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My First Game: A Tale of Woe and Wonder

Updated: Jun 6

As a Spurs fan, the question "Why didn't they win?" is one we've frequently pondered throughout our history. Thankfully, in recent years, it has become less common than during my formative years supporting Spurs in the 1990s and 2000s.

My first live encounter with Spurs on January 6th, 1991, for the FA Cup 3rd round home tie against Southampton, promised a positive outcome. With star striker Gary Lineker and fearless captain Gary Mabbutt leading the team, and buoyed by our rich history in the competition—having won it seven times and reached the final three times in the 1980s—I didn't contemplate the possibility of us not winning my inaugural match.

However, as the opening line suggests, they lost. Comfortably.

The final score was Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Southampton, with future Premier League legend Matt Le Tissier among the scorers for the visitors and a young Alan Shearer making an appearance off the bench—back in the days when only one substitute was permitted.

Aside from the confused "what happened" feeling and the obvious disappointment as a 9 year old, I recall great moments from that game. David Howells scoring our lone goal. The shiny silver match ticket. Sitting so high up in The Shelf (upper East stand) that it felt like you might tumble down the steps and over the edge. Marveling at the players in their white shirts and navy blue shorts from high above.

I remember going to games during this period and the sights and smells being incredible. So many people, so many burger vans! Walking through the high school grounds behind the South Stand where we parked our car and onto Park Lane, lined with stalls selling memorabilia and yet more burger vans.

I loved the memorabilia and it was such a fun thing to immerse yourself in as a kid and I would collect all the matchday programs from the games I attended. When I moved to Canada, the purging of these programs was a sad necessity. Some remained though, and the program and ticket from that memorable—albeit 'Spursy'—first match day, made the cut and remain part of my cherished possessions.


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