I Was There ...

        Nos. 1 - 25 
        Nos. 26-50
        Nos.51-75

No.76
Tottenham Hotspur  v  Leicester City  (Worthington Cup Final)
21 March 1999  

The clock must be turned back a few years to 1999.  I was working in the same company, but a new role that involved the World Rally Championship and my first event was to come up soon.  Then, about the same time, I knew Spurs had made it to the Worthington Cup Final.  This was a moment many of us had been waiting for - a Cup chance at last that hopefully we wouldn't blow like the infamous and historic occasion against Coventry in '87 when we lost out first ever FA Cup Final.   So here it was - ticket had been obtained through some contacts from UEFA and myself and a mate had what turned out to be wicked seats.  Then - horror struck.  A few days before I was told I needed to go to the Rally of Portugal.  Not a problem I said, I'll get the last flight out of Heathrow that evening, AFTER the match and well, Heathrow and Wembley are not too far away.  So plans were made.

I was due to drop my suitcase off at a friends, watch the match, leave at fulltime on the dot and get a taxi to the friends who live near the airport.  Sorted - I met them, and left the case with them.  I then got dressed - Spurs shirt, jacket, large jesters hat, flag - the works.  This was a day to be proud and show it in all its glory.  This was a day for victory.

Wembley was great as always (sure there were the usual hold ups, etc) but I still don't think I will ever encounter a 'Wembley Way walk' again like that day or at any other stadium.  We are fools to be losing that, in my opinion.  We all got ready for the greatest day.

The game was never going to be great, but the passion flowed.  I loved the feeling.  The smell.  The glory ...  Even Robbie Savage and his desire and achievement to get Edinburgh sent off did not destroy that.  Then Nielsen popped up with the header in the last minute and my day was made.  I was hoarse, but happy.  How could I leave and miss holding the Cup in Wembley.  So I stayed - very very happy, for about 20 mins.  Then left.  Couldn't find a taxi, walked miles for a train to Heathrow.  Ended up getting my flight with five minutes to spare, having my friends meet me at the airport with my luggage.  But the greatest bit - walking through London streets and then Heathrow airport decked out in Spurs gear with a massive smile, and people looking at me.  Did I care - no way - this was a great day.

Until I landed in Portugal and was met by my boss and others - and there's me hardly dressed for the occasion.  But who cares.  Regardless of the quality or anything else, in that 89th minute, My Eyes Did See The Glory!!!  

Come on Tottenham! 

ANDREW PHILPOTT

 

No.77
Derby County  v  Tottenham Hotspur  (Division One)
16th October 1976  

A long time ago before Harry Potter there was a team in Derby who were quite good, Brian Clough bossed them to European glory.  One day Spurs visited the Baseball Ground and me and my bruvver went.

He always got us lost going to away games and so I said "as soon as we get within sniffing distance of the ground ... park it". This we did in a multi storey car park in Derby. "where's the Baseball Ground we asked the car park attendant in the box, right then left then left again and that's where you catch the bus !

*king great , still lets get on with it. We got in the ground five minutes after kick off and asked wot's the score to the turnstile bloke ... two nil to Derby.  Oh yes,  good joke. But it wasn't a joke, three two to Derby at half time and game on. Money well spent.

The second half kicked off and we conceded another five in our end, eight two. We left to catch the bus shell shocked and demoralised until we got to the car park to find the car gone.

Character building isn't it Glenn.  Please help restore my pride.

STEVE (EXILED IN SOMERSET)

 

No.78
Coventry City   v   Tottenham Hotspur  (Carling Cup - Second Round)
24th September 2003.  

Every Spurs fan should travel to an away game.  If you don't you will never know just how massive a club Tottenham are.  Spurs had just sacked Glenn Hoddle and a lot of the away support must have been wondering what kind of result Spurs would get.  David Pleat had again taken temporary charge.

I got off the train at Coventry and had been told about a pub called The Rocket near the station which was an 'away' pub.  I walked through the doors and heard loud singing and wondered if was indeed the right pub ?  Spurs fans had packed the pub out and had been singing at the top of their voices since lunch time.  The poor bar maid had had enough ... it was an evening kick off !  After chatting to a few we all set of for the ground.  A quite old looking stadium.  We must have had about 4-5,000 fans in the ground and Coventry had given us the whole side of the ground.

