Return to White Hart Lane
The last time I went to White Hart Lane to see Spurs play was when my two eldest children were perhaps eight and seven. I spoke to the younger today and he didn’t remember, and as I can’t recall who Spurs played that day, it must have been a truly memorable match.
Last night, as I was in London, I decided to get a ticket for the FA Cup replay against Bolton. I deliberately chose to sit in Block D of the upper deck of the East Stand, as that was where my father used to take me as a child.
I can remember a few matches from those years in the mid-50s, but one in particular stands out. It was against Newcastle, for whom the formidable Jackie Milburn was playing up front. The first half was very one-sided with Spurs being completely outplayed and if it hadn’t been for the heroic goalkeeping of Ted Ditchburn, the match would have been all over. He was so dominant, that Milburn actually missed a penalty. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of good goalkeepers, but never a display to match. In the end Spurs got their act together and won 3-1.
Little has changed in that East Stand over those fifty and more years. The views are still good, as they would be because the stand was designed by Archibald Leitch. In fact, they have probably improved, as the roof has been remodelled. But the stairs are still the same as as this picture of the back of the stand shows, it’s still as it was built well before the Second World War.
I can remember queueing behind that stand to get tickets for European matches in the early 1960s.
Those were the days for Spurs.
I probably went and stood in the bottom of the East Stand about fifty times.
I’d usually cycle from where I lived at Cockfosters and park my bike at a garage near by, for a charge of a shilling or so. I remember, I could usually get home quicker than someone who braved the horrendous jams in a car. Sometimes though I’d take a bus to Enfield Town and then take the train to White Hart Lane. That was great fun, in that to avoid the bus queues coming home you’d alight from the train at your fastest running speed, so that you overtook everyone as the train slowed. The joys of slam doors.
I saw the famous double side of 1960-61; Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Jones, White, Smith, Allen and Dyson, Jimmy Greaves in his pomp, the antics of Tommy Harmer, the emergence of Pat Jennings, as after that one performance of Ditchburn, the best and most consistent goalkeeper I’ve ever seen, Terry Venables, who we always slagged off for some reason, Ron Henry’s only goal against Manchester United and many other great players and incidents of the 1960s.
Those truly were the days for Spurs.
And to complete a good evening Spurs won by four goals to nil.