Memories of a magical night in Amsterdam – By Chris Paouros
It was a rollercoaster of a day and a night. There were bumps, hits, highs and lows. I won’t be able to do it justice but wanted to set out the highlights I remember, one year on, of how those magical 24 hours unfolded—from 3pm on 8 May 2019. COYS!
A cafe that would only serve us pasta with cheese as they were ‘saving’ the food on the menu for the Ajax fans that had booked tables later to watch the game.
Being cramped on the metro surrounded by very tall, blond Ajax fans singing ‘Donnie Van der Beek, van der Beek, Donnie van der Beek’ for the whole journey and them laughing at me when I said “we’re going to do it”.
Arriving at the ground and being kettled by police as bottles were thrown.
Not caring that we were so high up, because we were here, in the Amsterdam Arena, albeit 1-0 down from the first leg in the SEMI FINAL OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.
Feeling despondent at half-time, but we were still here, and stranger things had happened, but some of our fellow Spurs fans were FUMING. Fuming that the lack of investment had meant we might not be able to compete, fuming that we had to start the game without a recognised striker, fuming that years of focus on balancing the books meant we might not make it.
Spending the last ten minutes of the game talking to the woman next to me about her job as a dog groomer and also discussing that we felt some pride in our team bringing it back to 2-2; we could go home with our heads held high
OMG! Vertonghen’s header hit the bar, that was it, that was our chance, it never happens for us does it? If only for once it would
Just when we thought the final whistle was going to blow, a punt from defence, Llorente won the ball.. a sublime flick from Dele and there was Lucas, his left foot shot slipping past the goalkeeper sending us into utter rapture
Jumping, screaming, crying and between it, seeing the entire squad running to the corner of the pitch, our corner of the pitch: “look, Harry Kane can run”; “it’s gone in, I can’t believe it’s gone in!”
It was the Ajax fans despondent now; heads hung; gutted. They’d blown it. No, we’d taken it
And we sang. We stayed in the Amsterdam Arena and sang our hearts out, even from that top tier, the players could feel us and we were all together in our delight. We’d done it, together we’d got Spurs into the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL.
They had beers, came forward so we could sing ‘their’ song, one by one we lauded and applauded them, they didn’t give up, they believed and now so could we
And then came out the man himself, the man who had instilled that belief into his team and into all of us; dressed in black, calling his coaching team to join him and bowing down to them, to us, to his team. Mauricio Pochettino.
He cried his tears of joy and we felt every one, I joined him weeping. After 40 odd years of supporting Spurs I’d never felt this and it was incredible
All the way home we sang “watching Tottenham on a Wednesday night, you play Thursday cos you’re f*****g shite”; it was only us on the Metro and we were buzzing!
And then, the trains were no longer running, we couldn’t get back, but we didn’t care! We’d work it out, we’d won!
We finally made it to the hotel and almost like we’d ordered it, Dutch TV was replaying the game and we arrived just in time to watch the second half, with 6 other Spurs fans and we were all LOVING IT!
We tried to go to bed at around 4am and spent the next hour watching the players broadcast live on Insta and messaging each other from adjacent rooms. Sleep? No chance, it was TOO EXCITING!
So to the train home.. and a message from the BBC asking if I’d talk to the lunchtime news about how it felt being a Spurs fan today. Would I? OF COURSE! This was the day, the day we could really celebrate as Spurs fans. So I stood in a square in Brussels and was ‘live’ on TV. I couldn’t contain my joy, I was crackling with excitement, like we all were.
What a 24 hours