Having coerced 6 friends to join me on the arduous trip from Bristol to London to watch a football game that they virtually had no interest in, (two were Liverpool fans and the rest were more interested in rugby or cricket), there was a great deal of pressure on the game. Many had argued that they were too busy and had far too much work in exam season to even contemplate it, but I had assured them that 1882 was something different. It wasn’t about the football, it was about the atmosphere. With this grudgingly being accepted, the lads booked the Megabus and we set off from Bristol around 1. The journey up to London on Megabus is taxing at the best of times, but there was a mutinous mood amongst people who seemed disillusioned with travelling such a long way to watch an u21 game. I had also even forgotten to mention to one of the boys that we were playing at Underhill instead of the Lane, but halfway up the M4 it was a little too late to turn around.
They felt the infectious passion of a crowd dedicated to singing their hearts out for our boys on the pitch and the shirt whatever the score.
We arrived at Victoria and made our way up to High Barnet on the tube and it was as we saw the Red Lion pub that the whinging stopped. My prediction of 700-1000 Spurs fans which had been previously ridiculed suddenly looked like a conservative estimate and as we enjoyed a drink outside with other Spurs fans the boys started to really enjoy themselves. There was a buzz in the air and as we walked into Underhill a few minutes before kick-off that buzz started to grow into a roar. We took our place in the terrace and before long I was alongside six boys who were singing their respective hearts out for Spurs. It didn’t matter that they knew relatively little about who was playing. It didn’t matter that for a couple of them Liverpool would always be the club that came first for them. It didn’t matter that they didn’t quite grasp the intricacies of the Nicola Berti chant (although most had picked it up by about the fourth rendition…!) What mattered is that they felt the infectious passion of a crowd dedicated to singing their hearts out for our boys on the pitch and the shirt whatever the score.
After the celebrations at the final whistle I looked around at six mates, who two hours ago were still probably quite annoyed at having been dragged all the way to Barnet from Bristol, and saw 6 exhilarated faces looking back. We made our way back to Bristol via a rendition of “do do do little Tommy Carroll’ to our coach driver, who although lacked in similarity to Tommy was only about 5”2 and spent five minutes looking for his booster seat, and got back at half two in the morning. Just over 7 hours of travelling for 90 minutes of football for boys who prefer other sports is a massive ask, however they loved it. Every second of it. On Monday, I was proud to be a Spurs fan for so many reasons however the most important was the way that we supported our team. When players made individual mistakes or didn’t convert chances we didn’t get on their backs; we got behind them instead. For 90 minutes there was not one boo at anything our own players had done, nor did we roundly abuse them for not being able to pass like Iniesta or shooting that was reminiscent of some of Adebayor’s recent offerings. The positive atmosphere that was created spread not only to the team but to the lads I brought with me who now view our club in a completely different light.
After the celebrations at the final whistle I looked around at six mates, who two hours ago were still probably quite annoyed at having been dragged all the way to Barnet from Bristol, and saw 6 exhilarated faces looking back.
In the couple of days afterwards it has been nice to hear the effects that the game had on my housemates and friends, and I have even heard ‘pogo if you love Tottenham’ coming from a distant bedroom in the house. However more importantly, it has served as a reminder to me that made me proud to think what we achieved as a group of fans at Underhill. We supported our team to the very end regardless of how they played. We sang for them, we sang for each other, but most importantly we sang for the shirt. Here’s to many more special nights like that.