Sunday, May 22, 2011

The trouble with Harry (and some Spurs fans)

Some people think irony is a Greek island. A quick peak at an atlas suggests otherwise. Harry Redknapp has delivered some of the greatest moments in Tottenham’s recent history, but he can be an over-sensitive and inarticulate so-and-so. So it’s an amusing double-standard when his critics rage at his comments in an over-sensitive and inarticulate manner.

Are the people who ring radio phone-ins the gibbering fools Harry suggests? It’s not for me to say, but it’s unlikely they will be curing cancer anytime soon.

Two sweet strikes from Roman Pavlyuchenko secured a fifth place finish that would have been unthinkable for Spurs in 16 of 20 Premier League seasons. It secured our joint second best Premier League performance. While that does not merit a DVD and open top bus parade, it is something worth appreciating.

You only have to look at the agony etched on the faces of the relegated Birmingham fans and the boundless joy in the eyes of the Wigan faithful to understand that this is something that should never be taken for granted. There is no divine right to success, but if there are any disillusioned Spurs fans who want to guarantee glory, Manchester United season tickets are available for next season.

This season has delivered some magical memories. God knows how many dismal, fruitless hours I have spent drinking crappy Fosters at those temples of dark arts – the Emirates and Library – without reward. But in November we were ‘hanging out the back of them’, turning a 0-2 deficit into a mad 3-2 orgy of jubilation. The European and World champions Inter Milan were swept aside 3-1 at White Hart Lane; Italian champions elect AC Milan were also defeated at the San Siro in the Champions League and Spurs saw off Kenny Dalglish’s rejuvenated Liverpool at Anfield for first time since 1993 as the grim spectre of ‘Fair Play’ qualification loomed large.

At times, Spurs played truly scintillating football. When fit, Gareth Bale was mesmeric and won the ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ award for an astonishing 12 months. On the verge of loan football at Nottingham Forest in early 2010, Bale suddenly became one of the most coveted players in world football. Rafael Van der Vaart arrived and added another stamp of world class alongside the virtuoso that is Luka Modric.

My own ‘Player of the Season’ was perhaps, unsurprisingly, Monsieur William Gallas. A bargain free transfer, poor Bill withstood some awful stick at The Hawthorns and Britannia Stadium early on, but provided the leadership and defensive nous that was mercifully lacking at our great rivals this season. It cost them trophies. Again.

There have, of course, been disappointing performances, especially at White Hart Lane where most visitors are loathe to attack. A well-documented failure to secure a clinical striker probably denied Spurs another season of Champions League football. But if that extra dash of class up front can be delivered by the end of August 2011, we can hit those heights again.

The gap between Arsenal and Spurs is now paper thin. Don’t lose sight of how far Spurs have come after the dark Sugar years where the Nethercotts and Tramezzanis ran wild. West Ham’s implosion and relegation brought light relief when it was needed. To the obnoxious Gold, Sullivan and Brady, you will not be missed.

This will be the last ‘Evening With The Lust Doctor’. My thanks to those who have enjoyed and endured these blogs. For one season, and one season only, I wanted to shine a positive light on all things Spurs. I hope it’s brightened your experience.

We’re all Spurs fans. And, for whatever reason, a mad love beats in our hearts that defies commonsense yet defines who we are.

Embrace it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Return Agent Keane

Return Agent Keane. The target was secured at 18:01 hours on Sunday 15th May with minimal resistance. Mission: Claret and Blue Murder is complete.

We appreciate your sacrifice. Four months of jellied eels and baying lunatics has broken men before (see Agent Boogers), but you stayed strong as the caravans circled.

You will be mentioned in despatches and awarded the Silver Star of David. The record will show that, behind enemy lines, Agent Keane crippled enemy personnel Parker and Upson by taking them to his wife’s spinning class and impersonated a pub player with astonishing accuracy.

Immediate evacuation is essential to avoid incoming laser pen fire. Enemy Agent Cole’s defection request has been denied. Please ditch him at Hilton Park motorway services, Wolverhampton, on your return to base.

Return Agent Keane.

Mission complete.

*Oh and Spurs won 2-0 at Liverpool today, thanks to the return of Ledley King and a Howard Webb penalty! You couldn’t make it up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Game? What game?

Was there a game on tonight? I didn’t know. I was helping out at the local soup kitchen. Seeing a glimmer of hope in the eyes of the desperate reminded me of Spurs' last home match. Maybe a cup of minestrone and a buttered roll is the answer. Then again, Luka Modric would probably drink the soup too hot and be out for six weeks.

Spurs’ hopes of fourth place had ended long before Wednesday’s 0-1 reverse at Manchester City, but it was encouraging to watch a patched-up Tottenham side dominate the game (16 shots, 63% possession) yet receive no reward for their endeavours. Acknowledging the recent fallow period, it has been a luckless time for Spurs and I am responsible.

In April, I had the opportunity to buy some ‘lucky heather’ from an old gypsy gal on Regent Street, but bypassed the charmed lady by masquerading as a deaf mute. I apologise for costing Spurs another season of Champions League football as since then we’ve lost by a goal that didn’t cross the line and an offside winner at Chelsea; a player who should have been sent off subsequently scored (Charlie Adam); conceded a freak own goal and been thwarted by a Joe Hart wonder save despite bossing City and lost key men Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto to long-term injury.

And bizarrely the underused Niko Kranjcar has barely kicked a ball. Dark forces at work surely?

Mind the soup, Luka. Bollocks.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Section me!

“Oh what an atmosphere! I love a party with a happy atmosphere. Oh let me take you there....”

Russ Abbott would have found little to enjoy at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening. Spurs 1 Blackpool 1 was a dire, lifeless spectacle played before a strangely sterile, near lobotomised, crowd until a fractious second half where all hell broke loose.

It was a painful game in every sense. Spurs conceded two penalties (the first harshly), Charlie Adam decapitated Gareth Bale (no punishment, obviously), Blackpool tried to get Jermain Defoe sent off (the classic 'hold on to my head and lay still' routine) and I was briefly ejected from my seat for swearing at the referee and an opposition player (whilst goaded by the neanderthal in front and his chavvy son). “You are always f**king swearing,” they complained without irony.

Gomes made a sensational penalty save only to be suckered into conceding another spot-kick seconds later. It was a minute of sheer madness that defied all logical reason. What do you do with the big galoot? Sandro, apparently subject of at least one major bid, was again the star turn in a listless home performance where, at least, Danny Rose impressed in an unfamiliar left back role. Other players seemed borderline disinterested. Our season fizzled out together.

The night ended weirdly for me in Archway McDonalds with a woman, who looked like she’d copped a pound of pure, flinging her body against a bolted staff door and screaming: “I’m gonna get sectioned! Call the police, girl. This is my night! They will be sectioning me tonight, aiiight?”

We know the feeling, love. We know the feeling.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

For legal reasons.......

An interesting online insight from today’s Assistant Referee Mike Cairns.

What is the best game you have officiated and why?

“8th May 2002, Manchester United v Arsenal and my first visit to Old Trafford. What made the occasion so memorable was the whole season hung on this one game. Manchester United needed victory to take the title race to the last game of the season and should Arsenal win then they would be crowned Champions at Old Trafford. Arsenal won the game 1-0 and the title on the night.” (

Presumably, Spurs’ contentious defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday will not be knocking Arsenal’s 2002 title win off top spot. Cairns’ memory is clearly sharper than his 20/20 vision.

I was perfectly placed behind the right side of Heurelho Gomes’ net on Saturday and surrounded by Spurs fans genuinely celebrating when the big Brazilian recovered from another gaffe. The ‘goal’ was somehow awarded. There was genuine shock. Were we naive?

You may remember that a ball several feet over the line was not deemed a goal for Spurs at Old Trafford in 2005. Both officiating errors took place at the homes of the two most successful teams of the last decade. What are the odds? It has been 21 years since Spurs last won at Stamford Bridge – is it any wonder why?

For legal reasons, it’s hard to articulate what most Spurs fans were feeling after one of the most controversial games I can ever remember attending. That the second ‘goal’ was clearly offside detracts from a positive Spurs performance and another wonder show from Sandro.

For all the millions lavished on Chelsea, there is little difference between the teams, just a few suspect officiating calls and that’s nothing some Specsavers vouchers can’t cure.

In a positive development, there were suggestions tonight that technology will be in place next season. The goalline will be marked out in Braille.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Sixth Sense

I can see dead people. Or rather Spurs’ defenders with dead legs wheezing into a sixth place finish. I’d burn my season ticket if it wasn’t made of plastic.

