As a kid ,like most boys of my era sport was a big thing .As soon as I got home from school we were out to play football .Born in the east end ,Basildon was where I grew up ,we played under the arch in Nether Priors for hours, in for tea and out again until it got dark.School was somewhere to play with friends and talk about football, teachers didnt inspire me ,footballers did.
Spurs were a great team in the sixties winning the league and cup double in the season 1960-1961 I am convinced thats what made me a spurs supporter.I was only six at the time.My peers supported teams like West ham ,Chelsea ,Arsenal and Millwall depending on where they were originally from, as Basildon was an overflow of london migrants .
I went to woodlands school where we played football at every opportunity bags for goals and tennis balls ,to play with .We were always last to lessons .(Who cared.) Converstions we had in school were about how your team faired and what chances they had at the weekend. During school holidays we played football, when it rained we played subbuteo ,we created our own leagues and had relegation and promotion always making sure your team stayed up. During kickabouts we would run a commentary .You always claimed the name of your favorite player .Mine was Greaves. I remember one kid used to pretend he knew Greaves and would give out autographs to friends, all fake but you rolled with it.
I remember when I reached thirteen I got a paper round with Pollards a terrible round ,you needed a bike and you had to collect the money on fridays.Nearly got robbed once,I blagged my way out. I got to know the manager Basildon boys club, Bartlet ,I think his name was and I played some games for them. Glen Keeley was also a player and went on to play for Newcastle (had a stinker at wembley). I also delivered papers to his mum ,she was a good tipper at christmas.I remember competing against him at school in javelin,(inter school), Keeley stuffed us all and he stabbed me in the leg. I still have the scar.
The importance of the paper round was immense I could go and watch football. I left Pollards and worked for HT Dwyer. It was still a long round but much better than Pollards and no danger of getting mugged. The first match I attended was against Sheffield United on the 13th of May 1967 ,we won 2-0 Greaves and Saul scored, I was hooked for life.That day was also ballott day for cup final tickets.I was unlucky but I think Dick Harper got one.
My obsession with Spurs and football got worse and was all consuming ,my school work was like football, I was relegated to a lower group and then promoted on a regular basis. There was no consistency. I lived for the weekends .I got my wages and went to Spurs home and away and I loved it .We either bunked the trains or paid half price it was the only way to do it.Football specials were laid on for away games and if you paid half price ,it was affordable.However ,I could never afford food or drink and this applied to all the younger lads, occasionally someone would give us a sandwich. I can remember most away games I went to ,as it was an event, charging around streets being escorted by the police to the grounds. When we got back to school, that’s all we talked about ,brilliant times.
On saturday mornings we met at Basildon station we made friends with supporters of all teams travelling to games around the country .We were from Basildon, we knew each other and talked and bragged about our adventures. As we got older we met up at youth centres and occasionally a pub ,( The Bullseye) where relaxed rules enabled us to buy a pint if we could afford it .(we’re talking pennies at that time) I made scrap books of my travels to matches and collected football programmes which I still have today.
Inside the scrap books are a wealth of information for any Spurs fans and an example can be seen below-Articles were stuck in with flour and water.
In those days players earned little, compared with todays players and you could relate to their lifestyles, very often you could mix with players on football specials. Today players treat fans with contempt .With Sky money fans no longer pay for the wages of players.That special bond which existed between players and fans in my opinion , has gone.
Once I left school I still went to Spurs on a regular basis but times change and work took over on saturdays. I miss those days .Tottenham was a great place to be and the atmosphere was amazing .Spurs didn’t need to win every week ,we played some great football it was about the Tottenham family.
On these away days with Spurs we got into all sorts of scrapes some which I will share, another time. COYS. Proper old school Tottenham