wrapped up

Twenty minutes early. Bagel in hand. A friendly chat with whatwouldjimbodo, at his first game in a while. Wrapped up warm and it’s not even that cold. Supporter of the famous Tottenham Hotspur, who recently beat their not-so-noisy neighbours (premature olé’s aside) 3-2 away. Life’s good.

What could go wrong? Well, as the champions league music blared out once more, the thought did cross my mind that this could be the last time I would hear it at the Lane. Ever.  A small shiver. A smattering of nerves. And then…?

Nothing. Calm. Workmanlike. Professional. A little bit flat. A little bit, whisper it, dull. Exactly what I was hoping for.

Bremen, eh? The boys from the Weserstadion. What happy memories. So young, innocent  and wide-eyed back then. Nervous and excitable.  Could never keep clean sheets. Couldn’t even get served a beer. Couldn’t believe our luck at losing our champions league cherry. Couldn’t stop eating sausages.

But we’ve grown up. At the Lane there were no reminders of the team that ran us ragged in that second half. Werder are on a miserable run in Germany. A successful era may well be drawing to a close, with the usual green shoots of young talent yet to emerge and the current crop failing to yield expected results. Received Tottenham wisdom would suggest that we might somehow contrive to mess it up against them. Perhaps Wilson would give possession away a few times. How about a Hutton mis-control to put their striker through? Benoit to dilly-dally unnecessarily on the edge of our area  when he could just get rid? I’m sure that can be arranged. Maybe an injury to disrupt our carefully laid-out plans?  Or just dominating without quite killing the game off early?

All that actually happened. But this was a very poor team we were up against, or perhaps just one lacking any kind of confidence. A team who already knew that their season will be about salvaging self respect in the Bundesliga rather than achieving any kind of European glory. The only notable thing about this Bremen team was how oddly shaped their players were: all incredibly tall, incredibly thin, like a team of slightly smaller Crouch shaped beings but led by a little green man, Marko Marin. Wikipedia claims he is two inches taller than Aaron Lennon – he looked a head smaller to me. I’m willing to accept this may not be physically possible.

I suspect a top level Tottenham performance could have ripped them apart and seen us go goal crazy. Vfondevfoort would certainly have had fun against the Hamburg haters. As it is we flirted in a very respectful, non-invasive way with making it difficult for ourselves but we were there to do a job, and we did it well. We never even looked like being punished. The crowd had fun and even gave Gallas his “yiddo yiddo” initiation (discuss). Wilson did give possession away a bit but was also crunching in the tackle and that’s probably more important for his confidence. Lennon looked good even if it’s hard to remember when he was meant to be the unplayable threat on the wing. It was good to see Defoe offer a different (if understandably rusty) type of threat up front.

I would like us to have got the second quicker. I would like Bale, apparently only a human being though still a pretty special one (level par performance for him – my man of the match), to have tucked away the penalty and have given us the second half off. I would just like to see us do this more at the Lane* – kill off teams and then shut up shop. But tonight was as near as Tottenham get to solid and efficient. It’s not as exciting as scoring four and then conceding two, it’s not as frustrating as immediately conceding after taking a lead, it’s not as daft as the world’s best hat-trick at 4-0, and it’s not as memorable as beating the European Champions or your local rivals. Frankly it makes writing a blog harder. I’m not too worried.

Beating teams comfortably that you should beat comfortably.  If you can do it in the Champions League it gets you into the knockout stages. Now let’s do it regularly in the league, starting with the mid-table outfit we entertain on Sunday.

*and yes – at the Lane, or thereabouts, is where I want to see it. I’m not usually one for petitions, but I’ve signed this and so should you. If, you know, you want to. Each to their own and that. I will probably write a post about the whole stadium issue soon. I certainly won’t be boycotting Spurs if they ever move to east London (don’t tell Daniel Levy).  But I don’t want to go there. There’s more to life than transport links…

http://wearen17.co.uk/

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15 responses to “wrapped up

  1. What do Spurs need to bring in in January? And to try and achieve what?

  2. Nice write-up, calm controlled taking the long view.
    Bit like Spurs last night.
    Modric was brilliant, picking the ball up deep and making his little runs, taking his constant fouling with dignity.
    We’ve stopped punting the ball up to Crouch and, though I usually prefer Pavlyuchenko to him, last night I thought he had a good game with a goal and an assist.
    Lennon set up two goals but was starved of the ball in the first half.
    Nutmeg and cut back for the third was class.