I'm joking, of course, but an element felt that way after a 2-2 draw against a useful West Brom side. If they tossed a season ticket on the barbie, they might benefit from the toxic fumes. The Baggies’ late equaliser was, without question, sublime and unsaveable.

Spurs have had more draws than a Spaghetti Western, but somehow lost only twice in 22 league games. Yet it feels like the worst run in living memory. There is an overreaction now to every result, good and bad, that makes me pine for the football-free summer months.

Today’s scoreline was disappointing, but a poor result can often be overcome by a good one in the next game. Should Spurs win at Chelsea next weekend (as likely as a Katie Price marriage lasting, but not impossible), then fourth is still on. Believe or, at least, enjoy the delusion while it lasts.

Any of Tottenham's likely final positions carries an upside. If Spurs finish fifth they could realistically win the Europa League in 2012; if they falter and finish in sixth behind a resurgent Liverpool, the lighter schedule might lift the club into nosebleed territory next season.

West Ham, meanwhile, cling desperately on to football's trap door. Sometimes it pays to look down to raise a smile.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Benoit Assou-Ekotto appreciation society

He looks like he should be shifting crack vials on The Wire, but you will only find forwards in Benoit Assou–Ekotto’s pocket. The only product he deals in is world class performances.

Benoit was simply magnificent against Arsenal, replicating his outstanding display against Real Madrid last week with a display of pace, timing and guile. His exquisite throughball released football whippet Aaron Lennon for the crucial equaliser.

When Spurs’ pedestrian backline was caught flatfooted by the pace of headless chicken Theo Walcott in the first half the nimble Cameroonian was always there to cover. He grew in stature in the second period, adept in defence, incisive in attack; the complete defender and, without question, the best left-back to play for Tottenham during my tenure as a Spurs fan.

We used to fold like origami against Arsenal, but no more. They are a psychologically brittle outfit, flat-track bullies who excel when a game is tipped in their favour, crumble at the first sign of resistance. Tottenham have gobbled up three two-goal deficits in 2.5 years against the red and white infidels from around the corner and I always felt we could claw the game back at 1-3. An eel has more backbone.

Our latest revival was aided by the renaissance of Rafael Van der Vaart. For the first time in months, the Dutch master was fully fit and he conducted Spurs’ attacking forays with swagger and verve. Only a superb display by Polish builder Szczesny in the Arsenal goal staved off another stirring Spurs victory like November’s 3-2 triumph at the Emirates*.

When Arsenal fail to win the league in May by a handful of points, it will be these games they remember. Theo....shhhhhh.

*The Emirates is the nation’s designated quiet stadium (please refrain from using mobile phones, personal stereo equipment or talking loudly when seated).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Being there

It’s all about being there. To make the most of life (and football), you have to grasp and appreciate the moment before it passes. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend all 12 of Tottenham’s Champions League games this season and I wouldn’t have missed this ride for the world.

We’d gone through too much to be here. Spurs were on the verge of Champions League qualification in 2006 when an ‘accidental pre-match poisoning’ barred our path. So we waited. We hoped. We dreamed. And then, guided by Harry Redknapp, everything fell into place.

Competing against billionaire owners in the Premier League and established giants, Spurs qualified for the world’s elite club competition and took on the continent’s finest with a refreshing, swashbuckling style of play and a never-say-die spirit that won admirers and games. More fancied teams underestimated us and were duly eliminated.

There were moments of breathless magic; Gareth Bale’s one-man crusade at the San Siro against holders Inter before dry-roasting Maicon in the return game and steely defiance; epitomised by William Gallas’ critical goal-saving clearance to deny seven-times champions AC Milan at White Hart Lane.

New stars were born (Sandro, Van der Vaart) and old heroes barely featured (King, Keane). There were four clean sheets, three red cards, two missed penalties and one plastic pitch.

The odyssey started there at the wonderfully named Wankdorf Stadion in Berne. At 0-3 down in 28 minutes against the unfancied Young Boys, my dad, who has a heart condition, was slumped face forward in his seat cradling his head in his hands. The dream seemed over in the starting blocks. But it wasn’t. The adventure had just begun.

Tottenham Hotspur, 2010/11 Champions League quarter-finalists, we salute you.

See you there next season?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

'Adventures' in babysitting

Like Jermain Defoe, I missed the Stoke game (due to essential babysitting rather than missing sitters).

It’s weird not to be sat at White Hart Lane on a matchday (and without mobile coverage). You imagine the worst…Ben Alnwick is playing after Carlo took Heurelho out for a spin on the Ducati….Benoit’s hairdressers’ appointment overran….Tom Huddlestone entered Chicken Cottage and failed to return.

But something more improbable took place in N17….Tottenham scored T-H-R-E-E (III in ‘Pavlyuchenko’ numerals) goals. Cue five crows in funny outfits dropping down from the branches and singing ‘When I see an elephant fly’. Who would have believed it after blanks in the previous four games?

It was fitting that Peter Crouch scored twice and was a key figure at the other end in repelling Stoke’s desperate search for a late equaliser. Two-metre Peter gained a small measure of redemption after the madness in Madrid and it was great to see the positive reaction he and the team received from the White Hart Lane faithful after Tuesday’s 0-4 snafu at the Bernabeu.

The national press had predicted a hostile reception. But boos from armchairs don’t count. Just ask a babysitter.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The devil of Madrid

To protect the innocent, the identities of some people have been changed in the publication of this story.

A devil walks among us. This master of the dark arts is responsible for the greatest debacles in Tottenham history. I pray you do not know him. His name is 'Satan Spur'.

I was introduced to this bad omen during Tottenham’s bleakest years. For some reason, Satan would often be sitting next to me at away games. He would always be moaning. The weather, the motorway, the team, the price of Farah slacks...he droned on without pause. I took a noose to the Britannia Stadium to alleviate my pain (it was sadly confiscated and is now a fixture at Staffordshire Police’s annual tug of war event).

Whenever I saw this man, Tottenham lost and lost badly. Surely this was a coincidence? I paid attention more closely. My suspicions were soon confirmed - every matchday sighting of Satan Spur resulted in a Tottenham defeat (and another of his mind-numbing monologues). Bizarrely, if our paths did not cross, Tottenham won or drew. The conclusion was obvious. Avoid this man. So shortly before Juande Ramos’ sacking, fellow Yido ‘Person A’ and I formed a desperate plan with Spurs hurtling towards the Championship.

'Person A' rang THFC ticket office to request we be moved as far as humanly possible from Satan at away matches. The effect was immediate and astounding. With Satan Spur nowhere to be seen, Spurs were rejuvenated and within two years the team achieved the unthinkable and qualified for the Champions League.

But then this week, of all weeks, horror showed its face once more. On Tuesday, ahead of the first leg versus Real Madrid, we turned a corner tower at the Bernabeu and there he was....the angel of Tottenham death, his grey cowpat hairstyle gleaming in the Madrid sunshine.

“That’s it....we’re fucked!” exclaimed 'Person A' as Satan Spur ran towards us, armed with more tales of bore. He had been out of the UK guessed it...Spurs' poor run started.

Our Champions League dreams were over. Anyone know a good exorcist?

*Those who doubt Peter Crouch was targeted by Real Madrid need only look at the telltale photo in yesterday’s Metro. A crestfallen Crouch is shown the red card while the 'injured' Marcelo is sitting on the ground pumping his fists with a broad smile on his face. The immediate reaction of every injured player (please imagine sarcastic tone). Give the Brazilian mop head a good ‘waxing’ next week, Spurs fans.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Joe Jordan statement

Tottenham’s striker crisis has been solved by veteran forward Joe Jordan’s shock return to football aged 59. The former Scotland and Manchester United hardman, currently a coach at the North London club, decided to come out of retirement after watching misfiring Spurs draw 0-0 with Premier League strugglers Wigan.

Jordan made this brief statement shortly before headbutting a low-flying bird.

“Aye, the tartan big man willnae take this goolless crap lyin’ doon, ah tell yae. Ah’m back yae drizzlin’ shites. Nae longer will ah watch dose mincers fannae aboot in frontae gools. I cannae wae tae mix it wit dose Stoke boys. Ah’ll wear that Shawcross leek ah mink scarf. Huth? He’ll havetae.

“Delap cannae throo long balls innae box if tha fooker got nae hands. Aye Pulo, ahm’ comin’ for youse southern shite-tasters. That cap willae beh sticking oot youse bum cheeks next Sat'day tae time. Shite mae troosers! A fookin’ bird!”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jermain Defoe vs Sandra Redknapp

Loyalty is a wonderful thing. This admirable virtue cements marriages and bonds lifelong friendships. It is also frequently misplaced.

