danspur’s secret debut blog

Why it wasn’t always Tottenham for me

Just in case you’re not all bored enough by the interlull, I thought I’d bore you with how I came to not be a Tottenham supporter until I was fourteen years old.

Like most things, it wasn’t my fault: At the start of the 1976-1977 season my fourteen-year-old brother sat me down and informed me that, having just turned six, I was now old enough to choose a football team to support for the rest of my life.

Despite what was about to take place, I didn’t think this was going to be a difficult decision for me: I already knew I wanted to be a Tottenham fan. My brother was a Tottenham fan, after all, and so were the very cool family next door.

Plus, being six, I loved the name Hotspur, so even though we didn’t live anywhere near N17, I didn’t need to choose. I was already Spurs, me.

My brother had other ideas, though: I was already sharing (and therefore destroying) the cherished privacy of his own bedroom, running around like a demented little-me in all of his hand-me-down clothes, mucking around with all the toys he hadn’t quite finished mucking around with himself, and, even worse, starting to loiter on the fringes of everything he did with his mates.

I wasn’t ruining another element of his life by being a Tottenham fan as well.

“You can choose any team you like,” he said, producing one of those football league ladders you used to get in magazines like Shoot at the start of every season. “Except Arsenal or Spurs. I’m Spurs. And I’m not having an effing Gooner sharing my bedroom. You disgust me enough as it is.”

There being an eight-year age gap between us, and my brother always being prone to massive fits of rage if I didn’t do whatever he told me, I didn’t have much choice in this. Not having a clue who else to support, though, I couldn’t decide, so my brother made me read every team-name on the Shoot league ladder out-loud, which, at that time in my life – where I hadn’t completely mastered reading out-loud without spraying spit everywhere – proved an almost impossible task.

Finally, though, with my brother correcting every mispronunciation and reinforcing every syllable by administering a friendly little Chinese burn to either one of my wrists, I reached the last but one name on the ladder:

West Brom – (phlegm) – wich… West Brom – (phlegm) – wich… West Brom – (phlegm) – wich Albion.

And that was how my brother decided I was to be a West Brom fan. Because I couldn’t pronounce Bromwich without spraying massive volumes of spit everywhere.

I was always a Spurs fan at heart, though. The first football match I can clearly remember watching highlights of on TV was our 9-0 demolition of Bristol Rovers (back in the day when Division Two matches were sometimes featured prominently alongside Division One games on Match of the Day). I can also remember, as a seven-year-old, listening to match-commentary on a crackly old radio and then running around our back-garden with my brother and our next-door neighbours celebrating the fact we had secured promotion back to the First Division by drawing at The Dell. Surely acting on some sort of natural instinct every non-Gooner shares, I joyously celebrated Arsenal losing two FA cup finals and a European Cup Winners’ Cup final in the late seventies, and, of course, our own FA and EUFA cup triumphs of the early eighties. Also, when I was about twelve, our next-door-neighbour lent me a Jimmy Greaves autobiography (This One’s On Me), and I read that from cover to cover about five times, mesmerised by Jimmy’s sense of awe at the great double-winning side he joined, and his obvious reverence for Bill Nicholson, Dave Mackay, the Glory, Glory Nights at The Lane, the genius and tragedy of John White…

Although I always had to be shifty about it with my brother (who was still very territorial about his right to be the only Spurs fan in the house) I had properly fallen in love with the glorious Spurs by the time I was thirteen, and never paid anything more than lip-service towards my enforced support for West Brom.

Which was ironic, given I could now say their name without spraying spit everywhere.

The situation finally came to a head in late 1984, when I was fourteen. At my dad’s insistence, my brother, then in his early twenties but still living at home, had been taking me with him to games at White Hart Lane since the start of the 84-85 season. Given the age-gap between us and the fact we had virtually nothing in common, the two-hour-plus train and tube journey to and from the ground could be tortuous, but, the more often we went, the more the mutual distrust between us seemed to thaw, which had probably been my dad’s hope all along: Even so, despite my increasing whining about the situation, my brother still insisted I wasn’t anywhere near cool enough to be allowed to support his beloved Spurs.

I can’t remember how many games we’d been to by the time our home game against West Brom came around in early November, but more than enough for me to stand there on the terracing directly beneath The Shelf and realise I knew the name of every single Spurs player by sight but couldn’t name a single West Brom player lining up against us.

That was the day I finally stood up to the tyranny of my brother and told him – and, since then, anyone else who’s ever been bothered to ask – I don’t care what you say; I’m Spurs, me.

You’re still a little twat, though, my brother snapped back, and then got back to belting out Come On You Spurs… a song I finally felt able to legitimately join in with myself.

