Soapbox: how I nearly ended up supporting Tottenham


Pete Sixsmith extends a hearty welcome to Spurs, conceited though he feels they may be, and steps down from his Soapbox to enter the Salut! Sunderland confession box and admit to a boyhood infatuation …

Funny club, Spurs. I’m never quite sure how to take them. I’m pleased that they are at Sunderland on Saturday evening, principally because they are not Stoke City and I know we should get a decent game, but they do annoy me at times, with their rather superior attitude and their “Spurs Way” conceit.

I have a confession to make: Spurs were the first football team that I was attracted to. Being brought up in the mean streets of north Leeds, I was a dyed in the wool Leeds RLFC supporter and attended Headingley regularly with father and grandfather until an enforced move to the non RL playing County Durham.

When moving, one has to fit in with the locals, so I transferred my affections from the 13 a side game to the 11 a side. The top club at the time were Spurs – on their way to the first double for 70 odd years and full of stars like Danny Blanchflower and Cliff Jones.

Those two caught my attention because I liked their names. Blanchflower rolled off the tongue and I liked the way he stormed off This Is Your Life, when Eamonn Andrews attempted to press the Big Red Book into his hand. Jones appealed to me because his name was nearly the same as my all time hero, Lewis Jones, the Leeds and Wales stand off, who weaved his magic on the mudheaps of Featherstone, Widnes and Halifax for The Loiners.

The infatuation with the North Londoners ended when Colin, aka M Salut, convinced me that Sunderland were a far better bet But although there is no residue of affection for Spurs now, I can still vividly remember those European Cup nights at The Lane, with a packed house, cigarette smoke billowing upwards and Alan Weekes or Peter Dimmock commentating on them thrashing the likes of Gornik Zabrze.

They’re a bit of a media club as well. George Dixon used to take son in law Andy Crawford down to watch the Spurs and Hunter Davies attached himself to them in the 70s. His account of that season in The Glory Game is one of the best football books I have ever read, even though the writer is a complete mug – he has season tickets at Spurs and Arsenal. Can you imagine such a thing up here!!

They have had some very good players over the years. Alan Gilzean was one of my favourites. I believe we were close to signing him at one stage, but he opted for the Seven Sisters Road instead of Roker Baths Road, so we signed Neil Martin instead.

They also took Hetton born Ralph Coates at about the same time and they have always had a reputation for big signings and glamorous players

There seems to be a duckin’ and divin’ philosophy about the club at the moment. They were run by Lord Alan Sugar, a prize ducker and diver if ever there was one, and the current owners seem to be of that ilk. Throw in ‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp and support who seem to spend inordinate amounts of money on Hacket gear and on T-shirts and polo shirts from the myriad of barrows and stalls around the ground and you have a club that Derek Trotter would love to be a part of.

Redknapp is an interesting character. There are times when he annoys the life out of me and there are times when I like and admire him. He’s in the middle of the second batch of emotions at the moment as I feel that he has created a side as good as any in the Premier League on their day – but note those last three words.

In Modric he has a gem and I was a little (but just a little) disappointed to hear that he was injured and will not play on Saturday. I remember seeing him on his home debut in 2008 when he cut a forlorn figure as he was squeezed out by Dean Whitehead. Since then he has learned how to play English football (although I don’t think that Tony Pulis would rate him) and he is a pleasure to watch.

Bale has also done well, despite the hype over him being as excessive as that over Wilshere. Both are good players, with Bale being ahead at the moment, but because they play for London clubs, they are praised beyond reasonableness.

Fortunately, they have a couple of ex Mags in the team in Bassong and Jenas, so we can cheerfully boo them and I have no doubt that ‘Arry Boy will come out with something in the next few days. If rumours are to be believed, he is casting a covetous eye on Cattermole. No doubt he will deny it, but ‘Arry’s denials are about as convincing as David Cameron’s assertions that the NHS is safe in the Government’s hands. Mind you, he was right about Bent – he is a big girl’s blouse.

If we play as well as we did last week, but for 90 minutes, we could win this one. I would fancy Muntari and Sessegnon to do well, but I would hope that Jordan Henderson is cut a bit of slack by some of those who expect him to be Jim Baxter, Kevin Ball and Len Shackleton all rolled into one. He’s 20 years old, full of promise which may or may not blossom at his home town club. He needs support through this tricky period, not people moaning whenever he does something marginally less than perfect.