If Harry Redknapp had as much faith in Roman Pavlyuchenko as he showed the shot shy Jermain Defoe, Tottenham would probably have beaten West Ham on Saturday. An inspirational display from Luka Modric merited as much.

Instead, the Russian sub was brought on (far too late) with just 20 minutes remaining and caused havoc around the West Ham penalty area while Redknapp favourite JD proceeded to fritter away chance after chance. Every striker has matches like this, it‘s part of the game, but the likeable Defoe seems to have little but these days.

Apparently, Jermain has been watching DVDs of Jimmy Greaves to improve his goal tally; presumably this was ‘The Best of Saint and Greavsie’ or a drunken home video from a 1979 Greaves family barbecue where the finishing related to pints.

The recurring criticism of Darren Bent was that he contributed nothing apart from scoring. Oh for that problem now. Bent’s relationship with Redknapp deteriorated after the manager famously ridiculed the striker for missing a simple headed goal in a 1-1 stalemate with Portsmouth. The criticism was myopically selective when you consider Defoe’s continued profligacy and Bent’s outstanding career goal record.

How many of Defoe’s chances today would Sandra Redknapp have converted, I wonder, Harry? We’ll never know because Redknapp, a wonderful manager in every other respect, has a worrying blind spot when it comes to the misfiring Defoe.

Yeah. Sandra would have buried them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Say hello (Spurs), wave goodbye (Arsenal)

I don’t have fingernails. My fingers are but a memory. There’s just a stump where my left hand used to be. That’s the price of tension. Apparently Spurs’ 0-0 draw with AC Milan lasted around 94 minutes – it just felt like an eternity.

Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League, but Tottenham roll on into the quarter-finals. It’s called 48 hours in football dreamland.

I really feared for Spurs ahead of the second leg with the seven-time European Champions. Too many supporters were worryingly complacent. Seasoned European performers Milan would undoubtedly perform better after underestimating Tottenham at the San Siro. Could a defence pierced three times by Wolves withstand a desperate assault from Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho?

How did Spurs survive? Sandro was again imperious. The Brazilian, still only 21, has this wonderful knack of effectively harrying and continually getting a crucial foot in. He was Milan’s nemesis again and helped Spurs desperately hold off wave upon wave of Rossoneri possession.

We were outpassed, but hung in there. The ageless Seedorf, anonymous at the San Siro, bossed the midfield. The ball seemingly attached to his feet by an invisible string. Attacks were repelled with a gritty steel not associated with a Tottenham side. The rearguard action was almost Italian in its nature. William Gallas was a key figure. A former Arsenal and Chelsea stalwart, Gallas’ football redemption is now surely complete after his brilliant goal line clearance and battling display alongside the outstanding Michael Dawson in the heart of Spurs’ defence.

Gareth Bale’s introduction may not appear to have had an impact, but his mere presence suddenly committed two or three Milan players to defence when they might have been bombing forward. We dug in as the seconds painfully counted down. The jubilation at the final whistle was only matched by the sense of relief.

Then a wonderful thought dawned upon the breathless Spurs faithful. 'Are you watching Arsenal?' The Champions League must look wonderful from the sofa.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Howard Webb goes AWOL at Molineux

If only Howard Webb had refereed Wolves vs Spurs. It could have been oh-so-different. The West Midlands marvels might have won 5-3! But sadly England’s finest referee can’t be everywhere. Don’t believe propaganda from the Star Wars Universe...human cloning is not yet a reality, just a dream. Until that joyous day we will have to make do with just one Howard and I will have to wait to entertain Natalie Portman II and III.

Thankfully, Webb’s gleaming dome was nowhere to be seen at Molineux. While Howard was probably enjoying a selection of sliced meats at the Rotherham Harvester, 'less capable stand-in' Mark Halsey failed to send off two Tottenham players, allow a bundled Wolves goal or award a penalty when a ball struck Alan Hutton’s back. We can’t all be Howard, but don't worry, he'll get us in his next game!

Meanwhile, Spurs’ strikers embarked on a veritable goal orgy! Jermain Defoe lamped in two wonder goals (the first inexplicably labelled scrappy by Sky stooge Chris Coleman) and the under-appreciated Roman Pavlyuchenko scored his 11th under-the-radar strike of the season to give Tottenham a tantalising 3-2 lead in the second half. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite hold on despite numerous second-half chances and another wonder show from Sandro in midfield, which went over the heads of the Sky commentators.

I don’t subscribe to the opinion that the press are against Tottenham (that’s just paranoia), but for two, odd hours Sky Sports morphed into Wolves TV. Every Wolves foray was greeted with breathless delight. Highlights included Martin Tyler’s moan of disappointment when Wanderers' ‘first 3-3 equaliser’ was disallowed and Coleman’s unerring ability to erase Tottenham’s superiority in possession (56%-44%) and 10 shots on target compared to 4 from his memory. I know a rather incendiary secret about Mr. Coleman, but I will keep my own counsel because everyone is entitled to an off-day, right?

Stearman’s ‘equaliser’ was interesting. Neither Tyler nor fellow cheerleader Coleman noticed referee Halsey immediately pointing for a Spurs free-kick and embarrassingly tried to make their oversight appear like a Halsey late decision. I’ve always rated Halsey and it’s wonderful see him officiating again after his serious health problems. There was a great tribute to former Spurs and Wolves star Dean Richards who sadly died, too young, at 36 last week. But it did seem ironic to me that the Wolves fans applauding Richards’ memory also abused recent cancer survivor Halsey for not siding with their team ('You're not fit to referee' and worse) on several crucial decisions. Humanity only stretches as far as your own team, it seems.

Gomes was perhaps fortunate on the disallowed 'goal' (he undoubtedly flapped), but the Wolves players were trying to rough him up; that they failed to make more significant contact probably reflects on their general lack of co-ordination. Ebanks-Blake certainly appears to own a pair of paper ankles.

The pitch was predictably dismal and I felt Spurs played far better than they were given credit for. It was still an away point gained where Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd have failed to pick up any this season. The return of 'Welsh Wonder' Gareth Bale provided welcome encouragement ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Champions League second leg clash with AC Milan. Another glory. glory night?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dean Richards: A tribute

It was sadly confirmed today that former Spurs defender Dean Richards had passed away after a long battle with serious illness. He was just 36-years-old.

Dean first sprung to prominence at Bradford City and Wolves before impressing for Glenn Hoddle’s free-flowing Southampton where he looked every inch a future England centre-half.

When Hoddle took over at Spurs he bought Richards for a significant £8.1 million fee, the highest at the time for an uncapped player, and the big defender marked his debut with a goal in that epic 3-5 encounter with Manchester United. Between 2001-2005, Dean made just 73 league appearances in Spurs colours scoring four times. He also featured in five FA Cup and three League Cup ties.

I’d like to recall one of Dean's best performances in a Spurs shirt where he marshalled the Tottenham backline superbly in a 1-0 win at Aston Villa. He punched the air at the final whistle before paying tribute to the celebrating Spurs away support.

Unfortunately, Dean's Tottenham career was blighted by injuries and illness before drawing to a premature close in 2005, but that’s how I’d like to remember him.

Sincere condolences to the Richards family and his loved ones. Next Sunday two of Dean’s former clubs Wolves and Spurs will meet at Molineux where a fitting tribute can be expected.

RIP Dean.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I am glad we lost to Blackpool

No, I’m not. Just trying to get your attention like a podgy Geordie girl in a boob tube during -5 temperatures or every other misleading, lazily-posted football headline on the internet.

It would be easy to be overly negative after a 1-3 defeat to a woefully out-of-form Blackpool, but I won’t fall into that obvious trap. You have to lose well and win well in life. And Spurs have won a lot recently and enjoyed a fair slice of luck here or there. It was probably due.

If you can’t take a defeat and a bit of ill-fortune with good grace then you probably shouldn’t be here and, if you are going to lose to any side, there are worse teams than likeable underdogs Blackpool who play the game in the right spirit and have frequently appeared luckless this season.

I am sure there are people on Twitter, Spurs messageboards and football call-ins petitioning for Redknapp’s sacking, British jobs for British workers and the return of capital punishment. We’ll leave them to it. If you follow Spurs for easy victories, textbook demolitions, bragging rights - the pub football sofa experience complete with replica shirt sans match ticket - this is probably the wrong gig for you. But remember it’s still a good gig.

I was unable (thankfully) to make it to Bloomfield Road tonight, but I was – as ever – entirely bemused by the BBC website’s slapdash coverage of the match. Only at the weekend they claimed AGAIN that a Crawley win over Manchester United would make them the first non-league side EVER to make the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. I reminded them that Spurs won the cup in 1901 as a non-league side. Did they correct this error? Did they fuck. Your average cokehead has less arrogance. I can only assume they are on something a bit stronger. Roll on the government cuts.