  3. What Would Jimbo Do

    I totally agree with JimmyG2 here. Modric was the best player on the pitch by a country mile last night, kept Spurs ticking beautifully. He is just getting better and better, which is probably helped by Vfondevfoort and BaleBaleBale taking all the plaudits. Also Lennon picked up 2 assists last night to Bale’s none, and he didn’t miss a penalty….say it quietly but he maybe coming back into some decent form.

    Re Gallas, I didn’t “Yiddo Yiddo” him, but he had a great game again. I want to be a bigger man and say I can “Yiddo Yiddo” an ex gooner, but Gallas is a real mercinary, he’ll end up leaving us and going to West Ham at some point when we no longer need him. I’m saving my “Yiddo Yiddo’s” for er, Yiddos.

    I’d like to sign the petition Oog, but you know, Stratford…….it’s so close to my house. Only joking

  4. Oogbruder, I think its clear to all and sundry at the Lane what we need. A new striker. Somewhere down the list I think are two quality full backs but really, I quite like the ones we have too and its not a position that its easy to find quality for. Striker is the key. There’s talk of Benzema on loan, and whilst I pooh-pooh this kind of talk, in years gone by I would have pooh-pooh-pooh-poohed it.

    You know, Modric is probably my favourite player at the Lane but when I come to write the blog I do always end up going on about Bale. I guess when I say he was MOTM I think that anyone watching that game who had never seen Tottenham would still look at Bale and go – this guy is something special. Time and time again he just skinned his opponent. For you, Fritz, the game is up. Lennon did have a great game though. Perhaps I should become a ABB – anyone but Bale – in my reports.

    I did Yiddo Yiddo Gallas (there must be something else to call that) but only because I quite enjoyed the wrongness of it. I don’t know that mercenary is a fair tag. To me Chimbonda is a mercenary, someone who just seems happy to pick up the paycheck. Gallas, on the other hand, really cares. Enough that he doesn’t want to play full back at Chelsea. Enough that he freaks out at Birmingham. Perhaps his undoing in the past has been that he cares too much.

    A tosser. A gooner. An idiot. Those might be names I would at least understand people calling him. Is he really a mercenary though?

  5. What Would Jimbo Do

    Yep fair enough Oog. Perhaps mercenary isn’t the right word. He is (probably) a tosser, a gooner and an idiot, but I’m pretty sure i’ve “yiddo’d” a tosser, a gooner and an idiot before…Sol Campbell perhaps? Gallas cares I agree, and I’m finding it hard to articulate why I’ll never Yiddo Yiddo him, but it just doesn’t SEEM right. That said a performance like his last 2 against Real Madrid followed by a last minute winning header and I’ll be as fickle as every other football fan I expect……and hate myself for it, but there you go.

    Re transfer buys. Benzema would be great of course, but he’s started scoring regularly for Madrid, so I find that very hard to believe. A striker is what we need though. Both full backs if we can get the right players in. Hutton was really good last night I thought, and he has long been a weakness in my opinion. Maybe Arry is working his magic on him as well?

  6. Gallas is as much a Gooner as he is Chelsea. The only thing I care about him is that he is a class footballer, and a winner.

  7. Should Gallas have the “yiddo” encomium bestowed upon him? We all know that identifying with a team begins when you first get to like the game. In this sense hardly any of our players are yiddos. So the players will hardly ever be “yiddos” to the same degree as the fans.

    But emotional commitment can be nurtured and then reinforced by others treating you as if you already had it. So the “yiddo” call is only inappropriate when addressed to somebody of whom it is clear that he doesn’t much care. B A-E if we take his own words seriously. Berbatov once he made it clear that he was only marking time until he could get his transfer deal. In the case of Gallas he does care and it really doesn’t matter that he felt equally committed to playing for Chelsea or Arsenal.

    The trick is to turn him into a yiddo for as long as he plays for us! So you did the right thing oog!

