Extra-magical ultra-dusty

On Monday evening I close the door to my flat in Tooting, and an eight month journey to Wembley begins. I’m travelling on the ‘really massive circle line’ via Bremen and Milan and who knows where else.  The first stop, though, is an overnight stay at the Bagels in Stoke Newington.  He has deadlines and needs to be settled in an internet cafe by work o’clock, so its four hours sleep and a horribly early hop over Holland into the big time.

 Bremen is wet. The Champions League is a steep learning curve, and I learn that I need a new pair of trainers. But this is the life I have chosen. You don’t win the battle if your foot soldiers can’t endure 4am starts and mild trenchfoot. To dare is to do.

 Some realism. We aren’t contenders. Let’s enjoy our fifteen minutes, and stretch it out into a knockout round or two if we can. I’d love to get so used to this competition that the novelty wears off, but for now I’m still giddy. Everything feels sprinkled in extra-magical ultra-dusty magic dust. We did it. We’re here. I’m here. All those times I said “I’d just be happy to see us get there once”. Turns out I meant it. For now.

 Apart from 47 minutes of nail-biting tension, Bremen was a delight. The beer and songs were flowing (led in one Bierkeller by a clearly enjoying himself Graham Roberts) but like the Polizei the fans were relaxed and good-humoured. With the exception of SV Hamburg, the Werder Bremen supporters clearly love all things football, and love talking about it with you. The local wurst is amazing.

 And the game was not an anticlimax. This was the best half of football from Tottenham in a long time. Unfortunately, great halves (or great 43 minutes) do not make great wholes. Three up against United. Three up against City, with young Joey Barton showing his potential by getting sent off at half time. Milan giving Liverpool a lesson in the 2005 CL Final. I prefer my great to last 90 minutes.

 It didn’t turn out the way we wanted but of course we didn’t actually lose, and we could have snatched it. There was a point after the equaliser where some of the Yid Army were clearly reliving previous traumas but like the team we rallied and showed heart. Man of the match to us. It was a pleasure to meet Nick – the wise man of the west stand – and his son Adam. And the other Adam, the other Adam, and the other Adam. Yiddos one and all.

 I am also today announcing a new coconuts and alcohol campaign – “Sing it Second”. Next time you hear the latter part of “when the spurs go marching in” – do it.

 On the pitch the positives are also clear. We didn’t freeze. Bale is just freakishly good and I’m not sure teams can really ‘work him out’ because at times he is unplayable. Jenas looked like a different player in a 4-5-1 formation but for old times sake I still blame him for everything. Fvondefvoort had a great game before his injury and could become a bit of a legend. Kaboul looked like the best sixth choice central defender in the world, which he is. Crouch can play in a 4-5-1. And for all that we ultimately Tottenhamed it up, for 43 minutes we were beautiful to watch, weren’t we?

 There are some pretty big negatives though.

 Cudicini – gone. He isn’t the only one culpable, but I blame him for both goals, along with the West Brom one last week. We’d have won 2-0 with Gomes.

 Benoit and Lennon are concerns, but not major ones for me. Lennon is currently in a bad place on the Lennon Form Cycle but will come good. BAE is frustrating but as Stevie (or was it Paul?) will tell you, there is good and bad in everyone. For every two or three passes releasing Bale, there will be a shank to the corner flag resulting in a goal. He’s a weakness in the team. But not the glaring weakness.

 Corluka. The man has no pace, but just enough guile to usually get by. Against the better teams – and that’s who we want to be mixing with – he’s going to be targeted and found out. Harry must be thinking that Younes’ future is at right back. I certainly am. Lastly, Keane was abject. Who knows why, he just was.

 But overall – a point gained and just as importantly two home points dropped by Bremen. Afterwards, we get talking to Benjamin, Ralf und Tanja in a nearby bar and we talk fussball until 3 in the morning. Thanks for the scarf but I wish I’d turned down the cigarillos. This fantastic trip was all about introducing ourselves to Europe and making friends.

 Against Twente it’s about three points. COYS

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10 responses to “Extra-magical ultra-dusty

  1. There was no way to fit this into the actual post but I thought it was worth sharing:

    Ludovic Giuly carrying out a (presumably drug-induced) strip-tease for no discernable reason. Not overly safe for work, but don’t worry – its funny and weird rather than pornographic. Its amusingly anti-climactic as well when his friend notices the camera. Much better with sound.

    Great player by the way – a scandal Domenech dropped him from the 2006 world cup squad.

  2. It was the best of times, it was the wurst of times.

    Great post. Pleased with the point, but just as we go up a level have the arse gone up another one? level not arse or maybe both

  3. Wigan too. One could blame Cudicini for that. That’s a lot of points.

  4. I think Cudicini could be one of the most unambitious players to ever grace the premiership. He seems obsessed with being a second choice keeper. He could have gone anywhere when he was at Chelsea.

  5. Thanks oog. Great report.
    Sounds like we need to all chip in and get Cudicini a new motorbike.
    I have a feeling that Jenas is going to show us what he is all about, finally. But can he make it last for the whole season?
    As for Keane, well it looks like that ship has sailed.
    Christ, I love Robbo! (Graham, that is. Not the fat goalie we once had.). what a true Spurs legend.

  6. Great piece Oog – I was savouring the Wurst and Becks just reading it!

    On the subject of Wurst.. what’s this speculation this week I’m reading this week ..?
    ‘Harry Redknapp is understood to be keeping tabs on Hoffenheim striker Peniel Mlapa..’
    ‘Liverpool and Tottenham look set to battle it out for Dutch wonderkid Ricky van Wolfswinkel who currently plays for Eredivisie side Utrecht…’

    Seems our January transfer policy will be focussing on the bellends !

  7. Great post, oog. And I must say, I’m loving this blog. Even if I don’t post much, I’ll always be a-lurkin’.

    How does everyone think we’ll do against arsenal on Tuesday? I think it’ll be a draw. I’ll go for 2-2.

  8. WP
    Dick van Wolfswinkel???????? That name alone has cheered me right up. I can’t claim to have ever seen a lupine appendage but isn’t that what Google was invented for?
    Rosie, I hope we take the game seriously against the scum. Any victory against them is to be treasured. Although, I guess Harry will be rotating the squad now that we are in the European Cup. I hope we smash ’em all over the Lane but somehow I’m sure their under 14’s would probably give our boys the run around.
    If it is a draw as you predict, is it straight to penalties?

  9. Are you not letting Assou-ekotto off here? Gave the ball away a lot and under no pressure sliced the kick out that ended up with bremens first goal and the shift in momentum. Settling on cudicini seems a bit harsh. Corluka isn’t as good as many around him now. But Bale is some player now. Spurs have done well to stick with him.

  10. Oogbruder – with Assou Ekotto, he undoubtedly makes some howlers and can lose concentration. That shank led to the goal, but it could as easily have led to Cudicini making a fairly routine punch clear and no-one would have remembered it. It was still an odd thing for BAE to do, but he brings so much more to the table going forward that you can put up with the odd howler from him. Corluka doesn’t bring much in an attacking sense so if he has a poor game defensively you have to ask why he’s in the team.

    But I don’t want to complain too much. As you say – he isn’t as good as many around him but he isn’t a bad player, far from it. Its just that he’s the weakest link in our first XI. Someone has to be.

    And I’m not saying BAE is blameless – he is also a concern, just not a glaring one. He’s probably the next weakest player in the first XI and I still like him. That’s a positive indication on where we are as a team at the moment.

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