Farewell to The Lane

I was about to turn 8 years old. Eight days on from then actually. My early present from my first trip to see Tottenham in the flesh. Right in front of me. No more Big Match with Brian Moore on a Sunday. No. I’d be there. Glenn Hoddle. Right there.

White Hart Lane

Inside Tottenham Hotspur's famous home ground - White Hart Lane Source: Getty Images

The opponent was Manchester United. Not the juggernaut of recent times, more a stumbling old giant struggling through the final years of Ron Atkinson. 

Spurs too, were no great shakes, as the second season of Peter Shreeves failed to live up to the promise of the first. 

But none of that mattered. I was there. Nor did it matter that the game was an awful scoreless draw. A disallowed own goal from Gary Stevens the only moment to quicken the pulse. I didn’t care though. I’d been down the Spurs. Down The Lane. 


I’d heard Willie Morgan playing Glory Glory as the teams walked out, and blared over the tannoy "Welcome to White Hart Lane, the World famous home of The Spurs …" 

Fast forward 31 years. The same song. The same ground, albeit, with a significant facelift. 

I stood up from my seat in the Park Lane and slowly meandered out of the ground for the final time after a 4-0 win over Watford.  The sun shone, the players sparkled, the day was perfect. 

In between those games, I’ve spent huge chunks of my life surrounded by concrete and plastic in N17. Hundreds of matches as a fan. Two seasons working at the club, producing the big screen (my first TV gig).

Happy times. Sad times. Highs so high you didn’t want to leave. And lows, so many lows to be honest, where staying until the death was a bridge too far. 

You wouldn’t change it though. It’s home. It’s ours. While other clubs expanded, or rebuilt and lost the charm, or the atmosphere, we always had The Lane.
Tight stands, close to the pitch. Acoustics that amplify every cheer, song, or even boo. A raucous cacophony of joy on the good days. What a place. 

For the generations before me, the memories are about wins. Glory Glory European nights. North London derby victories. A famous UEFA Cup Final. Sadly the last couple of decades haven’t been as kind, so for me it’s the players I’ve seen grace the turf.

White Hart Lane

From my childhood hero, Glenn Hoddle, through the languid genius of Chris Waddle, the once in a generation Gazza, the goalscorers, Allen, Teddy, Lineker, Jurgen. The magicians, Bale, Ardiles, Modric, Ginola. And now the new breed. Alli and Kane.

I wouldn’t swap the chance to see these players in front of my eyes for all the trophies in the world. How lucky have we been? 

Moving to Australia in 2006 left a hole in my football heart, occasionally filled by the rare chance to get back to The Lane.

I took my daughter in 2010 to a game, and we saw Bale score another unbelievable goal, and we experienced it together. My regret is I was never able to take my son. But his time in the new ground will come. 

White Hart Lane

We can’t know the future. A year at Wembley. Then a new ground, in the same place. Familiar but oh so different.

What we will also have is the past, and when the curtain falls on Monday (AEST), the memories of the past will fill the ground one last time, and the words of the great Bill Nicholson will echo through the grand old dame.

"It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.” 

And for the final time we’ll hear those same words ...

"Welcome to White Hart Lane, the world famous home of the Spurs …"

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4 min read
Published 12 May 2017 at 1:27pm
By Stuart Randall