White Hart Lane, the football stadium in the North London borough of Haringey, has been home to Tottenham Hotspur for 118 years. But, this weekend, it will see its last ever professional game. In fact, bulldozing begins the day after Spurs’ final Premier League home game of the season. The parking spot reserved for Manchester United’s coach on Sunday will very quickly be filled by demolition experts, eager to tear the place down.
Tottenham will play next season’s home games at the (relatively) nearby Wembley Stadium and should be in their impressive new 61,559-seat stadium by the start of the 2018-19 season.
So, it’s the end of an era for many Spurs fans. True, their new ground will be awe-inspiring, but they’ll miss their old place, no doubt. After all, it’s played host to thousands of memorable matches. And seen hundreds of Spurs legends in its time, including: Clemence; Nicholson; Jennings; Ardiles; Villa; Mabbutt; Lineker; Waddle; Hoddle; Gascoigne…
But, for us, it’s the more modern matches that stick in the memory. So let’s run through some of the most entertaining games played at White Hart Lane since the turn of the century, shall we?
Tottenham 6 – 4 Reading, December 2007
Back in December 2007, a quite incredible game of football was played at White Hart Lane when Spurs played host to Reading. The Royals managed to take the lead three times and eventually put four past Spurs. But that didn’t bother the home side. They just scored SIX in reply. With a brilliant haul of four goals for Bulgarian wizard Dimitar Berbatov. It still stands at the second highest scoring game in Premier League history.
Weirdly, just three months earlier, Reading had taken part in a similarly madcap game. They lost 7-4 to Portsmouth. But whereas that was a game that demonstrated just how bad defending can be sometimes, this fixture was more of a Berbatov skill showcase (with some terrible defending thrown in too).
Tottenham 3 – 1 Inter Milan, November 2010
Two weeks prior to this fixture, Gareth Bale announced himself to the world. Before this Champions League campaign, he was just a pacy winger. In fact, some more cynical fans were still a wee bit unconvinced by the Welshman, not being able to forget his losing streak on joining from Southampton. But at the San Siro? A stunning hat trick really made people sit up and take notice. Spurs still lost 4-3 to Inter that night, though. They needed a win when the Milan side visited London…
Luckily, Bale was to continue his heroics. A true masterclass saw Spurs run riot over a classy Inter side and Bale scored two vital goals. Rafa Benitez’s side were left in tatters after Bale attacked them relentlessly. How Maicon didn’t retire immediately after that game is anyone’s guess. An unforgettable night for any Spurs fan.
Tottenham 3 – 5 Manchester United, September 2001
An amazing game for the neutral, an awesome game for a United supporter and a devastating game for Tottenham fans. Not too many times do you play Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson’s stewardship and find yourself deservedly three nil up at half time. Cue the infamous – but effective – hairdryer treatment…
Whatever Ferguson said/shouted did the trick. A jaw-dropping comeback ensued after the restart. Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham all scored as United staged a quite sensational comeback.
Spurs 5 – 3 Chelsea, January 2015
This season saw Spurs fight Chelsea for the Premier League. And lose out. Last season saw them duke it out with Leicester City. And lose. The season before? They weren’t even in the race. It was between Chelsea and Manchester City and the West Londoners would take it under the now-Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.
Ten Spurs Vs. Chelsea fixtures in a row had seen either the Blues victorious or the game end in a draw. But in this thriller, the home side would finally break the hoodoo. And in some style.
Costa put Chelsea a goal up, but Harry Kane, Danny Rose and a penalty from Andros Townsend had it 3-1 to Tottenham at the break. Kane’s second made it 4-1 on 52′, only for Eden Hazard to cut the lead back down ten minutes later. Nacer Chadli made it 5-2 and John Terry scored a late consolation. Breathless.
Spurs 9 – 1 Wigan, November 2009
Had it not been for Paul Scharner’s virtually pointless goal, Spurs would have handed out the joint biggest thrashing in Premier League history. But the Austrian’s consolation effort was enough to drop them down to second place (Manchester United hit nine against Ipswich Town without reply back in 1995). Still, it was a glorious goal-filled day for The Lilywhites and a certain Jermain Defoe.
The England international hit FIVE, while Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon and Niko Kranjcar all netted (as did Chris Kirkland, into his own goal). Part of Defoe’s haul was a seven minute hat trick after half time that he – and Spurs fans – will never forget.
Tottenham 4 – 5 Arsenal, November 2004
Speaking of not forgetting… Tottenham die-hards won’t thank us for bringing up this heart-breaking game. But we had no choice. You don’t get many matches like this. Which is a shame for neutrals. But for fans and players of the sides concerned? It’s an emotional rollercoaster that your body surely couldn’t handle every week.
This topsy-turvy 90 minutes was all over the place and panned out more like a basketball game than a football match. It was a nine goal thriller that, even by the North London derby’s lofty standards, really stands out as a cracker.
So there we are. It’s the end of an era for Spurs fans and curtains for this iconic stadium. Still, the new one’s only next door and we’re sure that the boys in white will make plenty of new memories there soon enough.