TOTTENHAM supporters are planning sit-in protests if the club presses ahead with controversial plans to leave their home of 112 years and move five miles across London to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
Aggrieved fans desperate for Spurs to stay in their home borough say they are also considering boycotting games, as they and West Ham prepare for next week’s decision on who will take over the arena after the 2012 Games.
The development comes after Crystal Palace announced they hope to relocate to the National Sports Centre, a move that could scupper Tottenham’s plans to redevelop the athletics facility as part of its Olympic project.
Hundreds of fans carrying banners protested at Tottenham’s proposed move in the streets surrounding White Hart Lane before Sunday’s draw with Manchester United.
We Are N17, which opposes the switch to Stratford, said yesterday that it plans to step up its campaign and will consider boycotting home games if the Olympic Park Legacy Company next week picks Spurs over West Ham.
“Those are exactly the type of measures we’ll take,” Tim Framp, a spokesman for the group, told City A.M. “It doesn’t stop at the preferred bidder stage – it doesn’t stop until the fat lady sings. We may do a sit-in protest after a game. We don’t want to leave Tottenham, so what could be more appropriate?”
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST) says its members are opposed to a move away from north London by a ratio of two to one, but said it would consult before joining protests.
Spurs hope to save around £200m by relocating instead of building a new ground next to White Hart Lane, but THST chairman Bernie Kingsley told City A.M.: “We worked with the club before Christmas and those figures weren’t on the table or explained.”
Tottenham have a strong economic case for being preferred by the Olympic Park Legacy Company but their plan to scrap the athletics track has caused a swell of support for West Ham, who also argue their proximity makes them the logical choice.
Tottenham beat Chelsea in battle to sign Pienaar
SOUTH AFRICA international Steven Pienaar has completed his move to Spurs after signing a four-and-a-half year deal with the north London club yesterday.
The 28-year-old midfielder passed a medical before putting the finishing touches to his transfer from Everton for a fee believed to be between £2.5m and £3m.
A Spurs official statement read: “We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Everton and Steven Pienaar for the player's transfer to the club.”
The capture of Pienaar represents something of a coup for Spurs, who beat off competition from Chelsea after the champions failed to agree personal terms.
Meanwhile, defender Jonathan Woodgate made his first appearance for the club in 14 months for a Spurs XI against QPR reserves in a training-ground friendly. The injury-plagued 31-year-old played 45 minutes.