Memories of a Boy Being Taken to his First Football Match
A stroll down White Hart Lane

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

The 2 November 1968 was my initiation into life as a football supporter. On that cold, damp day I was taken by my dad to watch my first professional game of football. I was…well it’s not important how old I was.

We journeyed from south London to N17 to watch Spurs take on Stoke City in a Division One match. But not for us queuing at the turnstiles to pay our admission.

My dad was a talented freelance photo journalist and had his pictures published in local and national newspapers. He also had the gift of the gab. And though he hadn’t been sent by any paper to cover the game, following a few words in the right quarter, we were in.

So as ‘members of the press’ we were escorted pitch-side and we took up our position behind the goal which Spurs were to attack.

The great Jimmy Greaves

Oh, did I forget to explain my role? I was a runner for my dad. It sounds a bit dodgy but basically it meant taking used rolls of film containing the pictures he’d shot to the press entrance where a messenger would whisk them off to Fleet Street. Needless to say not once did I leave my perch behind the goal!

How could I, with Pat Jennings in goal, Mike England the rock at centre-half, and Alan Gilzean feeding that goal-poacher supreme, Jimmy ‘Greavsie’ Greaves.

Spurs could only manage a draw but at least Greavsie scored. And as he left the field guess who got his autograph? With my prized procession tucked away in my coat pocket, Dad and I left for home.

Being a south London boy it was beyond the pale to support a north London team. But nonetheless, it is a match, a day, a rite of passage that will live long in my memory…


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