Milton Keynes: home and away
So, on the 26th September, I went to a Spurs ‘home’ game away. No, not Wembley, but to Milton Keynes, our second ‘home’ venue of the season (and it might not be the last different ‘home’ game this season either).
Even though I am a Premium/ Executive member and should have an Access Card for all matches, a ticket for this match (Watford/ League Cup) arrived in the post on Friday. Card accesses are being held up until we have clarification on the new stadium.
One of my friends at the hospitality lounge at Tottenham/ Wembley lives in Milton Keynes. Jeff invited me to park at his house, and then go in his car to the match. I left my home at 1pm on Wednesday and arrived approximately 2.35 (Milton Keynes is the same distance for me as it is to White Hart Lane).
When I arrive at Jeff’s house I was invited in for a cup of tea and we chatted for a while. Then we made our way to the stadium. The stadium parking only allows prebooked parking, so we went to an industrial estate, which Jeff knew about, and parked there for free. From there it was a 10-minute walk to the stadium/ shopping complex. We went into Costa’s for something to eat and a coffee and chatted until 5.30 pm. Then we parted and made our way to the hotel entrance/ stadium and went in. Even though our tickets showed different locations, we actually went to the same location (confused? Yes, so where we!).
In the hotel lobby, I chatted with Cliff Jones about his book, which came out a few years ago (how he had two different covers for England & Wales). Then I talked to Gary Mabbutt, Micky Hazard and former Spurs manager David Pleat, plus a few other players.
This is the first time I’ve gone to a football match without a bag search or any kind of search (this was because, I presume, I was a Premium member). Those that weren’t had to go through metal detectors and bag searches. I showed my ticket to the lady at the stairs, but she wasn’t sure where we had to go or what to do. She had to ask a senior member. I got the impression that the venue was hastily put together and their hostesses were learning the ropes (where to go etc.) as they went along. But they were polite and accommodating. When upstairs, one of the managers asked if he could borrow my ticket for a few minutes to show his staff what-is-what.
Once in the food section/ hospitality lounge we just helped ourselves to a burger and chips (without giving a voucher, like we have to do at Wembley); this allowed one to have much as they wanted (if their stomach was big enough for such volumeJ). Free programmes were abundance, so one just helped themselves. But no tea or coffee was available until later (as the staff didn’t know they had to supply it).
I must also say; that when we sat down a magician, yes magician, came to our table to do some tricks. I've actually seen him before. He's been employed at Wembley (by Spurs) to entertain us. And I must say, he did an excellent job. After he left we speculated on how he did it. We never got this sort of entertainment when I was an ordinary season ticket holder. We just sat in the cold - when it was cold - and left. They do push the boat out for you when you pay that bit extra. God knows what they are getting when one pays £17,000 for their seat or even a box. Probably wipe your arse after going to the toilet and then polishing it (that is your bum, not the turds... but then again, who knows what happens when that extra cash exchanges hands!).
So the confusion temporary sorted, then Martin arrived with friends and we chatted until 30 minutes before kick-off.
I must say that the internet connection and mobile reception was very poor or non-existent. The worst I’ve known it for any football match.
What was also interesting; Premium members who paid the same found that they had different services. Some were allocated boxes, others were just given hospitality and a seat. All a bit muddled. But as I said previously, probably because of the quick use of the stadium.
We got to our seats (I had an extra burger and chips) and settled down to the first half. The DK Don’s stadium is a beautiful little stadium. Even though some fans protested about the choice of venue, I personally was happy with it, but as my girlfriend, Hanna, keeps telling me, I am a person that is easily pleased.
The players came out of the tunnel, the usual routine and the whistle went and the players mobilised themselves into action.
Only 23,000 plus turned up to this 30,500 seater stadium to see the clash between the ‘home’ side, Spurs, taking on Watford in the League Cup. A few Spurs supporters decided to protest KD Don’s venue choice by staying away, therefore, tickets were sold to those that lived in or around Milton Keynes.
Eight changes from Saturday's game against Brighton. The switches tell us that Pochettino isn’t taking this competition seriously enough. It probably gets in the way of the other big competitions; Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. That is ok if we win one of those competitions, but if not the league cup trophy would be better than nothing.
The first half of this game we had most of the possession, but really didn’t look like getting near enough to the goalmouth to score that decisive goal.
Dele Alli returned to the ground that gave him his chance in football; he also captained the team.
Half-time whistle came and we got up to get our free beverages and chatted. Then back to our seats to await the second half.
Isaac Success putting Watford ahead a minute after starting the second half. Goals from Alli and Erik Lamela made it 2-1 before the former Spurs player Etienne Capoue equalised; 2-2. That is how it ended after 90 minutes. Penalty shootout without the extra half-hour being played after the 90 minutes (a new rule change).
I saw a seat free beside Martin and he motioned for me to sit next to him. We waited as the players prepared themselves. Then the moment was here. Penalties would decide who goes through to the next round.
Will Hughes scored for the Hornets in the shootout, but Spurs goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga denied Capoue and Domingos Quina. Son Heung-min, Lamela and Fernando Llorente converted Tottenham's opening three penalties before Alli scored.
"I gave him the armband because it was so exciting for him to play here in his home town," said Pochettino when asked why he gave the armband to him. Alli played 76 games for MK Dons, scoring 20 times, before joining Tottenham for £5m in 2015.
Fatigued Kane was rested for this match. Hopefully, he will be available for Huddersfield Town on Saturday and then Barcelona mid-week.
Thoughts: after we equalised we showed we were up for it, but before that there didn’t seem the will, but an equaliser can change things. Heads quickly dropped when Watford levelled in the dying minutes to force penalties. But we did what was expected of us. Now we live to fight another day in this league cup competition.
After that was all done and dusted Martin and myself made our way to his friends, who were in one of the boxes. No tea, but plenty of coffee (no biscuits though). I waited about 30 minutes until I got a phone call from Jeff (he managed to get through, even with the poor reception) and said he was down in the lobby.
Said our goodbyes and then met Jeff and we made our way to his car. After a 10 minute drive, we arrived at his house. I left immediately, because of the long journey, and got home at 12.20 am. All sorted until we have another adventure with Spurs. This time it will be a way to Huddersfield this Saturday.
By Glenn Renshaw