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.


  1. I wanted a better match, but I was still proud of the team and the support last night. In the lead-up, I feared for disaster on the one hand and listlessness on the other. Instead, we went out with (what to me looks like) pride. I felt like Harry's 3 changes were more gestures of gratitude and occasions for players to take a bow than tactical efforts to save a tie. It felt like the last night of a tour: bring everyone onstage to thank them, remember the good and the bad, and hope that it can all happen again, soon.

    And that's the key to me: I have every reason to suspect that this was the first of many such chapters, so I anticipate the next, eagerly.

  2. We had fun.
    We achieved far more than was expected of us.
    We showed that the group stages can be exciting.

    Now if UEFA make the Europa League back into a 2 leg no seeded knock out as it should be, 5th will be a springboard onwards for us.

  3. Last night was perhaps a bit of a microcosm of our season.

    Our midfield is very good, capable of winning the ball back when we don't have it and using it intelligently when we do against the very best. I'm really happy with where we are at midfield wise.

    Up front we are not good enough. Plain & simple. It could have been, should have been addressed during the last few transfer windows but wasn't. We can't close out games such as West Ham recently with about 300 shots on goal (if memory serves) cos the strikers aren't clinical enough and we lose games such as Blackpool away, even though we are able to carve out chance after chance cos the strikers aren't clinical enough. We were only ever going to get a few chances last night and we never seriously got them worried. We have all known it for ages as well, that's the sad thing.

    Defensively we are sound enough and compete well enough, although we concede whole bunches of goals early on too regularly for it to be considered a 'one off freak happening' Young Boys (a) Inter Milan (a) Fulham in the cup (a) God knows what they are listening to on their ipods when they turn up at the stadium - Radiohead? I know I felt like I had been listening to some depressing shit after the first half hour vs Young boys!! We defended well enough again last night. You just can't legislate for a goal that was conceded in the way it was by Gomes...

    Heurelho Gomes - What a hard man to love. Part Superman (Arsenal at home last April) Half complete bloody liability. "Sometimes you're the pigeon, sometimes you're the statue."

    The Champions league has been good for Spurs and we have been good for the competition this year. I also agree though,that we will not quite make it again this season. But I would love it if we did!

  4. Can't argue with any of that.

  5. Agree with a lot of that Gosport Dave. Can't imagine that Pav will be around next season after missing that header. Redknapp looked livid, reminded me of the one Bent missed that Harry thought even his missus (Sandra) could've put away.

    But Giuseppe Rossi is not the answer! Maybe Neymar is?

  6. I can't see Pav being at the lane next season either. He, like Gomes, is another one who is hard to love at times. Capable of brilliance, at other times he leaves me (& others?) with a WTF expression on our faces.

    I like Rossi, reminds me of a younger Raul. Could we get him would be another question. Neymar? Not a chance I don't think, ditto Cavani of Napoli.

    I think we need to think in terms of a pack of strikers and completely overhaul the forwards dept. So a couple of big guys and a couple of smaller finishers I reckon. I do like the big guy / little guy combination up front though. A decent blend of youth & experience too. I don't want much do I ? :)