Intriguingly, Blackpool were one-nil up but had no attempts on target, according to the stats on the BBC website. A fascinating insight into statistical accuracy. The half-time report said how much Blackpool had ridden their luck, but were yet somehow good value for a 2-0 half-time lead. If this makes sense to you, I look forward to your appearance on ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’ tomorrow. We await with interest the results of your obese wife’s lie detector test.

Unfortunately, the true criminal of Spurs season is rapidly shaping into Jermain Defoe. JD has less of a kick than his alcoholic namesake. Thirteen league games without a goal in a season admittedly disrupted by injury and suspension. Maybe a new chant of “Jermain Defoe, you owe us a goal” would be appropriate. I hoped being surrounded by orange-chested individuals might have fired his enthusiasm, but sadly no.

It’s not too late for Defoe to fire us into the Champions League next season, but it is certainly overdue.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tottenham are mugs (angry emoticon)*

Oh. We used to be mugs. They regularly saw us coming and rolled us over with almost comic effect. Newcastle scored seven, Leeds six, Sheffield United six, Chelsea six. We grew disillusioned, angry. Our eyes bulged with mindless rage like a Nick Griffin devotee. The bitterness sustained us in the bad times. We always had an angry song. Other teams had the glory. We didn’t care. Our boys would have their boys in a scrap. Yeah, great.

Now it’s different. The glory, glory nights (and days) are back. And how. If you were there with me last night in Milan, you will never forget the experience. And if you are a true, grizzled veteran of the bad times, the fallow years...if you bit your lip and clenched your fist as you shipped abuse in offices, pubs, wedding receptions and burger bars then Spurs’ quantum leap forward should bring you more pleasure than most.

When the under-appreciated Peter Crouch stroked home the winning goal after Aaron Lennon’s breathtaking run, madness erupted in the upper echelons of the Curva Nord; a place with the equivalent toilet facilities of your local Primark (but for 4,500 people). It was no less than Tottenham’s steely show, expertly marshalled by reformed Gooner William Gallas, deserved. There was not one poor Spurs’ performance on the field. Even ancient, former Scottish international benchwarmer Joe Jordan rolled back the years with some classic eyeballing of a tiny, bearded Neanderthal.

Who is this Sandro bloke? He previously resembled an out-of-sorts tourist who needed an all over grade 3 and a good eyebrow pluck at Boots. But he owned the Milan midfield on Tuesday night. The bushy Brazilian seemingly covered every blade of Italian grass with wonderful verve and considerable bite. Tellingly, the ‘Sandman’ was La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s ‘man of the match’. Such plaudits were justified.

And what about the reincarnated Wilson Palacios? The beast is back! Dear Wilson has suffered a torrid time in Spurs colours since the tragic news of his young brother’s horrific demise in Honduras. His performances were deteriorating at an alarming rate. However, wise heads like Spurs die-hard John Ali confidently told me: “Wilson will be back, the player we once knew.” Thank god, John was right. The Palacios-Sandro tandem, overwhelmed in November at the Reebok, somehow excelled and dominated at the San Siro. Work it out. And what a return for the artist formerly known as Jonathan Woodgate. ‘Woody’ left a baptism of fire without a scorch mark in place. Just a strained abductor muscle!

This was the greatest away result in Spurs’ European history. I told everyone who was there to cherish it, love it, never forget it. We weren’t exactly hanging out the back of it, but we still gave it a good, old-fashioned squeeze with our tongues out.

The tie is by no means over, but we enter an intriguing second leg on the front foot. Never forget the wonder of Milan, my friends. If you were there, the journey back may also stay with you. But that’s probably best forgotten!

*Applies -1996-2005

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Exit Sunderland, enter Milan

A few tasty facts for you.

*Tottenham’s record in the last fifteen league games is 9-5-1 (W-D-L) including three league wins on the bounce. Our strikers have only contributed four goals in this run. It doesn’t matter if your midfield scores like Casanova.

*Spurs last won at the Stadium of Light almost 10 years ago with Christian Ziege and Teddy Sheringham the scorers in September 2001. Katie Price had not even popped out a kid yet.

*Match winner this week, match winner last week, the Croatian Saint Niko Kranjcar and his good lady wife Simona are expecting a baby in March 2011. We wish them all the very best. It’s unlikely Bolton and Sunderland are being considered as Christian names.

*The visit to the San Siro this week will be my 22nd European away trip following Spurs in either the UEFA Cup or Champions League. There have been many weird, wild and wonderful scenes on this journey. I can still vividly recall my first trip in Rotterdam....standing on my seat, clutching an Oranjeboom aged 10 as Tottenham and Feyenoord fans rioted in the adjacent stand. Spurs won 2-0 in the famous De Kuip beating a side fielding former great Johan Cruyff and future one Ruud Gullitt. The latter a legend for the Rossoneri.

*An away goal is absolutely critical in Milan. This season in the Champions League Spurs have scored two in Berne, two in Bremen, three in Milan (vs Inter) and three in Enschede including two own goals (any more charity on Tuesday night will be most welcome). The presence of the man dubbed Incredibale by the Italian press is critical. Enjoy the moment.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stratford: White elephants on parade

White elephants. David Sullivan and David Gold are quite familiar with them. I understand they once published a magazine featuring ‘big beasts’ au naturelle if that’s your thing. So the Olympic Stadium seems a perfect fit for these former porn magnates turned protectors of Olympic values. But it won’t take long before West Ham discover that an athletics track is an impossibility in a football stadium and make moves to tear it down. It’s a white elephant waiting to happen. What price the precious legacy then? Sebastian Coe (Lord....of what exactly?) better start running.

A football stadium with a running track doesn’t work. I have sat in one and watched the colourful ants on the field perform wild zig-zagging patterns. When the ants move to the centre-circle, you know there’s been a goal. Despite our intense (er, and local!) rivalry, West Ham are a great club with traditions not unlike our own. The Hammers always play football the right way and have a passionate hardcore and legends like Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst who we can all sit back and admire.

But the continual rants of Sullivan and Gold and their double-chinned puppet Karren Brady do these fans little credit. I went from being ambivalent about the stadium move to hoping Spurs would win the bid having been antagonised by the non-stop media diatribe from these unpleasant people and the recognition that a redeveloped White Hart Lane sadly isn’t going to happen. I reiterate, if a club fails to sell out a home cup semi-final with a 36,000 capacity what hope is there of them filling 60,000 seats? The London taxpayer will eventually bear the brunt of West Ham’s failure to make the Olympic Stadium a success. Keep Talksport on speed dial.

You know a sport has limited interest when Sky Sports haven’t bid for it and that’s athletics to a tee. It’s a sport that has historically attracted steroid users and drug cheats extraordinaire. If you’re fast enough...maybe they won’t test your piss. The Olympics is a supposedly noble four-year sporting event but invariably invites jingoism and foul play. It’s always been a filthy, political plaything and little has changed. Think Hitler saluting the crowds in Berlin 1938, the dreadful massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich 1972 to smaller but unpalatable wrongs like hometown boxer Park-Si Hun being awarded a farcical points victory over the mercurial Roy Jones in Seoul 1988. At least the South Korean had the decency to apologise to Jones afterwards.

The Anti-Stratford movement chose to use the ‘news’ (the now classic cut and paste ‘BBC has learned/Sky Sports understands’) to crow, but they need to understand that no-one who supports Spurs has won - the Northumberland Development Project won’t happen. Daniel Levy has said as much and, with the new financial rules relating to club turnover soon to be implemented, a Spurs selling 36,000 seats has a significant disadvantage compared to an Arsenal selling out 60,000 seats. Even a club like Sunderland boasts 49,000 bum spaces. We are falling behind – this is no time to rejoice. Certainly not for the meagre 7,635 ‘Spurs fans’ (including West Ham supporters and many anonymous agitators) who signed the high profile, low take-up ‘We are N17’ petition. Supposedly this is a majority, but I was under the illusion we had more fans? And am I the only one who finds the irony in those Spurs fans who don’t support their local team talking about roots, tradition and community?

What makes me sick about football today is not Spurs looking to move from White Hart Lane to Stratford to compete against the corporate juggernauts who one has to defeat in order to win’s the angry, rent-a-mouth fan, always agitated, wide-eyed with seething rage, but nothing constructive to offer. He can’t enjoy Spurs in the Champions League or the wonder of Bale, Modric and Van der Vaart. He’s on Twitter or Spurs messageboards perpetually unhappy and his sole purpose in life is to pass this negativity on like that swarm of black flies in ‘The Green Mile’.

