Opinion: It’s a start

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Image: SpursWeb

Spurs 5 Red Star Belgrade 0

After my last critical article, they seemed to have bucked their ideas up (of course, I am not taking credit; I wish!). The previous game (Watford) I predicted a 5-0 win, and we drew 1-1. My thoughts were to do the same this time around, but I chickened out… and low and behold we won 5-0. But now they must keep up that momentum, and it won’t get any easier by a long shot.

We finally kick-started our Champions League campaign in style by overwhelming a weak Serbian club side.

Before all that, I must tell you a conversation I had with a Spurs Legend. After the game a group of us went down to level 2 and chatted with others, including Graham Roberts (yes, our ex-player, or legends as we like to call them). We discussed the match, heard some of Graham’s stories from the past, then I pipped up and said, “are you going to Serbia for the return game?” He replied, “don’t be daft,” in which I replied, “I am.” He looked at me and said, “Good luck with that one! you do know there is a war over there/ conflict within the country?” Yes, I knew there were problems. And with our victory over them at home, I can also see some retaliation as well. But I am going with SportOptions, along with fellow Spurs supporters, so I am hoping that being with a crowd we should be ok. Plus there will be an active Police and Tottenham Stewards presence. Providing nobody strays or goes it alone then I am hoping everything will be ok. Serbia won’t want any national/ international incidences (as for their fans, that is another matter).

To the match:-

Mauricio Pochettino’s needed to produce a response after we were thrashed and humiliated 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in our last Group B game and after losing a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the opening round of matches. But let us not get too excited, we’ve got Liverpool next week, and as I said, it is a start.

We secured our first win unequivocally as an early header from Harry Kane and two smart finishes from Son Heung-min gave us a three-goal advantage by half-time.

Red Star, who were backed by a large group of fans (illegally) despite Uefa restrictions imposed after incidents of racism at a qualifier against HJK Helsinki in July, had no answer as Erik Lamela scored a fourth and Kane added another.

It was a performance and a scoreline to give Pochettino a much-needed infusion of confidence after our indifferent start to the season, and before Sunday’s daunting visit to Premier League leaders Liverpool.

We mustn’t let the game against Red Star go to our heads. The real task and to see if the team have learnt anything from Pochettino’s furore (and the supporters), will be in the next couple of weeks.

I could be wrong, but this was our biggest win in our new stadium. The crowd was about 50,000, down on recent attendances.

Two away trips to Liverpool and then a flight to Serbia to face our 5-0 victims. That should be fun.

Before the game a friend, who is a Tottenham supporter, phoned me for a lift. Even though he is a member and had a ticket for the match, his brother became ill, and he couldn’t go, so my friend (Andy) was given his Premium Season ticket for the game. We left at 1.45 pm and got to the ground at 3.45 pm. Parked up and we both did some shopping in the Spurs shop. I got myself a Christmas Spurs jumper and calendar and some other nicknacks and we parted (Andy was meeting a friend).

Got in, got my programmes and then Terry bought us a bottle of wine (there was only two of us), and we enjoyed the time away until kick-off.  After the game, and the chat with the others, including, as I said, Graham Roberts, Spurs closed up shop and we made our way to our destinations. I picked up Andy and his friend, and we were off. I finally got home at 12.45 am. This time no hiccups and a straight run through (albeit lower speed signs).

So, a good game and everybody was happy. But we also knew that we weren’t out of the woods yet and there was still a long way to go. So; for the present no talk of Pochettino and “sell-by-dates”.

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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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