Spurs stadium stands to applaud one of their own: Fearless, brave Ashley

Deaf Tottenham fan who loved the crowd’s energy at matches has passed away from cancer at 39

Friday, 18th February — By Harry Taylor

ashleysavage Image 2022-02-17 at 22.30.01 (5)

Ashley Savage reaches the top of Tottenham’s spectacular new stadium 

SPURS fans stood in applause in honour of a “fearless and inspirational” fan who has died from cancer.

Ashley Savage had been a regular at Spurs since first going aged 15, until attending her final game against Morecambe in the FA Cup at the beginning of January.

She had been diagnosed with stage four liver and bowel cancer last February.

The 39-year-old was born deaf, but made a big impact on the football field as well as a supporter off it. She won trophies and cups with Fulham deaf ladies football team, and Camden ladies.

Her brother Ross described her as a big animal and people lover. She worked in both Morrisons in Chalk Farm and Marks & Spencers in South End Green.

Her life was celebrated with the applause by fellow Lilywhites fans at the game against Brighton on February 5 days after she died on January 30.

Flowers and tributes have been left outside the family home in Dartmouth Park.

“We all follow Spurs after our Dad, for our sins,” said her brother. “We first took her as a surprise trip, and back then it was more built up around the ground so she didn’t realise until we turned a street corner and saw the stadium. I wish I had a mobile phone, because I would love to be able to relive seeing her facial expression. She was stunned.”

Ashley met her idol Harry Kane

Mr Savage added: “The morning after she died I couldn’t sleep, and I wanted to thank Harry Kane, because meeting him was a big part of her last year. He was her idol. I just tweeted that I thought it would be wonderful if I could get some applause going to remember her at the stadium. I fell asleep and woke up and it had taken off, it had been retweeted and shared, and it started to get momentum.”

He said that his family tried to give out leaflets before the Brighton game publicising it, but fans were already aware of the because the campaign. The game, and minute’s applause in the 39th minute was broadcast live on TV.

“All game I was nervous hoping people would remember, and we nearly scored just before, but then everyone started,” said Mr Savage.

“My Mum was crying, I was so emotionally spent by that point I was just trying to take it all in. We had wonderful support from around the world, Mexico, Canada, the US.” Ms Savage’s deafness was not diagnosed until she was 18 months old.

Her father, James Savage, once tested her hearing by banging a saucepan when stood behind her. She did not react, adding to his suspicions. She grew up in Kentish Town, living with her family in York Rise, before they moved to Kingswear Road where she lived until her death with her mother, Denise Grist.

She went to Frank Barnes School and later Heathlands in St Albans, which specialises in teaching for deaf teenagers. Aged 8, she appeared in the New Journal in a story about her swimming successes at Frank Barnes.

After leaving school she worked in Morrisons, before spending 13 years at Marks and Spencer. “She loved it,” Mr Savage said. “She had a lot of friends there, the deafness never really was never really an issue even when she was on the shop floor, she wore a tag that explained to people, but she was a big people person. She missed it massively when she had to stop.”

Tributes outside her home in Dartmouth Park

As part of a wishlist, she took part in the Dare Skywalk, where fans can go on top of the Spurs stadium. “She was fearless like that, she had to talk me into it because I don’t like heights but I’m so glad she did,” said Mr Savage.

“She was keen to not let her illness get in the way, much like she had been being deaf. It was inspirational really.” Ms Savage had told her brother that despite being deaf she could feel the vibrations of the crowd and energy of the stadium during matches. She also treasured meeting her hero Harry Kane who gave her a signed shirt in the months before she died.

Away from football her passions included animals and before she died she got to meet meerkats at Paradise Wildlife Park in Cheshunt.

“I was lucky, my older sister didn’t like football at all but Ashley did, so I always had her to kick a ball around with when I was younger,” said Mr Savage. “She was quick and nippy so always played up top as a striker. She absolutely loved it and was a really good player.”

He added: “I’ll remember her as a wonderful, warm funny, loving caring, family orientated person. She was loved by everyone, kids especially, she was godmother to so many of our family and friends children because they just warmed to her. We all miss her so much.”

Related Articles