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Entries in white hart lane (21)


Villas 2 Villa 0

Tottenham 2 Villa 0

Still not completely convincing at home. Lacking that ruthless killer instinct. One or two players struggling with their form. Other's still settling. Other's forming new on field relationships. Pre-match I wanted to see:

  1. More than just 45 minutes of dominance, fluidity from start to finish.
  2. Boss midfield and tempo with aggression and pace.
  3. Clinical in front of goal.
  4. No late goals conceded.
  5. Comfortable win.
  6. Noisy happy atmosphere.

We sort of got some of the above, in pockets, more so in second half than in the first – including a moment or two where the opposition might have punished us, but thankfully, they too lacked that killer touch. Yet, even as this team builds momentum and team unity, even with new players still looking to find their groove in Lilywhite, we still find ourselves sitting in 5th spot with four consecutive league wins and unbeaten in nine games. Momentum breeds confidence and confidence breeds style. All in good time. Considering we lost two key players (Luka and Rafa) in the summer along with an injury to another (Parker)  and the retirement of Ledley plus an overhaul of coaching and training...if this is a transitional period, it's hardly traumatic. Andre Villas-Boas inherited a side in a state of flux. We are hardly the sitting ducks some expected (prayed for) in the aftermath of the summer.

Sure, okay, no problem...I agree (how can I not?) that the swagger isn’t quite free-flowing at the Lane. Would be naive to expect a new coach to implement new ideas as casually and easily as flicking a switch on. We look better, more fluid, away from home at the moment but the signs are there that improvements will be made which should have a more positive effect on how we set up at the Lane. It’s one thing being a side that attacks attacks attacks but if there is no added dimension to our play, no adaptability – then we’ll get unstuck against more clued up opponents. However, the drawback at the moment is that as we look to progress we might get unstuck by virtue of the problems that exist, the ones we’re trying to iron out.

Say, for example, sitting too deep at 1-0 or not taking our chances early in the game. Then again, as good as we were at full pelt last season at home there were plenty of games where for all our intent we failed to break down teams. Looks like we’re worked through our early season issues (WBA, Norwich) already but the real test will come when a far stronger side visits.

What did we learn with the 2-0 against Villa?

Sandro and Dembele are forming a robust partnership in the centre of midfield. The Belgian completing 77 passes from 79 and was never dispossessed and aided the powerful push forwards in the second half. Such a great mix of abilities and with Parker out, Sandro is able to graft his way towards making the position his own. Dembele is quality and players like that won't struggle to settle if they have the confidence to play thanks to their team mates effort and work rate. Can't wait to see the immensity of their partnership 20 games into the season.

Special extra mention: Sandro and the 720 degree turn. He's a mentalist.

Vertonghen is superb. So vital we have players in key positions that are world class. There, I said it. I'm not ashamed. He's a centre-back that looks equally comfortably at left-back and attacks as well ad he defends. Oozes confidence and leadership. Caulker's eduction by the side of both Jan and Gallas, better spent with us than out on loan. The youth of Spurs are being coached and selected. No favouritism. If you're good enough, you're in. Mature beyond his years but then we caught a glimpse of that when he was at Swansea. Talking of maturity, Gallas, on the quiet, getting the job done and continuing to prove many of us (including me) wrong. Still has it. We look strong at the back, more so when the injured return to full fitness.

Dempsey is still bedding in (much like Siggy is) – when both find their place in the team then both will give us that extra bit of oomph in midfield that we lost when van der Vaart returned to Germany. Dempsey scored a bundle for Fulham. Siggy equally effective for Swansea. Both, thus far, bit part players trying to work into the system. The American currently ahead in selection.

Adebayor’s return is massive for us. Holds up the ball, retains it well, allowing the midfielders to press forward and his link up play is far superior to what Defoe can offer. It’s part of his natural game. Hoping he gets in amongst it with the goals once he starts to play regularly.

Not sure of original source of image. Possibly computer generated. Blatant fake. They're all smiling.

Hugo Lloris proved why he’s got so much more than Brad Friedel between the sticks in terms of this being a team game. His distribution and his communication is vital to improving the way we defend, acting as both keeper and sweeper. He did make one mistake that went unpunished. Still, a clean sheet. Ta muchly. Brad, the model professional all smiles on the bench (unless Friedel was not actually at the game and Spurs were using 'tupac' holographic technology to show us a smiling Brad to aid with disguising the turmoil in the dressing room). Another feature of Hugo is the way he sees danger and seeks to throw himself onto the grenade. Love the way he reads the game so well and dashes out to tackle/win the ball. Also – 67% passing rate (Brad has 18% average).

We accepted the slice of luck to go 1-0 up and that was enough of a breakthrough to set us on our way for a far more comfortable second half. Although Villa had a moment or two (one shot straight at Lloris and the other, the aforementioned mistake from the keeper that thankfully saw Benteke’s header go wide). A reminder of those problems that need ironing out.

Walker is still struggling. I don’t get why some are so keen to dismiss him because he's currently detached from solid consistent form. He’s a young lad, he had a fantastic season last time out. I don’t know what the reason is behind his erratic displays but much like the team as a whole struggled, we need to be supportive.

Might be in need of some rotation/rest/competition once Naughton is available for selection again. We all know he needs to work and develop his positioning and defending. He's got all the right qualities for AVB's tactics. We just need to make sure he's focused and disciplined. Maybe he does need that rest. But there's no doubt he needs to understand he's a defender and usually defenders need to defend. Rest aside, the coaches need to nurture the raw talent. I guess some will still slag him off or not open their eyes to the long play much like they were all too eager to see Bale go off on loan to Forest.

