It was the beginning of a challenge Tom and I had set ourselves, over the next 12 months, to explore football across London, at all levels, as a chance to rediscover all those things we love about going to watch football.
Tom is a lifelong Gooner since the age of 9, after his Dad took him to a home again against West Ham. Tom admits to not remembering much of the game, but says he will never forget the passion of the fans and the songs being sung.
Daniel (me) has been a Spurs fan for nearly 20 years. Not really from a football family, and cursed with two Chelsea supporting Uncles, it was not until a friend at school took me to my first game in January 1996 against Sheffield Wednesday, that I was instantly hooked.
Just after the New Year, I had made Tom a proposal of adopting a lower league club, as a chance to enjoy football together. As we are from each side of the great North London football divide, it was never going to be easy to decide who to watch. The obligatory visit to the pub or my front room for the derby was just about the most football we had watched together. Having been somewhat priced out of going to ether Spurs or Arsenal, other than the odd FA Cup replay or European game, when the club do the customer’s, sorry I mean fans a “Special” ticket price.
Tom countered my proposal with a much better idea, “how about over the next year we try and watch a game at the home ground of each London club?”
London has loads of teams, I mean LOADS. As well as 15 professional clubs, there are countless clubs and leagues all through the city from the Premiership to the Hellenic Football League, so some clarification and guidelines where required. No better place to look than Google, and a quick search for “London Football” and a Wikipedia page brought up a list of 35 plus teams. This did not include the top league, as we are both somewhat disgruntled with super Sunday, color coded ties on transfer dead line days, the price and the lack of connection with the club we love, we thought the lower leagues would open our eyes and reaffirm all those little things we used to enjoy as season tickets holders, but were unable to enjoy any more because it was simply far too expensive.
So the challenge was set, only the M25 could contain our excitement and anticipation of what the next 12 months could bring.