You wouldn’t get Spurs fans moaning, would you?

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15 thoughts on “Soapbox: how I nearly ended up supporting Tottenham”

  1. A nice little piece. The only bit I disagree with is the bit about Bale. He isn’t overhyped because he plays for a London side (that just stinks of the North v South bitterness that people up North suffer from), it’s because he’s played some amazing football, including a hattrick against European Champions, destroying the, once, best right-back in the world, and numerous superb goals [see at home to Chelsea, away at Stoke].

    He’s more that simply ‘good’.

  2. The tax evasion bit is not as serious as you would think: go have a look at yr houses of Lords & Commons and see how many proven tax evaders are sitting there. As they are politicians ethics has no call there. AS for Harry, I will wait & see. After the Clough bungs & the well know brown paper bags of yesteryear I find the hysteria over this all a bit OTT. I would love to know just how many of you or us have NEVER once exaggerated a tax claim and I find that both the Chelsea & the MC books would be very interesting to examine but as their owners are mutlibillionaires you can be certain IR wont bother them(too expensive) I think that it is a symbolic witch hunt IMHO and Harry does make an easy target.
    Cant say I feel sorry for the WHU supporters who with pornking owners and a mouthpiece in like, they will have loads of trouble gettiing 20k and I hope that they get what they deserve (not the supporters) by the owners. WHU couldn’t fill 40k let alone 60K and binoculars will be a fashion item
    AS for UK athletics? Another white elephant con job for the most parasitic and boring of sports, thney really do think that people want to watch them. Chr*st even lawn bowls beats them.

  3. Morris dancing Hairy? There are a few things that Mr Sixsmith wouldn’t try. Incest is one and the other one is Morris dancing.

    I suggest you jingle a few bells yourself hairy. I bet you are quite a clip in your white tights and floppy hat. That was an invitation you were offering the Sixer wasn’t it?

  4. Peter, why did you not just switch from 13 a side to the 15 man game? There are lots of clubs in the north east. I did try a couple of trial games with Bradford Northern which I really enjoyed, but sadly not good enough.

  5. Your cancellation of previous undocumented if not contradictory good feelings towards Harry are duly noted and if I ever get to meet him, rest assured I will pass on your concerns and very moderate observations, in the meantime, as you sound a mite stressed, suggest that perhaps you indulge yourself in a spot of Morris dancing.

  6. I see ‘Arry Boy has been charged with tax evasion. Cancel my good feelings towards him. He’s (allegedly! – ed) no better than those who cheat the Department of Health and Pensions. I think he may get a bit of stick tomorrow!!!

    but innocent, in the eyes of the law, as a newborn lamb, Mr S – ed

  7. Errr why should like myself more than other fans?, am fully aware that I am nothing special, don’t like chocolate, as for “Eating” oneself, never have done, never will do, happy to leave that one exclusively in your hands.

  8. Yeas Hairy, but you do just like yourselves a wee bit more than most fans do. I often feel that if Spurs fans were chocolate, they would eat themselves. As for cheap shots at ‘Arry, he’s just too good a target to miss. What’s more, I suspect he loves it and thoroughly enjoys winding people up – as I do!!!!

  9. Oh dear Hairy, if you’d actually seen a full game of Sunderland’s this season, including the one at WHL, you’d realise that we actually prefer to play football, knocking the ball around on the ground…

  10. Conceited Spurs fans?, We just like to watch a entertaining open game of football, preferably featuring a couple of wingers & a couple of forwards, granted we won’t win the league playing like that, buts its better than watching teams like Sunderland who like to play 1 up front , try to choke the games in midfield & hope to hit you on the counter. as for your cheap shots at Harry or our lack of sartorial elegance, suggest have a look at your own manager & fans, pots & kettles methinks.

  11. Blimey!! I hope that you are not hanged for the above.

    I still miss that p*sshole Roker park and don’t think that the “Light” still has the same atmosphere but you lot seem to like it better though the “Roar” is more of a Miaow.

    For some odd reason not a few of us hav e asoft spot for you inbreds. Probbaly becasue Boro still think they are Y’okshire folk while the Barcodes still possess an even worse sense of personal vcalue then we do.

    Hope it’s a good match but would appreciate it if you don’t follow the Barcodes ideal and try to kick the crap out of us as opposed to playing football. Without most of our best players you sure have a chance but we seem ton have found at least one testicle so who knows?

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