Supporting role: A Spurs fan shares his highlights and low points ahead of the north London derby

Spurs fan Thaddeus Collins at Wembley before the Champions League group game against Monaco

Spurs fan Thaddeus Collins at Wembley before the Champions League group game against Monaco - Credit: Archant

In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, Tottenham supporter Thaddeus Collins reveals his favourite player, his most memorable matches, his toughest moment following Spurs and his prediction for Sunday’s showdown against Arsenal.

FIRST MATCH: A friendly between New York Red Bulls and Spurs in New Jersey in 2012. I had been following Spurs for about two years at that point and I was so excited to see my favourite players in person. My first competitive match was the late Gareth Bale winner against Southampton in May 2013. I was stunned by just being at the famous stadium that I had previously only seen on TV or in video games. I knew I was hooked.

WHY SPURS? As an American, it took me a long time to both understand and then grow to like football. I had one English friend at the time and I took an interest in the sport, and he was very patient with me as he taught me about the game, the rules and the history.

As luck would have it, he was a Spurs fan, so most of his references were Spurs-related and that’s what team I naturally gravitated too. Also, my hometown of New York has a big Spurs following so I would see fans in kits or with flags all the time. Following Spurs seemed like the most natural thing.

FURTHEST AWAY TRIP: I haven’t been lucky enough to go on a proper away trip (any season ticket holder want to take me with them?!) but I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to watch Spurs games in the supporters’ clubs bars of Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Melbourne and Singapore.

FAVOURITE PLAYER: My relatively short history with the team exposes me here - Mousa Dembele. He reflects so much of what I look for in a player. He’s not too flashy, but on his day, he can impose his way on a game that few other players can do. He’s rarely indecisive and it’s an absolute joy to watch him stifle attacks and push off hapless opponents when he’s on the ball.

FAVOURITE GAME: A few years ago, I was at White Hart Lane when Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a late winner against Southampton and that was the loudest I’ve ever heard White Hart Lane. But the most exciting and best game I’ve ever experienced (ignoring the result) was Spurs’ first Champions League match at Wembley earlier this season against Monaco. The ride on the train and the walk to the stadium was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. I barely sat down and even when Monaco scored twice, Spurs fans got louder in support of their team. I heard that some parts of the stadium were a bit muted but the area in our end was non-stop fun!

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FAVOURITE GOAL: Clint Dempsey’s late equaliser against Man United in January 2013 - mostly because it was an unexpected goal and because of all the hard work and effort that made that goal happen. I also got to pretend that one day I, as an American, could score goals for Spurs!

HIGHLIGHT: The chase for the title last year. Spurs were genuine title contenders and that was a feeling I’d never felt before in my support for the team. It was great seeing fans in the streets and socialising with them as the season drew to a close. I remember when we officially secured Champions League football, I was so excited and proud of the team’s progression in such a short period of time.

WORST MEMORY: My reflex would be to mention last year’s collapse at Newcastle but we still secured a spot in the Champions League so it was more embarrassing than anything else. My worst memory would be watching the Chelsea v Bayern Munich match in 2012 and slowly watching Chelsea take the title and dumping Spurs out of a spot in the Champions League.

That was the end of my first full season following Spurs, a season where I watched all of the games that were shown on US television. I was unsure how Spurs could be treated so unfairly and it was the first time I understood what ‘Spursy’ could mean.

FUNNIEST MOMENT: I’ve lived in Angel for the past two and a half years and I love walking around in my Spurs shirts and jumpers. I get a lot of good-natured ribbing from residents in the area, but I give as good as I get. Also, one of my flatmates is a die-hard ****nal fan. We have tons of banter while watching each other’s team play. I have almost as much fun watching ****nal slip up and seeing him fret about it as I do watching Spurs win!

DERBY PREDICTION: Spurs to win 3-2. I think they know they haven’t been clicking and will use the opportunity to step up against a big rival and make a statement to the league. Kane makes a cameo but doesn’t score.

COMBINED TOTTENHAM AND ARSENAL XI: (4-2-3-1) Lloris; Bellerin, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele; Dele, Eriksen, Sanchez; Kane. I don’t rate many of Arsenal’s players over ours in my unbiased opinion!

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