Opinion: What a humongous catastrophe

Image: SpursWeb

Spurs 2 Bayern Munich 7 (yes, seven)

Our worst home defeat and worst Champions League defeat in history.

We started so well, promised so much, and delivered failure at the highest level.

Our troubles continue as we were humiliated in the most devastating fashion by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on one of the most humiliating nights in our recent history. Former Arsenal man, Serge Gnabry scored four goals.

Contrast this with a match I went to 53 years ago on this day; 1st October (1966). It was a Saturday, at Craven Cottage and our opponents were Fulham.  We came out on top in a seven-goal thriller. The score was 4-3. Greaves, Robertson, Gilzean and Venables scored our four. I remember the excitement and thrill of it all. I was only 11 years old then. We had great players in our team. Compare these players of old with the shambles of today. No comparison.

I remember that both sets of goalkeepers were kept fully busy and earned their pay on that day (and they weren’t getting anything as much as players do today).  Greaves had a few good shots saved, he was always dangerous in the box. I also remember Gilzean being hit in the meat and two veg area by a ball; there was none of this over-excitement, as you get today. Calling everybody out to care for this poor and injured player. Basically, he/ they were told to get up and ‘man it out’. They were made of stronger stuff in those days. When players tackled, they tackled and took no prisoners. After the match was all over you knew that they had earned their pittance.

The scale of this thrashing for manager Mauricio Pochettino and our players was made even more blunt by the fact we took an early lead through Son and were on level terms until just before half-time. Bayern posed a considerable threat throughout and were quickly on terms through Joshua Kimmich’s superb 20-yard finish – but we failed to heed the warning signs and ended up reduced to a rabble as we sunk without a fight in the second half.

This was an enthralling encounter for the impartial observer, but an uncomfortable 45 minutes for our supporters,  that really turned on the stroke of half-time when, with matters in the balance, Robert Lewandowski produced a brilliant turn and right-foot finish past Hugo Lloris from 20 yards.

Goals from Kimmich (15′ minutes), Lewandowski (45′ minutes, 87′ minutes), Gnabry (53′ minutes, 55′ minutes, 83′ minutes, 88′ minutes) shattered any illusion that we might be worthy challengers for the European Champions League this season.

Knocked out of the League cup by a team that is 70 places below us and struggling in the league. What next?

Son and Kane got our two goals. Saying we were shite – in the second half – would be trying to put a positive spin on a dismal performance.

Has Pochettino gone past his sell-by date? Has he gone as far as he can go?

We went to our seats being so optimistic. When our first goal went in we seemed like a team that had no fears and would challenge anything. Then the second half came and we just surrendered.

As goal after goal went in our faces and hearts dropped. Long before that though (their final goal) the crowds were leaving in their droves. I always stay to the end, but by the time the final whistle went, I was sitting on my own. Finally, I made my way to the lounge and waited for the others. We were all shocked. Most went, like me, for a 2-1 win. A 7-2 humiliation was nowhere near our thoughts. The worse, I suppose, was that we thought it could be a 2-1 or 3-2 loss. Not a total cave-in (that is, in the second half).

The witching hour of 11 pm came and the Tottenham staff kicked us out. Two friends who live near me in Berkshire asked for a lift home. I finally arrived at my destination, after a couple of motorway junction were closed, at 1.40am. I also happened to take the wrong turning and ended up going the wrong way on the North Circular. It must have been the stress of the match.

We’ve got problems and on Saturday we face Brighton and even though they are struggling they are a far better side than Colchester United. We were expected to beat Newcastle at home, and we were chastened.

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.


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