The blog has moved. Just browse to


the fighting cock podcast
blog best viewed on

Firefox, Safari, Chrome and IE8+.

Powered by Squarespace

Entries in Gareth Bale (77)


Midfield majesty

Continuing the season review from here.

It’s the midfield’s turn now.



Strange how things can turn out. One persons misfortune can lead to someone else coming to the forefront unexpectedly. Happened with Bale when BAE was injured. Happened with Sandro when Huddlestone was out. Might struggle to get back in now.

It’s been a mixed season for big Tom. A few seasons back, I discussed his merits and the fallacy of his immobility and his under-rated work ethic (he can occasionally boss games). His got the mad skillz with an array of volleys and thunderbolt shots and elegant passing that has a touch of the Hoddle about it. The dirty, darker side to his play needs to be policed as there’s nothing worse than seeing one of your own lash/kick out with studs.

Hudd offers something different to Sandro, but in a 442 (with vdV playing behind a lone striker) you would probably prefer the defensive qualities of the Brazilian to the offensive play Tommy has to offer. Mainly because he (Sandro) protects Modric who is then free to dink and dictate. What I do like, in terms of our squad, is that we have a rich variety of talent within our midfield pool – all players giving us something different.

The new conundrum (worth revisiting separately) is how best do we line-up to accommodate them?  2-6-2 anyone?

The bigger conundrum might actually belong to Hudd who might feel he needs to play week in and week out to truly maximise his potential.



I love Luka. So good you might not even notice him. His peers obviously didn’t. Although everyone else watching football from the stands or on television did. You can hardly miss his non-stop energetic coverage of every blade of the midfield grass. Always looking to play a pass or get on the end of one. Always recycling the ball with an almost Barcelonaesque presence. He is the control centre of the side, everything goes through him. The tempo, the possession. He’s imperative and quite simply irreplaceable. Because how would you go about replacing a world class player when perhaps signing one would prove to be a task of impossibility in this current climate of CL demands and ridiculous wages.

Luka spoke out recently, he’s an honest down to earth man. He’s happy at the club and isn’t looking to move on. We won’t sell him, we won’t look to sell him. Levy has already said this. Although money is money and if a bid came in for him that sat around the £35M-£40M and his agent whispered ‘150k per week’, an honest man wouldn’t lie to himself when questioning his loyalties to his own self being.

If you’re better than someone who is earning twice as much as you elsewhere, scratching your head you will.

I’m a romantic and with Spurs being in good nick with several top drawer players, I hope as a team they all have ambitions to stick together and achieve something at the club that works against what we’ve come to expect from history.

He might not score many goals but he’s magical with the ball at his feet. The fact everyone will be looking across to the Lane this summer speaks volumes about his quality. He would turn any midfield in this country into a better one.



This is what Tottenham is all about. Sign a young talented player, mishandle him through development and injury blips, almost destroy him and almost send him out on loan and then end up with one of the most iconic moments in our recent history: Bale, in the Champions League, destroying the reigning champions.

Okay, so yes there is plenty of style hype to run alongside the genuine substance. Gareth Bale is technically gifted, physically strong (or not – more later) and possesses great speed and agility. He’s also got an eye for goal. Unknown quantity in the CL meant he had a field day on occasions. Back home, one or two did their homework on the lad and nullified him. Although it’s hardly disparaging if you note how many times the opposition placed two men to mark him.

People who prefer to linger on the negatives are missing the point. There are no negatives. Just varying degrees of positives, some of which need nurturing to full bloom. He’s young. He’s learning. He’s had to deal with plenty, especially with regards to expectations and the extra attention after that hat trick.

‘Doesn’t do it in the league’ some have muttered. Well, sure, he’s not devastated opposing teams week in week out. But then his opta stats along with memorable moments might have been doubled had many of his brilliant crosses to head and across the six yard box found a forward. Not his fault movement from our frontline in and around the box let us down on numerous occasions.

He will improve, he’ll learn new tricks and his manager has to continue to play a part in progressing him. He’s a target, as we all saw with the tackle from Adam. He goes down easily, probably because he wants to protect himself. You can hardly blame him, it’s not like he isn’t being fouled. He is. He just takes a moment’s pause to make sure he isn’t broken. Someone still needs to toughen him up as it’s all in the head.

Modric might be the trigger, but Bale is the bullet. And he needs to remain in our gun.



Whether it’s because of the bench warming or loss of form and focus, Lennon has not been at his best. Sacrificed by Harry, I get the feeling that Aaron is at times disillusioned. He’s shown glimpses of what he can do but as cited by Tom over at thfc1882, we’ve never seen the best of him at the same time as Bale and you wonder whether an opposition could live with all the questions fired at them if both our flankers were at full pelt together. I’m not suggesting one is detrimental to the other. It’s probably just bad luck and circumstance. But much like Bale needs development and a word in his ear, someone at the club has to drill home to Azza when best to cut in and when best to cross. He still possesses the pace. He’s a weapon that won’t do much damage loaded with blanks.

Harry has to stick him on the right and the coaching staff have to work on his decision making. At full pelt, it’s hairs on back of neck dancing time. We need him rejuvenated and not wasted, much like how Fabio managed to do within the England set-up.



If you remember his first few appearances, the main criticism would have related to Sandro’s lack of comfort with the pace of the English game. Understandable. Which is why Harry slowly introduced him, what with pressures of moving to a cold country and settling into our way of life. But what struck me was the kids apparent unfazed demeanour and the manner in which he went about his business on the pitch. He made mistakes, he picked himself up and he got on with it.

Mental strength in abundance and therefore not a concern in my mind that we had found ourselves a winner. A player who believed in his ability to succeed for us. It’s early days but there is nothing to suggest otherwise. He’s a gem. But then he hardly arrived to Spurs from a nothing club. He starred for Internacional in their 2010 Copa Libertadores win.

No more mistakes, no more mis-reading of the games tempo and no more clumsy tackles and yellow cards (well, almost). In the Champions League he was quite simply superb. The pick of the bunch his performance away to AC Milan. His general defensive awareness as good as we’ve had, probably since Carrick. He allows others to flourish forward as he sits back and protects.

I’m excited at the prospect of seeing him in the team from the start of next season.


van der vaart

Just when the transfer window was about to shut, we were gifted a world class player at a steal. You can hardly say no. What you can say is, ‘how best to fit him in?’

I’m uncertain whether we’ve figured that one out. With a more robust centre-forward up ahead of him, perhaps we’d have seen more goals in our favour. He creates, he assists and he scores and he isn’t/wasn’t even 100% at any given moment during the course of the season. I hope his summer and pre-season is a great one because if he returns at the top of his physical peak, it will feel like we’ve signed him all over again.

I must have used the word galvanised a thousand times this season. It’s what Rafa does. His self-belief has proved vital and he’s practically dragged us up from the ground screaming and shouting in games, scoring all important goals and leading from the front – even though he’s not playing up front and can sometimes lose himself in deep areas between the defence and midfield that would leave Robbie Keane blushing.

Fourteen goals in a season of tinkering. Again, if Harry works out how to accommodate our key players in a formation that befits their talents and ability you’d be hard pressed to find a more attractive, pulsating midfield in the country.


Not to end this part of the review on a downer...

Palacios/Pienaar /Kranjcar/Jenas

Palacios has never fully recovered from his lowest ebb. A destroyer in his first season, he’s lost that intensity and with the emergence of Sandro and the inclusion of vdV and Bale on the left wing with Modric in the middle makes it extremely difficult and unlikely that he can work his way back into the side. A crying shame at £14M. I like him. He’s a good hard working lad who has lost his way and has failed to reclaim his past form. Again, we’ve been here many times before with players who we have written off and they’ve come back stronger. Just have a feeling that won’t happen for him at Spurs. Especially if we do end up signing another midfielder in the summer. Which I hope we don’t (other than perhaps a right-winger to cover Lennon).

Pienaar has been subjected to countless shrugs of despondency since his arrival. I’ll just say this: He was Everton’s player of the season. He’s no mug. Squad players should not be dismissed and he can and will do a job for us. He’s been here 5 minutes, give him a chance. Yes, he’s South African, and I would be dismayed if he was signed simply as a commodity (Khumalo anyone?) to aid with our SA fanbase. Okay, I admit he hardly fitted into the criteria we needed – but then when do we ever sign the right type of player? Charlie Adam – where would he have fitted into the side had he arrived during Jan? I think Pienaar is essentially a ‘Harry’ signing. Nice and cheap (wages excluded) and doesn’t quite make sense but does when he can offer cover. I'm trying to remain upbeat on this one. I'm probably in denial.

