Our big ticket item for Sunday was going to see a Tottenham Hotspurs FC game at White Hart Lane in Tottenham.
We began the lovely, sun-shiney day, however, with a stroll through Kensington Garden to the Prince Albert Memorial (which Bret kept telling me was a statue of Buddha). We ran into a pair of feral rose-ringed parakeets en route. I think it is interesting that when the King gets married, his wife becomes the Queen, but when a Queen gets married, her husband is a Prince Consort. The memorial, which is just across the street from the Royal Albert Hall is pretty spectacular.
We strolled on to the other side of Hyde Park and jumped on a tube. We made a quick detour for part 1 of Bret’s trip down memory lane and dropped by the Generator hostel, where he spent the first week of a six month stint in London 14 years ago, then passed by the Burger King around the corner he used to frequent.
We also caught a glimpse of the rival team’s (Southampton) bus.
And so it was time to make our way to White Hart Lane!!
We had planned to take the tube to Tottenham Hale station, but we were serenaded by young, Southampton supporters on the train (and exchanged supportive glances with fellow Spurs supporters), so we decided that we were probably heading to the same place as them and jumped off the tube when they did. It was a decent walk from the tube station to the stadium, so we got a good feeling for the neighborhood. Tottenham is a municipal borough of London, about eight miles northeast of the city center. Tottenham has been around for over a thousand years. In the late 1870s, the area was transformed from a semi-rural recreational area for upper class Londoners to a middle/ working class neighborhood because of an influx of cheap housing and transportation into London (the train). Currently, it has a multicultural demographic. We saw more ethnic diversity on our walk to the stadium than we have seen on our journey so far (or around Corvallis).
The Spurs started playing football in 1882 and have been on location at White Hart Lane since 1899. There is controversy over the fan’s use of “Yid Army” to identify their support for the Spurs. Originally, Spurs supporters were subjected to anti-Semitic slurs because of the large contingent of Jewish supporters. They fought back by adopting “Yid” as a chant to diffuse the insulting nature of the name calling. Now, they are reluctant to let go of the chant, although there are fewer Jewish supporters and currently many find the chant insulting (the English Football Association, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and the Association of Black Lawyers have called for a ban on the chant). It is an interesting cycle.
It was also really interesting to walk from a very ethnically diverse neighborhood into the White Hart Lane game day zone. Not a lot of diversity there, but a lot of white men… occasionally a girlfriend or wife (Myself included, I suppose…I estimated the male: female ratio at 9:1 and Bret estimated it at 4:1). There were a lot of father/ son combos too, but I only saw two little girls. It made me a little sad.
Anyway, we were there to support our team, so we got our beanies and scarves and found our seats.
Things were not looking good for the Spurs. Southampton scored 2 goals early in the first half. This might be one of them:
The Southampton supporters were drowning the home team supporters with cheers and chants. It was almost getting embarrassing. The Spurs came back though with a goal just before half time. I think that livened the crowd a bit and the second half started with some loud cheers and another home team goal! The rest of the half went back and forth with no more goals until 1 minute into 4 minutes of stoppage time. The Spurs made a glorious comeback and their fans let the other team know. This was the chant after the winning goal (video is from a different game though and strong language warning).
It was pretty exciting 🙂
After the game we shuffled with the rest of the crowd back to the tube and headed to Leicester Square for a stroll and Chinatown for dinner.
And, of course, we stopped for a pint at the local pub near our hotel, The Stewart’s Arm, where we got to hear an interesting (and by interesting, I mean barely recognizable) version of “Wagon Wheel,” a song that always brings us back to our wedding 🙂