My stomach

Let’s get the fluff out of the way. Great win against Wolves. Not in terms of how we played, but if you want to get a particularly annoying monkey off your back, the way to do it is to spend 75 minutes convincing him that he’s going to remain in situ before unleashing a finale of hitherto unknown full-on monkey-removal ninja lightning strikes on the cheeky little bastard.

 And sorry to say it – I really enjoyed Berbatov’s hat-trick and I want him to do well. I know he shafted us, but I don’t expect players to act with class and grace away from the action. I’m just a sucker for those who show it on the pitch. Discuss.

 Seen who we’re playing tonight?

 I can go gallivanting to the likes of Bremen and Bangkok and even Berkshire all I like. I can be the big man who understands that fully functioning adults go to weddings that clash with home games. I can even enjoy the wedding immensely. But I know who I am. I’m natural born Tottenham Hotspur and I can’t stay away. Four months and twenty days since the Bolton game, it’s finally time to go back to White Hart Lane. With luck and skilful diary planning, I won’t be missing another game there this season.

 Except Fulham, I always miss Fulham. But I never miss Arsenal. For once I don’t have the ache in the pit of my stomach that usually accompanies the build up. It’s undeniable that the Carling Cup is devalued by being in the Champagne Cup, even if we’ve pooh-poohed Arsenal fans for saying so in the past. It’s also harder to take the game as seriously when there’s a high chance the likes of Steven Caulker (prospect or not), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Jermaine Jenas (prospect or not) may be involved. It’s not even a semi-final, which just feels plain wrong.

 But when it kicks off, it will look and feel like a proper match. There’s something about the pure and noble lilywhite juxtaposed with the vulgar and brazen red. It’s a game that has to be taken seriously by whoever is picked, and whoever is watching.

 When I started this blog, my idea (which I’m still clinging on to) was that there would be less pointless Arsenal bashing than in other Spurs blogs. I do not like it when our players say that this can be the year we come ahead of Arsenal. It winds me up when we stand up to declare our hatred of them when we’re playing Blackburn or Sunderland. I’m not English and I don’t really care how many English players there are on our team or theirs. Except for one ill-advised comment to a builder at the Highbury building site a few years ago which I regret for a number of reasons, I do not make gags about kiddy fiddlers (unless we draw Young Boys). I’m not even going to call this post “kiddy fiddlers” to provoke a reaction. Each to their own, but I try to stay on the right side of the line of being that fully functioning adult I mentioned earlier – damn him.

 But I’m also a football fan, and I love the irrationality of football. So irrationally, I hate them. Not their fans. Not their players. Just ‘them’. I see them through a Spurs-tinted prism, so I find it easier to dislike Fabregas or Van Persie than others might – I don’t really know. I find something about Pat Rice comical. I never found Thierry Henry entertaining or charming. It took me a while to see Wenger’s ludicrous and petty minded side but once I did (I think it was the “Farciland” episode that did it) the scales fell from my eyes. But I have to be honest, I’d love him now if he’d come to Tottenham all those many moons ago and I’d be less well disposed to Redknapp if he’d gone to Arsenal. Objectively speaking, everyone in football is deserving of our scorn. Except for Michael Dawson and Leo Messi. I just choose to focus on Arsenal.

 The point is, it doesn’t matter. I’m contractually obliged to hate Arsenal, and I do. I want to beat them in a way that I don’t want to beat Newcastle or Chelsea or Werder Bremen. I want to beat them in the way that West Ham want to beat us. And importantly, and however they dress it up, they want to beat us in the same way. They can spin it as teaching us a lesson, or putting the irritating little neighbour in their place – that’s what I’d do if I was them. They can say Chelsea is a bigger game. In the context of the league, it is. But this is the only proper derby we play in, and it’s the only proper derby they play in, and it will always have its place. It has an electricity all of its own. It meant something when they were winning leagues and we were fighting relegation. It means something now the gap has been massively closed. It means something when it’s the third round of the league cup – a competition I definitely want to win. I can’t handle all this meaning. The stomach ache is returning. I hate playing Arsenal. I love playing Arsenal.

 I was wrong when I implied Arsenal weren’t any worse than other teams. Tonight is literally good versus evil. Objectively speaking.

COYS.

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15 responses to “My stomach

  1. Not going to be bated by the rhetoric. Frankly, Spurs and much more interested in beating Arsenal than the reverse. We just don’t care that much, witness the half hearted “Stand up if you hate Tottenham” songs nowadays. Yes if it was a vital end of season match it would have an extra bit of spice to it, but all in all, it’s a bit embarrassing for a lot of gooners nowadays to worry about you lot too much.

    As Liverpool continued their collapse, you finally paid back a small percentage of the ridiculous sums of money your club have spent year in year out by scraping fourth. Once the inevitable happens and you go out of the champions league (face it you ain’t gonna win it) and you fail to come top 4, you’ll be back to your also-ran status and you can enjoy the great excitement of playing your local rivals. If you win you can bring out another DVD.

  2. SCUM. No two ways about it.

    Sure, it’s irrational but when you read the arrogant comments from our gooner friend you know it makes sense.

  3. FG I will answer as a friendlyyid and I hope you aren’t put off by those who don’t!

    I’m sure once we have both failed to win the Champions League (face it you ain’t gonna win it) we will both have to look for excitement elsewhere! As a mutual friend of ours might say – you can enjoy your battle to balance the books and still come third, and we can enjoy ours to come fourth. We are all facing a new kind of reality in the modern premiership these days!