Lennon's goal was great. Sandro, Dempsey involved, lovely finish from Azza. As for the first, Defoe cleverly aiming for Caulker to purposely deflect the shot in to beat the keeper. As for Gareth Bale. Solid performance without being outstanding but the 'dive' deserves its own article. Will share soon.

No sitting too deep second half with positive attack minded substitutions.

Villa were not very good. Did well in the first half to nullify us (although we still crafted chances of promise). But our first half misgivings had plenty to do with untidy passing and decision making and lack of tempo and composure. Too anxious perhaps? Trying too hard to force the issue rather than dismantling the opposing side with cool, calculated movement. We still looked solid and we improved and in the end the visitors had very little to show for it. A better striker up front for them and perhaps the game would have played out differently.

We could have made more of it after they went down to 10 men, but failed to find a third goal. Woodwork making sure of it.

Good work going into the international break. We still look like a side playing at around 60% - 70% of our true potential. The trick is that we retain that winning momentum when we’re not firing on all cylinders, whilst aiming for 80% +. Once the spine of the team is settled and we’re more fluid in movement and intensity, then we’ll be standing on that next level of performance. Once on that level, I’d expect us to be far more dominant and bullish at home. It still has that ominoius feeling that its a bit to much of a graft to earn the points. But then that's hardly a bad thing. We're still winning, still finding a way through. The progression of Andre Villas-Boas Tottenham continues.

Special mention again to Brad Friedel and 320 consecutive games played in the Premier League. Phenomenal. Also worth noting (again), seven played with fourteen points. One defeat. Nine games unbeaten all comps.


6 things

Villa at the Lane. Ideally what do I want to see?


More than just 45 minutes of dominance, fluidity from start to finish.

Boss midfield and tempo with aggression and pace.

Clinical in front of goal.

No late goals conceded.

Comfortable win.

Noisy happy atmosphere.


That do you?


The minority report

Is AVB making mistakes? Yeah, sure. I guess no manager is prone to them (although mistakes are only such after the fact otherwise they're shrewd risks that pay off). Especially when at a new club trying to work out the capabilities of the players in the squad and what will work in the long term. So where exactly can the benefit of the doubt be found in amongst all this?

The same way a win can bring renewed optimism a defeat or dropped points seems to bask in depressive pessimism. One extreme to the next. There appears to be no patience for anything to sit in-between the two. Unless that's where the silent majority are, cautious and suspicious, perhaps unwilling to commit until there are more points under in our possession.

Are we back to arguing about the semantics of what constitutes acceptable expectancy? Should this expectancy be a quantifiable reason to inspire the type of support or lack of the team gets from the stands? Think about what that means for a moment. Do you support the team or support what you think the team should be doing to satisfy your needs?

Pound for pound with the players we have we should be swaggering around the pitch. You'd think, you'd hope. Worked under Redknapp. But this is a new era (if I say it enough times then maybe non-believers will clock on) and if the plan is to work through the problems now, in the present, to strength our resolve for the long run – so be it. We’re hardly being dragged kicking and screaming to the gates of hell. For all of that swagger of last season it was the unresolved quirks that saw us stutter and dip. None of those problems looked like being resolved. Our coach is of a different type and his team will be a different build of Tottenham.

Or do some of you really take what happened at that cesspool of a club Villas-Boas was at last season as a valid reason not to trust him? Is there no chance that experience has actually made him a better man and more adaptable to achieve success in England?

It’s not so much the booing that bothers me (it does bother me as it's the calling card for the haters) but it's the accompanying attitude that allows it to manifest in the first place. I’ve been told there were a number of disagreements (again) in the stands and in even in the gents at half time where supporters argued.

“We’re sh*t”
“Why don’t you just support the team?”

Us and them. Hardly One Hotspur.

Disgruntled, some proclaim it’s the performance they are booing and showing their disapproval for because 'how else will they know it's not good enough?'. Let’s not ignore the fact that this isn’t a new trait. It’s been common place for a few seasons now. One or two dips or struggles and the new breed (or just the very tired old breed) believe it's acceptable to lift yourself up from your seat and give the thumbs down. It's a shame we no longer have season ticket booklets. They’re far easier to throw onto the pitch. Levy probably planned for this eventuality. Makes it difficult to start a bonfire outside too. Face it, it doesn't inspire. What inspires is a roar from the crowd, a push from the team that fuels further noise from the stands.

So why the defeatism? The minority that boo and react with discontent are just that, a minority. Yet before a ball is even kicked the atmosphere at Spurs seems to be low-key and nervous. If you honestly believe that won’t influence the players then you need to have a word with yourself and remember that we’re meant to be the voice of the club. If you believe you can inspire the players then you probably can. The excuse that they deserve the abuse because they’re millionaires is irrelevant to what transpires in front of you for those 90 minutes. You're there to support Tottenham.

I guess people must feel stupid, singing when we’re not winning. Love is obviously now conditional within the walls of White Hart Lane. Wasn’t too long ago we laughed at the attitude of other supporters at other clubs. I won’t spell out the irony. I’ll just wait for the ones that disagree to gather up their excuses and explain why I'm wrong. As I cited last time, the want for success and the desire to attain it and the fear of failure is all-consuming. People these days want to skip ahead to the glory, they don't want to fight their way through the graft. It's easier to be fickle, easier to turn the switch on if things are going well, then switch off when they're not. I guess what with it being our best season ever last time out, we have a lot to live up to.

