Thanks Newcastle

That’s what you call leaving it very, very, late. Me, not Tottenham. Starting from Dulwich, I got to London Bridge well before 2 and yet somehow at 2:59 I found myself running at full pelt, the wrong side of Seven Sisters. Never, ever, ever get the bus. Only losers take the bus.

This doesn’t happen to me. Or rather it happens all the time. Friends and family. Loved ones.  Trains and planes. Doctors, gigs and work. I’m no friend to punctuality. It’s infuriating and it’s unforgivable, and it’s also incurable. I don’t even learn my lesson when I’m on the receiving end because it actually doesn’t bother me all that much. I just understand that it bothers other people, and quite rightly too.

But I am never late for Tottenham. Not really late. 3:01 late, sure. 3:11 late, never. Analyse that…

It could have been worse. If the bus I jumped out of just north of Stamford Hill hadn’t beeped and beeped and beeped when I was already sprinting fifty yards up the road… if I hadn’t turned round… I wouldn’t have noticed my wallet and travelcard lying on the pavement. Man of the match? Bus driver.

That’s my review of the first ten minutes. Apparently there were sixteen penalties and we missed fifteen of them, so at least our success rate has improved.

After that we got lucky. Very lucky. To be honest, reader, I was kind of hoping for a quiet, boring 1-0. My mate who lives the ex-pat dream in Mumbai has been in town and I’m too old to be in Fabric (I mean, really…) at 4am on Friday morning and not still be suffering on a Saturday evening.   A dull little game of football and churning out a dull little match report would have done me fine. Instead we played our part in one of the most entertaining days of football in living memory.

Of course, the mostly turgid football we played will be forgotten as we all bask in the glow of a glorious injury time. And so it should be. Three points is all that matters. We can play way better than this, and Bolton will feel hard done by (especially as apparently Cahill’s dive may well have been a genuine penalty). But with Man City having as easy a fixture as you can get in the premiership, we couldn’t afford to lose any ground. It’s worth remembering that in the second half we were without our three best players – some would say our four best players (remember Huddlestone?) – so to grind out a second victory in a few days speaks volumes about the character of this team. Think how good we’d be if we had some strikers…

Jenas and Gallas were the best of a pretty poor bunch today. Pienaar also looked like he’s beginning to fit in. Not sure why VDV went off – injury? Hope not, even if again he was not at his sparkling best.  Defoe threatened to look good but never quite managed it (a nice headed goal that was judged offside apart). Harry’s pre-match appraisal of Defoe – “he just needs a goal and he’ll go off on a run” – sounds like code for “I have something very major against Pav” to me. It might even be justified – I doubt he’s an inspiration in training – but he’s got to be due a start soon.

I didn’t see the second goal either – not really. I was at least in the stadium but the stanchion in front of me blocked my view of Gomes so I can’t tell you whether it was a great strike from Sturridge or a howler from the octopus. I have a feeling he may have got six or seven tentacles on it and that it should have stuck.

After the equaliser I felt strangely relaxed. I just couldn’t see this as a game we’d fail to win. But instead, Bolton pressed on and looked the more likely. By the 80th minute or so, I’d completely turned and had all but accepted that the ground gained against Blackburn was going to be surrendered instantly.

I might have been late, but I have never ever left a Tottenham game early. There’s a fella near me who loves to shout out in the 87th minute at the beat-the-trafficers  filing out. “Where ya going?”. “Do we win?”. “What’s the score gonna be?”. I couldn’t agree more. I just don’t understand the mentality of supporting a team enough to invest a lot of time and money in them, and yet not supporting them enough to be ok with not knowing the result when you leave. I don’t get it. I don’t get it at 5-0 down, let alone at 1-1.

Still, at least they won’t be feeling as bad as the Geordies who no doubt left early as well. Incidentally I look forward to Tottenham releasing a DVD of today’s game – the one at St James’ Park, of course.

And that match had a direct bearing on this one, or at least it felt that way. As we entered injury time, the Jumbotron flashed up that Arsenal had been absurdly pegged back, and the stadium erupted. Usually I’m against any kind of acknowledgment of Arsenal when they aren’t playing against us, but on this occasion it roused the fans from our slumber. We channelled our new-found energy into a rousing “We are Tottenham – Super Tottenham – from the Lane”. We sucked that ball into the net. Did it really have an effect?  Possibly not. But it felt like it in the stadium. Again, I thought the keeper should have done better, but who cares. Three points.

Thanks Nico. Thanks Newcastle. What a thrilling finish. And we’ll still be last on Match of the Day tonight.

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6 responses to “Thanks Newcastle

  1. Thanks mr og for the losers take the bus quote. I had to google that there – Fatima bloody mansions indeed. Enjoyed the bit about your wallet, and being late.

    Am going to dodge sport scene tonight and tune into motd on bbc1 England. After I’ve finished watching the excellent once on DVD. Think you’d like that, if you have not already seen it.

    Ps. Now thinking of the 44 bus!

  2. 1000% right, Stuart.

  3. oog
    What tardiness! Did you forget your passport or something?
    Well, you do live the other side of the river I suppose .

    We sure could use a goal machine. No sign of Defoe hitting top form just yet.

  4. I’m not sure ‘goal machines’ are allowed under the FA rules Hornchurch.
    I know Crouch does robotic dancing but goal machines is a step too far.
    Arsenal seemed to be stealing our scripts. Good job we didn’t patent that kind of performance.
    ‘Turgid ‘ I thought we played quite well most of the time.
    Second time in two games that we have scored in the first five minutes and fourth time we have scored late on, very late on.

  5. Goal machines? Pah. Too easy. CL two years in a row with Crouch and Defoe – now THAT would be glory glory stuff.

    JimmyG2, perhaps turgid was a bit strong, but I quite often get the feeling with Tottenham that we can look really good on a highlights package whilst being flat and ordinary for long spells of the 90 minutes. Maybe flat is better than turgid. But turgid is a more colourful word, so I used it!

    Obviously I missed the first ten minutes so can only go on what I saw, but it just looked like one of those games where we had the initiative and didn’t know what to do with it, so gave it away. A common failing and one that is responsible for i) our inability to kill off teams regularly and ii) our vastly inferior goal difference compared with the teams above us.

    Of course, you could argue that this is a very long-winded way of saying “we need a goal machine”.

    We need a goal machine.

  6. Even a “spinning Jenny” kind of goal machine would be nice. It doesn’t have to be Deep Blue.

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