The Anonymous Widower

A Memory Of Jimmy Greaves

I have many memories of seeing Greaves play, but i some ways one memory stands out, as I’ve never seen anybody else do anything similar.

As a game was approaching ninety minutes, Greaves was preparing to take an inswinging corner from the right, as he often did in his latter years at Tottenham.

But the referee blew for time.

Greaves then picked up the ball and bounced it in front of himself. He then kicked it in to the middle, hit the penalty spot and as he’d applied so much spin, the ball rolled into the goal.

I have never seen another player, who controlled the ball as well as Greaves.

September 20, 2021 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Did Gareth Bale Learn A Few Tricks From Tommy Harmer?

Tommy Harmer wasn’t a famous footballer to many, but to those, like me, who saw him play for Spurs in the 1950s, he was recognised as one of the most skilful ball-players of the time.

The second goal scored by Wales yesterday, was certainly a repeat of quite a few, I saw scored by Spurs in the 1950s, with Gareth Bale standing in for Harmer.

Harmer would accept a very short corner and with the ball glued to his feet, he’d advance slowly up the line towards the goal.

There was usually one of three outcomes.

  • Harmer was able to pull the ball back to someone like Bobby Smith, who hit it first time towards goal from just outside the six-yard box. Last night Connor Roberts played Smith to perfection to score  from Bale’s pullback.
  • Harmer was tackled and he got another corner, from which he sometimes repeated the dose.
  • In some cases, the inevitable happened and Harmer was fouled inside the penalty area. And who scored from the penalty spot? – Harmer of course!

He was one of the best penalty takers I’ve ever seen, Wikipedia says this of his penalties.

Sublime unstoppable penalties, tucked into the side netting behind an upright.

Some would probably be illegal these days, as he sometimes waited until the goalkeeper moved. More fool the keeper!

Did Bale And Harmer Ever Meet?

Tommy Harmer sadly died in 2017, but on Radio 5, it was said around 2014, that he was working as a meeter-and-greeter at White Hart Lane and had been for some time.

So I suspect that someone at the club could have introduced the two players to each other, during Bale’s first spell at the club between 2007 and 2013. They would have made an odd pair, with a height difference of seven inches.

And of course, I suspect Spurs have a few videos of Harmer.

In many years of watching football, I haven’t seen this method of taking a corner used since those days in the 1950s, by Harmer.

I suspect Gareth Bale has changed all that! Wales got a goal, but Bale was also using it as a way to run down the clock!

June 17, 2021 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

800009 – John Charles

On my way to Wales on Tuesday, I travelled in the Class 800 train, that is numbered 800009 and named after the great Welsh footballer; John Charles at one end.

I actually saw him play for Leeds in a match against Spurs at White Hart Lane. Leeds played in a blue kit in those days and I am fairly sure John Charles played up front.

I suspect, it likely, that it must have been the  1956-57 season as it would be the only season where Leeds were in the First Division, before John Charles left in 1957 to go to Juventus.

I wonder how many people, who saw John Charles play, have actually ridden in the train named after him?

It was good to see that Great Western Railway have also put his Italian nickname; Il Gigante Buono on the train.

 

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

North And South

I went to see Spurs this afternoon to see them play Burnley.

Coming home, I got the train between White Hart Lane and Hackney Downs stations. As we walked to the bus for Dalston, there was a mixed group of fans.

Most of the Burnley fans were smoking, as opposed to few of the Spurs fans.

Is this the difference between North and South?

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , | 3 Comments

I Had A Decompensation Stroke On Saturday

On Saturday, I went to the first half of the Spurs Crystal Palace match at White Hart Lane, so at least I saw all the goals.

But at half-time, I wasn’t feeling well, with stroke like symptoms, I suffered before, like bad eyesight on the left side and bad control of my left hand.

So I contacted a steward and he walked me to the medical room, where I was checked out.

They thought, I could be having a stroke, although, they seemed surprised I was so lucid and could remember details like my son’s phone number.

An ambulance was called and I was taken to University College Hospital.

They did a CT scan and cleared me to go home and then return on the Sunday to have an MRI scan.

They also said that I could stay overnight, which is what I did.

The MRI scan on Sunday ,morning, showed that I hadn’t had another stroke and they told me that it was a decompensation stroke.

The hospital fully checked me out, including doing the same mental check the doctors gave to Donald Trump, which I passed.