  8. Oogfather is right. As long as they give their all for our cause then they are all “Yiddos” when they pull on the lillywhite shirt. They only have to care about it perhaps twice a week for the occasional 90 minutes. But they better care! Otherwise we will let them know about it.

    yiddos yiddos to all you out there ….because I care and I know you do to. Awwwh shucks!

  9. Encomium. I’m going to store that away and use it. Wise words oogfather, although surprising from one who I have never heard yid-hoot before. The yid-hoot is a marvellous thing. My only criticism of Gallas’ initiation last night is that I always thought tradition dictated you received it only when you scored your first goal.

    I’m sure that’s been ignored before though. Steffen Freund must have been yid-hooted, or perhaps he’s still waiting, bitter and twisted that whilst he may be a ‘Tottenham cult hero” he is not actually a “yiddo”.

    Steffen Freund, eh? How far we have come…

  10. Any player, ex or otherwise who turns up in the away end at Old Trafford to watch his former team deserves the Yiddo Yiddo honour. He had his son with him too.
    There’s something quite wonderful about loving such an average but completely bonkers player.

  11. An average player who won a champions league medal and two German league championships, though! I thought I’d look into what Steffen Freund is doing these days and he’s coaching the German under-17s who are unbeaten in 20 games. Well, that’s what he says anyway. I haven’t listened all the way through so I don’t know if there’s any Spurs related stuff here but I’m sure he’s entertaining.

    http://www.talksport.co.uk/sports-news/football/premier-league/2985/8/exclusive-freund-england-could-learn-german-football

  12. Since I’m in the mood for links – interesting article on Bale here. I think the comments on the media are bang on. Why can’t we just enjoy a phenomenal talent emerging without all the gubbins that goes with it?

    On football weekly extraaaa this week Barry Glendenning (with whom I have no particular axe to grind) was saying that it was a fact that Bale has been quiet after European games. I haven’t had a chance to think that one through but previously he had been setting out GB’s assists and goals in the premiership as though this was all the evidence one needed to show he hadn’t actually been that good.

    I’m not sure why people put so much weight on those stats which are much more suited to fantasy football. Presumably a Bale cross nodded down to Crouch and headed in by VDV doesn’t count as a Bale assist. The stats just don’t tell the real picture. Even when Bale has one of these ‘quiet’ games he still looks quality and the idea that he is one dimensional is a myth. What I think people mean is he has one particularly great skill . Take that away and you still have a really good premiership player!

    http://www.runofplay.com/2010/11/19/on-gareth-bale/

  13. In the interview Steffen does talk fondly about the club and the fans. He gets excited as he mentions the win against the other lot last weekend. He also goes on to say that England should get the 2018 World Cup and that England should win it as they can only win it in their own country. Cheeky but fair! You gotta love him.
    That bugger Lawro has predicted a 2 – nil win against Liverpool . Bastard! He’s hardly ever right.

  14. That’s a guaranteed defeat then on Sunday! Bloody Lawro. Just come out the closet for crissakes!

    If I ever met Steffen Freund, I would only really have one word to say to him:

    “SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!”

  15. If Bale has a quiet game, it might have to do with him being knackered after playing in Europe during the week. Then again, managers know they have to close him down. All the extra attention opposing sides give to Bale means less attention directed towards Lennon, Modric, VDV, Crouch, whatever. So he contributes by being a perceived threat.

    I think where we fall down in these situations is that we just don’t have enough quality in front of goal at the moment. I think Crouch has been great, but I think he excels at holding the ball up and getting it to his strike partner. Pav hasn’t really impressed and Keano is basically no longer on the team (it would seem, which is sad but maybe deserved). We may see more productive matches with Defoe back, though. Teams may have problems dealing with Bale, Defoe and Lennon (if current form holds).

    On a side note, I was happy to see Palacios come on in place of Jenas (though I wasn’t happy Jenas was injured, of course). Jenas obviously provides more of an attacking option, but Palacios (when on form) owns the midfield. He provides that edge that we’ve seemed to miss this season (when he’s not making stupid errors). More Palacios might equal more clean sheets. Especially with Gallas and Kaboul on form. I’d like to see Corluka back, though, because Hutton almost gifted Bremen a goal early on. I like Hutton’s support in attack, but I don’t think we can afford the mistakes at the back.

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