White Hart Rain
Ask any young boy what they want to be when they grow up, and the answer you’ll invariably get is “professional footballer”. Whether it’s having a kickabout in the playground at lunch or using jumpers as goalposts in the park after school, visualising themselves scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final is something every boy has mastered by the time they can tie their own shoelaces (it has nothing to do with the crazy wages, gorgeous women and flashy cars, honest!).
Unfortunately for most, though, life sometimes gets in the way of our dreams, and captaining our club to championship glory remains a fantasy. Well, this week, Under Armour took it upon itself to make those childhood dreams a reality for some very lucky journalists (and a couple of PrettyGreeners who couldn’t resist the urge to get involved, although, whisper it, we’re pretty sure Gareth Bale wasn’t even born the last time Strings played 11-a-side!).
After another incredible season where Spurs came agonisingly close to securing Champions League football, the buzz around White Hart Lane could not have been more electric as the eleven journalists made their way through the gates into the hallowed ground. Given unprecedented access to the stadium’s facilities, these fortunate few got to experience everything that a professional player would on match day, seeing their Under Armour kit and boots all waiting for them and using the official changing rooms to taking part in a pre-match warm-up session with an actual Spurs coach. Just before kick-off, the media attendees found themselves in the company of Tottenham royalty as legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings popped by for a motivational talk.Decked head-to-toe in Under Armour, the journalists took to the pitch clad in the navy of Spurs’ away kit (their opponents, comprised of the Under Armour sales and marketing team, wore the home strip) but just as the game was about to get underway – because it wouldn’t be an English summer without terrible weather – the heavens opened. The lashing rain only added to the drama though, with players sliding uncontrollably across the pitch and the ball bouncing around unpredictably, making all the onlookers even more grateful that they were watching from the comfort of the stand.
After 90 punishing minutes, some crunching tackles (including a two-footed, studs-up dropkick – tut tut, you know who you are!), the occasional Luis Suarez-esque overdramatic dive (check out PrettyGreen’s very own Leigh in the below picture – we think he was going for a diving header, but every time we look at the image, we can’t help but think of:
Three goals ruled offside and four actual goals, the game finished 3-1 to the Under Armour (let’s call it home advantage, and we know who pays our bills).
Despite being drenched in sweat and caked in mud, spirits were high all-round in the changing room post-game and that continued well into the afternoon as former Spurs captain Ledley King joined Pat Jennings to meet all the players and hand out the winners’ medals and sign autographs. The two legends could not have been more generous with their time or more accommodating of the never-ending photo requests – they say you should never meet your idols, but as Ledley and Pat proved, perhaps “they” just need to pick better heroes!
Gary Lineker. Jurgen Klinsmann. Paul Gascoigne. David Ginola. Gareth Bale. Errr, Leigh Ireland and Mark Stringer!? White Hart Lane has been home to some of the most exciting players the Premier League has ever seen, and, for one soggy afternoon at least, Under Armour gave an unforgettable taste of glory to a lucky few…