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Entries in Gareth Bale (77)


Daniel Levy, stripped bare and naked

Club AGM. Questions asked and answered. Four topics of discussion.

Redknapp and England.
Stratford and N17.
The January Transfer Window.

With boy wonder Gareth, Levy has basically said he's not for sale which means he won't be sold, citing the examples of Carrick and Berba as not quite the same thing because both players wanted to leave (with 2 years left on their contract). And because they wanted out the club sold them off. You can look at that in two differing ways. One way, the romantic notion of loyalty embraced, is that if a player doesn't want to wear the shirt he should not be deemed worthy of remaining at the club for a second longer it takes to kick him out. The alternative is to let the player sulk around the place, defecating on the badge and placing a gun to your head whilst holding you down, repeatedly calling you his little b****.

Player power, no matter the years on the contract, if they want to leave they can usually quite comfortably navigate and negotiate their way out. And let's be honest, it's the club that matters as a complete entity so if you have a malignant part of it, you want to see it removed. Players are commodities in that no matter how depressed/sad/angry you are when they leave controversially - they are always replaceable.

In the case of Gareth Bale, he appears not to be tainted with the ego virus. Not yet. All players are born with it, just a case of whether it ever manifests. He's level headed, feet on ground, leaving full-backs and transfer stories behind.

He's on a long contract and for the moment all is good. We don't need the money. Bale doesn't need to be playing his football anywhere else. I don't think for a second anybody actually believes some of the rubbish printed on paper and online about this that and the other being interested in the player. Even Fergie won't be bothering with a tap dance this new year.

No shocker with this answered question from Mr Chairman. Just confirmation of the obvious.

Harry and England? Levy points to another long term contract. Side-step by Daniel in that how exactly is he meant to answer it other than say it will be dealt with if it happens? And by deal with it, he means 'get compensation' from the FA. Because Harry would crawl over broken glass with Pompey and West Ham fans making sure said broken glass was aplenty at all times during the crawl.

Everybody knows Harry looks after number one. If England came calling he'd go. But that wouldn't be a disaster. Spurs are stable. Which was the whole point of bringing him to the Lane back in the days of two points eight games. The next appointment would have to be…ah, let's discuss this when we actually have to.

Again, no massive confirmation of anything we didn't know or could guess.

A proper side-step with questions around moving to the site of the Olympic Stadium. Levy is aware of the mood of the fans. Which would mean he knows the fans are fragmented with some of us not wanting to move and others happy. Mr Chairman states that he's a fan and he has friends who are fans and he interacts with them every day. And that he doesn't need a survey because he has a 'pretty good feel' as to what the mood is. Which is fragmented. Unless all his mates love East London. Which in that case, wipe that tear away and kiss Bill Nicholson Way goodbye for ever.

So pretty much nothing in the way of headline making news again.

And finally, the Jan transfer window. Take note 'In the Know' communities. You need to base your inside info around Daniel's comments about how he expects it to be a 'quiet transfer window'. So lay off linking us with 473 players in the next three weeks.

In all seriousness, soz, but nothing to read into again because we have another side-step from Levz. And why not? It's not like we want him to tell us we have X amount in the Consolidation War Chest and we're be paying £25M for young up and coming midfield engine room Scottie Parker.

What he does confirm is probably the only telling piece of information. We need to rationalise our squad (largest in the Prem league). In other words, goodbye to the likes of Robert Keane. Sell on, cut down on wages etc. And stating we do not anticipate a busy transfer window does sort of contradict this in that you'd expect us to sell more than one player which could be deemed as busy. And obviously sign a player. Or two. Although we do have one new arrival (from Africa) already due to arrive. So that would also fall under the 'busy' banner.

Okay then, hands up, I admit it. That wasn't actually a very telling piece of info was it? Much ado about narda.

Daniel Levy. Not quite stripped bare and naked with teasing finger in mouth. Rather fully clothed with a thick winter coat on, scarf & gloves and Ugg boots with additional darkened glasses moving slowly and strategically away, quietly repeating whatever it is you're saying.

"You ain't seen me, right?"




As comfortable as a Sunday morning sleep in

Spurs 3 Bremen 0

Okay, so perhaps asking for some glory glory was slightly over-estimating it in the grand scheme of things. Werder Bremen tidy with their possession but hardly menacing in and around the box. The only worthy constant they achieved was stop-starting play with their persistent fouling. Non-effective passages of play, easily contained by our only at sixty percent boys in Lilywhite. No requirement to shift out of first gear. Hardly any point in even driving. We just parked up and switched the engine off. German boys sent packing back to Germania.

We were hardly fluidity personified ourselves, plenty of stray balls and casualness, but it didn't matter. One up after six minutes with Kaboul scoring with a strikers shot into the turf and into the net after Lennon picked him out (the little man had a decent game, lively and alert and involved with two assists). Two up just before the break, this time Crouch nodding on for Luka to tricksy his way inside of the defender and finish with a touch of supreme class looping the ball in and beyond the keepers reach. That was the first half wrapped up. 2-0 is always going to better than 1-0 because even though they hardly had anything to whisper about (let alone shout) we all know one mistake could let them back in. But with Gallas cool and composed at the back, the stray balls and casualness was never going to be enough to gift the Germans any hope.

In the second half, could have been three had someone not tainted a blade of grass near the penalty spot with Kryptonite. It was three when Crouch smacked it in from six yards out after some good nut-meggy work from Lennon (via another superb cross from Bale - which hit the cross bar and was kept in by Azza before beating his man and assisting). This coming after some decent sustained pressure. Still just about first gear football, key turned, engine humming.

The boy Bale wasn't too shabby either. You know Bale, he's the one with the barnet, plays out on the left. Mortal Bale (you call that a penalty son?), earlier hit the cross bar from a free-kick and came a whisker away with a shot that skinned the far post (the latter laid off by Defoe). Also crossed majestically for Crouch who saw his deft header come off a defender for a corner. Busy thanks to the open invite from the opposition, he played the game like a training pitch exercise, trying out different tricks and movements. Subbed late on to keep him freshly for the weekend.

JD, getting more minutes as he slowly re-adapts to first team football after his return from injury, having a crack at goal and almost being played in a couple of times. Nice run out.  He looks up for it and is eager. Just needs a goal to settle himself down.

Other minor (or major if you like) points of discussion?

Jenas going off injured. Pinch me, but I mean it when I say this, I hope he's back soon. Having him play consistently regardless of the debate as to whether he's an average player playing well or a decent player rediscovering form - we can't have yet another central midfielder disappear from the pitch onto the treatment table. With Huddlestone long term, fingers crossed for @jjenas (yes, he's on Twitter now). Palacios came on for him and did the usual Palaciosque stuff, biting at ankles and breaking up play and every so often passing the ball to nobody.

Hutton continues to impress coming forward but for me his positional sense is just not very good. Gallas superb. Kaboul strong as ever but showed a glimpse of naivety with a misplaced ball in an area where a better side would have punished us. BAE untidy. But I'm willing to forget any indiscretions (from the both of them) because of the way the game played out. Crouch loving it continental. Modric king, taking centre-stage and controlling the game via remote whilst sitting feet up on the sofa.

The talismanic van der Vaart rested, if you missed the game.

Special 'wtf' mention for Roman Pav who was offered the penalty but turned it down. A striker turning down a goal from 12 yards? Considering he tends to score from the spot, this is a little strange unless Harry in post-match interviews has taken it out of context and Pav was politely saying to Bale, 'no you take it because you're holding the ball' rather than 'soz, no, I'm brickin it'.

So, nice run out for the team. As comfortable as a Sunday morning sleep in.

In conclusion then. Clean-sheet. Third successive win. Three million quid for our troubles. Momentum has awoken. Welcome back old friend. Be alert, there's another game this Sunday we need you for.

