Monday, February 25, 2013

The brilliance of Bale vs the betrayal of Moore

More Gareth Bale brilliance elevated Spurs above a spirited West Ham stoked by the memories of the legendary Bobby Moore. The Hammers may have lost their ‘cup final’, but I understand premium horsemeat lasagne was available at David Gold’s post-match banquet. The meat passes better than Guy Demel.

To quote a twisting Peter Griffin, ‘third is the word’. Tottenham battled back from a 1-2 deficit to nudge ahead of Chelsea and maintain a four point gap over Arsenal before Sunday’s crunch north London derby. Inevitably, our old friend Howard Webb played his part in the drama, but an elite side usually finds a way to negotiate adversity rather than reach for excuses. Silently and impressively, Tottenham now resemble a team of that description.

Spurs have negotiated 27 league games without winning a single penalty as our rivals inch towards double spot-kick digits – it took Webb a mere 25 minutes to allow West Ham to surpass our non-existent total. Was it a penalty? I think so. Returning ‘hero’ Scott Parker certainly followed through after winning the ball despite the initial reaction that this was more jiggery-pokery from Yorkshire’s least popular ex-copper. Undoubtedly, the kick would not have been awarded the other way. There were at least two penalties within a second before Gylfi Sigurdsson’s prodded equaliser. Most of us were just grateful that the former Right Said Fred impersonator allowed the goal!

But for the fly-squatter palms of Jussi Jaaskelainen it might have been a baseball score. The oddly under-appreciated Finn was, again, sensational between the sticks involved in repelling 25 shots on the hammered goal. West Ham sweated blood for seventy minutes, but eventually they ran out of fuel like a second hand banger and true (Aston Martin) class told.

Andre Villas-Boas’ selections and substitutions were immaculate. The Portuguese wisely opted for a more physical back four to cope with the wayward arms and papier-mache legs of Andy 'Caravan' Carroll. His removal of the influential Mousa Dembele (who the home side were doing their level best to remove ahead of Sunday’s crunch derby) was a relief, but the introductions of the energetic Sigurdsson and clever prompting of Tom Carroll provided unexpected dividends. Suddenly, Spurs dominated a tiring Clarets midfield who began blowing bubbles from the wrong end.

To his credit, Webb did allow the critical advantage that enabled the felled Bale to right himself before taking Carroll’s neat pass to stroke home the ridiculous last minute winner. The 'spirit of Stalteri' was reborn.

The embrace of Bale and Villas-Boas in the euphoria following the Welshman’s winner illustrated a special relationship not evident with the previous manager. Not long after Harry Redknapp’s ungrateful removal, the world class Welshman signed a new four-year contract and, grinning, remarked upon the new tactics and modus operandi of his replacement. One cannot help but suspect a certain ‘method’ in Daniel Levy’s ‘summer madness’. This is a bold, new Tottenham and, with due gratitude to the past, I’m delighted to witness the revolution.

* Bobby Moore was, for most of us, the greatest footballer ever to pull an England jersey over his head, a true gentleman and credit off the field. The world class, consummate defender almost joined Spurs, Bill Nicholson certainly wanted him, but sadly that move never came to fruition. My admiration for the man is boundless and it is a great source of pride that my dad and dear, departed uncle were present at Wembley to watch Moore, Peters and co lift the World Cup in 1966.

But it is a pride tinged with sadness. So much of the adulation for Moore’s achievements and defensive grace came long after his passing. This is modern football where a misty-eye, black armband and minute’s applause apparently erase the sins of the past.

Where was the support from West Ham, and more notably England and the FA, when the legendary Moore was scraping a living doing minor, 'fish and chip’ commentary for Radio Essex?

Bobby died in relative poverty and these after-the-event eulogies and the belated, mind-crunching hypocrisy carry a heavy sting in the tail. Another reason why I am ‘against modern football’.

The likes of Paul Gascoigne and others need this help and appreciation right now. For the love of god, let us learn from the mistakes of the past and not wait for these grand heroes to be buried six feet underground.

