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'I dropped my bags at Heathrow, drove back to West Ham, watched the 4-3 and then left for Thailand...'

Posted on 18 November 2016  - 17:10

Passport? Check. Luggage? Check. Tickets? Check. Tickets to West Ham? Check. Jason McGovern wasn't going to let a life-changing move to Thailand stop him watching his beloved Spurs at Upton Park - and it was worth the effort...

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March 4, 2007 is a date etched in Jason McGovern's memory for eternity.

Determined to take in the derby at West Ham on the same day he was jetting off to Asia, the life-long Spurs fan from Bromley, Kent, planned his day to perfection.

He takes up the story. "I booked the night flight, got to Heathrow first thing in the morning, dropped my bags off, got back to Upton Park, watched the game, went back to Heathrow and jumped on the plane.

Below: Dimitar Berbatov celebrates his equaliser at 3-3

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"It was a 4 o'clock game, and just before my 40th birthday. The flight was about 10.30pm. I had four hours to get to Heathrow and there was always the thought at the back of my head that if we were two or three up, or if the game went like that either way, I could get out early. Of course, it didn't quite pan out like that..."

Jason's dash to East London was well worth it as he witnessed one of our great matches of the Premier League era.

We were fighting for a place in Europe, West Ham were fighting relegation. All the ingredients were there, and how the game delivered.

We came from 2-0 down thanks to Jermain Defoe's penalty and Teemu Tainio's volley only for West Ham to take the lead again with only five minutes remaining.

Below: Paul Stalteri taps home the winner

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Jason might well have been tempted to start his journey there and then, but he stuck it out and was rewarded as Dimitar Berbatov curled home a free-kick for 3-3 on 89 minutes before Paul Stalteri - Paul Stalteri - raced forward to tap home the winner in added time.

"You could see Defoe break and it wasn't just Stalteri, it was Young-Pyo Lee as well, you thought 'we've got three or four breaking forward, including two full-backs', that summed it up," said Jason. "It was a crazy, crazy game.

"It's impossible to describe the feeling when that goal went in. We've had games like that - 5-4 against Arsenal, 6-4 against Reading - where everything just seems to go out of the window and people start doing things you can't explain! It was an astonishing game.

"I went from there back to Heathrow, flew out to Thailand and was out there initially for six weeks, came back for two weeks to tie up a few loose ends and then that was that."

Below: Paul Stalteri's late goal, plus other late crackers at Upton Park

 

Like most fans, Paul's introduction to Spurs came via the family route. "My dad (Ray) knew (former player) Tony Marchi from years ago in the forces and he got him along to Tottenham before the double side, perhaps 1959, 1960," he said. "The first game I can remember was against Leicester, the last game of the season we were relegated (May, 1977).

"The first season I started to go regularly was the Second Division season, although we missed the Bristol Rovers (9-0 win) game! My first away game was that season as well, at Charlton. We lost 4-1! I was about nine."

Below: Jason with his wife Arunsri and Ledley King

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Paul is now a member of our popular Spurs Thailand Official Supporters Club, watches all of our matches back in Asia and will always take in a game when he visits the UK. He's also getting ready for the big 50 next year.

"I went out to Thailand for work. I was back and forth to Asia for about six years before that and just got bitten by the Asia bug. I wanted to go out there and a job opportunity came up at the time. I've been out there for 10 years now."