The game against Manchester United today (Sunday) marks the last time that Spurs will ever play at the old White Hart Lane ground. Demolition begins on Monday and by this time next year the new, ultra modern stadium that will replace the Lane and be erected on its footprint, will be close to completion. An era in English soccer is truly coming to a close, as well as a chapter in my own life.
To mark the occasion here is video of one of the first Spurs v Utd games that I watched as a schoolboy. But it wasn’t the first. That was a game in which a spindly-legged youngster from Belfast called George Best played on the right wing for Utd. I think he was just seventeen at the time but it was obvious that this was a kid with huge talent.
Little did I know how big a part Best’s home town would play in my later life.
I watched that game from the boys section but by 1965 I had been given a season ticket as a gift by my father and sat in comfort in the awkwardly-named stand. The seat was fine but the problem was that whenever the action got hot and heavy people would stand and my view would be blocked. I think I preferred the boys section.
The memory of the 1965 game is imprinted on my brain by virtue of a wonderful solo goal scored by Jimmy Greaves, who sadly these days is a very ill man. Spurs thrashed the Red Devils by five goals to one and that was a time when United had Charlton, Best and Law playing for them.
That time I saw the whole goal action and I don’t think there was a soul there that day who did not know they had just seen something beyond special.