I was home by two.

But what is a decompensation stroke? There’s precious little on the Internet.

If nothing else, my small incident proves that the systems at Tottenham Hotspur, the London Ambulance Service and University College Hospital worked as everyone expects.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , | 2 Comments

The New White Hart Lane Station Opens

The new White Hart Lane station opened on Monday and I went along this morning and took these pictures.

Some points about the design.

  • The station has three entrances on the stadium side and two on the other.
  • Materials used include terracotta pots and weathered steel.
  • There is a pedestrian tunnel under the railway for those that don’t want to use the trains.
  • There are two sets of stairs to both platforms
  • There are lifts to both platforms.
  • The station can probably handle twelve-car Class 710 trains if required on match days.
  • There are solar panels on the roof.
  • The station  must have some of the tallest overhead electrification gantries in the UK.

From what one of the project managers told me, it appears that the station was built by cleaning, refurbishing and strengthening the viaduct and then erecting an independent steel frame on either side to form the station.

It looks like a technique that could be used on other stations on viaducts.

It’s certainly a better station with a larger capacity, than the previous one, that I used many times back in the 1960s.

The old station is to be demolished, at some point in the future.

Conclusion

It is an excellent station, that should serve its main function of getting supporters to and from Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.

But will the station and the soon-to-arrive new trains have other effects.

  • As I said earlier, the design could be repeated with different cladding for other stations on viaducts.
  • I believe that good public transport infrastructure tends to calm crime and anti-social behaviour. Only the statistics will give a verdict.
  • Will the passenger numbers rise through the station?
  • Will the station and the stadium attract some better class retain premises and cafes, as the Emirates has done?

And perhaps most importantly! Tottenham Hotspur now has two new stations to serve the ground! Will this reduce the congestion caused by large crowds?

 

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Seven Sisters Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Seven Sisters station is on the list.

These pictures show the current station.

It is a nightmare.

  • There are two London Overground platforms on a viaduct and three deep-level ictoria Line platforms.
  • The Overground platforms are accessed by stairs although there is one up escalator and provision was made for another, although it was never installed.
  • The Victoria Line station is double-ended with escalators and steps which must be negotiated by all passengers.
  • Rabbits would probably feel at home in the warren of tunnels of the Underground station.
  • The three subway entrances on Tottenham High Road all have just steep steps.

If ever there was a station designed by a committee of bean counters, with no children or disabilities and rail experience, it is Seven Sisters station.

Extra Pressures

Other factors will come into play in the next few years.

Tottenham Hotspur

As Seven Sisters station is the nearest Underground station to the ground, a lot of supporters walk to matches and other events along Tottenham High Road.

White Hart Lane station is being rebuilt, with increased capacity and full step-free access, so hopefully, passengers on match days at Seven Sisters station will decrease.

But the obvious route to the ground from Euston is probably to take the Victoria Line and walk from Seven Sisters station.

With the new station at White Hart Lane, there may even be an increase in interchange passengers at Seven Sisters station.

Crossrail

In any London railway scheme, Crossrail is the elephant in the room.

Will passengers between Tottenham and Enfield and the West End and Heathrow take the Overground to and from Liverpool Street and then use Crossrail?

For many passengers with limited movement, it could be a better route to avoid Seven Sisters station.

New Trains On The Overground

Hopefully, new Class 710 trains will start to arrive on the Overground this year.

As all new trains do, these will increase the number of passengers through Seven Sisters station, especially as the trains may have a much larger capacity, than the existing Class 315 trains.

Extra Services On The Overground

Transport for London are planning to add extra services through Seven Sisters, which will surely bring more passengers wanting to interchange with the Victoria Line.

Increased Frequency On The Victoria Line

The Victoria Line currently runs at thirty-six trains per hour (tph) all day, with trains running between Walthamstow Central and Brixton stations.

I am sure that the line’s engineers would love to squeeze the magic forty tph out of the line, but the capacity of some stations couldn’t handle the extra passengers.

But one way or another, more passengers will be squeezed into Dear Old Vicky and as she always does, she will deliver and more passengers will want to interchange at Seven Sisters station.

Services Between Seven Sisters And Stratford Stations

The track exists to run services between Lower Edmonton and Statford stations, via Seven Sisters, South Tottenham and Lea Bridge stations.

With all the new housing being built in the area, I feel this could be valuable addition to London’s railways.

