A Valentine’s evening, as well as a Tottenham Experience
As a treat I bought Hanna and I a Valentine’s dinner, but with a twist. That dinner would be at the famous H club at Tottenham Hotspur stadium, and part of the package also included a Stadium Tour (the Tottenham Experience).
I left my house at 12 on Friday and got to her home at 2.15, she lives near Newbury Park. Had a cup of tea, stayed for awhile (left at 4.15) and then we made our way to the bus stop, from the bus stop to the train station. From there to Liverpool Street and then to White Hart Lane. I could have driven and parked underneath the Spurs stadium (now that would be something!), but then again I wouldn’t be able to drink. So London transport it was.
We arrived at White Hart Lane at 5.45, and then we made our way to the stadium. Outside the Spurs shop somebody was waiting to greet us (not just us, there were quite a few other couples there as well). Our names were taken, and we were given a lanyard security card to put around our necks (Stadium tour Visitors). Then we went upstairs and Hanna was presented with a Red Rose (by Tottenham, say no more!) and our photos were taken with the backdrop of the Tottenham stadium (all the backdrops were different, you had a choice).
After that, we were asked to go back downstairs, and a short film was shown about the club’s history and some of the great players that played for us. Then our guide took us on our tour. First up we went to the reception area. There we were shown Spurs time capsule (buried in the floor) and then we had our photos taken with the famous Spurs Clock (it originally hung outside the stadium, near the entrance on the High road) which is now next to the reception area. The time capsule will be opened in 2065, well after I am dead… then again...!
After that, we went up in the lift to the fourth floor. We had a look around, then had a look outside where the seats were. From there we could look down at the pitch (at that time it had machines on it, that lighted up the grass area so that it could get well-nourished). Back inside the guide told us stories and showed us around, answered questions etc. We then went to the third floor (Premium area) where I am a season ticket holder. We were shown the seats and dining area. After that, we were taken down a few flights and to where the press convened to take photos of the players arriving or leaving.
Then we were shown the visitors changing rooms (a poorer version of the home side’s changing room). Then we visited where the players relaxed, the referee’s room (men and female changing rooms). We had a gander around the players' gym, for any extra toning up, which might be needed. Then we visited the medical facilities area. Our tour guide said that somebody from the local hospital visited it and was amazed by how clean and well equipped the room was.
As we walked through the hall to our next destination, we noticed all the famous photos on the wall (history, club, players). One of the pictures was a huge picture of the last game at White Hart Lane. According to the tour guide, Dele Alli thought the photo was brilliant and wanted it in his home, so they gave him the number of the people who they purchased it from. They weren’t going to provide him with there one.
Then we visited the players dining room. It had all you needed (to cater for all health requirements/ needs). Then we saw the relaxing area (for the players. It was state of the art). After that, we visited the changing rooms. All the players' shirts were hung up with their names above them. As we went to various areas, we all took hundreds of photos. I took about 400.
Then we were taken to the dining area where the diners could view the players as they waited to go out onto the pitch (The tunnel club). There was a curtain that could be pulled across if there was an incident that shouldn’t be shown. From there, we were taken to more dining areas.
Finally, we got to walk out on the pitch area (this isn’t ordinarily available on tour, but as this was a unique Valentine’s day tour we were given other areas to see as well). As we walked out, we passed the sign “Come on you Spurs,” which was above the entrance. Some players touch it for luck. And of course, we all touched it as we passed under it. It is quite high up, but we mostly all managed to reach it.
Jose Mourinho’s seating area on the pitch was next up. We all sat in his seat. The guide told us what is what (where the Coach, trainers, players etc. sat). Then back in to see where they did the interviews (for Sky, Match of the day, etc.). Press area was up next, and we all got to sit in that seating area (where Mourinho gave his press interviews). The guide told us an interesting story. On his first day doing the tour, he was taking a group of visitors to have a look in the Press area when he noticed that there were two people in there, who shouldn’t be there. He presumed they were workmen finishing off a job or something. He went in and said, “sorry, but we have a tour on and you shouldn’t be here.” They both smiled at him, then he suddenly realised that the person he told to move along was Daniel Levy. Shocked and thought he was going to get the sack, he quickly apologised. They saw the funny side and left. They didn’t want to be there anyway when the tour party came in. No doubt, the visitors would have asked all sorts of embarrassing questions (transfer window purchases, etc.).