This Champions League lark, bit easy innit? First time of asking, into the knock-out stages. Only the second debutants in the past five years to get through the group stage. That wasn't meant to happen, was it? Meant to be out-classed they said, in the group stages. Whatever happens - we've made our point and opened some eyes that would hardly look our way prior to our arrival. So hold onto your hats when we play Barcelona away and get trounced 7-0.

Before the next stage of our European adventure we have to visit Twente for the final game to claim top spot from the Rafa's devolution at Inter. So there's still one final twist to be had. One thing is for certain, I've got a taste for these games now and not being involved next season isn't something I want to entertain.

We edge ever closer to the January window and there's one word on my mind.




How to win a North London Derby, by Harry Redknapp and supporting cast

Arsenal 2 Spurs 3

Oh ye of little faith. Myself included. Go on, hands up, even in the dejection and misery felt when the second Arsenal goal went in who had a feeling that somehow we were not out of the game? Even if you couldn't quite bring yourself to believe, I'm certain there were many of us out there who took solace in the fact that surely things would not get any worse which would mean they could only get better. And Spurs, when they do better it's not the bog standard type of bland and boring good. It's undeniable heart in mouth fantastic good.

The way we shaped up for the first half wasn't the only problem we gave ourselves. Giving space to Fabregas and the scum allowing for infinite time on the ball for them to lap up whilst we failed to display any guile or determination, brushed aside with ample easy. It was all gearing up to be another textbook Emirates humiliation. Let's all lube up and bend over because it's less work than standing up against the wall and throwing the bar of soap at their smug terrorising face.

Not sure what the worst highlight of the first half was for me. Gomes trying to claim the ball softly softly, scared it might suddenly and inexplicably evolve into something with a mouth and bite his hands off. Our Brazilian preferring to squander it allowing Nasri (the first ever female professional footballer to participate amongst men) to score from an acute angle for the 1-0. Cheap. Stupidly cheap. The ball from deep that found its way into the path of the ugly bint was from our seasoned tormenter Cesc who was given the freedom of the park to turn and pass. You felt at this ever so early juncture he would do this at will.

Another highlight was Nasri running off to celebrate, screaming out and slapping his chest and badge. I guess all for Willy G's benefit. Calm down Zizou. The second goal was another nomination for worst highlight of the first forty five. Because of the nature of its birth. Pav, keeping the ball in, but not in our possession (not that I'm blaming him but he started the move, the unlucky sod, from our own penalty area) for them to then counter attack off the back of it and score - it was easy. Comfortable. Effortless.

Cracking stuff. Sorry I meant cacking stuff. I was cacking it.

Surrendering by virtue of not turning up. Again. I was being inundated with texts messages and tweets. Laugh out loud they told me. I was at home, on my own in the living room, with the missus pottering about in the kitchen/bedrooms/wherever tidying up. Still slightly more noise than you'd expect to find at the Emirates, especially once she started to hoover up the hallway. But I sat in solitude, no words from my mouth other than a muttering of 'ffs'.

Volume on the tv was turned down, I didn’t bother with the half-time Sky Sports assessment. I didn't need two pundits and a presenter to tell me we were f*cking sh*t. It's not like Arsenal were tearing us a new one. They were having a go. Okay perhaps they were tearing us a new one because a comparison of both sides would have had us at opposite sides of the footballing spectrum.

They dominated possession, had us chasing shadows. Slick passing whilst we burst lungs for what seemed like nothing.

But yet that whisper in my mind taunted and teased me. It's only two nil right? I playfully posted on the Glory Glory forum at half time we'd win 3-2. A gleeful prediction shared out of desperation. First five minutes I said to myself, we'll know if once more we have displayed a lack of mental strength and belief that will doom us to yet another away failure to them and a 69th away game without a win to the traditional Top 4.

Within five minutes of the re-start, we scored.

It's the type of irony that I'd happily share a bed with and go bareback. Here is Tottenham Hotspur. Unused clipboard. No tactics. Completely out of the game and suddenly not just back in it with a goal but looking like we believe we could get something more out of it.

Harry is not Jose. Never will be. And it's usually all pretty much reactive and instinctive in terms of application. He adapts to the predicament and the players react to his new instructions. It's refreshing, be it naïve at times, and frustrating (the question still remains: Why not start off the opening minute the way we started off the 46th minute?).

Harry twitched and tweaked. He narrowed the midfield so that we were no longer stretched on the flanks. Tightened it up so that we could not just stand up against their midfield but take the fight to them - make them chase us and the ball. And the introduction of Defoe (on for the sacrificed Lennon) was the catalyst for the comeback.

BAE finding Defoe who jumped six hundred feet into the air to head the ball onto van der Vaart who had sixteen Arsenal players around him, pushing the ball into the path of a marauding rampant Bale who caressed it with one touch and passed it into the net with this another. It was bliss. It was a punch to the gut of the enemy that left them winded unable to stand up in defiance. World class control and finish from a player that will be world class in time.

We can chat away amongst ourselves about how they reacted to our goal, if you want. Perhaps for all their fancy pretty football and stand-out individuals, they lack a spirit and belief they once had in abundance. Who cares? I don't. We've been gutless for years and in the past two we've grown in stature and I'm hardly going to make excuses for the opposition. If they can't handle it and if they allow themselves to be engulfed by a resurgence in-game, then boo f*cking hoo. It makes them not good enough to win. Our places on that football spectrum - reversed.

As the minutes ding donged by we started to show commitment. Pride. Apparently at half-time Harry had a go at Bale for shaking Sagna's hand after a clash. Told him off, explaining we are not 'nice guys'. Whatever you say about Harry and his agenda(s), he wants to win. And if he's our manager then that means he wants us to win. He worked magical mojo at half-time that galvanised the side and allowed our top players to further galvanise the ones around them.

This meant the likes of vdV and Modric were now more involved able to play to their strengths. JD up top with Pav, vdV out on the right but running into central positions. 4-4-2, be it not set in stone. We were set up with one thing in mind. Attack. The intent forged with leadership - something you might nod towards the opposition and agree they lacked. It was more direct in style in terms of pushing forwards but it was effective and it instilled confidence.

How many times have we seen this now? Never say die Spurs. We lived dangerous at times but we have to accept that this new breed of Spurs has it in them to claw themselves back from the brink.


Luka weaving and dinking through red shirts only to be fouled (more irony here - isn't it Wenger who constantly bangs on about flair players being hacked down constantly?) allowing for Kaboul and Rafa to stand over the ball, surveying options. Blast it through or curl it around?

What we got was a gift, one to cancel out the generosity of the first we gave them. Hands up if you're a bottler? Thank you Cesc. Heart in mouth once more. Cool as you like, Rafa sends him the wrong way. There's even time for some age-old conspiracy support work from Phil Dowd who booked Raf for placing his finger to his mouth whilst running past and looking at the Arsenal fans before he got to the away section to celebrate. Because that's really really worth a yellow card that. Unlike, I don’t know, an Arsenal player scoring at one end of the pitch and running down to the other end and sliding in front of the away fans.

2-2. And one or two red scarfed fans must have muttered to each other about choking and capitulation. Usually associated with Lily white and not ghastly red. Unlike the classic 4-4 there was still time on the clock and the third goal helped to illustrate that even though our defence is much maligned (with three key players out) their defence (with one key player out) is at times as accommodating us ours. I'd still prefer Gomes between the sticks than what they have to choose from.

In came the cross from Rafa (yet again involved), Kaboul's touch with his head finding its way into the net. This was now ridiculous. Uncharted (well, forgotten) territory. 2-0 down, 3-2 up. 17 years finally ended. Sixty eight games laid to rest. How very dare we. Can the new script-writer be signed on a 20 year contract please?

I screamed and shouted like a mad man whilst the missus (now sitting on the sofa whilst I bounced off the walls) asked me, "You're not going to start crying, are you?"

