How Tottenham is Preparing for the Biggest Year in Its History

Chris PotterCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2010

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with team mate Tom Huddlestone at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the City of Manchester Stadium on May 5, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Times, they are a-changing in N17.

Following last year's unprecedented league success, plans are adrift to build on Tottenham's first-ever fourth-place finish in the Premier League.

League rivals Liverpool have brought in experienced manager Roy Hodgson to bring the club some stability and the team some direction. Manchester City have also sheik-en things up with high-profile signings like David Silva and Yaya Toure.

But what of Spurs?

Undoubtedly, news from White Hart Lane has been scarce. This is surely due to the performance of the current squad last season and the stability that manager Harry Redknapp and chairman Daniel Levy have brought to the outfit on and off the field.

In a world of immediacy and short-termism, some fans may be worrying that the management are enjoying their well-deserved holiday too much.

The lack of noise from North London should not be seen, however, as a lack of ambition. No.

For there is much hard work being carried out by Tottenham management and external consultants to ensure that the club builds on its recent success and eventually surpasses Arsenal and Chelsea as the premier capital team.

So how exactly are Spurs preparing for the challenges that lie ahead in 2010-11 and beyond?

New Stadium

Yes, that's right. Tottenham has finally decided to build a new stadium, after playing at White Hart Lane since 1899.

The Northumberland Development Project is now under way, with just planning permission formalities required to start the destruction and construction phases.

Other than a futuristic, iconic 58,000-seater stadium next to the current one, the project will incorporate a club museum, 200 new apartments, a 150-room hotel, a supermarket and a re-design of the high street, including a large public square which will be the centre of community events.

The project 's cost is expected to be in the region of £400-450 million.

Bull's Cross Training Complex

Work on a new, KSS-inspired £30 million ($40 million) training complex in Bull’s Cross, Enfield started in August 2009 and is due for completion by the end of 2012.

The development will include 10 grass and one all-weather playing surface and a two-story base, which will house hydrotherapy and medical facilities, as well as classrooms and a media centre.

Player Trades

After the success of last year, it would be foolish to make wholesale changes to the playing squad.

The only confirmed addition is 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder Ranieri Sandro, who will join the team from Internacional in a £6 million ($7.5 million) deal, following the completion of the Copa Libertadores. Sandro will be expected to add bite and energy in the midfield, completing for a place with Wilson Palacios and Tom Huddlestone.

Possible departures may include club captain Robbie Keane, who excelled last season in Scotland playing for Glasgow Celtic. Aston Villa is thought to be considering a £15 million ($18.5 million) raid for Keane and winger David Bentley.

Also on their way will be right-back Alan Hutton and midfielder Jermaine Jenas, who should each command £6 million ($7.5 million) fees.

With a rumoured budget of £20 million ($25 million), plus whatever is generated from player sales and wage savings, potentially an additional £20-40 million ($25-50) million, manager Harry Redknapp has identified free agent Joe Cole, Welsh forward Craig Bellamy, and Uruguayan hotshot and World Cup star Diego Forlan to add pedigree and goals to the team’s offence.

In defence, he is considering a bid for young England centre-back Micah Richards and Marseillies left-back Taye Taiwo.

He has also brought veteran Croatian goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa to the club on trial this week as cover for first-choice stopper Heurelho Gomes.

Preseason preparations

Over the summer, chairman Levy has been frantically negiotating a new sponsorship deal, while the commercial team have been finalising plans for the introduction of a retro-style blue-and-white kit. These deals should both be announced in the coming week.

On the pitch, first back to training have been injured Croatian international duo Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar.

This week, the rest of the squad, except for the 10 players who have been competing in South Africa, will join these two in training ahead of the start of the FA Premier League in early August.

The club’s first commitment is a 10 July return for Harry Redknapp to south coast strugglers Bournemouth, where he is likely to test some of the club’s promising youngsters—players like John Bostock, Dorian Dervitte, and Dean Parrett.

The club then travel to USA to play an exhibition match on 17 July against commercial partner San Jose Earthquakes, followed by the New York Soccer Challenge, where the team will compete against New York Red Bulls, league rivals Manchester City, and Portuguese team Sporting Lisbon.

They finalise their preparations with matches against experienced Champions League outfits Villarreal, Benfica, and Fiorentina.

By this time, the final squad for the biggest year in the club’s history should be nearing completion. And the new season will kick off with a bang against rivals Manchester City on Saturday 14 August.

Never has it been better or more exciting to be a Spurs fan.


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