We knew it was coming all season. With every visit to the Lane, the new stadium rapidly grew faster and faster next door. It hadn’t dawned upon me for so long just how difficult it would be to wave goodbye to this place once and for all. A place which many of us call our home; our real home. A place where we grew up watching the team and players we passionately adore. A place where we were given memories to cherish for a lifetime.
A place that very soon will cease to exist.
As I sit typing this, I’m dreading the arrival of the 14th. I prefer to refer to tomorrow by the date instead of simply saying ‘tomorrow’ because it helps me believe it’s a little further away than how agonisingly close it actually is. Sitting by the clock and knowing that in under 48 hours’ time, the construction workers will move into our home and start knocking it down – it’s a soul crushing feeling.
The good news out of this, I guess, is that we’re only moving next door and not miles away from where our original roots are. And as much as I say that to cheer me up, nothing will ever be more of a ‘home’ to me than White Hart Lane has been – at least not for a very, very long time.
I still remember the sheer excitement of visiting the Lane for the first time – jumping out of bed at quarter past seven on a Saturday morning, putting on the famous Lilywhite colours and rushing to my parents’ bedroom to wake my dad up; only for him to remind me that we had eight hours left before the game. That dampened the mood down just a little bit!
The tingling feeling of walking through the turnstiles in the South Stand, shoving my way through a crowd of Spurs fans with a firm grip on my dad’s hand just in case I got lost in the concourse, before finally running up the stairs leading into the stands and embracing the beautiful turf for the first time in my life – an indescribable moment.
I must have spent at least ten minutes in complete awe of my new surroundings. The pre-match atmosphere took a while to soak completely in. This place certainly felt a lot like home straight away. A cry of ‘Come on you Spurs!’ was echoed from all corners of the ground as the game kicked off.
And since then, I was hooked right in.
As a relatively younger supporter, it feels extremely tough to even contemplate the idea of White Hart Lane being completely destroyed in the coming weeks and months; therefore I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating it must feel for supporters who have been regularly visiting for decades.
As much as I’m dreading that final goodbye, the future does bring a lot of excitement in itself. The new stadium will hold more than 60,000 fans under one roof and 17,000 in a single stand. The fact that it will also be built on top of our current home helps a lot in making me feel that White Hart Lane will always be there with us in spirit – rather than having it completely torn down just to build a bunch of flats over it.
Whether Spurs are playing down at the Lane, Wembley or anywhere else in the country, we will follow them wherever they go. We did so then, we do it today and we’ll do it tomorrow.
Long live Tottenham Hotspur.
Long live White Hart Lane.