The Pilgrimage (Part 2) – 22/10/2017
It was a bit of a risk really. I mean, scheduling our trip to basically end after Spurs hosted Liverpool at Wembley…
It had the potential to end badly, didn’t it?
Of course, it didn’t though. Not by a long, long way.
I’ve mentioned, quietly, that my record watching Spurs live is pretty good. I’m 100% in the Premier League over the years and, when you include European games, have yet to see the team lose when I’m in the ground with them.
I even helped them break the Wembley curse in their previous game.
But this was Spurs. Against Liverpool. At Wembley.
Thankfully, together we smashed it. My positive record continued.
Actually, I haven’t had many more perfect days in football. Everything went right.
The tube ride passed swiftly. We got in and out of the stadium store before it got crazy (purchase = 2 caps for the boys and 1 pink beanie for Siena). The queue for Spurs doughnuts at the Dunkin’ Donuts cart was modest. We got inside the stadium as soon as the gates opened.
But the real magic happened once the game got underway.
This one had a proper atmosphere, unlike the rather funereal feeling we had at the Bournemouth game. That had worried me ahead of what’s going to be a long season at this mammoth ground. Probably due to the visitors being one of the big boys, however, this match was very different.
Spurs scored twice early, through Kane and Son, then hit the woodwork (Son again) and missed a couple of other good chances in a dominant opening.
Salah scuffed one home to bring Liverpool back into the game, but once Dele Alli had smashed home Tottenham’s third right on half time this match was only ever going to have one winner.
Liverpool was really poor defensively, which stretched them out across the pitch and meant their potent attack couldn’t function as well as it may otherwise have.
Spurs sat in, let the visitors have much of the ball, then hit them when the openings came. Similar, really, to the way in which they’d beaten Dortmund in the Champions League earlier in the season and matched Real Madrid only a few days before this game.
The big crowd was buzzing and the concourse was a mad place to be at half time. We had a quick walk around but headed back to our seats pretty quickly as you could barely move… just in time to watch, admittedly from a very long way away, Ossie Ardiles interviewing Diego Maradona.
It seems plenty of stars were out for this one as we found out later that Kobe Bryant was in the crowd too.
Kane laced home Spurs’ fourth early in the second half and that was pretty much that. The positive part of Liverpool’s game – their attack – forced Lloris to show how good he is on a couple of occasions but another goal from the visitors would not really have been right.
The announcement of the official attendance was probably the highlight of the second half. To go all that way, schedule our trip pretty much around this game, and then learn that we were part of the first 80,000+ crowd in Premier League history was actually quite spectacular.
We lingered outside the ground after this was all over.
Firstly, because I needed to get some food into Theo (he was getting angry and annoying as he tends to when the tank’s running a bit low).
Secondly, because after wandering around to Wembley Way we found it was jammed with people trying to get to Wembley Park station. So we wandered back around and off to Wembley Central station, 2 kilometres away. It was a bit of a hike but well worth it as we were straight on the tube, off along the Bakerloo line and back in the hotel far earlier than if we’d tried to stick it out on Wembley Way.
And we needed the exercise to start coming down from the high of watching Spurs beat Liverpool 4-1 at Wembley in front of a Premier League record crowd, which included Diego Maradona!
As something of a footnote, Spurs found a way to lose against West Ham in their next game at Wembley, a Carabao Cup game. I think if the club is serious about winning things this year they really need to fly me back in and employ me to watch their games. My rates are pretty steep, of course, but they probably can’t afford not to make the investment. What do you think?