It was a revelation to me quite recently to find that there was no representation for me as a young fan, officially or unofficially, at THFC. It seemed such an obvious and necessary thing to have, a group for younger fans to both stand up for their rights at the club and also act as a way of meeting like-minded supporters of your own age.
This is especially true given the fact that, currently, fans of the ages 16-25 are being squeezed out. There is no denying this. It seems obvious a student or someone just starting their career is going to have fewer funds available for football than someone at the peak of their career yet, specifically at Tottenham, and, I’m sure at many other clubs, we are given no concessions to allow us to follow our passion: supporting Spurs. At the moment I currently still live with my folks and go to college, and I am therefore able to squeeze together money for football without the pressures of rent, utilities or student loans that I will probably have to deal with in the near future.
What used to be a crowd made up of large numbers of younger men is now, I’m sure you’ll agree, made up of generally older fans. Certainly in my experience it is something of a rarity to come across people my age (17) following Spurs, especially at away games. It is my opinion that this partly accounts for the reduction in atmosphere in the Premier League in recent years. I have nothing against older fans; in fact I have the greatest of respect for anyone who’s followed Spurs for as long as some of you have, through bad times and good. However, I think it is right to say that a group of generally younger fans is probably more likely to have a greater hunger and drive to create a fantastic atmosphere, though of course this is not always the case. Please tell me if you feel I’m wrong here, but I feel it is the nature of the beast that younger people are more inclined to act that way, which is slowly being lost. What cannot be argued is that atmospheres in England are dying, and that this has to be rectified in some way or another.
What used to be a crowd made up of large numbers of younger men is now, I’m sure you'll agree, made up of generally older fans.
I guess what I want, really, is to see larger numbers of fans my age do what I do, which is, out of love (addiction), scrape together enough money to go watch Tottenham home and away, like how it used to be in the old days, where away fans were largely younger. That’s the somewhat selfish reason anyhow. However friendly football fans are to their own, and however welcoming the Tottenham fan base is, it is difficult not to feel isolated in a crowd of almost exclusively people over 10 years older than you.
There have been exceptions to this. I’m sure a few of you went to Old Trafford this year. I think, because of our record against United, older fans generally boycott the match, understandably, after years of misery there. Because of this, in my opinion, the away crowd was generally younger, at least around me anyhow. Whatever the result, and the result was amazing, that was the perfect away day. The atmosphere started hours before the match in the concourse, and seemed far more dynamic and raucous than usual. What’s more I was surrounded by people my age.
Of course, the result was unbelievable and it remains the best day of my life by far, but it was also set up perfectly for that as well. I’m sure many people appreciate that the magic of a great away day doesn’t solely hinge on the result of the match. My ticket for that game was 25 quid as I was under 18, a very reasonable price for a modern football match, sadly, but a priceless event I will remember for the rest of my life.
Given this, I started the ‘Spurs Youth Supporters’ group on twitter to gauge interest. Meant for two purposes, on the one hand I believe it can act as a representation of fans of the ages 16-25: campaigning for lower ticket prices, concessions and better dialogue with the club as a group. Secondly, it is also a very useful way to meet like-minded fans your age and to travel to away matches as a group. I’ve had a large amount of interest in this and I really believe that this can only be a good thing as with the spread of football from a local game to a more varied one I feel fans have somewhat lost touch with one another in that same way that it must have been in previous generations.
I guess what I want, really, is to see larger numbers of fans my age do what I do, which is, out of love (addiction), scrape together enough money to go watch Tottenham home and away
The group seemed to strike a chord with the Spurs community, gaining 400 supporters in the first day, and has been rising steadily in the subsequent weeks to around 700 followers, with thirty in the facebook group for direct contact to travel to away matches together (hopefully the grand total of three of us who travelled up together for Leeds will improve!).
As for what to do next, this is the hard part. If there is appetite for it I’d like to really get this going as an organisation, with the help of other passionate young fans, to try to make a difference. What we are focusing on at the moment is concessions for under-21s at White Hart Lane, while also supporting the ‘AMF’ movement, the FSF’s campaigns for safe standing and ticket price caps and, of course, the Fighting Cock’s 1882 movement. Your ideas are more than welcome; in fact they are essential for this to work. Please DM me on twitter or email email@example.com if you want to get involved or have ideas and of course follow us on twitter. I’ll try to see about our own website and/or forum to more easily organise things, if there is an interest beyond facebook and twitter.
Huge thanks to Flav and The Fighting Cock for helping me get this going through retweets and a generous mention on the podcast. Thanks also for the opportunity to write this article.
Thanks for taking the time,