90 minutes. It's 90 minutes every week. You were Spurs before kick-off, you’re Spurs during it and you’re still Spurs after it’s all done. Regardless of the result.

Modern football is focused on winning. Winning is everything and support is optional. Everyone wants it all yesterday and stamps foot with petulance if not given. In an earlier blog I said I can’t tell people or force them to support Spurs in any way different to the way they do now. In an earlier blog I also said I wouldn't be revisiting this argument again, so excuse my Michael Corleone moment.

All our perceptions are unique. Our viewpoints differ and that is usually based on the type of person you are generally, in life. Your outlook and mood. The way you handle pressure. But football, is it not meant to be an escapism? Yes, it's serious and it matters more than it really should but considering the struggles we all live through from day to day, being Tottenham and watching Tottenham should not be perceived as a chore just because we're not witnessing something majestic on the day.

I guess with myself, I’m just someone that tries to retain balance and stand on the side of Spurs. I’m a supporter. I support the club. I support the team that is coached by Andre Villas-Boas, but I support the club first and foremost. No matter what. By 'the club' I'm refering to its traditions and identity. I'll fight for what I believe Tottenham is (including not moving to Stratford, as an example). Since when did football supporting have a requisite that we should only get behind the team vocally when the team is playing well? Like they're only deserving of our support if they're entertaining the people in the stands? That isn't my version of football. And if the game has changed I'll be damned if I'm not going to favour the supporters that do want to stand and sing and support.

It's cultural also. I doubt we'll ever see white handkerchiefs waving from the East Stand and Paxton. Take the South Americans and Italians. They get to walk into dressing rooms and have discussions with board members. They demand the shirts off the backs of players not performing. Dramatic yet emotive and passionate. We're a little more straight-laced than our foreign counterparts on this island of ours. But in terms of our predicament, I ask, what predicament? It's hardly a relegation dog fight with five games to go and if it was and there was no fight left in the team, you'd want to go down to a tune like that sorry band on the Titanic. Yet still they'd be plenty that would prefer to jump on a lifeboat and be far away from the sinking wreckage.

I can still be angry, I can still disapprove or disagree or feel frustration. They’ll even be moments when  I’m biting through my nails. But there’s not a chance I’ll stand at White Hart Lane or in a pub or in front of a tv and behave like it's my God given right to have it all on a plate and then pretend I didn’t act like that when I have it served up. The players are custodians of the shirt we wear. We will always be the one constant, from one generation to the next, the supporters (regardless of how we're being marginalised and how some of us are metamorphosing into consumers of football theatre), we are the ones that define the mood of the club. The Lane was not that long ago known for its noise. I begin to fear what will happen in a stadium that holds just under 60k if half that amount are struggling to be heard now.

Through thick and thin, right?

So, with regards to the minority, there’s actually not much I can say to change you. You're built that way. You'll keep on doing what you're doing. There's a demographic that sees things very differently, that believe it is in fact theatre. How can you possibly change that mind-set? You can't. But you can influence others that are seated in the lower tiers, in the traditionally vocal blocks.

It's up to the majority to sing up. Like we do away from home. Like we do at youth games. Sing up and drown out the negativity, remind them that there is more honour in facing adversity and doubt (even if it's arguable there isn't any presently) as one voice by simply being Tottenham. You're there, willing the team on, hoping and praying they do well. It's never guaranteed, its never a certainty. There's nothing in the terms and conditions stipulating you'll always get what you want. It's not just the team that needs supporting, some in the stands are in need of it too.

You're not the journey to the ground. You're not the price of admission. You're not your f**king seat. You're the all-singing, all-dancing Spurs from the Lane.


Love the shirt and follow.




There is another angle to all this. Being told that we have to sit down all the time. Nowadays, it's about licenses and health and safety. Then again, there is nothing stopping any of you from dancing the dance we all dance to every other week.

If you're told to sit down by a steward, sit down. Everyone will stand up again in anticipation if say Lennon suddenly fizzes down the flank. Technically speaking, by virtue of all-seaters, standing up in the space where you sit is safe. It's just not legally permitted. Hence that constant dance with the stewards. Maybe at some point in the future the club will agree to follow the likes of Aston Villa (in progress) and Manchester City and have a designated area where supporters can stand. Sunderland are another with a positive outlook. These are just some of the clubs with plans to either allow safe standing or discuss its potential. Then like minded people can take that opportunity to pay to stand there.

Lower ties at football stadia should be standing blocks.

For now, it's about reigniting the current unofficial standing block (the Park Lane Lower) which has lost its spark.


Info here on Safe Standing via the Football Supporters' Federation.



Let’s pretend we scored a goal

Thanks to everyone that cited 1882 (blocks 15 and 16 allocated) when getting tickets for the NextGen game at the Lane against Barca on Thursday night. Around 600 or so like-minded supporters turned up, stood up and sang for 90 minutes. Great atmosphere before the game at the Bricklayers pub and relentless enthusiasm right up to the final whistle and beyond. Okay, so there were some issues with overzealous stewards during the first half including the Old Bill doing the rounds although to be fair to them they were only following club policy, something witnessed on any given match day at Spurs.

