It may not be widely known, but Tottenham’s training ground, Hotspur Way, has long been an example of how football can play its part in helping the environment.
The impressive complex in Enfield was always built with sustainability in mind. There are ponds, log piles and bug hotels throughout the grounds, encouraging wildlife to thrive. Trees and hedges are maintained by a dedicated ground staff, while an impressive fountain is powered by recycled water and aids wetlands nearby.
The 40-bedroom Lodge – where the players often stay before a home game – uses green roofs filled with plants and there are solar panels used across the training ground.
As climate change continues to show its devastating effects around the world, Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier gave Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves a tour ahead of #GameZero on Super Sunday, when Spurs host Chelsea, to discuss how the club is leading the way for sustainability in the Premier League.
Bug hotels and no more plastic bottles – how Tottenham are making a difference
“Here at the training ground, they do so many incredible things,” Dier said as he and Shreeves walk around the Tottenham vegetable garden. “We eat a lot of stuff from the garden in the canteen and they do a lot of stuff around the training ground to protect bugs and insects.
“They have bug hotels, which I didn’t know was a thing. They’ve planted loads of trees, they look after all the hedges – lots of hedges are original ones that have been here since the training ground was built – so they do so much. It’s very real what the club do.
What is #GameZero?
Tottenham vs Chelsea on Sunday September 19 will be known as #GameZero – the world’s first net zero carbon football game at an elite level.
Partnering with Sky and supported by COP26 and the Premier League, the ambition is for the game to be net zero carbon. This is achieved when emissions are reduced as much as possible, with the remainder offset through natural projects that remove emissions from the atmosphere.
“We’ve completely stopped drinking from plastic bottles around the training ground, on the pitches, matchdays so that’s something as well.
“I think football clubs are in a great position because we have these incredible training centres, a lot of outdoor space. We’re using a lot of things that can be reused, such as the grass, the pitches, the water, irrigation systems, these kinds of things.
“Football clubs are in a position to do it financially as well. The head groundsman, Darren, and the chairman [Daniel Levy] are very interested in it. He [Levy] pushes a lot of it and he takes great pride in the training ground and the stadium and he deserves a lot of credit for this as well.
“Tottenham are doing a great job and there’s no reason other clubs can’t do the same thing.
“If everyone can do what they can, I understand everyone is living in different circumstances so for some people it’s harder than others to do certain things.
“But to do what you can do, recycling for example is really easy to do in your own home. I’m in a very fortunate position where I can do it on a bigger scale with myself and the club.”
How Dier’s vegetable garden began to grow
Dier himself has embraced sustainability. After an injury kept him on the sidelines, his walks around the training ground saw him take an interest in the club’s vegetable garden.
“It was right at the beginning of starting to build my fitness up and I’d walk with the doctor around the training ground and we’d stop off here. There was an Italian man working here who would talk us through loads of things.
“The doctor was interested as well and we’d eat some stuff straight out of the beds. Then lockdown happened and the same man helped me get started with my own garden.
“I do a lot of it with my mother and it’s nice to do it together. I find there’s a lot of joy and satisfaction in it, we just did our first harvest of honey and that was probably the thing that I’ve enjoyed the most so far.
“I’d bring it to the training ground and give it to some of the boys. When he was here, Joe Hart was always nicking pots, he loved it. The honey was the big one for me. It’s lots of satisfaction in taking something and growing it and then eating it yourself.
“I’ve grown asparagus, lettuce, spinach, but I must admit I’m terrible at looking at it and knowing what it is. Even at home, I have to pick them out and they’re not ready and then I’ve ruined one.
“I’m definitely not perfect, I’m far from perfect when it comes to it. There is a selfish element to it as well – I enjoy doing it and I do the things I enjoy doing and are sustainable and I try and do as much as I can. Every little bit helps and that’s important.”
How Tottenham are repurposing
But perhaps one of the most impressive parts of Tottenham’s eco-friendly ethos is that nothing from Hotspur Way ends up on a rubbish heap. Even parts of the pitches, at both the training ground and stadium, that are removed are repurposed to help the environment.
Considering how many people work across the club, it’s quite remarkable.
“Nothing goes to landfill,” Dier explained. “That’s an incredible achievement in itself with the amount we use and it’s a credit to the club.
“They’re still trying to push and do better and improve in every way. The club deserves all the credit, and the staff around the training ground to leading the right way and try and influence others to do what they can to help.
“Hopefully in 10, 15 years we can be in as good a place as possible.”
Listen: Playing for the Planet
Sky has partnered with Tottenham Hotspur to host the world’s first net zero carbon football game at an elite level when Spurs face Chelsea on September 19.
The initiative is supported by COP26 and the Premier League, and will be branded #GameZero, with the ambition of being net zero carbon. This is achieved when emissions are reduced as much as possible, with the remainder offset through natural projects that remove emissions from the atmosphere.
Sky, Tottenham Hotspur and the UK Government want the game to raise awareness of the threat of climate change and inspire football fans to make simple changes that will help reduce their carbon footprint.
#GameZero will demonstrate the green steps that fans, the sporting world, and broadcasters can take to work towards a zero-carbon future. Sky is a Principal Partner and Media Partner to COP26 and has committed to be net zero carbon by 2030, cutting its own emissions and those made by customers using its products, by 50 per cent over the next decade.
For the match to be net zero, Sky and Tottenham will work to minimise emissions from matchday activity such as energy used to power the game, travel to and from the stadium for both fans and clubs, and dietary choices at the stadium. Hundreds of individuals involved in the game – from Sky Sports’ producers to Spurs’ chef feeding fans and crew – are working to making #GameZero happen.
Watch #GameZero – Tottenham vs Chelsea – live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm on Super Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.