I held the tears back, man up I told myself. Like the eleven heroes standing proud on the swamp, within touching distance of a win. I remembered the words of a gooner (via Twitter) at half-time telling me in an unholy patronising manner that it was all okay because we had Bale and you never know - we might roar back in the second half. Now that's irony. I think there must be a network outage in his area because he's not been online since.

Eleven heroes.

And in amongst the talismanic leader and undoubted world class ability of van der Vaart and our crafter of creative work Luka we had Gareth 'never does it in the league' Bale and a certain Jermaine Jenas who has managed to make us forget that Huddlestone is missing from our midfield. At the back Kaboul, continuing to grow and mature and casting himself as a brand new NLD 'legend' for popping up with the winner.

And then there's William Gallas. Not good enough to have his hand shaken by Nasri, but more than good enough to shake the spark out of his former team-mates. Whether he is reclaiming past form or played to impress because of the occasion (or a combination of both) he deserves the plaudits for a commanding performance. And I hope he continues to play at this level. He has done himself a massive favour, endearing himself to the faithful. He's proved a point, to us, himself and them lot down the road.

I wasn't sure what to make of Harry handing him the captains armband. I'm hardcore Tottenham like most of you I guess, and it's sometimes hard to see past certain emotions. It's naturally not going to sit well seeing other players bypassed and Gallas made captain, but it was a stroke of genus. Inspired. If it wasn't for his effort first half we might have been punished further, with the game out of sight before half time arrived.

To win, in this manner, and to have Arsenal collapse on their own patch and take a hard kick to their chest from our boot - it was all rather majestic. Adding this onto the back of our 2-1 Lane victory and seeing how a similar hoodoo with Chelsea was finally laid to rest in recent times - it's not something to be dismissed as a mere fluke. We've grown a set of balls. Hopefully this victory will kick-start a run of games where the focus is evident from the start rather than appearing mid way through. Cease the moment and all that type of stuff.

Post-match was equally telling. vdV once more displaying the mindset that we've never had in the past - suggesting we move onto the next game. I like that. Not for the first time he's saying quite publicly - keep your feet firmly on the ground. But that's not to say we - the fans - can't gloat. Just a little. It's deserved.

Shall we make a dvd? Perhaps Arsenal will release one covering the first half only.

We dared to do. It was a thing of beauty to watch them lot display the type of traits we have been cursed with in the past. Plenty of graft to be had yet. But you sense no open bus parade mentality any more from us. Just the desire to improve.

Kudos to Harry. Even if it takes us 45 minutes for us to find our way. Although there is something wonderful about the guts and spirit we now possess. We obviously have no need for a clipboard. Maybe we can lend it to Arsene Wenger. As long as it doesn't come back broken.

Spurs; as likely to win the title as Arsenal. For a backhanded compliment, that pretty much shows the demise of the dark gulf that has separated us for so long. Not off the back of this single away day comeback. But over the past 2/3 seasons. They are still a good side and we still have to finish above them to truly claim the tide has turned. But it's hardly beyond the realms of possibility any more.

Going forwards, this game, this NLD, is no longer one we should look ahead to and knowingly have to endure. We can now look forward…and enjoy.

Come. On. You. Spurs.




Open invite to Spurs and Arsenal fans to discuss the NLD

No King, Dawson, Woodgate, half-fit van der Vaat, Defoe and Lennon back from injuries blah blah blah...we had the reserves out today.

2-0 down, 3-2 up. Tottenham. Tactical masterpiece that to play so woefully in the first half to allow them a comfortable lead to then carve 'em up in the second. It's how we roll.

  Posted in the match thread over at at half-time. BELIEVE.

Worth a DVD that I reckon. Not of the game, got that on Sky+. Would prefer Two hours of Wenger on the touchline taking a dump and smashing up bottles and the progressive misery gradually appearing on the faces of all the gloating Arsenal fans in the stands. Which reminds me. Gooners who texted/called/tweeted me during the game. Where you all gone chaps? Don't fret, there's always the Carling Cup.

According to Wenger, the scum lost it due to lack of concentration. It's a mystery apparently. Scooby-doo at the ready. Have to agree though, if the game is won on stats, they should have won it. So technically, they did. Congrats. Made up for you.

Anyways, Gooners - would love to hear your thoughts considering you're always willing to share yours when we lose and you lot win. Just an admittance that you're not that great should cover it.



Proper match report on Sunday/Monday. Peace out, enjoy the evening.



Can we not play Inter at home every week?


Sorry for the lack of a serious match preview. I'm balls deep into Football Manager 2011 at the minute. The other half and the baby are away, so home alone which means plenty of walking around in boxer shorts eating yesterdays left over kebab for breakfast and catching up on HBO's latest masterpiece, Boardwalk Empire. Committed, that's me.

To be honest, I'm still having flashbacks to last Tuesday's epic. As much as I'm looking forward to this afternoon, I'm around 15% worried that we'll suffer a hangover. No neat and tidy slick incomparable passing from Bolton ala Inter. It's altogether a different task at hand. We don't get much up there so getting three points today would be a near perfect follow-on from our European adventures. So it's about bettering the opposition in one department more than them and making sure the points have Lilywhite ribbons at full time. Bettering them, but battering them would be so much sweeter.

Comfortable, emphatic 3-0 win the perfect tonic. A bruising 1-0 scrape, just as worthy.

No vdV or Lennon. Potential for a bit of tinkering from Harry. Will Bale be rested? 451? Questions. The one I'm asking myself is surely we'll get a result, what with Liverpool winning there? Yes? Okay, let's not go there.

The defining point for me is that today, it's not the type of game we can afford to lose or drop two points at. Not with the way things are beginning to shape top end. Can't be devaluing it or thinking back to the last game. Move forwards Tottenham please.

So, enjoy the game. I promise my match report will be far more astute and professional.

Will be curating tweets from my own feed and other Spurs fans during the game, they'll appear below (if it doesn't auto-refresh, then do so manually).




Follow me on Twitter.

Facebook group.



The Stupendous Adventures of Gareth Bale



“This is going  to be tricky to get out of”

“We are not done just yet”

“It’s an impossible situation”

“We are running out of time people”

“Someone make a!”

“Okay, let’s try and keep calm about this, let’s not panic”


“I am”

“Can we get a message out then?”

“Working on it”

“Hurry up, damn it, otherwise we're doomed”

“I said I’m working on it”

“Will you two keep it cool”

“I want my mummy”


“Okay, I know we’re in a precarious situation, but who the hell just broke wind?”



Meanwhile, at the Lodge...


Harry Redknapp: What’s the Russian doing?

Joe Jordan: Where?

Harry Redknapp: Pav, for f*cks sake, leave the squirrels along


*phone rings”


Harry Redknapp: Hello? Right...okay...okay...Joe, go get Gareth, someone on the phone for him. It's urgent.

Joe Jordan: Gareth phone. Now!

Gareth Bale: Hello.

Joe Jordan: Take the f**king phone, son, I aint got time to hold it for ya.

Gareth Bale: Lush.


Gareth Bale: Hello? Yes...speaking. I think I can. Where? Okay, see you shortly. Bye, bye.

Harry Redknapp: Everything okay?

Gareth Bale: Yes gaffer, need to pop out quickly before training, if that’s alright with you.

Harry Redknapp: Not to Manchester I hope.

Gareth Bale: (laughing) No gaffer, seriously, I won’t be long.

Harry Redknapp: Good lad, good lad. Hey Joe, he’s such a good lad.





“Okay people. He’s on his way. Let’s keep calm. We’re going to be saved by the only person on the planet that can get us out of this. There is nothing this man can’t do"

Green Lantern: “Yes, result !!! In your face Darkseid! Nice one Supa”

Superman: "Thank God I could get a signal, was down to the last bar"

Captain Marvel: "Phew"

Wonder Woman: “I could have got us out of here if I had my indestructible bracelts”

Superman: “You lost your bracelets”

Wonder Woman: “Yeah well, whose fault was that?”

