A week’s a long time in football, the old saying goes. Or is that politics? Or prison? Hmm, well either way the point remains that seven days is a considerable stretch. Not long long like a year or anything (or even a month) just, you know, lengthy. Turn back them hands of time to last Sunday morning, for example, when Spurs were nine points worse off and that clinking you could hear was the sound of a shotgun barrel knocking against your teeth. I’ll bloody end it all if we lose to West Ham, I swear to god!
A week on from beating the Hammers plus victories against Liverpool and Fulham and suddenly there’s a warm glow on our faces and everything smells like banana flavoured Angel Delight again. The more things change, eh?
Back into 4th and level on points with Chelsea.
It was nice to see Sandro among the goals; his only other attack of the net-ruffles coming in similarly booming fashion against the abovementioned Russians, some twenty months ago. Schwarzer perhaps could’ve delayed its route to goal with a sturdier wrist but it was hit true and steady like an almighty b*stard, so there was no real shame in conceding. Here’re the words our man Andre used when asked about the Rhino from Riachinho.
“He’s such a good player. In a performance like this, it’s difficult to single out individuals, but Sandro has been amazing for us.”
Amazing’s the word. Now all we need is The Boy Parker back in action if only to allow Sandro a minute or two’s breather. There’s a case to made in playing them both in order to get Dembele further up upfield, but that’s for another day.
I’ll leave you happy souls with a video of hollow-legged calorie-vacuum, Adam Richman, presenter of Man vs. Food and bonafide Spurs aficionado. To anyone disputing whether this club can possibly mean as much to someone living thousands of miles away in Foreignland, take note of Adam’s reaction when given a chance to take a private tour of The Lane.
I like the guy.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I trust you’ve fastened your seatbelts and your tray-tables are in their upright and locked position. If you need me, I’ll be the one hammering on the door of the cock-pit demanding to speak to the pilot. Come on, open up, you peasant! I know you’ve got a parachute in there somewhere..
A bit late to get off now, perhaps. Marshmallow clouds whiz past the window and the landing strip is in plain view. The only question that remains, after a season of navigating ourselves through an assortment of clear skies and prolonged zones of turbulence, just where exactly are Tottenham going to put this bird down. And what state is she going to be in once grounded.
I have a recurring nightmare that Captain Redknapp’s last act will be a spectacular fiery belly-flop into a dust field two miles short of the airport; the wreckage of which will be picked apart and sold by rag-and-bone men.
But, you know, other than that I’m fairly upbeat.
Fulham at home, then. The last hurrah. I’m sure you’re all aware of the possible incarnations the final table can assume. We’re looking at anywhere between 5th and 3rd. And everything (that’s to say, 4th) in between. All to play for, as our venerable leader reasoned earlier.
Word from the front desk is that professional Rhyme-noceros, Clint Dempsey, is out of action for the trip. Too busy dropping thunder in the studio, no doubt. This, it’s fair to say, is good news for Spurs. Twenty-three goals in all competitions for Dempsey this season and I’m happy for it to stop there. We’ll have enough to keep us occupied with Dembélé and Progrebnyak in residence, of that I’m certain.
Aside from keeping Saturday night’s dinner down- as apose to having it line the inside of their shorts like frothy Bisto- Tottenham’s only real dilemma is at left-back; where an injured Disco Benny and a suspended Danny Rose leave us in a rather tight spot. Gareth Bale springs to mind, but whether he can be relied upon to not go wandering up front/right-wing/ or, indeed, in goal, when the urge arises, it’s difficult to say. Personally I’d take a punt on Gallas and be done with it.
Right, here we go, folks Your thoughts, as ever, are welcomed. Let’s have a happy and prosperous end to the season. Like we know we should. COYS!
I’ll be on Twitter. Praying.
Put what’s left of your hand up if you enjoyed the fireworks last night. Oh that’s not so bad. I was expecting digits resembling overcooked Cumberlands. This blogsworth spent much of the evening simply trying to work out what noises were legitimate pyrotechnic action and what was just the boiler letting me know it could dispatch me to kingdom come at any moment it fancied. Tis a dangerous game to play, in all honesty.
And so, it would seem, is taking light the remarkable ascent of Newcastle United up the table. Someone should let them know that they’ve made their point now and can go back to being a wonky bunch of mid-tablers. I would myself but I’ve just eaten and not sure where the phone is. Where will it all end for the Magpies? That I can’t answer, but they certainly don’t look like they’re ready to come down just yet. The swines.