Kranjcar. Last season so so vital. This season, marginalised. Don’t think Harry utilised him enough and can’t see him at the club next season. Beautiful footballer and not too bad with the skills (boom boom). Rotation could have been slicker from the gaffer and Niko should have played far more minutes. Can’t remember what game it was now, but he was awful (along with one or two others) when given a start...but you wonder how much of that was down to man-management on the training pitch and sheer frustration.

Jenas? Injured for the best part of the season other than one decent cameo spell. He seems to be the perpetual squad player, always in and around the first team. But this season we’ve hardly had time to make disparaging comments because he’s hardly had the time on the pitch to live up to our low expectations of him. It’s not quite fair to be honest to say anything negative about the lad. He’s not been at the races. Another player who might be on his way in the summer. Because I can’t see how he’ll fit into the team any time soon. It's either him or Pienaar.


Next up, the forwards (or lack of).




Inside the head of Heurelho da Silva Gomes

'Penalty given, no problem I will save it. Come to me ball, I beckon you. Come to me. There we go. Saved. See you later. Job done. Justice. I am a good keeper, I believe in myself. I'm good, I know I am. I saved a penalty. I have no insecurities. I proved it there. In comes the ball again, should I stand my ground or should I attempt to...I wonder if cats dream? And if they did would they dream about eating and sleeping and licking themselves because they hardly do much else in waking life. Oh hold on. What the *** has happened here? It's another penalty. Or is this the penalty from before replayed and if it is why am I in the replay reliving the moment? It makes no sense to me. Has there been a disturbance in the space time continuum? Saved it the first time, I can save it again. I'll dive this way. Okay, then. That was the wrong way. Oh well. There's always next time'.


But I'm only joking. Let's not scapegoat. It's a huddle of hurt where blame needs to be shared by the team and management as one. Although there are pockets of pleasantries (i.e. Modric) that have endeavoured through the lapses of mediocrity. I'm not being overly dramatic here. Don't misunderstand. I'm proud of the way this team has performed over the past couple of season but disheartened that perhaps the reality is we still lack that extra spark and reinforced steel combination. It's not a bad place to be. It's just that the way football evolves from one season to the next, it's easy for a club to lose direction because of what happens at other clubs.

We should have had it wrapped up with ease. The fact we've given it away can't be ignored unless you wish to retain the whimsical comparisons to times when we sat in midtable. Can't be living in the past though, which is how most would counter that.

So, where are we exactly?

We've basically lost a top four place because of the lack of genuine fluidity across our domestic season dropping points like Martin Sheen drops teeth. Beating Blackpool would have got us back into it if anything just to make the last three games exciting, if still quite improbable (based on form). It's no surprise we ballsed it up and ended the dream once and for all. We've been rubbish for weeks.

The result is made worse because of the spirit we displayed this time last season. Euphoria replaced by limp shrugs of despondency. The complete lack of urgency and tempo until AFTER we went 1-0 down and began to play in injury time compounding the lacklustre effort of the full ninety. Not sure why there was such an abyss where desire and belief should have stood proudly.

I guess finishing 4th should not really be deemed a badge of honour anyway. However, finishing in the top four, preferable higher, has to continue to be the clubs ambition. We need to aspire to be the best we can be and if that makes us better than say two of the top four sides, that will be enough to get us into a position to then lay foundations for even bigger challenges. But one step at a time. Levy's prediction about the time share element of the Champions League appears to be coming true. But if he scratched his head hard enough I'm sure he'd agree with the majority that it was there for the THFC brace.

We've underplayed it. What a manager says publicly might not be the same thing he says behind closed doors, but the task of getting back into the CL was hardly a difficult one but yet was treated like one and thus laboured.

So where are we again exactly? On the highway, a few miles from our destination, out of gas. Arguably been running on empty for a while now.

In addition to the definitive disappoint there's also concern for young Bale. You almost understand his reluctance to pick himself up after being fouled in recent games. Goes down to easily, stays down too long. He's only protecting himself, as nobody else appears to be aiding him. Shame on 'he's not that type of player' Charlie Adam who (if you look at the pictures of the tackle or this gif) appears to have snapped Bales ankle in half, but hopefully it looks far worse than it does in image. Nice officiating there too. I guess Adam should have pulled out a semi-automatic rather than waste energy lunging in. Would probably have only got a yellow for firing it at Gareth's legs.

Broken ankle or severe ligament damage at time of writing. Breath of fresh air that, hey Harry? I guess having a go at the opposition isn't deemed too media friendly, might hurt the portfolio. We've always been way too soft in the aftermath of such matters. I'm not saying embrace the some embarrassing traits of a Jose or Fergie, but let's attempt to defend our honour once in a while. Emphasis on protection of all things Tottenham.

Also, nice to see Rose back in the fold. Didn't do too badly. If the season wasn't drawing to a close, we'd probably send him out on loan again. Elsewhere, far too much anonymity. Some controversy over Lennon and the reason(s) why he sat on the bench (poor form or internal disputes?).

In conclusion? Lucky to get the point some might say. I say the draw, on performances, might have been the justified result. The ref was blind and our keeper a loon and our strikers fairly non-existent and our midfield unbalanced but there's no chance of ignoring the fact that this game practically summed up the reason why we're not in the Champions League next season.

No cutting edge, no drive, no focus. Attitude adjustment failure in games we should be bossing. Makes it doubly ironic that we've only lost seven league games this season (so far). The truth festers in the fourteen draws.

We have lost a scandalous amount of points because we've failed to show up and then made hard work of it. We've not improved on last season, we've stagnated. I'm going to have to admit to the fact that it wasn't meant to be and that at some point in the future we'll understand the reasons why. Philosophical musings is all I have left to make this journeys end more comfortable.

A world class forward in January might have made the difference. Personally, thought we still had enough to see ourselves through it. I was wrong. Emphatically wrong. Chairman got it wrong. Manager got it wrong. Some of our players got it wrong.

If you want to be critical and subjective, say if you were a neutral and looked upon Spurs and this season, you might question the fact we have a wealth of talent and we've somehow managed to not find a groove. It's that genuine lack of fluidity again that many have suffered from this season. If you want to be critical you might ask why we went through the motions and failed to take it all by the scruff of the neck. Because out of all the under-achievers, we had the depth to perhaps edge out the competition. Easier said then done and although you might read this article back and think me drowning in negativity - once more, this isn't about pin-pointing scapegoats. Just another gentle nod in the direction of the obvious. It was a collective failure. It's not just up front where we need to improve.

We've not been good enough in key areas in key moments. If you want sustained progression that equates to tangible success you need to hate losing and we have not quite tuned into that frequency yet.

It's still a good thing, a positive thing, to be this club in this position with the squad we have. If you look the past, we are abundantly in better health than we've been for twenty or so years. The problems we have in our workings are ones that if fixed, will propel us upwards once more. The crux is in how chairman and manager go about fixing it. Momentum has not been lost, just misplaced. We need to aim higher and be seen to be aiming higher because the clubs around us will be doing just that.

City are unlikely to waste their opportunity in the CL and will therefore use it as platform to consolidate beyond doubt when alternatively we might have further damaged their project by once more beating them into the top four. That would have allowed us to build on this season without taking a step back. Hope is with the advantage falling into our lap with the single focus of the league whilst they go on their European adventure. Everything is in transition, which is why I will continue to support and believe. It's all I can offer, the rest is out of my hands. Teams around us will get better but so will we.

Onwards, then.

We've learnt a harsh lesson this term. Don't take anything for granted. Wouldn't hurt to be a ruthless yet glorious basterds once in a while too.




There is still hope

I reckon I've got it sussed out.

All we need to do is sacrifice fifteen virgins (one for each remaining point) in the centre-circle at White Hart Lane and then take five voodoo dolls representing each club we have left to play and hang'em upside with pins inserted.