And, obviously, bloody West Brom turned us over 3-2 that afternoon, the first time my brother and I ever saw us lose in the flesh, and yet another thing he’s always blamed me for since.

Author: Flat Oeuf

A blog dedicated to aficionados of the chicken badge of Tottenham Hotspur FC, unashamedly revelling in the agony and ecstasy of every moment of every game....no matter who finds themselves fortunate enough, in any given season, to be the stewards, manager or players of the best club in the world. COYFS!

  • stevo1987 09/09/2018 at 10:54 pm

    Mozarts my fave, but modern piano , I really like Ludvico Einaudi.

    Well the first one I have heard of. No idea about the second one. I attempt to play some pop tunes. At the moment I’m working on Handbags and Gladrags. In a couple of weeks I might be able top play it all the way through. It’s my version though as I have listened to a number of different version Sterophonics, Rod and the original by Chris Farlowe (which is the one I prefer). The Chris Farlowe one seems to be in a different key i.e not b flat so I usually play along with the Rod version. Gawd knows why I’m posting this shite….. erm…ENIC out, Levy out, Kane’s knackered, Dembeles Facked, Moura = Holtby Mk2, Danny Boy, Jolsgonemental, One Dave Mackay, El Franklins, Kojak, ban them all!

    • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 10:58 pm

      I’ll have a listen to Chris Farlowes version, hold on, I’ll be back.

  • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:04 pm

    You’re right Chris Farlowes version is a tone or so lower and a better version, although there are also more piano breaks. Is this key more difficult to play ?

    • stevo1987 09/09/2018 at 11:06 pm

      I have no idea. I can sort of sing something in Bb. Do you play?

  • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:10 pm

    No, I used to play guitar and drums but my two besties were piano players, so I used to enjoy/suffer their playing for years and another pal of mines father was Steve Naive who’s the pianist for Elvis Costello so I have an idea. Love the sound but never had the passion to take it up.

    • stevo1987 09/09/2018 at 11:21 pm

      I know of Steve. I was an Costello fan back in the day. I have a few guitars but I’m not that good on those either.

      • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:29 pm

        Yeah, I picked up a geet recently and my fingers didn’t move at all. Lost it 😜. Keep it up Stevo, playing/improvising etc no matter how shit keeps the heart pumping. I wish I hadn’t stopped. Have you written anything? Or started to?

        • Chauvelin 09/09/2018 at 11:39 pm

          Neurosurgeon expert on Alzheimer’s said the two best things for people to stay sharp as they get older were to learn a foreign language, and to play musical instruments. Both really work the brain hard and keep your mind going well. Exercise for the head!

          • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:56 pm

            You’re not wrong there Chauvs. Do you play the Wurlitzer I forget ?

            • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:58 pm

              My memory is pance now , well in some ways. I remember you saying you played and then maybe not. Do you play ?

              • Chauvelin 10/09/2018 at 12:07 am

                I tinkled the ivories a bit as a youngster. I started piano lessons for four years but then my parents couldn’t afford to keep them up. I’ve bought a second hand keyboard thingy which I’m going to have a go on. Great thing is you can plug in headphones so don’t annoy the missus. It doesn’t feel like a proper Joanna but it’s not bad.

                • AntSpurs 10/09/2018 at 12:17 am

                  Headphones whaaaat. Actually you may be onto something there. I’m singing and playing music through the night. Funny enough my boy loves it and helps him sleep. I used to play heavy rock and metal when I was doing my homework as a kid and sleeping . Couldn’t without it .How old were ya Glos when ya played for those 4 years?

        • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:39 pm

          Here’s one of my pals who almost made it.

  • AntSpurs 09/09/2018 at 11:17 pm

    Didn’t find this out till recent but a really close friend who idolised Prince and got to play on stage with him (that’s a beaut of a story) before he passed. From all the 20+ instruments Prince played , the piano was his fave and the one he excelled.

  • Fat Bertha 10/09/2018 at 12:16 am

    I played some woodwind and then some percussion for a while.

    • AntSpurs 10/09/2018 at 12:17 am

      No no no don’t try dat fats.

  • AntSpurs 10/09/2018 at 12:34 am

    Sorry fats , how long were you playing the bongos ?

  • AntSpurs 10/09/2018 at 12:34 am

    Steel drums ?

  • AntSpurs 10/09/2018 at 12:35 am

    You know I’m kidding 🤣🤣🤣

  • AntSpurs 10/09/2018 at 2:47 am

    Cause we’re, going loco with Moussa Sissoko.

  • Flat Oeuf 10/09/2018 at 7:28 am
  • Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enoeuf

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