• Pipe Tobacco, moer coffee on my UCL wish list

    Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker-Peters, manager Mauricio Pochettino and Ben Davies celebrate after the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg against Manchester City

    Tottenham Hotspur fans have had their fair share of heartache over the years. So please excuse us while we savour these lofty moments, writes JOHN GOLIATH.

    My first experience of the football World Cup was Italia 90. I remember watching the matches during the school holidays at my grandparents’ farm just outside Upington.

    I recall the smell of my grandfather’s pipe tobacco, a fresh pot of moer coffee on the coal oven and sitting under a blanket which only came out of the plastic when we went to visit from Paarl.

    The television wasn’t big and didn’t it have the great pictures we see today. There was no HD. But it was a great spectacle for a sports mad eight-year-old kid

    I adopted England in the World Cup because my father’s favourite player was Paul Gascoigne, who also played for Tottenham Hotspur, the club my dad followed in the English First Division.

    Gascoigne soon had me under his spell, with his ability to beat defenders with his close control and dribbling skills. He was my Diego Maradona. But he also seemed like a normal guy, as his tears at the end of England’s tournament also touched a lot of people around the world.

    I would see those tears again a year later, but they were tears of joy when he scored an amazing free kick against Arsenal in a FA Cup semi-final, which ignited my love affair with Spurs.

    The 1991 FA Cup final win over Nottingham Forest would be Gazza’s final match for Spurs, but I stuck with the team ever since, with Gary Lineker and Gary Mabbutt also being added to my list of idols.

    But since then there has been more heartache and pain than joy. I have come to know the term ‘Spursy’ – to have success in reach but to ultimately chuck it away. Like watching us go 3-0 up against Manchester United and then losing 5-3. Or being in a two-horse race with Leicester City for the Premiership title, only to finish third … behind Arsenal.

    At halftime in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between Spurs and Ajax, it felt a bit Spursy. All my excitement drained away in a space of 45 minutes.

    Ajax  were 2-0 up on the night and 3-0 on aggregate. So close, but yet so far again for Spurs. Dreams of Champions League glory shattered. Will there ever be such a moment again.

    But as that familiar feeling of defeat started to sink in, Lucas Moura pulled one back for Spurs. ‘It’s the hope that kills you,’ whispered the left side of my brain. Then the second goal came, and suddenly it was game on. ‘Another teaser, don’t get to worked up.’

    When Moura eventually won the game in the last second of stoppage time (the ref added another two minutes just to drive up our collective blood pressures), I was, for a moment, transported back to my grandparents’ house. The smell of pipe tobacco and moer coffee and a dusty blanket filled my nostrils again. Lucas Moura was the new Gazza.

    Tottenham are in the Champions League final. Yes the Champions League final against Liverpool, and I’m yearning for another dose of coffee and pipe tobacco aromas. But if it turns out be a bit ‘Spursy’, I’m sure I will be able to handle it. Goodness knows, I’m used to it.

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