Let me just start this by saying that I have gone to three matches in the month I’ve been here. In those games, the teams I have been rooting for (the home teams) have all gotten at least one penalty kick called in their favor and they have all won. As such, if any European soccer club would like to have easy penalty kicks and win their match, they should definitely give me a call. I am relatively cheap. All I require is a ticket to the match and a scarf. 😉
That sweet goal and hysteric crowd celebration occurred in the 93rd minute. Let me just say I have no idea why I turned on the camera on at that exact moment. I only know that the result was tremendous and if you haven’t watched it yet, there is no excuse, it’s even in HD. Just watch it already.
Now where was I. My trip to White Hart Lane, the historic home of Tottenham F.C. was quite an adventure. The stadium was the furthest one away of the six major stadiums in London so it took me quite a bit of research to finally memorize the route I had to take. Of course it all went out the window as soon as I got on the first train and saw a few people with Tottenham scarves. My new plan was to simply follow them, same as I had done the previous two outings to see some footie.
My plan worked to perfection and even saved me some money. The route I was originally going to take involved getting off the tube and then getting on an overground train, which cost money transfer onto. Instead, I followed the people with the scarfs who did not take on overground but instead walked from the underground station to the stadium. It was a pretty far walk, about 25-30 minutes, but knowing that the payoff would be a historic stadium, I did not mind one bit. The weather was gorgeous as well. Probably mid 50’s with a strong wind that made it a bit chillier than that. But all things considered, I will take mid 50s over 15 inches of snow any day.
The area on the way to the park seemed a bit run down. It makes sense though. This part of London wasn’t ravaged by the Great Fire, so it was probably never rebuilt. The stores were of my liking though. This was definitely a very, how shall we put it, ethnic area, so there were cheap fast food shops, the type of which I eat 3 or 4 times a week, everywhere. There was a large Hindu, Arabic, and Black population over here, or so it seemed because every single person not going to the game was Hindu, Arabic, or Black. All in all it would fall between Fulham and West Ham for “niceness” of the environment.
By the time I got to the stadium, I was starving and sweating bullets. I grabbed a delicious burger from a stand but erroneously, did not cough up for a drink. I would come to regret that later when I was thirsty and moneyless. The reason I was thirsty and money less was because I had only brought 15 pounds with me, thinking it would be more than enough for lunch, a scarf and a beer. However, there were no sweet 5 pound scarfs this time. I guess you could blame it on the fact that this team is one of the best in England, so demand for their product is a lot higher. Whatever it was, it left me with almost no money in my pocket because I decided to pony up for the scarf. I figured I would never be back here so I needed something to commemorate my visit. (I got a sweet two-tone scarf that is a Champions League special edition. They play AC Milan later this month so this is “the official” scarf, noting the dates and the venues.)
The outside of the stadium was a real let down though. It has no shape and doesn’t look like a stadium at all. Look at the pictures, if you were walking past and it wasn’t game day, you would have no clue that there was even a soccer stadium there. I digress though, after spending 20 minutes or so trying to find ticket collection, I went inside the park and all of those feelings of being let down went out the window. The stadium was gorgeous on the inside. It was the biggest one I’d been too for sure and the little roof covering the stands was a nice touch as spurts of rain would come down sporadically.
As for the game itself, it was quite crazy. Tottenham opened the game with a penalty kick goal in the first 10 minutes (check the video below). Literally two minutes later, Tottenham got another penalty kick in its favor and seemed to go up 2-0 but the ref made them retake the kick. The third time was the charm for the opposing team because after scoring on the first two, Rafael Van der Vart missed the pk wide left. Tottenham controlled the first half and should have been up by more, but of course, because they didn’t take advantage they were penalized. Bolton scored to tie it at 1 in the second half. I already told you how it ended (see video at the top) but now with context I hope you can better understand why the fans were going nuts.
After the game I booked it to the train and made it home without incident. Another great day of soccer. Another great day in London. Take a look at the slideshow below for some more images from my little excursion.