Quite a contrast with Brunton Park and Carlisle United, going to my first Premiership game of the season. In the flesh, or what's left of it. For a start, the car park at White Hart Lane. Good job I was wearing sun specs. The razzle-dazzle, the flashing dashing opulence of the grossly over-the-top, conspicuously expenditured motors could have ruined my eyesight. Never seen so many Ferraris, Aston Martins and Bentleys parked in one small space. Boys aged about ten were standing gaping. I think some never actually took their seats for the game, preferring to ogle the car porn.
Compared with last season, there were also a lot more gigantic 4x4 models, designer specials, by the look of them. One was so huge it would have been more at home in Main Street, Basra than High Road, Tottenham. I was told it was a director's, not a player's. But how would a player know? They have so many.
I've been back in London only a week, and travelling on the bus quite a few times, I noticed what everyone notices about London - the enormous cultural and ethnic mix. But not at Spurs. I didn't see a black or Asian face among the crowds on the way to the game, nor did I hear a posho middle-class accent. They could, of course, have been crouching. It was a heaving mass of white, pasty norf London faces and voices, and most of them were stuffing their gobs when not on their mobiles.
Inside, there's been an addition to the names and slogans on the hoarding behind the Park Lane goals. For about a hundred years, they've been content to leave the Spurs club motto, "Audere est Facere", in its original Latin, which we all used to speak, in the days when football began. "Oh dear, it's fucked," is what I've always taken it to mean. I do have O-level Latin.
Now they've stuck up a literal translation, in large letters: "To dare is to do." The words just stand there, on their own, not making much sense, unless it's the precursor of another advertising campaign. In the act of being daring, you are obviously doing something, ain'tcha? So what's the point of saying it? Unless it means that you succeed by daring. In other words, "Who dares, wins." But that's been well used.
Poncy, awful, orchestral mush music heralded the teams coming out, which I gather has been ordained by Sky TV for all Premiership games, but then later we did get "Glory, glory, Tot-nam Hotspur" and then at half-time, "McNamara's Band".
The fans are still singing that rude song about Sol Campbell, which ends in "up my arse", but they have now adapted "Yellow Submarine" for home consumption. For about five years now I have heard European crowds singing this tune, without knowing what words they were using. I was interested that Europeans not English fans should have adopted it first.
The words used by the Spurs fans are all very clean, so you can read on without fear of blushing. "Num-ber One is Rob-bee Keane, Rob-bee Keane, Rob-bee Keane/Num-ber Two is Rob-bee Keane, Rob-bee Keane, Rob-bee Keane . . ." And so on, up to Number 12, if they've got the energy, or unless something exciting happens. Finally, they sing. "We all foll-ow the Robbie Keane team, the Robbie Keane team." Catchy, huh.
Elsewhere this season, around the Premiership, I have heard the same tune being adapted by other sets of fans on TV. It could lead to an interesting legal situation. The copyright of Beatles songs is owned jointly by Sony and Michael Jackson, both with good lawyers. Now, it could be argued that Sky or any other TV company, if it wants to broadcast the tune of "Yellow Submarine" to a fee-paying public, should pay royalties. I might ask my son the barrister for an opinion, though he might charge me.
Yeah, of course, I was there for the football, not social and cultural observation, and Spurs were excellent, stuffing poor old Everton two-nil. Spurs now have 43 midfield players, most of whom look alike, and play alike, except for Edgar Davids, who is by far the best. All these years, watching him on TV, I never realised how small he is. And relatively weedy. That was a surprise. Ah, you can't beat football in the flesh . . .