Whilst the sacrifice takes place (for reasons relating to legality we can't actually sacrifice people so I've spoken to a friend who knows someone who knows someone who can put me in touch with a farmer and for a nominal fee covering insurance purposes we can borrow fifteen lambs although we have to return the meat post-ritual or we'll lose the deposit)...Okay, so whilst the sacrifice takes place on the pitch we need to then set fire to the voodoo dolls and pray to Mait' Carrefour, the Haitian god of magicians and lord of the crossroads, promising him the souls of the sacrificed virgins (he won't know the difference, the souls are unlikely to bleat after they transcend) in return for Champions League next season. We also need to bury Chirpy in a shallow grave. Nothing to do with the ritual at all. Just, you know, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

I reckon that just about covers it and it's as full-proof as anything can possibly be. Got it all planned out on my clipboard.

No need to waste time on how to line-up our forwards best. How to get them to play with passion and desire starting off with the fundamentals like moving around the pitch a bit and controlling the ball. How best to structure our midfield for assured balance. Where to slot in Lennon for maximum impact. How to retain the required level of tenacity in games against lower-placed clubs as displayed against the bigger sides. How to get the message across that even if the opposition hasn't lost for a fair while, we should be storming it at home in a flurry of fantastics rather than once more failing with frustration.

Also no point in dwelling on the harsh reality of irony whereby said failure is shared by all involved, including the players that might want to transfer their way out in the summer due to the club not being involved in a competition because the same players failed to take us back there. Or is it the managers fault? Or is it mine for thinking we'd get on fine and that we were not over-extending? Regardless, where's the killer instinct? That has to be question that hides behind another disappointment.

You want killer instinct? You want it? If you want it, you do it yourself. You get on the phone to a farmer and you order some baby sheep.

Cheer yourself up, buy a t-shirt then sell it as a collectors item to a Man Utd fan in the summer


Fourth spot. It's still on.

We simply need to win every single game remaining and City need to slip up the once in addition to playing us.


We got written off every single game leading up to Eastlands last time out. Nothing is impossible until it's impossible and it's not impossible. Not yet. When it finally is I'll applaud the team for a quite stupendous season, one with regretful blips that have cost us in the long run. But that's for another me in another universe, one where we finish outside the top four filled with melancholical madness, whilst an emo Spooky sits in front of his webcam reading out poetry and despairing with endless dejection.

Screw that universe.

Now excuse me. Got me some shearing to do.

Just remember what I've done for you next time you tuck into your lamb chop and potatoes.


The Stupendous Adventures of Gareth Bale

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley episode nine


Conference room 23...


Pestilence – Calamity.

Famine – I thought we’d agreed to refer to them by their actual names. Gomes or Crouch?

Pestilence – I’m referring to you lot. We’ve exceeded the allocated slot assigned to have this project completed by. Finance are on my back which means no more budget increases so I’m having to cut back on anything that isn’t project essential.

Famine – Damn it, is that why there’s no more Jaffa Cakes?

War – Okay, so we’re over budget and missed launch by what? A month at best? It’s hardly a disaster is it? Everything is still in place. It’s still all playing out as per the forecast.

Pestilence – Risk assessment would point to a less positive outlook. Do you have anything to offer to this discussion?


Pestilence – Can you place the iPhone down for a second and pay attention please?

Death – What? Oh, sorry. Angry Birds. There’s this one pig, I can’t get the son of a...

Famine – Seriously how exactly are Jaffa Cakes classed as non-essential? Can we not cut back on stationary? We hardly need pen and paper, everything is soft copy. It’s the electronic age people. Reminds of the time during the Black Plague when I got a warning from HR for using the back of a diseased farmer to carve out my to-do list. I personally thought I was being resourceful.

Pestilence – Hush.

Famine – Soz.

Pestilence - Death. You’re the project lead with finalising closure of roadmap outputs. I can’t remember you highlighting any potential threats in the last PowerPoint presentation.

War – Great presentation by the way.

Famine – Yeah, loved the way you slipped in the slide of your wife in a bikini.



Pestilence – Now let us please go over the minutes from the last meeting and work out a contingency plan to fix this in time for the summer break. Death, you had the agenda last time out, so War...your turn please. Death, I suggest you get your notes in order I want answers when we conclude.

War – Right, so first up, problems at the back. Some wonderful work on Woodgate and King.

Pestilence – I’m efficient. Unlike some.

War – Gallas has signed a new contract. Hutton is out injured for the season.

Death – Yeah, massive shame with Hutton there. Not so efficient Pesty with that other one. Gallas has not had a single meltdown.

Pestilence – Regarding Hutton, I kept him in the team for as long as possible. You can hardly expect me to perform miracles. He’s Scottish. As for Gallas, it was always a calculated risk. There’s still time.

War – Moving on, we actually placed more resource on the forwards in the last quarter.

Famine – So that's where our budget went?

Death – Hey at least someone is splashing out their money on forwards. Memo to Levy, memo to Levy!

Famine - Zing!


War – Defoe can’t score for toffee, Pav is in and out of the team and Crouch was imperative to dumping Spurs out of the Champions League.

Pestilence – Impressive.

Famine – Thanks.

War – There’s also the Stratford thing.

Death – I really don’t get the big deal about that.

Famine – Yeah, I know what you mean. A club, its history and its traditions, it’s not quantifiable by its location. Games, players, doesn’t suddenly become devalued or disappear from memory if you up and move. A club, it’s defined by its supporters and progression allows for new chapters to be written.

Death – Exactly. If they moved to Stratford it would still be Tottenham Hotspur. Geography should not get in the way of history that is forever unchangeable in the books that chronicle it.

War – I don’t agree. It’s Tottenham which means its N17. Otherwise why not just up and move them to any part of the South East? Why not just have every club do the same and we can rename the place the USA and call it franchised sport?

Death – Most Spurs fans don’t even live in N17. What is it with you pro-N17 anti-whatever lot? Are you blind? Without those extra seats the club will never compete. It’s the only option available.

War – Now steady on. Only option? What if the OS bid was won by Paris? What then?

Death – Weak argument. Much like those demonstrations outside the ground. Pathetic. Could you not muster up anything better than a couple of hundred people with banners?

War – I had nothing to do with that. My idea of having an army of 20,000 on horseback with sub-machine guns got vetoed by the historical inconsistency panel. Something about it being out of context. They're so anal.

Famine – I still think Spurs are best off remaining in N17 because...

Pestilence – SILENCE!


Pestilence – Keep the banal chit chat down to a minimum. You’ve all got Twitter accounts. Use them. Now, what of Stratford?

War – We gave it to West Ham United.

Pestilence – Was that a prudent choice? Sending Tottenham to Stratford would have further fragmented support.

War – Not the case sir. See, we basically did some market research.

Pestilence – Research?

War – Online poll.

Pestilence – Okay.

War - The only people vocal are ones who frequent blogs and message boards. More or less split down the middle. People that attend games remain sat on the preverbal fence. So it would have been a positive to have the club move to the OS site and maximise revenue. Everyone would have followed regardless and any dissidents would have been easily replaced with new fans. This way, with West Ham winning the bid, Levy will continue to bicker through the courts with the politics and accusations whilst they remain stuck in the not so viable N17.

Famine - In other words. You're sleeping with Karren Brady.

War - You're out of line 'mate'.

Famine - Say it's not true.

War - Okay, so we're dating. It's nothing serious.

Famine - Yeah, yeah. First it's dinner, then the theatre. What you going to get her for your one year anniversary? Removal of the running track from the legacy?

Death - Isn't Brady married?

War - Small technicality. Costs a bomb in hotel charges but she gets free access to porn.

Pestilence – <points to watch> Good work, now can we please move it along and ease up on the unnecessary commentary. I’ve got a ten o’clock. Botox. Let’s try to wrap this up quickly.

War – Okay, okay. So we’ve got van der Vaart still carrying the extra pounds.

Famine – Don’t look at me.

Pestilence – Anyone?

Death – Not me either.

Pestilence – We’ll mark that one down as luck.

War – Fixture list making it an uphill struggle for cementing 4th again. Also, as a fail-safe we’ve managed to organise a Man City v Stoke City FA Cup final. Meaning that if Man City win the cup and have yet to secure fourth spot it’s in Stoke’s best interest to lose when they meet in the league three days later. European qualification complexities. Very tasty this. And if Stoke win the Cup they will hardly bother to turn up for the league game all things considering. Win, win for us and Man City.

