It's working

theboyhotspur.com published an article last night about the atmosphere at White Hart Lane and the 1882 movement. I indirectly responded on Twitter where discussion was had by a fair few Spurs supporters. I mostly talked about the ethos of 1882. I didn't directly cite HH's article. Had no plans to do so. If I got into the habit of commentating on every article out there I'd never sleep.

Having actually slept, I've woken up this morning and decided that I will look through his article in detail and respond. There's a valid point or two made, although the assumption that 1882 is somehow the solution to the problem of the modern match day experience is a little misplaced.

I think HH got what he wanted. A little bit of exposure, a little bit of traffic. As a general observation, in the past, comments made by him relating to both 1882 and The Fighting Cock have been of a disparaging nature. So I'm holding back from kissing the old man on the lips with jubilation of his new founded (tenuous) support of what 1882 is all about.

There's also a patronising flow to the article which is simply a by-product of his style of writing. However, it's produced debate so kudos for the diplomacy and common sense, even though it's completely of character for him (and the timing, what with the U21 game at Underhill not that far off, a little suspect).

Below is the article and my comments.

The 1882 movement has been praised for making an effort, giving it a go. If this project was a Spurs player, it would be Bonzo. Lots of heart, lots of well meaning, but it’s never going to achieve what you might like it to.

> Opening paragraph and there's a clumsy injection of his patronising trademark to kick it off thanks to the disdain he likes to display towards Kyle Walker (Bonzo). 1882 has already worked. When you managed to get over 200 Tottenham supporters to travel to Charlton away in the FA Youth Cup and sing all the way there, all through the 90 minutes of the game, lose the game and then sing all the way home...we've achieved what we set out to do. If you don't know anything about 1882, this is our ethos:

"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.

We don't claim to be better than other supporters and we're not trying to segregate our fans. We simply want to make noise and get behind the team, which hopefully creates a more enjoyable match-day experience"

The idea was to give the youth team a slice of the match day experience the first team are usually blessed with. The irony isn't lost on any of us that at the moment, that first team experience is hardly something to shout about.

Why am I having a pop?! Well I’m not. Simply pointing out to anyone that blindly calling this ‘commendable’ that it isn’t, because it won’t achieve anything, the way things stand.

> People aren't blindly calling it anything other than what it is. The fact we've made an impact at all the youth games is testament to the supporters at Spurs (mostly littered around WHL on any given Saturday/Sunday) that want to come together to be able to unify with like minded supporters and sing and chant. Like I said, it's already achieved something. The fact it exists and it's thriving as an ethos should not be dismissed or discounted because it doesn't fit the other perspective that the HH article is truly about (the atmosphere and the problems within WHL itself - the responsibility of the majority).

There seems to be a depressing element in our tribe that believe we Spurs fans all ought to get on fabulously, be the best of pals. Hug, agree. Maybe cohabit. Why on earth would that be the case? Most people, irrespective of which football club they support are complete idiots. Mindless scum to be avoided at all costs by those on pursuit of a remotely pleasant life.

> Not sure what this is meant to mean. Sure, there's an element with every fanbase that conflicts with other parts of itself. However, we all have something in common: THFC. Just that the reality is, everyone is for the most part an individual and will see fit to support Spurs in their own way. There is still that powerful pull of unity that can bring us all together as a collective. These days it's a very selective process when that chooses to happen.

Am I deranged? Well, spend 20 minutes on Facebook and get back to me. Why would supporting the same football team bridge such gaping divides? Who did Fred West support? Answer: You are out of your mind for even posing the question.
So I’m not a crazy antagonist. I’m simply being honest about a situation.

> Well, yes, you are an antagonist mostly based on the fact you like to semi-troll, belittle and generally shout over people when sharing your views. That's your persona. You are being honest about a situation, but you're seeing it through your own personal viewpoint to aid your agenda further (no different to what I'm probably doing now).

The 1882 plan, unless I have misread their mission statement here is to make some positive noise and try to right the wrong of The frequently abysmal atmosphere at The Lane. A great plan. Sadly, they are taking on too much.

