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Farewell to White Hart Lane

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Obviously appreciate this won't mean much to anyone else, but Sunday will see the end of White Hart Lane. The demolition team take the keys on Monday morning and it will be down within about 6 weeks.

Going to be very sad to see the old girl go. 20 years of my life spent in the same seat every other week- appreciate the need to move on but it's proper stadium, full of history and character, and they are few and far between these days. 

You are so close to the pitch at White Hart Lane, right on top of the players and in the heart of the action. No modern stadium can replicate that, although we are going to try. We have had so many greats grace that pitch over the years, many I am too young to have seen. From Blanchflower, Mackay and Perryman. To Hoddle, Ardiles and Greaves. Gascoigne, Jennings, Waddle, Cliff Jones. Modern stars like Bale, Ginola, King and now Kane. Sir Bill Nicholson. The list could go on, but some real greats of the footballing world and hopefully many of them will be there on Sunday to see the Lane off.

It's fitting that in our last season there, hopefully we will go the season unbeaten at home. The fortress of White Hart Lane. Here is a really good article on the BBC - 

 

You don't forget your first visit to your team's home stadium: how green the pitch looks, how big the stands seem, how tall everyone in front of you is. The noise, the suddenness of it. The speed of the football, the soft touch of the star names, the swearing.

And you don't forget your last, all those seasons of hope and frustration later, when your club upgrades to something altogether cleaner and smarter and more comfortable, and it is time to say goodbye to it all - cramped concourses, tight seating, reeking toilets and the cheap temporary fixes, all of it held together by old memories and faded promises, a shared past that binds you to friends and strangers alike.

You know when it is time to move on. Stadiums age just like the players and tactics they house. Stairs are too steep, sight-lines compromised. Stands that once felt huge and light and imposing begin to feel weary and archaic.

When Spurs play their final match at White Hart Lane on Sunday, the logic of their move to a 61,559-seat grand design built across much of the same site will be inescapable. So too will the sadness for an old home shortly to be reduced to rubble.

Football grounds should feel prosaic. The cheaper part of town, steel and grey concrete, painted wood and moulded plastic. A space that is empty and unused most days of the year. 

And then, for a few hours every couple of weeks, like nowhere else you ever go - shouting like you can't shout anywhere else, feeling both totally immersed yet horribly powerless, singing in unison with people whose names you will never know.

Spurs have been at White Hart Lane for 118 years. Much of the ground, which now holds 36,240 fans, is unrecognisable to that history. The Shelf is long gone, the Paxton Road end transformed, even the new West Stand that once seemed so vast and modern in the 1980s, as you came in on the train or along the High Road, now a little tired and outdated.

Supporters can still look out at that rectangle of grass and know that was the stage where so many unforgettable moments played out. They can picture where, before their time, the great players ran and great goals were scored in glory games.

That pitch is the living connection to it all: where the league titles of 1951 and 1961 were finally won, both against Sheffield Wednesday; the left wing where Gareth Bale tortured Inter Milan's Maicon in November 2010; the goalmouth where Tony Parks saved a penalty from Anderlecht's Arnor Gudjohnsen to win the Uefa Cup final in 1984. The penalty boxes where Steve Perryman scored twice against AC Milan in the semi-final of the 1972 Uefa Cup; the little patch where Terry Dyson played a one-two with Danny Blanchflower before lashing in his third goal against Arsenal in August 1961.

The past: The famous Shelf is packed out as Tottenham host Manchester United in May 1984

There are the hauntings, too - Arsenal's 5-0 win at Christmas 1978, Manchester United scoring five in one half past Neil Sullivan as Spurs surrendered a 3-0 half-time lead in September 2001, being 3-0 up against a 10-man Manchester City in the FA Cup in 2004 and somehow losing 4-3.

And there are the sacred ghosts to go with them: the artists like John White, Cliff Jones and Jimmy Greaves, the entertainers like Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne and Jurgen Klinsmann, the tough nuts like Ted Ditchburn, Dave Mackay and Graham Roberts.

