Growing up in America in the 90's, I found little opportunity to watch the Premier League. Instead, we always knew players from video games and maybe a World Cup that got some coverage. Even our own league MLS didn't get enough coverage apart from DC United and LA Galaxy.
Nevertheless, soccer was still our sport. We played it on the weekends with our clubs, we played it during the week at school. Few of us would go on to play in college or at a professional level, but we didn't care. It was not about glory but joy.
Despite it being in Korea/Japan, the World Cup 2002 was the first time I got to see a majority of a tournament. I latched on to the underdogs Ireland and the young Robbie Keane filling the superstar void of his possibly distant cousin Roy Keane. And from there, that funny named club I'd always seen but not known, Tottenham Hotspur, became a part of me.
With televised games still a rarity on my cable package, most of my joy came from playing friends in FIFA. Yeah they weren't a top 4 club, but at least they had Keane, King, and history.
A history geek most of my life, I found more appreciation for Spurs as I read in books like How Soccer Explains the World about the team, about how the club was part of a Jewish Renaissance of Athletes that kicked A in the 30's. This was beyond history. Some clubs have a history of winning titles. This was a club with history and identity.
Living near New Orleans, I've been a Saints fan and love our jazzy interpretation of "when the saint's go marching in". Ignorant of all the other PL clubs' usage, I was so proud that both my football teams used the same tune. After I realized it's widespread usage, I only wondered more where it originated in British football. Do y'all know?
In my search, I came across some amazingly bad/good hits from former Spurs players.
First, Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle make Top of The Pops with the quintessential 80's pop song "Diamond Lights".
Equally amazing is Paul Gascoigne and Lindisfarne with the Nov 1990 #2 smash hit Fog on the Tyne. Gazza's got moves.
Living in Atlanta, I frequented games at pubs like Fado. Eating breakfast with a plethora of drunk Irishmen and Brits makes for a pretty amazing London Derby. As Spurs grew in popularity through CL and exciting attacking play, I saw more and more Americans don the Lilywhite, including my Jewish brothers.
So now, I feel like on my quest for Spurs the next progression is going grocery shopping, I mean to White Hart Lane. Here's hoping all of us outside of London and the British Isles get the opportunity to join the Yid Army and watch a Spurs match at White Hart Lane.
"Oh when the Spurs, go marching in..."