> Like I said, 1882 is about youth team support. We have tried to galvanise home support and I don't think anyone involved (Fighting Cock or otherwise) is fooled into believing we can change it. So by the nature of that we haven't failed or taken on too much. It's really important to understand a few things here. Firstly, with the home games we've attended at the Lane, in many ways it was experimental, but mostly the same set of supporters wanting that same 'youth game' experience but at a first team match.

It's utterly insane that we - as Spurs fans - have to even consider mobilising a group of fans to be located in the same block to make noise. I think that proves just how much more comfortable people are just sitting at the Lane and not seeking to create atmosphere. The Maribor Europa League game (where 1882 we're allocated a block in the East Stand) was a success. But one that also highlighted the complete lack of being bothered elsewhere in the ground. Even the Park Lane regulars looked up disgruntled with an attitude of 'who the **** are they?' questioning why a block in the upper East Stand was suddenly vocal. Most present in that block usually spend home games in the Park Lane. Another sad indictment that supporters have to leave their seasoned seat to find a voice elsewhere. Others in the East Stand weren't impressed to see a group of fans constantly singing in what is usually a quiet corner of the ground. Creature comforts rule.

Other first team home games have not been successful, thanks to the dilution of the people that have bought tickets in a block 'unofficially' allocated to 1882. I guess we're still figuring out what works and what doesn't. But there is no doubting that for sheer escapism, away from the pressures and stress of the first team experience, 1882 is a success. For something this pure and untainted, you have to seek it out in games where the pressures that come with the league don't exist. Another trait of the modern game.

The 1882 lads have, I understand, a dialogue with the club, but it is one that is clearly weighted, in one direction. For minor fixtures that are either free to attend and/or unburdened by much if any consumer demand; they are ‘given’ that which has no perceived value, by the Club. That’s not a reflection on 1882, but on THFC, and the limited room for manoeuvre they’ve left themselves.

> The dialogue with the club is essential if we're going to be turning up to games with 100, 200 + supporters. Aside from ticketing and policing and the usual health and safety reasons, it's in the best interests of us and the club that there is communication. The NextGen game at home to Barca was the perfect example as the club gave us two blocks to sing in so that we were all grouped together and didn't upset those that wanted to turn up and just sit and watch (which is the usual youth game experience). With the away games (like the one at Underhill next week), it would be naive for us to just turn up without warning all involved first.

In terms of first team games, only European matches allow for any genuine room for manoeuvre because of the way tickets are sold/allocated. The club can't do much for the league games for obvious reasons. They can do more? They'll only now what more constitutes by listening to us or the Supporters Trust because they're unlikely to use our blogs as a means to gauge change.

The atmosphere issue is a massive, nasty mountain to climb. It is a mountain of many faces, all of them bloody treacherous and unwelcoming. The list of excuses – and they are excuses, nothing more - by those seeking to defend the atmosphere is lengthy. The sitting down doesn’t help, and the ticket prices are insane, and players need to work harder… eighty grand a week and so and so can’t even cross a ball?
These aren’t excuses? Oh, then other teams must have different seats, different ticket prices and different players on eighty grand a week who can’t cross a ball.
The answer when faced with such a morass of niggles is not to negotiate, not to pander, you may as well offer up a prayer. When faced with a mountain so riddled with woes, complications and stubborness, you have only one choice. You blow the bloody thing up.
To paraphrase the softly spoken words of Curtis Lee May, you bomb it back to the stone age. I’m talking about breaking the cycle of support, by the way, not liberally splashing Semtex about the gaff.
When the new stadium comes, and it is coming, I propose that all existing season ticket holders and members are excluded from the initial distribution of seats. One, this will send out a clear message that any supposed hierarchy among supporters has been disposed of. And two, it will provide said long standing heros with a moment to ponder if they really want to carry on wasting a seat.
Then, once the fresh blood is in, the remaining seats will be offered on a first come, first served basis to those who haven’t been so hurt or damaged by a process primarily designed to liven up match days, opposed to fawn over those who believe they have mystical rights based upon years of devoted groaning, tutting and tsking.
The need of the many outweighs that of the few. Captain Kirk said that. All I hear from those defending the atmosphere is excuses. Frequently from people who expect to be thanked for attending games. Those that attend live games are the few, so it’s vital we sell seats to people who are going to be useful in them.

