There’s many wonderful new stadia but you can’t beat the nostalgia of an old ground - Johnny Cantor
In August I think plenty of supporters, whatever the colours they wear, were looking forward to experiencing Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.
The Spurs fans have been denied so far this season and I feel for them but around the country there will be intrigue as to whether it will live up to the hype.
So what is the latest on the new home for Mauricio Pochettino’s team? Well, he expects to play their Champions League quarter-final home leg at their new stadium.
Spurs, who have played home games at Wembley all season because of construction and safety delays, beat Borussia Dortmund this week to clinch their place in the last eight.
The draw is made on March 15, with the games played on April 9-10 and 16-17.
Spurs’ next home game is scheduled to be against the Albion in the Premier League on April 7, when Wembley is unavailable as it is hosting the FA Cup semi-finals. That game will have to be rearranged anyway if the Seagulls beat Millwall in the FA Cup quarter-finals, so Spurs’ first match at the new stadium could be in the Premier League against Huddersfield on 13 April or in the Champions League quarter-finals. And so it goes on.
Of course I would love to broadcast from the new venue but there is no point in worrying about it. I feel for the Spurs fans as the season has been disrupted and some have stayed away.
However, the team has fared pretty well at its makeshift home. It is difficult to know whether the away team would want to be the first side to head to White Hart Lane.
Spurs could be galvanised by their new surroundings but the pressure would be on them too to pick up a win on day one of a new era.
There are so many wonderful new grounds across the country but I still feel a pang of nostalgia when I head to a place like Selhurst Park. Our destination this weekend is similar to Fratton Park and Griffin Park (is it something about Parks ?!). The atmosphere is always vibrant.
This weekend there should be a few extra decibels at the game as two rivals go head to head. This week the Steel City derby created a wonderful atmosphere as the two Sheffield sides battled it out in the Championship.
In fact Hillsborough probably provided one of the best atmospheres in which I have ever commentated on for the play-off semi-final a few years ago.
The Amex second leg wasn’t far off either. Every ground is different but trips to Craven Cottage and Goodison Park often provide the clamour that many fans desire.
The occasion, the time of day or night, the league positions also has an impact but when two rivals go head to head it always seems to be extra special.
This weekend won’t be any different. Some clubs are lucky to have a specific rival. Many fans may not want one but as we discussed on this week’s Albion Unlimited podcast good can come from it.
The money made by the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund is a wonderful legacy and I know many enjoy the game between opposing fans. A lot of work has also been done by Proud and Palace, a LGBT group at the South London club, who will be very visible at the game this weekend.
Let’s hope it all goes smoothy on and off the pitch and everyone enjoys the game and the atmosphere.
Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburgerTo read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.comAlbion Unlimited podcast is available to download via BBC iPlayer & iTunes
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