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White Hart Lane
Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers
Premier League
Sunday October 30th 2011, 4pm
By Ben Buckingham
(QPR fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

The previous Sunday, QPR had won their biggest league fixture for over 15 years by beating our biggest rivals Chelsea 1-0 at Loftus Road. The whole club has been on a massive high and as fans we have never felt so proud supporting QPR. Neil Warnock has brought that feeling back for our supporters and heading to Tottenham for the first time in 15 years was going to be a big challenge. This was going to be our biggest test of the season as Spurs were on great form and had won six of seven games prior to this fixture.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

As for any London game, the tube is probably the best bet rather than sitting in hours of traffic going through Central London and with so many parking restrictions near stadiums these days, it is probably not worth the hassle of going by car. We set off from Hillingdon station at 1pm, the three of us Clive, Mark and myself. After kissing my 20 month old daughter Laila goodbye (in her new QPR shirt, thanks to Uncle Ian) we only had a 30 second wait for a met line train. Our plan was to head to Liverpool Street and jump on the overground train to White Hart Lane (instead of going via the Victoria Line and walking 20 minutes from Seven Sisters). The entire journey took over an hour and a half which did seem to drag slightly, this was with a 15 minute turnaround at Liverpool Street. My Twin brother (Ian) and his Thai (girlfriend) were the usual highlight of conversations! It was a simple 5 minute walk to the stadium from White Hart Lane station and was hassle free grabbing a programme en-route and admiring the  surroundings.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Heading to this part of London we didn’t fancy venturing into any local pubs so we decided to head straight into the ground. I actually rank the Tottenham area as bad as going to Luton or Rotherham away – it is an awful place. It is grey, dirty and generally a place you don’t really want to be. The Tottenham High Road must have had 10 kebab shops that we passed and it just looked like a dump in general. We wasn’t tempted with the ‘Tottenham Family Kebab shop’ either! There wasn’t any hassle with the Spurs fans at all and we went straight into the upper tier for away fans. I wouldn’t go as far as saying the home fans were friendly, but there wasn’t any bad feeling.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The stadium actually doesn’t look overly impressive approaching it. The North Stand structure looks very bizarre on walking to the ground with the roof structure looking a bit out of place. Approaching the ground from White Hart Lane station it isn’t clearly visible and you basically walk the length of the West Stand to get into the away end. We opted for the upper tier tickets and the view from this section was fantastic, well worth the extra £5. We were in the closest block to the West Stand so looking straight ahead was looking into the South Stand. The whole stadium has a great look but isn’t like a typical new stadium bowl which is a good thing. Every side you look at has something different about it and is very impressive. One of the nicest stadiums on the inside I have been to! The upper tier does feel very steep but the view is excellent. One thing I found very odd was the lack of segregation in the stadium, it was literally a small wall between home and away fans on both sides with very few stewards, this must be different for high profile games.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The atmosphere I thought would have been better with a bit more banter from the home fans. I know QPR aren’t a big London derby now for Spurs but the home fans were a bit too quiet. The QPR fans were in good voice and quite rightly singing over and over about our 1-0 victory over Chelsea (which some South Stand Spurs fans applauded). I went for the pie and beer deal for £6.50 and the balti pie was very good and the Carlsberg was freezing cold which was a nice surprise and there was no queue either. The toilets were ‘a bit slippery under foot’ at half-time. The stewards were fine in the upper tier but I heard they didn’t control things very well in the lower tier and a lot of our fans were stood in the gangways.

As for the match – this to be fair was a Spurs masterclass! Just had to sit back and accept that man for man Spurs had such quality and were playing some amazing football. We were disappointed with how QPR started the game and we were 2-0 down at half-time. A couple of changes and formation at half time and we scored early on giving Spurs a scare. With 20 minutes left Gareth Bale scored a stunning goal with some brilliant link up play with Van der Vart. It ended 3-1 to Spurs but we were proud with how Rangers fought back and didn’t lay down and die.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

We stayed to applaud the Rangers players and it took ten minutes to get outside. The fans were all mixing and didn’t see any problems. We walked back down the delightful Tottenham High Road to get back to White Hart Lane station. When we arrived at the station the queue seemed never ending and we thought we would be there forever. We walked back up to the road (White Hart Lane) which is the road the station entrance is on. A tip for fans doing this in future – cut down Whitehall Street as you will approach the back of the queue this way, instead of walking all the way around and past the entire queue. It took 45 minutes to get back to Liverpool Street where we grabbed a Samosa and cold drink to keep us going! (as we were wasting away!). The whole journey from Hillingdon to White Hart Lane return cost only £4.50 due to not swiping oyster cards on the overground which was a touch...I arranged for my lovely wife to meet me at West Harrow around 8.15pm and said goodbye to the boys who continued back to Hillingdon.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

Definitely a stadium worth visiting and it was one of the best internally I have seen. I can see why Spurs want to move away from White Hart Lane though as they need a bigger stadium. Tottenham is a horrible place and I think we made the right call not looking for a pub before the game. If it was a normal Saturday kick-off we would have given ourselves more time for a beer at Liverpool Street. Disappointed with how QPR started the game but pleased we fought back and made a good game of it and our fans were excellent once again. The travelling time to London grounds makes the day feel so much longer than it should be, over 2 hours from North East London to North West London is ridiculous – I did Doncaster to Hillingdon in just two hours 2 seasons ago (with speed restrictions on the M1)...crazy! Onto Stoke away in a few weeks...

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