Although this is an U-19’s game its hardly the same category as a fully fledged league match. Lack of communication it would seem was the reason as the head steward was apologetic to one Spurs fan after a heated debate on the subject. They didn’t seem to know the club had arranged the blocks for us (supporters that wanted to sing – you try signing sitting down). Second half, they let us get on with it proving safe standing is exactly that. So thank you to Spurs and the stewards. I’m sure it will be slicker next time round.

If you missed this whole 1882 thing first time round, it involved us travelling to Charlton away last season for the FA Youth Cup. 250 turned up for it, singing for the entirety of the match. We lost, 1-0. We didn’t care much, we just sang about Spurs. Considering all the coverage over the current supporting landscape at the Lane and the nervous, fearful approach – the aim of Thursday evening was to bring back some of that upbeat, constant love for the shirt no matter what was going on around us. I think we did pretty well. Just over 8k turned up for the game which is amazing in itself. Barca won 2-0, not unexpected. Out of our lot Pritchard looks a gem. Samper is one to watch for Barca.

I guess the thing that sticks out most from the evening is that if this sort of unofficial standing area was not available on the night, if Spurs were not accommodating then there would not have been the atmosphere created because all the people that want to sing will have had tickets all over the West Stand leaving them fragmented. Stick them all in one place and you get what we got: Support, from start to finish. Then again, the fact we need a singing section to produce a far better experience than sitting there doing nothing is another example of modern football and that's why we started 1882. To draw people in.

Okay, so the pressure of youth football from a supporter’s perspective is not on the same level of expectancy than first team football. But considering the Park Lane lower was once known for its voice, seems a shame and a waste that if the hardcore stand there, they’re not producing the same vocals every other weekend that 600 produced for a NextGen game. It’s not even about 1882 and The Fighting Cock. It’s simply about recapturing that romantic notion of being proud of the badge on the shirt and not caring about anything other than being Tottenham Hotspur. Everyone at Spurs has a voice. It’s better to be heard singing that it is complaining.

The essence of supporter is to support. If that makes us a dying breed, so be it. We'll be part of it until the end.




Great to meet a few more people off Twitter, although not enough of you it seems. Avatars on t-shirts like name tags next time? Missed out on a couple of handshakes and hugs. Pleasure to chat to Crackers who hosts the 'Ohh When the Spurs' podcast with Antony Costa. And big love to @eperons, @Teflon6 and also @THFCAlex from Norway with a better English accent than most English people - all of them travelled in from the continent to make the game. Not forgetting the God like CaseTFC (webmaster of The Fighting Cock website) who visited the Lane from Crewe.

The West Stand has never been so noisy. We'll be part of it until the end.



Follow @lovetheshirt



Dear Spurs fans,

Take that sense of entitlement and stick it up your a*se. Forget about the money spent at the door, you're meant to support the team above all else so how about behaving in a manner that’s becoming of Spurs rather than defaulting to a stereotype we have so many times in the past made fun of, aiming our laughter at opposing teams that knee-jerk. Okay, so the current transition is not very attractive and enthralling. Might take more than three games for us to find a flow. Are you missing the hedonistic days of Harry Redknapp’s title challenges? Has patience been completely drained from your consciousness? Easier to boo players wearing the shirt than it is to stand up and sing for them? Get this – WE ARE PLAYING AT HOME. It’s your team, back them and let them know, let the opposing side know and let their fans know.

We are Tottenham.

Or is the Roman Empire and you're the emperor, as you look on waiting to be entertained to give the thumbs up or down? Oh wait a minute, you’ve spent a few bob on your food, beer and programme so you’re allowed to heckle the millionaires out on the pitch. Oh how simplistic it all is in your bubble. You might be present at the game but you may as well be sitting in an armchair and how dare Tottenham Hotspur not entertain you for every single second you witness. It’s football it’s not pantomime. You lot are deserving of one thing. Mid-table. Then perhaps you can f*ck off and not drag down the atmosphere to your miserable level, you glory glory-hunters. At this rate, we might even get it. Boo some more.

You remember the back end of last season? That forgotten form that the media do love to dismiss which cost us dearly? Ask Harry Redknapp, I'm sure he'll mention it on Match of the Day this evening. Take that into account and mix it up with new signings and a new coach. Do you want me to draw you a picture? Nah, of course not. We're winning now, you're too busy singing and covering yourselves with validation. Don't tell me booing is emotional. It's lazy. Oh hold up, you're booing again. Not winning any more? Did the other lot score?

You have the right to be critical, frustrated, disappointed. You're welcome to your opinions to lay blame on those you believe deserve it, although quite how you wish to be petulant with your patience is beyond me but then I remember the 90's like they were yesterday so perhaps my skin is thicker. It's not about blind faith, it's about retaining some sense of balance to the argument. Be angry if you wish, but be a Spurs fans when you're watching your team. We are as despondent in display in the stands as some of the players out on the pitch at the moment. Perhaps the players should share the love and start booing us.

We've not even had any truly tangible success, just solid progression. God only knows what kind of expectations we'll have if we did start winning season in, season out.

Yours sincerely,

The rest of us.