The fans got behind the team and songs such as 'Campbell loves Barrymore' and 'you're supposed to be at home' were sung to drown out any home fans attempts at singing.

Kanoute opened the proceedings with an excellent solo effort which got the Spurs faithful shouting even louder.  Robbie Keane finished a great move and in the second half Rohan Ricketts slammed a shot in to make it 3-0 to Spurs.  The singing of "Glenn Hoddle's Blue and White Army" throughout was special as it showed the media that we still loved Hoddle even after his failure as a manager and proves to the any critic of our fans that we are anything other than fickle.  To amass that kind of away support for only a second round tie at Coventry shows that Spurs do indeed belong in the big time again ... we just await a manager and team that can bring back the glory days once again.

GROZZA

 

No.79
Liverpool   v   Tottenham Hotspur  (Premier League)
18th December 1993  

James Mariner, I salute you! for it was whilst reading & enjoying James' 'I Was There' (MEHSTG issue 36) that I realised here is a guy who became a Spurs supporter in 1991 - too young to remember anything of our FA Cup win vs. Forest that year.  He therefore missed the orgasmic euphoria of that famous Sunday of 14.4.91 (don't tell my wife but itís still the greatest day of my life).  And he has supported Spurs through the grey decade that was Tottenham Hotspur in the 1990's - too many David Kerslakes, Kevin Scotts & Ramon Vegas than Ginola, Klinsmann or Sheringham.  Only those of us who go to the games, wear our colours (buy the fanzines)! and tolerate years of seemingly endless teasing on a Monday morning when Spurs, yet again have been turned over by some crappy bunch of nobodies could understand this crazy love of ours ...


Still, to business. It was a dark winters morning back in December '93 when my ex-girlfriend and two of my mates Darren & Paul started our journey - bus to the ferry - ferry to Portsmouth - train to Waterloo - tube to Seven Sisters to reach White Hart Lane to see Spurs play Liverpool. A Stephane Dalmat-esque body swerve took us past the fervent Christians with their surreal 'sermon thru a loudhailer'. Further on a neat little side step past the ever aggressive Socialist Worker sellers, a then on towards McDonalds for some 'nearly there' sustenance before the final push towards the Bell & Hare (and an hour or so of bitching about how horrible it is drinking out of a plastic 'glass').  Into the ground half an hour or so before kick off we stopped at Ladbrokes to give some more money away and then into our seats in the East Stand lower - Park Lane end.

Spurs started quite brightly and took the lead ten minutes before half time courtesy of our 'midfield goal-machine' Vinny Samways. A goal celebrated enthusiastically by my then girlfriend who, unbelievably had backed him at something like 16-1 to get the first goal. Did she get the beers in after?  Did she ****!

Shortly after half time however it all started to go a bit Pete Tong, as first a young Robbie Fowler, then Jamie Redknapp (whatever happened to him)? and then Fowler again from the penalty spot put the reds in control. 1-0 up, 3-1 down, here we go! Stung by this though, Spurs started to claw their way back into the game. Mickey Hazard bought back to Spurs for a second spell by the then boss Ossie led by example and with the home crowd really starting to get behind the boys, we laid siege to the Scouserís goal with twenty minutes left on the clock. PENALTY !  Hazard stuck it in and then followed the period that makes me so remember this game. You know that expression about the roar of the crowd? Well this crowd roared, I'm talking loud, the ground was shaking, I was shaking, it was fantastic and right then I never doubted the equaliser would come. Ten minutes later, bang! It happened, Spurs equalised through Darren Caskey following a sweeping Spurs move, the home fans went ballistic, and the noise deafening before the goal was now indescribable. As hard as we tried though we couldn't break through again and put Liverpool out of their misery. The ref blew for full time in what was probably Spurs last decent performance before a nightmare run January-May that almost saw us relegated..... Sound familiar anyone?

Incidentally the Spurs players that day were wearing black armbands following the sad death the previous week of Tottenham legend Danny Blanchflower 9/12/93. I'm too young to have seen Danny play but my dad told me about him and I think he would have been proud of the lads that day and the spirit that they showed.

