Monday, 16 April 2012
Spurs - masters in the art of disappointment
(I was asked to write a piece on the semi final by Sabotage Times. 'Funnily' enough, the morning after, I didn't much feel like it. But I did. I did this, in fact. The main theme, as you'll see, is disappointment. It was tapped into my phone on the train to work, filtered through a hangover)
Over the years I've been consistently surprised and impressed by Tottenham's ability to find new ways of disappointing me.
The 90s were a bit grim as we relied too heavily on just 'being rubbish', but lately we've rediscovered some real panache and yesterday was vintage Spurs.
True we had a little help from a referee who sensed we were struggling to lose convincingly and so bravely decided to make a big call that less imaginative officials might have shied away from.
No, the ball didn't actually cross the line, but there's far too much emphasis placed on that aspect of 'goals' in the modern game – and it did tick an awful lot of other boxes (no one was offside, there wasn't even a suspicion of handball), so I think it was probably, on balance, the right decision. And it gave us a real platform on which to build.
From then on it was all about us. We rallied, scored a fine goal and introduced the key element in all truly epic disappointment: hope.
What the casual observer will have missed, though, was that even in the scoring of the goal, we secured defeat. When Adebayor goes round Cech and is brought down to deny what, even by our on-loan striker's iffy definition, must be classed as a goal scoring opportunity, we have a penalty and they have 10 men. That would have left us a mountain to fall off.
Bale, instinctively sensing the danger, rolls the ball into an empty net and, unnoticed by everyone but the most seasoned Spurs fans, nullifies the threat of us actually winning. He's got the potential to go on and become one of our most disappointing players of all time, that lad; just a question of how much he wants it.
Oh and then Chelsea scored what seemed like dozens of goals, some of which were rather good.
As an added bonus we're now free to concentrate on securing a particularly disappointing end to the league campaign.
Ever since the Man City away game in January it's been a masterclass in 'the Spurs way': Are we going to win it? No! Are we going to rub shoulders with the Manchester clubs and look smugly down on Chelsea and Arsenal scrapping for fourth? No! Are we going to finish above Arsenal for the first time in 846 years? No! Are we going to secure Champions League football? No! Disappointment upon disappointment. The only question now is what will be more disappointing: qualifying for the Europa League or not qualifying for the Europa League? I'll leave it to Spurs to decide - they're the experts.