In every match at White Hart Lane, regardless of the score, hundreds of Tottenham supporters vacate their seats and head for the exits to make an early departure. Why? In the last three matches, anyone who has left early has missed crucial match turning goals. With anything up to fifteen minutes to play, home spectators start to drift away from the match without knowing the final result which after all is what is most important about the game be it a Premier League match or a Cup tie.
Supporters at every club do it, it’s not just at Tottenham. But why, having paid an exorbitant amount of money to be there, is it so important to leave early? I know all about the traffic congestion around the Tottenham area and could understand an early departure if the result was a foregone conclusion and the players were going through the motions. But when the result is in the balance and could go either way, why leave early? It doesn’t make sense to me.
I have been to four matches at White Hart Lane this season and in every one of them, the result was uncertain right up to the final whistle. In the opening two matches against West Brom and Norwich, the visitors equalised late on to earn a point and Spurs were holding on to a point. Against Liverpool, Spurs had to withstand a second half assault from the visitors to take the three points and last Thursday, Gareth Bale completed the evening with his second goal from a free-kick to overcome Lyon. For me there is nothing better than leaving White Hart Lane to the sound of ‘Glory, Glory, Hallelujah’ resounding around the ground from the public address system.
They Regretted Leaving Early
Liverpool fans who left at half-time in the Champions League Final against AC Milan with their team losing by three goals must still regret that decision. Tottenham fans who left the San Siro stadium with Inter four goals to the good in the Champions League match missed Bale’s fantastic hat-trick and a fighting Tottenham recovery which set them up for the return game at White Hart Lane. Any fans who left Upton Park in 2007 in the 85th minute as West Ham went 3 – 2 ahead, missed Dimitar Berbatov’s excellent free-kick and Paul Staltetri’s late, late winner. The Spurs supporters who left the Emirates in 2008 when Arsenal were 4 – 2 ahead missed a late fightback and the chance to celebrate a point in a remarkable 4 – 4 draw as Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon scored two late goals in a minute. The Everton fans who left Goodison Park early last December must be kicking themselves as the match turned from certain defeat to victory in 88 seconds with two added time goals. For this one, many Spurs fans must have regretted staying for the final whistle.
The list of late goals which changed matches is endless but still supporters leave early.
Recent Matches at Tottenham
A point earning goal by Clint Dempsey late in added time deprived Manchester United of a win at White Hart Lane. Bale’s winning goal against Newcastle came with 12 minutes to play but the additional time was the most exciting period of the match with chances at both ends. Lyon were holding out for a draw in the first leg Europa League match until Bale’s crucial free-kick goal with the last kick of the match.
A Tottenham supporter, left White Hart Lane on Thursday evening with about eight minutes left, muttering loudly, that he’d had enough of watching Kyle Walker. That irked me at the time, but Bale having struck home his second stunning free-kick, I thought it serves that man right for leaving early!
For me, a trip to White Hart Lane frequently requires a 5am start and after the match a mad scramble to one of the London airports to make my flight back to Belfast. In over twenty years of going to White Hart Lane, I’ve never left early, even when London Transport make my travel arrangements even more difficult by frequently closing the Victoria line when Spurs are at home.
Over To You!
Why do Tottenham fans leave White Hart Lane before the final whistle?