Now to West London and the return of Big Martin Jol and new employers, Fulham. You could likely count the enemies of the gregarious Dutchman on one hand. Arséne Wenger, Jermain Defoe, Kenny Logan, perhaps? And even those you’d have to concede are probably either terrified of him or secretly enamoured by his velvety European charm. I’ll leave you to decide which is which. For us mortal followers of Hotspur, though, Martin Jol was the embodiment of good humour and grace in his time at Spurs. Two qualities you’d think were inconceivable, given the shower of sh*t he was forced to stand under. The Director of Football nonsense, the half-time text scandal, and, of course, Dimitar Berbatov. Who I heard is well gay.
The applause Jol will almost certainly take delivery of this afternoon will be nothing short of fitting for the work he did in North London. Sterling, if not stellar; under challenging conditions and always with great humility.
His current side aren’t doing too badly, either. Say what you want about the Cottagers’ position in the table- and I intend to- but they’re still the only side to have taken points off the footballing behemoth that is City. Their present situation the fallout of a lethargic start to the campaign, which has become almost seasonally habitual. Like Everton, they don’t begin well. It took them seven games to get a win this time around and they’re only just pulling themselves out of the mire now. Luckily in Clint Dempsey, they’ve got a player doing likewise and finding something close to his usual form.
For us it’s that odd task of trying to avoid a repeat performance of midweek with a team who had nothing to do with the actual performing bit. There’s unlikely to be any survivors from the trip to Kazan- instead a reinstatement of the old guard that was so ruddy brilliant against QPR. Anything close to that line-up and I think we should be in for a treat. A slender win, says I. Parker to get his first goal for Tottenham with ‘Arry cheering from home in his pyjamas. That’ll do it.
No sucker wants to talk to us. Let alone sign. I feel a rejection complex coming on. We’re the football equivalent of a cold caller who rings up just on the stroke of teatime to give you the hard sell on some new health insurance. Just as you’ve tucked a fork into the grey matter on your plate that looks only slightly more appealing than what the cat’s eating- or what he’s about to leave on the carpet- and it’s Keith from the front desk wanting to chat about upgrading your life choices. Is this a good time?, he says. Click. In the hunt for a new centre-forward, it seems, we’re being given one heck of a cold shoulder.
Suarez chooses Liverpool; Rossi, Fabiano and Forlan all happy enough in Spain. Even the Biker Grove Baggio is being priced out the market by the shakers on Tyneside. Anything over twenty million is silly money for me; particularly for someone who appears just as likely to dish out a knuckle supper as he is to score a late winner. Nothing against the canny lad. The hard truth is that options/time are/is running thin. And, if Chelsea get anywhere close to recruiting Fernando Torres in the next few days, the true extent of these mind-bogglingly obvious shortcomings will become all too clear. I’ll put my cards on the table here: the Drogba/Torres combo scares the sh*t out of me. More alarming, though, is the idea that Peter Crouch can play as a lone striker for the rest of the season.
This way, surely, surely madness lies.
Anyway, chin up. Craven Cottage this afternoon and some F.A cup shenanigan by the river. I’ll wager that a few forgotten faces will be on parade today. An exercise for some of blowing away a few cobwebs; for others a chance to remind any perspective buyers what they might look like. Similar to an actor putting a headshot of themselves at the front of a résumé. People like to know what they’re getting, you see. Perhaps a last outing for Robert Keane before heading East, then? If he hasn’t already. I do lose track.
**Winner of the Caption Competition in the previous post is SimonP who wins a Danny Blanchflower ‘The Game Is About Glory’ t-shirt. Courtesy of Philosophy Football. Get in touch, Simon**
Gee willikers. The year is dwindling away from us at an almighty rate. We’re down to the last few hours. Bloody get on with it, I say. Or cancel NYE altogether. Tottenham are in action tomorrow and the last thing we need is to miss it because our poor livers have turned into a hot pâté of boozy mush. Not that I’m playing or anything. Don’t get met wrong. Unless that letter to Jim’ll Fix It finally made it into the right hands and I need to give my boots a clean. Hmm. No missed calls.
Fulham are second favourites, that’s for sure. A bountiful festive period has seen us take maximum points and with it the hope that there’s plenty more to come. We look like a team unused to the idea of losing football matches. Injuries have waylaid in recent weeks, too, only to be countered by the rather more avoidable practice of missing players through suspension. Two needless red cards in as many, albeit winning, games. Particularly irksome for Jermain Defoe- although he has always been a little forward.
Right. That’s it from me for the year. I’d planned a longer preview but, as a wise man once said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many thanks and a Happy New Year to the lot of you. Here’s to the coming twelve months. Let’s hope they’re as good as the last.