This is a guest piece by Andre Smith.
Tottenham had finally finished in the top four, and Spurs fans like myself could finally dream about taking on the big boys in the Champions League. All we had to do was get through a qualifier against a Swiss team with a funny name – no problem, right?
In the first leg in Switzerland, Young Boys of Berne raced into a 3-0 lead on a plastic pitch; suddenly, Spurs faced mission impossible. Spurs scrambled two goals back but fell to a shock defeat. I’d been lucky enough to get tickets to English Premier League games at White Hart Lane in the past and was looking forward to returning to my spiritual home.
I couldn’t believe that after dreaming of Champions League football for so long, Spurs were on the verge of blowing it.
I could sense nervous energy outside the stadium, but Spurs fans were still in fine voice and the atmosphere was fantastic. Street vendors sold Champions League merchandise, and to do my bit, I paid well over the odds for a scarf with a Champions League logo on it.
I sat right behind Harry Redknapp and the Spurs management team. I could see they were eager to get this match under way.
The famous Champions League theme began to play. As a fan, you live for moments like this; there’s nothing quite like it.
The match kicked off under the floodlights, and Spurs made a good start. After just five minutes, some criminal defending by the Swiss side allowed to Peter Crouch slot home at the back post from Gareth Bale’s whipped cross. I was ecstatic! Spurs had levelled the aggregate score and would win the tie as long as Young Boys didn’t score themselves.
Spurs, determined to make up for the first-leg defeat, played them off the park.
Jermain Defoe scored the second after just 30 minutes, and it was almost time to relax; Young Boys hadn’t turned up. At half time, Spurs were 2-0 up and cruising.
The killer blow arrived courtesy of two more goals by Peter Crouch.
The referee blew for full-time and Young Boys were out of their misery. Tottenham had done it! They were in the Champions League for the first time ever! I turned and hugged the poor man next to me.
We had reached the Promised Land and could now look forward to games against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was one of the most incredible nights of my life.