I’ve only travelled to Kings Cross three times in order to watch Spurs, twice for League Cup finals (Chelsea 2008 and United 2009) and once to break my 1882 duck, the later was undoubtedly the best. With every passing mile my expectation and anxiety grew, and despite being alone for the journey I was still optimistic. My excitement however was brought to a shuddering holt when three annoyingly happy Gooners stepped onto the train. A gooner is by design and definition unbearable, and to heighten the hatred one of them seemed keen to spend half an hour talking insanely loudly to his boss about work. At this point I thought maybe I should point out it isn’t advised to mix business and pleasure, but rapidly remembered that watching Arsenal is far from pleasurable.
Anyone who is familiar the route from Peterborough to Kings Cross will know that at some point you have to pass the cold, quiet, deserted Emirates stadium (I think there was a game on). At this point the aforementioned Gooners began to stop talking to Steve about sales, pie charts, and property development and let out a near human like noise, something along the lines of “hooorraaah” – the more moronic contingents of my carriage exclaimed. I wasn’t sure whether to feel frustrated or shocked that an Arsenal fan had made a football provoked sound. I felt the former. “North London is ours” I proclaimed “North London is ours” I repeated, before politely suggesting they would be more accustom to the surroundings of a more southern location.
Underhill is the quintessential time warp football ground, rusting turnstiles, a cut up playing surface and terracing. I admired my surroundings for a good two to three minutes before the first rendition of ‘ohh when the Spurs’ broke out. This was Spurs support of old!
It was during the players warm up that it suddenly hit home. I’m about to watch a North London derby. Alright it may not have been the first team, but take away the under 21 mantle and this was Tottenham Hotspur versus Arsenal. The singing did not let up; a packed East stand was in Carnival mood. And why not? “Shoes off, if you love Tottenham”, “Turn around, if you love Tottenham”, “Sit down, if you love Tottenham” in between jest Poznan dancing, Nicola Berti loving, and the old faithful Spurs standards.
I’d love to give you specific details of the match, but I can’t, I was too busy enjoying myself, I don’t even know who scored, and surely that’s what football is about? Obviously not disregarding the actual match but more escaping from the mundane and monotonous trappings of everyday life, and belonging to a cause. One fond reminiscence however was the support (in the literal sense) of the young players. After Shaq Coulthirst had forgone an opportunity there was no tutting and moaning as so often is the case at White Hart Lane or indeed any ground on a match day, but applause that the movement had warranted, and then a rendition of ‘there’s only one Shaq Coulthirst’
The singing did not let up; a packed East stand was in Carnival mood.
One thing that I can report with complete clarity is however that we’d just beat the scum 1-0, cause for celebration right? Well, not really, the whole evening was a celebration. We were celebrating the shirt, the cockerel, the club as a whole, rejoicing in the splendour and volume of our fellow Spurs supporters, as 11 navy clad crusaders banished the sins of all things Arsenal and lead us along a path of righteous lilywhite. And how befitting that on a day where we returned to the glorious simplicity of football gone by, and where banners and flags venting resentment to the modern game were waved proudly, that we decide to beat the original sell-outs?
“We’ll sing for the shirt, we’ll sing for the shiiiiiiiiirrrrrrttt, we’re Tottenham Hotspur, we’ll sing for the shirt”
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