Famine – Genius.

War – What else, what else? Okay, so obviously as we all know they got dumped out the Champions League. Harry continues to be linked with the England job and I’ve also set myself up as a writer for countless news feed blogs and sites so I’m really drilling home the Modric/Bale/van der Vaart ‘off in the summer’ initiative.

Pestilence – Perhaps remove van der Vaart from that equation. Just saying.

War – And I think that's it.

Pestilence – Okay. Thank you War. Death, anything you wish to input at this juncture?

Death – I’ve been speaking to the creative department and have pencilled in a bitter sweet twist for the conclusion of the Prem league. Plenty of people drawing parallels to last season’s run-in. You’ll have noticed that Spurs need to play Arsenal, Chelsea and City again.

Pestilence – So, you’re suggesting what exactly?

Death – Arsenal to avenge last seasons 2-1 and this seasons 3-2. Chelsea to avenge their 2-1 defeat. And City owe Spurs payback for the 1-0.

Pestilence – I see nothing but dust on your scythe. Explain.

Death – Arsenal are gunning for the title.

Famine – Hold up, hold up. Just got a push notification from Eurosport. Jesus Christ, Liverpool got a penalty in the 112th minute to equalise! It's finished one all!

Pestilence – I’m sick of that God boy interfering with our business. Wenger’s team will be deflated now. Especially if Man Utd beat Newcastle.

Death – Okay, well, not all is lost. That's just one part of a triple threat. City will not want to make the same mistakes again. They are three points clear of Spurs. They only need to equal or better Tottenham's results and then beat them or even draw at Eastlands what with superior goal difference.

Pestilence – Only? They only need to? Goal difference? What if they slip up and Spurs win their other games? Is this how you plan to end Tottenham Hotspur once and for all? You're losing your edge. Far too much annual leave in the Bahamas has turned you soft and weak. And the rest of you, did any of you not stop to think that perhaps this FA Cup thing will be a distraction for Man City? Well? I also had twenty quid on Utd to do the treble for the love of all things dead...

<scratching of heads>

Death – Calm down, I did say all is not lost. There’s always my secret weapon. Torres. I got him transferred over there from Liverpool simply to be in a position to shoot down Spurs and ruin any possibility of a second successive CL placement what with Chelsea being involved in the Top four battle.

Pestilence – Torres?

Death – Yes.

Pestilence – Fernando Jose Torres Sanz?

Death – Er...yeah. That's him. Why?

Pestilence – For the love of... <shakes head despondently)

War: Do you even watch football dude?

Pestilence – How exactly did this monumental screw up happen?

Famine – Sorry guys. I was doing a little bit of outsourcing for a scouse friend of mine. I did tell you Death.

Death - Tell me what? Has Torres not scored for Chelsea?

Famine - No. He hasn't.

Death - Why did I not know about this?

Famine - I said I told you.

Death – No you didn’t.

Famine – I did. I poked you on Facebook. I set up a website for you to track.

Death – I only periodically log-in to update my status, could you not have sent me an email or a diseased farmer with a memo carved into his back?

Famine – Ha! There you go! I'm not the only one! Speak to HR. It isn’t just Jaffa Cakes they’re cutting back on. And honestly, whilst we're at it, could we not order in another plague or disaster to deal with all this rather than working through all these intricate details?

Death – Gross. Comolli. Ramos. The board of directors are in agreement that a disaster is a short team win only. And that last one, they made t-shirts out of it for crying out loud.

War – 'Two points, eight games' did have a good ring to it. I bought one. Rather fetching.

Pestilence – SILENCE!  ENOUGH! ENOUGH! Let’s just reconvene this afternoon. Also pencil in a lessons learnt session for post-end of season. In the mean time, all of you brainstorm with your teams. I want ideas to end this push for fourth sooner rather than later and not have to rely on a set of variables that might or might not happen whilst we sit back slouching on the sofa. We need to be proactive not reactive. We’ve got shareholders to answer to people. So I want to see some fire in your bellies.

War – Actually, hold up a sec, before you all leave. There’s one final agenda point I’ve got here.

Pestilence – What’s that?

War – The PFA Player of the Year awards.

Pestilence – This was fixed back in December. We manipulated the votes. Close it off. It's done.


Pestilence – Please tell me someone, of you...manipulated the votes? It’s down as completed on the roadmap on the shared drive. Anyone?


Pestilence - <holds head in hands> Unbelievable.

War – Looking at the general company newsletter sent out this morning, it says Bale will win it. Didn’t we agree at the last meeting that building him up would weigh him down in the long run? This is a good thing right?

Pestilence – That was an error of judgement. He’s stronger than we expected. Anything positive feeds him to do better. This is going to have a damaging effect on our bonus.

Death - Hey, let’s look at the bright side. He’s had a really really crap 2011.

Pestilence – That’s not the point, is it? Is it? Nobody down there is capable of grasping the poxy voting system any ways! They will debate and discuss and the hype will continue to build. Twenty-four games, twenty-four games without a win and now he’s player of the year!

Death – You really do suck with the anger management since you got your promotion.

Famine – I know I sound like I’m banging on about it, but what really? No agenda point covering supply of Jaffa Cakes to aid team meeting moral? Just that, I get Rich Tea are perceived as classic biscuits, but man look at them. As plain as a field with not a single blade of grass.

<conference room door opens>

David Baddiel – Hello chaps. Sorry I’m late. Got this cracking idea for you, cat amongst the pigeons tactic. You’re going to love it. Been sitting on this baby since the 1980s.

Pestilence – See! This is what I’m talking about. Some geninue get up and go initiative to do some proper damage! Go on David, I’m listening. What you got for us buddy?




The four horsemen of the spurcalypse


The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode One

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Two

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Three

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Four

The Fantastical Return of the Adventures of Bale and Bentley (Episode Five)

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Six

The Stupendous Adventures of Gareth Bale - Episode Seven

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Eight





The fling is over, now for the rebound

I was sat in a pub in Gatley, Manchester watching the second leg of our quarter final against Real Madrid. Every ten minutes, I quietly whispered to my Mancunian mate, "If we score a goal in the next five minutes, we might just have enough time to make a comeback". I repeated this line up until the 91st minute before finally surrendering any possible hope of over-turning the mighty four nil first leg deficit. I wasn't drunk. Hardly drunk. I wouldn't even call it optimism or delusion. Just whimsical dreaming.

I sighed and applauded. It all ended anti-climatically in the end, the strength of the visitors (and the lack of lady luck) meaning there was no full blooded highly implausible and improbably attempt of a comeback that perhaps a single early goal would have given us. Instead a single howler of a goal for the visitors finally laid to rest one of the most enthralling début seasons the Champions League has ever seen. And as much as I'd have loved to see us up against those possession pests from Barcelona, it's not to be. Not this season.

Perhaps in the not so distant future we'll have grown in maturity further and improved our quality in certain positions to once more do battle with the very best Europe has to offer. Two games, five goals conceded but arguably only one great goal scored against us - the rest, poorly defended or errors. That's not bad going considering what happened in the Bernabeu and the fact that we lived with them in the return and applied plenty of effort with that telling cutting edge. We might have still been outclassed over the two sets of 90 minutes even if Crouch had not been sent off. We'll never know. And that's where the frustration festers. Madrid are hardly a shabby outfit themselves. Credit to them and Tottenham's future manager.


It's been a grand old adventure. But it's been so much more than that. We've proved we can compete at the top. Not quite with the very best but we still reached the quarter-finals when all believed we'd only manage to finish third in our group. That deserves a smile or two. Along with the good this campaign has done for our stature and name. The impact of Gareth Bale. The memories of being 3-0 down in the qualifiers, the San Siro, the 3-1 Inter win, the San Siro again. The goals scored 'for' during the group stages. The entertainment and refreshing attacking mindset of Harry and the players. It's been wonderful. Memories of standing in the away end at Upton Park in 2006, banished forever.

We've lived the dream, lost our cherry. But I don't want another adventure. I want sustained participation, at the very least, every other year if not every year. In fact I don't want it refereed to as an adventure again. Adventures are a once in a life-time occurrence in some far off fantasy world. We got into the CL because we deserved it and we got as far as we did because we deserved it. And the fact we even entertained the possibility of making it to the semi-finals (perhaps had we faced Chelsea) doesn't just speak to me, it sings.

