Wetter Than an Otter’s Pocket
This progression malarkey isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You think you’re getting somewhere; playing eye-catching football, winning more games than you lose, climbing the table, consolidating. Heck, we’ve even got a glittery new stadium in the pipeline- one who’s shiny, futuristic design makes you wonder whether the architect has a few Buck Rogers DVDs lurking in his collection. A big fat lump of glorious modernity which towers over the North London skyline; a home as grandiose as our ambition.
Then, with a sore neck from craning upward, you realise there maybe a spot of work to do yet.
Last night was close to being unwatchable. The main source of concern- even more than Webb’s customary balls-up- was the mark of hopelessness which dripped through the ranks once Kuyt had opened the scoring. Somehow, all the pie-charts and archive footage provided on Sky Sports, regarding our frankly useless record against the Top 4, had emblazoned itself into the minds of our troops. The result- in the view of those watching as well as playing- became inevitable. We just don’t do Anfield.
Remember, this is a team who, all but a week ago, were being touted as compost, rather Champions League material. No urgency, no fight, no way back. Qualities, as it happens, notably absent from our end. It was a limp performance; a glass of tap water. A dry cracker. Nothing that would encourage you to go back for more.
So who can we blame? Someone, surely? We’ll get the fairly compelling excuses out of the way first. Howard Webb is a mistake away from having an effigy of himself pinned to the ticket gates at Seven Sisters. Andy Gray claimed: ‘He’s one of our best referees’ in between slapping his thigh and lampooning the man’s peculiar methods. How he saw fit to disallow Defoe’s goal is beyond anyone without a penchant for twisted logic. If you start rewarding people for idiocy- as Webb did by saving Reina’s blushes- then you may as well start handing out Nobel prizes to monkeys. It would have the same effect. His incessant punishing of Crouch also had me reaching for my address book, too:
‘I’ll double your fee if you make it a head shot.’
I jest. Partially. From our uninspiring mob, there was little to write home about. Modric, but for a few sparks of genius, was anonymous. Jenas spent the majority of the game apologetically bumping into people like a netball centre; arms crossed over his chest, presumably to hide his bra. Keane looked hungry enough when he came on; chasing lost causes, getting amongst the action. But for all his short-lived effort, he struggled to make an impact. Plenty of other half-baked performances, ones which I might go into at a later date. If I can bare it.
Another one to be swept under the carpet. It’s getting too crowded under there for my liking. We need to stop fannying about against these teams and take chances when they arise.
Otherwise all this talk of progression will count for absolutely nothing.
Really, come on.