At The Lane: A Personal Report On Andre Villas-Boas Last Day At Tottenham


Meeting Ledley King [Photo: Alan Hill]A Personal Report from Sunday

I had a wonderful day apart from one thing which I will reveal at the end of this blog. Something tells me you will guess what it was.
I witnessed a great Spurs team at the match at White Hart Lane, performing at the top of their game with some real individual stars. Daniel Levy should be proud of them. Really. I am talking about the guys and gals in the stewards and security and door team in the West Stand. They have a difficult job and – it’s no fun on a wet and windy day like Sunday. They were friendly and could not be more helpful. We showed up at noon after a 2.5 hour drive from Bournemouth. They greeted us with a smile and on production of my season ticket and blue badge directed us to one of the two remaining disabled spaces just inside the Bill Nicholson gates.

As soon as we had parked, Janet the Lady in the White Bib came over and was going out of her way to see if there was anything she could do to make life a bit easier for us. She told us she was the sister of Shirley the disabilities officer at WHL and whilst she chatted with my mate Steve another steward (Alan I think) was doing a sterling job of backing the last arrival’s car into the remaining space as a favour. That’s dedication and customer care for you. Spurs players please note.

In response to our request of where we could get a fry up close by another one of the stewards gave us a recommendation for a greasy spoon a few doors into Park Lane; Jack’s Café. More of that later.

[Photo: Alan Hill]Ledley

We stopped off at the Spurs shop on the way to the café. It wasn’t filled to bursting yet as it was so early and I was able to browse, pick up a Spurs rain jacket and some presents and then – one of those strokes of luck. On the way out the exit was roped off and had been turned into a little foyer. Why? Because right there sitting behind a desk was Ledley King signing copies of his autobiography.

He is one of my top Spurs heroes. Right up there with Jimmy Greaves. They say don’t ever meet your heroes because you’ll be disappointed. Well I wasn’t. He was a real gent, signed a book for me and one for my nephew. Being early, I had him to myself. We had a brief chat and I thanked him for his long service to Spurs. He shook my hand and even posed for a few pics. I had a job finding one where I don’t have this big silly schoolgirl grin plastered across my face.

My mate held up his mobile and said, “Say cheese”. I said “Boll*cks” and we all burst out laughing.  I am not an autograph hunter/celebrity botherer but the girl in the shop who sold me the book had said “would you like Ledley to sign it?” I just couldn’t resist.

I was so lucky when I passed by an hour later on the way back from the café they were queuing around the block, 4 deep.

We then went round the corner and had a great fry up in Jack’s Café. A decent Greasy spoon is one of life’s great pleasures and Jack’s is right up there with the best. £6.20 for a standard breakfast. Choice of chips or beans or customise if you like. Includes tea of coffee and two slices of buttered bread. Served with a smile. Toilets were clean with a choice of three different pump soaps. Really set us up for the rest of the day. There. Now I am a food critic. Giles Coren eat your heart out.

We strolled back the short walk to the car watched some luminaries arrive, David Ginola, Fabio Capello, Steffen Freund greeting friends and then went in for the game and was able to sit in my own season ticket seat for the first time. I’d had to sit elsewhere previously as it took a while to enable it.

Season ticket holder, Alan, in West Stand Lower (of TV fame) [Photo: Alan Hill]Oh yes, that was the other star of the Spurs team that day. A certain gentleman called Cliff Jones was interviewed at the side of the pitch after recently being inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Tottenham Legend Cliff Jones [Photo: Alan Hill]Erm…and that’s when it all went wrong. On the pitch. That’s the one thing I mentioned at the start of the blog. The game kicked off.  The actual footballers’ performance was rubbish. You know what happened next, so why spoil a nice story? See my Match of Shame blog and Logan’s match report for that.

The traffic always has been a nightmare getting away from WHL. You know that, are prepared for it and just stay patient. Unfortunately the journey back in the dark was in torrential rain. Invisible surface water in several places which shook the car like a rag. Lucky not to aquaplane but we made it home safely in time for MOTD thanks to great driving from big Welsh Steve.  Received a text from Logan saying I was on the tele! Here I am with my pal the linesman. I was being polite. Honest. Phew what a day!

At the Lane [Photo: Alan Hill]