In the end, it was worth the wait.
Tottenham Hotspur finally opened its shiny new $1.3 billion stadium amid glorious fanfare Wednesday, by hosting Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
For the 59,215 packed inside on opening night, the experience was made all the more memorable by a 2-0 victory, courtesy of goals from Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen.
For the fans and for the players, this was a night to remember.
“It’s just amazing,” Son told Sky Sports. “What an unbelievable stadium. The noise was just so loud.
“To score the first goal at this stadium … I just want to say to thank you to my teammates and the fans.
“White Hart Lane is our history but the new stadium … I can’t believe it. To play in it is an amazing feeling. It’s a bit different from Wembley. Wembley was not our home.”
This was some homecoming for the Spurs, which walked onto the field to the sound of a brass band playing the club’s “Glory, Glory, Tottenham Hotspur” anthem, followed by a spectacular firework display.
Initially scheduled to open at the start of the 2018/19 season, the 62,026-seat venue had endured issues with “critical safety systems” forcing the team to continue playing games at its temporary home of Wembley Stadium.
But better late than never.
Cashless sports venue
Gone is the old White Hart Lane, Tottenham’s spiritual home but in its place is a stadium that may well have revolutionized the sport, not just in the UK but across Europe.
The arena is the country’s first entirely cashless sports venue, while the two big screens are set to be the largest in western Europe. The ground also boasts the UK’s biggest single-tier stand, holding 17,500 people.
A retractable artificial surface that slides across the pitch is a nod to Tottenham’s hopes of ultimately hosting the NFL’s Super Bowl and its own London-based franchise.
“I genuinely believe it’s the best stadium in the world,” Populous architect Christopher Lee told CNN Sport. “It creates great spaces and great experiences. It’s designed like a concert hall and is all about noise and reverberation sound.”