My story: Lukas Gradischnig

It all started in February 2019 (I think) when Spurs announced that the first game in our new stadium was the Palace home game. I tried so hard to get a ticket but I failed. So I decided to try again the second game which was the CL quarter final first leg vs City. I still remember sitting in the office and waiting for the opening of the ticketing window which was at 11am local time. I've sent all my coworkers to lunch so that I could use their computers too to enter the ticketing system. There was a huge queue but I somehow entered the ticketing platform on one of the computers just to see that every seat was already taken. I was so disappointed but somehow I decided to just play around with the ticketing system and after like 30 minutes of searching, there was one vacant seat - I immediately tried to purchase it and ended up in the final payment window. Someone out there had the opportunity to buy a ticket but didn't enter his credit card number in time so the seat became vacant again.

I purchased it as fast as I could and finally I received my confirmation mail. I can't remember many times in my life that I became near to tears but that was one of those moments - I'll be there when my greatest love - Tottenham Hotspur - will play their first international home game at the new ground. I was alone at the office and I just let all the emotions out by jumping around and cheering like a little girl. Not only was it the first ever big game, it was also the day after my 24th birthday.

So I immediately booked my British Airways flight to Heathrow and back, I also booked my usual airbnb in a small typical English house in Morden which is in Southwest London.

The following days were just amazing, I couldn't stop talking about Tottenham, the new ground.. I think it was already a bit annoying for my missus and my coworkers to just hear me talking about the game.

So on 2nd April I boarded my plane, stacked with all the Tottenham merch that fit in my hand luggage.

We had a great time in London. I already fell in love with London a few years ago when I watched my first ever games at Wembley when the Lane was rebuilt. So we had a pretty good time visiting the Hyde Park, the Buckingham Palace, the Elizabeth tower, the British museum and of course any pub that we managed to get to.

My birthday was great as well - my missus wanted to go to Haringey but I wanted to wait for the Match day so we just had a good time in Central London and had some beers at the "Ganleys" which was only a few minutes away from our airbnb right next to the underground station at Morden.

I remember not catching enough sleep that night - the fact that I will have the honor to watch the first big game at the new ground just kept me awake. I woke up pretty early and we decided to catch some breakfast at some Persian store in Morden which was pretty good (at least better than our usual breakfast which was a Sainsburys sandwich). We went from Morden to Victoria Station and to Seven Sisters by tube and then to the White Hart Lane by overground. I still remember seeing the stadium for the first ever time - I was looking outside the window and tried to see the stadium but I somehow didn't find it. I was looking through the wrong window, my missus then told me like "hey, is that the stadium"? She is absolutely not interested in football so she didn't care at all and she didn't understand why I was just standing there with an open mouth and I couldn't even talk. I was standing there, watching the ground (you have a good sight to the stadium from the overground station) and my body was shaking, it was like a lifelong dream coming true. I remember watching Spurs at Wembley and to be fair, Wembley is an impressive ground, but the Lane was a monster of a stadium to me. I nearly forgot to get off the train, I was paralyzed and just stunned. I don't know how much time I spent just standing there and watching the stadium, maybe 10 seconds, maybe 15 minutes. My missus then went a bit angry because I was just standing there, but I really had no idea how to handle my emotions. Again I was near to tears and only one thing could help me out - an ice cold beer.

So we went closer to the stadium and I tried to call my mate Matthew. He's a lifelong spurs supporter and I know him from a Fulham game at Wembley. We met there and he led me to the Bricklayers, which is one of my favorite London pubs still.

We had several hours to spend because we've been at the stadium at around 1pm, and we spent the time on the very best possible way - by drinking tons of Fosters.

Matthew had to leave then because he had no tickets for the game and had to go home to his children and his wife. I then noticed that I'm also here with my missus and looked for her, she didn't enjoy it at all - drunk men, singing, cheering and having a great time, but that's not the right place for her. So I thought about that for a while and I had to decide what was more important to me - Tottenham or my missus. I think I took the right choice, the choice that any man in love would take - I told her how to get back to Morden and gave her our room keys.

So I was standing there, singing and cheering. I remember going outside the pub several times just to catch a look at that stunning, extraordinary stadium. I've been to Stamford Bridge two days earlier and that was a pure shit hole of a stadium. The Lane was now officially the best ground in London and Tottenham was about to become the best club in London.

About two hours prior to kickoff, I decided to walk around the stadium to just see everything.

I had some problems entering the stadium because the ticket was not shown in the app and my membership didn't work. So I went to the ticket office and received my paper ticket which let me enter the stadium. My seat was at the top of Park Lane, in row 77 of block 453 (I think) and I remember going upstairs to my seat, I didn't want to turn around and look at the ground, I wanted to wait until I was at row 77, you have a great view from up there. When I turned around and saw the green field and the beautiful stadium for the first time, I was completely done yet again. I was one of the first at my seat, the stadium was completely empty. So I sat there, manking some photos and videos, and waited for the game to start.

I can't remember most of the game - I remember Rose defending like a headless chicken and giving a pen away to Aguero. City was about to win the premiership and back then they were probably the best side in the league. I actually thought we would lose, especially when Aguero stood there, waiting for the ref to let him shoot.

It was right in front of me, at the Park Lane side of the stadium. I saw Aguero taking the pen and Lloris saving it. What a huge save that was. The entire stand was erupting and it was one of the loudest crowds I've ever heard in my life. I hugged everyone near to me without not even knowing them. Everyone went completely nuts.

That was the first time I recognized how loud our fans were. It was a very emotional situation and we all just screamed "Hugo, Hugo" as loud as we could. Scenes!

I also remember City slowly taking over the game again. The ball somehow went to Sonny who ran to the goal line and it looked like he would have lost the ball, even the City defenders thought it was out, but Sonny didn't stop working for the ball and somehow scored. I remember my seat neighbor, who I didn't even know, touched my knee and pressed it so hard it nearly hurt. When we saw the ball touching the net, the Lane again erupted. It was like an earthquake and the entire Park Lane completely lost their minds. I'm so glad you mustn't take your beers to the seat, otherwise I would have ended up with some beer showers I guess.

Spurs won the game 1:0. After the game, I went to the Bricklayers again meeting some mates that didn't manage to get a ticket. We had some beers again and at around midnight I decided to go home.

That day has been the best day in my life so far - I'm still having goosebumps when I'm thinking about it. That is one of the days that I will tell my grandchildren about in 50 years. It was the most emotional day I've ever had and I fell in love with not only the club, but also the fans, the area and the city that day

Story and photos: Lukas Gradischnig

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