The big issue with Greavsie’s optimism was the state of English football. In 1985, the Sunday Times described it as “a slum sport played in slum stadiums and increasingly watched by slum people,” which was a less than polite way of saying that football was unfashionable at the time. Were the television companies effectively flogging a dead horse?
Tottenham made every effort to entice supporters to White Hart Lane for the first live league match of the new deal. Spending £2,500 on advertising, their message was: “It’s not really live unless you’re there.” With appearances from Chas and Dave, Warren Mitchell (Alf Garnett), a marching band and a parachute team, the club were putting on a show.
Spurs also offered free transport from Ware, Hertford, Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross and Harlow, and the first 1,000 children through the turnstiles received a free programme, a pen and an autographed photo of the team. “The aim obviously is to get as many people out of their homes as early as possible,” said Mike Lewis, the club’s commercial manager. “If we don’t get them out before lunch, they’ll simply stay indoors and watch it on the television.”