I am currently reading the book ‘A People’s History of Tottenham Hotspur’ by Martin Cloake and Alan Fisher and what an excellent read it is. This book is a re-affirmation of many reasons of why I am a Spur and why it is Good to be a Spur. It knits the various fibres and threads from our supporting heritage to make us the ‘Spur’ that we are today. Our past and our present are as one.. The reader is reminded that we current supporters and fans are walking the same streets, and passing the same landmarks we see and are comfortable with, week after week, as has all the thousands if not millions of fans since our group of founding school boys walked the same streets and passed the same landmarks. To the same football venue.
Here is a quote from page 82:-
…..that sense of place remained, as it does to this day. The Hotspur played where they had always played, and you always came back to the same place, walked the same streets as the founding schoolboys, albeit you no longer had to get your boots dirty on marsh mud. (Page 82)
The following double page spread photograph brought this home to me.
This is from an FA Cup match against Cardiff City in 1922. Apart from the fashion on show it could easily have been the same scene when I first set foot in White Hart Lane nearly 50yrs later in 1971. Yes, I have queued up waiting for those gates to open and treading in the same footmarks as those bygone Spurs , and frequented the White Hart supping a pre and post match ale probably at the same bar. They are me and I am them, we are one. Some of the younger lads in the photo could easily have rubbed shoulders with me back in 1971 when they were in their 70s or 60s. I’m in my mid 60s now and some of you younger readers now, iIn a short couple of decades ahead could be looking back at my photo as a long past Spur, being touched as a ghost to be as sit near each other in the stands. I’ve been in them all. As we sing and chant and clap and moan and cry as one entity at White at Hart Lane, forever you are a part of me, I am a part of you, we too are as one. Which in turn connects us all to those chaps in the 1922 photo at the gate, but they did just as what we are doing now. 1922, is of course only 50yrs ahead of the founding of our club and 25 yrs since the move to the White Hart Lane Market Garden and Nursery. We are we and we are one together, one Hotspur. Martin and Alan wrote this, and these are the ties that bind us together as a Spur.
…What is true is that the raucous, boisterous terraces of White Hart Lane, you quickly understood that being a Spurs fan was part of your identity. You learned what being a Spurs fan meant, about the importance of good football, of loyalty even when your team dropped into the second division, of getting behind your team, of just being there and being part of a wider community of people who felt exactly the same as you did. (Pg 84.)
Of course, one of things that make off of this true, as mentioned earlier, is the continuity of location, and this should remain true for hopefully the next 100 years with the new stadium being built around us. As the ground had changed from relocation in 1897, to what those Spurs had in 1922, to the building of the Shelf, to the ground I first attended in 1971 with floodlight pylons and standing enclosure, to the re-buildings of all the 4 stands to how it is now, and what it will be in the future, is the ground. Yes things are to change as the club grows and progresses, White Hart gone, the Red House, gone, the gates, gone for now. That 1922 photograph can never be replicated any more. I am pleased to have been part of it’s history, it’s living memory, a ghost of the present, a living ghost that is yet to be. Warmington House is to be absorbed and the Nicholson Gates to be relocated, but the High Rd remains, as does Worcester Avenue, Park Lane and Northumberland Rd, we ghosts and memories yet to come will still tread o’er the same streets making the same journeys as before in the same foot fall of the ghosts and memories of those who before us in the 1922 photograph and those ghosts and memories of those that came afore them. We are one, we are Hotspur.
We have our soul, our identity, and our continuity – as Martin and Alan wrote:-
…..and loyalty through the generations of Tottenham Hotspur Supporters. But making this observation helps to explain why the ground itself has become so significant. This powerful attachment to place took hold between the wars. The club began there and stayed there. Supporters need identity and continuity: for Spurs fans, the Lane provides it. This was and is where are drawn, a peculiar profound attachment to a now run down area of north London. Supporting a club needs a focus. Supporters need a place to be, a place that is theirs, somewhere around which the bonds of attachment coalesce. Tottenham supporters needed White Hart Lane to offer that reassuring, welcoming consistency, which is why the ground and sense of place is so important to a people’s history of Tottenham Hotspur. (Pg 84-85).
Yes the ground is to change, but the Paxton is to be preserved with Paxton Square and Paxton House in the new revised plans. The new south stand is to be placed more or less where the Paxton stand is now. The concrete to build the new south stand is to be reconstituted from that of the current stadium, crushed, washed mixed and poured into the new building. The Kop will swing back over where the Paxton half of the pitch currently is. The patrons will be not only be sitting on the current stadium but over where so many great Spurs goals have been scored over the past 120+ years. Gilzean, Greaves, Klinsmann, Liniker, Smith, Burgess, Woodward, Buckle, Camerons, Archibald the ghosts go on. The new pitch will be slid over that area when in NFL and concert mode. The continuity goes on. The ghosts haven’t gone west, they will remain at home in the comfort of their memories shared by us all, because we are one, the ghosts of the past and us ghosts yet to be, we are one, WE are the one Hotspur. Together in memories that bind.
Some photos of the ground and changes over the years, plus me and few other ghosts yet to be in the East Stand and not a flat cap to be seen.