Things I want to see from Spurs this season (#2)


Fortress White Hart Lane


We've got more than a decent home record. Have done for a fair few years. Sure, Utd always turn up and dick us. City will never be easy. But it's far more disappointing losing games we expect to be victorious in, except it's these very games we fear and end up tripping over ourselves in limp displays of effort. Bottom half of the table, relegation dog-fighters. They turn up, they park the bus, they defend deep, they suck up the attacks then counter and score with their only chance. It's what makes Fortress WHL penetrable for those plucky enough to believe their discipline can ensure a successful invasion. We too need to retain discipline to counter their plan. Arguably we've struggled to break these teams down. Not enough guile, just plenty of kitchen sink throwing. We've had to rely on some magic, occasionally last minute, to save us blushes but it's always felt like we've made it difficult when it shouldn't be. Hence the lack of gob-smacking shock at the final whistle. You can sometimes see these types of games play out ominously as the minutes tick away. You just know in your gut it's not going to happen.

Villas-Boas is much touted as being tactically astute. Redknapp was much maligned for his reliance on players individuality creating something out of nothing rather than formational and tactical switches to force the issue and force the opposition to perhaps react in a way that would allow us to take advantage. We're going to need that guile and aggression to find a way through when it's not made easy for us. Discipline accompanied by patience and the most important weapon of defence - ruthless finishing in front of goal. Nothing more frustrating than drawing at home when the game is there for the taking. Aside from defeat. Both should warrant the same air of unacceptability.





I forgot to write up a 10,000 word preview of the game. So, I guess I should say something poignant in it's place. I don't have anything poignant to share. So I'll just think of something ad-hoc and hope it brightens up your bandwidth, although you're probably better spent clicking on a more enticing headline selling you the latest ITK.

Did Villas-Boas say 'aggressive' in his post-match interviews on Friday relating to the 433 morphing into a more balanced 4231? I love that world. Aggressive. I love seeing teams play with aggression. Bullying and slapping the opposition with an essence of suitably humiliation. Hey, if it works for the American porn industry then why should football be any different? Let them get choked up. Too much right?

We are still without a truly creative playmaker but we have Sigurdsson and we have van der Vaart and sacrificing one of our holding midfielders (that's you Jake) to accommodate the both of them might just give us enough spark to carve open WBA. We're at home. Adebayor is back. Ledley is making an appearance at half time. Villas-Boas home début. Sing up, sing up. Love the shirt and the swashbuckle.

Get it done, then with any luck we'll be welcoming three new players before the window closes giving us that extra shine of quality to push on.

That's it. I'll be a little more creative and detailed in the match report.



1882: Spurs v Barca, NextGen


Further to the announcement of the 1882 movement, The Fighting Cock are delighted to confirm that the club have allocated us two blocks (15-16) in the West Lower for the NextGen games against Barcelona. That’s about 600 seats. It would be amazing to sell them all, which would easily do the 250 we took to the Charlton youth game back in March.

For those that want to meet before the game we will be in the Bricklayers pub from about 5pm. They know we’re coming.

Ticket info:

This is the email we received from Spurs:

We have had an internal meeting and I can confirm that we have reserved off 2 blocks for the NextGen series fixture against Barcelona on Thursday 13th September.

The blocks that have been allocated to you are blocks 15 and 16 which are located in the West Lower. Tickets are priced at adults £5, One Hotspur adult members can purchase tickets at £3 and Junior and Senior Citizen tickets will be priced at £1.00.

To book tickets please contact the ticket office on 0844 844 0102 and select option 2. When booking tickets we ask that your members quote the name of your group ’1882′ as this way you will all be located together. All the staff in the ticket office have been made aware of your group and the reserved area for this fixture.

I have spoken to our safety officer who has informed me that banners and large flags are not permitted in the ground however standard sized flags are allowed and will not be confiscated.


Tottenham Hotspur vs Barcelona in the NextGen Series. Thursday 13th September, KO 7pm. Call the ticket office on 0844 844 0102 and quote ’1882′ Meet before the game in the Bricklayers pub around 5pm.


Shut up, sit down, do as we tell you to

Claude: "How's the renovation going?"
Oswald: "Great. The loft conversation is done, we're having the back garden landscaped"
Claude: "BBQ?"
Oswald: "Of course. Once it's completed we'll be having a house warming"
Claude: "You massive show off you"
Oswald: "I know. Keeps the wife happy. You still going to the Bahamas this summer?"
Claude: "Yes. Booked up. Two glorious weeks. Really looking forward to it"
Oswald: "We've decided on the Canary Islands"
Claude: "Again?"
Oswald: "Creature comforts"
Claude: "Is that the new...?"
Oswald: "Yes. It's a Blackberry"
Claude: "Looks lush"
Oswald: "That's because it is"
Claude: "I'm holding out for the next Galaxy"
Oswald: "What you got currently?"
Claude: "The current Galaxy. But the next one will be better"
Oswald: "Oh look. I think something has happened"
Claude: "Where? Oh yeah. They appear to be running back to the half-way line"

Rupert: "Excuse me. Yes, you two. Can you please keep the chitter chatter to a minimum. Tone it down a touch. I'm trying to critique the match here. Can you not see I'm writing some notes?"

Steward: "Chaps. If you persist with this behaviour I will have to escort you out of the ground. Read the warnings on the back of the seats. Use sign language if you're going to banter"

Claude/Oswald: "Sorry"

Claude: <So did someone score?>
Oswald: <Not sure. I've got an app on my phone. I'll have a look>

Valentine: <Excuse me, yes you two. Can you perhaps sign language a little less aggressively please. I'm feeling faint, you're making me dizzy with all your animated hand gestures. This is a football match you know>

Björk: Shhh!

