Farewell to White Hart Lane, my spiritual home and a football stadium far more unique than most others
The Lane - with its curious mix of romantic idealism, the thunderous acoustic and that gentler undertone of Jewish resignation - was a truly special home ground. It will be missed
And so it ends, my spiritual home, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with the crunch of bulldozers and thud of demolition balls.
White Hart Lane, known to generations of stadium announcers as “the world famous home of the Spurs”, is to be demolished next week. In its place will be a nearby arena with almost double the capacity and (on the Arsenal precedent at the Emirates) less than a quarter of the atmosphere
All change is for the worse, of course, even when it’s plainly for the better. Even in England, you won’t find a more determined nostalgist than the generic football fan, let alone than those shackled to Tottenham Hotspur for over a half century without a league title.
Nothing concentrates the mind like your home ground’s imminent execution, and the memories flood back in crystal clarity. Not that anyone forgets their first match - the noise, the colour, the visceral excitement, first exposure to sustained profanity. Mine, at seven, was a 2-0 win over Ipswich Town (Martin Chivers and an own goal) on 10 April 1971.
Under Bill Nicholson who managed Spurs to the League and Cup double a decade earlier, Spurs were still a force. We finished third in the table and won the League Cup, and would win the Uefa Cup a year later after a 1-1 draw with Wolves on one of those nights when the noise thundering over the pitch from this tight, compressed ground made the difference.