Opinion: Into the mystic

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Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

“We were reborn before the Mason wind,
Didn’t have Kane but still had Son,
Ere the Super League was done,
As we sailed into the Mystic”

I know the Saints have been the second worst side in the league for months now. And that we trailed deservedly by halftime by a goal that could have been two. And that it took a VAR decision for a late penalty to produce the three points in a game where Spurs were only our Spurs for barely a half hour. And that some decided to mark Ryan Mason’s debut before the game with signs saying ENIC or Levy Out. I don’t care. That foghorn whistle blew in the second half, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll all be coming home. We got our Tottenham back, if only for a while and with still a pack of questions remaining about where we go from here.

The first half was so familiar—actually we flipped the script yesterdat The first was our normal second and vice-versa. They should have scored early but for Lloris as poor defending laid us bare and, to be fair, Gareth Bale was a spectator, standing in the box, doing nowt. Then Ings in a moment of brilliance got them ahead, and but for the last minute or so the Saints were clearly the more energetic and capable side. But games are 90 minutes as we have learned much to our chagrin this season, and in the final third of this one our players reached for and achieved a very deserving three points. The difference was evident all over the pitch—the Saints slowed down, and particularly after the departure of Ings, but there was no more loose play in the back third. 

The midfield troika of Hojbjerg, Ndombele and Lo Celso began to mesh, each understanding and executing his role, as did Harry Winks when he came on for Tanguy.  The best evidence came in the buildup for the winner, when in quick succession Winks and Lo Celso made brilliant tackles to regain possession and turn the field. Reguilon began to do what he does best, nearly assisting on the winner but for Lucas to have been offside and in the view of the goalkeeper, and then it was he who was fouled just inside the box for Son’s penalty winner. Son, who once again looked out of sorts for most of this game—another where he rarely was able to effect a counter—began to grow in terms of threat, as did Lucas. And Bale was our best player for much of the half, with the brilliantly placed shot for the equaliser a just reward. 

What are we playing for, anyway? Pride? Thursday nights? On Sunday we play for silverware—we hope with our talisman—in a game where truly have nothing to lose but must enter as a huge underdog. Could we win five on the trot and somehow pip four of the five teams we are battling for Top Four position? Sorry– this isn’t a fairy tale season. Will the new manager be hired before the season ends and players want to impress?

I don’t know about any of it. I do know that for a half-hour yesterday my football team did what I wished they would far more often. Played hard. Played to win. Found their spirit. Used their skills. Felt good about themselves. Is it the beginning of a new era? A return to glory? Or at least a way to leave a better, not bitter, taste at season’s end? I do know this. It would be so fun to be back at our ground—all of us in full voice—as our team is rocking our gypsy souls… and we can float together into the mystic. Can’t stop now. 

 

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