1882 - NK Maribor at the Lane
If you don’t know what 1882 is, it’s simply a group of Spurs fans that want to go to games and sing. Not just for five minutes here and there but for 90 minutes. We started off as the ‘Ultras’, rather naively thinking we could perhaps redefine a label that has so many deep rooted connotations (on the continent) to the right wing (politically, not positionally). We drummed up interest last season and had 250 turn up to support the youth team in the FA Youth Cup away to Charlton. Although we weren’t allowed to physically take our drum into the ground.
We chose a youth game simply to make a point that it isn’t all about the first team, it isn’t all about the obvious opportunities to seek glory. It’s about the shirt, no matter the team, be it kids or full internationals. I know, I know...some of you are probably reading this and thinking ‘been here before Spooky mate’, but there’s plenty who won’t have heard about it. So skip ahead if you've seen all the background blurb before.
Our next game was at the NextGen at the Lane against Barcelona earlier this season. The club itself was very receptive and supportive (allowing us two blocks in the West Stand), be it with some teething problems on the evening itself, but we had 600 fans turn up specifically off the back of knowing about the 1882 movement (RIP Ultras) or being told about it by friends. Things have progressed again and we’ve had a meeting at WHL with Tottenham officials regarding the NK Maribor home match in the Europa League. Tickets are probably sold out now, but the club have once more facilitated us and we have block J in the East Upper.
Now personally, I know 1882 is considered to be a ‘group’. To be honest, I don't want people to think too much about a label. Yes, we (The Fighting Cock) are representatives of this 'movement', organising block allocation and spreading the word but it’s simply that; awareness. We’re not accountable or responsible for everyone who buys a ticket for the game in the block allocated. We’re just the sign post that points to where like-minded individuals can gather and not annoy the **** out of each other, because everyone is there to capture that old emotive and mostly dismissed spirit of supporting no matter what. It’s a bloody good laugh and I guess youth games (and away from home) is where this sort of thing will excel but it’s a worthy experiment for the Europa League.
In the long run we’re hoping to continue talking to Spurs. We’re heavily involved with the Football Supporters Federation and I guess the main aim is to have safe standing at Spurs (or for the idea to be recognised). Be it at the Lane or the new stadium.
Worth mentioning, that just because we are allocated a block that doesn’t mean we have special dispensation to stand. Persistent standing (as we all know too well) is not allowed. If you’re going, stand up and sing like you would normally do when reacting to atmosphere/football/fellow fans – but let the stewards to their job. We’re all very educated in the game of musical chairs that plays out any given home match. They're under instructions to do what they do.
The Barca game was the first 1882 'event' at the Lane. One or two of supporters got a bit carried away and words were exchanged, however its also worth highlighting that there were several positive moments between stewards and fans and even police officers. And lessons learnt no doubt, for example, some people purchasing tickets for a specially allocated block and then complaining about standing/singing.
I think it’s amazing we even have to consider doing this for a first team game. Amazing in the sense that the atmosphere should be organic for any given home match. But there you go, seems a fuse has blown and electricity running through the stands at White Hart Lane is hardly creating a spark thesedays.
If you don’t get to go to the Maribor game, then keep a look out for future youth games.
I guess this is all about communication and common sense. From all involved. The whole experience should be no different to any given match day at the Lane. No different to wanting to take your place in the Park Lane lower. No different to how you would behave if you sat next to someone that enjoyed a good noisy song. I hope the club actually grasp that because its important. Supporters present, in block J will be well up to support Spurs on the night. This isn't about being different it's about being Tottenham.
The aim of the 1882 movement is to support our team and the shirt they play in. To sing as loud and as long as our lungs will let us. We want to hark back to the days before the Premier League, when how loud you sing and how passionate you became wasn’t dependent on how well Tottenham were playing.
For more on 1882 click here.