The season long tribute to White Hart Lane draws to a close with the last game scheduled for this weekend. Over the last year we have saluted its vital contribution to the clubs success since we moved to the ground in 1899. This last collection of tales and images, some at least I hope will be new to you, there are some more fan memories and another legends thoughts as well as we go down The Lane.
We start with this tale for those of you who have experienced the catering at The Lane over the years with a story from Sporting Life in 1903.
That Christmas Day was a 3-3 draw with Portsmouth in a top of the table clash in the Southern League which drew 23,000 by far the largest League gate of the season.
A few comments from fellow fans - One recalled half time on the Shelf and squeezing along to be at the end Spurs were attacking whilst another recalled not having anything to drink after lunch as if you needed to go to the toilet you would never get back your place. Another recalls being shown the house as a young lad where his grandfather used to pay to leave his bike having cycled to the ground.
Another Leitch (1) innovation when he designed the West Stand was that he included a ‘player’s tunnel’ well separate gate. This allowed the players to enter the field without contact with the fans.
A welcome move after various previous incidents when fans had vented their displeasure at visitors and officials and the club had found itself in trouble with the FA.
A story I mentioned long ago (2) of walking back to Northumberland Park station after a game and people emerging out of their houses to ask how the match went.
The Express on the Sunderland cup tie 1961 ‘the actual figure for the game will never be known as people climbed the gates. Then of the spurs ‘the icy arrogance of a team that knows its destiny is greatness. At the end of the game the fans invaded the pitch to celebrate.’
We have heard from a number of legends during the year, today we turn to Cliff Jones on that same game, (3). Standing in the tunnel before the game “the noise was unbelievable. The old East Stand is looming up in front of us its tiers are packed and there are thousands more are outside the gates. The whole of Tottenham High Road is at a standstill ready to listen out for the oohs and aahs coming from inside.’
Meanwhile back on 1st February 1909 WHL hosted a game between The Household Brigade and the London FA. However one that got away was a mystery game that I haven’t tracked down, at some point (I think the 70’s) a team from Parliament made up of the Commons and Lords played a charity match at WHL against a Spurs side. I think this is what you would call a ground and staff team. If anyone recalls this, or indeed any games not included in this series or Lane Memories on social media do please contact me.
Lane trivia – Did you know of the London clubs only Fulham have played on the same site longer than Spurs, having been at Craven Cottage three years before Spurs moved from Northumberland Park.
No seat can be booked by telephone - how times change.
We mentioned how we acquired the site but to add to that it seems that when we approached Charrington’s they met with two of their Directors they put forward the proposal that instead of the Brewery going to the effort and expense of building houses on the land their match days would provide a steady clientele. The two Directors were split, a Mr. Collier like the idea, Mr. Sewell didn’t.
Finally the Brewery decided to give the idea a try but insisted on a covenant in the agreement that said the club would guarantee 1,000 spectators at first team games and 500 for the reserves. Its reported our party could hardly agree fast enough as they were attracting up to 4,000 just around the corner at Northumberland Park.
Right - Robert Baden-Powell opens the shooting range at WHL in the early days of World War 1.
Left - The East Stand going up, 1934.
Last word (March 2017) - Over the course of the season I’ve tried to thank the many people and sources that have contributed to this series and Lane Memories which has run on social media either with their own memories and pictures or simply for the wonderful comments, it certainly seems to have struck a few chords, anyone I’ve missed I hope you will forgive me.
I must add that putting this series together last summer my biggest fear was that other sites would pre-empt the best pictures and stories, especially as I tried spreading out my personal favourites across the year (at this point apart from a quick flip), I haven’t read the clubs official book in case it sent the series/me into meltdown, I think we have been ‘reasonably lucky’ on that score.
Someone said to me the other week before their own last visit to WHL of course the ground we grew up with has changed completely since our day. He was right the current ground is as different from the one we rushed to get ready at the end of the nineteenth century as today’s is from the one we will return to in August 2018. I look forward to my first game at the new stadium, and I understand the marketing peoples position, but to some of us it will always be 'The Lane'. I hope the cameras will show us the stands as the United game comes to an end. I have a suspicion my eyes might be a little moist, I will go further I doubt I will be alone.
Farewell old friend.
White Hart Lane - Then-Now-Forever
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Notes - 1 - http://www.indiaspurs. com/blog/hotspur-towers-archibald-leitch
2 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/white-hot-lane
Other Articles – featuring WHL - Echoing with Glory, The Hotspurs Ground, Percy Park, Champions Park, That Hallowed Turf, Under Fire, The Shelf, The White Harts Ground, Rowels Park, The High Street Ground, Gilpin Park, The Ring, The Edmonton End, The Marsh Lane End, The East Side and Hotspur Towers 58, 33 &5.
Talking Tottenham - At The Lane, White Hot Lane, Art of WHL, Hotspur Towers 50 - The Cockerel, Hotspur 46 - Ground Sharing, The German Game.
And our series - The Lane
These can all be found via - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-inside-lane
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