There’s something reassuringly old-fashioned about Scott Parker as a footballer; the unflappable side-parting, the perma-grass-stained knees, the affection for bone-shuddering challenges. If you want a midfielder to fight tooth and nail for the cause; want them to exude a plucky wartime spirit that’ll mean they’ll bomb eighty-yards to prevent a throw-in or just put the whizzers up some Young Harry Flash, then Private Parker is without question your man…
Spurs haven’t beaten Manchester United since…oh wait, hang on. I’m reading last year’s notes. Zing-a-ding-ding. To be honest I’d given up putting any thought into previewing these fixtures a long time ago; some would argue that’s not necessarily exclusive to games involving United and, you know, perhaps they’re on to something.
How many times can one beat the MAYBE THIS TIME! drum before you break through the goatskin and do your hand a mischief. After years of disappointment after tragic, often hilarious disappointment, the sentiment had become a reflex; a defence mechanism. A cry for the hopeless.
I’m aware they dickbag us every year but maybe this time it’ll be different? Pa-thetic.
Anyway it’s all change since André Villas-Boas masterminded a barnstorming victory at Old Trafford in late-September. After a big dinner and several gin and tonics I could’ve cried the evening we finally toppled Sir Alex’s men. Getting dragged through the ringer as a Spurs fan is almost habitual, but this game more than most got the old soul stirring. Boy howdy. Vertonghen’s early goal: oh, god- we’ve scored too early. Bale gets the second: good, but I’ll still take a draw. They score: it’s all over. Dempsey scores immediately after: we’re only prolonging the inevitable. They score again: told you, all over. And, then *deep breath*
Pretty much forty minutes of bracing against a perpetual red tide: plugging holes with underpants, sellotaping the cracks with desperate enthusiasm: whatever it took to hold on. Heroic stuff. A famous victory.
Tomorrow’s game at the Lane is marred by the confirmation that Sandro will miss the rest of the season. Anyone but him, appears to be the general mood on the internet superhighway since hearing the news. Bale’s a game-changer and Adebayor’s international duties by proxy make Defoe indispensible. But the Brazilian’s been our heartbeat for some time now and we shan’t function the same without him. As replacements go, however, Scotty Parker comes highly recommended. In fact, put your house* on him to score the winner.
He’d do that just to show you.
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.
Hello. We’ve been off your screens for a few days now. I would blame it on the chronic gambling addiction I’ve developed but everyone knows nothing ever bad came of gambling. In the small amount of time it takes you to wish we’d stayed away a bit longer, then, let’s have a look what’s been going in the world of Hotspur since we last spoke. Who knows, it might be fun.*
*There will be precisely no fun had by anyone.
When scientists eventually find a way to delete precise chunks from a person’s memory, this might be ninety-minutes I’ll do away with. Indeed, it’s not yet possible to un-watch something that’s already happened; perhaps this game will encourage governments of the world to increase funding and get that memory expunger built. Must-Win was the understanding before kick-off. Must Not Bore to Death would’ve been a start. On the bright side, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored. Which after much discussion has been confirmed a nice thing to happen. Good on him.
This, a third successive away win for Spurs in the League, which propelled Andre Villas-Boas’ team to a rather handsome fourth spot. If this truly is the End of Days for our dear club it’s a lot less fire and brimstone than I’d imagined.
The first half was one of virile domination from Tottenham, signalled rather handily by the two-goal lead we took into the break. Lennon was bright and bubbly for large parts. Walker, off the back of a disappointing day against Chelsea last week, looked pretty good too. Appreciative, I’m sure, of the vast expanses of green he was allowed to gallop into at his leisure. Meanwhile, enjoyer of ladies, Jermain Defoe, could well have taken the match ball home at half-time. Had he not spent much of the afternoon trying to catapult said ball into the Channel.
The second half, well. Thank heavens for Sandro’s face, I say.
Again, by the sounds of it, Spurs had their assertive paws on this one but allowed Norwich back into it after Bale’s opener. Two late goals conceded through varying degrees of defensive cow-pattery. Limping out of the Cup is never fun- especially as some of the other big teams appear to be having such a hoot in the COC this year- and neither is missing a penalty. It’s all relative, though. Clint Dempsey should thank himself lucky he’s not Roy of the Rovers. I found out the other day that the fictional kickballer was forced to retire after injuries from a helicopter crash required him to have his BLOODY FOOT AMPUTATED!? You certainly can’t rap your way out of a missing foot. Also, most seem to agree that Iago Falque had an excellent game, so it swings in round-a-bouts.
Some thoughts on Wigan in due course. Just have to make a quick phone call.
Sometimes I do Twitters, too.