> Not a bad idea. There was an idea somewhere in there, right? It's very unlikely to happen. More likely that blocks of season ticket holders will get the opportunity to select where to be seated in the new stadium. Considering that Daniel Levy - way way back - cited how the new ground design would be 'old school' in many ways (close to the pitch, less of a traditional arena and more of a upgrade to what we have) then you expect some middle ground to be reached. 'The Wall' styled tier end that got many of us salivating is something that should be embraced by fans and the club. I'm hardly expecting anything akin to what we see in German football, mostly because of how football is policed in this country (safe standing is a dream) and the fans are far less emotive than the ones on the continent. It's not just the case that we are not to be trusted over here but also because so much of the football paraphernalia they enjoy is perceived as silly by many fans and unacceptable by clubs/police.

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As for those defending the atmosphere, not sure who you are aiming the criticism towards. There are plenty scattered around the Lane that want to sing and want to retain positivity but find themselves isolated. I guess you must be referencing the ones that defend their right to be bemoan everything and anything and boo and generally complain non-stop. The consumers, not the supporters. But we all know they're the reason the atmosphere has degraded since the (depressing) 90s when we still sang through into the Jol era which was the hedonistic height before this sense of entitlement, this desire for success has burdened us and silenced our collective voice. Too nervous, it seems, to enjoy the experience.

Yesterday, one of the Fighting Cock chaps actually asked me on Twitter, when was the last time you were at a home game to try and make it better? Genuine question.This is soooo missing the point. I want lots of things to change in the world. But this really suggests I’m complicit if I don’t get off my arse, buy a ticket and whoop and holler for 95 minutes myself.

> The person who asked you that question isn't on the podcast. But he's an 1882 regular and a loveable melt. I think perhaps his sentiment with the question was more to do with the fact that although you can tell an awful lot from listening in on a television or internet stream, for the most part, you truly gauge atmosphere by actually being in the ground. This isn't about persecuting people who can't get to games and suggesting they have no right to comment. So don't beat yourself up about it. For the most part, I'm exiled too. Season ticket holders do take it all for granted (some of them do) but they don't all see themselves as being better, superior supporters. Although some do need to appreciate the privilege of being able to go to every game a little more than they do currently.

Hold up, so I actively supported the Gulf War because I never marched against it? You’re saying I condone carbon footprints because I’m a frequent flyer? You’re not the guy who wondered who Fred West supported, are you?

> You made your point already guv. No need for another Fred West mention.

To ask anyone why they aren’t making a difference is completely daft. You see the most enthusiastic fan approach the turnstiles and as he squeezes through, it’s like someone hits a secret mute button. We need to break the cycle of lousy support.

> Again, plenty go to Spurs with the intention of being loud. Look at the pubs before the games and how pumped up supporters are. That mute button is the consequence of a vast majority of supporters behaving exactly how they've been conditioned to behave because they've accepted this gradual decline in escaping at a football match to simply being there to view it like a day out at the cinema.

When we play certain teams, everyone is up on their feet, creating electricity through out the ground. So that collective is capable of waking from deep sleep, when it chooses to do so. Like I mentioned earlier, it's selective. I'm also tired of hearing how it's up to the team to entertain us so that we're inspired to sing and make noise. Utter bullsh*t. We are Tottenham. We can't define ourselves based on one game to the next. Spurs, good or bad, will always be present and as supporters we'll always follow. That sense of belonging has sadly been forgotten about.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the game if you're rationalising and defending why it's okay for you to turn up and be negative as a default emotion, not get involved and simply boo and show disgruntlement when things are not going your way (i.e. winning).

Is 1882 commendable? Well it’s nice. It’s chummy. It’s bringing light, love and who knows maybe some joy to otherwise quite nights of U21 football. But it is irrelevant to the Premier League and to the games that really count. Don’t get me wrong, their heart is in the right place and I promise that I’m not mocking, just pointing out the cold reality that the problem is too big, hoping that the goodwill, the buzz created in say Underhill might somehow transmit itself to a first team match day experience at The Lane, is ridiculous. It’s never going to happen.
The only answer, is to bin the existing seat wasters en masse and replace them with fresh meat.