Next up was the American Football away changing area. Even though quite impressive, it had nothing on the home area (American home football area, that is). Which was immaculate. And a lot bigger than the Spurs home dressing room (but that came later). Then another walk around the pitch. This time we saw where the American football players came out, and where we have a Tunnel club (a glass oneway partition window) they just had a rope separating the fans from the players. Then to the home side’s changing rooms. After that the press conference room (ours were better and had quality seats… you could smell the leather). They just had ordinary seats for their press.
Then we were shown the longest bar in Europe and how they make the beer (brewed on-site) and how the beer goes up from the bottom of the plastic container. The floor was made from the rubble of the old White Hart Lane stadium. We saw the centre spot of the old stadium (where it originally had been situated). Then that was that. The tour took over 2 hours to complete.
|Press interview room|
Back to the entrance, up the lift to the top and the pièce de résistance; the food/ grub, the H Club, in other words, to see how the other half lives and our meal.
As we approached, I was surprised to see Steve, the manager (of the H Club). I knew him from when we were at Wembley. He was the manager of the food/ restaurant area at the stadium where we sat. He would always get us extra food if we wanted it or biscuits. A great guy. Anyway, we went into the H club, quite impressive and bloody expensive. Usually, we wouldn’t be able to even set foot in this area, let alone eat there.
As we entered the area we were handed a glass of Prosecco (then we had a couple more… or so!). Nuts and olives were on the table. Steve showed me the Vault (special dining area). A season ticket for that area was £30,000 per year. If you wanted to dine in the Vault area, it would cost you an extra £6,000 per match. You would have to be seriously rich to be able to afford that.
|H Club dinning area|
After our taster, we were shown to the dining area and our seats. Very posh, very nice. It wasn’t a place you would want to show yourself up in (maybe I shouldn’t have been there then!!!). We had a choice of wines (red or white), different kinds of butter were on the table. Then we were shown a selection of different bread rolls to choose from. Anyway, rather than go through all the menu, which I can’t remember that well, I’ve copied and pasted it here.
|Valentine's dinner at the H Club|
They started us off with small portions, but once we got to the Beef Wellington, it was bloody huge. Granted, it was for two of us, but still. I ended up finishing off Hanna’s. And it wasn’t just that I finished off from her plate. She found a lot of it overwhelming (too much food). Before we went in we were starving, we left bloated.
It was a magnificent tour and meal. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though Hanna wasn’t a football fan and was dubious over my motives, she did enjoy herself. And was quite impressed with the stadium. For me personally, we all sit where we sit (in the stadium) and our area is usually all we get to see. The tour was to show everybody (from all sections of the stadium and those that might never have been before) how the others experience the game from where they site or move around in their area. And of course what the supporters don’t usually see.
After our dinner we collected our coats, Hanna was given her red Rose and our photo back, which they were looking after for her while we toured, and then we made our way (or staggered) to the reception area (time 10.15 pm), where they called us a taxi. There was no way we could have caught the train, bus and then walked in the state we were in. We had eaten and drunk too much. We were grateful for the taxi. Hanna felt ill afterwards (too much food and drink). I must say I was in better condition. But I bloody slept well. I got up at 9.30 am. I left for home at 12pm. I had a lot to do, plus on Sunday I was going to the Villa game.
So, if you are interested, the next time around, I would recommend it. The dress code wasn’t strick, in fact, there was no dress code. There was probably about 10 couples. We could have a message put up, and it went around and around the message boards in the stadium. Everybody I talked to enjoyed it. Would I go again, yes, would Hanna… pass. It was a memorable evening.