DAVID NEWCOMB
Written in memory of my Dad, Alan Newcomb 1943-2003, a Spurs fan.

 

No.79
Tottenham Hotspur v   Stockport County  (FA Cup 5th Round)
17th February 2001.  

Date : Sat Feb 17 2001
Competition : FA Cup
Opponents   : Stockport County
Result  : 4 - 0
Scorers : King 5, Davies 30, Flynn og 44, Davies 50


This game sticks vividly in my memory, not because of the game itself, but the hospitality we received at the club. I had recently started go out with a lovely girl (who incidentally is now my wife), and she was becoming a big Spurs fan at the time.

I wanted impress her and take her to a game in a very special way, so I decided to purchase special hospitality tickets for this game (175 pounds each). The Hospitality package included a parking space near the ground, complimentary match program, complimentary gift (small silver picture frame), 3 course meal in one of the large convention rooms and seating near the directors box.

If we actually got what was advertised I would have been more than pleased, what we did get was more than my wildest expectations.

First of all, when we arrived at the ground at the main entrance, we were told that there was not a lot of take up on the hospitality package for that game, so we would not be in the large convention room but somewhere smaller (imagine my disappointment). However, the somewhere smaller turned out to the be the Oak Room. The Oak Room if you don't know is where the match sponsors are dined and entertained before/during and after a game and is situated next to the directors boardroom.

After enjoying a pre-match meal and entertainment from such Spurs legends as Pat Jennings and Martin Chivers, we were ushered to our seats. My next surprise was being seated in the directors box. You know, those
seats that you can see from the east stand that are a slightly different colour and look (and are) much more comfortable than the normal seats.

The game started and we were enjoying the spectacular view in comfort. At half time we returned to the Oak room for drinks and conversations. As we returned to our seats for the second half, we had to disturb an elderly but animated gentleman to get to our seats. I apologised to him as I squeezed past and was surprised to see I was
eye to eye with Warren Mitchell, who unlike his alter ego Alf Garnett, is a Spurs fan.

The game ended in a comfortable satisfying win and we returned to the Oak room again for the post match entertainment. I was unaware the man of the match award is always presented by the sponsors and was pleased to see Simon Davies win the award and even shook his hand and congratulated him, my girlfriend/Wife was so starry eyed she could hardly speak, but managed to get an autograph.

It had been a magical experience but it was not over. The few people that had taken up the hospitality tickets were then asked if they would like to go down on the pitch, and see the dressing rooms. I know you can see all of this on the stadium tour, but having it thrust upon you without expecting it, made it very special.

We saw the dressing rooms and then walked down the tunnel to the pitch. Oh how I dreamed of doing this while a boy, and we were allowed to actually walk on the hallowed turf.

Our hosts pulled out all the stops in making our day wonderful. A day that could have been disappointing turned into an experience I will never forget.

We thanked our hosts and left with lots of great memories.

RICK DESIRA

 

No.80
Tottenham Hotspur v   Coventry City  (FA Cup Final)
16th
May 1987  

Pleat or Karina?

This is a true story and names have not been changed to protect the guilty.

I had no idea what to do. She obviously still loved me - she was still seeing me with her wedding a few weeks away ! Everyone wanted to know - would I or wouldnít I object ?

But it was Cup Final and miraculously at the last minute someone offered me a ticket to the game. ONE ticket !  - in the Coventry end !  I woke up that morning still completely uncertain Ė but I was a loyal Spurs Fan, we were invincible at Wembley and the win must help.

I left early. I bombed the buffet car and drank a whole pub in Victoria.  I went into the bar a miserable stranger and came out singing and dancing with a whole set of new mates.  The trip to the ground by tube was fantastic. I have never felt so completely at one with THFC as I did that day.  Along Wembley Way however we split up and that was the beginning of the end.

I canít remember much about the game except the own goal. Iíve never been able to watch it again.  It wasnít comfortable in the Coventry end (Especially after I broadcast my position with a spectacularly unwise goal celebration).  It was the era before cell phones and I had no idea what was going on elsewhere.  All I knew at the end was that we were not invincible and I had drifted onto a whole new plane of pain! It took me 6 confused hours to get home, avoiding phone boxes, trying to work out who to blame - Pleat or Karina?

