As part of Cartilage Free Captain’s commemoration of the final match at White Hart Lane, we are collecting and posting memories and stories from the Cartilage Free Captain community about the Lane and what it means to us.
We want your stories as well. Post your memories and stories either on the site as a FanPost, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. They don’t have to be long. They just have to be real.
In December 2015, I was able to scrounge up enough coin to make the trip to see the old lady that is White Hart Lane before she’s laid to rest. But simply recounting that experience ignores the countless hours during which I’ve marveled at her beauty from afar.
As Spurs fans, we all have experienced WHL in our own way. Whether you’ve only seen it on TV or you go for every home match, we all have a certain perspective of what the place is and what it means to us. Visiting her in person changed the entire dynamic of not just what White Hart Lane means to me, but what Tottenham Hotspur represents at its core. It’s more than players and managers. It’s more than the stadium. It’s more than the High Road. It’s all of these things, and without any of these components that make up the club, it’s incomplete. Being in the stadium and wandering the streets around it gave me a more complete understanding of Tottenham Hotspur.
In this series you’ll read all about people sat (or standing) in the Park Lane and singing, cursing, celebrating, commiserating with their comrades. There’s nothing unique about my experience in that regard. In fact my most vivid memory of perhaps my entire experience visiting White Hart Lane was in the hours preceding the match (Europa League vs. Monaco — Spurs won 4-1). As I walked around and checked out the local scene, it was still very much a business-as-usual kind of day. While my heart was racing with excitement of what I was preparing to experience, it was a very ordinary day in the minds of many who I encountered in town.
I was there with a fellow Spurs-supporting friend, and after visiting a few pubs, we decided to hang out in the beer garden at No. 8, which is located just on the other side of Park Lane. I stared at White Hart Lane’s roof supports, which I could see over the fence lining the back patio. When we set up camp to start getting properly hydrated before the match, we were the only ones there. As the gray skies turned dark, people – mainly young men in their late teens-early 20s – filled the tables and the standing room until it was packed. Music played, people talked and laughed and drank and were merry. It was fantastic.
While the beer garden was filling up, there were a group of guys sitting at the table next to us. As we listened to the music and watched Gary Neville’s Valencia side get thrashed by some Russian team, they started singing songs about Dele Alli. Except they weren’t singing the traditional “We’ve got Alli…” song. Instead, they were ad-libbing lyrics to whichever song started playing over the loudspeakers.
“Don’t you want DELE ALLI! Don’t you want him OHHHHHohhhhh”
THIS is Tottenham, I thought to myself.
While White Hart Lane will soon live only in our memories, what it means and what Tottenham Hotspur’s home represents will never change. But that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking to see it go.