As the title suggests this is partly a Happy New Year post, and the first thing I wanted to share is that I have a resolution. I want to aim to post at least once a week on here. And if I don’t do it I want you guys to pull me up on it and remind me that this is what I promised you for 2017. (And therefore feel free to follow/subscribe so that you can check up on me – cheeky plug)
Anyway now that’s out of the way we can get to the real point of this post.
Wednesday January 4th was a monumental night. It was like Christmas Day all over again.
The last time I posted on here I was heralding the return of us being the underdog and a team that everyone wanted to win again. And on Wednesday night this feeling returned x10000000000.
Even ARSENAL fans wanted us to win (ish).
It was just the small matter of 13-wins-in-a-row-Chelsea standing in our way. I’ll be totally honest, I was fairly petrified before the match. I don’t need to go into detail about the pain of the Battle of the Bridge and how much we owed them one. All I knew was I couldn’t handle them laughing in our faces on our own beloved turf after all that went on last season. I also knew that I couldn’t handle the match without copious amounts of pre-kick-off alcohol.
As it turns out I needn’t have worried. I also probably didn’t need the pre-match jager/sambuca shot mix (don’t try it. Seriously).
Because we were MAGNIFICENT. Abso-bloody-lutely MAGNIFICENT.
I could quite easily sit here and ramble on for several hours about the brilliance of Christian, Dele, Toby and the tactical genius of Poch. But I feel that’s all kinda been covered over the past couple days (most gleefully by me at work I must admit).
No. What I really wanted to talk about was the magic in the stands. And the realisation that there won’t be too many more times like that to come <sob>
The mighty White Hart Lane roar is something to behold when it’s in full flow. Whether it’s We’ve Got Alli…. He’s Magic You Know….. or the much more succinct Yid Army – when the stadium is rocking, it’s REALLY rocking. From the first minute to the last, our boys gave us so much to cheer it was impossible not to get louder as the minutes wore on, even as my post-flu voice started to crack and fade.
There’s nothing quite like being at home, singing your heart out with what feels like 30,000 of your best friends. I’ve never lost the goosebumpy feeling I got the very first time I came to the Lane 22 years ago (oh SO old) but nights like Wednesday make it truly feel like a place where magic happens. Forget Disneyland, N17 is the land where dreams are made.
But as with so much in football, there is a flipside. And for me it came as we slowly (ALWAYS slowly) started to file out of the Shelf after clapping every last man off the pitch.
Because I realised that I was quite possibly leaving the Lane under the lights for the very last time.
The number of league games left at our beloved home is now into single figures. Our Europa League games are at Wembley. And our biggest home games of the season still remaining – Arsenal and United – are so late in the season that even night time won’t really be dark (as if they’d let the NLD be played on a night anyway).
The thought of not experiencing another night of magic at WHL makes me want to cry. There’s something about playing under the lights that makes everything that little bit more special. My favourite match that I’ve ever been to was a night game – humiliating Inter Milan and sending Maicon for a taxi was the kind of experience that I can’t wait to tell my kids about one day.
And as excited as I am about all the incredible progress and growth of our club there is a little bit of my heart that breaks every time we move a step closer to saying goodbye to the Lane as we know it.
But if beating Chelsea and stopping their record run (and possibly their title charge) is how it has to end for us, then what a way to go out. What a memory to carry with us, and the privilege of saying “I was there”.
I’m going to end this one here before I start getting all weepy (yes I am SUCH a girl). Instead I’m off to get ready for another magical time – FA Cup 3rd round weekend. Here’s hoping for a shock or two (just not at WHL tomorrow, thanks anyway Villa)