Editor’s note: Only 30,000 people were in attendance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first test event between Spurs U18s and Southampton U18s. But one Carty Free reader was — Socks22 was gracious enough to write up his experiences for the benefit of the rest of us. Thanks!
Hey everyone! Where do they say you need to start? The beginning? Well, this story starts at the end. Nearly two years ago our little ramshackle home with it’s posts and it’s cobbled-together stands closed for the last time. Yes, we beat Manchester United 3-1 at White Hart Lane, but the game paled into insignificance. The crowd was magnificent — we sang old songs at the top of our lungs, cheered the legends as they appeared, and willed on that rainbow that appeared right at the end. I left my second home that day with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye safe in the knowledge we would be back in a year.
Well off to west London we went to the home of football — an impressive if soulless Wembley. We tried, we really did but it turned into a slog of a journey and a battle to get home. We ended the first season singing again while walking along Wembley way — “We’re going home, We’re going home.” But alas it was not to be.
We went back along the Met Line to that place. Well, increasingly less of us did and more infrequently. “Not to worry,” Daniel said “we will be in soon!” But things were becoming tense.
To be honest I have struggled this season to even bother to go to Wembley. It just didn’t appeal anymore. I know this feels like abandoning your club but Spurs is not just a team, it’s much more than that, and I missed the Lane! This ennui was punctuated with some lovely moments alongside my friends Tekkers and Ted Flambe — not least beating Dortmund — but there was something missing (not just the lack of shame that Ted’s friend had buying a half-and-half scarf).
The news about the new stadium finally opening started as a glimmer, then a solid fact! We were going home!!!
Today, I headed off on a well worn route back to N17 with my Dad, who took me to the Lane for the first time and who for TV reasons missed the last match. It started off with a the minor issue of every street for miles around being clued up to the prospect of 61,000 fans now being parking restricted. Well bugger! A much longer walk than expected.
As we walked from Silver Street towards WHL Station we caught our first glimpse of the new ground. “Bloody hell” was the initial response. WHL station itself is being redeveloped as we speak (it’s not like they had any warning or anything) but hey a minor issue! Heading towards the High Street — there she was, our home!
We walked towards the Park Lane end as, for joy, we had tickets in the kop. Security is tight but we navigated this and buzzed ourselves into the ground and straight into the longest bar in Europe, lots of food outlets and smiling faces. First things first, beer! A pint of local “neck oil” for a reasonable £5, good start, no Budweiser.
Then pie, oh my long forgotten WHL pie! The chicken balti is now a chicken tikka pie but still like a comforting blanket of pastry. Then — oh hang on what’s that? I glimpsed the pitch and headed like a hypnotized idiot towards it.
Friends, I felt like a kid again! Wow— I hate all of you that get to experience this for a first time, because our home is a thing of beauty. It’s big but small all in one. It has an odd feel of the Lane without being anything like it. We were sitting two thirds up the wall but the pitch seems massive — this is some form of witchcraft.
The game started, and I didn’t really pay much attention as I was still taking the place in. As soon as I realized “Oh Skippy’s playing,” GOAAAAALLL as J’Neil Bennett scored. Then the final piece of the puzzle slots in as “he’s one of our own” rang out across the terraces and the half sized crowd made the place ring out! The acoustics in the bowl is beyond what we could have hoped for. Wembley took the noise and blended it into a horrible mass of white noise, but there’s none of that for our new home. Songs were clear and echoed beautifully, the Shelf was clear and the Park Lane responded in kind. This place is going to bounce!!!
At halftime we wandered around the stadium at various levels and found the bars — the Dispensary and the White Hart are a great addition to the multiple tap rooms and the Beavertown Brewery is great (they have a 7.4% beer for you Menno). The south stand was great to be in but to paraphrase Karl Pilkington, living across the road from a palace has a better view than living in it — it’s an amazing sight from the Paxton End.
I really don’t want to continue to gush, but we are home ladies and gents, and it feels wonderful! Get here as soon as you can!