When I eventually got home I walked in on a party !  Those in the know were laughing !  By then I just wanted revenge. 

And did I get it?? 

Well Pleat left Spurs (eventually !!!!!) 

And Karina? 

Reader, she married him. 

PAUL ROBINSON

 

No.81
Tottenham Hotspur v   Arsenal  (First Division)
4th April 1983  

April 1983.   

I'm 16 years old.  

I arrive at WHL around 1.30 with all my crowd to make sure we get in the Shelf for the game we all wait for ... Arsenal. 

At half time, we are 3-0 up.   At full time, we are 5-0 up and revenge has been taken.  

If memory serves me well, we score the first goal after 11 minutes and I miss that goal and the four that follow, because after about 5 minutes, I'm taken away by the boys with blue flashing lights. 

No, I'm not a young thug !   My appendix ruptures and I am rushed to hospital. 

And to this day I have never seen any of the goals.

NICK MINDEN

 

No.82
Burnley  v   Tottenham Hotspur  (FA Cup Semi-final) - Villa Park
18th March 1961.  

March 1948

A shy 14 year old takes the train on the newly nationalised British Rail to Birmingham (No M1 motorway in those days).

Bedecked in blue and white the excitement (of seeing my Spurs just a second division contender in those far off days) play the mighty Blackpool (then a considerable force in the 1st Division) was immense.  Blackpool included among their ranks the greats: Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortensen and Jackie Mudie.  Our Spurs team was captained by Welsh international Ronnie Burgess (Mr. Perpetual Motion) at left half (midfield) with the great Bill Nicholson vice captain on his right.

A very even first half saw the teams level at 0.0 at half time.  Then, after 60 minutes our burly centre forward Len Duquemin gives us the lead with a wonderfully worked goal to the absolute delight of the Spurs supporters. Minutes now  seemed liked hours as we counted each one towards our win and Wembley.

25 to go, 15 to go, 10 to go 5 to go. The anticipation was breath taking. 

Then alas disaster. Matthews with a mazy run down the wing went through our defence crossed for Mortensen to equalize.

Extra time (The government in those days did not allow replays as labour was urgently needed for the export drive).  More disaster.  Two more goals to the 'Pool and we were out.

There never has been a more broken hearted 14 year old, who since that day has never worn a colour to a match out of superstition.

Blackpool lost to Man U in the final (Matthews still did not get his medal)

The Spurs team hit rock bottom for the rest of the season and missed promotion.

The silence from the supporters on the Football Special train home was deafening.

It seemed like forever and a day before we reached Euston (it must have been in reality about 3 hours).

 

March 1956

A more mature 22 year old again at Villa Park against Man City.

A very competitive game saw the teams level after 60 minutes and then The City keeper Bert Trautmann (Ex POW) blatantly fouled our last true amateur Left winger and Finchley school teacher George Robb as he was clear on goal. Today it would have been a sending off and red card.

This hateful ref refused to give anything and we supporters were furious and consumed with massive malice towards him.

And then with 15 minutes to go the disaster voodoo stuck again.  The great Alf Ramsey (he of the immaculate ball distribution) made the worst back pass of his illustrious career.

I can still see Ramsey head in hands as the City forward seized this gift and blasted the ball into the back of the Spurs net.

Will I ever see Spurs in a Wembley Final ??

 

13th March 1961

The greatest day ever as Danny Blanchflower, Davie Mackay and the late John White (The greatest player I ever saw in a spurs shirt and yes, I know Hoddle Greaves etc) swept passed Burnley and took us to that great WEMBLEY Final of 1961 when on an even greater day my beloved Spurs became the fist team in the modern era to do THE DOUBLE.

It was worth waiting all those years and enduring those terrible disappointments.

MAURICE FREEDMAN

 

No.83
Tottenham Hotspur v  Manchester United  (Premier League)
01.01.1996  

I remember, a while ago, I was invited by one of my Man Utd. supporting friends to a game at White Hart Lane.  I forget what the purpose was now (I think an FA cup tie), but as a 10 year old sitting in the Man Utd. section in my Spurs shirt I felt pretty terrified.

All the way driving to the game my friend and his family were laughing, and talking about how easily Man Utd were going to push away spurs.  I tried to keep my chin up but it got to me.  In truth, this was during the Man U dominance of English football so I presumed Spurs had no chance.

