It's been a period of upheaval for Tottenham Hotspur of late. In 2017, they moved out of their home ground White Hart Lane and into the brand-new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, saying goodbye to 118 years of history at the Lane. Those at the club hope the stadium move will fuel an upward trajectory on the pitch, although to date that hasn't materialised, with successive teams struggling to push forward, despite the efforts of elite coaches such as Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
When it comes to the difficulty of propelling Spurs up the league and turning them into regular challengers for trophies, a number of diagnoses have been made. Former head coach Conte even suggested, in a staggering press conference that spelled the end for his time at Spurs, that there was a structural 'mentality' problem at the club. But there's one aspect of their daily operations that will surely play a more important role than anything else in turning their fortunes — the training field.
In this article, we'll be exploring the Tottenham Hotspur training ground and how the facilities on offer there are designed to boost performances on the pitch. We'll describe the size, dimensions, and facilities of the site, the changes and developments that have taken place in recent years, and any plans that exist for future expansion. Let's dive into this impressive Premier League site.
The training ground has been named after the club itself, taking the title Hotspur Way.
Tottenham Hotspur have had a few different training sites over the years. Back in 1952, they bought the 11-acre ground used by Cheshunt FC and turned it into their permanent location for training, but after a few decades the amount of space here was deemed insufficient. Spurs moved to the Spurs Lodge on Luxborough Lane, Chigwell in Essex in 1996 (selling the old site for over £4 million), but it wasn't long until another upgrade was required.
That upgrade arrived in 2014, when Spurs moved into a new training ground that the club had acquired back in 2007. This was at Bulls Cross in Enfield, a few miles south of the former Cheshunt location, and around six miles from their North London home ground of White Hart Lane (a drive that takes around half an hour). While not strictly in Tottenham (very few training grounds are situated in the urban centres represented by their teams), the Enfield training ground is not too far from North London, and it's quickly been adopted as home by players and staff alike.
The street it's situated on in Bulls Cross also bares this name, which supposedly takes inspiration from Sir Henry Percy, a major character in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I known primarily as Sir Harry Hotspur. Theories about why Spurs went for this rather than Rovers, Wanderers, or United are varied — either way, it was crucial in helping them lock in their new training ground name, and Hotspur Way has stuck.
Hotspur Way is a very recently built site, as we detailed in the previous section of this article. And when it was opened, the centre received a large amount of praise, from various different quarters. Former Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor said: "I've had the chance to play at Real Madrid, Arsenal, and Manchester City and for me, this is one of the best training grounds in Europe, no doubt about that."
However, since its grand opening in 2012, after a lengthy period of construction, some notable additions have been made. In 2018, a 45-bedroom players' lodge with catering, treatment, rest and rehabilitation facilities was added at Myddleton Farm, right next to the training site. Having this kind of accommodation on site is useful for when teams have to squeeze heavy travelling into their schedule, for example around European competitions. Various other training grounds, such as Manchester City's Etihad Campus, have similar facilities, and it's an understandable addition for Tottenham to have made.
A number of things have also been done to make the training ground more environmentally friendly in recent years. Solar panels across Hotspur Way help power the buildings, there's a vegetable garden frequented by players like Eric Dier, as well as a broader commitment to ensuring all waste from the site is recycled rather than being sent to landfill. To expand on these points, let's spend a bit more time getting into the specific facilities on offer at Hotspur Way.
The Bulls Cross site was acquired in 2007, but it was a few years before Tottenham's first team moved in permanently. The reason for that wait was simple: the staff at Tottenham Hotspur were developing a centre packed with some of the most state-of-the-art footballing facilities in the world.
On the site, which is 77 acres large (making it one of the Premier League's largest training grounds beaten only by whopping sites such as Chelsea's Cobham centre and the new Leicester City FC Training Ground) there are a whole host of top notch features. In total, there are 15 grass pitches and one and a half artificial pitches, plus an 80 x 50m ETFE indoor covered artificial pitch, housed inside the main building. Four of these pitches are dedicated to First Team training, while the artificial outdoor pitches are equipped with floodlighting to allow for all-weather training at any time of day. Over the course of the building project, environmental protection and sustainability was kept in mind, as the club seeked to protect historic hedgerows and field boundaries, while also planting over 150 additional trees and installing the garden and other green features we just mentioned.
This main building is a 100,000 square foot structure that contains swimming and hydrotherapy pools, gymnasiums, top quality medical and sport science facilities, offices, and media areas, as well as dining and relaxation space for players, and classrooms for players in the academy and other youth teams. The building is energy efficient, with a sedum 'green' roof, plus 10% of energy produced on site comes from renewable sources.
A number of Premier League clubs have built brand-new training grounds in the last decade in a bid to upgrade their daily operations and put structures in place to bring performances to the highest possible level. Tottenham Hotspur are one of the those clubs, and it's hard to argue with the fact that Hotspur Way is one of the best centres there is.
At 77 acres, it's a larger site than various other established top flight clubs, from Liverpool (whose AXA Training Centre is around 56 acres) to Everton (Finch Farm, 55 acres), although it's not quite as big as the sites held by sides like Arsenal and Leicester. Regardless, the facilities on offer at Hotspur Way are seriously impressive; with elite level gym equipment, sport science capacities, medical set-ups, and more, plus tons of outdoor and indoor training space, it's better than the vast majority of centres across the country.
Tottenham Hotspur FC has made a commitment to invest £2.3m into the community over the course of the next decade, with much of this work taking place around the site of their training ground — the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has already delivered 19 new community programmes across the London Borough of Enfield. However, many people within the local area have reacted negatively to some recent news emanating from Hotspur Way.
In May 2022, the club submitted a new planning application to construct a media centre at the Enfield training complex. There is currently work going on at the site to build a single-storey extension to the club's academy building, with the application recently resubmitted due to the club wanting to expand further and build a new two-storey media centre on the northern end of the training ground's west wing. Designed by F3 Architects, the planned facility will have film studios for visual content creation, additional storage space, and new media meeting rooms, with the ultimate purpose being to boost youth team development and give Spurs' Women a dedicated place to work. This was also the aim behind some other recent plans which proved controversial, as the club looks to build a new large training complex on the public park Whitewebbs Park, which they've paid a "pathetically small fee" for.
After Spurs became the preferred choice for a 25-year lease on the park, situated on a former golf course, some locals expressed their anger. The club plans to build a state-of-the-art training 'hub' on Whitewebbs Park, made up of eight pitches and a modern clubhouse, for Spurs' women and girls' sides. According to reports, one half of the park will remain fully accessible to the public, but for campaigners, that simply isn't good enough. Despite the fact that if they get the lease, Spurs would be due to pay Enfield Council £500,000 upfront plus £75,000 a year, Sean Wilkinson, chair of Friends of Whitewebbs Park, said the financial benefits to the council were "non-existent" compared to the club's broader finances.
It will interesting to see what happens with the Whitewebbs Park site, and Spurs' wider plans for training ground development, in the coming years. Ultimately, coaching facilities will continue to play an important role as the club seeks to challenge the greatest sides in England and beyond.
Interested in finding out about some of the country's other elite training facilities? A good place to start would be by checking out our guide to the Etihad Campus, Manchester City's outstanding newly-built training ground.