In the build up to today’s game the state of the yid nation was slightly stroppy with nerves fraying. Yid turning on yid in a mini cyber war. Bentley. Gallas. Boogate. Harold McRedknapp telling us ‘you’ve never had it so good’ when, domestically, we clearly have.
I know what Harry means, of course. But I don’t accept the underlying point. It’s the whole ‘think we’re a big club who deserve to win everything’ jibe. Why can’t we be happy with a visit to the promised land? A holiday is one thing but why do we think we should move there? Why can’t we be happy with what we’ve achieved, like Everton were a few seasons ago? (I have no idea if that’s true, I’ve just read that they were so it must be).
I don’t really understand this argument, especially from our own manager. In what other walk of life would comparitive success be met with an expectation that you should put your feet up, crack open a cold one and relax? To dare is to do a bit and then bumble along in 7th, mustn’t grumble. I mean, don’t get me wrong – in your personal life, your job, whatever, this is a highly admirable creed. No one likes a try hard. 7th will do me. But this isn’t real life, it’s Tottenham. Different rules. It matters.
If we had massively overachieved last season, as perhaps Everton did the season they got 4th, I’d understand a bit more. But this is a really talented group of players. Not the most talented in the league, but with huge potential to get better and good enough to show that we can mix it at the top level. So to me Harry has judged it wrong. As I’ve said before, I don’t boo. Don’t believe in it. But the frustrations of those who do is something I understand. They aren’t booing despite having the best Spurs team in years. They’re booing because of it. Because they can see an opportunity here to ratchet our status up a notch to premiership elite (subclass B, current members Arsenal) and we can see how fragile an opportunity it is. How painful it would be to let it slip away. If we didn’t have potential, there wouldn’t be booing. There’d be protests down Bill Nicholson way. Hide the fire extinguishers.
I’m not advocating throwing heavy objects from east upper, and not just because I sit in east lower. But this feeling that we are a club that can achieve if we just make that extra push – that’s a good thing. If the slight downside of this is that frustrations are quick to boil over, the huge positive is that this passion gives our relatively little stadium the best atmosphere in London. That helped us overachieve last year. Just not massively.
So sod this fickle label, even though I used it myself in a post a while back. It’s in spurs fans DNA to be passionate, and so long as it’s not aggressively directed at particular individuals, I don’t want it to change. And nor, I reckon, would any of the players.
So 5 points out of 15 was the minimum acceptable at the end of today’s game. Not because we should walk it against Blackburn. The premiership is hard. Blackburn are hard. But because our class should be telling more often than not and another stumble today would have taken us from ‘big blip’ to ‘mild malaise’ in the premiership crisis scale.
With an entire team out, there was no danger of a Holloway-esque team sheet from Redknapp, but he did his best to mix it up. Jenas and Crouch in, Huddlestone and loveshismumdontknowthefellapersonally out. 4-4-2 and VdV on the right, even though I’m sure ‘arry said before that wasn’t possible. But today it worked. Not perfectly, and it wasn’t our ‘A’ game, but it was enough.
Lovely to see a true fans’ favourite back at the lane, and as well as Chimbonda, Robbo was playing. Think this is his third game here, and we’ve won them all without him making a howler (he was injured in last years game) – the ideal situation. He’s a man destined post-career to walk out at half time once a season to lap up our slightly over the top love for him. I reckon he may yet come back as our second choice in a few years. Why not – we’ve re-signed everyone else from the Jol era. Except Jol.
This was a funny game. We looked dangerous but I didn’t think we were going to break them down too easily. Bale seemed nervous of taking his man on at first but you could see his confidence growing. It obviously helped that he scored an atypical headed opener after some quick thinking from vdv on corner duty. Perhaps Bale needs to face a champions league winning right back to pump himself up. I hope not, and to be fair once Salgado departed Chimbonda was swiftly put in his place too as a beautiful run and cross allowed Pav to dispatch a giftwrapped opportunity at the third time of asking. Pav had an upside down first half. Linking up well, the odd fancy flick out on the wing but wasteful in front of goal. Almost Crouch like.
The second half was a demonstration of exactly why even when the going is good we are not yet a top team. We started sloppily, allowing Blackburn to pressurise us. Gallas hacked one off the line (something Kaboul would do even more impressively later) and it was only some Spurs like defending by Givet that allowed us to take it easy. Bale’s scuffed shot for our fourth was yet another demonstration that he knows more than one way to approach cat skinning. Without having been great in the second half, we could take it easy. And that’s exactly what we did.
As usual I am running out of space to describe the second half. Apart from the irritation of our goal difference taking an unnecessary blow, let Blackburn’s late flurry be a lesson to us. You have to keep the pressure on. Never take anything for granted, Inter style. And sloppy play is punished in this league. By Blackburn at home, never mind at the Emirates.
But that is another story in the making. We didn’t get six points at home as we all demanded. But City only got two. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to perform to our potential and we can achieve things. To progress. Now, and in the future. It’s what we all want.