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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.

Our co-chair Chris arriving at the stadium with fellow Proud Lilywhites member Phillip

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

And then…

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!

Chris & Phillip still could not believe what they had just seen

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

COYS

Celebrate Fans for Diversity with Proud Lilywhites.

This February Proud Lilywhites, the official LGBT supporters association of Tottenham Hotspur are hosting a number of events to kick discrimination out of football.

Following our successful event in October 2014 supporting FARE, Proud Lilywhites will be marking the Kick It Out ‘Season of Action’ and Football v Homophobia month of action.

We have already held two of our three key events in the Tottenham area to raise awareness of the association, celebrate our first anniversary, and promote diversity in football.

Sunday 1st February – Our first annual pub quiz against the Gay Gooners.

More than 30 people packed the Beehive in Tottenham for the first of our FvH month of action events.  

In what is expected to be an annual fixture, the Proud Lilywhites routed the Gay Gooners 50-35 in our first head to head pub quiz.  Over eight rounds of questions including a difficult cryptic set, we battled hard to claim the first prize of the week as we built up to the 5-a-side on Tuesday and the Kick It Out Season of Action game on Saturday.

We were delighted to also welcome teams of local players and the London Romans, our local LGBT football team.

Tuesday 3rd February – We go 5-a-side against the Gay Gooners.

The Proud Lilywhites took on the Gay Gooners, with special guest referee Steffen Freund, at Frederick Knights Sports Ground in Tottenham. The final score was a resounding 7-1 victory for Proud Lilywhites!

Tottenham Hotspur TV and The Guardian Sport were present and have since both published articles and video on their respective websites and promoted these on their social media channels:

Saturday 7th February – The main event! Tottenham v Arsenal – Season of Action game.

The Club have chosen this game as their designated Kick It Out ‘Season of Action’ game and will be showcasing their anti-discrimination work.

Proud Lilywhites and Kick It Out will be hosting a stand in Tottenham Square before the 12.45pm kick off.  This is located on the north west corner of the ground handing out leaflets, sweets and stickers to raise awareness of the supporters group.

Donna Cullen, Executive Director of Tottenham Hotspur said:  “It is unacceptable that anyone’s sexuality or gender should be an issue in an era and a world where being different isn’t that different and individuality is embraced. We as a Club are committed to promoting equality and inclusion for all groups and cultures that exist within our diverse and vibrant community. For Spurs, success will be ensuring an environment where every fan, player and match official is free from any form of discrimination.”

Simon Gray, Communications Officer of Proud Lilywhites stated:  “Tottenham is well known for its rich ethnic and cultural diversity; extending this to encourage and welcome LGBT supporters demonstrates that Spurs really is a place for everyone to enjoy football regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Homophobia is the last bastion of discrimination on the terraces and we are proud to work with our fellow supporters who stand with us to rid this hate from our national game.”

In addition, during the month of February:
• Co-chair Darryl Telles will be delivering LGBT diversity training to Sports Coaching degree students studying with the Tottenham Hotspur Community Foundation.
• Our other co-chair Chris Paouros has been invited to speak on the panel discussion as part of Women in Football’s LGBT History month activities.

We will be actively promoting Proud Lilywhites during these events and would love to have your support.

Please follow and share content from our website http://www.proudlilywhites.uk and for FvH Month of Action http://bit.ly/pl-fvh2015 and social media sites referencing @spurslgbt using hashtag #FvH2015 through your channels.

Do let us know if you need more content for editorials.

Spotted! Our flag makes its debut and gets a great reaction.

Our flag makes its debut at White Hart Lane, gets spotted by some other fans… and makes a positive impression.

Click here to read more: http://bit.ly/1tM2npp

(Proud Lilywhites is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites)

Proud Lilywhites feature in The Independent

Chris Godfrey reports on the blight of homophobia in football, and how fans like us are determined to promote inclusiveness.

Click here to read more: http://ind.pn/1pqaI1x

(Proud Lilywhites is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites)

Proud Lilywhites feature in The Guardian

Alexandra Topping talks to gay football fan groups taking the lead on equal rights on the terraces and pitch.

Click here to read more: http://bit.ly/1qbySMw

(Proud Lilywhites is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites)

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