I must say, even though it was a great day and evening, it didn’t end that brilliantly for me.
I left home at 12.30 to get to my parking space at 2.15. Parked up and walked to the station, then had to wait 20 minutes for a train. A ten-minute ride to White Hart Lane station, then made my way to Sainsbury’s for a cup of tea, followed by a trip to the Spurs store. Before entering the store, you had to go through a speedy and efficient (it seemed) security check (very impressive). This enabled the shoppers a quick pass through their security inspections and then on to buy, buy and buy again.. all helping to pay off the stadium, making the club more productive (read; richer) and of course to acquire star players to help us win all the trophies available.
As I had some time to waste I had a look around and then sat on their stairs/ benches. The seats were designed (near the front of the store) so that the customers could sit and watch a giant screen of Spurs events: players at play and the Dortmund home game highlights etc. And course; near your legs, there was a plug socket so you could charge your phone (they thought of everything).
Spied Terry, and went over for a chat.
As the time was approaching the witching hour (5pm), I made my way to the stadium entrance for Premium members. While in the queue others joined us, and we all passed the time by chatting and making new acquaintances.
Got through – it took a while for the doors to open – and then security checks/ bags etc.. We were then given our programmes. Up two flights of escalators and to the third floor. I went back down again to get another programme (then all the way back… one way to keep fit).
Got drinks and made our way to the lounge and their comfortable seats. Jeff, Steve, Beverley, Mel and Colin soon arrived afterwards to join Terry and me. Made some new friends, Paul & Janet (hope I got that right?) and we sat around chatted. We all asked each other our predictions; three of us predicted 3-0 or 3-1, there was a 0-0 and a 1-0 or 2-0 wins.
Our stomachs started to rumble, so we made our way to the food counter/ bar to get something to eat. A reasonable variety, but served on small dishes (I presume to stop gluttony), but we could go up as many times as we wanted (therefore self-defeating). Sausage rolls, salad dishes, vegetarian burgers (sweet and spicy) all nice and small portions, oh, and small cakes as well (such as macaroons etc.) were on offer. Of course, the joke was, who was overindulging themselves (I’m saying nothing! But I was full).
Where we sat, there is a restaurant attached (available to all members to book). In that restaurant and dining were Mike Summerbee (ex-City player from the 60s), David Pleat (ex-Spurs manager) and former Wigan manager Roberto Martínez. All friendly and all chatted to us (bless ‘em, isn’t it annoying when you are trying to eat in a public area, and people come up to you for a photo or autograph or just hover; just like animals in the zoo).
The time had come, and we made our way to our seats. The crowd were in full throttle. The Spurs songs were sung, the players were applauded as they came out and the excitement swelled to a fever pitch. Those in the South Stand were given large cards to hold up at the beginning, and on those cards there were letters. They spelt out, “To Dare is to Do”. Very impressive from where I was sitting.
To cut a long story short, Son Heung-min's late goal gave us a crucial and well-deserved advantage over Manchester City in a thunderous Champions League quarter-final first leg. When Son scored, we went crazy, then there was a VR check, and we fell silent for a few minutes, later the goal was confirmed, and we were ecstatic again. There was no holding back; hugs and high fives all around (and maybe a few kisses among strangers!). We deserved nothing less for our team's magnificent performance.
In a searing atmosphere in our great large new stadium, we overcame the loss of Kane to a serious looking ankle injury - sustained when he challenged Fabian Delph in the second half.
We made the breakthrough with 12 minutes left as Son twisted and turned on the byeline before shooting low past Ederson.
We had survived the concession of an early penalty, awarded on a pitchside video review by the referee after Danny Rose was judged to have handled Raheem Sterling's shot. Sergio Aguero stepped up, but keeper Hugo Lloris saved. That is his third consecutive penalty save. Lloris was on form in that match. He showed he was a world-class goalkeeper.
City were never at their best and must try to overturn this narrow deficit at Etihad Stadium on 17 April to keep alive their hopes of a historic quadruple of Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. They are welcome to have a crack at the other trophies, but this one is ours. Underestimate us at your own peril.
During the break, we got our free drinks, and if you didn’t get there early, it was a mad crush. During the match some idiot run on the pitch and Pochettino and a few others gave chase; eventually, he was forcibly removed. What did he plan to achieve, that is apart from annoying everybody in the stadium? And there were boos. Probably a rogue Arsenal supporter jealous of our stadium… or even a West Ham nutjob wanting to mar our glorious moment. Or even a Chelsea visitor passing through from another dimension (Stamford Bridge).
Finally, the whistle went, to our great relief (six minutes had been added on). The cheer went up, and the Tottenham song (#Glory, Glory…#) was sung. Players hugged each other, shook hands with their opponents, while we all watched on with big smiles on our faces.
What a great evening and a great result. I thought we would do it (but by a more significant margin) and we did it (by not such a large margin). This will give us momentum for the second leg. I thought our performance was outstanding and we well deserved our victory. Of course, their manager saw it differently, but then he would, wouldn’t he? But I bet he is worried!
Many thought we would struggle, I thought we could do it, and I still do (over two legs). Now we’ve done half the business, we turn our thoughts to relegated Huddersfield and league football.
After the game, we made our way back to the lounge, where Beverley, Terry, Colin and Jeff all came together. No Brownies this time or any such luxuries were available (and the bar closed early; annoying some). But we chatted and then at about 10.50 I had to make my way to White Hart Lane station (my train was at 11.07). The station was packed, even at that time of night, however, trains going Northbound had only two an hour, while those going Southbound had one every 5 minutes. Totally madness.
Got my train and then four stops later arrived at my destiny. I made my way to my car and off. Then the trouble started. The Junction to the M25 was closed, and I tried to follow the inadequate signs, only to end up going north. I ended up going back to where I started (I was furious!), found the North circular and followed that. Then got on to the M4 and made my way to Junction 13, only to find that it was closed, so I had to go to the next junction and come back on myself. I should have got home at 1 am, but arrived at 2.40 am instead. An hour and a half later (total madness and a bloody waste of time). I was so knackered that I didn’t get up until 8.30 am.
The end of a great day wasted by poor road signs and detours. They say that they want you to use public transport, but where I live, and at that time of night it is almost nonexistent.
COYS! See you all at our new stadium.