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Tour 2016 - the final word to OzSpurs

Posted on 1 August 2016  - 10:00

The curtain is down on another successful tour Down Under and here, with his thoughts on our week in Melbourne, is OzSpurs president Mark Lawson...

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First of all, thanks for all the hard work OzSpurs put into this tour. How was it for you?
Mark: "For me it has been a mad, fun, and crazy busy time. When I got the call to say Tottenham were coming I couldn’t quite believe it - in 2015 when Spurs came to Sydney we thought it might be a once-in-a-lifetime moment (it had been 30 years since the last visit) so to hear they were coming back the very next year was quite a shock. I think we at OzSpurs have made the most of having the team here. All our interactions with the team have been fantastic, plus Ledley King made the trip down, he’s been a great representative for the Club and I really enjoyed hearing him talk about all things Spurs when he joined us for our OzSpurs event ‘A Night with the King’. I’ve probably spent a few too many hours in pubs in the last week, my voice is a bit croaky from all the songs, and I haven’t seen my wife and kids for a week, so I’m in need of a few quiet days ahead, but I know I’ll never forget what an amazing time we’ve had this week."

Any particular highlight?
Mark: "Three particular things stood out for me. Throughout the week OzSpurs raised money for the charity 'Football United'. We raised over $3,500. We ran a trivia night as part of the fundraising activities, the questions were all Spurs-related and some were pretty funny. We had a round where the question was part of a terrace chant, to answer it you had to name the player it related to. For each chant the pub erupted into a full rendition. Pretty much every team got 10 out of 10 - it was a great moment to see and hear a Melbourne pub packed with Spurs fans singing Dele Alli’s name at full blast.

"Another highlight was walking around outside the MCG before and after the games. OzSpurs had some hoodies made up and sold to members a few weeks before the tour - on the back of them they simply said ‘OzSpurs’. To see so many people wandering around wearing them (and at a Spurs game in Australia) was a proud moment - OzSpurs is 15 years old, and when I think how small it was when we started, it really shows how far we’ve come.

"Finally, the football: Erik Lamela’s second half performance against Juventus - the guy is complete class, he was a joy to watch."

What has been the reaction of OzSpurs members?
Mark: "OzSpurs is here to bring Australian Spurs fans together, both online and in person. SpursInOz certainly did that. Our members came from all over Australia to Melbourne and got together in our pubs, at our events, in the stadium and all over the city. Our members have also been all over social media constantly talking about it - my Facebook feed is all Spurs at the moment. The overwhelming reaction has been hugely positive, we’re delighted that they team came back only a year after their last visit. I’m already getting questions about when they will be coming back next!"

What did you think of the games?
Mark: "I don’t think too much needs to be made of the results - a win would have been nice - however the focus of pre-season training is to get the whole squad fit and ready and I think both games will have benefited the players. We’ve been lucky to see so many young players come through the ranks in recent years and there was clear evidence from some of the talent on show that there will be more making the step up in the near future."

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How do you feel about how the Club gets out and about in the community?
Mark: "Having some of the lads making coffees, doing some street graffiti art and an appearance on the stage at Federation Square were certainly things the Melbournian locals would have appreciated. But on top of that there were a lot of other things that the club did. I attended one of the kids' coaching clinics where the Spurs coaching staff put a number of children aged from five to 10 years old through their paces, you could see how much the kids loved every minute of it, and of course they all got a Spurs T-shirt afterwards - so we’ve got a future supply of OzSpurs members to look forwards too as well."

What do you think this tour will do for Spurs in Australia?
Mark: "Tottenham is on the rise. More Australians than ever before know about Tottenham and more are choosing them as ‘their team’. The last two years have been the perfect conditions for us - the first visit to Sydney, the title challenge and Champions League qualification, and then a week in Melbourne taking on opposition of the highest quality. As a result more and more people are getting to know about us - we hope that every Spurs fan in Oz will join us at one of our venues to watch a game in the coming season. All details are at www.OzSpurs.com I’m predicting big numbers for the first game of the season. Come On You Spurs!"

Finally, all that planning, can you believe it’s all over so quickly?
Mark: "It took us seven months to plan seven days! In addition to the official events run by the Club, OzSpurs put on two events per day through the week for Spurs supporters to take part in. We’re a supporters club, run entirely by volunteers and a number of people put in a great many hours to make this all happen. I’d like to thank my fellow OzSpurs committee members for their work and dedication - Emma-Jane Stephenson, Tommy Silver, Gary Clarke and Graeme Anderson. It does seem strange that something that has dominated my life this year is now finished. I think all of us involved will look back at ‘SpursInOz’ with so many great memories: we had Tottenham in town and we had a ball."

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