Even before the game kicked off all the Man U supporters around me were laughing at my white and blue shirt.  One guy (about 25 years old) even smacked me round the back of the head, prompting more laughter from the travelling Mancs and glory-seekers.  I just tried to watch the match, safe in the konwledge that Spurs would lose and then I'd get to go home ...

I don't remember much of the match. but I remember the result.  When the first two Spurs goals went in I stayed restrained and just clapped, but after the third and fourth I was ecstatic and watched as Spurs ran away with the match 4-1.  Afterwards, I was rushed out quickly by the family of fake Mancunians.

Throughout the journey home barely anyone said a word to me, but I just contented myself with looking out the window with a shit-eating grin.  I never got invited out with that family again, and recently my friends father told me it was the most embarrassing moment in his life.  Apparently he'd only taken me as someone to take the piss out of on the way home.  Why he'd try and do that to a 10 year old obviously says a lot about Man U supporters in Hertfordshire.

THOM BENNETT

 

No.84
Tottenham Hotspur v   Inter Milan  (Ossie Ardiles Benefit match)
01.05.1986  

Who was the best footballer ever to put on a Spurs shirt ?

For my money it was in May 1986, Spurs v Inter Milan at the Lane ...

This was Ossie's testimonial and a short fat bloke who would later do for cocaine what Jose Mourinho now does for Armani Raincoats played alongside the Hod in midfield for Tottenham.

A man who in less than two months would lift the World Cup having won it almost single-handedly (sorry!).

Maradona in a Spurs shirt !?!

Yep, bicycle kicking and flicking his way around the pitch ... This was pre-"Hand of God", addiction and obesity Maradona at his best and his every touch was awesome ... and rumour has it he did it all wearing Clive Allen's boots !

Not a bad introduction to White Hart Lane ... and it would be some time until we got close to seeing that level of skill at the Ground again ... well, at least not until Pat van den Hauwe pulled on the number 3 shirt !!!

DANIEL FINN

 

No.85
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United  (First Division)
28.12.1957  

Just 50 years ago, almost to the day, I made my second-ever visit to see the Spurs play at the Lane.
Newcastle United were the visitors and a crowd of 51,649 were eagerly awaiting to see if the Spurs could continue their push to the top the table after a narrow 1-0 win over Wolves on Boxing Day.

With the recent death of Tommy Harmer my mind keeps going back to an incident in that match which ended in an exciting 3-3 draw.

The major talking point after the match was whether the referee should have allowed a penalty kick, in the second-half, converted by Spurs to stand which gave us our second goal. Tommy Harmer placed the ball on the spot. He ran up to the ball and then stopped and deliberately kicked over the top of the ball without moving it.  The poor old Magpies Scottish keeper, Ronnie Simpson, dived to one side and with him stranded on the ground Tommy kicked the ball with his other foot slowly and deliberately along the muddy ground into the other corner of the net. The referee allowed the goal to stand much to the protests of the Newcastle players.

What cheek by Tommy, in a pressure situation, but that 's just the way the little man played the beautiful game. Sadly once Bill Nick took over as manager the following season and then signed John White, Tommy found his opportunities limited in the first-team.

R.I.P. Tommy

PAUL LUCAS

 

No.86
Tottenham Hotspur   v  Manchester City (First Division)
16.4.1960
 
My first match was on Easter Saturday 1960 at home to Manchester City.
Tottenham got a penalty on the stroke of half-time.  Cliff Jones took the penalty, Bert Trautmann got a hand to it, the ref blew for half-time and Cliff Jones netted the rebound, no goal.
Under current rules, the Man City left back Cliff Sear would have been sent off for handling to prevent a certain goal.
As it was, with 11 men, Man City won 1-0 with a second-half goal from Bill McAdam.
Tottenham also lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea on Good Friday to a goal scored by ... Jimmy Greaves.
The Man City game was the last Tottenham game for Tommy Harmer.
Spurs won the rest of their programme, winning 3-1 in the return at Stamford Bridge and at Wolves and 4-1 at home to Blackpool.
They finished two points behind champions Burnley with a superior goal average, another rule change there, not goal difference.

JOHN GILLAM

 

 

No.87
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