Champions League final: Tottenham fan's dilemma... his dad is Liverpool legend Chris Lawler

Leon Lawler with his father, the former Liverpool player Chris Lawler
Tottenham fan Leon Lawler (left) with his father Chris Lawler, who scored 61 goals in 549 games for Liverpool

Tottenham supporter Leon Lawler has a dilemma.

He wants his side to win a first Champions League trophy on Saturday, but fears that would mean he will be "chucked out" of the family home.

That's because he lives on Merseyside and the rest of his family are staunch Reds. Oh, and the fact his dad is a Liverpool legend.

Chris Lawler is regarded as one of the club's all-time greats. Only 10 men have played more times for Liverpool. The former right-back made 549 appearances between 1960 and 1975, winning six major trophies.

Yet in 1986, aged nine years old, Chris' youngest son Leon stunned the family by announcing he was a Tottenham fan.

So, how does the son of a Liverpool legend end up supporting Spurs? And how do the Lawlers plan on following the final that was "meant to be"?

'I got bored of Liverpool winning'

The Liverpool team celebrates winning the 1984 European Cup
Liverpool won the European Cup for the fourth time in eight years in 1984. Chris Lawler is partially obscured on the back row (fourth from left)

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have been pivotal to Liverpool's success under Jurgen Klopp but it was Chris Lawler who broke the mould as an overlapping full-back, helping them win three league titles, two FA Cups and the 1973 Uefa Cup.

After finishing his career with the likes of Portsmouth, Stockport County and Bangor City, Lawler returned to Anfield on the coaching staff and was in the dugout when Liverpool beat Roma to become European champions for the fourth time in 1984.

His first son Christopher was born in 1974, followed by Leon in 1976, and despite frequently meeting the players in that great Liverpool side, Leon was drawn to Spurs instead.

"Liverpool were winning everything but I just got bored of it," he said. "That was one of the main reasons I became a Tottenham fan.

"I remember seeing them play Liverpool on television (in 1986); it was at White Hart Lane and it was snowing. Tottenham had Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle, that white kit, made by Hummel, and I just thought 'that's my team that'. They've always been classy and like to play football how it should be played."

Leon was also a big fan of goalkeeper Ray Clemence, who left Liverpool for Tottenham in 1981. When Clemence and Chris Lawler were team-mates at Anfield, Lawler was nicknamed 'the silent knight' because of his quiet, modest nature, but he doesn't shy away from ribbing Leon.

"He's the black sheep of the family - but we still talk to him!" said Chris, 75. "He always liked Ray Clemence so when he moved, Leon followed him. Ray used to send him shirts, programmes, tea cups - no European Cups though!"

'Dad didn't speak to me for weeks'

Chris Lawler playing for Liverpool, cutting a cake with his wife Geraldine and son Leon, and holding a t-shirt with his 'silent knight' nickname on it
Chris Lawler playing for Liverpool in 1969; cutting a cake with his wife Geraldine and a young Leon - who seems to have already decided he doesn't want to wear a Liverpool shirt anymore; and holding a t-shirt bearing his 'silent knight' nickname

Chris was again in the Liverpool dugout as they beat Everton in the 1986 FA Cup final and it was just after that game that Leon, now 42, told him he was a Spurs fan.

He said: "My mum got me the next season's Liverpool kit and I said, 'I don't want that, I want the Tottenham one'. And she was like, 'What?'

"So I had to get my auntie to get me the kit on the sly when she went down to London because you couldn't get Tottenham shirts around here in the 80s.

"My brother said I must be adopted, he called me 'Chas and Dave', and my dad didn't speak to me for weeks."

Chris remembers it differently. "No, it wasn't that bad," he said with a laugh. "It's his choice isn't it.

"When I was a player, I always liked Tottenham. When I wasn't playing I'd go and watch them at Everton because of Jimmy Greaves and players like that. They've always been good to watch.

"But you can have two teams, can't you? And his second team's still Liverpool. It's good to have a bit of rivalry. It could have been worse, he could have picked Everton. If he did, he wouldn't have been able to get back in the house!"

