The Experience Of Attending Away Matches In London: The Heart Of English Football

After witnessing Everton lose 1-0 to Tottenham in their recent Premier League outing in undeserved fashion, I decided to hold off on penning this piece.

Not because the team had lost — I’ve fronted up previously, before you accuse me of that!—but with another trip to London to face Chelsea on the horizon, I harbored admittedly slim hopes for a better result second time round. Perhaps I’d be able to centre the article on some classic football writing cliché like “every week is different” or “you never know what might happen in football”?

Fat chance. As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, the Toffees lost 1-0 again last weekend against Jose Mourinho’s men. Somewhat undeservedly. In an early kick-off. In London. To a set-piece. Marvelous for an Evertonian, as you can imagine.

The thing is, though, when it comes to the London away trips, the match is only a small part of the whole weekend. The actual 90 minutes of football can make things even better if you win, but if the team loses you can sometimes brush it off as a minor blemish on what’s otherwise an enjoyable but admittedly costly couple of days.

I’m quite lucky to have a few Everton-supporting friends that reside in the “Big Smoke” (aka London) and as such, extortionate hotel prices are one expense I can swerve. But given the cost of the match ticket, travel and even the price of food and drink  “down South,”  I’m of the view that if you’re there, you may as well make the most of it.

The last month has been a bit of a momentum sapper for Evertonians. After that derby defeat, another two away losses have followed. The squad is still recovering after it was ravaged by injuries over the New Year period, and Roberto Martinez’s team have paid the price in their two most recent away games.

A “proper” pub on Tottenham High Road

The first of that duo was Tottenham. It was actually the first time I’ve been to Spurs, and White Hart Lane is a ground that reminds me a lot of Goodison Park. Walking along the Tottenham High Road you’d have no idea a football stadium was even there. Like Everton’s home, it’s almost as though a stadium has been plonked in the middle of a build-up area, tucked away behind terraced buildings and classic English pubs.

View from my seat at White Hart Lane

It’s a throwback, a little outdated and it could certainly do with a lick of paint, but I love grounds like that. White Hart Lane emanates a character and sense of tradition that’s become scarce in a host of these newly-built stadiums.

The atmosphere is raw and the din created when the chanting echoes off those old corrugated roof sheets is a magnificent assault on the senses. Whilst Tottenham’s ambitions to move away from White Hart Lane are understandable, it’ll be a shame to see another stadium bristling with footballing culture rendered obsolete as the modern game motors on.

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