This usually surreal, offbeat and light-hearted blog has always been intended as an antidote to the non-stop moaning on other blogs and messageboards by keyboard warriors and those who probably shrink in size when their wife or partner grabs the remote control. They scream so loudly and with such passion you might think they outnumber the sane ones among us, but they don’t. They merely have the time and inclination to shout. Following Spurs is supposed to be entertainment, not an endless source of misery and complaint. Try to enjoy it, please.

West Ham may win the Olympic Stadium bid tomorrow (subject to the inevitable legal challenge by Daniel Levy ;-)!!), but in four months the ‘winners’ may be toiling in the Championship and Spurs facing another decade in an ill-equipped, under capacity stadium with a restless 35,000 plus waiting list. That’s a victory for no-one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Willie’s wind-ups - Part Trois!

Bonjour, mes amis, c’est William Gallas! These international breaks, the time stands still, non? It is a time of solitude and contemplation at Chez Gallas since my international ‘retirement’. I might read Sartre and scribble thought-provoking existential notes on the page or breathe in the magic of Truffaut on my home cinema system while sipping a frothy Kronenbourg from my home bar. But my everyday pleasures are no more...lost in the slipstream of international football.... I can’t calm myself by platting Benoit’s hair or telling Luka a bedtime story. Long dark nights of the soul are not uncommon in these times.

There is only one thing that can lift my flagging spirits amid this bleakness. What is it, mon William, you ask? Why it is ripping le piss out of Samir Nasri!

Le set-up: Arsenal are 4-0 up in 26 minutes against a forlorn Newcastle outfit sans Andy Carroll. It is an embarrassment for the Cheryl Cole fanciers. But non! Voila le comeback! Un, deux, trois, quatre! The game finishes 4-4 and the most noble of draws. Your William pretends to be a clueless Thierry Henry and asks Samir the final score.

‘Thierry’: Bonjour, Samir, c’est Thierry! Le Arsenal legend Thierry Henry!

Samir: Ah, Thierry. Ca va.

‘Thierry’: Samir, I call with grave news. My wife has died.

Samir: Oh no, Thierry, this is dreadful. I was unaware you had remarried.

‘Thierry’: You dwarven fool. I said my wi-fi has died! But before le blackout my fading iPhone brought me great beloved Arsenal were 4-0 up against Les Toon after a mere 26 minutes!!! The title is ours surely! Tell me, Samir, what cricket score did we rack up today....sept? Huit? Ah, it was dix!!! We beat the Tottenham record, I know it.

Samir: Thierry....I....Rosicky.

‘Thierry’: Merde.

Samir: Oui, Rosicky. It started to go wrong with Diaby’s tackle.

‘Thierry’: You are pulling my baguette? Diaby's tackle? Is this the guy celebrated, 84 times capped French international legend William Gallas used to laugh at in the shower?

Samir: We no longer speak of this man.

‘Thierry’: It is better days now Squillaci is here, I understand. But his is a little girlish, you must admit. Premier League football is not a salad bar.

Samir: (A sobbing Nasri hangs up and watches the Twilight trilogy).*

Le merk!: In 2010, seamstresses in Peru created the largest ever pair of jeans measuring 141 feet tall (approximately 25 Samir Nasris) and 98 feet wide (approximately 32 Pat Rices) and weighing in at 7.5 tonnes (approximately 1/2 Nicklas Bendtner’s ego). I purchase and send these record-breaking jeans directly to the Emirates Stadium with a special touch. On the pocket stitched in lilywhite: ‘Property of William Gallas - will all Arsenal players form an orderly queue and climb in! 3-2, 3-2, you pansies!’ Ha ha!

*Actual conversation/events did not take place.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tottenham: sex, lies and videotape

Lies and mistruths are wonderful. You can make up anything in the UK and people will believe you if you repeat it often enough. I used to be married to Jose Dominguez’s younger sister, but the relationship broke down after we went on a fishing trip in Portugal and Jose pinched my sardine.

History is rewritten every week. A non-league side has never gone as far as Crawley in the FA Cup apparently. Except when non-league Spurs won it in 1901 (we have played like amateurs since – see last weekend), but don’t be burdened by the truth. Just say what you want. Chances are the person reading will be too lazy or ignorant to check.

Meanwhile, Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres and Pele III are in a helicopter somewhere circling your club’s training ground, football was born in China and Joey Barton is the best midfielder in the country. Those gems from Sky Sports, Sepp Blatter and, er, Mr. Barton. More truths; Jermaine Jenas is crap even when he plays well (see Saturday), Michael Dawson was suspended for three games after his red at Fulham (it was one) and Jermain Defoe is a practicing monk. Hopefully, the off-field scoring will rub off soon, JD. Please.

The misinformation continues to flow like house red in your local Pizza Express. Bolton manager Owen Coyle somehow transformed into the Scottish Steve Bruce in his post-match interview following Spurs’ last gasp victory, describing Daniel Sturridge’s pea-roller that squirmed under ‘He-Ho’ Gomes as a ‘good goal’ and Niko’s thunderbolt as a ‘mistake’.

Certainly, Gary Cahill (who superbly shackled Spurs' misfiring strikers) was clipped by Steven Pienaar in the box in the second half. It 'could have been a penalty'. But equally Spurs second spot-kick initially converted by Van Der Vaart 'could have been a goal'. I didn’t notice Mr. Coyle referencing the blatantly offside goal Kevin Davies scored at the Reebok Stadium in November. He needs to review the video (okay, DVD, Blu-Ray, M-peg) and change out of those disturbing shorts.

Oh, the sex? That was Spurs pin-up boy Niko Kranjcar’s sumptuous 92nd minute winner. Hopefully, Harry will give the Croatian boy a chance now. I'm a fan. He has talent and a welcome eye for goal. Want a laugh? According to a Bolton fan in The Observer, referee Mark Clattenburg deliberately added on enough time for Spurs to score the winner.....!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spurs striker scores goal!

The Mayan prophecy was true, the world is doomed. It is written in ancient scripture that a Tottenham striker will score on the second day of the second month in the 11th year of the third millennium. And so it came to pass.

The second part of the prophecy will see our world consumed in hellfire but until that toasty day let’s just enjoy a surprise Spurs win.

A striker scoring? The mere notion was dismissed as sheer fantasy by Spurs fans, but just as the Mayan soothsayers predicted two thousand years ago Peter Crouch netted and an injury depleted Tottenham triumphed 1-0 at the ‘Chicken Cottage’, Blackburn.

It was only Crouch’s second league goal of the season alongside a ‘handful’ for Roman Pavlyuchenko and a big fat zero for tiny lady magnet Jermain Defoe. Failure to secure a big name striker in the January transfer window had left Tottenham fans restless. Injuries to Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Tom Huddlestone, Steven Pienaar and Younes Kaboul did little to lighten the mood.

Even manager Harry Redknapp expressed his concern at the striker drought as drastic measures were taken by the coaching staff.

“Bondy said to me on Sunday that our front men couldn’t score in a brothel so I told him to prove it,” confessed Redknapp. “He took Crouchy, JD and Pav to a ‘how’s your father’ establishment in Soho and Bondy was right. They all came out with frowns and IOUs. Thank god for those old Mayan fellas. ”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The alternative transfer window deadline day (Bryan Swanson free)

11.33pm A last gasp snafu. Spurs miss out on Charlie Adam by a couple of minutes after two Blackpool shareholder signatures could not be found in time. The window closes, the madness ends. Phew! Goodnight and thanks for joining me......

10.54pm Spurs try to sign Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam with six minutes to go in the window. 1 hour 6 minutes on Levy's naughty fax machine! Genius.

10.34pm Desperate times require desperate measures. Daniel Levy resets Spurs fax machine clock to 9.33pm. Not looking hopeful....

10.16pm The bars of Santander rejoice. Alcohol sponge Giovani Dos Santos has joined Spanish outfit Racing Santander on loan until the end of the season. Can 'Desperate Dan' pull a late rabbit out of the hat? Just don't be a Harewood......

9.02pm Emile Heskey fails Spurs medical after tripping over running machine.

8.34pm Kevin Bond wakes up and reality flips on its head. A mysterious helicopter lands at Spurs Lodge.

7.20pm Daniel Levy looks in his pocket for a small plastic cockerel he keeps as a 'totem'. It's not there. He suddenly considers this deadline day may not be real but part of Kevin Bond's mad dream.

7.07pm Rossi talks break down. Daniel Levy opens another pack of Match Attax for signing ideas. Worringly, Carlton Cole is in the packet along with Lucas Fabianski.

