Audere best faker is NOT the Spurs motto, it’s what the predictive worst – wotsit was what I typed, on purpose – decided I was trying to say. Being an old club, founded in 1882 with the rather grand name of Tottenham Hotspur, we are fond of our Latin and the real motto is Audere Est Facere (To Dare Is To Do). Dare, Dream, Do seems to be the modern injunction.
We had the cards come out in the South Stand before the match against Arsenal Thursday a week ago and we won – whoop, whoop – 3-0 – because they gave away a penalty and had a man sent off. Oh joy, oh rapture! I haven’t been too triumphalist around my Arsenal friends and family (how on earth did that happen?!!) because they get more upset than I do and were still ahead on points. Now, with one game left (thank you Newcastle), it’s in our hands and if we lose at Norwich (bottom of the table by an ocean and a half), we’ll have finished the season as beyond Spursy and deserving of Roy Keane’s contempt.
Apologies (not very heartfelt) to the non-football fans who couldn’t care less and are baffled by the foregoing waffle. What it all means is if we (Spurs) draw with or beat Norwich at Carrow Road on Sunday, we finish fourth in the league, thus qualifying for the Champions’ League and shedloads of money. Who said the game was all about glory? It’s so long since we won a trophy that we’ve saved shedloads of money on silver polish. The mighty Spurs? In our dreams.
I’m not sure football clubs realise – or care particularly – how much effort fans put in to getting to matches. And the bods that organise the fixtures, with telly requirements uppermost, certainly don’t give it a moment’s thought. Spurs v Arsenal, a derby of more than usual significance, was scheduled for 1945 on Thursday and our last home match of the season, against Burnley, was set for noon the following Sunday. Mmmm. Tricky for everyone and a bit of a conundrum for those of us travelling from any distance.
I decided against flogging up and down via coach or whatever and stayed in London for four nights instead! I told you we fans are a bit bonkers but there was some method in my madness because I was able to stay with rellies and catch up with them, which was lovely, even though the household contained two Arsenal fans (who knows how that happened?).
The night of the Arsenal match I stayed at the youth hostel – if you join the YHA (Youth Hostel Association), they don’t care what age you are, so old dolls are welcome – at Oxford Circus. It’s not the cheapest option but it was convenient, not far from the tube and a straight run up the Victoria Line to Tottenham Hale, easy-peasy even for a person capable of complicating the simplest trip.
I had a room to myself, though the loo and shower were down the corridor and the wifi was a bit dodgy but I suspect that was more to do with my own technical shortcomings. I had to pay an extra £2 for a large bath towel and it was all clean and comfy enough if a bit spartan. In the morning, I stuck my luggage in a locker (another two quid) and had a very pleasant meander, visiting Liberty for the first time in years and wandering down to Fortnum and Mason, where there seemed to be little sign of the recession.
I’d forgotten how tiring shopping – even window-shopping – can be and eventually flopped down at a touristy tapas bar that delivered up a pan con tomate that was so ordinary that it was beyond criticism. Soggy and tasteless, it filled a hole, along with some cheesy croquetty things and a small, expensive beer. At least the service was cheerful but I wondered where I’d gone wrong when I heard people saying they’d made a reservation…
On the golf front (at last), I was really looking forward to the PGA Championship, especially when I heard that Rory was drawn with Tiger and Jordan Spieth. Perfect. Our man McIlroy would have to concentrate from the first shot in such company and he played beautifully for a 65, five under par, to lead. Heaven only knows what’ll happen next on a course that is designed to keep players honest but it makes a change from having to watch him play catch-up.
Worryingly, the other morning I woke up and groggily realised that I’d been dreaming about Rory. We were in a press conference and he said something like “I couldn’t have played any better,” and I tutted and said “No,” so loudly that everybody turned and looked.
“That’s not the point,” I said. “You have to be able to come off and say, ‘I couldn’t have scored any better’. That’s the point.”