The future of football. Shut up, sit down, do as we tell you to. That's not even the mantra of the powers that be. According to the powers that be, some fans are already making themselves comfortable in their seats, not wishing to participate in the games atmosphere but preferring to sit back and watch as though they are witnessing opera or ballet. Each to their own. No doubt it's your prerogative how you wish to soak it all in at a game. But if you want to watch in silence, do you have the right to define everyone else's experience to match your dainty bubble? Why is the minority so all consuming?

The club will never allow the drum back into White Hart Lane or the new stadium. For me, it's not even about the drum any more. It's about what the drum stood for. Freedom of expression. We continue to be marginalised by the club and according to Spurs, we appear to also be marginalised by some of our own. Other supporters have allegedly written to the club to say they oppose the drum and it's fake plastic beats and that it's an unnecessary distraction and they do not approve of the noise.

Football fans not approving of noise? Surely this is satire? Football fans complaining about other footballs fans and the manner in which they wish to demonstrate their love for the team. Must be satire.

You might think it's hypocritical that I'm saying its okay for 'us' to make noise and that we are imposing on those that do not wish to stand/sing/chant/scream/drum. But get this. Football might be this overly policed entertainment package that costs an arm and a leg to go to but the very essence of its existence remains tribal and we have a right to fight for that freedom of expression. If you don't like the noise, try the sofa. Last time I blogged about this someone told me that they no longer go to Spurs wishing to stand and sing and preferred to watch seated with their son/daughter. I'll let you work out the contradiction and hypocrisy in that statement.

If you wrote a letter to THFC complaining about the drum/noise, please get in touch. I've got my opinion, I've shared it. I'd like to give you a platform to share yours.


If anyone has positive stories about the drum to share, please email spursdrum @ He's compiling some to send to the club to counter the negative stories they have received. Doubtful the club will share their stories.



Strength. Width. Tempo.

Stoke, under the lights. I'm sure once I get to N17, walk down the Seven Sisters, have a beer or two and take my standing place in the Park Lane Lower I'll find myself edging back towards the necessity of us acquiring all three points. I remain fairly detached still from the pressures of finishing in the top four and retaining third place ahead of the two other London clubs below us.

Fabrice Muamba remains in our thoughts. It's great news that he's no longer critical and is in a stable condition, progressing well. Life goes on and so will football, even if for the moment it still feels some what unimportant in comparison. I wasn't at the Bolton cup game. I'll be there this evening (a rare occasion post-fatherhood) and I guess I wont know until the game kicks off how subdued the atmosphere will be. Hopefully it wont be. Harry said no player will be selected if they're not in the right frame of mind. If anything, we'll honour the lad as he continues to fight on and off the pitch. I'm positive all players will want to participate and do so with utmost professionalism.

I think the manner in which we played in the abandoned cup tie (aside from the openness in defence) would be a good starting point to continue with this evening. That means Bale out wide on the left in a more traditional flank role. Modric in the middle and van der Vaart free to roam from the right. It's a must-win game. Doesn't feel like it is but placing everything aside and taking the game in isolation - we can't afford to drop points at home. Not just in this game but all our remaining fixtures at White Hart Lane. Chelsea away to City, Arsenal away to Everton. It wouldn't be that surprising (considering the roller-coaster nature of this season) if the home sides falter. Ironic that for the best part of the season I've always cited how other results are of no interest to us. However now, the interest in what happens elsewhere is of a slightly more keen nature. It would be nice if our rivals came unstuck.

We need plenty of spirit and desire and complete focus at the task at hand. We're up against a side that has already beaten us twice this season. Make no mistake it's a tricky fixture under normal circumstances let alone following what happened in our last one. They are physical and dangerous from set-pieces. We need to grip the midfield and play our game and let them worry about attempting to contain us. Got to be organised when defending from high balls. We've also got to be wise to them breaking up our play so we might need to be patient in some of our build up play.

Strength. Width. Tempo.

Life does go on and we should embrace the positives and do them justice.




Back in the Park Lane lower

Follow up to the 'Return from exile' article here.

Was good to be back in the Park Lane lower, in amongst familiar faces that all appear to have retained their seats in my absence. Obviously better at time-managing life than I am. Routine victory, Everton hardly put us under pressure. We were professional. Highlight moment? Celebrating Lennon's goal with the lad to my left who proceeded to bear hug me whilst I punched the air with both fists. Felt something on my elbow, to then find the bloke in front of me holding his temple and screaming. He then proceeded to kneel down and hold his head for the next fifteen minutes. His mate didn't seem that bothered telling me not to worry. I wasn't sure if I was the one responsible for the head injury. If he's clutching his temple, did he turn to face my celebrating and got an elbow in the head for his troubles? The longer he stayed down, the funnier it got. This was the supporters stand equivalent to a Gareth Bale roll-over after being fouled. He kept touching his head and looking at his hand, perhaps waiting for blood to pour out.

A couple of people asked if he was okay, others apologised because nobody truly knew who hit him. I stood there, hands in pocket, not quite sure if this bloke was waiting for more witnesses to his 'injury' to come forward so that he could perhaps sue me for serious foul play. In the end he picked himself up and I departed for a half-time meet-up with some mates.

I celebrated Benny's goal with far more restraint in terms of body-popping movements, applauding the effort with glee and smiles and gentle hugs, this time with the lads to my right. The bloke in front ducked regardless, in fear of another attack.

At full time, he turned around and faced me. For a moment I thought "Here we go...he wants my name and address for insurance purposes". Instead, I got a handshake and a goodbye. I accepted and patted him on the back. Just like on the pitch after the final whistle.

