Clint Dempsey is set to make his debut with new club Tottenham Hotspur once the international break concludes. Dempsey will become the third high-profile American addition to Spurs in recent years, and the first outfield player.
Why Are We Here?
After one of the best displays by any American player who took his game to Europe, Clint Dempsey completed a move from southwest London to north London. Though the expectation was Dempsey would be joining American-owned Liverpool, the final day of the transfer window held a major surprise. Dempsey is now teammates with Brad Friedel at Spurs, a club trying to make sure their 4th-place finish last season was yet another step on their path to becoming a title contender.
And Where Are We?
London town, our recent Olympic hosts. London as a soccer capital is unique even in Europe. There are currently six topflight clubs playing in the city, and none of them share a stadium. That one-sport concentration in a single geographic area means allegiances formed around neighborhoods. As the name suggest, Spurs call Tottenham home. We're in north London, the borough of Haringey, where the local Premier League team is the biggest draw.
And The Club?
The last time Spurs won the league was in 1961, a time before London started swinging and rock completely separated itself from rockabilly. That title came ten years after their first, putting them ahead of clubs like Fulham, West Ham, and QPR in the 'London clubs that have won the topflight category,' but not by much. They have eight FA Cups and four League Cups, with their last trophy coming in the 2008 League Cup. There's also the European honors, with two UEFA Cup wins and a Cup-Winners' Cup title. For most of the 2000's, Spurs was a publicly traded club. That ended when the club went private early in 2012, but they lack the benefactor model seen at Premier League champions Manchester City and London's Chelsea. Like their derby rivals Arsenal, Spurs are competing against economic models as well as soccer strategies.
How Tough Is The Premier League?
Arguably, the toughest league in the world. Proximity doesn't make it any easier, especially in London. Liverpool and Everton might play across a park from each other, but they're not really competing for support with the likes of Tranmere Rovers. It's the same in Manchester, where City and United aren't sweating the potential rise of Stockport County and Bolton is far enough away to be their own entity. It's not like that in London, where four of their clubs finished in the top ten. Spurs aren't the best team in the capital, there's no guarantee that 'best in London' also means 'best in the Premier League," but local supremacy has to happen to take the title.
White Hart Lane, venerable to some and showing its age to others. The stadium is an Archibald Leitch design in its original form, the stock answer to who was the architect on any outstanding soccer stadium built in England or Scotland in the early 1900's. That includes almost all of the classic examples of English soccer stadiums. White Hart Lane currently holds 36,320, a drastic decline in capacity after reconfiguring as an all-seated stadium. That's a problem, and with everything involving Spurs it starts locally. Arsenal moved from their own small stadium to a modern building holding over 60,000. Chelsea are currently looking for greater capacity, and even West Ham United are set to move stadiums for something bigger. It's West Ham that was a setback for Spurs, with that club initially winning the bid to takeover a revamped Olympic Stadium. Though the final decision on who moves into Olympic Stadium has yet to happen, Spurs are no longer interested. Had Spurs won, they would've left north London for East London. As it stands, Spurs are reportedly looking at a redevelopment of White Hart Lane.