The first match at Spurs’ new stadium; an unforgettable experience

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Stadium

What a day, what an experience and what a pleasure to be there.

My stadium experience started the day before the unveiling: I arrived in Goodmayes at 4.30 on Saturday evening. Stayed at Hanna’s house and got up the next day at 8.30ish. We left the house at 10.10 (Hanna gave me a lift to Tottenham), and we arrived at 10.35. We parked in Sainsbury’s car park (only an hour & half on match days) and then made our way to the stadium. Had a walk around – impressive from the outside – and then Hanna went back home (she had my dog with her, which she took back). After we parted, I made my way to the magnificent Spurs shop, chatted to the manager and staff (who I have got to know over the years), looked around and then made my way to the West Atrium area, door 2.

Because I am a Premium member, we are allowed in the front entrance. However, these weren’t the regular doors we would normally go through (there are three entrances), that is because, for this specific match, I wasn’t sitting in my regular seat. We were crowded more into the central area, on the halfway line, as this was only a 30,000 capacity (the next test game, this Saturday 30th, we get to sit in our proper bought seats). I did, however, go to where my seat was, not that far away ( I am more near the corner flag area, but on the third floor, the same floor as I was sitting for this Test match, if that makes sense?), to have a look around.

Anyway, I am jumping the gun. For some reason, the doors didn’t open on time (we are allowed in three hours before KO), so a few of us made our way to entrance 1, where the doors had opened on time.

This stadium, like Wembley, has the same bag policy (only A4 size bags allowed in). We entered the turnstiles (posh turnstiles), only they didn’t work correctly, so we just walked through. I didn’t even have my bag checked (for size) or searched, I don’t know if that was because I am a Premium member or that they were not 100% in their operating/ security mode.

After going through I went up two flights of escalators (observing the view outside, through the glass panelling walls) until I reached the third floor. There I was greeted by polite staff, along with our Premium contacts (Latisha, Kristine and Stephenie), who I had a long and pleasant chat with; always helpful, always willing to engage and polite.

After my chat with Latisha, Kristine and Stephanie, I made my way to the food bar (free for us), got myself a small pie and chicken rolled balls (?) and purchased a pint of lager. You are welcome to go up again and get more food, no restrictions. I sat down with the three of me (just me, myself and I) to enjoy the pleasant food/ drink and observed the surroundings. While I was eating, Latisha and John Hessing (another Premium Senior Sales Assistant) came over, and we chatted and had a few laughs together.

Once I had finished eating, I found the toilet (very posh), where there is even a TV screen in there, for showing the game and interviews; so even a slash won’t even inconvenience your viewing pleasure (i.e. you won’t miss any of the actions while you’ve got your hands full). I can’t speak for the ladies toilets; maybe they have to stick their heads over or under the doors to see the TV screens (that is if they have one in their restrooms?). But I imagine, for the sake of fairness, they do have a TV screen in their bathrooms.

While in the lounge on the third floor I got a phone call from Jeff, to say that he and some friends were on the second-floor, lounge area, so I joined them. There I saw Steve and some more friends, chatted. Even got some more food. The seating arrangments are slightly different, in the sense that they have settees to relax on, as opposed to restaurant style seating arrangements.

Three hours whizzed by (time can go fast in such pleasurable surroundings), and we made our way to our seats (oh, the programmes were issued by the staff, all free). Got to our places and made ourselves ready for the game between Spurs (u18) and Southampton (u18).

I saw Beverley near my seat and went over to chat with her, and then noticed other friendly faces, who I also talked to. Beverley, a nice lady, who I often saw at away matches (including the Bobby Moore lounge at Wembley).

The players came out to loud applause and Spurs songs. Tottenham U18 are undefeated this season. This must have been an excellent experience for them, as they will probably never experience such a capacity again for an under 18s match.

I must say, that this match was more of a side event, as the main event was the stadium and getting used to the facilities, and of course, Tottenham needed two test matches to get their safety certificates, otherwise no stadium this season.

Half time whistle came, and we made our way into the lounge area and got our free drinks (wine, coke, beer, tea or coffee). Before the game started and after the game, you have to pay for your drinks, even for the tea and coffee). No food at half time though.

The fifteen minutes were up, and I made our way back to my seat. I took my tea with me, and a diet coke (on our seats we have cup holders).

To cut a long story short Spurs (U18s) beat Southampton 3-1, the loudest applause was when Mauricio Pochettino came on; what!? The manager! you probably are thinking, isn’t he too old for an under 18 game? Yes, but this Mauricio Pochettino was his son. And as they had sung the managers name at games, they (the crowd) used the same tune/ lyrics to cheer his son on (who, I must admit played well).

When Southampton under 18s scored the crowd (including our supporters) applauded them (you won’t see that very often; the home crowd applauding the opposition).

The final whistle went, and I made my way to the hospitality lounge. There was no point in me leaving straight away as the crowds at the tube station (WHL) would have been heaving (just imagine what it would be like on match day?).

I went to the bar/ canteen, where they were issuing out Brownie cakes for free (I had 3), to us Premium members, and I still had my coke to drink from earlier. Saw Beverley sitting on a stool enjoying the delights of a drink and some food, so I went over to join her, and we chatted for over an hour (with one or two people popping over to say hello), and then I made my way to the station, while Beverley made her way to a Spurs pub.

The new stadium is going to be a unique experience, which includes making new friends on the way. Since becoming a Premium member last year (at Wembley) I’ve made many friends; home, away and abroad). They are added to those I have met over the years. Like all football communities, they become part of your extended friendships.

I got the train from White Hart Lane to Liverpool Street then to Newbury Park, where Hanna picked me up. Got to her place about 7ish. Had a cup of tea and then went home, arriving at 10.05.

How did it go? Brilliant, a fantastic experience, and certainly worth the money. Everybody was pleasant/ happy (staff, Premium members and supporters). White Hart Lane was on one level (a high level), but this experience was on a totally different planet.

This week will be one hectic weekend. Again, I will go to London on the Friday night, Saturday Test Match 2 (KO at 5.30). That will be the Legends match (Spurs v Inter Milan). Once the game is finished, I go back to Goodmayes and from there home. Hopefully in bed at about 12ish. Get up early the next morning, then a trip to Liverpool, and Anfield. I am going to be knackered, but well worth it.

Concerning parking; when we were at the old stadium I parked at the school (St. Francis), opposite the stadium. This time around it has been taken over by the club, and only executive members can use it now. So I will have to find somewhere else to park. I’ve been given a few suggestions, all within half an hours ride from the stadium (either bus, shuttle service or train will take you the rest of the way).
Until next time, enjoy!

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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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