Thankfully, very little trouble at the Bell and Hare before and after the game. Meet a few people, hoping for a far quicker return (in the next month or so) with hopefully a Saturday kick-off to allow for more pre and post match banter.

Simply nothing like being at the Lane. Even for the one game.

One final note, I didn't see Chirpy. Because had I, he would have got two non-accidental elbows to the face, the git. I know where you live chicken. You stay hiding.



Return from exile


I've been going to the Lane for years. Recently? Not so much.

I started around 86/87. The few years before the late 80s I wasn't living in England and in the early 80s I was a mere kid (although I remember one game at home to Ipswich, witnessing John Wark scoring at both ends, via the penalty spot. Hardly the stuff of dreams).

I've always found a way to get to Spurs. Tickets on the day through the turnstiles (remember?), membership, generous friends who couldn't go and shared the wealth. It meant if I wanted too I'd be there. And I always wanted to be there.

I was mostly East Stand lower. Towards the Park Lane end, which once upon a time was populated with away support, so it was nice and moody down in the corner. Talking terrace days. I slowly gravitated to the Park Lane post-all seater stadia. Then around 2004 I got a season ticket in the Park Lane Lower. Timing was as perfect as a Sheringham quick-step in the box. In the season that followed, tickets were about to become impossible to get hold off thanks to everyone wanting one. The waiting list was birthed.

It's a ticket (card these days) I'll never give up no matter what (hopefully when we move, the club will consider moving blocks of fans where they currently 'sit' to the new stand in the new stadium keeping everyone together). Would be a fine way to retain the Park Lane faithful. Just a thought.

I went to as many away games as my loyalty points would allow. Although was not keen on travelling on the official coach service the club provided. It was like a collection of odd balls and depressive fans pulled together from various message boards. 'Lifers' I called them. Most of them were seasoned travellers, people who will spend the rest of their days doing so. Still an odd bunch. The 1940's woman a stand-out, she looked like someone had plucked her out of her time and transported her to a confusing future.

"This isn't a time-machine, it's a coach and its only going up North...which technically can be deemed as travelling back in time"

...I whispered to her once. I was standing several feet away so she never heard my banter.

I kept with it before deciding a car or train was a safer bet and would usually travel with the same group making it a far more lively affair.

My life was Tottenham. Everything else revolved around it. Women and social life included.

Then real life drama kicked in. One or two things began to happen. Although it did not interfere with the football, it actually acted as a means of escape, anchoring me to routine - one that could not possibly let me down - win draw or lose. Because the Lane, it was always there. No matter what I was going through, football was always there. When I got over the 'one or two things' I then quite unexpectedly found myself in a relationship. Schoolboy error. Out of the frying pan into the fire.

I only jest.

"Sorry I'm late meeting you. Was watching us against Bolton"

"What's Bolton?"

First date slick vocal moves from me. Bless her, why did I expect her to have a clue about what I was talking about? We lost. But the date went well.

The missus is as good as gold. Except she still doesn't get the football lark, which is okay. I hardly have time for handbags and Choos. But she understands I will never change. It's in my blood. Its actually the one thing that has consumed my life more than anything else. Probably on par with music.

I was still able to get to games whilst our relationship blossomed. That's until my self-inflicted exile. The ultimate sacrifice. The one you're never meant to suffer from because you know it will be all-consuming more so than football or music. The one where the football Gods frown at you for being so naive, then laugh as you walk away leaving behind that treasured season ticket.

She got pregnant. Damn you bareback.

Then I went from a screaming yob in the stands to a considered slave and dogsbody as I was ever-present during nine gruelling difficult months. Yes, its a pain for the woman, but I still firmly believe:

Kicked in the balls > Labour

So whilst I was missing out on Tottenham's gradual evolution with some of you spending it having a beer and a cheeky song, I would enjoy most evenings at her beck and call. Ordering pillows, finding cures for nausea, mixing Marmite with ice know, rock'n'roll past-times a bloke has to do in the build up to the waters breaking.

I never missed a game thanks to television and internet streaming. But it's not quite the some thing. Emotionally, it is. There's no denying you can be up a hill in Nepal listening to the wireless and still get all mental about the Lilywhites. Spurs has a habit of doing that to you. But I've always found tv and radio and the internet more of a struggle with the nerves than when experiencing the game live. The buzz you get from the ones around you, it's special. At least it can be special. Especially if what gets played out on the field is. Even in defeat, in abject defeat, there is a sense of cleansing as you watch the debacle and make your way home. Alone or with friends.

If you're at the game, you can gauge a genuine feel for things - even if it's subjective. It can be as bad as any blog or message board, with the knee-jerking. Or as funny as one with the biting off the cuff humour. Everybody seems to see something different from you. At half time, you get a beer. Spend twenty minutes queing for the bog. Then you do it again for forty-five minutes and still disagree with the loudmouth three rows behind you who is slagging off a player who isn't even on the pitch.

There are plenty of Spurs fans the world over with little chance of getting to the Lane. There are plenty in London/UK with much the same problem (our waiting list illustrates that point perfectly). I was now one of them. Alone.

With the podcast I work on we've got a huge bulk of American listeners, many have never travelled to the UK. Fans across Europe, Africa and Asia. Australia, Japan and South America. Even Napal. Essex too (me). We're a pretty fragmented fanbase as it is but as fans we are all staunch in spirit. The yanks are particularity fanatical and impressive (early morning breakfast and pub meet-ups to watch Spurs games live). It's fantastic. You simply have to make the most of what you've got.