6.52pm Emile Heskey's helicopter is circling Norwich. "Don't land here," stress local airspace officials. Farmers with pitchforks take to the fields.

6.32pm Daniel Levy is deep in transfer talks with Rossi's agent in a local tapas bar. He is served anchovies on toast by none other than former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez!

6.10pm Unconfirmed reports that Francis Rossi of Status Quo is in advanced talks with Daniel Levy in Villareal. Kevin Bond is having a nap.

5.51pm Never underestimate the power of the white wine spritzer. 'Desperate Dan' Levy has flown to Spain to sign someone who is good up front. Penelope Cruz's agent is unavailable for comment.

5.41pm Reports that Spurs have swooped for Porto's Colombian striker Falcao have been lost in translation. Sky Sports understands it is former hitman Mark Falco, 50, who impressed Harry Redknapp in a recent trial (doing his laundry).

5.15pm Tottenham's bid to sign Everton captain Phil Neville is foiled following a dispute over image rights.

4.28pm Spurs fail in late bid for Carroll. Veteran Vorderman turns down offer after dispute over add-ons.

4.04pm It's a no-go. Mido is rioting in Egypt. Nothing to do with the political situation. His local supermarket has run out of houmous.

3.51pm El Hadji Diouf is arrested on arrival at Stansted Airport for 65 separate offences. Emile Heskey's helicopter is refused permission to land in Birmingham. Carlton Cole enjoys a roast at the Dorchester. An intoxicated Daniel Levy makes a desperate bid for Tottenham old boy Mido.

3,35pm Sensational new Spurs striker target revealed at

3.24pm Emile Heskey's helicopter is refused permission to land in London. Kevin Bond loses to Stipe Pletikosa in a tense game of 'Connect 4'.

3.20pm Inspired by Ian Holloway's 'bag of carrots' comment, Daniel Levy tables bids for a number of auburn-haired players including James Collins, Paul Kitson and former White Hart Lane hero Gary Doherty.

3.15pm On board his flight to London, El Hadji Diouf's gold lamé dressing gown is caught in the plane toilet door. Fortunately, a carefully placed toblerone protects his modesty. Daniel Levy orders another white wine spritzer.

3pm Carlton Cole 'mercs' West Ham newboy Robbie Keane by using his mobile to bombard Karren Brady with suggestive texts.

2.58pm Daniel Levy orders a white wine spritzer in Stansted Airport business lounge. Where is El Hadji Diouf? Emile Heskey's helicopter is refused permission to land in Newcastle, Sunderland and Glasgow.

2.41pm Richard Keys signs for Werewolfsburg Over-50s team in Germany.

2.38pm Emile Heskey is refused permission to land in Manchester, Liverpool, Blackburn, Wigan and Blackpool.

2.23pm Emile Heskey's helicopter takes to the skies. Stephen Bywater denies rumours of a move to Tottenham. "See you next Tuesday," he tells the Derby County tea lady.

2.07pm El Hadji Diouf tells an attractive BMI stewardess he is a pilot. "That's handy," she says, "because I'm shooting you down." A furious Diouf waves his toblerone.

2pm In a desperate attempt to force a transfer, new EDF energy customer Emile Heskey rents a helicopter.

1.54pm Jermain Defoe takes 'Showgirls' on loan from the Loughton Blockbuster.

1.45pm Carlton Cole tells a red-faced Robbie Keane he can't wait to meet David Gold's 'world class striker'.

1.41pm Emile Heskey's phone rings. A customer service employee from EDF Energy explains their winter price freeze.

1.38pm Daniel Levy changes the time on Tottenham's fax machine.

1.29pm El Hadji Diouf books into Manchester Airport wearing a gold lamé dressing gown. He is not searched by airport security. Diouf buys a toblerone for Daniel Levy.

1.09pm Emile Heskey waits anxiously by his phone. It does not ring.

1pm A fully nude El Hadji Diouf drives to Manchester Airport at 140mph. Daniel Levy thinks it would be fun to have an entirely bald team and tables bids for Andy Johnson, Brad Friedel, Stephen Ireland and Phillip Senderos among others.

12.53pm Spurs Olympic Stadium charm offensive backfires. A call to athletics legend Sally Gunnell accidentally leads to a bid for lookalike Diego Forlan.

12.40pm Richard Keys is told by his wife that he will not be 'hanging out the back of it' for some time. Andy Gray 'fools around' with a cucumber at his local Waitrose. "It's just banter," he tells a young female employee who arms herself with a can of Lynx.

12.31pm El Hadji Diouf takes off his shirt and walks into a strip club where he is stopped by a bouncer. "This is a topless bar, no?" rages Diouf.

12.23pm Carlton Cole walks into a door distracted by Robbie Keane's pointing and shouting. David Gold looks up from his copy of Razzle.

12.14pm Bryan Swanson understands basic algebra. Spurs ITKs say move for Turkish international 'Algebra' is a done deal.

12.02pm Back at the Spurs training ground, a terrified Heurelho Gomes is chased by a wasp. A Spurs ITK 'spots Benzema''s Alan Hutton in a ridiculous coat.

11.56am El Hadji Diouf winds down the window of his Mercedes SLR McClaren to spit at an elderly nun.

11.53am Gregorz Rasiak's agent receives a phone call and high-fives his client in jubilation. 'Welcome to the McDonald's family!'

11.46am Daniel Levy is nervous. He always gets this way before Bargain Hunt is on TV. He receives an obscene text from El Hadji Diouf.

11.37am Wilson Palacios gives the ball away to Steven Pienaar in training. Pienaar then gives the ball away to Palacios. This pattern continues for three straight minutes.

11.35am Blackburn immediately accept Spurs surprise bid for Diouf and the Senegalese shirt-puller heads to London for talks. He stops off at his favourite 'restaurant' Greggs to moon at the women behind the counter.

11.26am Harry Redknapp tells bemused homeless man he 'doesn't expect any business' before the end of the window. Giovani Dos Santos looks disappointed.

11.23am Daniel Levy goes into a newsagent and buys a pack of Match Attax. He opens the foil and lodges official bids for every player including Senegalese bad man El Hadji Diouf.

11.18am All around the country ITKs begin their arduous climb up trees near Premier League training grounds.

11.16am Carlton Cole misses an open goal in training.

2.22am Daniel Levy falls asleep soothed by Phil Collins' astute life commentary. What will the next 21 hours bring? Check back later for further updates and disappointment.

2.08am Daniel Levy plays 'Against all odds' by Phil Collins on his iPod. Ponders bid for Andy's 'younger brother' Carlton.

2.00am Daniel Levy turns off Babestation.

1.52am Harry Redknapp accidentally calls his wife 'Sandro' during pillow talk.

1.38am Wilson Palacios makes successful pass. It's wind.

1.27am Daniel Levy bids £17m for Andy Cole and is politely told he has retired by Cole's bleary-eyed agent. "For the night?," asks Daniel.

1.26am Phil Dowd makes bacon sandwich.

1.15am Joe Jordan headbutts bedstand.

1.11am Andy Carroll leaves bar, punches passing pigeon as it 'reminds me of a southern shite cockerel.'

1.08am Kevin Bond's nightlight goes out.

1.04am Daniel Levy turns on Babestation.

12.57am Daniel Levy sings 'East London is ours' in the bath. His wife banishes him to the sofa bed.

12.54am A worried Diego Forlan visits the toilet. His pee hurts.

12.50am Sergio Aguero sends bewildering SMS to Diego Forlan. 'What is a Hotspur? Is it contagious?'

12.46am Christian Gross' famous travelcard 'of dreams' is listed on eBay.

12.41am Karren Brady has 'sexist' dream.

12.25am Kevin Bond fills hot water bottle, accidentally burns hand.

12.23am Sergio Aguero Googles 'Tottenham Hotspur'.

12.21am Kevin Bond considers filling hot water bottle.

12.18am Robbie Keane kisses wife goodnight after joining 'boyhood club' West Ham United.

12.15am Kevin Bond makes ovaltine.

12.12am Super-agent Willie McKay adds Harry Redknapp to speed dial, beats Domino's deadline to order pepperoni pizza.

12.07am Daniel Levy bids £3.11 for an iPad on Sadly, this was not a unique bid as Kerry Katona bid the same.

12.02am Spurs linked to Ajax's Belgian centre-half and defensive midfielder Jan Vertonghen. His best mate is Thomas Vermaelen. Hopefully, his football skills are greater than his character judgments.

12am Check here for live updates throughout transfer deadline day. Bryan Swanson ist verboten!