"Every supporter will tell you this about their own ground, but it's the memories you build up from when you're a kid," says Dave Bricknell, who has had season tickets on the Shelf, Paxton Road and now Park Lane over the past 40 years, and who as a coach up the road in Chingford 18 years ago picked a six-year-old kid called Harry Kane for the youth team he ran, Ridgeway Rovers.

"My first game was a home match against Millwall, League Cup, 1972. A night game, loud. My mate's dad picked me up. He'd built his son a little box so he could stand at the front and see. In the corner you had the bloke at half-time manually putting the scores on from the other matches.

"It's those memories, and it's the things you do now - parking at the same place, walking the same way. A lot of people have moved away from Tottenham, and the only time they come back now is for the game.

"It's the part when you walk into the ground, you've got all the terrace above you, and you look forward and the ground opens up around you. To me, that is it. That is the best part of the game, because it takes you back to your childhood.

"Over the years there have been some really bad games. Games when you think, why do I keep coming over here? But you do go back. And every supporter of every club will tell you the same thing. We all think our home ground is special."

Spurs will make Wembley their temporary home next season, before moving in to their new stadium - which is expected to set them back £750m.

They have left their house move late compared to their neighbours. Arsenal departed Highbury's marble halls and Art Deco facades in 2006, West Ham the partisan, claustrophobic Upton Park a year ago. Of the football stadia in London also designed by the great football architect Archibald Leitch, only Fulham's Craven Cottage remains recognisable.

It was Leitch's East Stand that sheltered arguably the most iconic single element of White Hart Lane, the long stretch of terrace down the side of the pitch known as the Shelf. As the North Bank defined Highbury, as the old terraced Kop did Anfield, the Gallowgate End St James's Park and the Holte End Villa Park, the Shelf was what set the ground apart: its tribal heart, its noisy soul.

The future: A young Tottenham fan and the ground the club will soon call home

"People won't believe it, but in that 1984 season I went to White Hart Lane most midweeks," says former Chelsea, Everton and Scotland winger Pat Nevin.

"I was actually Chelsea's player of the year at the time, but I was standing on the Shelf, watching Spurs. If you've got Ossie Ardiles, if you've got Glenn Hoddle, if you've got the likes of Micky Hazard - they were brilliant players in that team, and I was really keen to watch those players and learn what I could. 

"White Hart Lane was a brilliant place to play, because the supporters were so close to you. The atmosphere was always great. It's a small pitch, but because Spurs were almost always an attacking side, it was almost like an elongated five-a-side game. I loved playing at that ground."

For Tottenham's own guard the memories are more vivid still.

"When I was there you would regularly get 60,000 for a match," former club captain Alan Mullery told BBC Sport. "When we won the Uefa Cup in 1972, beating Wolves, the last match I ever played, and I scored the winning goal. I remember every minute of it."

Thirteen years later, Spurs would win the same tournament on the same pitch, 21-year-old Parks' two penalty saves in the shootout and all. 

"We went out to an old building on the High Road that had a balcony, and the whole of the High Road was full of thousands of Spurs fans," remembers Gary Mabbutt, early, that night, in a Spurs career that would see him captain the club for more than a decade. "118 years of tradition and history, all embedded in White Hart Lane."

"It's an old cliche, but it's a proper football ground," says Dave Bricknell. "You're packed in. You're right next to the players, you're getting noise from most sides. 

"The new stadium is eating the old stadium. It's like playing Pac-Man on a grand scale. You can see three new stands going up, and it looks fantastic. 

"It will be bigger, and it will be better, and hopefully we can keep the team together and move on to the next level. You've got to look forward, haven't you?"

You do. But you can also look back, one final time. And when you do, no matter which ground you are saying farewell to, the days and nights that meant so much come alive one more time, as they have this past week for Bricknell.

"Parksey saving those penalties, Roberts stealing in to equalise. The noise!

"Harry scoring against Arsenal last year, fantastic. What a goal… But the other week against Arsenal was pretty special too - beating them 2-0, making sure we stayed above them.