Seasonal battles on the continent with this team continuing its progression forwards, building on the foundations we've set as a club these past two season that wants to be successful and wants to aim even higher. The culture of comfort is dead. It lived long enough. Too long. Onwards with the next chapter.

Long live the desire to dare and to do. And come on you Spurs.





This is beautiful

Mesmerising. Via football uber site The Run of Play, animator Richard Swarbrick presents Bones Like Ghosts. Gareth Bale versus Inter highlights unlike any dvd you're likely to pick up at the club shop. Hauntingly good.



The kid is dreamy even as a cartoon.






My eyes have seen the glory

Here we go again.

Eyelids stapled open. Heart removed by Mola Ram and placed into mouth. Lilywhite straitjacket on. Legs and arms strapped into the roller-coaster carriage with no means of escape for a minimum of ninety minutes or so before ride ends. FAO the faint hearted; please refrain from queuing up.

As the ticker-tape entrance sees ripped up recycled paper and copies of the Evening Standard thrown up towards the North London sky whilst the teams walk out to rapturous ear-drum bursting noise, all our hopes will be focused on Spurs doing their own tear up of a Milan back-line, recycling some of that Glory Glory football, copyright to White Hart Lane N17 on any given European night.

So much is being discussed in the build up. Mostly all from Milan about how they’re going to win. We are left to wonder what team Harry will select, mostly based around the availability of key players. Bale and van der Vaart both in the squad. The latter far more likely to start if you believe the press coverage with Gareth on the bench. Corluka also fit. King has been training with the first team but is apparently not available. Best thing is to simply wait and see. Thanks to the art of mind games and second guessing.

You would expect Crouch to start, vdV to slot in behind him, Modric in the middle and possibly Sandro lining up there too. I refer you back to the mind-teasing whether Bale is fit to start. Considering the forceful Spurs is the one that includes the Dutch galvaniser in it, I would not expect him to be benched. Corluka in for Hutton at the back. If Bale doesn’t play then Pienaar most likely on the left. Defoe to play up front with Crouch if vdV is not quite fit to start.

Something like this (ideally):

Corluka Gallas Dawson BAE
Lennon Sandro Modric Bale


I did say it was best to wait and see.

Milan are either over-rated or old (or both) depending on which critic you prefer to listen to. I expected them to score in the first game. You look at their line-up and you imagine there’s goals in there. They’ve had their way against plenty of Serie A opposition this season but there was a lack of spark, imagination when they faced up to our strong, determined and high energy tireless work ethic. Patience saw us counter and score. Gomes perhaps our shot-stopping saviour at the back. We can't afford to risk the the time and space to test him, more than twice.

They will have to attack us at the Lane. Question is – can they over power us? Can they win the midfield battle, control possession and hit us for two or three goals? They have selection headaches too. They’re also an Italian club and you can argue it’s not quite in their nature to be gung-ho or cope with 100% Prem style attacks. Any form of attack from them however will (should) play into our hands. We need to be switched on from back to front to be able to turn Milan inside out.

Spurs in Europe, Spurs in Europe against a top top side – it’s not quite the same version as an off-key Tottenham at Wolves or Blackpool. Perhaps we are geared up more for Europe than consolidating a second Top 4 placement on the spin simply as a consequence of being part of the Champions League.

Perhaps that ethos of Glory and that desire to make history and live in the moment for the moment has consumed our players and club that they have consciously and subconsciously prioritised the Champions League. Not so much with a caveat stating ‘we’re in it to win it’ but rather to simply take it one game at a time, learn from our mistakes and evolve. But do so with refreshing swagger and accumulated belief.

Suddenly, on the eve of a game of this magnitude, you start to feel that old sentimental romanticised flutter of butterflies in your gut about how football, at it's purest level, is about the games. The moments. About being able to look back and pin point a time when your team created a piece of history that can never be taken away. Because it is about the moments. It should be about the moments.

Suddenly progressing in this Cup competition is actually more important than bread and butter league games. Perhaps that is naivety on my part thanks to the pumping of blood in my veins as the hour nears. Perhaps its a small team mentality that I've anchored myself onto our pretenders/underdogs tag because of the whispering pessimistic voice that tells me we might not quite make it back next year via the league. Perhaps that caveat simply needs revision to something akin to 'we might not win it but we might as well have a right go at it'. Because otherwise, what's the point? Where would you find those cherished moments otherwise? Echos of glory, right?

If we get through, we’ll be in the quarter-finals. That’s not too shabby for a side that was meant to be humiliated in the group stages. I’d say we’ve done what we’ve set out to achieve in making a very Lilywhite statement to all concerned. And the very fact that I’m sitting here thinking I will be disappointed and gutted if we go out more or less sums up the progress made by this club in such a short span of time. Some of the games have been pure box office. Made in Tottenham. Is there any other conceivable way?

(Okay, I do appreciate the importance of qualifying again in order to sustain the progression before you start on me)

I guess the last time I felt this tingle in my spin was the return leg against Sevilla. That tingle was replaced by a spasm very early on. Lessons. But that was a different Tottenham in a very different time.

Milan, over-rated or otherwise still have players capable of shocking us. I genuinely believe that whether they can or whether they believe they will - it's of no relevance if we display the same type of tempo and tenacity that we dished out to Inter when they were duly spanked 3-1. The visitors do not travel well having won just the once in fourteen away games in Blightly, losing the last nine. I pretty much hate stats like this because they are there to be broken up with an anomaly. But we would have to turn up with boot laces tied if we wanted to make this easy for them. Because anything less than making it difficult would be disappointing.

Go for their jugular. Ruin them.

I say, who cares for the side they select and the players that play. For me, it’s in our hands. It’s down to us. No crazy choke or nervous reaction to the occasion. No unnecessary dramatics. Play to our strengths. Play to win and play to win well. The last ten minutes of the game have to be beyond the reach of our opposition rather than having thousands of Spurs fans biting their nails off and eating into their fingers.

Pin-point their full-backs and set to destroy. Score an early goal. Do not concede an early goal. Show the same type of spirit that resulted with the 1-0 away win. Unlike Milan who played cautiously and without pomp, we at Spurs are of a different ilk – so please bring it Spurs.

Bring the bravado and the brilliance and knock out the Rossoneri and onwards we march.

Come on you Spurs.





Vaart in the face of the Zlatan Zeppelin

Simply put:

Go to Milan. And attack.

I'm going to hazard a guess that they won't expect us to be that cheeky, all things considered (when you look at some of our away day performances and momentary hiccups). Defending away from home in Europe doesn't quite work out for us in terms of being negative and withdrawn to combat the home sides offensive. The aim is probably to soak in the pressure and counter. Theoretically it works. But we're a main man down on the flanks. And all-out defending is not the Tottenham way. Very much illustrated by the manner we go about our business when we play at the cauldron of White Hart Lane. Need to take it to them.

The benchmark should be that first half against Bremen. But the opposition this time round are just a bit better. And they have The Zlatan.

Let's just take a moment...

They said we wouldn't challenge for a Top 4 place.
They said we wouldn't finish in the Top 4.
They said we would choke.
They said we'd go out in the qualifying round.
They said we'd get thrashed in the group stage.
They said we'd...

You know what? Who cares what they said or continue to say. We have stormed it plain and simple. Sure, naive and at times calamitous, but it's been a stunning and refreshing journey of discovery for the players, the club and the fans.

Honestly, hand on heart, if you don't feel pride for what we've achieved in this campaign then you're a miserable git. We've done it the Tottenham way all the way. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

The whole point of finishing Top 4 - if you break down the dynamics of what it gives you by way of qualification - appears to be based around being part of a monopoly because traditionally, the 'top 4' rule the roost in terms of attracting world class players. The top end of the Prem is in a state of flux and nobody can quite predict how things will pan out over the next season or two. We might find that with each year it changes. No longer the same four clubs entering Europe's elite competition, but a time-share between five or six.

Regardless of the future, the present has some people already dismissing the knock-out stage double trouble fixture with AC Milan with the tagged on suggestion that finishing in the Top 4 is more important so that we're part of the adventure again next season. Apparently, we're not going to win so let it be and concentrate on making sure we find ourselves in the same position next time out.

