After attending and enjoying the 1882 experience at the NextGen series game against Barcelona last year, I vowed to return. When it was announced that our Under 21 Semi Final against Everton, was to be an 1882 event, I immediately contacted my 70 year old granddad and persuaded him to come along.
My granddad has had a pretty tough year with his wife getting cancer, his son going through a messy divorce and a court case. To be fair I haven’t helped the stress by being a general “pain in the arse grandson” by falling out with his daughter, my mum, therefore as 1882 is more than just about the football, I decided to use it to build some bridges.
Normally my grandfather and I attend around four home games a season, but this year for one reason or another we’ve not been able to. This Semi Final offered us the perfect excuse to soak up the White Hart Lane vibe, get a game under our belts and expose an old school fan to a new footballing movement.
Rather like Spurs’ end of the season though, our fate was in other peoples hands.
First of all we had to rely on the NHS to run on time, as my Nan was in for a check-up that would hopefully signal the all-clear, and then we would have to rely on another institution the TFL.
Arriving at his house for 4pm, I expected to have an anxious wait in front of me, thankfully though I heard the key in the door at 4.30pm. As they bustled into the house, smiles spread across their face, I knew the NHS had bestowed upon them good news.
“Right then haven’t we got a football match to get to?” My granddad said.
Fifteen minutes later we were at the station, sprinting towards the train tickets in hand. Things were going very well, the omens were good.
We arrived at White Hart Lane 15 minutes before kick off, and followed the steward’s advice to buy our tickets at turnstile six.
“We will be able to sit in block 16 won’t we?” I enquired anxiously.
The steward told me not to worry, but as we entered into the stadium my heart sunk. We were on the wrong side of the tunnel. I walked down to the front and explained to the steward that I had brought my granddad to the game to sit in block 16 and take him back to the good old days.
“Sorry sir it’s allocated seating; now go and take your seat please.” A helpful member of staff informed me, but I refused to give up.
We had come for an 1882 night, I didn’t want to let my granddad down.
The next steward I recounted my story to was more understanding but he also claimed there was nothing that could be done. Accepting my fate but refusing to be downhearted, I resolved to participate in the 1882 event from a far.
Taking my seat I broke into an impromptu “Oh When the Spurs,” the gentleman to my left, obviously moved by my singing took up the song also, before we knew it, we were having a duet. A few moments later I was tapped on the shoulder:
“Follow me” the understanding steward said.
My heart lifted, grabbing my granddad, we followed as quickly as possible. The excitement was building in me, it was like walking down the stairs on Christmas morning, we were being ushered to Block 16.
When we arrived at the Block, I thanked the steward again and again, barely stopping myself from giving him a big kiss. With the great news regarding my Nan, persuading my granddad to come, and making it into Block 16, despite being told it was impossible, it was already a fantastic day and the game had barely started.
What followed in the next 90 minutes are up there with some of the greatest experiences I have had at the Lane.
The crowd was not as big as the Barca game and not as noisy as the one at Underhill for the Arsenal game, but it wasn’t about numbers or decibel levels; it was about Spurs and THAT rainbow and THAT camera man, added brilliantly to the experience. In one moment of semi silence I heard my granddad singing:
“We got our own arch, we got our own arch, we’re Tottenham Hotspurs, we got our own arch.”
Inspired by his words I added my fog horn voice to his song and it got the rendition it deserved. The night continued in the same theme, brilliant songs made up on the spot by people enjoying supporting their club.
I will always remember the 10 minute rendition of “Oh when the Spurs”, “The Scousers nicked our rainbow”, “We got our own arch”, “Wenger wants his camera back” and seeing my granddad overcome his advancing years to pogo because he loves Tottenham. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a football game.
On the way home elated by the result, the atmosphere and having taken part in another 1882 event, I asked my granddad his opinion of the whole experience.
As always he caught me off guard.
“I was at the Crewe Alexandra game where we won 13-2 and tonight I had the same amount of fun as I did then. It was brilliant.”
Personally I think that sums up everything that The Fighting Cock and 1882 are trying to do for football and Tottenham. Win, lose, or draw, making football an experience and a great day out.
Because of what you guys started with that Charlton FA Youth Cup game, I was able to take my granddad to a football match which reminded him of how much fun he had at a game that took place on the 3rd February 1960.
I don’t know how many more opportunities I will get to have a night like that with him, so from the bottom of my heart thank you, thank you very much.
[author name=”Ian Bradley” avatar=”https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/3644787533/5a7e5e401092324e089fe4ce0cb32d56.jpeg” twitter=”ianbraders” tag=”IanBradley[/linequote]