Jonathan Waite, bags… oh, and the Chelsea game

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Let me start this article by paying tribute to Jonathan Waite who sadly passed away. For those that don’t know him, he was Tottenham’s Supporter Liaison Officer. He was not only popular with his fellow workers and Tottenham staff, but well-liked and respected by the fans and groups like the THST and other agencies.

As somebody who has been going to Spurs for donkey’s years (home & away), I have often stopped and chatted with him. He was the person – along with his colleagues – to talk to if you had a Spurs related issues on travel, where to go etc. But he was such a nice bloke that once you started talking to him, you were engrossed immediately. He was such a warm person that he made you feel at ease.

Jonathan was married with two children. The club made a statement on the official site: “It is with a heavy heart that we report the sad news that our dear colleague, Jonathan, passed away suddenly this morning. Our thoughts are with Katie and Jonathan’s two children Alex and Emma at this impossibly sad time. Jonathan was a hugely popular figure both amongst us, his colleagues, and also the wider fan base.”

In 2016 he was named “Supporter Liaison Officer of the year at the 2016 FSF Awards.”

He will be sadly missed, but a bit of him will always be in our hearts. RIP Jonathan.

Now to the bag policy at Wembley. This is a joke. I saw many fans angry and turned back because they had come from work (yes, even on a Saturday) and had no choice but to have a rucksack or holdall with their works gear in it. This bag policy was thought up by those that can’t see beyond their noses (so wrapped up in bureaucratic claptrap). Granted, Wembley must consider safety and security, but this current policy is going over the top. Even some of the security staff admitted to me that Wembley is trying to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Some of those that attended were trying some ingenious methods to get past this policy and as far as I could see, succeeded. But it shouldn’t have to be the case.

When you approach the Wembley ramp (to go to the top) they had a long line of Security guards checking everybody’s bag size. Those that they deemed had larger than A4 size bags were instructed to put their bag in a bag sizer (as they do at Airports) to see if it passed (if failed they were dragged handcuffed to a beating post until they promised they would never do such a wicked thing again; just joking!).

Luckily for me, I was just waved on because my bag was A4 size. The bag size was a great inconvenience for me, as I usually come from work, the Chelsea game was a Saturday game, so I was ok. But that wasn’t the end of it. Once in the queue for the Hospitality lounge, security and those that were in charge kept coming up to us and saying “is your bag the appropriate size?” etc. What was the point of the first layer of Security checks? To waste Tottenham Hotspur money (as they were paying for it). Once in, some did their tricks with the bag size. People will always find ways around it. But those that were checking the bags were being obsessive and annoying. If this were Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s people would just give up and shop somewhere else. Wembley knows they have a captive audience (don’t like it? bugger off).

I do know that THST are looking into the situation, that is because they have had complaints about Wembley’s stupid bag policy. If you also have issues, then please contact them, they are there to support the supporters in times of stupid decisions made by those that don’t really care about the individual’s needs.

To the match (yes, finally).

I’ll cut the usual travel, rituals and then passing through security, not before a quick tickle by one of the enthusiastic Stewards etc., talks and go straight to the Hospitality Lounge. There I met and chatted to David Howells and Micky Hazard and then when the two hours passed we made our way to our seats.

Before that though, we all gave our predictions on the score, some said we would draw, nobody said we would lose, some predicted a 2-1 win. I predicted a 3-1 win. You’ll have to read to the end, or near enough, to find out whose predictions were right (as if you’ve had your head stuck in the bloody sand for the last couple of days… but it all adds to the word count).

So, underway and we were off the blocks, and within 8 minutes Alli scored with a header. We didn’t let up, but thinking that Chelsea was going to pull a rabbit out of the hat – as they usually do – and suddenly turn the game around, to show us who were kings. But that didn’t happen. We outplaying Chelsea to inflict the Blues’ first Premier League defeat of the season. This indicates that we are capable of “big things”, as Pochettino put it.

We produced a terrific performance to move above our opponents in the table to third, five points behind unbeaten leaders Manchester City, while Chelsea drop to fourth. We’ve improved with every game, and of course, luck has also played a part in that.

We deservedly scored two goals in the first 16 minutes through Alli’s flicked header from Christian Eriksen’s cross, and Harry Kane firing in a drive from long range.

Son had struck straight at goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga when through on goal and had a volley pushed away before scoring a brilliant goal in the second half.

Son picked the ball up on the halfway line, outpaced Jorginho and darted past David Luiz before coolly rolling the ball into the net. He told Match of the Day: “It’s amazing. Our performance was outstanding and we deserved to win. It’s an unbelievable night”.

Chelsea did manage to pull a goal back with five minutes remaining when substitute Olivier Giroud powered a header low into the corner, but by then it was all over, bar the shouting.

In fact, we were not only delighted with the result but also stunned by the lack of performance from the blues. But then again I am probably giving too much credit to them. The way we played and went for it there probably was nothing else they could do, other than sitting back and enjoying our recital.

There were a few Chelsea supporters at the back of us who thought they would take the Micky out of Steve’s enthusiasm for our team. But they knew they were on a hiding to nothing so only could take the Micky to cover their own embarrassment and their team’s ineptitude.

Now we move on to Inter Milan tomorrow evening, followed by going to Arsenal’s ground on Sunday. We’ve got a hectic week, but we can pull it off. After all, I predicted 3-1 to us, over Chelsea, I predict 3-1 again over Inter Milan and 2-0 or 2-1 over Arsenal. If these predictions are reached, I shall rename myself a visionary… but if not the exact results, near enough will do.

I’ve got my tickets, or I should say I’ve bought my tickets for Barcelona, Arsenal, Leicester away, but haven’t received them in the post yet.

The Chelsea game was one of our best performances and one of our best games in a long time, indeed the best this season.

Did I say that we ended Chelsea’s unbeaten run? If not I’ll repeat it, there is no harm in repeating such a glorious result and performance. We are third, they are fourth, Arsenal are fifth, and it couldn’t get any better than that… (actually, it could!); true, we go above City and Liverpool… and that sort of thinking isn’t wholly in the Twilight Zone of illogicality. Such things can happen, will happen… Dream that impossible dream and they could come true.

Have faith, we are Spurs!

COYS!

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.

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