    I don’t doubt that you ‘worry’ less about a derby when you have tended to have the upper hand, which you obviously have in recent years. You ‘care’ less about winning against someone if you’ve tasted victory quite a lot recently! On a smaller scale, we’ve beaten Chelsea three times in the last three years or so – the fourth time won’t be as special, although it will still be nice.

    But its still a derby. For ninety minutes there is still a spice, as you say, to it. And I doubt you get as much of a kick out of mocking Newcastle or Man City fans, for example! Part of the culture that surrounds a local rivalry is being able to make the kind of comment you’ve made here when you’ve had the upper hand! Things can change. Sometimes slowly, but they can change!

    So you can say you care less these days. I’d say you perhaps just care differently. I know plenty of gooners who look at it my way rather than yours.

    As it happens, I don’t really mind what Gooners think about it. Regardless of the banter, I get a kick out of these games, and I think I always will!

  4. Seems like an apt time to post my favourite banter between spurs and gooner fans.

    Can’t wait for tonight. COYS!

    And Oog you going to give Jenas a break now? He’s been a bit good.

  5. Here’s one for you Oog

  6. Thank you Jimmy Blaze. I will check this out later. Truth is I was always a Jenas apologist, until I realised how much more FUN it is to blame him, for everything. Ever.

  7. Jenas actually played a good ball on Saturday. I almost fell out of my seat. I assumed it must have been Tommy H.

  8. Was Redknapp right to field a less strong team?

  9. Yes.
    It was a good opportunity for some of the fringe players and youngsters. With our injuries at present we don’t have a strong enough squad to field our strongest team in the league, European Cup and League Cup. It’s a shame but we do have to prioritise.
    The team we put out was still good enough to compete but not as good as the opposition. All these decisions by the manager are conditional. The condition being that we are able to field our best team in the other competitions and benefit from them being fresh and ready to go. Lose to West Ham and Twente and this all goes out the window. Lets hope that we are not rueing Harry’s decision in a weeks time.

  10. That’s valid – but we’re supposed to have a fantastic and large squad now – the envy of many other teams. What good is this, if we cannot rotate and compete in all the competitions when the players used are not regular first-teamers? This is what we need to get right – and, sad to say, l’Arse have done well. Whoever lines up for them seems to be able to join in with the fluidity, speed of passing game and cohesion – although granted, they did field a pretty strong and experienced side. We were on the back foot by started out very unbalanced with Wilson on the right and Bentley left. This changed in the 2nd and we got back into it but then suffered tired legs and cramp. Both pens were very soft – particularly the Chamakh dive! – and it was sad to see Naughton’s naivety for the last Arshavin goal – let’s hope he learns not to switch off like that. Feel sorry for Stipey in goal.
    With a little perspective, not being in the Carling Cup is probably best for our overall season, and quest to retain at least 4th but then, we still have a massive and hugely talented squad – but they need to be able to slot in a play like a team, whoever gets picked.
    the January window can’t come soon enough for Bentley for me!
    very gutted.

  11. Was a good game all in all – have to say from the old arse perspective that i was quite shocked by how badly you performed in the first half. You made us look absolutely superb which in certain cases was true (Wilshere in particular, what a talent) but not across the board. A bit of steel added at half time did you the world of good. Remain surprised by your shoddy treatment of Keane, perhaps he only does it against us but he’s bloody good. Dunno about Chamakh dive, must look at highlights, but at the same time Keane was offside for his goal, we also got an offside against us when we weren’t when someone, can’t remember who, arshavin maybe, was through one on one about 2 yards out so it levels out.

    As i said in my first comment though, I really aren’t that bothered about spurs esp in the carling cup. After the game i watched this week’s Inbetweeners which was hilarious and that was what I was emailing fellow arsenal season ticket mates about this morning, not the match.

    Lose against twente though and I will laugh – easiest game of your group, lose that and it’s embarrassing…

  12. I had a good feeling about this game but as soon as I saw the line ups I thought ‘harry’s giving it away’. We aren’t good enough to play wihout a bit of a first team spine and so it proved. We were lucky to hang in at 1-0 and the halftime changes made a difference. The one good point was Keane buzzing around and the ridiculously soft goal he and Fabianski conspired to score may – MAY – be a turning point for a striker who has previously shown all signs of having completely lost his mojo. Our chance was to take it to penalties or get a second goal before 90 were up, but all in all they looked fresher than us and we can’t really complain. I wanted to win this cup, I’m annoyed we’re out but it’s done now and I don’t think we can draw too many conclusions about either side from this game. Except that Arsenal are quite good. Already knew that!

    One thought I did have which provided some consolation though – ten years ago our first xi would have been not much stronger than the random squad team we put out last night!

  13. Really liked jimmy blaze’s posts – very funny.

  14. Luca the Mod is fit for tomorrow.
    Any thoughts on the game?
    I would start with a 4 – 5 – 1.
    VDV – Modric – Jenas – Hudd – Lennon in the midfield. With VDV playing a more advanced role to support Crouch up top? Ekotto may be injured so Bale may need to move back to full back.
    I hate this fixture. No, what i mean is that the West Ham fans are a right pain in the arse, just like haemorrhoids. Every so often they pop out of their shitholes and make your life hell. Although in recent years this fixture has been very fruitfull. Living in East London / Essex I’m surrounded by the gits! COYS!

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