Construction workers on the new stadium site in 2016 while White Hart Lane was still in use.
Photo: Julian Finney (Getty)

Tottenham Hotspur played last season at Wembley Stadium while its brand new, state-of-the-art home stadium was under construction. It wasn’t ideal, but it was supposed to have paid off when the new park opened this month for Spurs’ Premier League game against Liverpool. That didn’t happen, as last week’s match was moved to Wembley. Construction delays on the new venue were responsible, and have already forced an October NFL game to change locations as well. It’s not great.

An official opening date for the new Spurs stadium still has yet to be announced. A lengthy report on the stadium’s construction by Construction News reveals a process riddled with problems and plagued by expensive compounding mistakes. Here’s the opening anecdote:

“Stop what you’re doing!” cries a supervisor, halting the work of a gang of electricians on Tottenham Hotspur’s new £850m stadium.

The sudden stop is due to the appearance of workers from an air-conditioning subcontractor, who are carrying a large piece of metallic piping. These AC workers have turned up to finish their installation. The problem is, the electricians were told the AC work had already been completed.

As a result, all the work the electricians had done has to be torn out. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that completed electrics, carried out on the exact same spot, had already been completely ripped out two weeks earlier for the same reason.

The report notes that the electrical work on the stadium has been especially chaotic and poorly coordinated, with a lack of communication leading to confusion and annoyances:

One worker tells CN how the platform they were working on to install ceiling wiring was not high enough to reach the spot they needed to. This meant they were constantly leaning over the edge, which they described as “difficult”.

They also claim they were unable to power their tools properly because the transformer provided only lasted for four hours, but they were working for 12. When they tried to charge the unit, they realised they had not been given the wires to do so.

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Work was also delayed by the night-shift team taking equipment and supplies and leaving it in other parts of the site, insiders report. This meant that some days began with electrical subcontractors roaming the site looking for the equipment they had been using the day before.

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Conditions have improved, the report says, since the delay became official. Before then, the construction site sounds like pure anarchy.

“There were people off their heads, drinking cans first thing in the morning before going on to site and snorting coke in the toilets,” one unnamed source says.

Understandably, the report says there were also “a number of physical altercations” at the site when the number of workers was as its peak.

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Estimates claim that the stadium may be ready for the beginning of January, but CN’s sources also say that they would not be surprised if Tottenham “wrote off the season” and just kept playing at Wembley or other alternate venues until next year.

Read the full Construction News report here.