Parliamentary privilages

The rise in profile of the women’s game in England has been more noticeable in the past year than at any other stage in its history.  There are a number of reasons for this – the success of the inaugural Women’s Premier League this season; the hosting of the UEFA Women’s Champions League final at Craven Cottage in May and of course the huge success of the sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.  However, it is not all about of the onfield progress.  It is the progress of what is going on behind the scenes.

One thing is for sure.  The amount of dedication of key individuals off the field will make the on field success even more noticeable in the years to come.  We have already spoken to one of the most respected female officials in the Northern Leagues, Linzi Robinson, and in the coming weeks we will be talking to the manager of Lewes Ladies, Jacquie Agnew, on the success of the Sussex club.

But in one of those random Google searches we all do once in awhile we managed to stumble upon Tracey Crouch.  Qualified Football coach, Spurs fan and Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford.  Two out of three isn’t bad I suppose.  I met up will Tracey at Portcullis House a few weeks ago and was bowled over by her enthusiasm for the game.  Regularly checking her Blackberry, not for updates on policy making, but on whether Modric would be staying at White Hart Lane, we chatted for an hour about the game, the politics and why Clive Allen left Arsenal after just 7 weeks and zero competitive appearances for the club. Continue reading

Not all clubs are born to succeed

Pete South explains why not all clubs are born equal, and not all clubs are born to succeed.

Whether that affects who you follow or not is up to you, but like most of us, I was born into supporting a club, and mine happened to be Tottenham Hotspur.

Why I support Tottenham Hotspur
It wasn’t because my Father placed me upon his shoulders as we watched the likes of Paul Gascoigne strut his stuff around White Hart Lane – nothing anywhere near as clichéd as that.

In fact, my Dad doesn’t even support Spurs. He is a Leyton Orient fan (much to his detriment) and I would have been quite happy to follow the trials and tribulations of a lower league side with all the kudos that comes with it for being a real fan, but I wasn’t given a chance.

I was born into the Premier League era. I was born into the proliferation of money and glamour that has now swamped football. The image of the Liverpool FA Cup side in their garish white suits remains, while the ’94 World Cup was my first real experience of the power of football both in terms of money and influence. And I wanted to be involved.

So frankly, although there was no conscious decision, Orient would have always have struggled to win my affections.

I was born into a club, but the influence came from my brother. The fire came from, somewhat peculiarly, a small, glossy, signed postcard of Erik Thorstvedt owned by him.

With thanks to

The over-riding memory of my childhood and football came from the fact that the man who stood in the goal on TV had signed a picture and handed it to my brother. My brother had met a famous man who was on telly and played football? That blew my mind and from then on I was intrigued, and the hand-me-down yellow Holsten Spurs kit sealed the deal. OK, so that is a bit cliché, but I was a Tottenham fan.

David Ginola. Gary Mabutt, Justin Edinburgh, Sergei Rebrov, Darren Anderton are the type of names that filled my mind as a youngster. But it was the wonderfully talented Teddy Sheringham who was the object of my affections.

Sheringham was the archetype of a fans favourite. Skilful, composed, quick of mind and feet, full of artistry and he went against the grain. We loved him and he loved us. The day he left for Man United for £3 million (a sum which still angers me today) was a sorry day for me.

The greatest thing about supporting a club like Spurs comes from the sense of pathos felt by the White Hart Lane faithful. Only a few clubs (West Ham and Newcastle spring to mind) have managed to master the art of impending doom and honour in underachieving during my formative years like Spurs.

But things have all changed at the Lane. We are successful now, even playing Champions League football now. I still moan about things which make friends who support less successful clubs furious, but I reserve the right to complain (why do we have a black away shirt  like Liverpool this season? That type of thing) in what is effectively the halcyon days. It has been bred into me. It’s my club, after all.

The proudest moment of my life…apart from the birth of my daughter

I may have seen the greatest football match of my life the other week. I have supported Tottenham Hotspur my entire life, not because of any family loyalty and definitely not for any glory but mainly because of the Moss Man figure from Masters of the Universe but that’s a different story altogether.

The Peter Crouch headed goal at Eastland on 5th May last year guaranteed Spurs a place in the Champions League. This would be the first time in my supporting life that I would get to see my team playing in Europe on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and not on Channel 5 on a Thursday.

I’m not one for nostalgia but I do recognise the history of the club I support and have been filled with a sense of optimism and excitement as well a deep sense of pride for the achievement last season. Many talk about the European pedigree of the club and of 1984 but I am just too young to remember that let alone feel part of it, this is my time and I want it to count. Continue reading

My first game – Martin Searle

Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Pearce, Chivers)
Saturday 23rd August 1969
Selhurst Park
Football League Division One
Attendance: 39,494

First, a confession. This wasn’t my first game – that was Chelsea 1 Nottingham Forest 1 in August 1968. But my only memory of that is of some lads trying to get a bonfire going on the North Terrace, and I’d also have to confess to being a Chelsea fan at that age. And indeed, when I went to my second football game, the first of what turned out to be countless Palace games.

It was my 11th birthday treat, but Chelsea were away, so my brother Graham and myself were to meet up with his brother-in-law George and his mates, who were all die hard Fornton Eefite Palace fans, to watch this game as neutrals. It was Palace’s 3rd ever home game in Division One, and none of us were expecting them to get anything from it. Spurs had Greaves, Chivers, Gilzean, Mullery, Jennings, ‘Nice one Cyril’ Knowles. Palace had John Jackson and Steve Kember, and nobody else those outside SE25 had heard of. Continue reading