** Spurs fan and prolific author Norman Giller has written a timely book on Bobby Moore 'The Master' where all profits go to the most worthy 'Bobby Moore Fund' set up by the great man's widow shortly after his passing. Norman knew Bobby throughout his storied career and the book is a wonderful way to learn more about his mistreatment and pay respect to his legacy of helping to find a cure for cancer.


The Comeback Yid said...

Well said, particularly re: Moore.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful writing as per usual.

Loved the dead meat analogy. I used to think Andy Carroll would come good. I don't think that anymore. Seriously, did Parker really think Carroll was going to curl it in from there? Or dribble past three defenders? At the time I didn't think it was a pen and that Dembele's booking in the 7th (!) minute was trolling from Webb. In hindsight, it might have been a penalty. Still think the booking of Dembele was ridiculous. It was his first foul of the game.

I think I saw Caulker running around like a derailed freight train in the opposition box creating havoc when we were chasing the winner. I liked that. Maybe that's the solution to our striker worries. Adebayor is getting so much stick, some of it deserved, but he's still miles above £35m Carroll in terms of usefulness mobility.

Good points about how we treat our legends while alive. Barton saying footballers are helping Gazza just out of publicity reasons. Possibly true, but does it matter? It is better to do something than nothing no matter what your motivations are. At least for the receiver of assistance. Otherwise we will get into a sort of fruitless discussion about what our true motivations are for doing good deeds are in general. I might be crazy but in my world it's better to give someone help in public than to beat some kid up outside McDs?


'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers TCY. As I've said elsewhere, poor Bobby died before football became fashioanble again.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Brilliant comments, Jax. Thank you for posting. You know we have Ikea's Swedish (horse)meatballs in our freezer? After two helpings I may morph into Andy Carroll.

I was fuming when Webb booked Dembele moments after ignoring a foul on the Belgian and, like you, feared an agenda. He is the refereeing equivalent of a cyclops. Presumably the horn fell off and rolled into a drain in a Rotherham sidestreet.

Love the Caulker-derailed freight train comparison...

I said...

Agree re the Great Bobby Moore and shabby treatment from the football firmament.

I would extend the betrayal of Booby Moore to the current West Ham side and its way of playing football. Park side.

I largely chime with your witty and insightful report and views on where AVB and the boys are, though I wasn't as sold on Dembele. He did okay, but their is so much more in there. He needs some of Parker's drive. Indeed Parker often seems to be doing what I think Dembele's job should be.

Still, I 'ates West 'am and I loves it when we does 'em, the crueller the better. Though we played well second half and should have had the game hosed but for shooting ourselves in the foot and Jaskeleinen's heroics too.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

I is IKnowAlanGilzean

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thank you I and IKAG! Agree that there is more to come from Dembele. I wish he'd shoot more. He showed vs Lyon his goalscoring capabilities. Fancy that Sigurdsson's second season will be more productive. Nice cameo from him last night.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Yes, I've missed a couple of more recent games, but I hear Siggy's played well on coming on.

Nice to see Spurs finish the game with Caulker, Carroll and Livermore (I'm a fan of all three) on the pitch, too. I sort of count Lennon as home grown-ish too! Go on and Bale too.

Their good lads managed by a very decent fella, playing some good and winning stuff and wore blue shorts with the lilywhite last night in a league game. What's not to like.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Having trouble with my there, their they're today.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Best crop of youngsters at Spurs for many years, IKAG. Carroll has something (though he shares the same shirt size as Stuart Little).

Anonymous said...

Ikea meatballs with horse meat huh? Do you have to assemble them yourelf? Sorry couldn't help myself. You'd have to eat donkey to become Andy Carroll though. At one point there was a cross coming in and he grabbed Vertonghen's arm with both hands and just ignored the ball flying over his head. Didn't even jump for it. Vertonghen looked all puzzled afterwards. I bet they didn't teach that at the Ajax total football academy.

Webb, just look at him! Or preferably don't. He's got twice the ego of most players. I just wonder who will be the referee on Sunday and if we will go the full season without being awarded a penalty.


'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Jax. Maybe we'll get our spot-kick on Sunday. Maybe we'll score it!

Carroll wanted a penalty for his Vertonghen arm grab!