Scratching your head like me, right?

Surely if you're going to be pessimistic you might as well just be damned with it all and proclaim to go down in a blaze of glory trying to beat every team you come up against. Tis a cup competition you know. Upsets, shocks. They happen. Destiny? It's in the hand of the one who believes the most.

Okay. I get it. Being part of the group stages sort of (hopefully) guarantees that your best players won't leave and status continues to grow. And if you consolidate a top four place you weaken someone else and it gradually builds towards possibly creating a gap of class in our favour with the unlucky team(s) that don't make it looking up at us. It's happened and it wasn't fun on the outside looking in.

But football is about these types of games. Meelan.

Back last season when we dropped points away to Everton and got beat away to Sunderland and the side just kept coming back..was it the dream of finally achieving a top four place or the dream of playing against Europe's top sides that made your heart skip beats? Back last season when Crouch scored that goal at Eastlands...all of it, the derby wins against the red and blue scum. The run-in. It gave us the keys to the door that opened a world of swashbuckling learning curves a breathtaking voyage of discovery. We just can't lose, what with it being our very first season in the competition. It's been a test to see exactly how we, the Champions League virgins, went about losing our cherry. And boy did we slut it up.

It's all about feeling pride and spin tingling excitement when the troops march out to that dizzying theme and into battle. It's no different tomorrow. And regardless of the obvious quality of Milan, I'd still be fairly gutted if we lose/go out of the competition.

We're contenders again for the top four, and if we were perhaps more fortunate with injuries and even signed ourselves a top class forward (if if if) it could have been a little more comfortable a challenge. Plenty of hard work to be had domestically, but that adrenaline you get from momentum, it's golden.

Top four is important. But tomorrow, nothing else will really matter other than the ninety minutes ahead of us. We are involved because we are deserving of it and we I'm sure the players understand the importance of carving out yet another magical footnote to the 2011 season.

We've done superbly well to get out of the group stages. Even the neutrals have loved our participation and our mantra to entertain (be it not always planned). Plaudits here plaudits there plaudits everywhere.

Nobody expects us to get past Milan (few do). Plenty of chat that pin points the fact that we are no longer an unknown entity. Teams know what to expect. I have not a clue how the Italians plan to line-up (in terms of tactics) against us but would guess they will go for the jugular. Strong hard-working midfield, creativity up front. It's tasty. Don't want to see us on the back-foot for 90 minutes, so the work rate of our middle four will have to match theirs.

Away goal anyone? We might remain depleted (Bale out, JJ suspended, Modric - not sure, vdV - expected to play) in key areas. We might be outclassed by the simplistic virtue that they have a better standard of players. No standing back and watching in awe please Mr Dawson. Get stuck in.

Hoping to see the ilk of performance we displayed at home to Inter. Not so much with the type of oomph you would possess as the home side taking the initiative, but more the discipline and concentration that might aid us in frustrating and upsetting the hosts whilst applying ample pressure on them. Making them defend enough to turn it into a contest rather than a mauling ala first half capitulation last time out in Italy (4-0 down).

Will be fascinating to see self-proclaimed greatest player Ibra and Pato up against Dawson and Gallas. The there's the experience of Flamini, Gattuso and Seedorf up against Palacios, Modric (fingers crossed) and Lennon and Niko. Milan likely to play three in the middle and three up top (Ibra, Pato, Robinho). Doubtful we'd start with Sandro and Wilson - that would encourage the wrong attitude. Pienaar in with a shout in place of Niko another possibility, but why drop someone bang in form?

Rafa's return, imperative. Modric equally so. Two out of three will have to do.

Attack. Controlled and focused. What's the worst that can happen?

Okay, right, where's the Imodium?

Would still rather get knocked out giving it a right proper go than conceding defeat by allowing fear to consume us.

It's the Champions League. We know, on our day, we can turn it on. I'd expect us to do just that back at the Lane. As for Tuesday, don't sit back, go for their jugular. No Gareth to bale us out this time, hoping we get to unleash him in the return. Might work out in our favour. The unexpected. What with all the pre-match hype usually geared towards how to defend against the Welsh juggernaut.

Width is going to be an issue (if I return to the painful truths of reality) so here's hoping they don't double-up on Azza. They probably don't rate him much like Fabio.




Kranjčar  (Pienaar)

van der Vaart
Pav (Defoe)


They've got players missing too (injuries and cup-tied) but it's hardly going to make the task any easier. Much like us, their defence is not as great as their attack. Although if I'm honest, it's been a stalemate this season when deciding whether we're offensively or defensively best. Milan, they can be got at.

So, heads high, chin up, chest pumped out. Belief and tenacity. It's 90 minutes. Then it's a Glory Glory night in the cauldron back in N17. I'd take the score draw. I'd even accept a 2-1 loss. I'd rather have the moon on a stick.

Best team wins. Show some heart Tottenham.

To dare is to do 'em.






Spurs away, hopefully no broadcast on Cartoon network

Newcastle away. It’s the type of fixture that historically always had me half-thinking about what excuse I should have at the ready on return to work on a Monday morning. We hardly win up there. Timothée Atouba wonder-strike and that God awful Cup match where Pav scored the winner, just about the only highlights I can remember off the top of my head. My last visit to the mecca of football was the FA Cup game which we lost 1-0 after going behind minutes into the game, and then proceeding to attack attack attack only to have Given give away nothing.

In fact, the only way to get one over Newcastle was to go out on the town post-match. Get one over, get leg over, don’t hate me for the clumsy word play.

So, Newcastle away. Not quite as daunting a task as it once was mainly because the bogey team element has somewhat been extinguished thanks to their relegation and our growth in mental strength. They’ll work their socks off, so we’ll have to match the tenacity on show but with no Carroll you would hope our quality will be classy enough to soak up the blood and thunder and strike them down with a swagger of this and a swagger of that. That’s if we don’t repeat our performance level we witnessed at Goodison Park.

Looking at the table (here we go again for the 1000th time) this is a musty-winny type of game in that we need to play catch-up with the teams just ahead of us otherwise, these dropped points will start to hurt our push for another CL place. In fact, I’m tagging this game with a ‘show us your intent’ label with an additional ‘make a statement’ badge.

We need to be polished, professional and penetrative.

Easy now.

Team news at time of writing has BAE possibly out with injury so I guess this is an opportunity to welcome Stevie Pienaar into the fold. Bale will/should slot back into the left-back position with Pie at left-midfield. Unless Bassong make a make-shift appearance at LB. Which I doubt. No point considering we’ve splashed the cash for the new boy, may as well throw him into the action. I’m sure Gareth will be just dandy over-lapping.

Modric to conduct as per usual. van der Vaart will probably have far more freedom to get involved (United did an excellent job in suffocating his ability to impact the game in the space between midfield and the area just outside the box – by the time he was in the box there was about twenty United players standing in his way).

How we shape up, up front is where it will count. It’s Newcastle. It’s away but the game will be open (as I don’t expect them to sit back) so we need to be offensive, take the game to them, make them chase the game to stretch it further.

Honestly, this is proper Football 101 right here.

Spurs to drop out of Top 4 race?


No reason to complicate matters. Possession football, smart counter-attacking and clinical ruthless utter utter b*stardness in front of the onion bag.

So Crouch and Pav up top then.

Calm down, just jesting. Defoe up top with vdV behind him. Middle bunch of Lennon, Modric, Jenas and Pienaar (I’m going on the assumption that Wilson is also apparently doubtful so JJ in for energy-bursting runs and box-to-box industrious blood and sweat and Niko completely out of form so doesn’t make sense to see him at LW).

What? Oh, the JJ description? Let’s just pretend, right? His comments this week about him being happy and loving the squad, he knows he’s a squad player so I’m cutting him another slice of slack. If Wilson is out, then Harry has to instruct him to donkey-work and bite opposition ankles a plenty.


Oh just ignore this bit if you don’t like it.

Okay, so that leaves the back four that will consist of Hutton, Dawson, Gallas and Bale. Nutter in goal. Seen a suggestion for Kaboul at right-back, leaving Bale in his trusted LW position and then either JJ or Pie in the middle. Like I said. Let’s just keep it simple. Like this Friday afternoon lack of substance blog.

