Ding dong the witch is dead. Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed. International football is off our tellies now for at least another month* and I’m not sure you’ll find many complaining about the wait. As James Richardson said on Football Weekly last week, it’s like paying to watch a film at the cinema only for it to be segued halfway through with a documentary short. You wouldn’t mind seeing the short at a later date- say, at the end of the season- just don’t interrupt my bloody film with it.
But hey, let’s not be a complete stick in the mud. Here’re a couple of Spurs-themed highlights from the last few days, in amongst all the tumbleweedery and widespread ennui…
Bale’s ThunderBork versus Scotland
Yes, the collapse for the winning penalty was dubious. Yes, Shaun Maloney sounded like a brainwashed Soviet drone when he told reporters that he didn’t think he’d fouled Bale but probably must’ve done because how else could he have fallen on the floor like that? And, yes, the whole diving thing is getting a little tiresome. But my, that was some goal. Scotland backed off and backed off, Gareth accepted the invitation and RSVPd with an absolute whallop into McGregor’s top right-hand corner. Sizzle me timbers.
Adebayor Sends Togo to the ACN
The only footage I found of this appears to have been filmed on a Casio Illuminator. From what I can gather, in front of a large, bestirred crowd at the Stade de Kégué, Adebayor stretches one of his elongated limbs from a deep cross to fire home Togo’s second, thereupon taking them to the African Cup of Nations in January. Bad news for Spurs, of course, but genuinely heart-thawing to see the big man celebrate (pre-planned dance-routine as standard) with his teammates. Heaven knows they’ve had a tough couple of years.
And In Other News..
It’s not all been good for the heroes of Tottingham this international interlude. Not like this. Last night Danny Rose was embroiled in some rather ugly goings-on in Serbia as the England U21s qualified for Euro 2013. Sent off for having the temerity to be offended by some fairly blatant racial abuse, the young left-back must wonder where FIFA’s regulatory priorities lie. Kicking a football into a crowd or, well, you get where we’re going with this. Paul Ince is understandably shooting fast and loose with his call for Serbia to be banned for the next five tournaments (his son Tom was also present) but clearly them in Zurich need to do something that’s actually going to mean something and not just hand out an inconsequentially small fine.
* Not strictly true, of course. Look, I wrote this before last night’s torrential downpour, how was I supposed to know they’d reschedule the bloody thing for today? I’M JUST ONE MAN!
I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t the popular choice,
I know I am, it’s been everywhere, in every paper every day…”
Harry Redknapp, there, on the burdens of being popular.
A very good morning to you. First up, if I can be so bold, talk of the weekend’s football. It’s been a long while since I watched a Spurs game where the pleasure of viewing wasn’t underpinned by a dreadful sense of unease. That, given the chance and one or two spicy crosses hurled into our six-yard box, we’d collapse like a diving board made of wet Hobknobs.
Thank goodness, then, for Blackburn Rovers. Their monstrous under-ambition meant my doom-o-meter tipped rarely close to ooh-I-don’t-like-the-looks-of-this-much and certainly nowhere near the we’re-going-to-balls-it-all-up-I-just-know-it levels I had bargained for. And for that I was quietly grateful.
Kean’s stiffs just had nothing to offer. The zero-heavy stats were useful in quantifying their terribleness, but the actual viewing would confirm that they indeed were the worst thing to come to The Lane since Chripy contracted bird-flu. Frankly they deserve what’s coming to them. Cowardly stuff.
Still, let’s not try and devalue our efforts too much. There’s not been too much to cheer about in recent weeks. Blackburn may’ve been the footballing equivalent of orange-topped milk but we certainly did everything that was required of us- which is all you can ask in such circumstances.
Rather going beyond the call of duty on Sunday, was recently decorated full-back, Kyle Walker. After sheepishly enquiring whether he might possibly have a crack at this one, Rafa, if it’s not too much bother, he went about slamming it in the top corner with the power of Zeus. Like BAE’s against Everton, there was the slightest hint of a deflection, but nothing as to be consequential to the ball’s trajectory and final resting place. That baby was destined for greatness. Football sex. All over Paul Robinson’s face.
Elsewhere, Sandro was all kinds of fabulous. He can run, he can tackle, he can shoot. In the words of Withnail, imagine getting into a fight with the f*cker. The boy’s the future and it’s probably in your best interests to get onboard.
I’ll leave you as I joined you, then, with our clandestine supremo:
“I am very fortunate, there’s lots of people who would give anything to have the job I have got here.
“I am just so lucky to be working here, working with fantastic players every day. For any manager, or for anyone who loves football, to be doing what I am doing at this particular club is great so I don’t feel like that.