Fulham were ‘hanging out the back of it’

Will the easily offended please look away. Fulham ‘smashed it’ on Sunday and after 90 minutes they were ‘hanging out the back of it’. No doubt, former Sky Sports commentator and ‘werewolf-in-progress’ Richard Keys would approve.

This was a game where a toothless Spurs ran out of luck and lacked the strength in midfield or cutting edge up front to make inroads against an improved Fulham outfit. The long-term absence of Tom Huddlestone and temporary unavailability of Gareth Bale left Spurs’ midfield with an array of midgets who would be better served protecting the confectionery-related interests of William Wonka. The continuing omission of Niko Kranjcar is curious. Is Harry Redknapp (deep intake of breath) displaying ‘tall-ism’?

This cup tie was over as a spectacle within 15 minutes following kamikaze defending by the usually reliable Michael Dawson. Sadly, our likeable captain had an absolute shocker. His sloppy pass played in the paper-ankled Clint Dempsey for the first penalty. Hutton’s challenge merited a spot-kick, but Dempsey’s theatrical tumble made sure.

The hapless Dawson then clearly pulled back Dembele’s shirt in the area (having fortuitously got away with a carbon copy offence against Newcastle last week) and the portly Phil Dowd was so excited the red card literally flew out of his pocket, presumably because his chubby fingers were unable to negotiate such a small space. We wish the blubbery official luck in his continuing battle with obesity. By the ‘letter of the law’, Dowd was correct, but it’s a shame referees regularly fail to spot this infringement when Nemanja Vidic is the perpetrator. He could probably murder and receive a booking.

I had to blink a few times to make sure Gerry Francis wasn’t in charge. Tottenham’s tiny midfield was swamped and a nervy Gomes overwhelmed. The Brazilian’s hesitancy led to an unnecessary corner which the Norwegian behemoth Hangeland converted before Dembele finished superbly as Spurs players backed off in injury time.

There was no Gareth Bale and therefore no rip-roaring comeback. And so one dream is over, but amid the disappointment it’s important to remember a few others remain.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Luka Modric (fly like a G6)

Spurs play Fulham on Sunday and hopefully our FA Cup will overfloweth with joy rather than fall flatter than Keira Knightley’s (A Cup) pancakes. A visit to Craven Cottage is one of the highlights of the away fan’s calendar, this compact stadium has great character (it’s rumoured Hansel and Gretel live in the cottage in the corner) and the view across the Thames is like no other in domestic football. It’s a lovely spot to sip a beer and devour a foot long hot dog.

The travelling Yid Army will be in good voice thanks to the many fine watering holes in close proximity and a skinful tempting 4.30pm kick-off, but our lack of original songs continues to grate. The same two or three chants are used again and again to celebrate new heroes and old. Where are our working class Lloyd-Webbers? Let’s have some fresh Tottenham tunes with a contemporary feel and sing Spurs into the fifth round (see suggestion below). “Bill Gallas, you’re a firework!?!?!”


Croatian spraying passes, like a wizard.
He could make goals in a desert or a blizzard.
Took us to the Champions League from the Top Six.
Oh how we love Luka, Luka Modric.
Luka Modric! Luka Modric!
Oh how we love Luka, Luka Modric.
Luka Modric! Luka Modric!
Oh how we love Luka, Luka Modric.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Redknapp toys with 'dwarf formation'

Four-time Tottenham manager David Pleat analyses his former club’s tactics on the Premier League stage.

"Tottenham Hotspur’s last gasp equaliser at Newcastle United was a vindication of Harry Redknapp’s new ‘dwarf formation'.

"Steven Pienaar, Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Luka Modric are refused entry on most fairground rides, but they are also small enough to enjoy a bird’s eye view up a Geordie lass’s criminally short skirt. This was naturally unsettling for the passionate home crowd who are proud of the local ladies’ streetwalker fashion sense. The tension on ninety minutes was palpable.

"It is often said Peter Crouch doesn’t make the most of his height, but those in the game know he’s actually two players, one small man standing on another’s shoulders. Look for the kneecaps poking out of ‘Crouch’s’ match shirt. The less attractive man is at the bottom with the swarve Abi Clancy puller on top.

"It’s a fiendishly clever tactic perfected by two celebrated dwarf acrobats and inspired by the pantomime horse in 1980s kids programme Rentaghost. It also explains Crouch’s lack of basic co-ordination in front of goal. It’s hard to shoot with a small man on top of you. However, against Newcastle, the top Crouch ably backflicked a header to prowling lady magnet Defoe to tee up the zigzagging Lennon’s delightful equaliser.

"Speculation mounts as the transfer window closes and it has been suggested Redknapp is eyeing yet more little people including veterans Kenny Baker and Verne Troyer. Anyone who can stick a spherical leather object past a gloved man standing in a net would be most welcome."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Strat’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it!?!?

Many of the Tottenham vs Stratford arguments have been inarticulate and prone to the kind of pointing and shouting you might expect between obese family members on The Jeremy Kyle Show. Those hoping for a calm, intelligent discussion between differing viewpoints have often been sorely disappointed. One brainiac even threatened to smash up anyone involved in Spurs' potential move to Stratford: “We will come round your houses,” he said darkly. That pink blur you saw was a toy being thrown out of a pram. At least, I hope it was.

I expect this 'supporter' was cheering wildly when that bint with a bedsheet interrupted half-time pints and pies during last Sunday’s game against Manchester United. I was less than impressed. There is no room for such protests during a Spurs match. Support your team in the stadium or wait for the next spontaneous fire extinguisher drop at Millbank.

The more angry the anti-Stratford movement becomes, the more they push me and those in the middle ground or wavering Eastwards. Few arguments are won by pointing and shouting (Google ‘free kicks won by Robbie Keane’ on the internet, if you don’t believe me). I have total solidarity for those who were born or have roots in Tottenham and the surrounding area. Their sincerity and reasoning in wishing Spurs to remain in N17 is beyond dispute.

There are many coherent arguments for staying in Tottenham, but too few have been articulated. Screaming 'You're not Tottenham!' at anyone with an opposing view does not present a compelling case. I heard a rare, fine point on ‘The Spurs Show’ where one fan talked movingly about Bill Nicholson’s ashes being sprinkled at White Hart Lane and asking, ‘Would he have wanted to move to Stratford?' Emotive, but in a positive and poignant way. Why is White Hart Lane so special? I like to think back to one of my greatest nights as a Spurs fan. I was a young whippersnapper at the 1984 UEFA Cup final second leg when Graham Roberts lifted that big silver vase after an electric night at our famous stadium. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I remember that epic shoot-out, the Spurs supporters proudly singing Danny Thomas' name seconds after he missed a cup-winning penalty. Did the Chelsea fans do that for John Terry at the Champions League Final? You know the answer.

Identical twins were sat behind me on the final Anderlecht penalty. One could not bare to look, the other kept his eyes firmly on the pitch as Tony Parks prepared to face the crucial spot-kick. Seconds later, absolute bedlam; Eidur Gudjohnsen’s dad missed the penalty and Eidur Gudjohnsen’s mum duly burst into tears in the row in front of me.

Can this place of such magical memories be laid to waste? Sadly, it will be torn down regardless. Football is a business now, of course. It’s not Daniel Levy’s job to regenerate a rundown North London wasteland. He is, however, a renowned ballbreaker around the business table. His brinkmanship in the transfer market is legendary. Opposing chairmen must dread a Levy phone call. Indeed, former Spurs Chairman Alan Sugar (who has also backed the Stratford move) described Levy as the hardest man he has ever done business with. ‘Praise’ indeed. If Levy can save £1 million on the stadium build, you know he will. I have heard arguments that the revised plans for the Northumberland Park Development will ‘only’ cost a further £X million* (*the true figure is in dispute and open to debate)? Would these fans spend millions of their own money when a cheaper alternative was viable? Probably not.

This is a case of business interests versus self-serving politicians with cold logic and over-heated emotions torn somewhere inbetween. Let’s look at the positives again. We finally have the wonderful team we deserve after countless years of dross and underachievement (epitomised, for me, by a £5 million Ben Thatcher). It’s no coincidence this rise in fortunes has happened on ENIC’s watch after the dark Sugar years. When Levy and co took over Spurs in 2001, the club was choking on its own underachievement. Rafael van der Vaart would have only stopped in Tottenham to buy a kebab after driving back from Highbury. Now we are competitive again and trailblazing in the Champions League; I no longer have to hide my Spurs programme inside a copy of Razzle on the tube journey home. I love it.

