Apart from a period of twenty minutes in the second half when Man United stirred themselves and a football match briefly broke out, the occasion was everything. The streets around the ground were busy hours before kick off, not just with people attending the game, it seemed there were thousands of ticketless fans who had turned up just to lay a hand on the walls for the last time. Eyewitnesses report that the local pubs were packed well after kick off.
The bars in the ground were mobbed too, in the North Stand they ran out of beer before half-time thus it wasn’t just alcohol that led to souvenirs being grabbed where they could. Gangway numbers were pulled from their hangings, adverts and warning notices from the walls, I saw a man clutching a toilet seat and afterwards someone in a kebab shop with a menu board from the N17 Pie Club. All very surreal and also all very good natured.
The enthusiastic use of the flags poked down the back of everyone’s seat ensured that the players were given a spectacular welcome when they emerged on to the pitch for the last kick off in 118 years. Everyone was also given a shoulder bag containing a t-shirt but few of these were donned.
Flags were also given to the Man United fans I believe but as they were attempting to play the role of party poopers, they refused to join in the celebrations. This was the extent of their pooping though as once the first whistle blew we dominated from beginning to end on and off the field. Wanyama’s early goal settled any nerves and it was only a combination of poor finishing, last ditch defending and De Gea that kept the score down. A sight of Chas and Dave at half time was closely followed by another double act, Eriksen and Kane and the lead was doubled. It was fitting of course that our talisman scored the last Spurs goal at the ground, only slightly spoilt by Rooney’s deflected toe-poke meaning that it wasn’t the last goal at the ground ever.
It seems invidious to pick out individuals in what was yet another dominant team display but the performances of Davies, Wanyama and Alli were particularly praiseworthy I thought.
The flag waving was sporadic after the first few minutes until the last few when chorus after chorus of Oh When The Spurs rang around the stadium. I’d be surprised if the demolition men moving in today still can’t hear it echoing round. Previously Steve Archibald, Steffen Freund, Aaron Lennon, Ledley King, Teddy Sheringham and Nicola Berti amongst others had been individually serenaded. How great it is that the crowd have such confidence in those on the pitch that we could just enjoy ourselves off it.
The pitch invasion at the final whistle meant that the post match ceremony was delayed but thankfully it went ahead and Spurs did well in managing to pitch the thing just the right side of mawkishness as well as avoid making it seem like an extended Paul Coyte half time interview. The heavens opened on Cliff Jones, Mike England, Pat Jennings et al but for those who like their symbolism, the skies cleared and a rainbow appeared, seemingly over the stadium, as Poch led his players out to take the applause.
After a day like yesterday, it’s hard not to see the future as sunny and bright.
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