Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Redknapp avoids stadium debate

Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp

Harry Redknapp sidestepped the issue of Tottenham's 11th-hour bid to take over the Olympic Stadium by joking he was scared of upsetting chairman Daniel Levy.

Spurs confirmed on Friday morning they had officially registered an interest in moving to the ground after the 2012 Games just ahead of Thursday's deadline and hours before being given the green light to build a new 56,250-seater stadium of their own. Levy admitted the club were covering their bases - a move which appears to have been prompted by fears a wrangle with Transport for London (TfL) will see their plans to construct a £400million ground vetoed by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Redknapp said: "I don't want to say the wrong one and Daniel goes, 'What's he talking about?' New stadium would be great, or the Olympic Stadium would be great. It's not up to me, I'm only an employee."

He added: "I spoke to the chairman and, if we've got permission (for the new stadium), that's fantastic for the club. Stratford's fine. There used to be a great pie-and-mash shop there. It's up to people who run the club as to where they want to go in the future. It's a long way off still."

TfL, chaired by Johnson, were one of the key objectors to Tottenham's planning application for what has been dubbed the Northumberland Park Development Project. They are demanding Spurs contribute £3million to upgrade the Tottenham Hale railway interchange but the club are refusing to pay more than £2million.

That did not stop Haringey Council's planning committee unanimously voting to approve the scheme following a four-hour meeting on Thursday night.

Levy said in a statement issued on Friday morning: "It is only prudent and good management that we ensure that we investigate all possible options for the club

"We were informed by the Olympic Park Legacy Company that were we not to register an interest at this time, there would not be an opportunity at any future date.

"We have always maintained that we wouldn't undertake any project that could undermine the overall financial stability and future success of the club and this shall remain our guiding principle going forward and in determining our best option in the interests of the club and all its fans and stakeholders."

He added of the new stadium project: "We shall continue to work with Haringey Council and the application will now be considered by the Mayor of London and referred to the Secretary of State."

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