Alone or with friends, we all share one thing in common. Them lot in the shorts and the cockerel on the shirt. They'll end up playing no matter where you happen to watch the game from. Or you can do is sing or bite your nails. At the ground, in the living room, in the pub or in another time zone.

If you live abroad or simply can't get to games you're pretty much stuck with technology (if the pub is not an option or if we're not on tv). Although it beats the days of just having the back pages of the tabloids, teletext and Capital Gold. Ha, teletext and those Club Call numbers, back in the days when you had to pay for ITK. Now we've got the BBC, Sky, Twitter, forums, blogs, streams. So perhaps I'm not truly alone when I can instantly read the reactions of hundred + Spurs fans who also share the same predicament. Although you still can't get away from the knee-jerks, although it's slightly easier to stick two fingers up at the monitor than turn around at shout down the bloke three rows behind you (who happens to be three times your size and has a tattooed face).

Having seen my baby daughter born (she's two years of age in May) and have endured the hellish first three months and then witnessed her personality grow and more or less cause havoc once she began to walk...I'd hardly swap it all for football. If you haven't and you do you'll agree. It's a stunning, staggering experience. Ironic that ten years ago I said I'd never stop going to games even when I've got kids. I guess pragmatically its just not possible. It is for others (the bloke who has the seat almost directly in front of me has two kids and still gets there). You're either lucky or you're not.

It's not just the home games, away games are missed too. Even the trip up to Blackburn Rovers sitting next to Burnley supporters in the away end. Singing songs to Billy No Mates at Wigan. Out with the binoculars at Newcastle. Then there's Fulham away. Everyone loves Fulham away. Still, as good as any away trip can be, it's not half as good as White Hart Lane when White Hart Lane is rocking.

I was/I am absolutely fine with missing all the games I've missed (knowing my season ticket was in good hands - one set of hands, not being shared please don't slap me on the wrist THFC ticket office please). As far as I was concerned, as long as we win, I could also be sat in Nepal if it meant we kept getting better. That's what I've kept telling myself.

So here I am. Everton at home is when I get to see my treasured seat again.

I'm back home for the golden game in hand. Back in my block where I hope to spend most of the ninety minutes standing and hugging those around me. It's tribal. You feed off each others joy and misery. You experience a mood, vibe...whatever you wish to tag the atmosphere with that you can't quite grasp when switching internet streams or listening to Alan Smith or Ray Wilkins delighting us with words of wonder.

Infinitely better than spending it with dirty nappies and wet wipes. It's a complicated strategy, attempting to organise your Saturday or Sunday around whatever kick-off time Spurs are privileged with and making it look like you haven't even considered there's a football game on.

Hopefully this wont be a cameo appearance. Equally so, I'm hoping it wont be a 0-0 either. Working to get an extended license on my day pass. I don't intend to disappear into exile for such a long stretch again.

On Wednesday I'll be making the journey from the forest I live in, connecting trains until I'm on the Victoria Line and then making the customary walk up the High Road (because I've always hated buses) and prefer to avoid the Liverpool St to White Hart Lane route. Pre-match drink (almost all The Fighing Cocks will be present). A possible pre-match kebab from that Turkish place a brisk skip from the Paxton that does the naan-sized pita bread wrap-up. Then a sing-song. A roar. Game kicks off. Another sing-song and plenty of joyous moments to applaud and drown in one and others ecstasy.

I'm looking forward to seeing a few faces I've not seen for while.

That's hopefully how things will play out.

It's a big game points wise. We've been banging on about this game in hand all season like it's a magical key that might open a door to treasures. In this case, the treasure is of a psychological nature. Potentially, equal pegging on points for 2nd spot. I'm thankful I changed my mind from WBA at home to this. Wolves follows. Then it's the title showdown at Eastlands. Yes, I really did say the 'T' word just then. Might as well play along with it. We need all the points leading up to that game against City. Feb will be a test of mental strength and belief.

So all things considered, I'm grateful to be under the floodlights again. For now, it will have to do.

Who am I kidding. I can't live without it. I need this fix every other week. I need N17. I need the hustle and bustle of match-days. The pre-match bottle or pint. The lack of a constant 3G connection inside the stadium. Raw, live football...without the agenda of television coverage. I need that rush that comes with thousands singing the same words over and over again. That belief the ref is having a stinker based on your view from behind the goal and that every decision is going against us. The stewards asking you to sit down, to which you do for a moment, standing again when a player runs towards goal. The celebrations, the night sky over the Lane, the long journey home. I want it all back.



Anyone know if Angelina Jolie is looking to adopt again? Madonna in need for a new buba? The daughter is only olive skin, but she's still very cute. Will accept money to cover season ticket costs for the next forty years.

Actually scrap that. I can't. It's not a viable option, is it?

I also just remembered the first time my daughter happened to projectile vomit on me. Beautiful moment. She was looking at the tv at the time, then an Arsenal player appeared on screen, being interviewed. That's when it got messy.

I'll hold onto her. She has potential. If I work it properly, if I continue to sing 'Oh when the Spurs go marching in' at bedtime, she'll be my ticket to get to all home games in the future. That's got to be a better life than handbags and Choos. I'll be doing her a favour.

Onwards. COYS.

Love the shirt.