Spurs fan on Merseyside: 'I got all the jibes'

A selection of the Tottenham shirts owned by Spurs fan Leon Lawler
A selection of Leon's Tottenham shirts, including some of the Hummel designs which helped convince him to become a Spurs fan

Leon grew up in West Derby and the Lawler family spent 10 years in Anglesey before returning to Merseyside in his early 20s.

"Growing up, Liverpool used to batter us all the time," he said. "At school I got all the jibes thrown at me. But I'm absolutely living the dream right now. I never thought I'd be able to say: 'Spurs are in the Champions League final'.

"It's funny because I was bored of Liverpool winning everything but if I'd have waited a few more years - it's crazy when you think that Liverpool haven't won the league for 30 years."

Leon gets to around 15 Spurs games a season. Most of his friends are Liverpool, Everton or Manchester United fans so he often sits in the home end with them when Tottenham play in the north west. He also gets down to London when he can afford it.

"I remember being in with the Liverpool fans when Jurgen Klinsmann scored a last-minute winner at Anfield in the 1995 FA Cup so I couldn't get up, cheer or celebrate," said Leon.

"And I had to pretend I was a blue when we won 6-2 at Goodison Park this season. Every time we scored I was like 'oh no, what's going on?'"

Leon is currently living with his parents in Huyton, where he watched Spurs' memorable Champions League games this season.

"I was watching the Manchester City game in my room and my internet went off," he said. "I honestly thought City had gone through so I went downstairs and said 'I'm gutted, devastated'. But my dad said 'VAR, you're still in it!'

"My brother was also round for the Ajax game and I was screaming when we got the winner. Straight away he started with 'Chas and Dave' again."

Chris added: "He made a lot of noise when that went in. But I was at Anfield for the Barcelona game and that was something special so I know just how he felt after the way Liverpool came back. In Europe it's something different."

Watching the big game in the shed

Lucas Moura celebrates his stoppage-time goal against Ajax
Lucas Moura's stoppage-time winner at Ajax sealed his hat-trick and sent Spurs into their first Champions League final

The moment Lucas Moura scored his hat-trick goal in Amsterdam, Leon knew that Tottenham would be facing his hometown club in the biggest club game of all.

"It could have been the League Cup or the FA Cup but this is the Champions League final, to be the champions of Europe," he said. "Of all the teams we could be playing it had to be Liverpool. What are the odds of that? And the way both teams did it with the comebacks, it's like it was meant to be. It's fate."

Chris added: "It was a bit of a shock. But I've told him they should have just gone out in the semi-finals - to save them the heartache of losing the final!

"I think Jurgen Klopp's done a good job. I've been going to most of the games and I like the way Liverpool play, attacking. They're solid at the back and make quick breaks. It's good to watch. I think they've got more experience than Spurs, but you never know on the night. I just hope we can do it again."

So has there been any banter from Leon's Liverpool mates in the build-up?

"Big-time, like you wouldn't believe," he said. "They're all saying 'it'll be typical Tottenham, we'll roll them over'. They're very confident, some are saying Liverpool will win 4-0. But I've kept my mouth shut.

"I think Liverpool are favourites but there's something that tells me something might happen for Spurs, the way we've come back in the group stage and then got past Borussia Dortmund, Man City and Ajax."

As for the final, Leon's brother is watching it "in town". But as Leon wisely notes, that's probably not the best idea for him so he's planning on watching it at home.

Dad Chris has other ideas though: "We live right by a pub but I like to concentrate on the game, I don't like people around me - like Tottenham supporters. He'll have to go somewhere else, he'll have to go to his mate's house."

However, Chris' wife Geraldine may have found a way to keep the peace in the Lawler household come Saturday night.

"My mum said she'd put a television in the shed for me," said Leon. "I don't know if I want to watch it with my dad anyway, in case we beat them. I'll have to go out the room and celebrate on my own. And I'll probably be chucked out the house and disowned for life!"

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