Villa season ticket holder Kerry’s recent move to London may mean a commute to Villa Park nowadays, but at least the London away games are just round the corner. The Villa supporter away day experience from the tube to the pub to the match versus Spurs.
There’s something quite novel about jumping on the tube across the city for an away day. Now, it’s just a casual 20 minute journey to White Hart Lane. However, I must say, I do miss the train banter. Telling the controllers to ‘shhhhhh’ when announcements are made, breaking into ‘let’s all have a disco,’ when twisting round corners and the roar en route from platform to the nearest pub.
A lone soldier in my finest Villa attire, I couldn’t wait to meet the boys & girls and finally get the away day buzz. Thankfully, as we marched into the Antwerp Arms I finally felt at home, a sea of claret and blue adorned the interior, after grabbing a few pints, we edged towards the beer garden, soulful sounds of ‘yippee oi aye yippee oi ohhhh’ filled the air. A home away from home, once more.
As we left the pub, a police van rolled past and ‘shhhhhh’ echoed down the street, however as soon as it past, the villains were up to their old tricks once more. High fiving the residents as we ran down the street, much to the delight of two old Jamaican men who remarked a trip to Tottenham must be a cultural holiday for us Brum folk. Not too sure what they were suggesting there!
One thing I noticed whilst passing from the pub on the way to the ground, apart from our good selves, was the relative silence around the place. Was it really match day?
It set the scene for what we encountered inside White Hart Lane. The self-proclaimed ‘Yid army’ were some of the quietest fans I’ve ever had the pleasure of attempting to provoke: “Tottenham’s a shit hole, you set it on fire’ and ‘They’ll riot when they want, they’ll riot when they want, Tottenham Hotspur they’ll riot when they want.’
Apart from the lippy bald bloke to the right of the Villa section, they all sat tight.
The Villa faithful did the lads proud, not a moment’s silence was endured during the first half. As 19 minutes came about, ‘There’s only one Stiliyan Petrov’ rang louder than ever, a handful of Spurs fans joined in, the rest of them were given a chorus of ‘No respect my lord, no respect’ from the visiting fans.
White Hart Lane also witnessed the longest rendition of ‘Paul Lambert’s Claret and Blue Army’ to date. If anyone is in doubt of the fans support for Lambert, it certainly didn’t ring true here. There was an air of optimism as we sought refreshments come half time, not of the alcoholic kind might I add, Tottenham Hotspur doesn’t serve alcohol at half time. In fact, there’s even an exclusion zone for alcohol around the ground. Spoilsports.
Back to the stands feeling positive, Villa fans were being told to sit down by the stewards. “We’re Aston Villa, we’ll stand where we want” was the response.
After the first goal went in the team began to crumble, and it was clear we needed a change. The fans began to chant “Na na na na na Darren Bent, Darren Bent, where is Darren Bent?” The second goal shook us further, a moment of calm overtook the far corner, as we sunk to our seats, bruised to say the least.
I thought I heard the Spurs fans start singing, but it turned out it was just a plane passing overhead. Villa never really recovered. The boys made their way over to the away support to clap us out, and the fans returned the gesture, some people have suggested there were boos at the end of the game, this is false, or a very small minority that I thankfully wasn’t sat next too.
Overall a disappointing second half saw a determined Spurs side come out on top. However once again the support couldn’t be faulted. I took two friends with me to the game – a Leeds fan and a Chelsea boy – and they were both impressed by the sheer volume of ‘Lambert’s Claret and Blue army’ (the Chelski guy probably isn’t used to vocal support but from a Leeds fan it’s fair enough praise).
Bring on Fulham! We all love an away day at the cottage aye!
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