Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Earning his Spurs
The occasion was Sunday's FA Cup tie against Charlton, which Spurs won at a canter. It was obviously a great experience for a 10-year old boy. He loved the whole occasion, the way the seats were high up and steep. He loved the golden cock, left, which was right opposite our eyeline. He loved being amongst Spurs fans, which of course he never is. And his little face just lit up as they sang "oh when the Spurs go marching in", that slow one they like at the Lane.
I also enjoyed a bit of a nostalgia trip down Upper Street in Islington, dropping in at Yotam Ottolenghi's pattiserie on the way there and taking a tour through Stoke Newington, Essex Road and Islington Green on the way back to Euston.
But I wanted to make another observation. Watching most of my football at Ewood Park I'm rather used to being surrounded by kids and even youths. At Spurs everyone around us in the West Stand was a man in his 40s or 50s. Many of them looked like the kind of men that had sons, but were in groups of other similar men. On the train to the ground from Seven Sisters they were men in their 30s who had been in the pub. Coming out along the High Road there were a smattering of younger fans, and a few women, but the more I looked it was clear that this was an ageing male crowd. This, I think I've observed before, is the way of the Premier League. This is the demographic who are in the habit of attending football. The youngsters, the people with families, can't and don't risk it. Splurging so much on a day out that has that chance of disappointment and yet costs so much isn't worth it. Kids have TV, they have their version of football on FIFA 11 and other games and I'm sure they wear all the gear.
I'm sure Spurs are aware of this. And it rather reinforces a point I've always suspected, that the policy at Blackburn Rovers of making football accessible to the people of Lancashire is a wise investment indeed.