"That 5-3 defeat by United - it was my son's birthday. One of his first games. The City loss was worse. It was Man Utd in the next round, so at half-time we were all looking at booking flights up to Manchester. Liam Brady smashing one into the top corner in that 5-0 in '78…

"Beating Arsenal 5-0 and Mark Falco scoring a volley from the edge of the box with his right foot, Terry Gibson crossing it, Chris Hughton scoring another belter in that match… beating Feyenoord 4-2 under the lights, with Cruyff in their team and saying before the match that Hoddle wasn't all that good and he was going to show it, and Hoddle absolutely destroying them… 

"It's been special. And Sunday will be a very special goodbye."

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39891527

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I'll miss it as well. obviously not as much as you but I've been there twice and really enjoyed it.

end of an era but the positive being it's a time for a new era to begin in what looks to be a fantastic new stadium. 

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Can only really speak as an away fan but it'll be weird not going there. It's good for us, unless you're stuck on the back row of the upper tier behind that control box like I was one year, nightmare. 

Always enjoyed going, despite mixed results down the years. Assou Ekotto's screamer in the rearranged game because of the riots in August, Baines' free kick, Mirallas has two good goals there.  

It's a great ground but I'm happy the new one is still in the same spot. I couldn't be arsed figuring out where to go again when I'm down there before kick off. I have my routines at away grounds. 

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It's a first class stadium for away supporters, a traditional ground and we appear to be losing them at the rate of knots at the moment. 

Hopefully Spurs will go out with a win on Sunday.

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A ground I hadn't been to until January 2015 and now I think I've been 4 or more times.

One thing that surprised me about WHL when I went was that I expected it to be bigger. But, in a way, it makes it a bit more intimidating.

Another iconic ground going away. I don't think it's as bad as what happened at West Ham simply because you will be playing at a better stadium than they are, but it's a loss nontheless.

And am I right in saying, that should Spurs beat Man Utd on Sunday, that we would be the last away side to ever avoid defeat there (1-1, October 2016) and the last away side to ever keep a clean sheet there (0-1, January 2016)?

But enjoy Sunday. It'll be emotional and I'm sure you'll get the result to match.

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Shithole

In seriousness a good English stadium, not sure how the new one will impact on the club results. The financial part will obviously be a big big plus. 

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Went years ago, can't remember too much about it if i'm honest as it was a long time ago. Not been in recent years unfortunately but i understand it will be emotional for you... hope you end it with a win mate and more importantly the final season there, unbeaten!

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Great stadium for us. Won 2 league titles there.

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Don't leave a 119 year old stadium too often.

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8 hours ago, Spike said:

Don't leave a 119 year old stadium too often.

Its more like 25 years old and they're coming back to the same site in a year.

A lot of hype about absolutely nothing. Clubs rebuild, change and expand stands all the time.

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I have no real opinion on West Ham but it was all over the media when they left. Barely a peep about White Hart Lane, maybe due to the same location being used and the controversy over the London stadium, West Ham's got more attention but it seems disproportionate to club size.

 

 

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The whole of the season for West Ham was 'this is the last time at Upton Park' so it might appear like that. But the last 2 weeks has been build up of who Spurs are going to get for the big send off live on Skysports. With club legends talking about their memories and saying they might cry.

Spurs are only going to Wembley for a year to make more money. They could easily have stayed put and organised development around that, especially since their current season ticket holder base is so small.

Its only because of Levy's money grabbing that Gary Mabbutt will wave goodbye to everyone for 2 hours in Ultra High Definition and everyone will talk about their memories.

If some stands were just being closed for a year this wouldn't be happening on this scale. It would just be a tad emotional for those who have sat in the same spot for 20 years. Not for Steffen Iversen.

 

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Tottenham should be glad to leave, they have achieved nothing at this stadium, no real highlights over the past 25 years to look back on.  Only it's been great to see some of the players play there. 

