Sunday 21 January 2018

Tottenham fans have so much love for Robbie Keane as White Hart Lane hosts final game

Harry Clarke

Tottenham fans are fondly remembering Robbie Keane as the Irishman watched on from the stands during the final match played at White Hart Lane.

Keane was joined by his former striker partner Dimitar Berbatov as a host of Spurs legends attended the emotional occasion against Manchester United. Both Keane and Berbatov bagged 23 goals each in the 2007/08 season for Tottenham and their fans were quick to pay tribute to the dynamic duo.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy bid a personal farewell to White Hart Lane.

The club put on a grand show of celebration for the last match, with the diggers set to move in on Monday and demolish the stadium Tottenham have called home since 1899.

Spurs fans arrived to white commemorative t-shirts and flags hanging from their seats while the team wore special edition matchday shirts, emblazoned with a one-off White Hart Lane crest.

Outside the ground, the High Road's lamp-posts were decorated with 'Finale' banners and supporters gathered outside the front gates to watch a host of the club's former players and managers arrive.

A total of 52 attended including the likes of Ricky Villa, Ossie Ardiles and Harry Redknapp, with a grand closing ceremony narrated by Kenneth Branagh set to take place shortly after the full-time whistle.

Levy has overseen Tottenham's £800million stadium project, which will see Mauricio Pochettino's men move to Wembley next season while their new base next to White Hart Lane is completed.

"This is the day. This is the match," Levy wrote in a message to the supporters.

"This is our last time at the Lane and the day on which we shall bid our grand old home a fond farewell. I have been coming to the Lane for over 50 years and many of you for much longer. It holds memories for us all.

So we should take a moment to look around and recognise the momentous and poignant occasion of which we are now part. The Lane been home to some of the most amazing moments in the history of not just our club but in the history of football."

Levy added: "Farewell White Hart Lane - you were the home we all loved coming to. Thanks for the memories. Now is the time to look forward."

United were the opposition for the 2,533rd match at White Hart Lane, 118 years after Tottenham first hosted Notts County here and won the game 4-1.

Spurs only confirmed their switch to Wembley at the end of last month and the club have been keen to emphasise they are only taking on a new stadium, rather than moving to a different location.

"We have outgrown our current home and we are building a wonderful new home right here. We are not moving," Levy said.

"The new pitch will overlap the old one. Our new home will slowly embrace and engulf the old one. We are determined that it will be a worthy successor to White Hart Lane and a fitting stage for our current and future great teams."

Tottenham, sitting second in the Premier League and 12 points ahead of United, were bidding to go unbeaten at home for the first time in a league season since 1964-65.

Pochettino added: "Today will be an emotional day. White Hart Lane is a special place for us and it will be sad to say goodbye to this famous old stadium.

"We must carry the spirit of White Hart Lane with us as we move forwards as a club. Our future is bright. On the pitch we have a team to be proud of that has made great progress again this season. On the pitch you can see the future taking shape around.

"Though today is tinged with sadness, we are all excited about the new stadium and the journey ahead of us. The club is building upwards.

"Every time I've walked through the doors of this stadium, I have felt excitement, so let's give the Lane the farewell it deserves."

Once the game kicked off, Tottenham's fans were in full voice. Paul Gascoigne, Aaron Lennon and Martin Jol were just some of those whose names rang around the ground as Victor Wanyama headed the hosts into an early lead.

Some of the biggest cheers, however, were saved for half-time when Chas & Dave - real names Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock - were presented to the crowd.

The pop duo wrote themselves into Spurs folklore by releasing four FA Cup final singles, including 'Ossie's Dream' in 1981, when the club beat Manchester City at Wembley.

Additional reporting by PA

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