One foot into the final

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Ironically the first thing I said before the kick-off was that we are usually crap the first 10 or 15 minutes, and then we get into it, but this time around we were excellent for the first 10 minutes or so and then we let Chelsea assert themselves. Overall I thought Chelsea were the better side.

I said at the beginning of the season we needed luck, and this season we’ve had it, as this game has shown. We need to be better in the second leg, get a goal and stay on top, otherwise Chelsea will do damage. But where there is life, there is hope, and there is undoubtedly a new lease of life (hope) since Pochettino took over.

The trouble with going to matches in winter is that you never know what to wear. The forecast gives you an impression that it is going to be very cold, you wrap up warm and you end up sweating. On top of that, with the game being so close you end up sweating even more. Tottenham certainly push the fans button when you watch them.

I left home at 2 pm and arrived at my cousins at 3.18, waited in my car for Susan to come home, had a tea and then made my way to the bus stop, from there to Ruislip Manor and then on to Wembley Park.

You are always confronted with touts wanting to buy or sell you tickets. Once you get through that lot, then the two-club–scarf sellers shoving their goods in your face. All this you are greeted with at the bottom of the stairs at Wembley stadium. Then you walk up Wembley way until you reach a security cordon, who check your bag size. Sometimes eyeballing your bag is enough, others ask you to put your bag against a size chart. Then once through then you get in line at the Premium entrance. You are then held there until 2 and a half hours before kick-off, then a bag search, a quick slap down and you are through. Some bag searchers are over-enthusiastic; others just glance at your contents, smile and that is it.

Once through we went up two flights off escalators, then to the Bobby Moore lounge entrance. There another security officer checks your ticket (as if we don’t know what entrance we should be in, after all this time). Once inside a member of the Wembley staff, usually a lady, puts an identification band on your wrist (this is so that you can get back into your area). Then you are given a food voucher, once that is done you then can take as many (well, within reason) programmes as you want (all free).
We then made our way to the tables, sat ourselves down… after a decent time (we don’t want to show over-enthusiasm for the perks, but I was starving!) we got our drinks and food (sausage, mash and carrots on the menu). Terry, Jeff and Ian joined Martin, his dad, Steven and myself.

At 7.30 pm we went to our seats.

Eight pm on the dot, the game starts.

Kane’s first-half penalty gave us a slender advantage after the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Wembley. Referee Michael Oliver awarded the 26th-minute spot-kick after consulting VAR for offside and Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s foul on Kane. While the referee was consulting the VAR referee there were loud boos around the stadium, it seemed the wait went on and on, but according to the radio, it was about 90 minutes.

Spurs and Chelsea both had chances in a fiercely fought contest and Blues’ manager Maurizio Sarri will feel this tie is still very much alive before the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, 24 January. We must make sure that we kill their chances off straight from the start.

Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the first half through N’Golo Kante’s near-post flick, and when Paulo Gazzaniga athletically turned Callum Hudson-Odoi’s deflected cross onto the post. Andreas Christensen missed a glaring opportunity from six yards after the break while Arrizabalaga also produced a fine save from Kane as this semi-final remains in the balance.

Finally, the whistle goes, the cheers go up and the players walk off looking exhausted. With our one-goal lead, we now head for the second leg with Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge, in fifteen days (can’t wait).
Because we are in the hospitality lounge/ seats, you could be joined by the opposing supporters. In this case, Chelsea fans. We were sitting in our usual seats when three Chelsea supporters sat in front of us.

When the whistle went, they started to mouth off; because of this some Tottenham supporters challenged them… One of the Chelsea supporters gets up, goes downstairs and reports those behind him and his friends. He returns with a security officer, who threatened to throw us all out, without even bothering to find out what happened or even listening to the Tottenham supporters side of the story. Just the word of one disgruntled Chelsea supporter (who started it). As I had kept my mouth shut, and others, we weren’t pleased. I would have reported this if I had seen that security chief again, but I didn’t. Luckily these Chelsea supporters left without their team even scoring, otherwise, there might have been real trouble. You can’t just accept the word of individuals, more so if they are rival supporters. I will be glad when we are in our new stadium; hopefully, this wouldn’t happen at the new stadium. Security staff at Wembley don’t give a damn who’s who, and this can causes problems. At the new stadium, security will – hopefully – know us, and this will help in any repeat of such incidents happening again.

Next up is United, at home, this Sunday and we need to win that to keep up with the front two. While we are at it, let us wish Brighton good luck (they face Liverpool) and Wolves (who face City).

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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