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Greetings from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in the Mediterranean Sea

4 min read
by The Fighting Cock

For the last nine years I’ve been serving in the Navy, and I’ve missed more games than I would like for obvious reasons. That said, my love for Tottenham Hotspur never fades. Being in the forces is a totally different way of life. You spend lots of time away from friends and family, and of […]

For the last nine years I’ve been serving in the Navy, and I’ve missed more games than I would like for obvious reasons. That said, my love for Tottenham Hotspur never fades.

Being in the forces is a totally different way of life. You spend lots of time away from friends and family, and of course a lot of time away from Spurs. If you add everyday I’ve spent at sea together it would amount to four complete years. Obviously this is not all in one go but a seven-month deployment here, a six-month deployment there and the odd bit of land based stuff and there you are.

I’ve missed games such as the 5-1 win over Woolwich in the Carling Cup. When we won against Chelsea in the final I was freezing my nuts off doing cold weather training in Norway. While you lot were going mental celebrating as Crouch headed us into the Champions League at City I was involved in a NATO Exercise off America. Then again, at least I was in Iraq for Lasagnegate.

Following Spurs at sea isn’t easy. It’s usually a choice of constantly hitting the refresh button at some stupid hour of the night on the BBC website, or if there’s no internet trying to tune in on the radio to catch just a glimpse of the game, and sometimes there’s just no possible way to know what’s going on with the mighty Spurs.

If we do win and I’m somehow lucky enough to watch it (we do get TV at Sea…sometimes) I walk around the ship with a massive smile on my face, my fellow shipmates know exactly why and they just let me be. However, when we lose it’s the total opposite. I storm round the ship, don’t talk to anyone for at least two days, and smoke endless amounts of tabs.

Combining life at sea, and Spurs doesn’t leave much time for relationships. I’ve been single for two years purely because of Spurs. Apparently if you’re at sea for a few months, you get back and go the Lane or an away match, women get a bit annoyed about it. Then again, coming back to watch Spurs under the lights in the Champions league and beating Inter Milan to me was worth being dumped for.

When you’re at sea, you have little or no privacy, you can’t just shut the door in your room and sulk, take the dog for a walk to clear your head. There are constantly people about that you don’t like and people always wanting to know your business because you look a bit annoyed. Now I chose this for a job and I accept that, but I still can’t escape that pain when Spurs lose. Even when in my bunk and the small curtains on my pit are shut, I still have that pain. I have endured countless London Derbies at sea, and more times than enough been on the wrong end. To be fair, no one dares to say anything; they just let me be. I never coat them off when Woolwich or Chelsea lose either.

My mates are legends. They send me countless emails if I can’t watch the games on TV and they deserve a prize for putting up with it. I was in Djibouti (the arsehole of the world) and ended up ringing a mate when we drew 4-4 with the scum. It was 3am my time, and I had the phone on for over 90 minutes, racked up nearly a £500 phone bill just so I could hear the result. Still worth it.

I sympathise with Spurs fans around the world that get up all hours of the night to watch Spurs. But it’s very tough following them from a warship. We often lose satellite services (email, internet etc), and I’ve been at sea before where I’ve had to wait for a result to come in and it just so happened to be a cup final!

But then there is always the good. We were given two weeks leave on the ship I was serving on while in Dubai – one week for half the ship’s company, and one week for the other half. I decided to fly home for a Spurs match. After much boot licking and persuasion I was given leave to fly. The ship organised my flight, but they never told me what airline it was. I was merely told to get a taxi to Dubai International Airport and receive my tickets. Much to my disgust, the flight was with Emirates. No way was I going on a plane that sponsored the other lot, so I paid an extra £250 to transfer to British Airways.

I flew home and watched the men in Lilywhite beat Wigan 4-0 at home. On returning a few days later, my officer was not best pleased that I changed airlines purely because Emirates sponsored Woolwich. My family thought I was mad, my mates on the ship weren’t surprised and me, I didn’t see the problem.

Never the less, every second spent pressing the refresh button on a computer, every minute spent trying to listen on a radio or running from bar to bar in the four corners of the earth to get to watch the match is all worth it. I am nothing special, my nine years in the forces hasn’t turned me into anything else, and I am just a normal geezer who loves his club and country.

[author name=”Tim Lewis” avatar=”×682.jpg” tag=”TimLewis[/linequote]

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.


  1. nick odonoghue
    30/10/2012 @ 9:56 pm

    No It’s not a totally different way of life. You made your choice to sit hind an automatic weapon and kill on behalf of who? Who FFS. THFC and someone onboard a love boat do me a favor and resign. HMS Fearless 82.

  2. Nick ODonoghue
    30/10/2012 @ 10:02 pm

    Oi jack stop shagging those wrens and pull yourself out of the bollocks. Yea its so hard doing watches on the med and sleeping well. Life is so tough on one of HMS love boats.

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