Saturday 24 February 2018 / 08:54 PM


After their victory over Millwall a couple of weeks ago, Tottenham set themselves an FA Cup semifinal date at Wembley with London rivals Chelsea, in what is a hotly anticipated clash between first and second in the Premier League.

Win that, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a pundit or player who didn’t make them favourites to lift the trophy – their first FA Cup since 1991.

All will be revealed at Wembley.

But Spurs are heading to Wembley in a different sense next season, having just agreed to play 27 home matches there.

And not just 27 home matches – 27 home matches with a full 90,000 capacity; something that a lot of the local residents are less than happy about.

The question is: will this be a good move for Tottenham?

In some ways, it’s something of a moot point. Spurs have to move to allow their new stadium to be finished off, and playing at Wembley is mutually beneficial: it gives Tottenham a temporary ‘home’ base whilst helping Wembley out financially.

In other ways, playing at Wembley next season is a massive risk for Tottenham Hotspur.

Their brief foray into Wembley fixtures has backfired spectacularly this season, with the North London club losing two of their three ‘home’ fixtures and plummeting out of the Champions League and into the Europa League, only to lose to on aggregate to Gent, with the second leg played at – you guessed it – Wembley.

From a commercial point of view, there is absolutely no reason not to play at Wembley. The 90,000 capacity dwarfs the 36,000 that Tottenham can usually host at White Hart Lane, and the extra revenue this will bring in will not doubt be extremely welcome at an expensive time for the club.

But from a footballing point of view, the jury is still out.

Look at the way this Spurs team is playing now, and then try and understand how they exited the Champions League at the group stages in a group with Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow.

It beggars belief.

And whilst their Champions League group stage games did coincide with pretty much their own patchy run of form, it still seems like there is another factor.

There is. It’s Wembley.

Tottenham don’t seem to be able to play there. It’s too big for them.

There has been a stark contrast between Spurs’ results on the road versus their results at White Hart Lane, and Wembley has been no different.

But fail consistently at Wembley next season, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men risk going backwards and undoing a lot of the hard work they’ve put in.

How will they sort it out? Who knows, but one thing is certain: it needs sorting. If it’s brushed under the carpet, and not addressed, seriously trouble could be afoot.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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