The month of December always drags in the lead up to Christmas for me, especially when I was working full time in a hellish retail environment, and to add insult to injury, I couldn’t make any of the games the Royals had on the road. I love football games over the festive period; there’s always something quite traditional about it, with a different buzz to the atmosphere. Even though my Dad is a Spurs fan, this was my first trip to the Lane, and visiting a new ground was a perfect way to start the New Year.
Before I visited, I was made aware that White Hart Lane isn’t that easily accessible by public transport. However, I didn’t feel it was that difficult to find, and even though I walked all the way from Seven Sisters tube station (about a half an hour walk down the Tottenham High Road), there were plenty of buses taking you closer to the ground, and there was the option of a mainline train to White Hart Lane Station which is served by Liverpool Street. I did quite enjoy my journey on the tube though, not being a drinker myself, it’s always amusing seeing people who are worse for wear after a heavy night out, especially with it being the New Year.
I was particularly underwhelmed when first seeing the stadium from the outside. After seeing it numerous times on the telly, I was expecting it to look as impressive on the exterior as it does inside. As you walk around the ground, the plans for Tottenham’s new home are all on display on various billboards. If the plans go ahead, I reckon it’ll be one hell of a stadium.
I thought the security checks by the stewards were very appropriate. All the other London grounds I have been to the security has been somewhat over the top, but the stewards at Tottenham were very relaxed and friendly, which always helps the atmosphere of the day. Once inside White Hart Lane it certainly didn’t disappoint, with the quotes ‘To Dare is to Do’ and ‘The Game is about Glory’ plastered around all four sides of the ground. I was about 10 rows back on the upper tier and had a great unrestricted view of the entire pitch. However, I did find it slightly strange that the police control box was directly above the away fans, and I imagine if you were stuck behind that then the view wasn’t as good.
There was plenty of food on offer inside and outside the ground. Outside were a McDonalds and a number of hot food vans. Inside the concourse was almost like a mini food hall, with chicken, pie and burger outlets, all offering food and meal deals at reasonable ‘London’ prices. Alcohol was served until kick off, but was not served at half time in the away end due to ‘local government laws’.
The atmosphere during the game was quite good, although I did expect the Spurs fans to be noisier as they only started to get loud towards the end of the game. I also expected there to be a bit more ‘banter’ between both set of fans because of the close proximity, but this was almost non-existent. Luckily my Dad lives in London, so I didn’t have to travel too far after the game. However, all the Spurs fans I came across on the tube were very pleasant, and still very hung over/drunk from the night before. Another qualm I have was the persistent clapping of Sigurdsson. I am obviously a huge fan of Gylfi, and wish him well wherever he goes during his career, but I kind of thought clapping him every time he came over to take a corner when he hardly acknowledged the Reading fans was slightly over the top.
The game itself was lively. The first eight minutes was the perfect start to 2013 for the Royals. However, like at the reverse fixture at the Madejski in September, we were outclassed in every single area of the pitch. I was genuinely in awe watching Spurs and the way they pass; they genuinely deserve to be in the position that they’re in. I didn’t think it was a particularly bad Reading performance though, and hopefully we can build from this for our next Premier League fixture against West Brom.
Twitter - @Becka_Ellen