Lifelong Tottenham Hotspur supporter Martin Andersen has been photographing the fans at home and away, and across Europe, from 2013 right up to the last game played at their White Hart Lane stadium, in 2017.
He took pictures at more than 100 games, capturing the highs and lows, the excitement and tension.
Andersen grew up in Denmark but, having seen the 1978 World Cup, in Argentina, on television, he picked Spurs as his team, following their signing of the Argentine stars Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa.
And a move to the UK in the early 1990s meant he could go and watch them from the terraces rather than just cheering them on in front of the television.
“I’ve seen players and managers come and go and it can be frustrating, even heartbreaking, when they leave for another team,” he says.
“Sometimes it can feel like there’s little loyalty in football.
“One day you are Spurs, the next day you can go play for a rival.
“The focus is always on the players and the manager.
“I was interested in making a project about the fans.
“The fans never switch alliances – they are here forever and I felt that needed to be documented and celebrated.
“There’s something about going to all those games, travelling home and away, which forms bonds between people and, over the past five years, I have met so many fantastic characters and heard many Tottenham stories.
“There is something fascinating about meeting and talking to lifelong fans, those who have been there since the glory days – there’s a real link to the history of the club in their memories.
“It’s important to memorialise that.”
Of course, when Andersen started the project, he had no idea his beloved Spurs would be leaving the Lane, but it proved to be a neat place to end his series.
“When the final whistle went and the pitch got invaded, I had a lump in my throat,” he says.
“Like so many others, I’ve had so many great experiences in that stadium – with my father, my family, really good friends and thousands of other Spurs fans.
“My father sadly passed away last summer.
“Over the years, we had so many great memories together at White Hart Lane.
“When we were in the hospital and the doctor told him that he was terminally ill, he didn’t say a word to any of us until we had left and sat in the car.
“He then suddenly turned to us and said, “I won’t get to see the new Tottenham stadium now.”
Can’t Smile Without You by Martin Andersen is at Pocko Gallery, east London, from 6 March to 3 April 2020, and SoShiro, central London, from 9 to 22 March. There is also a book available, published by AMS.
All photographs courtesy © Martin Andersen
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