an idiot in london

May 2001

Saturday, 19th May 2001.
White Hart Lane

Four hours hitting redial. That's how I managed to score myself a ticket to see the wildly unpredictable Tottenham Hotspur (WUTH) play Manchester United at White Hart Lane.

I had been to three matches at White Hart Lane this season, and two of them were the most dire encounters I have ever had to endure. The other was a ridiculous 4-2 win against Newcastle United, with three players being sent off and a divine goal from Sergei Rebrov!

Speaking of the Tottenham number 11, I saw him on Friday walking down Bond Street. He is very short. And looks particularly Ukrainian. Which isn't unexpected.

Anyway, as I made my way to the ground I saw a bloke wearing a Spurs shirt with
lettered on the back. Magic. I found my seat in the Paxton end and waited for kickoff.

The atmosphere in the first half was nothing amazing. The Manchester United supporters were at the other end of the ground, and sang constantly through the first half. Spurs scored first - a goal to tackle-shy man-mountain Willem Korsten. Nice. Spurs supporters go nuts.

Man Utd responded quickly, and scores were soon level at 1-1. The section next to me was for corporate seating. Quite a few Man Utd supporters came out of the woodwork, so to speak, when the goal went in. Arrogant little suit-wearing bastards too. This didn't impress the Spurs mob in the Paxton, who proceeded to spit vitriol at our corporate friends. The Man Utd supporters were well pleased with themselves, and sat there smugly.

At the beginning of the second half the Man Utd supporters resumed singing, as their team seemed to be gaining the ascendancy on the field. We Spurs supporters were quiet, and were almost waiting for the season to be over. The Man Utd supporters sang (to the tune of Cwm Rhondda - Bread of Heaven):
You're supposed to
You're supposed to
You're supposed to be at home
You're supposed to be at home

Not long after, on the other side of the ground, the Spurs supporters started singing "Glenn Hoddle's blue and white army!" The chant gradually spread around the ground, until we were all standing and singing and clapping. (Sounds like a Barry Manilow concert.) We kept on singing for 20 minutes, during which time the players lifted and Spurs scored their second for the afternoon. When the third Spurs goal went in I nearly mounted the poor bloke next to me.


above: view of the Park Lane end belting out "Glenn Hoddle's blue and white army"
(photo courtesy of Russ...nice one Russ!)

Towards the end of the game some of the Spurs faithful, in a bout of optimism not usually associated with Tottenham Hotspur these days, sang:
Can we play you
Can we play you
Can we play you every week?
Can we play you every week?

I was in some state of delirium after the game. I spoke to Dave on the phone and he said that I wasn't making any sense, and that he'd talk to me later.