Spurs have unfortunately been drawn into the murky world of sport-politics. A single serving athletics venue for the only London Olympics in our lifetime is a farce of a ‘legacy’. Great word that ‘legacy’, one FIFA loves to band around while hawking the World Cup to the highest bidder. The Olympic Stadium is the biggest architectural embarrassment since the cringeworthy Millennium Dome. That white elephant was eventually revitalised and turned profitable by AEG and now stands as the glorious O2 Arena, arguably the best entertainment venue in Europe. And who are Spurs’ partners in the proposed Stratford project....none other than AEG. Could lightning strike twice? Should it? I don't pretend to know the answer.

West Ham’s proposal including an athletics track in a football stadium is laughable, but what would you expect from former porn impresarios Davids Gold and Sullivan, a two-day old sandwich has more substance. Part of me would like West Ham’s ‘Chuckle Brothers’ to lose the Olympic Stadium bid just to watch the life drain from their smug faces like the baddies in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. You never know, Karren Brady may be forced into a glamour shoot to ‘make ends meet’. I won’t be buying that issue.

The Hammers can’t fill a 35,000 stadium for a home cup semi-final at reduced prices. The fanbase is just not there. West Ham moving into the Olympic Stadium would be like a gypsy living in a six-bedroomed house with similarly damaging results.

That’s not to say Spurs should win the bid either. A serious reservation for me is leaving South London club Arsenal as the only remaining North London club. However, those who live in North London (like I do) know that the majority of fans in the area already support the Gunners. So the effect would be most pronounced in the inevitable (and justifiable) mocking songs from our great rivals.

So what’s the solution? Either path leads to unhappiness and unfortunate friction between our fans. First of all, local MP David Lammy needs to consider his words more carefully and let positive actions do the talking. Haringey Council has to see Tottenham as a privilege and not a right and come to a middle ground solution on the additional costs of the new stadium. It is borderline arrogant to suggest that a private enterprise such as THFC, which is the financial lifeblood of the area, should be held to ransom to regenerate it in the midst of a recession. Businesses run on sentiment last no longer than a year.

I would like to see Spurs remain in Tottenham but not at the risk of the club’s long-term financial health and ability to compete at the highest level. Whatever is the best cost-effective option, I support whole-heartedly. None of us truly know which stadium best fulfils that criteria as the air is heavy with political bluster and overblown sentiment.

It would have been better for Spurs fans had Paris, the logical choice, won the bid for 2012 Olympics. The plan for the Olympic Stadium and its legacy was poorly conceived at best. In an ideal world, Stratford would probably remain as a deserted 60,000 athletics venue with tumbleweeds instead of West Ham fans. This way the politicians and self-serving decision makers would be crushed under the weight of their own white elephant.

This won’t happen though. What will, is my undying support of Spurs, be it in Tottenham or Stratford. I hope you’ll join me there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rooney ‘blanked’ in Tottenham

The grandfathers of the nation’s capital breathed a collective sigh of relief on Sunday night as Wayne Rooney left London.

“We don’t like him and his sort,” croaked local pensioner Alfie Cornwallet, 77. “We call ‘em ‘silver surfers’. They nick our best birds because they have a bit of cash and a working immune system. The bastards even join SAGA and turn up on senior coach holidays wearing grey wigs and Brut aftershave. It ain’t right.”

Rooney’s lack of success on and off the pitch led to a petulant yellow card and bout of foot-stomping as mop-headed Brazilian Rafael saw red for the type of desperate lunge you used to associate with Ritzy’s nightclub at chucking out time. He should have been dismissed earlier for attempting to mount Wilson Palacios without the offer of dinner and a movie.

Spurs were marginally the better team, but the United defence, expertly marshalled by Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, stood firm in the face of persistent pressure rather than clearcut chances. Veteran William Gallas was again majestic alongside skipper Michael Dawson in what looks like our preferred partnership at the back. Since Dawson’s return from serious injury, we’ve seen more clean sheets than a Persil ad. It feels good for those of us who remember the human sieve Stuart Nethercott.

Luka Modric, as always, was the sublime prompter and passer (he is the heartbeat which makes Spurs tick) whereas Aaron Lennon showed encouraging spark on the right flank, but Tottenham lacked the slice of fortune or brilliance that would have claimed an overdue three points against the league leaders and title favourites.

There were no Manchester United penalties, offside/rule-breaking goals, Tottenham red cards or unnoticed Spurs shots over the line. Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg were tonight unavailable for comment.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Modric mistaken for God

If you see Luka Modric, bow down and genuflect. Apparently, the mini-Croatian can turn water into wine and produce enough loaves to put your local Greggs out of business. He might visit your foxy daughter in a shower of rain and seal an immaculate conception. Keep her indoors unless you fancy a mini-playmaker of your own.

Yes, it was Charlton, but the simple introduction of Modric turned Sunday’s FA Cup encounter on its head like a Joey Barton lunge. The qualities of Rafael Van der Vaart and Gareth Bale are undeniable, but with far less fanfare the Croatian schemer is Tottenham’s player of the season to date. The midfield flows through him like the reincarnation of Ossie Ardiles.

The starting midfield was, until that point, unbalanced; the defensively minded Wilson Palacios and rough diamond Sandro did not have the offensive ability or inclination to be brave and take risks against lower league opposition determined to defend en masse and hoping to sneak a goal on the counter.

You might think Palacios would gain some confidence or show some quality against inferior players, but there was no discernable difference. The king of the misplaced pass still managed to find opposing players with his poorly-conceived delivery. It appeared significant that the experienced Honduran was subbed at half-time rather than the rookie Sandro and the young Brazilian looked bright alongside Modric and livewire debutant Andros Townsend in the second half where Spurs suddenly threatened to score a hatful.

The transfer window is wide open and the associated hysteria in full flow and it seems Robbie Keane, David Bentley and Giovani Dos Santos will be heading out. With Tom Huddlestone and Sandro more reliable 'defensive' options alongside the magician Modric, I think it’s time for Wilson to follow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Police hunt for Bale attacker

Police in Liverpool are searching for a man after superstar footballer Gareth Bale was assaulted near Stanley Park on Wednesday evening.

Superintendent Billy Burns, Merseyside Police, picks up the story: “At around 9.20pm, we received a call from a very distressed Brazilian gentleman claiming his friend’s life was in danger from an ‘angry blue man’.

“The photofit of the suspect is quite frankly hideous,” continued Burns. “He has a face like curdled milk with scarecrow hair that has been combed down to present the illusion of humanity, and a dead look in his eyes which suggests he has witnessed hell itself. The person of interest was wearing a blue short-sleeved top and white jogging shorts featuring the numbers ‘1’ and ‘8’.

*** Merseyside Police Update *** “Following exhaustive enquiries we have identified the suspect as footballer Phil Neville and found he has no case to answer,” confirmed Superintendent Burns. “We can’t send someone to prison for being a simple much as we’d like to. Matchdays are a busy time for us already as robbing footballers’ houses during games is an important part of the local economy.

“It seems the witness of South American origin is easily worried. He also claimed a member of the 'Real IRA' had chucked a handgrenade at him on the very same evening. We have CCTV footage that clearly proves this was nothing more than a tame header from Seamus Coleman.”

# In a Premier League football match on Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur succumbed to relentless second half pressure against an inspired Everton side. However, despite the 1-2 reverse, the Londoners remain well-placed in fourth.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Angry scenes mar Fulham game

Tottenham’s 11th match unbeaten was marred by trouble in the away end.

A member of the Fulham firm, who is also a regular poster on, explained. “Tensions were high. Those seats at the front didn’t have cushions or drink holders. The wheels of two Bugaboo prams got locked on the concourse and then all hell broke lose. Even the babies were arguing in their own high-pitched language. St. John’s Ambulance had to tend to one Cottager who was struck down by a flying dummy.

“The refreshment facilities were a disgrace. We asked for Patatas Bravas and they said he wasn’t working today. Many of us decided to boycott the match and return to Putney in protest. Unfortunately, it took us two hours to find a black cab, let alone hail one.”

Spurs' performance lacked the sparkle of previous games, but like all good teams they got the job done despite a bright display from the visiting side. The returning William Gallas slotted in seamlessly at the back and won the free-kick which goal machine Gareth Bale converted with an adroit header.

The rock-like Michael Dawson showed admirable composure with a crucial goal-line clearance when Fulham seemed destined to equalise while Luka Modric excelled once more in the middle of the park. Often Modric is surrounded by a forest of three or four players, but somehow he always skips through them and finds a Spurs player in a dangerous position.

The transfer window is now open and a desperate Robbie Keane is stuck in the frame, halfway in, halfway out. This game illustrated yet again Spurs' need for a top class replacement. Matters will improve when Jermain Defoe returns from suspension, but the sky is the limit if we can conjure up a Benzema, Suarez or Fabiano in January. Over to you, Mr. Levy.