8.30am. Bounds Green. The Roots ‘The Fire’
45 hours! That’s how long I’ve been awake since getting up at 4am Wednesday morning to head to my cardio box class, waiting at Brisbane international airport then flights to Hong Kong, Helsinki then London then a tube to Arnos Grove from Heathrow.
However on Thursday night not long after arriving, I went out to White a Hart Lane to see Tottenham Hotspur take on Anji Makhachkala in the return leg tie of this Europa League final group fixture.
A European cup night was a special night to witness for my first trip to White Heart Lane in North London and there’s certainly a nice vibe to watching this live as opposed to being in my pj’s, eating my weetbix and watching these games live at 430am in Australia from my bed!
Over the past few months I’ve been networking through Twitter with various insiders in the UK sports business and one of those people has been the very knowledgable Antony Moule, a sports business student at a University in London. Antony shares my passion for fan engagement, marketing, digital media and event management particularly with a focus in football and rugby.
Antony and I met up at a pub near Liverpool St Station for a couple of pints to discuss our goals and dreams within the sports business as well as chat about our future predictions for this industry. I’ll post a transcript of our chat later on but for now here are some pics of the game.
We caught the mainline train from London Liverpool St to White Heart Lane station which was a quick 30 minute ride. Upon leaving the station and walking to the ground, the chants of ‘Yid Army’ filled the air but in a way which had less power behind people’s vocal chords, almost as if they were watching out for the Bill as soon as they said them.
I asked a few locals on the night as well as life long Tottenham supporter, Antony about this whole yid issue and whether it was really seen as a hate crime but everyone noted that it’s not intended to be said in an offensive way but more as a term of endearment as in ‘I’m Tottenham born and raised, I’m a Spurs fan, I’m a Yid! Yiddo etc’
The match day programme also makes a lot of mention of telling fans to stop persistent standing as well as refraining from abusive language and these racist and offensive religious chants.
In an Australian perspective, I think it’s important that these issues are addressed and education ramped up in the sports business in OZ because we are still a growing multicultural country. It’s been great to see how well received Soreti Jibrael was for being the first woman umpiring an AFL game while wearing her hijab. However on a negative side, just look at how Adam Goodes was racially abused last year as well by a young fan and then by radio jocks. It goes to show that old attitudes to racism, homophobia and religion are outdated in 2013 and can have no part to play in our society and as sport is such a huge part of society, it can also be a way to change perceptions and attitudes.
These are my thoughts anyway and I’m not having a dig at Spurs fans for using the yid word, more so just sharing my perspective as an outsider.
Anyway more on the game. As we made our way round the stadium to the easy stand it was apparent that it was going to be a big night here. We entered through the old turnstiles which were a tight squeeze and even though I have lost a lot of weight through boxing it was still very squishy!
I grabbed a programme for 3.50 quid and we took our seats. I will however say that I found it a bit odd on going to the men’s room that there were no taps or soap to wash your hands. I’m a bit of a clean freak but not too fussy but thought in this day and age with all the issues around bacteria and hygiene that taps would’ve been commonplace here in a major stadium.
The game turned out to be a cracker with Soldado scoring a hat trick of great goals and Andros Townsend looking absolutely dangerous on the left wing with his speed. An English World Cup starter for sure in my book. A 4-1 win to Spurs.
A nice walk back to the station after the game, quick tube to my digs and straight into a toasty bed to get some sleep finally after an epic journey to London.