Zapsportz team leader Glenn Hoddle takes a trip down Down Memory Lane as his beloved Spurs prepare for the final game at their historic home against Manchester United on Sunday.
It promises to be an emotional occasion – and a massive game – for everyone of a Lillywhite persuasion. Few more so than our own Glenn Hoddle for whom the Lane has been his ‘second home’ since he was a 12-year-old apprentice.
He recalls those early days with great affection. The memories will last forever….
We used to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays, even polishing the cockerel at the top of the stand above the Shelf. Myself and another apprentice had to climb on to the roof to do that job, something I don’t think would be allowed these days with ‘Health & Safety’!
I spent so much of my life at the Lane, not just polishing the cockerel, but silver-painting the barriers to cleaning the walls, it felt like the extension of my house!
As an apprentice you got a privileged view of the games at the Lane, sitting on those wooden benches so close to the pitch you could almost touch the players. To be that close to the action was a big thrill.
It wasn’t long before I was playing in FA Youth Cup ties at the Lane, scoring a hat-trick in my first game against Middlesbrough in a replay, when Bill Nicholson was still the manager.
Then, as a 17-year-old coming off the bench to make my First Division debut against Norwich, I was introduced early in the game, and my biggest memory is that the pitch seemed so much tighter, smaller, with such a big crowd .
I’d played in FA Youth cup ties, then the reserves, but there seemed less space on the pitch when it came to the first team, but I did a couple of nice things in the game and got some recognition and it felt so good thinking about how I watched the games from the sidelines as a 12-year-old apprentice.
For all these reasons and many more, it will be with a mixture of sadness and huge emotion as it’s the last game, but also with immense excitement about the future.
The Old Lady is coming down, but the new one is taking shape right beside it, adjacent to the Paxton Road end, so in a way it is slightly less emotional as we are only moving to a plot next door.
But happy memories nonetheless of the Lane will come flooding back on Sunday.