Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham deny takeover reports

Tottenham have denied they are in discussions regarding a reported £1billion takeover, but it remains unclear where the club will call home for the 2017/18 season.

It was reported on Thursday morning that the club's owner Joe Lewis was prepared to sell as Spurs build a new stadium adjacent to their current White Hart Lane home.

Tottenham said those suggestions were wide of the mark, with a statement on tottenhamhotspur.com reading: "Contrary to recent press speculation, neither the club, nor its majority shareholder, are in any takeover discussions and the focus of the club is fully on delivering the new stadium project."

The new stadium, a 56,250-seat venue, has been hit with a legal wrangling which now means it will not be ready to host Spurs from 2017 onwards - as the club confirmed on Thursday they are likely to be forced to spend a season in a different ground.

Wembley, the Olympic Stadium and stadium:mk have all been touted as potential venues, with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust expressing fears the club's identity risks being severely damaged if the wrong groundshare option is taken for the 2017/18 campaign.

"The board of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust is understandably concerned to hear the latest announcement from the club regarding delays to the building of a new stadium," a THST statement read.

"While we cannot, for obvious reasons, comment on the details of the legal process around the High Court appeal, we find it surprising that negotiations between the club and one business have continued for seven years without resolution."

Although accepting that a move may be beyond anyone's control, THST also laid out issues it worries could risk longer-reaching changes to its club.

"While the Trust is pragmatic about the need to move from White Hart Lane for one season, the prospect of moving from north London raises a number of issues for supporters, the local community, and the club's identity," the statement added.

"For the supporters, there are serious issues over the logistics and expense of travel to home games. For the local community, which is depending upon the stadium project as a catalyst for regeneration, there are serious economic implications. We believe the cost of such a move to the local economy needs to be seriously considered.

"Moving away from the area threatens serious damage to the identity of a club which has always played in north London. We would like greater transparency as to why the option of playing at White Hart Lane, the option which would benefit N17 the most, is apparently now no longer available.

"Our greatest concern is that, once the club moves for one season, it is but a short step towards moving for two seasons, or more.

"When the club's current board tried to move us to Stratford, Tottenham Hotspur supporters showed their fierce opposition and we would urge the club to learn the lessons from that episode. A football club divorces itself from its community and identity at its peril."

Wembley has been identified by THST as a favoured solution, but Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino conceded a move 50 miles away to Milton Keynes remains a possibility.

"Every single decision the club makes is to improve and give better facilities to our supporters, so I back this decision," he said.

"Yes, I was in Milton Keynes to watch the game with Manchester United in the Capital One Cup. It was the first time I had been there.

"It is a very good stadium with very good facilities but nothing more - it's a possibility.

"We need to speak a lot about this decision because we need all the information about the club, the supporters and the team. But at the moment we are not talking about this."

On a busy day for the north London club, they also announced that a dditional funding is being sought for the stadium venture, with Rothschild appointed as financial advisors.

"The stadium redevelopment plans are a significant part of the future for both our club and the local area and represent a complex infrastructure project that requires funding," the Spurs statement added.

"This substantial construction project requires discussions with multiple providers of finance so that the optimum financing package can be achieved. To this end, we have appointed Rothschild to advise us on those options.

"Accordingly, we are at a stage where we are starting to engage with a number of financing institutions and potential funders in respect of the new stadium development project."

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