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A Trip Up North - By ICE

Written by Super User
Category: SSSC News

A write up from a few fans who made the trip with us to KL. Enjoy!

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A series of speculations kicked off when Tottenham announced that it will be sending its first team to play in Sydney in a post season friendly way before they played their last game. Surely, they would have to break that trip – would they be stopping over in Singapore? I had to miss that one when they were here last in 1993 as I was still in my greens and probably in a guard room somewhere on Pulau Tekong. Would they stop in Hong Kong again? I always look forward to the popular tram rides. Or even better still – Bangkok for rides of a different kind perhaps? On an elephant, in between temple visits.

All speculations and fantasies came to a screeching halt when it was announced that Spurs will be playing Malaysia XI in the AIA Cup Kuala Lumpur on 27 May 2015. It did not take long for Singapore Spurs Supporters’ Club (SSSC) to announce that it will look into making match ticket arrangements for members of SSSC. After setting my priorities, I applied for leave and waited for more information and checked with fellow spurs fans from Singapore if they were going as well. Yes, there were some disappointments, one being that it was not going to be in Bangkok . Why am I not surprised? And lastly before I forget, to let the wife know.

Living up to their previous deliveries, trips to HK and the holy ground of White Hart Lane itself, we waited in anticipation for SSSC to send out their plans for us.

By the end of April 2015 everything was arranged, booked the match ticket and bus through SSSC for only $35 – all in. That also reminded me to renew my membership just before the trip. Oh yes, received a nice Polo Dry Fit Shirt as a free renewal gift this time, not a bad deal for a $30 membership renewal fee. The shirt would be the official shirt of the trip.

During SSSC’s membership renewal night on 16 May 2015, it was announced that SSSC will receive passes for some lucky members to meet and greet players after their Open Training Session the day before the match. Brilliant – it just gets better.

I was on the bus that left Tanjong Pagar at 6.30am on Tuesday, with about 20 others. I learnt that there will be at least about 100 of us from Singapore in KL that we know of. For some, the beers were already flowing from the first stop at Yong Peng. Yes, from 10am. To Dare is to Do.

There was never a dull moment. From the temporary set up beer garden at row Z to the 2 LCD screens projecting Spurs DVDs, it was a carnival mood throughout. Little wonder we reached KL at supersonic speed and just as quickly we checked in to our respective hotels. The bus was probably running on Tiger as well.

After a quick washdown to sober up, we were all ready for one of the highlights of the trip -  The Open Training & Autograph session. Wonder if they let me get on the pitch for a little kickabout. I can wonder all night. This time our bus took an eternity to reach Shah Alam stadium. The KL traffic worked its havoc on our patience. The lucky 14 were given their "golden ticket" but still were not told what to expect. Great, surprises never go out of fashion, even for grown up men like some of us.

There was a good turnout of fans at the stadium, some look familiar from our Hong Kong and WHL visits. We caught up with the rest of the members from SSSC who travelled separately and also those who were there earlier for a futsal tournament. Don’t think our boys did too well, as they were not really talking about it much, but definitely a good time to catch up with the other fan clubs from region and also the coaches from THFC. Kudos to them for going up a day earlier and sending out a team for the tournament.

While that was going on the players were put through their paces of stretching, short passes and a good session of keep ball on the pitch. Mauricio Pochettino amused himself with his coaching team with a cross bar challenge. He did quite well, I must say.

As we watched our heroes go through their paces on a  windless, 32 Degree Celcius Malaysian  weeknight, the stadium announcer finally made the call we've all been waiting for. "Can those with golden tickets, please line up along pitch side". That was the cue for action. In an orderly (read frantic) fashion, we made our way to pitch side. Andros Townsend was the first to come over, gleefully signing autographs and indulging in taking selfies with the excited fans. Soon he was joined by Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli, who opted to start from the other end of the beeline. One by one the players came by, with huge smiles on their faces. It looked like they were more glad to see us than the other way round?

The star of the show was of course - Harry Kane. The last to sign our shirts, posters, shorts, whatever we could grab hold of, it was as though the officials knew he would take the longest time. True enough, fans mobbed him, security was tighter than others as he had 2 bodyguards on him. His minder constantly reminded us "only one autograph per person!" He was truly the man of the moment and if that's not evident of his new found fame, let me tell you he was the only one who signed with Blue Ink. Yes he is indeed quite special, our golden boy, one of our own. And no, the rest did not sign in red, it was black.

To the lucky 14, the KL trip has ended. We all walk away from the stadium feeling this WAS the epitome. Never mind the side shows of the trip or the main match against the Malaysian makeshift team the next day, all is not important now that we have got our hands on a Tottenham shirt signed by all the players who were there that memorable night. If the experience of meeting the players was invaluable, then our autographed jerseys must definitely be priceless.

After the training session and armed with shirts filled with autographs we headed back to town. Those travelling with family chose to stay in, the boys who were on their own chose to stay out. Gathering from their looks the next day, I could tell they all had a good time.

Next up, on match day was the coaching clinic where we had a few representatives from SSSC learning the finer things of coaching from the coaching team and players from THFC. Wondered if our boys asked the coaches why we stink in taking and defending set pieces. The experience must have been exciting and surreal for them. One of THFC’s greatest ever legend was also part of the KL schedule. Ossie Ardiles met a good crowd following the coaching experience for a Q&A session which I learned was candid and set out in a relaxed atmosphere.

And now for the main event – Tottenham v Malaysia XI. We arrived at the stadium way before kick off and it looked like it has seen its better days. The Malaysian fans kept to their word of boycotting the match and by kick off it looked like we had about 18,000 fans in the stadium. But trust the Yid Army to make the noise, everywhere they go. We were already bursting our lungs nearly two hours before kick off.

The stadium was like an ASEAN melting pot. Fans from official fan clubs of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China all sang in unison, "Come on you Spurs... Come on you Spurs..." What a surreal feeling! Mixed with the regional version of tweaking “we’re the Paxton, Tottenham” to “Singapura, Tottenham” and “ We’re the Thailand ( or Malaysia and Indonesia), Tottenham”. Well you get the idea.

At a blink of an eye, 3 hours have passed. With hoarse voices, a concoction of booze and hearty singing, we cheered on the starting eleven as they walked onto the beautiful Shah Alam pitch.

It was inevitable that the golden boy would score and score he did, calmly controlling a loose ball which came off the post from a Tim Carroll strike, shifting it to his left before letting fly an unstoppable half volley into the roof of the net. The Shah Alam stadium erupted instantly!

The night ended with Harry Kane scoring a brace and Spurs grinding out a 2-1 victory over a Malaysian select side which honestly impressed. The academy boys, some of whom came on in the 2nd half caught our eyes too, Harry Winks & Josh Onumah being the standout performers.

When the final whistle blew, it did not only mark the end of the game but also our KL Spurs adventure.

Lastly, I think the guys from SSSC who set this trip up did an amazing job. The committee members must have put in a good number of hours during the week to coordinate the KL trip, together with the other events that are being organized over the season which includes the club’s day to day running, behind the scenes.  I don’t see all of them all the time, but I sure know they’re doing a damn good job by putting a good shift in.

We've put up a video thanking SSSC for their service and dedication, helping Spurs fans in Singapore organize so many activities for Spurs fans in Singapore. Well done!

 

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