Tottenham Hotspur‘s new stadium finally opened yesterday with an under-18 match, leading to an outpouring of photo galleries and exuberant tweets about all the flashing lights. If you’re like me, though, what you really want to know is: What did it look like when players took corner kicks from the tiny amount of space in the corners?
The answer, it appears from a fan-shot video with terrible overdubbed music, is that players have to run down the touchline at an oblique angle to avoid falling backwards down a slope:
That’s pretty bad. How , and is only going to get worse if, say, you have a right-footed player taking the kick from the left corner. Which happened a bit later in the match:
That doesn’t look too bad from that angle, but it still appears that the player had to run uphill somewhat to kick the ball, which is clearly less than ideal.
All the press coverage of the stadium opening, which was uniformly positive, also provided some insight into the reasoning behind that crazy slope that starts just beyond the boundaries of the pitch:
The £1 billion stadium will seat 62,062 and also boasts the world’s first dividing, retractable football pitch, with a turf pitch underneath for NFL London Games, concerts and other events.
So the real field (the turf one) is under the grass pitch, which sits in a tray that will slide out under one end of the stadium for when they need to hold non-soccer events there, kind of like the Arizona Cardinals field that slides out to get sun. And as a result, soccer players who leave the pitch will tumble down a slope into the advertising barriers. I am not a soccer fan of that long a standing (I’ve only been seriously watching for less than ten years), but this seems like a really bad idea just so you can host the occasional Jacksonville Jaguars game, especially when you consider how much it must have added to the stadium cost, not to mention those construction delays. It all looked fine in the renderings!