We should be just fine. We bloody well better be.

We just need to contain 'best midfielder in England' Barton and potenial bane in the arse, Nolan.

In addition, the Toon are not only missing Carroll but also Tiote, Gosling, Smith, both Taylors and sadly for us Sol Campbell is not available. Leg injury apparently. I think he tried to eat it.



Listen to Newcastle v Spurs on Absolute Radio extra - on DAB Digital Radio, 1215AM and online in the UK from 1.30pm as programming kicks off with Russ Williams for pre-match build up, followed by full live commentary from Jim Proudfoot at 3pm, while Ian Wright takes care of post match analysis at 5pm featuring player and manager interviews, fan phone ins and a healthy supply of banter. Tune in for the full Danny Simpson interview.

For more go to



The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley

At the Spurs Lodge, in the changing rooms...


Gareth: Hey David. What you doing?

David: I’m preparing.

Gareth: For what?

David: A new beginning. One without heartache and disillusion, just peace. Just wonderful, beautiful tranquil peace. No more voices in my head.

Gareth: Is that a gun?

David: Don’t you worry, shouldn’t you be out on the training pitch, running up and down, just in case someone from Marca or Madrid is sat in a tree watching you.

Gareth: There’s no need to be like that David. I beat my hoodoo and you can beat yours. Is that a bucket of gold paint?

David: Oh, I intend to. I intend to do just that. Yes, that's gold paint.

Gareth: Look at the state of you. What's with the hair, the scruffy beard? And the gun. You don’t need to go out this way. 

David: Go out? Go out? I’ll be going out alright. With a bang.

Gareth: Oh Christ no. You have other options, you do. Talk to someone, talk to me.

David: Talk? Talk? I’ve done my talking. Done it with my feet since the day I arrived here. Star-jumping. Kicking a ball into a skip. Stepping down on the gas in my Porsche. Setting my foot on fire and jumping into a pool. What else am I meant to do? What else? I’m sorry, but this is the only option I have.

Gareth: Why have you got Beckham printed on the back of your shirt?

David: No reason.

Gareth: David, the gun. You don’t have to...

David: Oh do shut up Gareth. It’s not even real. It’s one of those trendy cigar lighters.

Gareth: Oh okay, ha ha ha, I’m daft sometimes.

David: I think I can hear Harry calling you.

Gareth: But what about all that talk about peace and a new beginning and the voices? Oh, and you appear to have gold paint running down the side of your thighs.

David: I need to throw the lighter away, that's all. It’s controversial because it looks like a gun. It's my only option and it...would be a new beginning for me without it. And therefore quiet and you know, peaceful. No one nagging me. You know...

Gareth: Okay, cool. And the paint?

David: Harry is calling you Gareth. See ya.

Gareth: What’s that?

David: What’s what?

Gareth: I thought I heard something. Not Harry calling, not from the outside. In here. A noise.

David: I hear nothing. Bye.

Gareth: Okay, maybe it's the lads on the training pitch. No wait...

David: What?

Gareth: There it is again. Sounds like a muffled...a muffled voice.

David: I don’t hear a thing.

Gareth: Listen, just listen. It’s coming from over there, in the showers.

David: There is no one in the showers. And definitely no one tied and gagged there. No need to look. Skip along outside now. Harry has drafted in Macion just for you to run at in training.

Gareth: There it is again. I’m taking a look.

David: I'd prefer that you didn't do that.

Gareth: Oh my God! that? Oh no! What have you done? David! Oh my God, what have you done? He’s meant to be having his medical! Look at the state of him! He looks half dead!

David: He won’t be having a medical. There is no need for him to have a medical. I will be having the medical.

Gareth: What? What are you talking about? This is insane! Crazy, just crazy! Hold up, what's that over there? Is that a second person gagged and tied up?

David: Yes. Victoria.

Gareth: Okay.

David: Yep.

Gareth: Right...okay...where was I? Oh yes, Christ, oh my God, you can't have him gagged and tied up! You just can't! It's lunacy!

David: Yes I can. There is only room for one David here. A younger David. A me David. David Beckham.

Gareth: Your name is Bentley, David Bentley.

David: Is it Gareth? Is it? My shirt says otherwise.

Gareth: You've lost it, you've lost your marbles, completely lost it. You need to untie him. You won’t get away with this. It’s madness. It’s absolute madness! What are you doing now? The lighter? I'm hardly going to run scared of a lighter that looks like a gun...wait...what are you going to do with it? No, no...not the hair, not the hair...I've only just finished combing it...NOOOOOOOOO !!


Later that same day...

Jim White: Welcome to Sky Sports News. David Beckham has been unveiled at Tottenham's training ground, The Lodge, after successfully passing a medical for a two month loan deal, although he’s already hinted he wants to stay longer at White Hart Lane. Becks was in fine form, looking fresher than ever, entertaining the journalists present with a superb display of skill, keeping the ball balanced on his head, star-jumping, with his foot on fire inside a Porsche whilst driving it into a skip. Classic Beckham there winning over the Tottenham faithful, all members of the press giving him a standing ovation. And Sky Sports was there to capture this historic moment. Just look at the yellow ticker if you don't believe me. Becks is back in England with a bang, baby!

Georgie Thompson: Great stuff, we'll have the press conference in full in around three hours after we play countless ad breaks and tease you with more footage from said press conference without ever going to the actual headline story. In other news, Spurs officials have denied Gareth Bale has gone AWOL and that he’s probably gone home to see his mum, the soft lad.

Jim White: Sorry Georgie, let's go live to the Spurs Lodge where apparently, ha ha ha, sorry, let me compose myself, back to the Lodge where apparently Beckham has thrown a bucket of water over Harry Redknapp. Classic! And it's in HD!


The End.


The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode One

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Two

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Three

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Four

The Fantastical Return of the Adventures of Bale and Bentley (Episode Five)

The Stupendous Adventures of Bale and Bentley - Episode Six

The Stupendous Adventures of Gareth Bale - Episode Seven


David Bentley gallery.



Merry Momentum

Spurs 2 Newcastle 0

The year 2010. It just never stops giving, even in its final days we still have something to smile about and focus ahead into the next year, the one which ends in a one. Well two ones actually. We just keep on getting spoilt.

In recent blogs I’ve cited momentum, the need for it. And Spurs are delivering it like Santa on speed. All our wishes coming true.

Can’t play with two wingers they said. Yes we can when we shape up with vdV in the hole, with one up front and two in midfield, one doing the defensive work the other crafting. Lennon, out of form, is now in form. And having two avenues of intent down either flank is giving us the type of options that allows us to ask the questions to the opposition, whilst they struggle to find a definitive answer.

All this talk of 442, 451, 4231, 4411 etc and who’d have thought just having nine outfield players would result in controlled possession football with devastating counter attacks. Not that I fancy too many more red cards from here on, but once more we show character and belief, roll up our sleeves, then roll down our socks as we swagger the game out to the tune of three points humming sweet music in our ears.

Tottenham and their massive pair of grapefruit's between their legs.


Prem D 1-1 Sunderland
Prem W 4-2 Blackburn
Prem W 3-2 Arsenal
CL   W 3-0 Werder Bremen
Prem W 2-1 Liverpool
Prem D 1-1 Birmingham
CL   D 3-3 Twente
Prem D 1-1 Chelsea
Prem W 2-1 Aston Villa
Prem W 2-0 Newcastle

Sure, our goal difference is nowhere near as strong as the other teams up top around us. And there is no questioning the very same teams are considered by pundits and most fans as being more favourable in challenging for top spot and the top four placements. But that’s fine. Much like last season, I’m happy with the underdog tag. Even though we do get talked up by many, nobody would scoff if we failed on account of how we’ve accounted for ourselves. We entertain. We never say die. We have treasures scattered across the pitch in defence, midfield and up the hole.

We’re a unit, one that plays for each other and in complete unity with the fans and the Tottenham philosophy, with added extra features like grit. With each passing month, and in the past year, I guess it’s time to stop being surprised at how we’ve evolved and simply look ahead at how quickly and effectively we can better ourselves further.

More on this conundrum in the next blog.

As for the highlights of the 2-0 win against Newcastle.



