An Eventful Day Out At Tottenham For The Liverpool Game


It was another eventful day out for Alan and Steve, as they drove from Bournemouth to Tottenham for last Sunday’s Premier League game against Liverpool at White Hart Lane.

An Eventual Day out at the Liverpool game

My wife was discharged from hospital too soon; on Bank Holiday Monday by an over eager young doctor. Consequently when she woke up at 2am last Friday with uncontrollable diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea, she was readmitted as an emergency. The contrite surgeon promised that this time they would keep her in until she was better. The silver lining to this particular cloud was that it meant that Big Welsh Steve could drive me up to the Liverpool game, content in the knowledge she was being looked after. Just like the previous weekend, the weather had changed overnight and we had 24 hours of bright sunshine for the journey.

Lost on the M25 – Almost!

We have completed the drive from Bournemouth to White Hart Lane and back several times in the past year without a problem, we even went to the QPR game only last week. That means that Steve knows the route like the back of his hand. Last year was the first time I had been in several years. Things had changed. London parking zones. No longer any free parking on the industrial estate on the west side of the High Road. This is why on Sunday we went wrong, sort of, twice.

Once on the way up and once on the way back. More of the way back later. It is several miles longer but we travel round the M25 and down the A10 rather than use the North Circular past Wembley. It’s because it’s easy, straightforward and you don’t have to think. No need to look for the exit until after you have passed South Mimms services. No need to think apart from when you get to the awkward dog leg-across the North circular through the industrial estate. Steve and I can talk the hind legs off a donkey and on those journeys we do, non-stop, like a couple of old dears. Any subject, you name it, we have an opinion and we talk about it, reminiscing about the 70s, football, music.

I guess that accounts for the fact that as we were in mid animated discussion, Steve suddenly pulled up an exit lane saying anxiously, “Whoa is this it?” Well, all the exit lanes along that section of the M25 look the same. I say, “I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention”. Steve says, nor was I, I relax once we get up here because you’re the Londoner and know the area”. “But you’re the driver, what about your sat nav?” “I turn that off once I get up here, the reception seems to go anyway”.

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By now we have reached the roundabout at the top of the slip lane. Steve, “This isn’t it is it? I think I’ve gone past it. Shall I take the exit to go back the way we came? I can’t remember if we need junction 10 or 11?” “Me neither. Don’t take the exit, keep going round the roundabout until my famous sense of direction kicks in. I’ve just got to wake up and get my bearings, my internal compass going…”

So we went round and round above the M25 at least three times until I said, “No, I think you came off too soon, re-join the motorway in the direction we were going”. “Are you sure, I think if we’ve gone past, it’s ages before we get another chance to double back”. “Oh well, it’s been a while since I saw Canterbury and Margate. Seriously take the exit I said. Don’t head back towards Heathrow.”

Jammily it turned out I had gambled correctly and the good old A10 turned out to be the exit after next. Just for a while there, we had been like Marty Feldman’s crazy coach tours, a comedy sketch older-stagers will remember with affection. As we joined the congestion of the run down the A10 it struck me that if we had taken the Northern exit at the previous roundabout we would have probably ended up at Gerrard’s cross.

The wrong Gerrard’s cross [Photo: Alan Hill]No, no. Not that Gerrard’s cross. That comes later…

Can’t get the staff these days…

Of course, even though we arrived at 11.30, the car park at the Bill Nicholson gates was already full, which meant that Steve had to abandon me propped up against the wall at the main entrance whilst he drove off to find a space and collect his StubHub ticket. This is where the always excellent stewards stepped in to help. Nick remembered me from the previous week and sent someone off to get me a comfy office chair from inside the ground and allowed me to sit by the programme seller out of the wind. It was a Godsend. Thanks Nick.

Monty Python

It reminded me off the Monty Python “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” sketch that they just resurrected at their O2 reunion shows.

He also got Shirley Osborne, the disability officer to come and explain to me the arrangements that can be put in place for storing collapsible wheelchairs should I reach the stage where I have to bring one to a game. So helpful.

Down to Earth with A Bump!

The game itself brought us all down to earth with a bump after last week. For me, the difference in class between Spurs and Liverpool was as deep as the one between Spurs and QPR last week. Liverpool were quicker all over the pitch, outplayed us at our own game and more incisive going forward. They were good value for their 3 – 0 win and although we missed a couple of gilt-edged chances, they could have scored more.

I managed to get a decent selection of snaps for use in our blogs and future stock footage.

Game Over, not a moment too soon, whilst it remained only 3 – 0. Disappointing result but we had a good time. Got to see Jan Molby being interviewed up close and the official Press photographers in action just in front of our front row seats.

Met up with my nephew at the gates after the game, who had got dispensation from his fiancée to break off from their wedding plans for a few hours. He joined Steve in helping me back to the car, as I had become exhausted following the cumulative effect of the trip and hospital visiting. Dammit. I so hate having to admit my weakness and dependence on others following the brain tumour and strokes.

On the way, Steve snapped the building site of the new ground and the already built Lilywhite House, the soon to be opened Tottenham University Technical College.

Tottenham University Technology College

Tottenham University Technology College

Lilywhite House [Tottenham UTC] and the site for the new ground [Photo: Steve Trott]The route out of the remote car park took us via the Bill Nicholson pub.

It’s a long Journey Home after a Defeat!

The Bill Nicholson Pub [Photo: Steve Trott]We had the usual struggle to drive any distance from the ground. Gridlock. Sadly it seems to be a matter of personal pride not to let you pull out from a side turning to join the queue. All aggression and impatience. It’s not big and it’s not clever. It’s so funny though to see (usually women) doing their lippy and using their ‘phones as they block your chances of joining their queue. It would be so much better for everyone in these situations if drivers showed each other the common courtesy of taking it in turns. It works in other parts of the country.

Then on the way up the A10 there was the guy in the Volkswagen who was drifting from kerb to white line and back as he had an animated discussion with his lady passenger, arms waving about as much as the car. He finally pulled out to the right, nearly stoving in the side of the car whose driver was minding his own business overtaking in the outside lane…

We nearly got as far as Winchester without further incident, listening to Arsenal on the radio failing to beat Burnley. Then we saw the queue. It was on the other side of the M3, heading back to London. Three lanes solid, hardly moving. I jokingly said, “Surely that’s not the front end of the queue leaving the Bournemouth Air Show?” It was though, that queue stretched the 70 miles all the way back to Ferndown! I felt so sorry for the poor so and sos joining it at the back end when we drove past them after our coffee stop an hour later.

As we saw the start of the queue we were surprised and couldn’t resist doing a bit of rubber necking. Unfortunately Steve was in the outside lane and drove straight past the exit for Winchester services where we had been looking forward to getting a cappuccino at Costa Coffee and something to eat. We agreed to stop at Rownhams, the next services but that didn’t really work either. By the time we got there we were hungry and decided to treat ourselves to a couple of MacDonald’s carpet burgers with fries. No luck. The congestion on the other side was that bad that people were pulling into the services, walking over the bridge to MacDonald’s to the extent that it was that full there was 20 minute queue for a takeaway. Onwards and westwards then. At least it meant I got back in time to visit the wife in hospital.

Another grand day out. It will be a while now until the next one.