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On Opening Night, Tottenham Tests Stadium’s Seats, Its Grass and Its Roar

LONDON — As soon as they poured off the Tube at the Seven Sisters stop, the Victoria Line depositing hundreds of fans every minute, they were on autopilot. Heads down through the station, turn left at the top of the escalators, out into the early evening light, and north.

Tottenham Hotspur’s supporters have not walked this way for 689 long days, but they know the route by heart: past Tottenham Green, down the hill, onto the High Road. There, the street once again closed to traffic on matchday, they lingered a little, taking photos of the space-age structure looming above them, marveling at the speed and the scale of change. Now, everything would be different. And yet somehow so familiar was the setting that it all felt the same. Tottenham Hotspur was back home.

That is how the club sees the $1 billion stadium it inaugurated with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night: not so much a move as a return; new and gleaming and modern, but somehow in keeping with tradition, too, a fusion of the future and the past.

“We are home,” the club’s announcer said before the start of a brief opening ceremony. There was genuine emotion in his voice. Thousands of flags, emblazoned with the slogan “Welcome Home,” fluttered in the stands.