Flash: “For the last time, I misplaced them, I didn’t lose them”

Captain Marvel: "Oh Christ, someone farted again"

Batman: “I want my mummy”



Click here and scroll down for eps 1-6 of 'Bale and Bentley'.


Still buzzing...

The promised land. It took us years of wandering around in circles, lost and confused, before we found it and now having done so we've just gone ahead and stuck a massive flag in the centre, opened a deck-chair and sat puffing out smoke nonchalantly from a massive joint.

“Is it cause I’m Tottenham?”

No matter our faults, no matter the naivety displayed in prior CL games, no one can take away the fact that we are born entertainers, refreshing and rampant. Ladies and gentlemen. We’ve clicked. In the pulsating atmosphere in N17, we stepped up a gear and went from learning curve virgins to master-class sex gods.

Stunning, staggering, immense, epic...the superlatives won’t drown you - you’ll be floating on top of them, out-stretched, hands behind head basking in the glorious sun thanks to the glory glory night where boys became men became giants. And so be it if it was just for the one night only.

Someone said to me that I would have trouble writing up a concise report on the game. And to be honest, I've struggled. Mainly because I was going to report on the game much like most other reports and just found myself repeating most of those aforementioned glittering superlatives that the Tottenham nation are today rejoicing in. You’d think only Bale was on the pitch with the coverage our young cyclone stud is getting. Coverage he deserves for destroying Inter over three halves of football. But everyone at the game, in pubs, watching at home, abroad in the early hours - will have witnessed the rather magnificent bravado and confidence of the other men in Lilywhite who defended and counter attacked as part of the devastation.

Even when the Italian club pinged the ball about in possession, reminding us of their quality (Eto’o with a stunning sway and shot and goal too), we didn’t fold under pressure and neither did we betray our traditions. 2-1? Sit back? Nah guv, let’s get the ball down their end again. Notch a third. End them.

Special night, outstanding in so many ways (not least the noise made inside the ground). And the noise made by everyone's reaction to the manner of their dismantlement. I have no time for anyone who dares suggest this was Inter not paying us due respect and being tormented for it. They didn’t underestimate our quality pre-match regardless of the first half back in the San Siro. They simply couldn’t live with a Spurs side that dared to do and dictate. They had a few players missing, didn’t they? Well, so did we.

The movement, the focus and determination. The relentless work ethic and self-belief. Harry and his bullish soldiers defending home soil and banishing the invaders back across the waters. Taxis no doubt parked outside in waiting, no tips, other than next time perhaps assign Leonidas King of Sparta and 300 Spartans to man-mark Bale.

If you place the 'modest down to earth with out of this world ability' Gareth to one side re: Man of the Match there are several candidates you could otherwise award it to. Testament to everyone at the club. The perfect shift. Because without that team unity and desire, giving the ball to Bale would have accounted for very little if we were bypassed in midfield and leaking goals at the back.

So yes, struggling I am to write a concise report. Think most of us are still living it. Instead I’m going to take a look back at a few things from the match preview for the Inter game (a tidy letter to Daniel Levy) addressing one or two statements made.


> We lack that bit of extra something with regards to testicular fortitude.

We choked against Young Boys then dug deep, momentarily collapsed away to Bremen and then froze like rabbits in headlights before we recovered in the Giuseppe Meazza stadium. We’ve been waiting for this Spurs side to click not just in structure and backbone but in strategy and professionalism. Sure, it’s refreshing the way we go about learning our lessons in our debut season and we’re entertainers. The miseries on The Sunday Supplement said we were just having ‘fun’. No more. Now we are deadly serious. Mature and fearless in a game we were not expected to win. Testicular fortitude? Oh yes. Hopefully  we’ve got some spare for Saturdays game against Bolton.

> We are what, 30%, 20% away from it clicking into place and working. The players we do possess for selection at the time of writing are more than capable of waking up and shaking themselves into the mentally powerful frame of mind - as seen last term in the push for fourth. We have it in us which is what's so frustrating. I don't buy all this 'Spurs over-extended themselves last season' nonsense. We fought for it. We need some of that fight back in abundance. And goals. Plenty of goals.

Two points here. We proved – even with missing injured players and with the apparent need to add two or three brand new players to the squad – we can find the resolve to compete against the very top top side in Europe (ignoring its Rafa deficiency). And it’s now time for the players to find this type of ethic every week, regardless of the opposition. van der Vaart said in his post-game interview ‘it’s only a game, it’s only three points’ or words to similar effect. That’s the right attitude. Let us – the fans – dance naked in the streets whilst they go back to work and do it all again next time round. Are we over-extending again? Or are we making the gradual step up to that next level? The latter. Obviously.

> We have to reclaim the swagger. Not give a f*ck about the opposition in terms of respect. Turn the tempo up.

It wasn’t outlandish swagger, more controlled and respectful. I guess showing no respect to Inter could have proved to be suicidal. But we cared not to weigh up the opposition and wait for them to settle. We took the game to them and scored a gem of an opener. I can still see Luka with his key, unlocking the door, and sending Rafael gate-crashing through. Don’t underestimate the quality of that goal. It was brilliant. Tempo duly turned up. Pace of the game not full throttle EPL thunder, but a notch up from the usual slow-paced CL football.

> Don't be afraid. Don't hold back. Play emotive sweeping football and play too our strengths. Retain possession, do not concede early, hassle them in midfield and please for the love of all things Lilywhite - be clinical in and around the box. The home crowd will have to play their part in all this too.

The Lane rocked. The midfield rocked with it. Really cannot say anything more than f**king brilliant re: our midfield. Huddlestone is vital to the side. Look up the stats, I’m certain we win more with him in the side than when he doesn’t play. Even when van der Vaart failed to appear in the second half, Jenas – of all players – was industrious. Matching the rest of his team-mates. Nobody was letting anyone down. Everyone with a job to do. Everyone with their fight face on.

> Momentum from this game if we win it could prove to be priceless. And you must agree, January will be easier to do business if we are heading towards the knock-out stages and sitting in 5th/4th.

As mentioned, we have to step it up in the Prem. I know that you don’t tend to play at the same level when facing the likes of West Ham or Wolves. But the quality of the opposing side shouldn’t matter if you do endeavour to push yourself to do your utmost to win. This attitude breeds winners. Few years back, had we beaten a top side, you’d say all this talk would be over-dramatic. But today? It’s part of the blueprint for the games ahead. We have it in us. We need to wave it about in everyone's face. Every week.

> Cudicini concentrate please. vdV might be back. Huddlestone also. Modric is on the verge of exploding into form. Bale has been contained in recent games so hopefully he'll adapt quickly with having to cope with fourteen men marking him. But if they do double up on him (or worse) then someone elsewhere on the pitch has an advantage if another someone else is quick enough to play that first someone in. Lennon continues to improve which is important.

> Concern about Kaboul in central defence who has that annoyance of switching off for a costly second far too often. Gallas still has to prove his worth to the side. Crouch will probably start, but call me crazy, I keep having visions of Pav doing very little other than being in the right place at the right time to plant the ball expertly into the net - something he can do. Does little else. But he has a habit of notching the goals.

Let's review. Player ratings, special mentions:

Cudicini - Corker of a save from the 'you're just a shit van der Vaart' free-kick. More confident in Gomes (even with his loopy meltdowns) but can't fault CC. Must feel great after the three he conceded in Italy. Far more assured.

Gallas – This is why he was signed. Commanding and in control aiding  the defence at all times.

BAE – He plays football like it's an inconvenience that needs to be worked though so it's got out of his way. ‘Oh, I’m on a football pitch for 90 minutes, fine then, I’ll just run down the minutes by getting involved’. He never looks fazed. Uber-cool. Defended and pushed forward superbly.

