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Back in time down White Hart Lane

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 1 As a child I drew crowds; row upon row,
fifteen thousand little circles for the fans,
some high in the stands, some arrayed on the Shelf
cradled by that tight encircling wall
(I’m capturing White Hart Lane
at the start of the Hunter Davies years)
the groundlings penned behind a white perimeter fence,
watching Bobby Smith, Maurice Norman, Greavsie and Cliff Jones.
Now look up, see what Archibald Leitch has designed,
Like the gondola on a Zeppelin, a long white press-box
Above it a clock
And on that a ball
Then a cock
Then a sky,
No whiter than a Tottenham Hotspur shirt

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 I tried to go back in the Nineties; the old East Stand had gone
Someone was banging an anti-semitic drum
(ironically I suppose)
Not sure I like this, to be frank.
Maybe this is Spurs’ way of getting their masochism in first
“Always equalise before the opposition score”
and I can’t help thinking
If Sigmund Freud ever wandered up the Seven Sisters Road
From Hampstead
He’d have a field day

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 But the Spurs go marching on, they do
To a new home and a new Lane
So there’s my prosaic bit of doggerel
(Hang on to the ball for me, and don’t forget the cockerel)

4

Notes

The Shelf was the second tier of the old East Stand.
The “Hunter Davies years” were the Nineteen Sixties. Hunter Davies wrote about the Spurs and about pop stars, focusing on the glamour of the age.
The East Stand at Tottenham was probably the last of Archibald Leitch’s great designs. His roof-top press-box echoed the ones at Ibrox Park and Hampden.
The ball and cockerel motif is thought to be an oblique reference to Harry Hotspur.
Debate surrounds the habit of Spurs fans referring to themselves as Y*ds. David Baddiel is the latest high-profile football-lover to condemn this.
“Always try to equalise before the opposition score” was a phrase of the Irishman Danny Blanchflower, who captained Spurs and N.Ireland through their greatest years.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/back-in-time-down-white-hart-lane/