of the South Stand (on Park Lane) and the introduction of the first Jumbotron video screen, of which there are now two, one above each penalty area. The renovation of the Members' (North) Stand which is reached via Paxton Road was completed in 1998, leaving the ground in its present form. At the turn of the millennium, after falling behind in stadium capacity, talks began over the future of White Hart Lane and Tottenham Hotspur's home. Over the years, many stadium designs and ideas were rumoured in the media. A move to Wembley Stadium was ruled out by the club, as was talk of moving to the Olympic Stadium of the 2012 Olympic Games. However, ostensibly as back-up planning to the plans for a new stadium, on 1 October 2010, Tottenham registered interest in making use of the Olympic Stadium in conjunction with AEG, owners and operators of The O2 in London's Greenwich, formerly known as the Millennium Dome. However Spurs bid for the Olympic Stadium was rejected on 11 February 2011.[10] Spurs pursued legal action over the ruling to give the Olympic Stadium to West Ham United,[11] however in the end they decided to focus solely on the ongoing redevelopment plan for White Hart Lane as part of the Northumberland Development Project after the West Ham United deal for the Olympic Stadium collapsed due to 'legal paralysis' and the stadium remaining in public ownership.[12][13]

Other uses

White Hart Lane, during the construction of Wembley Stadium, was used to host full England international matches, such as a 2–0 defeat to Holland.[14] Since the completion of Wembley, the Lane has been sporadically used to host England Under-21's international matches in recent years, most notably a 1–1 draw against France Under-21's.[15]

White Hart Lane also briefly hosted American football, in 1995 and 1996 as the home ground of the London Monarchs. Because the pitch could not accommodate a regulation-length American football field, the Monarchs received special permission from the World League to play on a 93-yard field.

It has also been used for boxing, most notably the fight on 21 September 1991 where Michael Watson collapsed with a near fatal brain injury after a fight with Chris Eubank.[16]

A panorama of White Hart Lane from the East Stand

Structure and facilities

Audio description by David Lammy
White Hart Lane plan

The outer White Hart Lane frame is designed in a rectangular shape, with the inner seating tiers being rounded to maximise the amount of seats possible within the structure. The cockerel is placed upon the West Stand, with the West Stand located on Tottenham High Road, the East Stand being on Worcester Avenue, the North Stand on Paxton Road and the South Stand on Park Lane. The stands are officially named after compass points, but are more colloquially referred to by the road onto which they back.[17]

Stand Capacity
North Stand(Paxton Road) 10,086
South Stand(Park Lane) 8,633
East Stand(Worcester Avenue) 10,691
West Stand(High Road) 6,890
Total capacity 36,240

Record scorelines

Tottenham's biggest win at the stadium came in an FA Cup tie against Crewe in February 1960, with a 13–2 final score. This was also the highest aggregate score seen at the stadium.[18] More recently, on 22 November 2009, Tottenham defeated Wigan Athletic 9–1 in the Premier League.[19] The club's biggest defeats at the venue were 0–6 scores in Division One, firstly against Sunderland on 19 December 1914 and later against Arsenal on 6 March 1935.[18]


The area close to the stadium is regularly serviced by many different bus routes and services.[20] Bus routes 149, 259, 279, and 349 stop outside the ground. White Hart Lane and Northumberland Park National Rail stations are 0.2 miles (0.32 km) and 0.7 miles (1.1 km) away, respectively. Tottenham Hale, a rail and tube station, and Seven Sisters tube station are also nearby. There are controlled parking zones in operation in the area on all match days.

Future with New Stadium

There have been a number of plans in the past for relocation. The first, reported in 2001, was to relocate to a proposed 43,000-seat stadium at Pickett's Lock being proposed for the 2005 World Athletics Championships. However the games were awarded to Helsinki and so the stadium was never built. Over the next few years various other schemes were mooted, including a relocation to the rebuilt Wembley Stadium (which opened in 2007)[21] In 2011 the stadium built for the 2012 Olympic Games was mooted as the site for a rebuilt stadium.[22] In 2011 the stadium became the subject of fierce competition between Spurs and West Ham United, the latter being successful in winning the bid which was initially challenged when legal action was initiated but later withdrawn by Tottenham Hotspur.[23]

At the same time as the Olympic Park bid, and instead of relocating, the club was pursuing via its Northumberland Development Project, a plan to build a new stadium, partly on the site of the existing White Hart Lane ground. The project was announced on 30 October 2008, that Tottenham were planning to develop on the current site and also to the north where they have purchased land, creating a 56,250-seat stadium, with the White Hart Lane name likely to be abandoned in favour of a sponsorship link .[24] The new area would include leisure facilities, shops, housing, a club museum, public space which can be used as a temporary ice rink and also a new base for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.

