Friday, 30 November 2012

Fulham Vs Tottenham: Some things are more important than the result

Spurs have a rare opportunity to right a wrong this Saturday against Fulham. And it is one they must seize.

The football world was appalled recently when Shakhtar Donetsk's Adriano flouted the conventions (if not the laws) of the game by cynically pouncing on of one of those tiresome 'After You, Claude' free kicks, banging the ball in the back of the net and then twirling his waxed moustache in celebration. Disgusting.

It (the football world, remember; think of a world, but marked out in black and white hexagons) was then further outraged when UEFA punished this black-hearted transgression of the spirit of the game (stop giggling) with a paltry one match ban rather than the far more appropriate removal of the testicles.

On Saturday, though, a similar situation will play out. Dimitar Berbatov has, of course, already scored against us in this game. An old-fashioned linear approach to the concepts of time and space means we haven't seen it yet, but he has scored. It is done. The goal exists. Just not in this moment.

So, to save everyone time, to allow our still-dreamy ex-striker to enjoy the moment and, more self-servingly, to give us the time to equalise, the Tottenham team should do the decent thing on Saturady, do what Shakhtar should have done after Adriano's villainous transgression: simply allow the Fulham to kick off, let Berba dribble up to our goal unchallenged and slot home. Personally I'd like to see him drop down onto his tummy and head the ball over the line, schoolboy style.

It's what that game needs. It's what the game demands. And it's a damn site better than him notching a winner in the 93rd minute.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Why tonight's game is the biggest of the season so far

This is the big one; the bellwether, the true test.
Until now there have been a few routine results, the odd stunner and a few stinkers. But this is the one.
After a run of swings and roundabouts, this is the see-saw game. Pivotal, see? Cheers.
The reason is because for the last few years we have been a better side than Liverpool. And in order to achieve anything, we need to remain so.
Actually, let's not skip on so fast. Let's read that again: For the last few years we have been a better side than Liverpool.
For anyone of my generation, that is a staggering collection of words - especially in that order.
When I first became aware of football Liverpool were just embarking on a breathtaking era of domination at home and abroad.
As a child I remember thinking that them winning the league simply didn't count. Only other teams could win the league; win it off Liverpool, to whom it belonged - and then apologetically give it back.
A season that ended with Liverpool on top was like a dot ball or a safety car lap. It meant nothing had happened. The status quo (also huge at the time) had been maintained.
The idea of Spurs being better than them was frankly ridiculous.
But now we are. And have been for a while. It's rather unsettling. It really hit home a couple of years ago when we casually popped up to Anfield and very calmly cruised to a routine 2-0 win. A routine 2-0 win, people!
I think Ledley may have zipped back into the office for the afternoon to do a bit of tidying up. Didn't tax him too much, as I recall. Pretty sure he had a tea break at one point.
We are, of course, perfectly capable of losing to them tonight. And that won't necessarily make them a better side than us, or indicate that they'll finish above us.
But it we win, and we play better than them, and finish higher than them, then it certainly won't be a bad night or a bad season.
And then we'll start being disappointed and rather surprised when we don't beat them and don't finish above them. At which point I will be excited about the arrival of time travel but perturbed by the recent invasion from Mars.