Opinion: The day I ran onto the White Hart Lane pitch mid-game to meet Jimmy Greaves

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Saturday 10 September 1966 – After two buses and a tube ride, me and my friends, Mick and Alex, arrived at the turnstiles at White Hart Lane.

We paid our two shillings and sixpence (12.5p) and squeezed our way through the crowd to our favourite position at the front of the terrace. The match was against our local North London rivals, Arsenal, and often attracted a crowd of over 57,000.

Arriving at the ground early, as we always did, to try to ensure a good view of the match, we visited the Spurs shop and bought a few programmes of away matches and the odd home game we might have missed.

Despite this being 1966 and the era of The Stones and The Beatles, our Spurs’ DJ ‘entertained’ us with his penchant for Mrs Mills and her tinkling piano, as well as Herb Albert and his Tijuana Brass as the excitement grew by the minute.

The game started and Cliff Jones gave us an early lead. I said to my mates: “If Jimmy Greaves scores, I’m going to run on the pitch to congratulate him.”

It was not unusual at the time, for young kids to do this and, although frowned upon, was tolerated more kindly than in recent times.

Shortly after, Jimmy scored! My friends virtually threw me over the barrier and I was on my way across the pitch to tap Jimmy on the back before heading to the other side and sitting, puffing, red-faced and wheezing, on one of the ball boys’ wooden benches.

As my breathing calmed and the adrenaline rush subsided, I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Did you drop these, son?”

Jimmy Greaves, my absolute hero, had come off the pitch, during the match, to hand me back the programmes which must have fallen from the pocket of my little Harrington jacket. Too stunned to reply, I simply nodded and took them back.

The match ended 3-1 to Spurs with another goal from our maestro, Jimmy Greaves.

Although this was over 55 years ago, the memory remains as clear as if it had happened yesterday.

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