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.
I became a Tottenham fan through exigent circumstances that mirror the North London club's rivalry.
I went to London in 1994 prior to a semester abroad in Dublin Ireland. I stayed with my then girlfriend. But as luck would have it, there was some skeezy dude hanging about that I was about 50/50 certain was also dating my girlfriend. He found out I was a football fan, and gave me an Arsenal ticket to Highbury one night in the pub. I presume so I would make myself scarce. I sheepishly took it. I turned to the guy next to me at the pub, and said, who's Arsenal's biggest rival? He said, "Tottenham, but they're sh!t." I didn't care.
I found a match schedule and tickets, figured out how to get to N17 and White Hart Lane. It was a haul. To a kid from Metro Detroit, Tottenham looked a lot like Detroit. I kind of felt at home immediately.
It was a match against Sheffield Wednesday where Ronny Rosenthal scored the only goal. I believe my ticket was to the Park Lane end, I was behind the goal when he scored.
It was a magnificent day out. I remember singing my guts out to the words I could follow, and singing anyway when I didn't. I went to the Bricklayers afterwards and had a few too many pints. It was a magnificent day out. I lost the girl, but gained a club. That was 22 years ago. I tried following Spurs on the burgeoning internet (it was 1995) when I came back home, and watched matches occasionally, but it was hard to find, and harder to afford a tv package that had the matches consistently.
Fast forward to 2011, and my wife (not the girlfriend) ordered a cable package that had football. We started watching Spurs together. I had watched some of the Bale years at pubs and friends’ houses. But coming into the Bale/Modric/Van Der Vaart years it looked like things were on the up. Well... sort of. Right as I could finally start following the matches closely, AVB was sacked, Sherwood was in, there were massive capitulations, Soldado misfiring. My wife, bless her soul, tolerated more than a few weekends of me being completely inconsolable.
And then everything changed. We started finally clicking, Harry Kane was firing on all cylinders, some of our fringe players looked decent. We were winning, I didn't know how to deal with it. There were rumblings that White Hart Lane was definitely going to be torn down to build a new stadium.
February last year with us in the title race, chasing Leicester City, I said to my wife, "We should go see a match. If we win the title, and they tear that stadium down the next year, I'll never forgive myself for not getting to see it again."
We searched for tickets and found some for the Man United match.
Very few things in life live up to, or deliver on both your expectations and your memory of them. So much time having passed, returning to White Hart Lane 21 years later was mystical. To see this squad smash Man United will remain one of the best experiences of my life. We sat in the South Stand not too far from the away supporters. We literally sang ourselves hoarse. We were hugging strangers, singing our guts out as various choruses of the Dele Alli reverberated around the stands. We scored 3 times in about 3 minutes. Chanting "You're not famous anymore" into the smug faces of United Fans was deeply, deeply, fulfilling.
People in the media, former players, pundits all go on about the Lane, how great the atmosphere is. Sadly it's all true. The energy and noise is a palpable thing shrink-wrapped and boxed into that tiny stadium. Sadly that was my last game in that stadium. For an American to be able to travel to see that match at the Lane in a title race year was incredible, but alas fleeting. The day after we left London, they started tearing seats out of the stands to make the hole you now see on camera.
There will never be another White Hart Lane. But, I think we may go see the new stadium to help form some new memories in what I hope will be our continued success.
– Keith, Kalamazoo, MI
A White Hart Lane haiku:
Match vs Southampton
Meat pies, singing songs with friends
Post victory march
— Jesse, Indianapolis
My first time I went to White Hart Lane we were playing Aston Villa. I was about 9 and we won 4-2. I don't remember many names but Ted Ditchburn was in goal.
I also remember the great Jimmy Greaves first goal — a scissor kick vs. Blackpool. Jimmy would be worth a king’s ransom today -- a real goal scorer.
These are memories I will have with me forever. As the song goes, “Tottenham Till I Die.” COYS!
— Peter L.
At 68, I have about a million memories of the Lane. It has been my magic place since I was five. I hate to do it, but somebody should -- my most painful memory of the Lane is of a Saturday game after John White died in 1964.
It was against West Ham, and there was this air of unreality in the ground. We were all still trying to comprehend what had happened to us. It was a death in the family. This was long before squad numbers, so a poor bloke named John Smith, who was a decent pro, had to wear the number 8 shirt. It was so hard to watch that shirt and to recognize it's true owner would never wear it again.
I think the match ended 3-3 , but it was hard to care. John White was a wonderful player. He had this instinct for finding space and creating from it that was uncanny. Every game was a clinic in how you link play and run the whole park without doing one flashy thing. Had he lived, Spurs would have had so many more trophies to celebrate. It hurts to this day, and I have tears writing this.
God bless and thank you, John.
— Barry, Scottsdale, AZ (late of Woodbury Down, North London)
I'm a bit late to this soccer party, compared with a lot of the fans on here. Soccer to me was ancillary as a teen and in my early 20s, but by playing FIFA year after year I slowly turned my attention towards this sport. By this time, I was watching a game or so per weekend, and consuming some online material.
As luck would have it, the company I worked for in 2014 was planning on sending me to London for a work trip, and I was able to extend it through the weekend. To check it off my bucket list, I began googling soccer schedules and wanted to check out a Premier League game in person. I came across a Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool game, and booked the last available ticket. The ticket was in the final row of the stadium, binoculars were packed.
Having no prior history or expectations of English soccer, I went to the Lane about three hours early to pick up my ticket and "miss the queue." Ticket in hand, I wandered through the Spurs store, made a few purchases to mark my time there, and walked off to the bars for a pint or three.
What I found at the pubs was beyond any of my comprehension, and I unabashedly fell in love with the atmosphere. Everyone clad in blue in white, songs loudly echoing through the late morning skies. I went to four pubs before the game, and got to meet and interact with dozens of fans, and it made me fall in love with Tottenham Hotspur.
Going to the stadium for a match is unlike anything else. The vantage point from the top row (glass half full: the wall behind me provided an excellent napping spot for this jet lagged traveler) allowed me to see every bit of pomp and circumstance that makes the EPL great. The final score was awful, Liverpool shut out THFC behind a Sterling-Balotelli-Sturridge front line, and we all left disappointed.
What the Lane gave me is a reason to wake up early on weekends, go to the local supporters bar, and yell until I'm hoarse. It has brought me friendships and a hardcore fandom that I wouldn't trade for the world. I've already begun to plan to visit the New Lane when it opens, and I expect to cry.
— Andrew, Minneapolis