After 118 years, the stage is set for the final 90 minutes of action at White Hart Lane this Sunday.
[ MORE: Tour around Spurs’ new stadium ]
Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in their final game at the Lane with Mauricio Pochettino‘s men able to go the entire home season unbeaten if they avoid defeat.
[ PHOTOS: What are oldest stadiums in PL? ]
The Lane is truly one of the great soccer cathedrals in England. Cramped with fans close to the pitch at every angle, you can almost feel the history seeping through your flesh as you walk around and sniff in the dusty air and freshly cut grass. Like Anfield, Old Trafford and Goodison Park in the Premier League, or Fenway Park or Wrigley Field in the U.S., the design of the stadium gives us a glimpse of previous generations. White Hart Lane has been a constant for Spurs fans of every generation.
During a game you seem to hover over the pitch from any seat in the stadium and when goals go you feel the old place reverberate and shudder with ecstasy. Spurs’ current team will look to give their fans a few final moments to enjoy in their final game at the Lane.
Yet the game is just one part of the farewell to Tottenham’s historic ground.
After the game a huge farewell ceremony is planned (which you can watch live online via NBCSports.com) where former players, the current squad and coaching staff and academy teams will all be present, plus a show featuring music and a video montage will take center stage. Plus, fans will be given special gifts on arrival and there will be a fitting mosaic to see off the Lane in style.
Spurs leaving their historic home has kind of snuck up on everyone for a few reasons. Firstly, they only announced it was happening on Apr. 28 when their move to Wembley Stadium was confirmed. And secondly, they’ll be returning in just after 12 months when their new 61,000 capacity stadium is expected ready on the site right next to the current home.
Yes, Spurs will be leaving behind their entire history as a club when the current White Hart Lane stadium is leveled but they’ll also be preparing the club, and the surrounding area, for a bright new future.
It will be a slightly somber occasion at the Lane given the fact that many fans adore the many quirks (perhaps they won’t miss the huge stanchions placed in front of seats that much…) and superb atmosphere generated at the Lane. Plus, the fact that Spurs look almost certain to come up short in the Premier League title race to Chelsea will make many think of “what could have been” during the final outing in one of English soccer’s oldest stadiums.
However, there is so much to be thankful to White Hart Lane for over the years.
From a League and FA Cup double under Bill Nicholson to magical players like Glenn Hoddle, Osvaldo Ardiles and now Harry Kane and Dele Alli strutting their stuff, this stadium has had a good run. A very good run.
Now, it will get one final sendoff before Tottenham make a huge leap into a bright future with their new home at White Hart Lane set to generate plenty of extra cash in ticket revenue, NFL games arriving on a purpose-built field and many more amenities that will benefit the local community for many generations to come. This is a game changer.
Obviously things will never be the same again, but the fact that Spurs will be remaining in their spiritual home will certainly help ease this massive transition for everyone at Tottenham.
ProSoccerTalk will be on site at White Hart Lane on Sunday to provide videos, photos, analysis and more from the final game.