Monday, 8 December 2014

"Sport-led Regeneration: Tottenham Hotspur, Northumberland Development Project, Ledley King, Daniel Levy, Haringey Council

Getting local people into jobs. That's the Tottenham Hotspur and Haringey Council 'regeneration' chant. But not everyone sings along.

Ledley King's shirt in the Spurs' dressing room
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, 2012

Keeping the King onside

By Paul Coleman

Ledley King is a true ‘one of us’, chant Spurs fans.
A Tottenham Hotspur Football Club legend.
Born and raised in this part of north London.
A commanding club captain.
A consistent, powerful and skillful presence at the heart of Spurs’ defence.
Often compared with Bobby Moore, England’s legendary 1966 World Cup winning captain.
Sadly, persistent injury plagues King.
And so, finally, Ledley, the King of White Hart Lane, hangs up his boots.

Rewind to November 2013.
Though retired, King acts as a Tottenham Hotspur ‘Club Ambassador’.
For years now, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club remains dwarfed in both football and financial terms by rival north London club, Arsenal.
Spurs’ traditional 36,000-capacity White Hart Lane stadium cannot compete with Arsenal’s new 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium just a few miles down the road.
So, Spurs’ owners and chairman Daniel Levy abandon plans to leave Tottenham.
They embark on a plan to build a new 56,000-seater stadium right next to the club’s current White Hart Lane ground.
Bigger crowds means increased revenue.
Increased revenue attracts better players.
Better players ought to generate success on the field.
At least, that’s Spurs' football business logic.
To become an even more profitable football club with more trophies.
Maybe with even more money and trophies than Arsenal just down the road.
Dreamy stuff.

Spurs' 115-year-old White Hart Lane ground
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2012

Hence, in autumn 2013, ‘Club Ambassador’ King welcomes the opening of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket, part of Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium development and ‘regeneration’ plan – known as the Northumberland Development Project.
“It’s great to be involved in the launch of the fantastic new store which has created 280 new jobs for local people in an area of high unemployment,” says King.
“It marks the first step in our regeneration plans for the area, and I’m proud to be a part of it having been associated with the Club and the local community since I was a teenager.”
Store manager Peter White says Sainsbury’s works closely with Tottenham Hotspur, Haringey Council and local job centres to “support people into work who previously faced barriers”.
Jobs go to local people who live within a three-mile radius of the new store.
White doesn’t elaborate on whether these barriers facing young jobseekers include race, class, gender, age or a lack of government-led investment in their local education and training.
But Tottenham Hotspur, Haringey and Sainsbury’s emphasise that a new University Technical College, based above the supermarket, will also provide training to over 900 students aged 14-18.

A cautionary notice to Spurs players in their dressing room shower
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2012

Jobs card
Club chairman Daniel Levy says: “Sainsbury’s new store represents the completion of the first part of our new stadium scheme and the start of the regeneration of north Tottenham…that delivers real employment and socio-economic benefits to our community.”
Developers and councils often herald new jobs as one of the main reasons why local people should support such large-scale regeneration projects.
Leader of Haringey Council Claire Kober says: “It is also extremely heartening to see that Tottenham Hotspur, who are part of the lifeblood of this community, are going the extra mile to ensure the regeneration of Tottenham delivers real jobs and benefits for the local community.”
“We are determined to see the jobs created by the Northumberland Development Project go to local people,” chimes Levy.
Tottenham Hotspur, under Levy, frequently plays this jobs card.
Partly, the club knows it would be inexcusable if a new 56,000-capacity stadium failed to create a welter of new jobs for local people.

In 2014, however, Levy and company begin to hear discontented local voices. 
(See Demolition City).
Local people express worries that Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium could mean their homes are demolished and redeveloped with luxury apartments.
Longstanding council tenants and leaseholder residents fear they will not enjoy a guaranteed ‘right of return’ to any new development.
Spurs, their local football club, could be the reason why they’ll be compelled to leave Tottenham.
Tottenham Hotspur, Levy and Haringey Council keep on playing the new jobs card.
Playing to the plan’s strengths.
And, keeping Ledley King onside too.

Site for Spurs' new stadium adjacent to the North Stand of the existing ground
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2014

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, December 2014

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