Thursday, 14 April 2011
All too Real
Joking aside (we were only joking, right?) a good performance and a decent result were the best we could have got out of last night. Sadly in the end we couldn't quite manage either.
We did, however, avoid the sort of thumping that would have been a horribly ignoble end to a mainly thrilling campaign - and would have sent us into our remaining league fixtures with fuck all confidence.
Apart from a couple of decent penalty shouts and one neat interchange between VdV and Lennon that set Pav up to side foot over the bar, our first half 'onslaught' never really looked like reaping dividends. And their goal just after the break knocked what little fight we had left clean out of us - although Pav, again, should have done better with a header late on.
Harry is, understandably, defending Gomes in the press this morning, saying it was just one of the those things. The key word there is 'one', though, isn't it?
He gave away the last goal over in Madrid (I would say 'the crucial fourth goal', but it sounds a bit deluded). And last night he got an early corner all wrong and was lucky to get away with it, then contrived to let another feeble effort from outside the box squirm under him and dribble just past the post. So, that's just four of those things...
Despite the hopelessness of the cause from the outset, and the utter meaninglessness of the last 40 minutes in particular, there was some fun to be had from the crowd's unvanquishable boisterousness. There was the ironic "ole"-ing, the "We're gonna win 6-1", the "Champions League, we're having a laugh" and the "Shit Barcelona, you're just a shit Barcelona".
But, admirable and enjoyable though it all was, we were also a bit like the last drunk at the party. Too far gone to realise that it's actually all over and too determined to have one last sing song to notice that some bugger's turned the lights out.
Ultimately, we went out quite tamely to a better (and much more expensive) team lead by a better (and much more expensive) manager.
But that, of course, was just the limp coda to what has been a stirring campaign, full of goals and glory, capitulations and comebacks. There's a lot of self-regarding guff talked about "the Spurs way", but it's hard to imagine any other club charging into their debut Champions League season like we did.
When will we get our second tilt at it? Next season? Never? They're both possible - although you'd have to say sometime between those two points is favourite.
As I've said for many months, I think we'll finish fifth and that, like Blanche and Stanley, we've had that date from the beginning.
Which means that after the sexy black undies of our this year's mistress, it'll be back to the baggy grey knickers of the Europa League. But, to stretch the metaphor into unsavoury territory, we should still get ourselves up for it.
It's harder to love, of course, and you don't feel over inclined to show off about it in front of your mates, but a shag's a sha... no, hang on, a trophy's a trophy, and if we're closing in on a semi this time next... oh I fucking give up. You know what I'm trying to say: Let's go for it in these last few league games, but if we fall short it won't be a disaster and we'll have plenty to play for next year.
Right now, though, it seems the right time to reach for the words of two great men, two men of letters and substance, two men who, between them, perhaps, can sum up what we're all feeling about the Champions League at this difficult time. I refer, of course, to those tiresome Aussie twats in the Fosters ads who dispense blokeish advice to moronic poms. Specifically, I mean: Toodles.
Take it away, Sidney...
P.S. Bale, cut out the diving.
P.P.S. ITV, when covering Real Madrid, please employ a director that doesn't have a debilitating crush on Jose Mourinho.
P.P.P.S. Please don't employ Gareth Southgate or Andy Townsend.