It was the sight of Mauricio Pochettino and Ricky Villa strolling round the pitch arm in arm, smiling at the adoring fans that captured the beauty of this day, Tottenham’s past and present in complete harmony. Danny Blanchflower would have loved this day as the club did everything in style remembering his famous quote which is as true today as it was in the 1960s.
“The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”
That is the Tottenham way, do it in style, entertain, don’t grind out a win, play with a flourish and without fear. Tottenham Hotspur’s past and present in perfect harmony. Ossie Ardiles and Teddy Sherringham walked around, deep in conversation while Cliff Jones, still spritely at 82, ran across the field. Spurs left their atmospheric old home in style with a win, with an emotional homage to the past and a thrilling reminder of a bright future. Not even the rain at the end of the game could spoil this day and fittingly there was a rainbow. Six hours before kick-off fans gathered to take photographs and buy T-shirts to remember this special day. The Lane bequeathed so many memories, many celebrated in sepia footage: Cliff Jones scoring a hat-trick in the 8-1 win over Gornik Zabrze in 1961; Jimmy Greaves arriving from AC Milan with a flourish, with a scissors kick and two headers on his debut in December 1961 against Blackpool, the first of his 14 hat-tricks for Spurs.
At the final whistle, stewards were not prepared for thousands of fans pouring onto the pitch. You didn’t really need Gypsy Rose Lee and her crystal ball to foresee that happening, did you? Finally, once the pitch was cleared, ten academy players strode out to form a guard of honour, the future saluting the past. Clive Allen was the first to emerge, followed by Paul Allen, Les Allen, Darren Anderton, Steve Archibald and Ossie Ardiles, huge cheers following their every step. Dimitar Berbatov strolled on, looking like he was heading to a nightclub. Others followed including Martin Chivers, Garth Crooks, Glenn Hoddle and Edgar Davids, looking like he had come straight from Hollywood. Movingly, Terry Dyson from the 1961 Double team made his way to the centre circle. Still they came, David Ginola, Pat Jennings, who could have kept the rain off with his hands that were often described as two frying pans. Ledley King whose career was blighted by a problematic knee. Then came the heirs to this famous lilywhite tradition, followed by the coaching staff as the Spurs fans acclaimed their footballing family.
The wrecking balls have already begun their work the day after the match but the memories remain, deepened by a historic send-off.