I don’t want to bang on about the ref but I’m left confused (once more) with regards to the logistics of when and how exactly a ref decides on yellow cards and warnings (second and third chances) when at any other point (or any other player) the ref would have waved a card rather than letting it be – something he privileged Tiote with. Which left him on the field of play to allow Kaboul to sensually rub his head against the forehead of Tiote.

Yes, it was a red card. It was the most stupid of red cards. Hardly the occasion for such a sacrifice. Good thing to come out of this, if there is such a thing as losing yet another centre-back, is that Bassong will get his chance. And deservedly so as he’s impressed in them minutes he’s graced us with as our backup.


Team re-shape

Harry on the money again. The team duly shaped itself to continue to contain any Newcastle thread by playing good possession football after the red card, and earlier on, at half-time subbing Wilson (yellow card) for the energetic Jenas. Our other much maligned defender (Peter Crouch) also called upon as per usual to aid late on. Much like the Villa game, we just didn’t think about crumbling. Never even considered the consequences of nine outfield players out than it meaning we would have to work twice as hard. The team – they know the importance of a win.



Just too damn good for words. But I’ll try anyway. van der Vaart might get all the headlines but the little Croatian is the true heartbeat of the side. The lightweight boy with the haircut the 1980’s are asking back is bullying oppositions with ample ease. Since his return from injury, take note how slowly and subtly he’s regained form – and see just how imperative and dominant he is, deep lying and dictating. Check the chalkboards if you don’t believe it (which I doubt you don’t) – his passing completion is simply fantastic. In defence and offensive. This is on the back of this season rather than just this one game. If you’re thinking I’m being overly giddy.


In the hole

Pav unlucky not to score. But arguably still doesn’t give us the type of movement you’d want to see in a player that plays just up ahead of vdV. Both were relatively quiet, but the one up top and the one man behind him (call it two up front if you want or one forward and one attacking midfielder) – no matter, this is the way to go. Wasn’t too fruitful in the way of clear cut chances against the Toon but I once more refer you to the forward conundrum. Again, more later on this.



Was more or less comfortably dealt with by Dawson and Kaboul. I’m still not seeing the appeal of him running out in Lilywhite. A battering ram with a decent touch – is that really the answer?



Another plaudit please for our left-back.


The Flanks

Okay, so Bale had more work in defence than he did marauding forward but he took his goal brilliantly. You need that. Match-winners. Lennon has been outstanding and continues to show the right type of appetite. It’s like signing a new player when someone comes back in from the cold and warms the place up with their smile and shaved eyebrows.



Dirty and annoying.


Clean Sheet

Rub your eyes, it’s true. They came close but it was the type of game where keepers hardly had shots upon shots to save. Couple of efforts late on, could have crept in. Didn’t. Nicely done.

This festive season, this Christmas fixture list. One more game to go, again at the Lane. Another three points would start 2011 in the style we’ve finished it in. Big grin, looking up, snowing points.





Spooky recommends...All-conquering Englishman spurs his way across Europe

Capital Punishment by Kris Mole - Ebook available here


Having blagged his way into a Barcelona FC press conference...

"My fantasy interview was cut short by someone entering the room talking on a mobile phone. I turned to see who it was and couldn’t believe my eyes. Xavi, all 5’7” of him (he’s a littl’un) was standing beside me having a chat to someone, probably his girlfriend, telling her he would be home for dinner soon and could she make sure there were a few San Miguels in the fridge. He glanced at me with a look that said,

“Who the **** are you?” and I nodded a greeting his way. He then looked down at the cockerel on my chest and sighed the kind of sigh that I knew meant, “If only they would put in a bid for me. I would love to play for Spurs one day.”

He finished his conversation and left me alone once again."


Me like Meelan

Hello and apologies to all resident regulars and Levyists. It's that time of year where I might find myself sporadically posting if and when I have the chance to do so thanks to the commitments of Christmas and the seasonal festivities of food, drink and drink. Baby Jesus would approve.

There's hardly that much going on at the moment (transfer target nonsense does not count) other than looking forward to the Xmas fixtures, if they take place. What with snowfall dominating this past weekend we might be in for some more. Took me an hour and a half to get from Bath to Paddington and then four or so hours to somehow navigate my way through the decimated London underground labyrinth. At one point I was so lost I half expected David Bowie to appear out of nowhere, mocking me whilst dancing whimsically. Alas, he didn't, but there were still plenty of muppets standing at the barriers dishing out mis-information about the best route home.

Snow. It's unforgiving and shows no mercy. Cheeky bid? Could do with some of that up front. Talking of which, no game at Blackpool (one of many postponed). Spurs fans who travelled, one or two stayed over thanks to their hotel bookings and enjoyed a night out. Apparently the pitch was good to go in terms of playability (by how much I'm not sure) but the police deemed it all a bit of a risk in terms of safety. Which is fine, gives one or  two players further room for recovery in time for next weekend and the New Year and eliminates playing on a surface that could have given us more knocks. Although there is plenty of debate about people (i.e. fans) being more than capable of travelling to and from a location (i.e. the game) much like people who went to work or travelled for non-footballing matters over the weekend. Spurs fans still went out Saturday night and travelled home the next night, so…ah, it doesn't matter does it? The slush around Bloomfield Road obviously of dangerous ilk. And us simple folk are not to be trusted in numbers.

So up next, weather permitting?

Villa away, Newcastle at home, Fulham at home, Everton away. Four games. 12 points please. Season defining this run of games. I say this in jest because everybody knows that this season is hardly one where sides are building up momentum over 5-10 games. Doesn't mean I can't ask for the moon on a stick, what with it being the time of year when Santa delivers to those that have been good. And we have been very good. Santa, if you're reading, two things. Firstly, never red son, never red. You'd look dapper in white and blue. Secondly, please unload your sack at the Lane. Specifically on the 16th Jan when Manchester United visit.

12 points. Plus an additional three. Equals 15. Moon on a stick? I want Howard Webb on a stick, roasting over a winter bonfire.

One early Crimbo present already on our lap and unwrapped consisted of a plum tie in the first round of knock-out games in the Champions League. Meelan. Away then at home.

Ibra, Pato, Pirlo, Robinho, Ronaldihno, Cassano, Flamini, Kevin Prince Boateng etc etc

Oh wait up.

Pato (I think) is injured. Robinho is the very very short Brazilian version of Peter Crouch (good with his feet rubbish in the air ) but arguably better dance moves. Cassano is decent when he isn't a mentalist which is always. Ronaldihno is more Jar Jar Binks than he is original Ronaldihno and apparently on his way back to Brasil. Flamini? Really? Okay so he's not bad but if we're going to worry about his pace along with the electricity of KPB, we may as well default now.

Inzaghi is injured and could be forced into early retirement at the young age of 37, so sadly no Battle Royal between him and tag team partner Jermain Defoe doubling up against the sly and mischievous offside trap.

Not that I'm dismissing AC Milan. Far from it. One word. Zlatan. Well actually more than one word: Best team in Serie A currently who might not have a great home record (1 W 5 D 3 L) in Europe but are better on their travels (3 W 4 D 2 L). Would much prefer a side we are not expected to beat than one we are expected to beat. The Spurs way. Rather them than a lesser side where complacency might eat us up.

For me, this is the definitive learning curve of our European adventure. You'd expect them to watch a few DVD's, do their homework and do a number on us, exterminating our plucky efforts. You'd expect them to. So do we play to our strengths or play to their weaknesses? Enter the empty clipboard and 'arry.

Looking forward to vdV v Zlatan. Gareth Bale back to the arena where he was invented up against their not as decent as Macion fullback - this could be tasty. All eyes on their deep lying playmaker conductor Pirlo. All eyes on our midfield line-up. No choke in the San Siro. Heads up and focus.

Prediction? Narrow defeat away. Glory Glory night back at the Lane. It's going to be epic. Because the alternative (a spanking or that predicated professional extermination many neutrals and the pessimistic amongst us are whispering) would be disappointing, be it no massive disgrace.

15th and 9th of Feb are the dates to pencil in. If you're wondering, it's Sunderland away on the 12th Feb and FA Cup weekend on the 18th followed by Wolves away on the 5th March (with another FA Cup weakened after it). Busy days, happy days.

I have more to share, but I'll leave it for another pocket of opportunity.