Thanks to everyone that cited 1882 (blocks 15 and 16 allocated) when getting tickets for the NextGen game at the Lane against Barca on Thursday night. Around 600 or so like-minded supporters turned up, stood up and sang for 90 minutes. Great atmosphere before the game at the Bricklayers pub and relentless enthusiasm right up to the final whistle and beyond. Okay, so there were some issues with overzealous stewards during the first half including the Old Bill doing the rounds although to be fair to them they were only following club policy, something witnessed on any given match day at Spurs.
Although this is an U-19’s game its hardly the same category as a fully fledged league match. Lack of communication it would seem was the reason as the head steward was apologetic to one Spurs fan after a heated debate on the subject. They didn’t seem to know the club had arranged the blocks for us (supporters that wanted to sing – you try signing sitting down). Second half, they let us get on with it proving safe standing is exactly that. So thank you to Spurs and the stewards. I’m sure it will be slicker next time round.
If you missed this whole 1882 thing first time round, it involved us travelling to Charlton away last season for the FA Youth Cup. 250 turned up for it, singing for the entirety of the match. We lost, 1-0. We didn’t care much, we just sang about Spurs. Considering all the coverage over the current supporting landscape at the Lane and the nervous, fearful approach – the aim of Thursday evening was to bring back some of that upbeat, constant love for the shirt no matter what was going on around us. I think we did pretty well. Just over 8k turned up for the game which is amazing in itself. Barca won 2-0, not unexpected. Out of our lot Pritchard looks a gem. Samper is one to watch for Barca.
I guess the thing that sticks out most from the evening is that if this sort of unofficial standing area was not available on the night, if Spurs were not accommodating then there would not have been the atmosphere created because all the people that want to sing will have had tickets all over the West Stand leaving them fragmented. Stick them all in one place and you get what we got: Support, from start to finish. Then again, the fact we need a singing section to produce a far better experience than sitting there doing nothing is another example of modern football and that's why we started 1882. To draw people in.
Okay, so the pressure of youth football from a supporter’s perspective is not on the same level of expectancy than first team football. But considering the Park Lane lower was once known for its voice, seems a shame and a waste that if the hardcore stand there, they’re not producing the same vocals every other weekend that 600 produced for a NextGen game. It’s not even about 1882 and The Fighting Cock. It’s simply about recapturing that romantic notion of being proud of the badge on the shirt and not caring about anything other than being Tottenham Hotspur. Everyone at Spurs has a voice. It’s better to be heard singing that it is complaining.
The essence of supporter is to support. If that makes us a dying breed, so be it. We'll be part of it until the end.
Great to meet a few more people off Twitter, although not enough of you it seems. Avatars on t-shirts like name tags next time? Missed out on a couple of handshakes and hugs. Pleasure to chat to Crackers who hosts the 'Ohh When the Spurs' podcast with Antony Costa. And big love to @eperons, @Teflon6 and also @THFCAlex from Norway with a better English accent than most English people - all of them travelled in from the continent to make the game. Not forgetting the God like CaseTFC (webmaster of The Fighting Cock website) who visited the Lane from Crewe.
The West Stand has never been so noisy. We'll be part of it until the end.