It’s January, as you might’ve noticed; and if you hadn’t I’d suggest those New Year’s resolutions about not drinking anything that really ought to be kept on a shelf in the shed aren’t going all that well. For the rest of you, you know the score. It’s the beginning of the year and that can mean only one thing: the always-good-for-a-laugh-don’t-believe-everything-you hear-better-off-not-opening-any-tabloid-newspapers-or-football-websites-for-a-month-pick-any-name-out-of-a-hat…January Transfer Window. May lord have mercy on us all.
All quiet on the Western Front so far but our taciturn supremo has given us this little nugget:
“Unless someone very special came on the market, someone that could improve the team, I’ll stick with what I have”
Hmm. Is this some kind of sophisticated ruse from Redknapp? A large part of me hopes so. I’m sure we can all agree that it would only make sense to upgrade our stock if the right kind of player were to become available, but this seems to suggest that he’d only consider purchasing if improvements for the first team were up there for our grubby mitts to paw around; rather than the squad as whole.
As the excellent Sarah Winterburn opined on Football365 this week, although we posses a super first eleven (arguably a midfield without equal) there’re certain areas of our ranks where the quality doesn’t run all the way down. For one, there’s an awfully big gulf between that of Adebayor and Pavlyuchenko, and, likewise between Assou-Ekotto and Danny Rose. What happens, say, if Walker goes down with some hair-related malady? Is Corluka up to speed these days? I’m not so sure. It’s all very well saying Niko Kranjčar can slope into a Van der Vaart shaped hole if the Dutchman’s hamstrings start tightening up again- but the Croatian looked positively shattered after his brief cameo on Tuesday. I counted around thirty seconds before his brow was alarmingly sodden. That’s not the type of thing you build title-challenges on, that’s not even the sort of thing you build Lego on. Depth isn’t the only problem. While we have excellent centre-backs in King, Gallas, Kaboul and Dawson, we have tremendous difficulty keeping the b*ggers all fit.
Certainly, then, there’s fine-tuning that can be done in a few places. And fine tuning that should be done. Especially if our current broken list elongates further and we’re entirely serious about challenging for that big hunk of metal they give out in May. I’m fully behind Redknapp but now’s the time to consolidate, strengthen and take these swines on at their own game.
But who the Dickens should we be looking at?
**Follow me on Twitter and I’ll let the hostages go.**
The chaps landed in Seff Efrica this week. And if that fact alone didn’t knock you off your swivel chairs then wait until you hear they’ve pencilled in an actual football match for this very afternoon. With linesmen and everything. Northern riot forecasters, The Kaizer Chiefs, primed and ready for their three ‘o clock appointment in the balmy Jo’burg sunshine. And what a riot it ought to be. I even saw David Bentley running around a bit earlier. No word of a lie. Bentley.
To be honest I’ll just be happy to watch some of the old boys of Hotspur in action, without the immediate fear of having Roman Abramovich chopper drop himself into the centre circle and throw a potato sack over Luka Modric. I hear the wee fella’s done-busted his stink bone, anyway. By which I mean he’s got an iffy ankle. On the subject- of which I’m sure we’re all bored to tears with- Joe Jordan reckons he’s heard of no such transfer request from the Croatian. Rubbish, probably, but I for one am not going to argue with him.
The really bad news to come out in the last day or so- regarding a player who for now at least seems committed to the club- is the fall of Sandro. Three months of rehabilitation the experts are saying, after undergoing 25 mils of propofol and the surgeon’s knife. By my modest calculations that means we won’t be seeing the South American stalwart until mid-October. Crumbs.
Paul Simon once advised us that we could call him Al. That’s not some clever tie-in with the rest of the post. It’s just, you know, a really great song. Good video, too. Not enough patio furniture in music videos these days. Or saxophone solos, for that matter. It’s all ironic nerd glasses and frisbee-sized sovereigns. So I’m told.
Anyhoo, to more pressing concerns. We turn our backs for two minutes and the ruddy tabloids are trying to auction half our squad. As Spurs could offer no conventional meat for the back pages this weekend- what with the *ahem* artful manner in which we removed ourselves from the F.A Cup†- the spotlight instead hung over some of our prized assets.
We’ll try and buzz through the stories as quickly as possible. Like removing a plaster or punching a rodent’s face off. It’ll only hurt for a second and in some cases not at all.
The Sunday Express are throwing down some Sandro to Inter pong. Reports- and I use the term loosely- suggest that the Brazilian’s owning of Clarence Seedorf at the San Siro on Tuesday evening has put the Nerazzurri on high alert. Ten million pounds sterling the price being ballyhooed about. Jermain Jenas is said be devastated.
Elsewhere the NOTW are asserting- once again- that Luka Modric will be top of Sir Alex’s this summer. Groundbreaking stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Next they’ll be telling us that Michael Carrick will be chucked in as a makeweight…
Oh. I see.
And I was feeling quite chipper this morning, too.
Roll on Blackpool.