Kaboul – Really didn’t expect this. He’s shown us signs before but has let himself down, but not this time. Great effort and discipline on the night. Prone to mistakes, hope he eradicates them from his game. Could turn out to be a monster.

Hutton – Got done on the goal, or is that too harsh of a criticism considering it was Eto’o? Still think he struggles positionally. And with Lennon ahead of him I'd still prefer to see Corluka there. However, time, it can heal. Just look at Gareth. Hutton has masses of potential.

Lennon – With each passing game, he reclaims some of that lost form. Thought he was excellent. Now imagine Azza at full pelt on one wing and whatshisface on the other.

Huddlestone – Did not look out of place. The questions we (as a collective) ask about his ability and whether he can stamp his authority on a game, once more answered. A tireless solid performance. Vital to us. Might not have played the quarter-back role he's accustomed too, but that just shows his versatility.

Jenas – Quite obviously followed the gaffers instructions to the letter. Didn’t stop with the lung-busting when he came on.

vdV –Yet another goal at the Lane. Loving it. World class performer who has galvanised the side. Supreme touch. No culture of comfort at Spurs no more.

Crouch – Another European goal. It works. Let’s have more faith. He worked his socks off for us.

Pav – I stand by my words. He doesn’t appear to do much, but score. I’m not complaining.

Modric – This is the Luka we know. Was involved in everything, buzzing all over the pitch – effective and instrumental in both offensive duties (the pass for the opener) and defensively (interceptions and mixing it up in the midfield battle). Wanted the ball at all times and retained and recycled possession expertly.

Bale – The media have gone a bit loopy, haven’t they? Broadsheet journos equally so. I can’t wait for James Richardson’s Football Weekly and the patronising thoughts of Barry Glendenning on whether he thinks Bale got lucky again. Ooh. Bale is a beast. We knew that. Everybody now knows it. He’s going to get better. Scary, eh? Looks a level headed polite lad. Gotta love him. Destroyed Maicon. Destroyed the Champions of Europe. It's pure fantasy right before our eyes.

Harry – And he’s meant to not have any tactical astuteness. Delegator come good. Or we can just give the credit to Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond.

> Let's remember what this club is all about in terms of its traditions. We might not have a massive haul of silverware but if you take any random Bill Nicholson quote you'll have your answer in terms of what it means to be a Spurs fan. Glory. Even if said glory is 90 minutes in length.

> I want a performance. I want a statement of intent and end product. I want the emotion. I want the swashbuckle.

> My spine is tingling. My head buzzing. Rediscover yourself Tottenham. Want it. Shout out that you want it. Then prove that you want it. Then don't let anyone stop you from taking it. You'll get more than a cuddly toy for your endeavours.

Job done. Haters? Stick it up your bollix. You’ll never understand what it means to be part of this club.

> I want a DVD.

No DVD to be released. Gutted. But I’ll deal with it. When I close my eyes, I can't re-open them for ninety minutes.

Still buzzing.




Is it okay for us to release a DVD?

Just putting it out there.

Match report tomorrow, probably, if I find time to come down from the heavens and type up a couple of words although I could probably sum it up in one now:


In the mean time, open invite to discuss the game. For the neutrals also, if they want to share their much respected opinions considering they always without fail find the time to visit us on other occasions.

Ooh, I feel a gloat coming on I do do do. Tottenham Hotspur 3 Champions of Europe 1. Chests pumped out people. We did everything right.

Come on you Spurs.

Never a dull f**king moment with this club.

I've got celebrations to be had.


Manchester Utd yoof, Spurs targets and The Project (Part II)

For Part I click here.


Part II

Spooky - Okay, enough of the boring off the field shenanigans and boardroom politics. Let's talk a bit of football. Does it get boring winning everything, you silverware-hugging show-off you?

Scott - Honestly? No. You hear our players talking about it and I think it reflects the fans' opinion too. The more you win, the more you want to win. You get greedy for it. You win the league title, and whether that's the first time for a few years or the third time in a row, it feels f***ing brilliant. I can't claim that the last time we won the league in 2009 made me feel the same way a City fan would feel if they won the league this year, because I imagine being used to winning things takes the edge of it a bit, but no, never boring.

Spooky -
What's the gut feeling for this season then? Plenty of suggestions in the world of blogs and forums that United are over-extending themselves, masking over the cracks with one or two bacon-saving individual performances. It would be unwise to write you off considering that if currently United are considered off-key, you're still top 4 early season. Are you perhaps worried that there's not enough genuine balls deep world class quality in your side to really push Chelsea? Do you accept that you wont win the title?

Scott - I think we're going to win the league every year. We're not looking great right now but we haven't really got going yet. Nani and Berbatov have definitely stepped up to the plate, but players like Fletch and Evra who have been so important in years gone by, have gone off the boil. United tend to do well after a World Cup but it's looking to have a negative effect this time around. If we don't win the league, it's because Chelsea do, but I can't see Arsenal or City finishing ahead of us.

Spooky - So, in that case, you don't face a battle on your hands to finish in the top 4?

Scott - No.

Spooky - Do United fans prefer having to fight tooth and nail for the League with Chelsea or whomever, or do you prefer the 90s when you won everything at a canter, more or less?

Scott - Oh it's far more exciting having to fight for it. Winning the league by a point on the last day feels so much better than wrapping it up a few weeks before the end of the season. I wouldn't say we won things at a canter in the 90s though. You look at 99 and 96, with our squad spread across winning other trophies, and we just scraped through at the end.

Spooky - What do you think the fans reactions would be if you finished just outside the Top 4 and SAF was another year nearer retirement?

Scott - Devastation, I suppose. How would the fans react if we got relegated? How would the fans react if we won nothing for 10 years? I dunno. It's too hard to answer a question about a scenario you just can't imagine happening.

Spooky - Talking of which - who do the fans feel is likely to take over as Manager after SAF's retirement?

Scott - Erm, Mourinho is desperate for the job. I would rather Laurent Blanc or Pep Guardiola, and have battled long and hard against Mourinho getting the job, based on his dreadful personality and the job he did at Chelsea. He spent a f**k load of money but the team he left them with was inferior to the one he inherited. It's hard to argue with what he's achieved at Inter and is achieving at Real Madrid, playing the attacking football we require.

Spooky - Concerned about City? If not this season, next?

Scott - No. If anyone will f**k this up, City will. This is the 3rd year of The Project (TM) and they're not nailed on for anything. They've got less points this season than they did with the same games played under Hughes a couple of months before he got the sack, their best player is repeatedly talking of his unhappiness and wanting to retire, and as every transfer window passes they seem to make it their challenge to bring in a player with an even bigger ego than the ones the window before, to try and battle it out with Mancini's massive ego. They will implode sooner or later because all these stars who joined with the promise of lots of money and trophies will soon get bored of lots of money and no trophies. I think Robinho put it best at the start of this season: "When I arrived, the directors at City told me that, in a couple of years, we would overtake United, but the time has passed and nothing has changed."

Spooky - United have harvested a lot of young talent from around the world, sometimes at eyebrow raising expense (Bebe, Mame Diouf, Obertan, Tosic, Smalling). Are Utd fans concerned that very few of these appear to be worth the money paid? I know it's subjective, but it's a question birthed from the curiosity of other fans assuming United fans are scratching their heads.

Scott - All of those players are 21 or younger, so I don't know how you can say whether they're worth the money or not. Diouf has scored a hat trick at Blackburn this season, as well as scoring against Arsenal, Bebe has scored for Portugal's U-21, Smalling is doing well for England U-21 and has scored for them, Obertan is a fans' favourite. Tosic is the only one of those that didn't make the grade but we got our money back for him, so no biggie.

If we start writing players off when they're 21, we're in trouble. Ronaldo scored 9 league goals in 33 games for us when he was 21. He was a one trick pony, a waste of money at £12m.

Spooky -
On a similar note, who is the best of the home-grown Utd talent (i.e. Cleverley, King, Drinkwater, James etc etc)? Have United still got a stranglehold on the best of the country's youth?

Scott - Cleverley looks to be the business. Ravel Morrison is the next one for the future. Corry Evans (Jonny's bro) looks good, Will Keane too, and James Chester. Our youth set up is really impressive and Solskjaer helped the Reserves to be crowned champions of England last season.

Spooky - Are you worried that you have VDS, Rio, Scholes, Giggs, Neville, Berbatov, Owen, Hargreaves etc to replace in the next 2-3 years but have (i) no cash and (ii) a lot fewer decent young players making it into the first team squad than historically?

Scott - Neville, Hargreaves and Owen hardly play, so that's not such a worry. The idea is that Cleverley can fill Scholes' boots (nobody can fill Scholes' boots, he's the best midfielder the Prem has seen, but he'll give it a good crack), Chicharito, Macheda and hopefully Welbeck are options for up front, Bebe/Obertan to fill the gap on the wing. The only position that hasn't already got plans is the goalkeeper, which I imagine the club will take very seriously after the farce we endured once Schmeichel retired. There will be some money to spend though, if the players who have been earmarked for these positions aren't up to scratch.

Spooky - Berbatov and Rooney should be the strike partnership to end all strike partnerships. Why isn't it?

The casual guide to feeding squirrels by Dimitar Berbatov


Scott - Who knows? The manager can't get the best out of them and they never seem to hit form at the same time. Berbatov and Chicharito is a far more potent combination.

Spooky - Will you stop attempting to tap up and steal our players now you are so poor?

Scott -
We should really take a leaf out of Spurs' book. Levy and Redknapp never attempt to tap up and steal players.

Spooky -
Steady now. Our Daniel writes letters of an apologetic nature to the fans. He can't possibly be underhanded. What with all the donations to the Tottenham foundation. I might as well ask this so we can all prep ourselves for the inevitable knocking of the door...What do United fans think of the current Spurs squad? Which of our Lilywhites would you want at United and why? How many Utd players do you think would get into a combined Utd/Spurs side?

Scott - I remember towards the end of last season and we were still in the race, and Spurs came to Old Trafford. As the players and subs were read out over the speaker, it really hit me how many top class players you have. Probably the best squad to come to Old Trafford last season, no exaggeration. I mean, you didn't play well, but there's loads of great players at Spurs.

I like Dawson, Modric, Van der Vaart, Bale and Palacios but working out a best XI is difficult. Bale and Nani on the wings, and Modric and Van der Vaart in the centre of the park alongside Fletch (he isn't playing well this season though :S) or Palacios. Berbatov as a lone striker? I'd have Van der Sar over Gomes (WBA mistake aside), Rio and Vida over Dawson and King (even when they're not on the treatment table), Evra at left back and right back? Well, we've played O'Shea there more often than not this season, so I'd have Hutton over him. I like Rafael though.

Spooky -
Bale, Modric, vdV…all linked already. Honestly, hand on heart. Can you see yet another one of those Levy complaint letters doing the rounds on the official site next summer?

Scott - It wouldn't surprise me if Bale and Modric came to United. I can't see Spurs doing well in Europe AND retaining top 4. Something has to give. Fergie is a fan of both and I imagine both would be interested in coming. But maybe Levy won't be so f***ing retarded as to send them on a plane to Manchester though.

Spooky - You're breaking my heart over here. And finally, we might as well mention Utd v Spurs. History tells us United will win. Regardless of Howard Webb or lack of goal line technology. We tend to implode up at Old Trafford. I'm sort of confident that we could get a point or even do the impossible and win away from home against a 'Sky Sports Top 4' side for the first time in 400 years. Thoughts on the game? You've not been amazing thus far, but neither have we. In fact, we have both dug deep to win games. So, close game? Dare you predict?

Scott - Given the strengths of your squad, this should be a game to make us worry, but like you say, you don't tend to do very well against us. You'll score against us, because everyone does, but I fancy a United win. 2-1.

Spooky - I fancy a Spurs 2-1. Ooh. It's going to be a corker. Cheers mate. I guess all that's left for me to say is - pleasure as always. And make sure you d*ck City at the very least. Ta.

Scott - Only if you make sure you do the same.


And they both lived happily ever after. Well, only one of them. To find out which, watch the game on Saturday.


The End.



Chewbacca for Spurs in £23M deal?

Huddlestone collects the ball deep...oh that's a lovely cross field ball to the feet of Lennon, Hoodlesque from the big man…Lennon twists and turns out on the flank, cuts in, cuts back, plays it across to van der Vaart, van der Vaart dummy - the ball through his legs - collected by Modric who lays it first time to Bale. Bale...still Bale, past one man, past two, past three, crosses and ...Chewbacca with the run....CHEW-BAAAACAAAA !!

4-0. Beauty and best football by the home side.

Brilliant movement from Spurs, brilliant finish from Chewbacca who smashed the ball home with brutal ferocity after some quite majestic play from his Lilywhite team-mates. That's his second of the game, and this Tottenham side are positively inspired. Clinical and relentless.

And that's the whistle. Rampant display.. And it's only half-time. Park Lane are in full swing, chanting the name of their new hero...Chewie, Chewie, Chewie...Stewards are selling half-time dvd specials to the home crowd. Hedonistic scenes in N17...

I'm privileged to be commentating on this game, and although you can't see me, let me tell you, the big gold cockerel up on the East Stand is not the only thing to be standing proud and erect this Saturday afternoon.

The above is fantasy.

I mean seriously, four-nil up after 45 minutes? That and signing and starting Chewbacca might prove somewhat tricky, what with him apparently killed off in the serialised Star Wars novels. That and the fact he was birthed from the imagination of George Lucas and is thus a fictional character. Damn you, technicalities, damn you to hell.

But you just know that if we had him up front, rampaging and destroying opposition defences with his mere giant presence in both stature and personality, the rest of the team would need to find a new level of performance just to appease his big hairy feet. Because to not, would be beyond the realms of disrespect. Angry Wookie = trouble. If you thought Berbatov could sulk…

Chewie would no doubt need about a dozen storm-troopers marking him, and he'd be the one forcing them to run away in fear. In the unlikely event of us someone how signing Bellamy and covering him head to toe in super-glued grizzle bear fur, we're going to have to look at other options. And Craig is a touch short for the job in terms of height. Sorry Craig.

There's the possibility of out-sourcing. Comolli to scout the Dagobah system, perhaps? No Wookiee's to be found there, but I'm sure Damien would unveil Yoda as one for the future with the ability to elevate the team. Cue various dodgy grainy taken photos via mobile phones of Comolli, Yoda and agent sitting in a Burger King at the airport in plain sight agreeing terms.

Alas, back in the real world we have Jar Jar Binks leading from the front. So when exactly will the Tottenham strike back? Ah yes, an article full of lame Star Wars references weaker than a venomous Crouch shot.

Chewbacca signing for Spurs in a £23M deal? It aint happening. Some amongst you it wouldn't resolve our problems due to Chewie being slightly susceptible of a wandering mind and placing way too much emphasis on his heart than his mind. And much like that Bulgarian, God damn, can he be depressive. Russians are hard enough to manage, and the language barrier is going to be a nightmare. Then again, if players can just about make out what Robbie Keane bangs on about then perhaps I'm being a tad too harsh.

Having checked, Boba Fett and Darth Sidious are both unavailable and don't fancy the 50% tax with moves to England.

I've already touched on the necessity for a world class forward with an abundance of swagger in the previous blogs, and it's an echo of what we're all saying and hoping for. With van der Vaart arguably world class in terms of mental strength, technique and impact - if we had someone of similar ilk up front...and here we go's ground-hog day. Close your eyes and imagine, and it will make you drool. Until January, if something does give way in terms of filling the gap, we still have to make do with what we have until the window re-opens.

So, what do we have exactly?

We know what Rafael gives us in terms of application and guile. We need him to give it to us away from home too. Luka is still on this perpetual road of mend to recapture the form we know he is capable of. Crafting and creating, starting the move from deep and playing killer balls in and around the box. When he does hit form, and he will soon, this will be huge for the team. Don't underestimate the difference between a 65% Luka and a 95% Luka. 100% Luka…and I'll be needing the smelling salts.

Bale has been granted a holiday, which is a cracking idea. Burn out, not an option - and with Manchester United away up next, we need him to be at his very best if Levy is going to rinse Fergie for £70M (Gareth's valuation goes up with each DML article that references him). Seriously though, Bale to United? You can't possibly believe the never-ending looping news articles covering this? Can you? Can you?

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Lennon is continuing his rehabilitation, but his angry eyebrows would suggest he would much prefer Charlie behind him than Alan.

Crouch sort of doesn't but does assist vdV almost in an apologetic manner of just being there in the box. Basically, if he doesn't give away a free kick for simply breathing in the box, the ball might hit him or one of the defenders climbing up his legs and fall into the path of vdV. The Everton game, a perfect example. vdV expertly smashing the ball into the net from the magnetic ball to feet sent his way with the aid of the magical aura of Peter.

Any old excuse to re-post this.

One thing is for certain. It's not ideal having Crouchie up front in a 451. I'll admit it. Even if vdV has notched up five goals thus far. It's not Crouchie getting the goals. Whether it's hoof up to the lanky forward or to feet, it's not a tactic that is allowing for swash-buckle and that missing ingredient of intensity.

For the sake of hypothetical's, stick a Drogba, a Bellamy (hate to keep referring back to this git) or Chewbacca himself - and you just know that this would produce something extra. Something tangible in the way of a target. Because these ilk of players have plenty of ammunition and facets to their personality on the field. Drogba is a complete forward. Bellamy has tenacity and relentless annoyance (ironically, not a personal option due to his brittle bones, he's always injured, or at least it seems like he's always picking up knocks). And Chewbacca, cool and calm when required, but when required he simply doesn't give a sh*t and will f*ck you up.

Find the player, no matter the system, who can do the job. And the conundrum is surely solved. It is, isn't it?

Pause for thought.

And we're back again to the start. Ground-hog day.

Like I said, until Jan...we wait and in the mean time we hope we can find a rhythm and plenty of goals. It might come in the way of Defoe and his comeback. With his trademark power shots at goal. With vdV playing just off him. JD is more Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs than C-3PO waddle, so it's going to be interesting to see how it pans out.

As a footnote to all this (off the back of the Everton game), I should give a special mention to Sandro who really does look the part. Tidy player, knows his way around the pitch, effective and once he hits his stride, he's going to be very good for us. In time. He does appear to have the composure (in his head) to be a success for us and the Prem. Might not be flair, but has substance.

As for our former defensive man of unbreakable bricks, Wilson?

Palacios is a bit like the Death Star in Return of the Jedi. It's there patiently waiting with the power to destroy, but not quite turned on. Is it operational or isn't it? Is it a trap? An attempted trap? Or just a really bad attempt at controlling the ball? And time. Its a ticking. And if we don't get a move on, it could go belly-up as quickly as you can say 'fire a laser at that unguarded thing over there to blow it up, seriously, it's that frigging easy'.

We want our Wilson back. In fact, we want our Tottenham back. More of that Star Destroyer swagger than slow-brooding AT-AT.

And finally, having dragged the Star Wars franchise through the mud kicking and screaming (hey, it's just like being George Lucas!) if Bale needs a rest in future and there's no time for a beach holiday, then I have two words for ya. Just two words. Two names in fact. A first and second name.

Niko. Kranjčar.

He's not a jedi. He's a Croat.

Thanks for your time, and may the facere be with you.


Inter 4 Spurs 3: Astonishing Bale (Part II)

Read Part I here.


Part II

Wasn't that long ago that the rumours told us that Bale was Birmingham/Forest bound. For about £3M. I'd rather have him bound to my bed, with me throwing rose petals over his lush bronzed body. I'm not that way inclined, I promise, but I'm willing to bestow this young Welsh stud with my undying love. Whether he wants it or not.

I heart you Gareth. We all do.

The baiting world expected more humiliation but the side attempted to reclaim some of that hurting pride. I wont dwell on other individuals. I'll let the gaffer re-watch and make notes and spit home truths in their faces in terms of lack of organisation and communication and leadership and other fundamentals. Eye of the tiger next time please. Okay, I'll say one word. Gallas. There, said it.

I'll also give a special mention to Jenas (J-E-N-A-S) and Lennon. JJ for improving in the second half, although that wasn't tricky considering his first half performance. Lennon for making things happen. Jenas was also instrumental in the goals. Ooh. Shocker. Hate on him if you dare. What's that? The first half? Oh yeah...sigh.

Keane, BAE, Captain Hudd, Hutton, Gallas, etc etc - is it worth commenting? Of course not. Mark them out of 10, between 2 and 5.

But it's all about the one man for me. But yes, well done to the collective for keeping a clean sheet as a unit, one that resembled a team, and never giving up in the quest for redemption.

Back to Bale.

1 - 50 yard storming run. He would have smashed through Gandalf had he been standing in the Inter penalty area with staff. Brilliant angled effort, tucked into the right-hand corner of the net.

2 - Practically identical to the first, same pulsating run into the box, same corner.

3 - Excellent run from the excellent Lennon, laying the ball off, arguably almost selling Bale short, and yet…smack, that same ruined abused corner, once more.

Pick'em out the back of the net Julio 'best keeper in the world' Cesar.

Okay, so the final two goals came in the final two minutes, but we've been here before haven't we? 4-3 is infinitely better than 4-0 or worse. It’s a 1-0 loss in terms of goal difference. With ten men, ffs. And qualification is not beyond the realms of impossibility, in fact, it’s in our hands.

Suddenly it's not so bad. Sure, we've glossed over problems what with Bale Bale Bale getting all the acclaim for such a determined, willing, simply refusing to roll over and die performance, but why not? We played into their hands and then we dug deep and clawed our way back into it. Another minute of injury time and Bale probably would have notched a fourth. He was that imperious to his surroundings.

Majestic, beastly, marauding, locomotive….Bale. He has completely turned his world and ours upside down. Who needs a striker when we've got this extraordinary machine?

Well actually, we could do with a striker. One that scores. Because if you add that to this team, get vdV back in there, stick with eleven men on the pitch and organise the defence to an advanced level of competency…ah, let's not tease. Let's just cross those fingers that this club of ours never fails to stop entertaining us. Even if it's the type of entertainment that involves Hannibal Lector removing parts of your brain and eating them in front of you.

4-3. Almost, but not quite. And not wholly acceptable but in terms of being able to show my face at work? Great.

Hat-trick. Away to Inter. Four goals and seven assists (correct me if my numbers are wrong) overall. And all this without King, Dawson, Defoe and van der Vaart. You could even throw Woodgate in there. And Modric didn’t play a part after the red card.

Some recovery.

This bi-polar club of ours with it's inherent twitches and panic attacks.

Rather than remain spanked, we learnt our lesson and reacted to it there and then. And thus avoided that potentially damaging hangover (although quite how we've been pencilled in for an early Saturday kick-off is beyond me).

It's an adventure. We're never going to win it and in terms of edge of seat football, we are making our mark in Europe. It's all very refreshing, so I'm told.

When the ps3 over-heated and I was unstrapped from my chair, I knew, deep down, that if we iron out the reoccurring problems and tweak mental strength along with backbone set-up (moon on a stick) - we are not far off. Not far off from more balanced and consistent swagger than the schizophrenic screams. Would also help in abundance if Hutton understood the concept of positioning.

Third best defensive record domestically, but much more is needed on this particular level to survive and bully our way to a respectable stature in this playground of giants. We don't do badly all things considering, what with our musical chairs at the back. But it's got to be tight(er) at the back. Chastity belt tight.

We have enough about us to avoid collapse in the manner we did, even though we've now experienced three variants of said collapse on our travels. Perhaps it is just a learning curve.

I'd say plenty of it is about intensity. It will come in time. Gritted leadership and intensity, it will come in the form of vdV. And hopefully some of our other players grow into brave and bold men who do not welcome fear. Having van der Vaart - a genuine world class player - is something we should embrace.

Roll on the return leg.

In the mean time, don't fret about the live brokering of Gareth by ITV who seemed obsessed with selling him on before their coverage ended.

He's not world class yet. He has world class performances in him. And United fans can pretend he's going to sign for them with the loose change they have left over from plucking Modric and vdV up to Old Trafford.

He's our left-wing. And let us rejoice in the fact that he should now never frequent the left-back position again.

Just enjoy it. This, this beautiful defeat. Not quite worthy of a dvd as a whole, but the hat-trick is more than worthy of countless repeated You Tube play-back.

My special chair is back in the basement. I'm cleansed, like clockwork. Not orange. Just lilywhite.

Two weeks before I strap myself back in.




Inter 4 Spurs 3: Mayhem in the Meazza (Part I)

Part I

Not sure where to begin. But I will endeavour.

I edited the game highlights into a condensed goals only package, with the four conceded and our second-half redemption. Then wirelessly streamed it from pc to TV via ps3. I proceeded to ask the missus to strap me into the specially made chair facing said television and then fit the contraption onto my face, forcing and pulling my eyelids back. Lights off, roll footage. Missus was happy. She went to bed.

The next eight hours was spent watching the 4-0 down, 4-3 finish in continuous loop whilst Chas'n'Dave played loudly in my ears.

It was the only way to cleanse my giddiness, for surely defeat should not make me feel this good? As I sat motionless in chair, wrists and ankles aching, it allowed me ample time to contemplate and consume the various intricacies of the game witnessed in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza , some of which were hardly delicate and subtle but rather massive jackhammer body blows that would crush ribs do dust.

Spurs, once more, ripping up the script and replacing it with a demented David Lynch re-write. There is absolutely no doubting our ability, the teams ability, to take us through the mire and make us feel completely alive, bungee jumping off the edge of oblivion. This is Tottenham. Manic, ridiculous, expected and unexpected.

I made a comment pre-match on Twitter that the opening ten minutes would be most telling. I was expecting to base this on possession, movement, tenacity and other mundane run of the mill bread and butter ingredients. Instead I choked on a slice of football pie that was positively brimming with maggots and pubic hair.

In all honesty, why even eat the pie when you know it's only going to give you grief, picking out the pubic hair from your teeth, or translated into pure footballing terms; picking the ball out of the back of the net. The wrong net. Four times.

This was live on ITV (which made it doubly worse thanks to their contractual obligation to really drill home the horrific truths with continuous anti-Tottenham lol's, mostly unavoidable to be fair). Champions League proper, our first true test against a genuine giant. The reigning champions of course. And what do we do? We do exactly what the haters predicted/wanted us to do.

We pull a grenade out of our back pocket, remove the pin, then swallow the grenade, turning to the camera and playful winking.

"It's Tottenham Hotspur. What do you f**king expect? You want bland and boring, switch over to the United game"

Delightful entertainment for the neutrals and the haters. Abject misery for the rest of us.

Now I do appreciate that if you remove the rhetoric shared by the ilk of non-Spurs supporters who magically forget about various humiliations and lessons learnt by their own teams in debut and early years Champions League, and one particular result from as recent as last season where the then  reigning champions handed the nal it's arse back…you could almost hear the collective groan and head shaking of Lilywhites across the planet coming to terms with what was looking like the start of the mother of all decimations. Regardless of other lessons learnt, this one, the one that matters to us, was beyond the threshold for standard N17 regulated pain.

68 seconds. Might be a decent night for most overly eager young men, getting a tad excitable with the occasion at hand but this is not Switzerland. Or Germany. It's Italy. And it's Rafa's inherited Serie A topping Inter. Let's not bend over. At the very least, use the lube.

Sixty three year old Zanetti, 12 yards, 68 sodding seconds. The defending, abysmal, non-existent. Okay, perhaps that's not fair. It was sloppy. And at this level, everything is magnified, slowed-down and punished - relentlessly punished. You could see the goal before it happened. It was simple. And it was rammed down our throats. I could hear the cheers in Islington from my sofa.

Okay, so its 1-0. Let's. Not. Panic. Get hold of the ball, stand strong and tall. Leaders on the pitch. Where are the leaders? Captains armband? Huddlestone man, don't let heads drop man. No, wait…what are you doing? Why the hell do you carry a grenade in your back pocket. Now what? Why have you given it to Gallas man? He's polishing it? A grenade and he's polishing it? What the... he's kissing the frigging thing, he's kissing it! Oh Christ, what next? No, no, not Gomes, don't give it to Gomes. Of all the people, not Gomes! For the love of God, he's pulled the pin off it. He's juggling the thing on his head. And there we have it. He's swallowed it. He's gone and swallowed the grenade. Heimlich manoeuvre someone please! Anyone?

Oh sh*t.

Kaboom. Not of the Younes variety.

Red card. Carlo on, Modric off. Eto'o from the spot. 2-0. Was Biabiany the last man? Was he denied a certain goal-scoring opportunity? Does it even matter when your keeper implodes in the path of an opposition player?

Before I had time to tie the knot in the noose, it was 3-0. Stankovic, showing off, with a shot from just outside the pen area. The fourth goal (Eto'o again) more or less had every sofa in a Spurs supporting household engulfing it's occupier. Without fight. The away fans in the San Siro still coming to terms with the rude interruption of their rendition of 'oh when the Spurs' from the opening seconds. Not quite finding their stride and song again until the second half.

How dare Inter put us in our place. Us, an infant in this top tier competition, lost in the playground, surrounded by older bigger kids, snatching our dinner money and slapping us across the back of the neck. I want my mamma.

4 fragging 0. Blogs and forums on fire. Text messages and photo-shopped specials in the making.

Down to ten men. Against the Champions of Europe. In their own back yard. The difference in class positively puked out in superlatives by ITV during half-time. It's going to finish 6-0 perhaps 7-0, probably 8-0. No way Inter won't be scoring again in the second forty-five. Better to forfeit the game and take a three goal deficit.

Oh ye of little faith.

It's frustrating, it is. Had we left that grenade back home. Had we held our nerves for that opening ten minutes. Not being overwhelmed with the occasion, if that was in fact the reason for our lethargic in legs lethargic in brains performance. Not to suggest it was all down to our embarrassing defending. Inter ravaged us with beautiful decisive football. It was like being gently beaten up with a feather made out of Adamantium.

Coutinho looks a player. Our lot looked like pretenders. Did Harry get it wrong? We didn’t have time to find out. You can argue about the ethics of sacrificing Modric, but it was damage limitation after the first minute of the game. And with hindsight, it's how we reacted second half that would speak volumes. 451or otherwise, its about application and focus first, formation and tactics are secondary if the players feet turn to jelly.

Pride at stake, what with it being super-glued back together during the break and handed out with (I assume) implicit instructions to get a f**king grip of ourselves.

Okay, so they shifted down a gear or two in the second half. But that is no concern for me. 4-0 down, forty-five minutes to avoid potentially devastating dejection at the final whistle which might well have detrimental long term trembling of knees (the bad kind).

And then it happened.

Hello Europe. My name is Gareth Bale. You can call me the beast. Just make sure you ask me for permission first.


Click here for Part II.


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