Supporting role: A Spurs fan shares his highlights and low points
In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, Crouch End’s Sean Kelly reveals his favourite player, his most memorable matches and his toughest moment following Tottenham.
FIRST GAME: Norwich at home in 1981 - we lost 3-2. I was seven years old. My main memory of the day was that the old West Stand was demolished.
WHY SPURS?: I was born and bred in Tottenham. My older sister’s boyfriend went to every game. I would have been kicked out of the house if I chose to support Arsenal!
FURTHEST AWAY TRIP: Newcastle away on the opening day of the 1988-89 season after a five-hour coach trip. It was Paul Gascoigne’s debut for Spurs against his old club. They pelted Gazza with rocks and Mars Bars throughout the game and their mood didn’t improve when we came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2!
FAVOURITE PLAYER: Glenn Hoddle – the most naturally gifted English player I have ever seen. His passing, movement and goals would draw gasps from the crowd. Just watch that famous goal when he chipped the keeper at Watford in the 80s. Magical.
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FAVOURITE MANAGER: Keith Burkinshaw - the first I remember and the most successful in my time supporting the club. He famously bowed out after winning the UEFA Cup in 1984 by declaring “There used to be a football club over there”. He saw the beginnings of football as a business and he was proved right.
BEST GAME: The FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Wembley in 1991. I will never forget the noise and celebrations when that Gazza free kick went in! No-one gave us a chance as Arsenal were so strong that season but we played fantastically well, winning the match 3-1. I’ve never experienced a better atmosphere in my life, it was such a incredible day. We then went on to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 in the final.
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HIGHLIGHT: Watching Spurs win the UEFA Cup in 1984 as a 10-year-old. It was arguably the hardest of all three European cups to win back then and we won 5-4 on penalties, with Tony Parks famously saving the last spot-kick. I watched it at home but could hear the noise of the crowd from my house. I’m gutted I wasn’t there that day.
WORST MEMORY: How long have you got…? Losing the League Cup final to Liverpool in 1982. We were 1-0 up with four minutes to go when they equalised, forcing extra-time and beating us 3-1. I was eight years old, in full replica kit, listening to the match on the radio. I cried my eyes out after that – it’s still a painful memory.
FUNNIEST MOMENT: The 1987 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. Watford had a goalkeeping crisis and had to sign a retired ex-pro called Gary Plumley, who worked in a pub. After 30 minutes Spurs were 3-0 up cruising. Cue mass chants of ‘You should’ve stayed at the wine bar’ from the Spurs fans for the rest of the game. The poor guy even laughed himself at one stage.
You can follow Sean on Twitter @CrouchEndSean
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