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Hotspur Hero award for man of many matches

The oldest Tottenham Hotspur fan to go to matches regularly has received an honour from the football club for his long-standing support

    A 95-year-old man — who is believed to be the oldest Tottenham Hotspur fan to go to matches regularly — has received an honour from the football club for his long-standing support.

    Alfred Leader, who lives in Stanmore, north-west London, has been a Spurs supporter since going to his first match at White Hart Lane in 1934.

    The former timber merchant still attends most home matches, where he is accompanied by his children, Elaine Levy and Ian, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    He said: “The game is very different to how it was back then. It’s much faster. And four generations of us go now. It’s lovely all being together.”

    Mr Leader, a member of Edgware and Hendon Reform, was presented with a shirt signed by each member of the current squad last weekend at half-time during Spurs’ match against West Bromwich Albion.

    He was also made a Hotspur Hero, an honour which recognises fans’ “unwavering loyalty” to the club, and met a number of notable former players, including Darren Anderton, Clive Allen and Martin Chivers.

    Mr Leader’s parents, Ruben and Rose, were Polish immigrants to the UK in the 1890s and he was born in 1922 in London’s East End, growing up in a large Jewish community.

    With his tailor father “working all hours to eke out a living” he discovered his love of football when he started going to watch Tottenham — as well as occasional matches at Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea — with a group of friends.

    “Everyone was going to football in those days. It was very cheap — just a couple of bob. Very different to now.”

    As a 14-year-old he was also present at the Battle of Cable Street, witnessing British fascists marching through London’s East End and the ensuing clash with anti-fascist demonstrators and police.

    “At Cable Street on that day, I remember it being very loud. The atmosphere was overwhelming.”

    With his children joining him at Tottenham matches from the mid-1960s, Mr Leader picked out the debut of Argentinian stars Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa in 1978 as his highlight, alongside Villa’s FA Cup-winning goal at Wembley in 1981.

    His daughter, Mrs Levy, said: “What the club did to honour him supporting them for so long was great. It was a special day and all of us wanted to go. My mum has never been to a match before and but she was there, too.”

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