Beverley Smith is one of the army of Spurs fans who follow our fortunes from around the world. This year, her dream of seeing her beloved Spurs play within reach of her home came true. Beverley is a regular contributor to The Spurs List, and has kindly given her permission for her excellent account of seeing Spurs in Seattle here:-
Where do you begin when you want to start to write down the memories of such an incredible two days. Being an overseas Spurs supporter can be a challenge – I look back over the last 18 years I’ve been in Vancouver and have memories of me having to endure a penalty shoot out via Football 365 live, constantly refreshing the page; to years of streaming games from China with foreign language commentary; to the pretty inconvenient times that games can be shown live and having to totally disconnect yourself from social media to be sure that you don’t get to learn the result; to having to watch Spurs defeats against the Ars* at 5:00 am and then having the rest of your day as a write off as you are so gutted by the result; to staying up to 2:00 am to try to get tickets when they go on sale. So when the team you’ve loved your whole life virtually comes to your door step, it becomes a big deal – no a HUGE deal!
The countdown and the excitement in our house had been going on for months and the icing on the cake was learning that Brendan (Beverley's son) had won the Twitter contest and would be a mascot. It sort of took the anticipation to a new level and made us want to absorb every second.
Seattle Spurs Supporters club was helpful with posting details of all the Spurs events. We set off in good time with our first stop on our THFC Seattle Tour going to Pike Street Market where players were going to come to do planting, serve tea and throw fish. We went straight to the famous fish stall in the market, knowing we had reached the right place as all the fishy folks had the new Spurs shirts on. Sacrilege really, as none of them seemed to know anything about Spurs or the value both $$ wise and history/pride wise about the shirt they were wearing. The guy that was the fish thrower commented to Brendan “Hey, you have the same ‘thing’ on your shirt as me”. Thing??? Thing???? Believe me, I took the time to educate him in that it wasn’t a “thing” but a cockerel… a what? A cockerel… what? A cockerel like a rooster. Oh you mean a cock… no it’s not a cock it’s a cockerel…. (the only cock was him).
Anyway, got prime spots to watch the fish throwing and chatted to the main fishmonger bloke and gave him a bit of Spurs education and babbled about how excited we were. This conversation came back tenfold when the players finally arrived. He grabbed my phone, made Daws and Holtby stop so he could take our photo with them (only people that got that) and then whilst they were fish throwing, he grabbed Brendan’s Spurs shirt to get the players to sign it and took some superb video footage of Holtby catching the fish. In fact, our photo op with Daws made it the ESPN coverage – even if Brendan walking on as a mascot didn’t…. Found that out from friends that started PM-ing me that my FB cover photo was just shown on the TV!!
One of the great things about being a Spurs Fan is the other fans you meet along the journey – we chatted to so many people this weekend that had travelled from afar and shared our passion .. Case in point was two fans down from South California who had no idea of the other events happening and so we gladly gave them a ride as we rushed from the Market to the Pro Shop signing with Ledley and Kasey Keller. We joined the line-up to meet Ledley ,which fifteen minutes after the signing started still wasn’t moving which was a bit of a concern as the Open Training Session was now due to start in 45 minutes. I went to investigate what was happening and was then stopped by several people that wanted to take a photo of my “Keep Calm and Hate Arsenal” shirt, that continued for the rest of the day/night I lost count of the number of photos that got taken of my shirt!
On the subject of shirts, it was at this point that some loser gooner fan decided to walk past a waiting line up of about 500 Spurs fans in his Rosicky shirt and got the ‘welcome’ he deserved. Due to the continued lack of line movement, the family split to go and nab seats at the Open Training session as my two kids reminded me that they had already met Ledley in 2009 at a kit launch day and were concerned they would still be in line when the training began. I opted to stick the queue out – yes I’d met Ledley before but I didn’t want to pass the opportunity by to meet him again.
Whilst waiting I got interviewed by Spurs TV (and made the final cut - I am embarrassingly a little giddy in the video, it’s a little cringeworthy). The line started to move and we were told autographs only, no photos as they were too many people in line. I reasoned that they said no photos not no selfies, so I went in with phone ready and nabbed a photo with them which they had a great time trying to manoeuvre themselves in to!
From that I went running to try and find the rest of the family in the stand for the Open Training and they were front row so pretty easy to spot. Great moment to see the team finally come out and to watch the hour’s training session. Brendan was particularly enthralled as he saw them do some of the same drills that he does with his own team. There was a lot going on in different areas of the pitch with the squad being broken up into different groups to work on different exercises.
Pochettino worked with 11 players at a time and thankfully knows all their names, unlike his predecessor. Kyle Walker was gently jogging around working one on one with one coach or member of the medical team. Training finished a little later than planned and we bid farewell to our Californian Spurs friends before heading off to the Legends night – dropping our kids at a local cinema as this was an over 18 event.
Hurried to the George and Dragon Pub. It brought back great memories, as I’d had to drive down to the pub back in 1999 to be able to watch the Worthington Cup Final live. The atmosphere in the pub was rocking! Truly realised how much I miss the banter, the singing and being amongst a group of true diehard fans. We ventured outside as it was bloody warm inside the pub with all those Spurs bodies… more and more photos taken of my shirt. Excitement and singing reached fever pitch as the King of WHL arrived, followed by Kasey Keller and I was open mouthed to see them sit down right at the table literally a metre from where we were standing.
Sort of made up for my tinge of disappointment that I had been expecting Steffan Freund but about 20 minutes into the event, that was put right when he arrived too. The three of them were asked a lot of questions, mostly by the guy that was facilitating the whole session who did an awesome job, as well as taking questions from the fans. Steffan wouldn’t be drawn to comment on whether he thought we had brought the right coach in, saying he didn’t want to have his words come back to haunt him if he got it wrong a year from now. He impressed me with how articulate he was and his loyalty and love of Spurs shone through.
