As a football fan, you can proliferate most of your memories with emotive recollections that have something to do with your club. Your one and only club. Going to White Hart Lane over the years has been one of life’s experiences that I would put above anything else, (but if my wife is reading this then not quite as good as walking down the aisle darling honest!!) There is not a stage or incident in my life that I cannot directly relate to either Spurs playing or my being at White Hart Lane. People talk about WHL being their church and more often than not reference the “hallowed turf”, but there is nothing more hallowed than the powerful divinity of a spurs team kitted in ghostly lilywhite under the evening lights at WHL.

I started going as a very young child to watch Spurs with my dad. He’d hold me by the hand and guide me there and soon enough I was recognising when the bus we took from Edmonton would be nearing the ground and it would be time to get off. I didn’t get to see my Dad much during the week as he’d be at work mostly so it was good to share these moments with him although I didn’t appreciate them at the time perhaps. Spurs were always the main thing we had in common until he passed away in ’94 and our last conversation was about Klinsmann’s disallowed goal against Man Utd. Soon after those early days I was old enough to meet him at the ground. I remember one night Spurs were due to play Newcastle at home but it was approaching 6pm and I was somewhere near home playing on my bike when I had the urge to just cycle home as quick as I could. It was a good job I did as my dad had called home and wanted to meet me at the ground to go to the match. Totally spontaneous. Intuitively Spurs induced. No need for membership cards, e-ticketing or stub hub.

The ground was always a special place. Filled with vibrancy and expectation and sometimes danger. The year we were relegated was the year I could start going on my own without my dad and I have to confess I purposely didn’t attend the Millwall home game that year as I didn’t want to contend with the lunacy that was attached to that fixture. I remember too when Arsenal or West Ham fans would come and try to “take the Paxton”. One time I entered through the Paxton Rd turnstiles for a West Ham game only to see home fans running toward me as trouble had started to kick off inside. Thankfully those days are long gone.

I lived through the old stadium as it was, when players had to climb steps to get onto the pitch from what seemed to be a burrow in the West Stand by the Park Lane end. No handshakes and protocol needed and only McNamara’s Band winding it up before the game. There were no Jumbotron’s with highlights and not every match was highlighted on TV either. You only got to see the action once and then it was confined to memory.

WHL started to change in the early eighties. A new West Stand and the arrival of corporate boxes but who cared? We had Hoddle, Ossie, Archibald et al. I missed a game one year when we played Wolves at home (Feb 82) and that night I was at a mates 18th getting drunk on vodka when I found a room in his house to watch MOTD on. With the room spinning and his portable TV uneasy I saw the game. We won 6-1 and the eerily empty West Stand was a surreal backdrop.

Then the East stand was redeveloped and I always remember the never popular Terry Fenwick scoring a rare goal and then celebrating to an empty East Stand. It raised a laugh and we all knew that he’s just given us all the middle finger but there was no animosity. The two ends were eventually completed to give us a new stadium but by this time all-seated stadia were the in thing and the soon to become Premier League meant many people that grew up watching the club at WHL would soon be priced out of the game.

But I shall never forget the days that I spent going to games. Standing behind the goal in the Paxton Road. Sometimes I would be so close to the front I would almost touch the players. I touched the ball once as it went for a corner. I was so chuffed, especially as it was on MOTD and I got to see myself on TV. Shame there was no live pause back then!. Later I used to stand on The Shelf with my friends. What an amazing construct that was. Always heaving with people; so many people; at times you couldn’t see what was going on, especially at the big games when it would get really packed. But you’d be able to walk in through the turnstiles and move to any part of the ground and that was how like-minded people congregated and atmosphere was created.

But my memories are plentiful, and whilst many of you are still forming yours, I can’t but help feel that my generation had the best of it outside of the 60’s. Taking the day off from work to queue up for the 1984 UEFA cup final second leg from about 2pm; missing school one morning to go to WHL to queue for ticket returns for the 1981 cup final replay (that’s a whole different story for another day); being told that the terraces were full for a game against Birmingham City and having to pay a whopping £2 to sit in the Paxton Road stands; driving down from the Midlands (once I had moved) to watch a game against City only to have the game called off due to waterlogging an hour before kick-off; meeting with my friends; eating at the Chick King; having a drink; celebrating goals; sticking five past the goons after they’d stuck five past us a few seasons before; being infuriated by Barcelona in ‘82; Gazza in his sock; Hoddle’s volleys; Ginola v Leeds; Klinsmann v Sheff Weds; Berbatov v Bolton, Modric, Bale, Ardiles, Lineker … I could go on but I need to leave space in this fanzine for others..

Through it all though I have had the ultimate pleasure of watching so many wonderful players that have entertained thousands in the WHL theatre and it will always be a huge part of my life. And yet once the new stadium is built (whenever that will be) the ghosts and memories of Tottenham past will inevitably live on in the minds of fewer and fewer people and a new breed of fan will start that cycle again with their own hopefully good memories that haven’t been tarnished by the negative voices in social media or their obsession with corporate football business. Memories are made from moments that leave their mark and remain unforgettable. Enjoy the moments and enjoy the memories.

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