Apr 24, 2019, 6:30 PM
Location: Outer Cheltenhamshire
Team(s): Cheltenham Town
English Premier League @Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Admission £50. Programme £3.50. Attendance 56,251
The new stadium may be a grand structure, but you have to get quite close to it when approaching from the High Road before it becomes visible.
My ticket was a transfer from a season ticket holder. There was a hiccup with the system, but this was sorted and I had my ticket printed before entry. If you know any season ticket holder that does not go to every game, the transfer process to receive their ticket is free. It then becomes a print at home paper ticket, leaving the original card ticket in the pocket of the holder
The entrance to the stadium was smooth. Ticket and security checks were simple. I had made sure I followed the rules and carried very little with me.
Inside, the first feeling is not that you are inside a stadium, I felt the vista in the great area behind the south stand was more that of an airport entrance. The atmosphere was more connivial though with the general hubbub of conversation rather than that desperate impatience that seems to infect everyone at the airport, even three hours before departute.
Inside, the club are eager to get the punters inside and spending their dollars/pounds/euro/won. To this end, they provide a large selection of different food and drink supplies with prices that past muster to those coming from the city centre, (but surely easily beaten on the Tottenham High Road?).
The Beavertown brewery brews two ales on site. Both are light coloured with a similar highly hopped taste, £5 for Neck Oil, and £5.50 for the stronger variation. I had one before the game and one after - the latter used an unusual dispense method where the beer is pumped into the bottom of a plastic cup, which has a valve that seals. Seems an unnecessary procedure, especial as the drinking vessels must cost more and are not going to be reused. The beer I had served in this manner was far to gassy and cold. A reminder of why craft beers may be the current fad but are not all "real".
Most of the stadium is arranged in a general multi-tier set up, but the south side has only two tiers - a low one the same as the lower tier all around, with a limited rake and then a really tall upper section with a very steep rake.
My seat was near the top of this, and I felt somewhat divorced from the action on the pitch. The only players' faces I would see were on the giant screens in the four corners.
There may not have been impatience on the councourses pre-match, but there soon was inside the stadium. Brighton had almost the whole team behind the ball from the start and even early in the first half there were delays at every goal kick. Brighton had 21 goal kicks in the game.
In the first half, Spurs had a lot of attacks which only a lot of blocking and a bit of good fortune kept clear of the target, but as the second half wore on, they were becoming increasingly less effective, sending in too many easy to defend crosses are hitting shots well off target from distance.
Brighton only managed a small number of chances at all.
As impatience moved into desperation and time was running out, Eriksen hit a straight shot which evaded any block, while those between Eriksen and the goal appeared to block the view and slow the keeper's reaction. I think Matthew Ryan will still feel dissapointed with not getting to this.
So it was only for the final few minutes that the stadium roared into life. Earlier we could actually hear the Brighton fans comment on the quiet home support "Is this the Emirates?", they asked.
I had been warned that from my high position it could take a while to get down the stairs to the exit. From what I saw at half time, it appeared slow enough I am surprised the design was approved. If you closed an exit or two and then tried an emergency evacuation? I would not like to be there.
I headed down the steps as injury time started, with the goal keeping a lot in place. Many home fans will have in fact missed the score. I then settled on a seat close to the exit for the final few minutes.
The Victoria line stations and routes to Enfield get queued up after games, and even though I passed Seven Sisters over 40 minutes after the game, there were still a lot queuing there. As I was heading West, a couple of hundred yeards beyond Seven Sisters, I reached South Tottenham where very few were waiting for the train.
Fat AND Pompous.
The proof that you can have too much of a good thing
Now blogging at http://www.leohoenig.com