As South Tottenham and Lea Bridge stations have step-free access, this might be an improvement that takes pressure from Seven Sisters station, by giving passengers a new route to Crossrail.

Improving Access At Seven Sisters Station

It is obvious, that passenger numbers wil be increasing at Seven Sisters station will be increasing and there will also be a substantial increase in passengers wanting to change between the Overground and the Victoria Line.

So what can be done to solve the various problems?

The Tottenham High Road Subway Entrances

These really only give access to the Victoria Line via an escalator.

Lifts tom the subway could be provided, but that would just get passengers to and from the gate-line. After the gate-line, it is just escalators to the platforms with some steps thrown in for good measure.

Victoria Line Platforms

If you were pushing a buggy or in a wheelchair, your best route to the Underground is probably to take a bus from outside the station in Tottenham High Road to Tottenham Hale station and use the step-free access there, which in a couple of months will also apply to the trains as well.

I doubt we’ll see much improvement to the Underground station, until Crossrail 2 is built, which will probably be in the 2050s.

Overground Platforms

There is a side entrance on Seven Sisters Road, that was probably the original entrance to the station.

Making this route to the Overground platforms step-free, is probably the best way to at least do something positive, as regards step-free access at the station.

It could also be relatively easy to put an escalator on the Londonj-bound platform, where there are two parallel staircases.

Conclusion

This is a very important station, that needs to be made step-free.

But it will be very difficult.

 

 

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Will I Watch The Champions League Final?

My father had first gone to White Hart Lane as a child, in his father’s pony-and-trap, before the First World War. He told me how they gave a local lad a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

That would be about twelve pounds in 2019 money. I don’t drive, so would you pay twelve pounds to park your car for a match today?

Later he had been at the 1921 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs had won the cup for the second time.

He took me several times to see Spurs in the 1950s and we were there in 1961, when Spurs received the First Division trophy after losing to West Bromwich Albion.

I was now going regularly on my own and I cycled down from Southgate.

I seem to remember paying half-a-crown to leave my bike in a secure space. That would be about three pounds today.

In the early 1960s, my parents moved to Felixstowe and to overcome the boredom of summers and other holidays in the place, our neighbour started taking me to Ipswich Town, where I saw a few games of Alf Ramsey’s First Division-winning side of cast-offs and misfits!

As I’ve lived in Suffolk off-and-on for over fifty years, it was the start of a long-term relationship.

I should also say, that following Ipswich Town and the companionship I;ve enjoyed, has been a great help to me, since C’s death!

For four years in the 1960s, I was at Liverpool University or living in the City.

I saw Spurs play many times all over the North West, but it was not a good period for them and I only saw one win, which was at Everton.

I also used to go to both Liverpool clubs, where you just walked up on the day and paid to get in. Those were the days! I remember, I was there to see Emlyn Hughes make his debut for Liverpool. Wikipedia says that was March 4th, 1967 against Stoke City.

Most long-term football fans have a long-term relationship to one club and I’ve met some strange relationships.

Ipswich for instance have a clutch of Liverpudlian supporters, who seem to have started supporting Ipswich in the Bobby Robson-era. That could be just the Liverpudlian attitude to be different.

So where will I watch the Champions League Final on June the First?

I am leaning towards Manchester at the moment! Although, thinking about it, Barcelona could be an interesting alternative!

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Be The Best Result In The Manchester Derby?

Despite supporting Ipswich since our next door neighbour in Felixstowe took me at the end of the Ramsey era, I have affections for two other clubs.

As a child and teenager living in London, I did what my father had done in his youth and regularly went to see Spurs at White Hart Lane.

My father would tell stories about how he was at the Cup Final in 1921 and how before the Great War, his father would take them to the game in a pony and trap. My grandfather would give a kid a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

Then in the 1960s at Liverpool University, I regular went to see both of the Liverpool clubs, although I identified more with Liverpool.

Perhaps because inh those years they played the better football and were more successful!

So who do I want to win the Manchester Derby?

Certainly not United, as in the 1950s, I lived next door to the most obnoxious United supporter, who rammed them down mine and my father’s throats at every opportunity.

I actually think, that both Spurs and Liverpool, would be happy with an extremely hard-fought goal-less draw at Old Trafford tonight!

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New White Hart Lane Stadium Is Open For Business

I took these pictures today of the new White Hart Lane Stadium.

Does it look so impressive inside?

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment