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Entries in glory glory nights (6)


Remembering love lost

Lazio at the Lane under the floodlights. It's not the Champions League, it's the Europa League and if we're not in Europe we're nothing. So the saying goes. There's a fair amount of anticipation for this game. For me at least, you might not be as excited. You might not care too much. You might be hoping for some rotation and no injuries. Or perhaps not, perhaps you're rubbing hands together gleefully.

I'm looking forward to seeing how we line-up, with Andre Villas-Boas wanting to take the competition seriously. There's a very decent cut of opposing clubs in this years competition. Most of them are going to take it very seriously, so there's no reason to be dismissive in approach and application, unless we want an early exit. Doubt yourself for a second and you'll be punished for it. What Villas-Boas truly envisages in Europe won't begin to play out until the whistle kicks off proceedings. But I'd like to believe he will use the squad with the express aim to win each game, taking into account the fixtures that follow the European encounters.

He's alluded to the fact that silverware is important. Something we tend to forget and rationalise as secondary in a world where a league placement is perceived as a far more relevant accolade. We are more gutted about losing out to say 4th spot or CL than we are failing to get to a cup final or losing one. That's the royal 'we'. I know not everyone thinks the same way. There are still some traditionalists that pump their chest for a good old fashion cup run. But I'll hazard many are conflicted. I know I've argued for both sides, because I like to think it's possible to have the best of both worlds. Although admittedly I'm sided ever so closer to the league runs in recent years believing that you can consolidate in strength and be fitter to challenge for those cups. The reality of this thought process is that you're gambling the present with a vision of the future that might not play out.

League placement is important if a club wants to be able to sustain that challenge in the top tier consistently. Such is the hierarchy of modern football blah blah blah, I've made this speech a dozen times before. If you harbour dreams for the title, as far away as this might seem what with other clubs in stronger financial positions to compete - if you want to realistically be in the mix you have to qualify for the elite competition and milk it for all it's worth. Money is the commodity clubs perceive as the gateway to success. Yet this vision of the future might never materialise and remain simply a dream forever out of reach.

But as we all know, such things do not get chronicled in the history books as success or as glory glory days. That's if all you do is finish in a place that grants you access rather than seeing your clubs ribbons on a bit of silver. Although playing against the best sides in Europe, even if all you get out of it is away trips, should not be frowned upon. As a supporter you'll always desire a little more than that.

We finished fourth last year. We've been heavily involved in that top tier for several seasons now. That's the bread and butter of our season. The league games. But when was the last time we had a massive dollop of jam spread across that bread? 2008? And before that in 1999? And further back in 1991? Not forgetting some continental  in 1984? Yet too many times since and in-between our tea has gone cold waiting. It's time for a fry up. And there's no need for Marmite on the table.

The days of the Cup Kings and flirtations with the Twin Towers, that's history, some of it iconic never to be forgotten. These moments are truly the building blocks of a clubs identity and their traditions. We swaggered and might have gone on swaggering had we not hit a brick wall that left us bloody and bruised and nursing injuries we've only just recently recovered from. Rehabilitation has been a long and laborious journey. Whilst we began to walk again, others around us sprinted past, knocking us back down.

We all know the story.

The 1980s. The Big Five. On the verge of something greater. A young chairman with a heart bigger than his brain. Crippling decisions with development at the Lane and the baseball bat to the knees that was Hummel. We never stood a chance. Instead of being primed for the Premiership we were left struggling, on our knees and perilous close to financial ruin. Scholar tried to innovate but all we did was dehydrate. That's just how things panned out and in 1991 we anchored ourselves to survival by winning the FA Cup. Mostly thanks to Des Walker but more so thanks to a shy Geordie that practically dragged us into the final only to then implode. Cruciate ligaments raptured, his transfer to Italy delayed for a season. Another cliff-hanger of a finale in the roller-coaster ride that is THFC. Then into the wilderness we went. In many ways, so did Paul Gascogine. Both of us at the foot of the brick wall looking up, uncertain of the climb ahead.

I remember Sunday afternoons on Channel Four, James Richardson and the odd Gazza cameo and wonder goal. He only played around 40 games for the Rome club before ending up at Glasgow Rangers. The first player, the only player I ever idolised. I remember Hoddle and adored his effortless gliding and majestic arrogance but Gascogine was the one plastered all over my bedroom wall. Somewhere, at my parents home, I have a box full of cut outs of newspapers and magazines, practically all of the match reports, articles and interviews of the player and the coverage he got just before he joined us and whilst he wore Lilywhite. I remember 1990 very well. More so that fabled 91 season. All the cup games. The queuing for the semi-final for tickets. That free kick. It's just the FA Cup right? No, it's more than that. It's something that's untouchable that nobody can ever take away from you. It's Tottenham Hotspur.

So where am I going with all this? One thing is for certain, we're over that wall. Gascoigne too, but he's still sitting at the foot of it on the other side. We've left it behind us, from a jog to a run. We're not so easily knocked down any more either. But we've got plenty of shoulder bruising and there's one or two runners up ahead.

From Europa League to the seasoned question of silverware versus Champions League and long lost love for a breed of player that no longer exists. It's simply this: You can't create history that can be looked back on with pride if you let the present pass you by as an inconvenience.

It's not that supporters don't want to win cups it's just that so many of us prioritise the league and want that top four place more than anything else that we forget that there's no necessity for sacrifice. This won't be easy. The games come thick and fast. The recognition isn't what it was in bygone eras. You could even argue it's just a financial safety net for clubs falling out of that other more grand competition. Then again, if you win it you get to play the winner of that grander competition and that doesn't always turn out the way you expect.

To host Lazio, another club to have loved and lost Paul Gascogine, unbeaten and a dangerous opponent - it's a fine way to reignite a lust for a different type of momentum. One that can lead to moments in games that remain in memory forever. One that can lead to success, regardless of its downgraded stature, regardless that its perceived as an afterthought. Football is what you make it, not what someone else tells you it is. Those conflicted thoughts around what is or should be more important pale into insignificance. It should always be about Spurs and it should always be about glory.

How else can you define yourself as a winner if you don't actually win anything? More importantly, you can't add to those blocks of identity and tradition if you don't set out to build them to stand the test of time.


"It's full of history & different winners. It does not generate financial advantages but it generates emotions when you win it."

- Villas-Boas on the Europa League


One last swashbuckle, Tottenham?

I guess my predicament can be compared to Aron Ralston, pinned between a boulder and a canyon wall with no means of escape. Other than attempting to cut my arm off. Although the analogy doesn't quite stretch to limb-losing I do feel completely isolated and any attempts to survive appear to be futile.

Whilst White Hart Lane is rocking to the tune of five home goals, I'll be up North. I haven't even got time to craft another chest thumping battle cry. Although it's hardly the occasion for one. We're 4-0 down. The odds on over turning it are what...astronomical, right? I have joked about how if we score in the opening five minutes, we'll win 4-0 in normal time, 5-0 aet. I'm the king of comedy me.

Pragmatically, the visit of Real Madrid should be one that the home faithful lap up and sing their hearts out as a final swan song, a heartfelt thank you to the team for this wonderfully entertaining adventure. And if we could perhaps beat them by the odd goal, it would go some way towards ending the campaign with another great memory, be it one with less gloss than the prior ones. What with Jose having one eye already on Pep.

The special one might 'rest' yellow carded players, park the bus, soak up the pressure to counter and kill the game early (and oh boy would an early Madrid goal sucketh). Can't control what they do. Down to us to set the tempo. No pressure, no tension. That should relax both players and fans. And what with 4th spot once more the priority, our minds should be on the next game. Although this being Spurs, we're unlikely to rest any of our players and will probably go gung-ho, dreaming of miracles. And let's be honest, we have no other choice than to do just that. You know I'm right. Playing the game like a friendly? Bill Nick would not approve.

I'll be getting smashed in the hotel bar, no doubt, slurring and allowing complete freedom of my fingers to dance away as I hold up both arms, hands reaching out to touch the impossible dream. Interspersed with more drink and the odd flashback of Bale's hattrick, the 3-1 home win against Inter, Milan at the San Siro.

One last swashbuckle, Tottenham? Until next season, of course.

Wouldn't want it any other way.

So hallelujah to you and the boys in Lilywhite. The tie might have ended away in Spain but glory doesn't have to be constrained by technicalities.

Come on you Spurs.




Game of your life Tottenham, game of your life

The inside of my head currently has more glittery explosions than any given November 5th. I didn't walk out of my home this morning as I began the first leg of my staggeringly labourious trek from the depths of Epping Forest to the badlands of Croydon (office relocation, long story). I floated. Feet not touching the ground, gliding in the air like a ghost, akin to a Spike Lee movie just without all the rage and anger. Raining and cold? I hardly cared. Knowing there were one or two N17 representatives in Madrid singing a song the night before and more to follow today was more than enough to warm me up.

It's surreal. Not in a giddy Beatlesque screeching and fainting kind of way. More so in terms of remembrance. Looking back to when we chased the dream we are now living with pomp. I'm placing aside all the discussions about the importance of progress and sustaining the current crop of Spurs players to secure a new generation of Lilywhite history rather than just a pocket of glory nights before we return to the uncertainty of the chase. Because just is more than enough when you're living that very specific moment. One that finds us visiting the Santiago Bernabeu. In it's purist form football is about moments. We've had so many of them this season, we've been enriched with the unforgettable. There's room for more. Not that I'm being greedy.

If it's our destiny to fizzle out of qualification for next seasons competition then at least we can look back at our maiden voyage into the continental elite with pride. Tottenham swashbuckling our style with refreshing zest and desire. I'm sure we wouldn't be such a massive surprise and shock if we made it back for 2012. But we've set out and proven we are more than capable to compete with the top sides in Europe. Which has irked many and had others scratching their heads in wonderment.

It's not about the taking part to feed the various guises of structure and standing. It has to be about the moments. I'll let reality consume me once more in the aftermath.

Sure, logic will tap us on the back and whisper solemnly that at some point we'll be up against a team who will shut shop effectively and punish every single mistake we make. I'd rather that exit happened in the semi-final, if it is to happen at all.

I had a dream last night. Watching the game on TV. We had two penalties. van der Vaart with the first. Crouch with the second. The home ground despondent.

Gotta dream, right?

I've followed La Liga for years, adore the Morbo in what is a wonderfully fragmented country. And like most have followed Madrid and their soap opera. They're like a Spanish Tottenham. I don't mean in silverware and domestic and European success. I'm referring to some basic fundamentally building blocks. The necessity to play attacking free-flowing football and always having a shady defence. That and the amount of managers that tend to come and go. And although in many other ways we are worlds apart, we both have rich histories. Glamour clubs. Sometimes more style than substance, but both of us on the road to progression rather than a road tinged with puddles of perdition.

And in Jose they have a manager shrewd and tactically astute enough to stifle the life out of both games and have us dumped out in inglorious fashion. The party pooper. And we have a man-manager at the helm of the first big club he's coached who has done what so many other have failed to achieve. Fulfil some of that pent up potential.

Jose knows his side won't be able to steam-roll us like the various assortments of Spanish fodder they dismantle week in week out. But he does know his English Premier League. There's a  suggestion (not that I tend to believe him as he's the master of the underplay) that he believes 0-0 tonight would be a good result. The thinking that not conceding at home will be enough to win the game across the two legs. As far as Madrid and Jose are considered, we must not score tonight.

Can't see anyone parking the bus. In fact, there's a part of me that worries that Madrid might just attempt to steam-roll.

Madrid also have a number of key players on yellow cards. So hoping Sandro can bring some of that physicality and incite some hot-tempered tempo to proceedings. We do however need to retain our cool. Remain composed. And not over extend beyond our means. Stand tall at the back and aim for a knock-down or two from the tall at the front.

We are not expected to win. We're not expected to beat them over the two games. So the pressure is on them. Leaving us to play without fear. Because to do otherwise would be regretful.

I hope our defence retain unity.
I hope Bale has 'a game'.
I hope vdV galvanises his team mates on his return to his former club.
I hope Modric dictates.
I hope our players show resounding mental strength.
I hope Harry gets one over Jose.

Win the midfield battle. Play with pace. Play with width. We have nothing to lose, right? We're not meant to be in the quarter-finals, right? I'm having flashbacks, 3-0 down to Young Boys.

Our spine has to be strong. It's not beyond the realms of impossibility to get a draw there. I'll be shocked to the bone if we collapsed Inter first leg style, all choked up and star struck. We're all grown up now. It's quintessentially Tottenham when you feel slightly more confident your team will perform against the might of Real than playing away to Wigan.

Come on you Spurs. Weather the White Storm. Let's be having the Madridistas waving their white handkerchiefs.

Game of your life Tottenham, game of your life.





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.





Spurs 4 Twente 1: DVD? Nah, got us a vdV

Why bother supporting any other team when the one I've got rips the heart out of my chest and then mockingly juggles it around in my face? How could anyone possibly turn down the chance to feel completely alive by virtue of being dragged kicking and screaming to near death?

It's a never-ending this, a roller-coaster ride which dips into the pits of hell and loops its way upwards through purgatory and onwards at great speed into the fluffy lilywhite coloured clouds of a blinding heaven. Which by this point you are so mentally and physically ruined you can hardly muster up the energy to enjoy the moment because you're too busy trying to push your ravaged and just about beating heart back through your rib cage, breathing life back into your shattered body.

This is Tottenham '10/11. We don't just win. We entertain. In that 'oh crap we might yet still lose this' kinda way. And in the process they make sure you lose at least ten weeks off your life expectancy, for every ninety minutes of this torturous wonderment.

Whether you were at the game last night, getting drenched, lapping up the Champions League theme music and advertising boards and the slow renditions of 'Oh when the Spurs' or sat at home wondering at what point exactly a portal opened and sucked you into a parallel bizarro dimension where Spurs play their football on the tiny pitch at Highbury - it doesn’t matter. In the space of 94 minutes or so, the Champions League lost it's Spurs virginity at White Hart Lane. And she loved it. The slut.

Back to back defeats before the game. There was plenty of concern pre-match. The injuries to the back four make it swap shop every weekend. The tinkering of formations and player selections. The lack of any full forceful desire and guile, leaving us with no platform for the possibility of momentum.

We lined-up in a more traditional 442. King back in the team with Bassong alongside him. Hutton right, BAE left. Lennon benched, meaning a middle two of Hudd and Modric with Bale on the left and van der Vaart on the right but with the license to shift into more central positions. Crouch and Pav up top. First thought when seeing the team? Balanced and logical. We're at home. We need to be on the offensive. No need for the complexities we've witnessed recently of 451 where some of our players struggle with their assigned roles. That's if they have any to start of with.

Game kicks off, and it was all a bit frustrating during the opening exchanges. Twente didn't let us settle, there was no zing to the ball, no suggestion that we could perhaps turn the pace of the game to EPL standard. When they had the ball, they created pockets of half-chances and almosts. Our play was ever so slightly off-key, summed up with Bale's wasteful pass to no one when it was easier to find vdV.

There was a tinge of the ominous about the game. It was open, end to end. But still, you wondered if this was simply the way CL football is, or that once more we would flatter to deceive and fail to make an impact. But slowly and surely we found a way in.

You saw the game. So you can fully appreciate it's wonderful mixture of ups and downs and thank f**ks. So I won't run through an incident-by-incident analysis. Instead, I'll cover off the vitals:


Give him the captains armband. Yeah, okay, so it was obvious after 10 minutes he'd get red-carded at some point what with the way he was running around with his chest pumped out, exuberantly trying to be involved with everything, every touch of the ball, kung-fu or otherwise. It was like watching Gascoigne, just without the big fake tits and tears. We haven't had a player like this for a while. Someone who leads by example, be it last night was a mixture of the good, the bad and ugly. He's got a 'I'll grab you by your throat get up and go' styling about him that practically begs his team mates to match his intensity. The fact he is technically top drawer is additional man-crush material.

I absolutely love Rafa and his relentless desire to push forwards. Should have hit his penalty lower, towards the corner and not given that twat in goal for Twente the chance to cheat-save it. But what a start to the second half. Brilliantly taken goal (or quite an easy one if you let Alan Smith explain the dynamics to you). His second yellow, much deserved as his first. Unnecessary. Gutting. Luckily, Spurs are made of sterner stuff and survived. I heart you Rafa you decadent piece of Dutch delight.

The defence

Welcome back Gomes you nutter. Wayward kicking, couple of uneasy moments, but reminded us of his class with his 'one-to-one I'll sit down to save this with my hand' save. I'm far more confident with him in the side even if he is prone to loopy moments and girlie crying.

Hutton. Superb offensively be it to the detriment of the defence, so if you're a misery guts you'll argue he's a tad undisciplined what with his marauding down the flanks and thus a liability. But it does sort of work. If he can spot the dangers of when not to run forwards or as long as Harry instructs some quick-smart cover, then I actually quite like to see him retain his place for the moment. Mainly because we still have to wake up in the EPL. And at home, he can be an asset.

Bassong. Went on one mazy run. Was like watching a slow-mo version of Zokora with better control of the ball and moving in more than one direction. Nothing like Zokora actually. But much like Zoko, amounted to nothing. Defensively ok. Same with BAE. They both just got on with it. I don’t remember BAE getting forwards much, but not complaining too much there. They can both play with more assurity, that's for certain. Talking of which...


Not brilliant, but doesn't have to be. He's still better than most even when running at 80% with his knee super-glued on. Ledley; a prestige player. Indispensable. Levy, if you're reading this, screw the new stadium, spend the money on a cloning machine. In fact, if anyone knows the whereabouts of Nikola Tesla's teleportation machine, get in touch. Oh wait, hold up, it burnt down. Oh well, we're screwed.


Didn't notice him? That's because there was no fireworks, just the strong whiff of Croatian sweat. Bottle it up, sell it as a cologne. 'Luka', the scent of smart. He never wasted possession, constantly and tirelessly working for the side. Not the clever crafting Luka we know and love, but the game required a more disciplined effective player who made sure the midfield tick tocked without a pause. Multi-layered is Moddle.


He's a bit all over the shop at the moment. Easily could have seen a red card for his backwards flying arm. Keep those eyes from turning green, Bruce. Good shift with regards to defensive duties, what with the blocking and tackling. Perhaps no time for studs on ball, look up, Hollywood passing but you need to adapt quickly to the pace of the game and he did so. Just about. I think he's struggling with the adjusting he's having to make.


Even when he's not quite firing on all cylinders, he's still a joy to watch. Powerful, beastly Gareth, with a barnet to die for. His goal (our 4th) summed it up for me, taking advantage of slack defending, pulsating forwards, slotting it home. Like I said, not quite firing on all cylinders (crossing was meh at times). But essential to the team because he always looks like creating something. Has to remain at LW. Forever and ever and ever.

Crouch and Pav

Peter got himself into positions but seemed to hedgehog himself when the ball flew towards him. Didn't have a comfortable time out there. Did win us a pen and did assist for vdV. So if I could reach, high-five Peter. Pav, non-existent first half and yet somehow better in the second when we had ten men. His penalty taking was superb. Clinical Roman, he can take his chances when gift-wrapped, but still has the Darren Bents about him in terms of effectiveness off the ball. Does hold the ball up well on occasions. But it's obvious, we lack the upper tier quality required to really lead from the front. Holding the ball up and whatever, come one now, it's bread and butter. We need more than this.

Redknapp and the formation/tactics

Ding-dong game wasn't it? Some generous refereeing decisions with the pens. But the team worked as a unit and certain individuals took responsibility and are deserving of good post-match hug. Back to the basics of 442. It worked. Okay, so it was not quite solid in places in terms of some of our defending and we did not look overly convincing at times (we'll have to play eight at the back against Inter). And the front two didn't have a sharp cutting edge type of night (do we ever?), but there was more than enough about us to see it through. A better team probably would have taken advantage and punished us where Twente perhaps wasted opportunities. But you could argue, with Defoe up front, we could done the same to them.

The game

Ridiculous. Heart out of chest, in mouth, gagging football. Thanks to the officials, someone ought to point out to them that Christmas is still a few months away. First penalty, for me was a pen. Second was very soft but we've seen them given. Third wasn't a penalty, but hey, anything that sticks it to Mihaylov is fine by me. Game was won with the possession of the ball in the second half after Twente got back into the game and Rafa got sent off. Our reaction to it was for me, excellent. Harry bringing on Jenas (at 3-1) was a very clever move which resulted in a spell of possession football which killed 10-15 minutes and practically ended Twente's belief they could claw their way back.  

Defence worked hard. Midfield tried to make things happen. Front two, not so effective, but in the end it was more than enough.

Hopefully the team will have a touch more confidence and focus for the EPL now. Even though, the reality is, we were not by any great means wholly convincing. But the tenacity was there. It's time for us prioritise the league starting with Villa at home.


To dare is to do a bit of everything. van der Vaart, my man of the match.



Twente quid on Spurs to win


You'll have to excuse me today. Had no pre-written blog posts from the night before scheduled to go live this afternoon, due to other commitments. Mostly sleep. So no mentalist battle cry or in-depth over the top unnecessary formation chit chat, mainly because it's all been done to death already. And let's be fair, if our players fail to turn up tonight, may God have mercy on all the knees within White Hart Lane. And not forgetting the broadband pipes that will explode with bandwidth misery as fans across the country and the world punch-type their keyboards with despairing post-match anger.

But they won't, will they, not with Huddlestone rallying the troops post-game.


It's a mid-week game. It's an evening kick-off. It's Europe. It's got all the necessary ingredients for a Glory Glory night with that added spice of being the first ever Champions League group game in N17.

As long as that other all important ingredient gets added to flavour it all up nicely, we should be a-ok.

So, over to the 11 Lilywhites and the chef. Stir it up. I want to feast and feel bloated with happiness. And not left starved, ending the night with a migraine.

It's in your hands, THFC.


P.S. Got something lined-up for future match-days and events. Embedded updates. Sexy. Something for all you peeps that like to interact when watching dodgy internet streams and read my minute-by-minute match updates. Slicker than just updating blog articles like I did here. There's about a 5% chance of testing it during tonight's game. Depends if I get a spare second before going out.