Back in July 2015, Tottenham Hotspur and Daniel Levy announced a 10-year deal partnership with the NFL by which the North London Club agreed to play two games a season at their stadium.
As you may have already guessed, this isn’t the first time a football stadium in London has served more than one purpose. In fact, so much was this infatuation with Greyhound racing back in the day that plans to play all of England’s Group 1 home games at Wembley for the 1966 World Cup had to be scrapped.
Imagine being one of the French or Uruguayan boys due to play at quite possibly World Football’s greatest stadium, only for the game to be moved because of the Greyhound schedule?! You cannot even begin to fathom it now.
Indeed, lets explore the relationship my very own Chelsea Football Club has with Greyhound Racing.
Initially, the area around the edge of the hallowed turf had belonged to the London Athletic Club, they were later left completely helpless however, as Stamford Bridge Ltd. found themselves with a sudden urge to construct a greyhound track around the edge of the pitch. In total, the track measured 434 yards and was more rounded than a traditional track so to accommodate the pitch within it.
It wasn’t just some average Greyhound track that you might see today however. On the 20th May 1944, the greyhound Ballyhennessy Seal set a new world record for the 500 yards distance with a time of 27.64.
The enormity of the success of this Greyhound track simply cannot be underestimated. This couldn’t be seen any more clearly than in 1946 when the Totalisator Turnover ended up exceeding £5 million. To give an idea of just how much money this was, the British Transfer Record at the time was just £14,500.
After years of entertaining thousands of punters at a time, the Greyhound side of the stadium was forced to close in 1968. The reason for this was the fact that races were organised on the same days as those at London’s White City Stadium, the track at which was highest-regarded in England.
I have to say it would be interesting if this strange custom was to make a return to England. Just imagine watching the 12:30 kickoff and being able to stay in your seat for an afternoon of racing!