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1 hour ago, HoneyNUFC said:

The whole of the season for West Ham was 'this is the last time at Upton Park' so it might appear like that. But the last 2 weeks has been build up of who Spurs are going to get for the big send off live on Skysports. With club legends talking about their memories and saying they might cry.

Spurs are only going to Wembley for a year to make more money. They could easily have stayed put and organised development around that, especially since their current season ticket holder base is so small.

Its only because of Levy's money grabbing that Gary Mabbutt will wave goodbye to everyone for 2 hours in Ultra High Definition and everyone will talk about their memories.

If some stands were just being closed for a year this wouldn't be happening on this scale. It would just be a tad emotional for those who have sat in the same spot for 20 years. Not for Steffen Iversen.

 

 

Harvey this is literally complete bollocks. 

'Wembley for the money' xD 

 

 

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I remember when Chelsea played with construction boards up behind the goal. Many clubs have played with stands under construction.

Could easily have been arranged at Spurs and had two thirds of the new stadium in working order whilst the rest is completed during the season. The whole year at Wembley smells off, first line of inquiry should always be money.  

Giving Spurs the ability to play at Wembley for a year would make a shit tonne more money than otherwise so of course they signed up to it.

 

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My favourite memories at WHL as a Blackburn fan was our injury time winner in 2007 via Chris Samba to come back from 1-0 down to win 2-1. Also, a last day 4-0 win (Yorke, Hignett, Duff and Cole the scorers) in 2003 to earn European football ahead of Everton.

Those times seem so far away right now...

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My favourite WHL moment was the last significant thing to happen there and that was Arsenal winning the title.

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Highbury, now WHL & soon Stamford Bridge will go. Sucks really.

 

Although WHL holds founds memories for us, the new stadium will probably be better for us to win, at least for the first couple of season anyway.

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WHL will probably be remembered for some of the players that have played there such as Greaves, Ardiles and more recently Gareth Bale. In terms of seeing success and providing memorable moments though it's been a bit of a snoozfest ground. 

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3 minutes ago, shut up said:

Highbury, now WHL & soon Stamford Bridge will go. Sucks really.

 

Although WHL holds founds memories for us, the new stadium will probably be better for us to win, at least for the first couple of season anyway.

? It's being remodeled not demolished.

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Sad to see another old school ground go. Whenever you watch Premier League Years on Sky you are reminded of how great they were and the atmosphere they generated. Highbury, Upton Park, Maine Road, The Dell etc. I'll be gutted if we ever lose Elland Road.

Going to be interesting to see how they handle a season at Wembley. The 19 other teams in the league that will go there will fancy it. Can't see them finishing so high next season as a result.

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That was probably the best atmosphere I've heard in a Premier League game all season. Great effort.

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5 hours ago, Lucas said:

Sad to see another old school ground go. Whenever you watch Premier League Years on Sky you are reminded of how great they were and the atmosphere they generated. Highbury, Upton Park, Maine Road, The Dell etc.

If you like libraries, then yeah xD

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Some absolute gold out there on social media. Fans queuing up to kiss the centre circle, pictures of Bill Nicholson, Cilla Black and Harambe in the clouds with "you did us proud" and just general rubbish as if Tottenham were actually moving. 

It's the same ground. Why the hype? Every ground in the country has had various facelifts and new stands put in, which is what this is, and Tottenham are acting like they're off to Wembley for good. 

 

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On 13 May 2017 at 3:05 PM, HoneyNUFC said:

I remember when Chelsea played with construction boards up behind the goal. Many clubs have played with stands under construction.

Could easily have been arranged at Spurs and had two thirds of the new stadium in working order whilst the rest is completed during the season. The whole year at Wembley smells off, first line of inquiry should always be money.  

Giving Spurs the ability to play at Wembley for a year would make a shit tonne more money than otherwise so of course they signed up to it.

 

No, you're just wrong. Originally that had been the plan, but it wasn't possible. The roof can't go on until the stadium is complete - we had to have a year away, but the club have done everything they can to ensure it is just one season.

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