After watching the Moscow match at Wembley my friend Raymond and I visited White Hart Lane on Thursday to attend the virtual reality tour of the new stadium in the Stadium Project Virtual Reality Suite (SPVRS). It was the first time either of us had been to White Hart Lane this season, so it was good to see how much progress the stadium build has made. It is one thing marvelling at photographs but to see it in the flesh in another. I was not disappointed.
The suite is in in Lilywhite House so we approached via the ramp and was greeted by two cheery and happy chaps smartly turned out in their Spurs uniform. They couldn’t have been more helpful and welcoming if they tried, as was my tour guide, who was very enthusiastic about the project. I was also able to see where the new proposed Paxton House and Paxton Square are going to be located. Going to be a bit of a squeeze I think. Now having seen it first hand I was able to confirm my thoughts that there isn’t going to be a great deal of space between the stadium and Lilywhite House. Still, I’m sure the design has people exiting the stadium ‘funnelled’ in the right direction.
The original Clock and the Cockerel on Ball emblem were on display in the entrance to Lilywhite House, so it was good to see them up close and have my photo taken by the clock .The small bit of Lilywhite House that I seen was very plush, modern and impressive. Nothing cheap or tacky and if that is the standard of finish expected in the new stadium, then all is good.
My guide, collected me (and Raymond) from reception and took us up in a lift to the virtual reality suite. First he slid open a window so we could see the stadium under construction. He explained various aspects of the stadium to us and of the build. We were looking out at Core 4 and Core 1, by Warmington House, looked very far away indeed and brought home to me just how vast the stadium is going to be. The build is currently at level 5 in the new north stand and that is where the concrete will finish and the steel starts. The single tier South Stand will be all steel in construction, but not in finish, whereas the other 3 stands are concrete to level 5 and steel above that level. The roof is level 10, and don’t forget the basement folks. He confirmed that the height of the roof will come up to two feet below the cabs of the Tower Cranes. The present build is now just reaching the height of the current stadium, and the new stadium is just over double that height. So, it’s going to be a big one boys and girls.
Our guide said the suite is open 6 days a week and they work 12 hour shifts 7am to 7pm. The optimum number of guests to take the tour is two at a time but they can accommodate up to 4 at 15 minute interval so, they are churning us through at a fair lick. After our initial chat we were taken into the suite proper, well in this instance, a circular pod. After a quick brief we were instructed to stand in a certain spot and off we took. Well it certainly felt like it. What a ride, certainly knocked my senses for six. We were told what to do if we felt dizzy but we survived. It was like an out of body experience as we flew (with dramatic music) across London from various points (Stansted, London eye etc). The eye told the brain we were banking and swooping but of course the body told the brain we weren’t. The brain won as I was shifting my weight and adjusting my balance quite often in tune with the ‘flight’. At one point, as we were ‘flying’ sideways around the stadium, as we weren’t in an aeroplane, i wondered why I wasn’t falling to earth. We were of course seeing the stadium from various angles and heights and how it looked in the various multi-function modes, with the crowds cheering at football and NFL with a last spin around inside the bowl as a concert was in progress and then we flew into the premium seat lounge area. As we were mainly interested in the Premium seats ‘ where we ‘landed’. I suspect if we were after a box or corporate, then that’s where we would have ‘landed’.
WE were then given a virtual tour of the premium seat lounge being guided around various areas and views. There will be a free buffet provided pre and post match as well as at half time. There will be dedicated dining areas which would need to be pre-booked and wouldn’t be free. Half-time drinks would be free and it would otherwise be a cashless bar. The decor shown was nicely plush. We were afforded a glimpse at a box and the corporate areas. The Roux family have taken on the task of providing a hoped for Michelin Starred restaurant in the ‘H’ Club. We are talking Uber luxury here. I enquired about catering and refreshments in the new stadium and was informed that The Club is considering having it’s own Micro Brewery on site. The Premium Seats will be in both the East and West stands, and range in price from £2500 to £6000 pa on an initial 3 year commitment. The closer to the halfway line is the more expensive seats. You wouldn’t have to pay the whole 3 years up front, just a commitment to have the seat for that minimum amount of time. First year three payments of 20%, 20% then a final 60%, then years two and three will be full payment up front. The reason for the three year commitment is to provide proof to the lending banks and financiers of initial income stream – the stadium needs paying for somehow. The Premium seats will be a tad more comfortable than those for general admittance, but not as comfy as those further up the food chain. They will have cup holders though for some warming tea/coffee/soup in the cold winter days.
In the next room we were provided with the new fangled virtual reality headsets and a set of FIFA type controllers. We were guided down to the external premium seats where we were let loose with the head set controllers so we could see various views in moving 3D from different areas, and to get a good feel for the stadium bowl layout. All good and interesting stuff and a lot to take in by now. I asked if the render showed the final layout for the floodlights but was advised the floodlight design had yet to be chosen. The stadium is to be very technologically advanced including wifi and communications. The club is leaving a lot of decisions until the last possible moment to ensure they have the very latest and most up to date equipment/facilities that can be provided. I asked about the Jumbotrons as we had been informed they would be the largest in the UK within a stadium. I said there was great big giant ones at Wembley and the Olympic Stadium, and our guide confirmed that ours are bigger and there is four of them.
Our last port of call was to be sat in front of a computer with our guide, who showed us the views from different premium seats in the various different blocks and locations and the pricing structure for the seats as explained earlier. They have only recently concentrated on the Premium level and have sold about one third of them already. They will shortly be approaching Bronze members who have advised the club of their interest. My own opinion is that they will soon be snaffled up. Although the seats are to a named individual, they can be bought by those with commercial interests or even scyndicates of supporters who want to spread the cost and the matches among each other. You can give the tickets to guests but the club must be informed before hand and a printed ticket collected on the day. Seats for individual matches can also be given up as the club will sell them on for you if they can.
All the boxes had been sold but two had been returned before the end of the cooling off period, but there is a long list of those on a waiting list for cancellations. A Box is a 10 year commitment as it will be fitted out to the box owners specifications – interactive walls\screens for presentations, company logos, colours, decor, furniture etc. The Tunnel Club is going to be something special indeed, but isn’t £18K a year as reported in the Times. I didn’t make notes so this is from memory, and is for two peoples membership. Initial Membership fee is £30K and thereafter £9.5K per annum. Apart from having a restaurant with a one way see through wall to the players tunnel, and luxury seats in the rear of the players dugout, there will also be various events through the year with club officials, management and players plus access to similar at Hotspur Way, VIP car parking and lots more to please the people who have everything already.
I asked if the ticket collection point and shop in the new Paxton House would have any bearing on the similar facilities in the Tottenham Experience, our guide said he hadn’t heard anything to suggest it would. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, there is to be a sliding pitch which will slide under the south stand where there will be dedicated irrigation and growing lamps.
And there you have it. A super experience and I’m very glad I had the chance to go on the VR tour, was certainly well worth it and I highly recommend it to one and all. One thing is assured, the stadium will be magnificent and Daniel Levy et al is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that.