Before the match I thought Spurs would approach this game with lessons learnt from their Sunday match, against Hull, and we would have seen a different team (well, we did… in some ways).
The day started off ok. I arrived at N17 at 5pm when the dark was starting to encroach upon us. Had an enthusiastic conversation with various fans in how we will play better than we did on Sunday. Then looked around the Spurs shop, before getting something to eat and a cup of tea. So good for far. I then strolled around to where there was a miniature Spurs jamboree, outside the Spurs ground ; kickeeupee for kids, face painting (again for kids), hotdog stands (for everybody) and an information centre (WTF?). I asked the lady what information they were giving out and to whom? ‘Anybody,’ and ‘Anything,’ she replied in a bored voice. This was too deep for me so I moved on. Cutting a long boring story short (I hear cries of ‘thank god’) I entered the ground with high hopes. Not before my bag was searched and an enthusiastic female security guard patted me all over (something that had never happened to me when being frisked by the male security); but it was entertainment of sorts. I did hear two males discussing who they wanted to be searched by, but I quickly moved on and into the ground. Sitting down I watched little kids in Halloween masks, walking around the pitch, led by a large cock… erel, while being accompanied by suitable Halloween music blasting out of the loudspeakers. After that part of the excitement was over the show was under way.
Spurs started off well with Sigurdsson 25 yarder giving us a spectacular goal to the delight of the crowd and to wet our appetites, for, hopefully, things to come. ‘That’s it,’ I thought to myself, ‘they are stuffed…’ only they weren’t. It was us that were nearly stuffed. But we didn’t know that yet. In the break we were entertained by a mystery guest (in a mask) and some quit disturbing adults dressed up in Halloween costumes (I presume costumes, either that or local inmates being let out for the night in a good will gesture) who were asked to guess the mystery Spurs hero; ‘Have you won a trophy?’ one cried, while another asked ‘you are not Gary Mabbutt?’ ‘No,’ came back the reply. After an appropriate time, and we were all on the edge of our seats, the mask was removed and Graham Roberts was revealed to cheers from the crowd. Then little kids tried their skills at penalty taking against a large woolly cockerel, for an unknown prize. When that bit of entertainment was dispensed with the second half was on its way. Less than 10 minutes into the second half, and with the help of Friedel, we conceded a goal. Ninety minutes was up and all equal. Then horror of horrors, 9 minutes into extra time, McShane puts the visitors ahead. The crowd got behind Spurs (apart from where I was sitting. I think the crowd in the West stand lower thought we were in a mortuary and kept quiet in case they woke up the dead; taking the Halloween theme a bit too far, me thinks…. Luckily for Spurs the other parts of the ground adhered to AVB’s wish and created an atmosphere to make one proud, over shadowing the West stand; or at least where I was sitting. Anyway, back to the narrative). Kane got only his second goal for Spurs and equalised. Euphoria erupted in the stadium (it certainly woke those that were kipping where I was sitting). Then came the exciting penalty shootout. I say exciting because we ended up the winners. Ok, as excitement goes it was thrilling. But I wouldn’t use that adjective to describe what went on before that penalty circus took a grip. I thought we were poor in places. AVB had made 8 changes and it showed. Defoe was poor and Lamela was trying to adjust to the British pace. I was surprised that Eriksen was taken off. Chadli, who came on to replace Eriksen, was suddenly subbed himself by Kane. In his case I can only think he wasn’t fully fit (he lasted 10 minutes). A lot of miskicks and slips on a wet ground seemed to be the order of the night. I thought the whole think was a pig’s ear. Of course we must give credit to plucky Hull (only as an excuse for our performance against this newly promoted team) who battled their hearts out. But that shouldn’t be any excuse for the way our poor quality preformed. I can only come to the conclusion that 8 changes took a lot out of us and that is why we struggled in places. But we won. It was the Jazz musician and singer Duke Ellington who said “it is 20% talent and 80% luck”. On the night I thought the luck out swamped the talent; or am I being unkind here? They did battle, I will say that in all fairness. I suppose I took to heart what it said on the tin (abundance of talent inside… and did not read the rest of the label before opening up and supping with the devil. Which would have read, if I had continued reading; heat well before taking orally. As anybody who can cook knows; for any food to be appreciated it must be cooked well; Spurs are still heating up). Anyway, the night ended well and I drove home on a high.
For out trouble’s we’ve been drawn against West Ham (that team that embarrassed us 3-0 on our own ground). A replay of our humiliation or will it be revenge night? Let us hope the later. What is that old saying: “Fool me once, shame on them; fool me twice… what a waste of money”. Anyway, that is one for later. For now a three day rest for the team before Spurs travel to Goodison Park and play Roberto Martinez’s Everton. We’ve got a good record away (only losing once), while they’ve got an even better record at home; drawing against WBA, being their only worst result on home ground under Martinez’s management. They are now sixth in the league on 18 points (1 point behind Spurs who are 4th). So Sunday should be an interesting contest. Spurs have been lucky so far this season (more so than previous seasons) but we do need to get our act together; we must start working like a smooth running Swiss clock. I would like to think we are getting there, but I am an eternal optimist. I like to end by quoting that great War leader Sir Winston Churchill: “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” I agree, after all, our motto is To Dare is to do. So onwards and upwards and let Spurs continue marching on.
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