On 11th June 2017, Exposure opened its Tottenham Hotspur documentary Memory Lane to the public at Bruce Castle Park Museum. The day was a great success, with hundreds of people attending, some visiting the local museum for the first time.
The event featured two screenings of the film, as well as an amazing Spurs-themed dance performed by kids from St Paul’s and All Hallows School – my old primary school – organised by local performing group Streetz Ahead.
Dancing to a mashup of songs such as Woodkid’s Run Boy Run with classic Spurs chants such as Chas & Dave’s Come on You Spurs, the young dancers re-enacted a football match, performing as both the footballers and the cheering supporters.
Amongst those present were David Floyd, Exposure almumnus and the publisher of the Tottenham Community Press, and Val Crosby, a local historian. Food was provided by local Italian restaurant, San Marco in Bruce Grove.
Visitors were also treated to special Tottenham cake from local bakery Percy Ingle. The cake got its name in 1901 – given out for free to children to celebrate Tottenham Hotspur’s first FA Cup victory. Its pink icing was made with mulberries from the Tottenham marshes.
The celebration was a way of saying goodbye to the old White Hart Lane stadium and remembering all the glory days with Tottenham Hotspur.
People came to the event, instead of watching the film online by themselves, as they wanted to share the moment and the memories with other people. They weren’t disappointed as both screenings were packed!
I interviewed a few people during the event, each with their own memories of what Tottenham Hotspur meant to them, and what they thought of the new stadium being built to replace the historic old one.
One thing that really struck me was the sense of community among football fans.
I interviewed a young Spurs supporter, who explained that, because of his muscle impairments, he had to wait for someone to take him to matches as a kid. However, he found a community of Spurs fans on BBC message boards, and began talking to them and meeting up at events.
“I’m a kid from Seven Sisters, but because of Spurs I got to meet so many new people.”
One of his favourite Tottenham Hotspur memories was the last game in the old stadium and the closing ceremony, where Spurs fans chanted their traditional songs along with a gospel choir to reflect Tottenham’s African and Caribbean community.
Many attending the event at Bruce Castle were happy that the football club had decided to stay in Tottenham instead of moving to the Stratford Olympic Stadium.
“Look in the film [Memory Lane], how many times we took the mickey out of those ‘wanderers’ – you could say the same about us if we left,” said Al, a passionate Spurs supporter. “Once the old players and managers you knew are gone, what link is there to Tottenham?”
There is a large sense of pride that Tottenham Hotspur has stayed in N17 at White Hart Lane for over 130 years, with such a long history, as shown in Memory Lane.
The redevelopment of the Spurs stadium was also an important topic for many people. Some liked the idea of a big, new stadium, as it would make the club more competitive.
“It’s sad the old one’s being bulldozed [but] I can’t wait to expand and compete with other large clubs,” said one passionate Spurs fan who came with his son to watch Memory Lane, after going to see the old ground one last time.
The pitch itself literally held memories. As shown in Memory Lane, some passionate fans and influential people dedicated to Tottenham Hotspur had their ashes scattered over the Spurs ground after their death, including former manager Bill Nicholson in honour of his services to the club.
“People were getting goosebumps watching the film, when Bill Nicholson’s ashes were scattered,” explained Al.
Some viewers were even brought to tears due to the emotion linked to their memories.
Many hope the new stadium and the promised jobs created will also help the Tottenham community, yet suggested it might be too expensive for local supporters to buy season tickets.
Overall, however, people are happy about the progress. “I’m glad for the new stadium. I still love the old one, but you have to move forward. It’s for you young people, for the future,” said long-time Spurs supporter Ludds.
I hope that the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium will be accessible and affordable to people in Tottenham and maintains its links with the community.
I’m glad that Exposure’s film got many people thinking about and remembering their history, and looking forward to the future.
• There will be another screening of ‘Memory Lane’ at the Antwerp Arms pub in Tottenham on Thursday 22nd June at 7.15pm.