Rick: The Tottenham Obsession
As a child I had little interest in supporting a football team, despite growing up within two miles of White Hart Lane. My main interests were playing football in my local park and Lego. I had a complete obsession with Lego, specifically building star-ships, not from specialty kits just the basic blocks, but I digress.
I grew up in a house that backed onto a local community park, so I had easy access to kicking a ball around with friends. The games were of in-determinant length, usually when the sun went down and you couldn't see the ball anymore and with a random number of players on each side, usually something like 17 vs 18. We had no goals, no lines, no ref and no linesmen, decisions were made by committee and mostly very amicably decided. The final score was irrelevant we just played for the fun of it. These games however introduced me to the idea of supporting a particular team, some of the boys wore kits of teams, mostly international kits like England, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Greece etc, and probably some club teams but I don't remember what they were.
My earliest memories of football supporting were from my sister, Jackie. Well no not specifically Jackie, but the elder lady family friend who used to take Jackie to Highbury to watch Arsenal. Jackie being my elder sister always seemed to go places and do things which I wasn't allowed to do, but I do not ever remember wanting to go with her to watch Arsenal, sibling rivalry probably. I also remember detesting the garish red and white color of the kits and scarfs and had no interest in wearing them. My father, Richard, is also an Arsenal fan, but I figured he just said that to placate my sister, he really supports Leicester as he lived there for some years in the 60's.
So how did I become a Spurs fan with the Arsenal purge infecting my household. My mother had a cousin, who was a lot older, who lived nearby. I sort of looked upon her and her husband as Grandparents even though they weren't. We used to visit them once a month for Sunday lunch and "Grandpa" who was originally from Sheffield offered one day to take me to White Hart Lane for a Spurs game. The date was 27th of March 1976, the game Spurs vs Sheffield United, we won 5-0. All I can really remember was being frustrated that I couldn't see the pitch until someone put me on their shoulders and waiting an eternity for the bus coming home.
From that day forward I was a Spurs fan, although for the first few years in name only. Then, in 1981, my support was complete, my obsession started, the glorious day in 1981 when we won the FA Cup. Most Spurs fans will remember the FA Cup final went to a replay and we eventually won when Ricky Villa decided to write his name into history, and into my heart by scoring one of the greatest goals you will ever see.
So there you have it, why I'm a Spurs fan, and why I have more reason than most to hate the nomads from down the road. I support the team through thick and thin, through the good times and bad, and White Hart Lane will forever be my home.