When I step foot on Wembley Way this Sunday the overwhelming feeling (aside from the nerves) will be pride. Because for the first time since our Champions League exploits four years ago, Spurs have taken a cup competition seriously. And for that our reward is a day out at the home of English football. 31,000 buoyant Spurs fans converging on North West London in the hope that Spurs will claim the first piece of silverware up for grabs this season.
Standing in the way just happens to be the best side in English football at the moment, managed by the best manager in world football. With only three defeats to their name in all competitions, Chelsea, on the face of it, seem an impenetrable force. But then you remember who one of those defeats came against. New Year’s Day, 2015. Jose Mourinho’s men dismantled at White Hart Lane. Only the second time the Portuguese has seen one of his teams concede five goals in one game. Spurs are in esteemed company with the first being Barcelona. Suddenly, that glimmer of hope for Sunday’s showpiece is reignited.
Any cup final is much more than just a 90 minute game of football. It’s more than 120 minutes, if it goes that far. Even more than a penalty shootout, God forbid. It’s the whole experience. It’s the build-up throughout the week. It’s getting the train up to London. It’s giving a sly look to those in royal blue and a beaming grin to those in lilywhite. It’s getting the tube to Wembley Park Station and feeling the butterflies in your stomach when you see the famous arch in all its glory. It’s buying the hideously overpriced matchday programme. It’s walking through those turnstiles and taking your seat, before realising that the moment you’ve been counting down the days to for weeks is all very real. It’s all of these things and more.
But most of all it’s about sharing these moments with the people (or person) you care about most. And for me, that person is my mum. The person who ensured I grew up supporting Spurs, just as she did. And for that I’ll be forever grateful.
I would be lying if I said the result isn’t important. Of course it is. Losing to Chelsea is never nice, let alone losing to them in a cup final. And the feeling you get from winning a cup final is unlike anything else you will experience as a football fan. Just ask any Spurs supporter who was at Wembley in 2008. But given how starved of success we have been in recent seasons, just reaching this stage seems an achievement in itself. The togetherness in this squad is refreshing to see. I believe this is largely due to there being a perfect blend between Spurs supporting academy products and highly esteemed internationals. Everybody appears to be pulling in the same direction, and that direction has been set by the head coach for once. How fitting it would be for Pochettino to crown what has so far been a successful first season at Spurs by lifting the club’s first piece of silverware in seven years.
But whatever the result on Sunday, I for one will be honoured to have joined Spurs on what has been a roller-coaster journey. From the dismantling of Newcastle under the lights at White Hart Lane, to the scenes in the Sheffield snow following Eriksen’s late strike. It truly has been spectacular.