“I suppose it has dragged on. It is no problem, I will just get on with my job here and hopefully we have got a good end to the season to come.
“We’ve had a great season so far and we have got three games to get that Champions League spot now and that is all my focus has ever been on, nothing has ever changed that”
Three games to go.
I can also be found on this newfangled Twitter contraption.
Harry Redknapp, England manager. That’s what we appear to be spinning perilously toward. If it’s not our glorious leader’s wilting phizog taking up every square inch of news pages this week- since the announcement of Señor Capello’s express exit from F.A HQ on Thursday- it’s every player, pundit and postman stumbling over themselves to get behind the official wish of the people™ and give it a damn good flogging. He’s the man for the job, said Sir Alex. A very good choice, offered Sven-Göran Eriksson yesterday. And who could forget Arry wud b Gr8! Lol, bestest 4 thu job, Tweeted by Wayne Rooney, in a rare moment of clarity on Thursday.
What we, as supporters of Tottenham are supposed to say or do about all this is unclear. Perhaps as was expected of Fulham fans when Kevin Keegan left office in 1999, we’ve no choice but to be quietly grateful that we’re in a position to offer such a wonderful gift to the nation. Well I’m not too keen on the idea, frankly. My interest in the national team disappeared when ‘being an imbecile’ became a prerequisite for selection. At this stage, it appears, the most we can hope for is that the F.A allow him to at least finish what he started here at Spurs and get us back into the Champions League. And, seeing as there’s the square-root of zip to do with England until the summer anyway, this doesn’t seem like too much of an outlandish request. But you never know with these people.
Meanwhile, there’re more pressing matters at hand. Newcastle United are at The Lane this afternoon and it ought to be a spicy one. I’ve heard some cynical folk accuse Alan Pardew of being a bit of a Smuggy McSmuggerson in recent weeks; suggesting that perhaps much of the Tynesider’s success this season is down to a thoroughly adept scouting team who’ve found excellent quality on the continent at exceedingly competitive rates. I wouldn’t go along with that myself, although it is true they appear to have a far-flung net when it comes to talent spotting. Cabaye and Tioté (both absent) are one of the finest central-midfield pairings in the league and they cost less than a weekend pass at Thorpe Park. Their latest purchase looks a bit tasty, too. Scouts scouting, eh? What ever will they think of next?
I’m of the opinion that Pardew seems like a decent sort of chap and I’m happy he’s doing well. Particularly, I’ll readily admit, as it’s at the cost of Arsenal and those scallywags from Merseyside.
For us of Hotspur, though, what we need today is a good ol’ timey three-pointer in the back pocket; a rip-snorting, blockbuster of a performance that’ll shoo away those muggy nimbuses of uncertainty and give us something positive to talk about. As we’ve every bloody reason to be doing anyway. Sitting in third spot as we are. Seven points off the top. Seven points clear of Chelsea. Ten clear of Arsenal. Eleven point…
Right, I’ve heard enough. Adebayor to score twice in a 3-1 win and England to sod off while we’re at it.
So ‘Arry reckons he might get a bit bored managing England:
‘I enjoy the day-to-day coming in to work with players, said the media-introvert on Radio 4 this week- going out on the training pitch every day, seeing the players.
I don’t know if seeing players once every six or seven weeks….it would be different for me and I would find it very difficult.’
Talking of which. You know what I find boring? Listening to Harry Redknapp discussing the England job. And what could be even more boring than that? Listening to Harry Redknapp discussing the prospect of being bored whilst doing the job of being England manager. Honestly. Bore off, with the whole charade. In case you hadn’t noticed we’re doing rather well at the moment. A bit of focus, please. You wouldn’t see a heart surgeon stop mid-operation to tell the patient’s family that he’s got a cracking appendectomy lined up for this afternoon.
It’s too good a gig to turn down, to be fair. It’s every surgeon’s dream. Er… sorry about your son.
And now to the main event. West Brom are in the building. It feels like only yesterday that Adebayor and Co. were making a nuisance of themselves up at the Hawthorns- and I suppose in football speak that’s more or less how long ago it was. The Baggies will tell you a lot has changed since then; they’re more than just a team who’ll hang on bravely for forty-five minutes only to roll over like a wheezing dog when it really counts. Their stalemating of Man City last week was something to behold.
We of Tottenham will need to be at our most cunning, then. And, likely, those in residents at their most patient. If we’ve not fully obliterated them off the park within twenty-minutes- leaving only their dental records and the odd loose stud- no need to panic. The goal(s) will come. Life, as Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic Park, will find a way. And this is probably exactly what he had in mind. Let’s make pre-history of them WBA berks.
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