At approximately 6pm, a small but very fast boy was pronounced missing in Tottenham. Frantic searches at the local Poundland and popular Ozdiller Supermarket proved fruitless. The parents of Theodore James Walcott, who lifted the prestigious Young Sports Personality Award in 2006, expressed their concern as the little lad disappeared under the bright lights of North London after CCTV footage placed him at White Hart Lane stadium at around 4.01pm.
The 'world class striker', who has scored 37 goals in 174 games for the occasionally popular South London club (club motto: bring a bin bag just in case it's a crap result), was an odd absentee as his midfield played out of their skins but succumbed to the guts and fire of an irrepressible Tottenham. At 4.37pm, Gareth Bale was witnessed performing a heart celebration and screaming into a camera, but by this time poor Theo's whereabouts were sadly unknown.
In a mad, crazed, frequently breathless match, Spurs illustrated the new defiance coursing through the club to hold on to a gutsy 2-1 win and triumph in the North (vs Old South) London derby. Tottenham have now lost one game in approaching four months. An insane, barely believable statistic. A quarter of a season remains, but take a time out, sip a satisfactory Kronenbourg and enjoy this sweet moment while you can.
For some inexplicable reason, my dad attended the game clutching a bright red carrier bag which caught the eye of a mob of Spurs fans who reacted angrily, chanting: "Gooner! Gooner! Gooner!" Unperturbed, my 66-year-old father scampered over to the baying crowd and shouted: "I've been supporting this team for 51 f**king years!" Half a second of silence. "Yido! Yido! Yido!" chanted the Spurs fans. It was that kind of day. Humour and good company and, most of all, the result that truly matters.
Granite-like centre backs Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen fought like dogs of war and formed a human wall to withstand the inevitable pressure from Arsenal's human centipede who (once again in this fixture) played like it was their cup final. For periods, the away side were quite excellent in possession though (if I may quote my good friend Brendan Rogers) Tottenham 'won' the all-important possession battle 54%-46%. Were I follower of London's third best team, I might wonder where such spirited performances have been in so many other games this season.
Whatever our differences, the red and white nomads are a slick and savvy outfit when the mood takes them and they posed Tottenham significant problems though in the second half Spurs squandered three gilt-edged chances to put a tense game to bed via Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jermain Defoe. Pure, unadulterated Tottenham football and, er, 'part of the fun'.
For the first 25 minutes, Arsenal unequivocally bossed the midfield areas via the highly-skilled triumvirate of Wilshere, Arteta and Cazorla, frequently threatening without forging clearcut opportunities. The game was played at a skittish, frenetic pace with Spurs on the constant backfoot, Scott Parker and Mousa Dembele were perpetually overwhelmed and speed demons Aaron Lennon and Bale seemingly shackled by the sheer weight of the occasion.
As if by magic, a switch flicked and the jet heels of Lennon kicked into gear and Spurs rose from their dozy slumber to cause the transplanted Woolwich-ites problems at the back. Lennon was suddenly fizzing about like a Barocca tablet that had somehow flipped out of the glass and Tottenham probed for an unlikely opening as Arsenal's backline broke into a bout of inadvertent body-popping.
The breakthrough came with Spurs' first genuine effort on goal. An insightful Sigurdsson pass picked out Welsh wonder Bale, who, er, found the time to step out of Walcott's (cough) shadow, to break the offside trap and calmly stroke past static Pole Szczesny. White Hart Lane went ballistic. The bloke in front of me broke into a strange, almost wookie-like dialect as we thrust our triumphant fists to the sky and then bundled into all-comers.
Within two minutes the bedlam intensified. Parker played a superb and (no insult intended) very un-Parker like pass that dissected a flatfooted Arsenal backline and afforded the rampaging Lennon the time and space to steady himself and roll the ball nonchalantly past the flailing Szczesny. Pure, mind-bending, Aldous Huxley style joy. The doors of Champions League perception flew wide open.
Spurs don't do clean sheets in this fixture and Arsenal inevitably pulled a goal back early in the second half via human statue Mertesacker who glanced home a free-kick off Bale for the Welshman's second own goal of the season. He scores when he wants and when he doesn't, too.
Yet Spurs held firm despite sustained opposition pressure and a number of contentious officiating decisions that caused predictable consternation in the home trenches. But the best teams always find a way to win through adversity and even the most myopic Arsenal fan would have to agree that, after years of mediocrity, Tottenham Hotspur are now one of the top teams.
Just don't Google 'Arsenal human centipede'. It's positively inhuman.
* This week my existential horror novel 'Players' Restaurant' finally hit the streets. It's about a revolutionary dieting craze that promises women astonishing weight loss. In a matter of months, Size 16s become svelte size 6s as the new slimming commodity is deemed more valuable than gold or cocaine. Its formula is a mystery, but after women worldwide gleefully overhaul their wardrobes and play hide and seek behind lampposts…the deadly side effects become apparent. If you enjoy this blog (and want to support a fellow Spurs fan), the book is available here for the Kindle or Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, PC or Android. Thanks for your support.