'If hope doesn't triumph over experience, football isn't for you' - Spurs fans prepare for Champions League final

Tottenham, a team close to the hearts of many Jews, will play in the Champions League final against Liverpool on Saturday. Some notable Spurs fans tell us how they are feeling


Lord Triesman, Labour peer and former Football Association chairman

I grew up in the prefabs in White Hart Lane, so supporting Spurs was never much of a decision.

The romance of Tottenham Hotspur was hardwired into me and my family by the “Double” season of 1960/61, the arrival of the spectacular Jimmy Greaves and the magic of John White and Martin Peters.

People often assume that it must have been nothing but pain and disappointment ever since those days.

Perhaps I am in denial, but I’ve always expected historic success for our club at any moment. This Champions League final in Madrid could be that conquered summit.

If hope doesn’t triumph over experience, football isn’t the sport for you.

Being there will be bliss. What’s more — it will be success for a club which has always fought racism and prejudice. No one at Spurs ever heard the club’s supporters hissing to imitate a gas chamber. Too few clubs can claim that.”

David Aaronovitch, Journalist and author

It’s always good to see manager Morry Pockstein (Mauricio Pochettino) and Harry Cohen (Harry Kane) and the other lads do well.

OK, so this is not really a Jewish issue, except for the fact that Spurs were the main team for London Jews to support back in the day. And we have a chicken for a symbol which, at a pinch, might make soup.

But seriously, I was watching a 25-minute BT Sport film on the miracle of Tottenham getting to the Champions League final, and you know what my big conclusion was? (Apart from tearing up right at end when little Lucas Moura popped in the 96th-minute clincher against Ajax). It was that, given we always let the other side score within the first 30 seconds and then go on to win, other teams must hate playing against us now.

The old ‘Spursy’ label referred to the idea that Tottenham were innately a bunch of Fancy Dans who wilt under pressure. The new ‘Spursy’ means a bunch of people who just won’t ever lie down and die.

So, yes, Liverpool are the favourites, but on Saturday, if there’s one goal to decide it at 90 minutes, then favourites schmavourites.”

Jonathan Goldstein, Jewish Leadership Council chair

I remember the first Spurs match I attended at White Hart Lane. It was 1972, and I was six years old.

Since then, we’ve all been through thick and thin with this club — mostly the latter!

As Spurs fans, we’re used to decades of under-achievement, and we’ve been followed by our own byword for failure: ‘Spursy’.

Yet the last six weeks have surpassed all expectation, and brought us new levels of enjoyment.

Three weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the Champions League semi-final against Ajax, in Amsterdam with my children.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Lucas Moura’s last-minute goal was one of our lifetime highlights.

This weekend in Madrid is a final test, the culmination of our hopes and dreams.

But whatever happens, Spurs’ image has changed forever. We are no longer glorious failures. Now we are genuine members of the top-table club.”

Lord Mendelsohn, Labour peer

Tottenham’s great achievement in reaching the Champions League final seemed an unlikely hope at the beginning of the year.

But in the 12 months which have included the return home to a spectacular new, world-leading stadium, Spurs fans have much to reflect on and appreciate.

Everyone who enjoys football should be inspired by the underlying story and values of our season — as indeed they should be by the achievements of any great team. But Spurs has a particular place in the heart of many members of our community.

The club’s century-old close connection to the Jewish community has been about more than just its geographic proximity to the Jewish population of the East End. Its adoption of the identity as the Yid Army has been a consistent and long-standing act of solidarity with the Jewish community.

This is to be cherished and encouraged. But it also expresses the deep roots and values of the club.

Hope can triumph over fear, and we can be the agents of our own destiny.”

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