> So I guess the above - although still a touch patronising - is better than the usual self-serving belittling we've had bestowed on us by HH in the past. 1882 is not commendable. We don't need to have our heads patted and given a lollipop for our endeavours. It's organic. It's exactly how supporters behaved during the Jol era. We're not trying to be something different. We're simply removing those constraints that appear to have anchored so many to their seats. Of course our hearts are in the right place. We're being the exact opposite of the type of supporters you are mocking and by doing so we're just being ourselves.

Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) beautifully stated how 1882 is the antidote to the atmosphere at the Lane. We are not the solution. We're not trying to be the solution. In fact, it would be a tad patronising to expect us to teach people what they already know; how to support their club. Maybe, in a very subtle way, we can inspire them to be more involved. Remind them that it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom.

To be honest, I fear for the kids, the next generation of Spurs fans going to games now and being surrounded by people that tell you to sit down and shut up. If 1882 gives supporters of all ages a chance to be completely free - then that is good enough for me. Only other escapism is a first team away game which is for the most part no different to any 1882 game. Aside from the obvious pressures of a first team away game - but the hardcore will always retain a sense of belonging, and sing their hearts out no matter the occasion.

If 1882 grows in numbers and suddenly we have 500/600 or more wanting to turn up for youth game, by the very nature of its growth - the club might have to seriously consider allocating us blocks on a permanent basis. Perhaps not at the Lane but in the new stadium. There's been some grand ideas by some fans. Mark Butcher (@Lustdoctor) mentioned on involving a standing area where ticket prices were cheaper and allowed for a young generation to take their place in the new stadium. Encourage the traditional supporting ethics that are lost on so many.

It's better to be in a position where someone might listen than to be in one where you're talking to yourself. Spurs do a lot of community work and I would like to see them treat us - the common supporters - as the community it deserves to be. And not just be another client reference number, easily replaceable by another name. After all, we - the fans - are supposedly meant to be the blood that pumps through the veins of the club.

Still, nobody is thinking that far ahead. There's no roadmap, no planning long term. In fact everything The Fighting Cock and 1882 has done has been just that, natural and organic. There are no agendas or attempts to gain some form of power or influence other than sharing full transparency of what we want to do.

If anything, the support within WHL at first team games needs to find its voice in pretty much the same way for it to truly mean something tangible.

What I would like to see, is this initiative embraced fully by Levy & Co. before the doors to the ‘Your Naming Rights Here Bowl’ opens its doors. The 1882 lads have clearly got guts and the wit about them to galvanize a vibrant sector of of of our support. My belief is any bodies they lose when faced with having to pay Premier League Cat A & B prices will be replaced by keen newbies to their number who want to be in the thick of the noise.

> Again, one step at the time. There was nothing like 1882 before it came along. It came along because supporters were disillusioned. In an ideal world, we wouldn't need to tag youth games or the odd home game with 1882. But we've had to do that. If it does continue to grow it might disappear because the rest of the Lane wakes up and the atmosphere is buzzing no matter the opposing side. I can't predict the future. The fact there is dialogue with the club should not be ignored. It's a start. It wasn't there before (aside from Trusts etc). It is now.

If Levy & Co. as sharp as I believe they are, then embracing this mob would be a distinctly clever move. The Spurs Supporters Trust seems to me to be as much fun and as useful as a paper cut. Fans don’t need agendas, or delude themselves into believing they are somehow working in tandem with a privately owned commercial enterprise. Just chuck out the chaff and get the new gaff rocking. What isn’t up for debate is this: we cannot have players referencing our home atmosphere in the press, ever again.

> Regarding 1882/The Fighting Cock - I think most people do not delude themselves by ignoring the hard realities of the way football is run. We work closely with the Football Supporters Federation also because in the grand scheme of things, it appears the only way to move forward is by raising awareness. I'm willing to bet most people at White Hart Lane don't have a clue what 1882 is. I'm also willing to bet nobody, players included, would care if everyone inside the ground was lifting their hands up and finger dancing to the tune of 'Ohh when the Spurs'.

Onwards.

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http://www.thefightingcock.co.uk/tag/1882/

1882 - Arsenal v Spurs, Underhill - http://www.thefightingcock.co.uk/2013/03/1882-u21-premier-league-arsenal-v-tottenham-announcement/