My White Hart Lane story….
I was brought up minutes from the ground just off Broad Lane, each day plodding to school stealing the Sun from the local shop to see who we were linked with buying at that time the sun burning down on my back after yet another joyless season when halfway I would meet with a friend and his brother who were both Goons. I would then have the shit ripped out of me for the 10 minute walk to school. Teased over Rebrov’s inability to hit a barn door, Postiga’s bambi like dribbling and Stefan Iversen (no explanation needed). This was 1998 ish Arsenal they were still at Highbury and had won the double we were renovating the lane and finished sandwiched between Leicester city and Sheffield Wednesday. I was 12 and played sunday league, we broke up for the summer and when we came back 2 of the spurs fans had switched, one to chelsea the other to arsenal. I couldnt understand it I was fuming! Who were they to change this birth right, who were they to change their blood! I literally had to be pulled off them when they turned up in their shiny new kits…
My dad, a man of no insight or guidance gave me a couple words that stuck with me…
“When someone chooses to pick a team for glory rather then lineage or pure admiration their penis drops off and they will die a horrible death”
He actually said “fuck em their cunts now go and show em up on the pitch” I like both statements but the above sits with me today.
I never made it as a footballer, too fat, the Dembele position only existing in my head my Sunday league manager saying lolly pops are for pussies.
I am not bitter at all….
Having had this outburst my dad took me to the first game of the 99–2000 season, he was a proud man you see… he had helped build the new tier of the paxton and he wanted me to see it. I remember the day clearly, my dad got me and a friend who was coming with us (a gooner no less) up early and down the ground we sat in the empty Paxton road stand with nobody else in the ground it was silent but it felt full warm the pitch seemed to shine and welcome me and I distinctly remember thinking if I could abseil down something to get down there. My dad didn't say anything but my gooner mate did, “this is a proper ground” these words stick with me to this day.
I loved White Hart Lane like an old girlfriend that lived round the corner, I would drive past her house always look in to see if the light was on, check on twitter to see what she’s up to and every now and then I would pop over to get inside her and experience ecstasy I couldn't recreate anywhere else. I travelled everywhere to find an alternative Barcelona came close, madrid so so, Munich meh, paris zzz, Tokyo bizarre, Sao Paolo & rio dangererous…
All I managed to get was a couple of std’s and shirts for each team.
I never found the feeling anywhere else which means one thing. White Hart Lane is special Spurs are special its in my blood that throbbs through me and my heart. My dads stand is now ripped apart, I like many have lost reference points, pieces of history and bits of our heart, will the new lane be better? depends on what you value but will my kids have the same feeling for it in 20 years time? doubt it.