As White Hart Lane stages its last Tottenham match on Sunday, our man looks back at its iconic moments over its illustrious history

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IT is about more than the stands, the metal and the concrete, the white paint, bust of Bill Nick or the gates.

More than the grass. More than the memories. In essence, it is about me.

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White Hart Lane will be demolished at the end of the 2016-17 season

The 45 years that I have made the journey. From a host of different starting points, always with one destination.

As a little boy, sitting next to my dad as we drove round the North Circular, in from Essex or up the A10 when he’d leave his showroom to pick me up from Liverpool Street Station.

Jennings and his cavernous hands. Knowles, England and Beal. Perryman, Pratt and Peters. Chivers and Gilzean up top. Either from The Shelf or the clacketing wooden seats behind the goals.

Martin Lipton (right) speaks of his fond memories from White Hart Lane

Martin Lipton (right) speaks of his fond memories from White Hart Lane

 

Pat Jennings made over 450 appearances for Tottenham from 1964-1977

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Pat Jennings made over 450 appearances for Tottenham from 1964-1977

Steve Perryman won two FA Cups, League Cups and Uefa Cups

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Steve Perryman won two FA Cups, League Cups and Uefa Cups

Martin Chivers scored hundreds of goals for Spurs in the 60s and 70s

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Martin Chivers scored hundreds of goals for Spurs in the 60s and 70s

White Hart Lane opened in 1899

Times Newspapers Ltd

White Hart Lane opened in 1899

Then as a teenager, with my mates or my little (well, not compared to me!) brother.

Train, Tube, Shanks’ Pony. To pay fitting tribute to The Hodd, to see Ossie and his fellow dreamers under Keith Burkinshaw’s guiding hand.

Villa, Roberts, Mabbutt, Archibald, Galvin and Crooks.

Glenn Hoddle amazed fans at White Hart Lane with his masjestic talent

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Glenn Hoddle amazed fans at White Hart Lane with his masjestic talent

Ossie Ardiles became a cult hero at Tottenham alongside Glenn Hoddle

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Ossie Ardiles became a cult hero at Tottenham alongside Glenn Hoddle

The panoramic from The Shelf as the new West Stand went up, the ground level terraces on the Paxton Road.

After that, as a student, coming from home or the City of Dreaming Spires. Hoddle and Waddle. Clive Allen and his 49 goals. Gazza and Lineker. Pleat’s spellbinders, Terry’s team too.

Clive Allen scored 49 goals in all competitions in 1986-87

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Clive Allen scored 49 goals in all competitions in 1986-87

Paul Gascoigne was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 1991 with Spurs

Paul Gascoigne was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 1991 with Spurs

Gary Lineker rejected Man Utd in 1989 to sign for Spurs after his stint with Barca

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Gary Lineker rejected Man Utd in 1989 to sign for Spurs after his stint with Barca

For more than 20 years, through the Darkness era, the days of Dozzell, Scott, Fox and Armstrong – interspersed with the illuminating brilliance of Klinsmann and Teddy, Ginola too.

And then through Harry’s Bale-inspired resurrection of the club, from 15 yards behind the dug-out, carrying notebook and laptop, first-hand witness to the technical area rucks, seeing the extent of the camber on the pitch.

Gareth Bale proved himself to the world against Inter Milan in Europe

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Gareth Bale proved himself to the world against Inter Milan in Europe

Luka Modric earned a move to Real Madrid for £30m in 2012 after impressing at Spurs

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Luka Modric earned a move to Real Madrid for £30m in 2012 after impressing at Spurs

Harry Redknapp captivated fans at White Hart Lane with dynamic football

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Harry Redknapp captivated fans at White Hart Lane with dynamic football

And now, as a father myself, watching with my son alongside me. Enjoying his excitement, how he wants to be Harry Kane or Dele Alli, just as I wanted to be my heroes long, long before he was born.

Yes, it is just a move, in one sense. Not even a proper one, only three quarters of the length of that little patch of earth.

Wembley first. Then we will be back in 16 months. Able to remember, reminisce, recall the days of wonder and despair.

Harry Kane is the latest homegrown talent to inspire fans at White Hart Lane

AP:Associated Press

Harry Kane is the latest homegrown talent to inspire fans at White Hart Lane

Dele Alli has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving from MK Dons

Rex Features

Dele Alli has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving from MK Dons

Those Hoddle goals and geometry-defying passes. Tony Parkes diving to his right to win the UEFA Cup. Klinsmann diving to celebrate his goals. Colin Lee scoring four. Jermain Defoe scoring five.

Three up against both United and City. And still losing. Watching Woolwich Wanderers win the title on our patch, for the second time.

But Danny Rose volleying home against them. “Taxi for Maicon” as the planet recognised just how good Bale and Modric were. Kane and Co destroying Mourinho’s Blues, putting those “Three Point Lane” jibes to bed.

Jermain Defoe scored FIVE goals against Wigan in 2009

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Jermain Defoe scored FIVE goals against Wigan in 2009

Danny Rose struck a thunderous volley against Arsenal on his debut in 2010

PA:Press Association

Danny Rose struck a thunderous volley against Arsenal on his debut in 2010

On Sunday, though, it will be all over. The last game at The Lane. The last time I will see those stands. See that pitch. Hear the chants reverberate around this special place.

Everything must change. It is correct, proper. There is no alternative, not if the ambition every fan shares is to become viable.

The giant structure, dwarfing the place that has been my second, spiritual, home for most of my life is the step forward Spurs need.

Tottenham will play their home games at Wembley next season

EPA

Tottenham will play their home games at Wembley next season

Daniel Levy and his board have done it right. Are doing it right. Will continue to do it right.

On the pitch, too, the best Spurs unit I have ever seen.

Defensive solidity, physical power and presence all through the team. No weak links.

Captivating brilliance going forward. A true, proper, genuine home-grown hero as spearhead and talisman.

Mauricio Pochettino has built a strong side since arriving in 2014

EPA

Mauricio Pochettino has built a strong side since arriving in 2014

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has a clear vision for the club

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Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has a clear vision for the club

Surely, if they can keep this squad and Mauricio Pochettino together, it is a matter of when the promise turns to tangible, silverware, reward. Not if.

But that all counts for little this weekend. It is about that great big chunk of me that will disappear forever.

A day I knew had to come, yet never wanted to see, however much I, with my seven-year-old Ollie and the thousands of others, will embrace the Brave New World we are set to land in.

Sunday’s Premier League match preview including Tottenham v Manchester United

A bit of me will die when I walk away for the final time. A further part when the bulldozers come in on Monday.

Like the club, it will grow back.

But let me grieve, a little. Let me say goodbye. Let me shed a tear first.

It may be better in the future. It can be. I think, hope, believe, it will be. But it can never be the same….

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