His response to who was his favourite Spurs manager to work under included him saying George Graham purely because if it wasn’t for George Graham, he would never have got to be at Spurs. In answer to a question about how hard is it when there’s been a big loss, Steffan spoke of the Liverpool defeat and Chelsea defeat and how everyone feels the loss and everyone is totally down. He sees his role as the motivator to lift every one of the team up again. He seems to be the one that consoles them, doesn’t shout at them – leaves that to the Head Coach (aka Sherwood particularly after Chelsea) and tries to re-motivate them. Says it’s hard as he has to try to be positive, get the players back on track but then equally he has to walk upstairs to face the sponsors after those big defeats which is hard because they all feel the loss and nobody is happy.
Ledley talked about how under Santini’s tenure that really nobody listened to him very much and that Martin Jol was really doing the manager’s job as Santini’s assistant. Spoke about how his favourite Tottenham moments were the 5-1 victory against the Arsenal and also the win at Man City which earned us Champions League Football.
One thing talked about which I know has been the subject of a few discussions on the Spurs List was how much does the fan support matter when you’re in the 81st minute and you’re a goal down. They all said how important it was in those moments to get behind the team as it does make a difference – so boo boys, hold your boos!
Honestly, I could go on and on about the things that they spoke about but bottomline, they all get it – they all get Tottenham, they all feel that same pride and passion that we all do. You could totally feel their love of the club. This Legends night was definitely a huge highlight of the two days for me. Standing where I was, I would from time to time do my two handed ‘I’m not worthy bow’ at Ledley and he would laugh and smile back. Them taking the time to chat with you one on one at the end was amazing and after telling Ledley what a total hero he was for the club, he hugged me and kissed me on the cheek – bet there aren’t too many of you that have that claim to fame!
I have to confess that I got very little sleep on Friday night – I was on such a high from all that had happened that day – I was buzzing but as Saturday rolled round, my focus was on Brendan and ensuring that he had a day to remember. He came up to me before we left to drive to the ground and showed me how he was quivering with excitement. We arrived well in advance of the time we needed to be there which allowed Brendan a chance to kick a ball around outside Safeco field at a mini event put on by Spurs and Under Armour. Typical kid friendly event and as it was so early no-one else was there so he got pretty spoilt by all the attention.
The whole mascot experience was really sorted and organized by the Sounders. Us true die-hard parents connected immediately but it was kind of sad that there were just three of us that that truly appreciated the significance of having our kids walk out with the team. It was also a bit shocking to overhear that they were actually short two kids to walk out with the Spurs players (two hadn’t even shown up). This all slightly irritated me as I knew that there were many families that would appreciate the opportunity and what it would mean to have their kids come out with the team. With 16 year old daughter in tow, I went to see if she could step in, they told me at 16 she was too old but half an hour later changed their mind. Hayley had tears in her eyes that this was going to happen for her too but then they changed their minds again, saying that they were going to give the spot to someone from Make A Wish instead but as a consolation they would give her a full kit (Honestly this was the best scenario as she wanted the shirt and Brendan got to have his moment). Mind you, I was irritated again later to hear from Brendan that nobody from Make A Wish did come so Townsend walked out with a mascot – grrrrrr!
Spurs kids all got kits in an Under Armour box which included boots (was not expecting the latter). Sadly, they did not give the kids a chance to get autographs or truly meet the players (Brendan had all his Match Attax down from his bedroom wall). It would have been great if they had had the chance but Brendan’s only interaction with them was in the tunnel or when the subs came out. He told me that he and the boy he buddied up with were the only ones calling out to the players as they came past him so they were all high fiving him as he was the only one that could name them all! He said it was entirely random who you walked out with – they asked the players to just grab the hand of one of the mascots so he ended up with Harry Kane. He was pretty pleased with that. I was bawling like a baby when Brendan came onto the pitch. A moment I never thought I would see – an incredible proud parent moment for sure.
As a mascot family we got seated almost opposite the Spurs section in the ground but lower. We already had tickets to the game in the Spurs section but these were up in the Gods so certainly the bleacher seats were a better vantage point to see the game, although at the sacrifice of not being amongst the banter and fun with the Spurs supporters. So if you were in that Spurs section and saw someone waving a big Spurs flag lower down almost opposite you, near where that band kept playing that was us. I guess I was being pretty ardent as Sounders fans wanted their photos with us at half time and full time!
I won’t comment much on the game. It certainly was a training game, and I hope it wasn’t too disappointing to the many fans who were there to watch Spurs for the first time. From our place sat in the corner, really outside of any stand, it was VERY windy. Not sure if that came over on the TV but was the cause of several misplaced Spurs passes as you could literally see the ball swerve and get blown by the wind when Spurs were coming forward in the first half (I use the term pressing somewhat loosely). Ceballos impressed me a lot.
Getting home, we laughed at ourselves on TV; cringed at my excitement on SpursTV; downloaded photos and then saw on Twitter that Brendan had won some pretty swanky $200+ football boots from the Under Armour promo at Safeco Field! Great way to cap off a great weekend.
I came away with more great memories than I anticipated and underlining the fact that Spurs fans truly are the best fans out there. If you are going to Toronto or Chicago, SOAK IN EVERY MOMENT and then you’ll be walking around like me with a silly grin on your face that just won’t go away.
Going to put all my pics and video together onto YouTube so I’ll post the link for anyone interested. (Ed:- I'll post links here when available)
· Norman Giller's review of the Seattle Match
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