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Summer Just gets Better!

One of my good friends on the Spurs List (see the link on the Pick of the Week page), Joe Doyle, joined me for yesterday's game at White Hart Lane. Joe has kindly allowed me to publish an account of his week-end out to see the mighty Spurs! Thanks Joe!

Summer Just Gets Better

This is not intended to be a match report, more a report on what it was like for a travelling Spurs supporter for the first game of the season.

The first of this year's trips to Tottenham started earlier than planned with 4 older Irish Listees heading over for the game. Tom Daly and I made our way over on Friday night to savour the delights of Enfield, where Tom's sister lives.

The big day arrives and the head is good despite too much Guinness and too little sleep. We stroll through Enfield to the train station with the Spurs shirts in bloom. Yep, we're in the right place. We're well impressed with the number of new shirts around the place. Quick hop on the train and we are in White Hart Lane station. Matchday tingle kicking in.

Straight to the Irish Centre and the buzz is palpable. Queuing for a pint of the black stuff for breakfast, I watch the Old Firm game. "Not much penetration from either team" I offered to Tom. Seconds later, Prso has the ball in the net. I think to myself, let this be a warning and no more tempting fate. No trips to Ladbrokes though I feel Mido will score.

A quick pint and good chat with Cassim (Ed: Another friend and listee)(who did his bit for South African tourism !), Tom and I head to the ground and observe the enormous queue for the Spurs store. The 10% discount is working well.

Quickly to the stadium, we get inside the ground to hear Stephen Kelly pick up a Trust award and the sound of a Dublin accent is great to behold.

Team news breaks and just one change - Davids for Routledge. Not sure how I feel that Reid escapes the axe and Lennon sits on the bench. Turns out Jol knows more about football than I do. The acoustics in the ground are poor from where we were in the Paxton but the atmosphere builds well before the game.

Noise level reaches fever pitch at kick-off and within 5 minutes, Davids lets the Premiership know he's here and Parlour drops to the ground. All you can hear in the ground is Yiddo ! Spurs boss the first 35 minutes but Boro came back into it starting with a counter-attack where Edman was well out of position after reaching for a water bottle of the pitch. I counted three players who bollocked him out of it (Robinson, Davids and Dawson).

While Robbo was the formal captain , Davids played a full part in guiding and directing the players on the pitch. Captain in the making.

Boro played for time at the end of the first half amazingly and were suitably regaled with "Boring Boring Boro" at half-time. Good first half for Spurs and Davids especially, but I think to myself we should be winning but instead are goading the opposition. We could regret this.

Crescendo greets Tottenham for the second half and the Park Lane were in full voice, as they were all through the game. Even the East Stand tried to get in on the "We are Park Lane", "We are the Paxton". Robinson was greeted with an amazing reception by the fans from the Park Lane - chants of England's number one were not lost on the visiting bumbling Sven.

Mark Viduka received his normal welcome (Fat Aussie W*nker) as the sub for Yakuba who Gardner looked after in the first half and accidentially injured when he came down on Yakubu's shin late in the first half. Mendietta was subbed off having had little joy against Edman.

It would be fair to say that Boro played a lot better in the second half and we conceded too many free kicks on the edge of the D. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. Defoe latched onto a pass from Tainio and created space for a cracking shot straight to the net. Delirium.

Boro come back strongly and Downing forces Robbo into a finger save from a free. He was called on later to save again from Jimmy Floyd from a similar position. As Paul knows, I thought Robbo was outstanding today and my MOTM.

Then just when Spurs needed it Mido steps up with a hopeful shot which squeezes under Schwarzer. Hapless Aussie Keeper. Euphoria and relief in equal measures. Soon we get to sing "Keano, Keano" as he come on for Defoe and gets a particularly warm welcome from Mido. JFH has another shot but Robbo was not to be beaten.

The crowd get into full voice with "There's one only Mrs Parlour" and the best rendition of "Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur" I've heard at the ground. Soon it's full time and delight breaks out. The Jumbotron soon announces we will be top of the table tonight !

For the record, my ratings for the players: Robbo 9, Stalteri 8, Edman 6, Gardner 7, Dawson 8, Reid 8, Davids 8, Carrick 7, Tainio 7, Defoe, 8, Mido 8 and Keano 7.

Boro may not have an easy a season this time round. A quick look at the age of their players and not many under 30. They may not fancy Charlton on a cold wet January night any more. But McClaren is experienced and they should start their season this week away to Birmingham midweek.

We brave the queue for Spurs Store and I pick up a couple of T-Shirts for my daughters. We then relive childhood memories and wait in Bill Nicholson Way to see the players leave. First out and quick they were too, the Boro bus. Police were in a flap but Spurs fans are too happy with the result and simply wave to them to their 4 hour journey, making simple easy-to-understand hand signals.

Soon enough Mido is the first Spurs player out stops to sign a good few autographs. Defoe follows soon with entourage. Carrick won the award for best car. We all wondered how come there was so little bonding going on with Spurs players, gone in under an hour from the finish of the game.

Funniest moment was seeing kids queue at an older geezer's car. We look on wondering who it is, for the kids to shout it's "Motty". In a scene reminscent of Father Ted, the louder "ye will, ye will, ye will" (and a few please's) got, the less inclined Motty was to open the window to sign autograph. He finally drove off to a chorus of "W*nker" from his erstwhile fans.

We made it back to Stansted airport for the flight home. A lot of happy faces during check-in queue. A lot of Spurs shirts. Checking in, the girl said "You're top of the table again, aren't you?" Our smiles said it all. Top of the table. On board the flight, the only audible phrase was "top of the table". How the Norwich supporters looked on, depressed after losing 1-0 to Southampton away. For the record, Marney played and Doherty had to be happy warming the bench.

We land in Dublin, and the mobiles get switched on. "You're top of the table" reads the texts from friends. Carlsberg dont do weekend football trips, but if they did, they would probably be just like the one we had.

Read the full match report here

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