The grandfathers of the nation’s capital breathed a collective sigh of relief on Sunday night as Wayne Rooney left London.
“We don’t like him and his sort,” croaked local pensioner Alfie Cornwallet, 77. “We call ‘em ‘silver surfers’. They nick our best birds because they have a bit of cash and a working immune system. The bastards even join SAGA and turn up on senior coach holidays wearing grey wigs and Brut aftershave. It ain’t right.”
Rooney’s lack of success on and off the pitch led to a petulant yellow card and bout of foot-stomping as mop-headed Brazilian Rafael saw red for the type of desperate lunge you used to associate with Ritzy’s nightclub at chucking out time. He should have been dismissed earlier for attempting to mount Wilson Palacios without the offer of dinner and a movie.
Spurs were marginally the better team, but the United defence, expertly marshalled by Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, stood firm in the face of persistent pressure rather than clearcut chances. Veteran William Gallas was again majestic alongside skipper Michael Dawson in what looks like our preferred partnership at the back. Since Dawson’s return from serious injury, we’ve seen more clean sheets than a Persil ad. It feels good for those of us who remember the human sieve Stuart Nethercott.
Luka Modric, as always, was the sublime prompter and passer (he is the heartbeat which makes Spurs tick) whereas Aaron Lennon showed encouraging spark on the right flank, but Tottenham lacked the slice of fortune or brilliance that would have claimed an overdue three points against the league leaders and title favourites.
There were no Manchester United penalties, offside/rule-breaking goals, Tottenham red cards or unnoticed Spurs shots over the line. Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg were tonight unavailable for comment.