Sunday, 19th March
Stand up if you hate Arsenal
Today was the day of the North London derby - Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur.
I've followed the Spurs for over ten years, through thin and thin, and I
thought I'd go to North London and sample the atmosphere.
First of all I trekked to White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur. The
club was showing the game on the big screen at the ground, and since the
game had been sold out for ages I figured it would be the best way to see
it. So I bought a ticket (at this stage it was not even noon - kickoff at
3pm) and went back to the train station to go to Highbury, where the match
was being played.
Arsenal play at Highbury, and Arsenal station is right next to the ground.
You can smell the foul stench of the ground a stop before Arsenal. (Think
of it like smelling Victoria Park from Clifton Hill station.) Everywhere
outside the station were dodgy looking blokes (no surprise there) saying in
low voices "Tickets for the game...tickets for the game..."
I thought I'd try my luck. Tickets are ordinarily 15-30 pounds.
BLOKE: "Tickets for the game..."
ME: "How much?"
BLOKE: "Hundred quid."
ME HAVING A CORONARY: "Oh."
BLOKE: "How much did you want to spend?"
ME: "Fifty pounds."
BLOKE: "Give 'em to ya for ninety."
ME STUNNED BY GENEROSITY: "I've only got seventy." (no I bloody well don't,
but I'm having fun now...)
BLOKE: "Meet you halfway, eighty quid."
ME WORKING OUT THAT THAT IS A$240: "Nah, haven't got it."
So I bought a programme at a price that makes the Footy Record seem
reasonable, and headed back to White Hart Lane.
I took my seat in the upper deck Park Lane end, directly in line with the
big screen. Group of young blokes (ie my age) sat next to me. I had my
programme out. "Where'd you get that?" "Down at Highbury." "Should've
bought a stack of em, sold em at a profit!" Shoulda thought of that. "I
don't think like that mate, I'm from Australia." (I can sense some of you
Bloke sitting closest to me says: "Are you Jewish?" (fair question - Spurs
are known for their strong Jewish support, and anyway, why would a sensible
Australian support Spurs?)
"Nah mate." Gotta stop saying mate.
"You from Melbourne?" Not how you pronounce it, but near enough.
"Yeah." Given up on explaining the whole Tasmanian thing.
"D'you know a girl called Angela Gilbert?"
"No...why, did you shag her?"
(visibly taken aback by a stranger asking about his sexual liaisons)
"Nice one!" (I didn't really say that, I just nodded.)
(Spurs lost 2-1, crowd left in disgust, looked like they were used to it