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The Spurs of the Moment Have a New Home

Innovative sports stadiums of the future don’t grow on trees…

but they sure are popping up like they do.

Continuing from yesterday’s article that spotlighted Real Madrid’s recent plans to upgrade its Bernabéu Stadium, today’s UEFA Champions League first-leg clash between Tottenham Hotspur (“Spurs”) and Manchester City (“Man City”) seems like the right time to spotlight Tottenham’s new stadium, which was the site for the aforementioned Champions League match.

FYI – Tottenham Hotspur upset Man City 1-nil. The return leg in Manchester will be a must-see TV experience as Pep’s friends are in a bit of a pickle.

For now, enjoy the future of football (or soccer for my American friends) in London with a digital tour of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“The stadium cost an estimated £850 million, boasts a retractable pitch, and has a sunken artificial pitch so it can host 2 NFL games each season.

It also has the biggest single tier stand in the country with a capacity of 17,500, which Tottenham hope will generate a wall of noise to rival that of Borussia Dortmund’s famous yellow wall at Signal Iduna Park.”

–Sam Pilger, Forbes contributor, ‘Can Tottenham Hotspur’s New Stadium Deliver Success?’

For the record, the digital access cards mentioned in the video above have been used at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena for the past several years. It’s new to Tottenham fans, but not European football. And further, on the record, the digital access cards are pretty cool and pleasantly seamless concerning transactions.

There’s certainly a temptation for sports stadium architects to focus too heavily on technology as the driver of the fan and player experience. That’s fair. However, the ownership groups that will survive and thrive will use exciting technological innovations as a complementary feature to enhance the modern playing experience and fan experience with equal consideration. It’s all about the game and the players and the fans. First and foremost.

In today’s spotlight, Tottenham Hotspur appears to have delivered on those two experiences.

And surprising Pep’s Man City with a home win in Champions League didn’t hurt the new stadium’s introduction to a global audience.

P.S. That goal line-stretch bar deserves a global cheer. Norm Peterson already claimed his barstool. 

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Conceivably the Best 2-Nil Lead in Fußball

Important Disclosure: I (and many, many other fans) were unable to watch and/or record the Bayern Munich v. Arsenal game yesterday because it was not featured on Fox Soccer, but rather on Fox Sports 2. This channel, unfortunately, is pay-per-view. It’s one thing for a Bundesliga match to be pay-per-view, but a Champions League clash between two giant clubs when past tournament matches have been shown for free?

Not cool Fox Soccer…not cool.

……………………………………………………….

A question was asked in “The Relentless Journey of a Champion” regarding whether or not remaining on 4th and even 5th gear would be sustainable and ultimately rewarding for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich squad heading into its Champions League clash with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium? This game also came after a German Cup match and a Bundesliga match (both solid victories with its top talent) just this past week.

The answer?

Yes.

It appears to be just that simple.

Even without the dynamic services of the injured Franck Ribéry and Xherdan Shaqiri, plus the recovering manager in the middle Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich did not miss a beat as they handled a flurry of dangerous offensive opportunities from the Gunners throughout the first half and then absolutely dominated Arsenal in the second half for a convincing 2-nil victory with stunning goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller (or so I read).

This win was also the first for Pep in Emirates Stadium.

A relieved and joyful check for the Munich manager.

It does need to be stated that there was a shockingly surreal occurrence with two missed penalties by a devastated player from each team in Mesut Özil and David Alaba (a fast right arm and a pesky left post), a red card for the Arsenal goalkeeper minutes before halftime, a few yellow cards and a sidewinder beauty tucked inside the top near post from Bayern’s Toni Kroos.

(Fortunately, somebody posted a free highlight video on YouTube yesterday evening)

What does this all prove?

It’s validation that “Pep’s Boys” (just made that up!) are intelligently and relentlessly preparing, working and reacting the right way in their weekly training sessions and during the all-important games. The team’s that think too much on-and-off the field tend to think a lot after the game about what went wrong.

When you can trust everything you’re doing, that’s one hell of an advantage over any opponent, regardless of the venue. Bayern Munich is playing its brand of fußballing chess and are moving themselves and their opponents with direct force, as well as with a passive aggressive nature that is paying big dividends at the right moments.

Plus, they are quite good at imitating the checkers move of jumping their opponent’s back line with an overwhelming effect when that moment presents itself.

Some could argue that’s a championship advantage.

When Arsenal travels to Allianz Arena in Munich on March 11th for the second leg, expect nothing short of a top-shelf lineup and effort from “Pep’s Boys.”

Anything less wouldn’t qualify as a championship effort.

Once that Bassline Starts…

Queen’s former frontman Freddie Mercury would have been 67 today, so below is a video of a little gig he and his bandmates played in a modest soccer stadium in London some years back.

For those who have felt “under pressure” this week, at least we’ve all made it to Friday and the weekend!