On 26 October 2009, the club submitted their planning application, hoping to start work on the new ground in 2010 and to be playing in it come 2012 .[25] But in May 2010, following adverse reaction, this was withdrawn in favour of a substantially revised planning application. Haringey Council were requested on 30 September 2010 to grant permission for the new stadium and other associated developments (subject to negotiation of 'section 106' developer contributions). The new plans were referred to English Heritage, the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for a final decision.[26] The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, approved the plans on 25 November 2010.[27] On 20 September 2011, planning permission was granted (planning reference HGY/2010/1000).[28]

The South-East corner of White Hart Lane has been removed for the duration of the 2016-17 Football season

Since then, the development plans had been revised several times during a lengthy delay because of a compulsory purchase order. A compulsory purchase order was eventually issued in July 2014 giving approval for the new stadium scheme to proceed[29] but was subject to an unsuccessful legal challenge by the business located on the proposed site in February 2015.[30] On 8 July 2015, Tottenham announced brand new revised plans, including a bigger stadium of 61,000 capacity, making it the biggest club stadium in London. The new stadium design also includes a 17,000 seat single tier stand, the biggest of its kind in the UK[31] The new plan also comprises a combination of 579 new homes (up from the 285 in previous plan), 180 room hotel, an extreme sports building, community health centre, enhanced public spaces and 'The Tottenham Experience'- an interactive museum and club shop complex incorporating the listed Warmington House.[31] The anticipated stadium opening date is currently scheduled for the 2018/19 season.[32]

Also on 8 July 2015 it was announced by the club that the new stadium would host two NFL International Series games, every year, for ten years.[31]

On 16 December 2015, the revised plans were approved by Haringey Council (planning reference HGY/2015/3000) that would enable Phase 2 of the NDP to begin, as Phase 1 (Lilywhite House) was already completed in February 2015.[33] This therefore allows widening of the High Road pavement leading to the new stadium by demolishing three buildings (Edmonton Dispensary, The Red House, and the former White Hart Public House) and construction of the stadium to start in Spring 2016.[34]


  1. "Premier League Handbook Season 2013/14" (PDF). Premier League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  2. "Five facts about Spurs' White Hart Lane". soccer.com. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  3. Sheringham, Sam (26 October 2009). "Spurs aim for new stadium by 2012". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  4. Tottenham reveal their vision
  5. "Haringey Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. 1948 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 45–6.
  7. First floodlit fixture at White Hart Lane
  8. http://www.itnsource.com/en/shotlist/ITN/1989/04/18/BSP180489009/?s=hillsborough
  9. "West Ham Chosen as Preferred Olympic Stadium Tenant". BBC News. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  10. "Spurs win right to challenge 2012 stadium decision". BBC News. 24 August 2011.
  11. "London 2012: West Ham Olympic Stadium deal collapses". BBC News. 11 October 2011.
  12. "Tottenham Hotspur drop Olympic Stadium legal bid". Tottenham and Wood Green Independent. 17 October 2011.
  13. Winter, Henry (15 August 2001). "Holland 2–0 England". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  14. "England 1–1 France". espn. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  15. "The fight that changed boxing". BBC News. 19 December 2000.
  16. "Tottenham Seating". TottenhamHotspur.com. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  17. 1 2 Tottenham Hotspur Records – statto.com
  18. Fletcher, Paul. "Tottenham 9–1 Wigan". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  19. "Tottenham location". Tottenhamhotspur.com. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  20. Kelso, Paul (14 September 2006). "Digger: Tottenham consider Wembley bid". The Guardian. London.
  21. Gibson, Owen (12 March 2015). "Tottenham plan to demolish Olympic Stadium and rebuild". The Guardian. London.
  22. "Tottenham Hotspur ends 2012 Olympic Stadium legal bid". BBC News. 12 March 2015.
  23. "Tottenham Hotspur confirms Northumberland Development Project". www.tottenhamhotspur.com. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
  24. "Tottenham reveal new ground plan". BBC Sport. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
  25. Stadium Plans "THFC Official website Accessed 2 October 2010
  26. "Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium plans approved". BBC Sport. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  27. "Tottenham sign planning agreement to build new stadium". BBC. 20 September 2011.
  28. "New Tottenham Hotspur stadium scheme gets the green light". Department for Communities and Local Government. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  29. plans for new stadium given massive boost as business looking to block move loses High Court appeal. Daily Telegraph 20 February 2015, Accessed 20 February 2015
  30. 1 2 3 "Northumberland Development Project updated designs and plans". tottenhamhotspur.com. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  31. Tottenham Hotspur stadium dispute firm in court challenge BBC News online 15 January 2015, Accessed 12 March 2015
  32. CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT Tottenham Hotspur. Retrieved 17 December 2015
  33. Tottenham's revised stadium plans approved by Haringey Council BBC News. Retrieved 17 December 2015

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