Sunday, May 22, 2011

The trouble with Harry (and some Spurs fans)

Some people think irony is a Greek island. A quick peak at an atlas suggests otherwise. Harry Redknapp has delivered some of the greatest moments in Tottenham’s recent history, but he can be an over-sensitive and inarticulate so-and-so. So it’s an amusing double-standard when his critics rage at his comments in an over-sensitive and inarticulate manner.

Are the people who ring radio phone-ins the gibbering fools Harry suggests? It’s not for me to say, but it’s unlikely they will be curing cancer anytime soon.

Two sweet strikes from Roman Pavlyuchenko secured a fifth place finish that would have been unthinkable for Spurs in 16 of 20 Premier League seasons. It secured our joint second best Premier League performance. While that does not merit a DVD and open top bus parade, it is something worth appreciating.

You only have to look at the agony etched on the faces of the relegated Birmingham fans and the boundless joy in the eyes of the Wigan faithful to understand that this is something that should never be taken for granted. There is no divine right to success, but if there are any disillusioned Spurs fans who want to guarantee glory, Manchester United season tickets are available for next season.

This season has delivered some magical memories. God knows how many dismal, fruitless hours I have spent drinking crappy Fosters at those temples of dark arts – the Emirates and Library – without reward. But in November we were ‘hanging out the back of them’, turning a 0-2 deficit into a mad 3-2 orgy of jubilation. The European and World champions Inter Milan were swept aside 3-1 at White Hart Lane; Italian champions elect AC Milan were also defeated at the San Siro in the Champions League and Spurs saw off Kenny Dalglish’s rejuvenated Liverpool at Anfield for first time since 1993 as the grim spectre of ‘Fair Play’ qualification loomed large.

At times, Spurs played truly scintillating football. When fit, Gareth Bale was mesmeric and won the ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ award for an astonishing 12 months. On the verge of loan football at Nottingham Forest in early 2010, Bale suddenly became one of the most coveted players in world football. Rafael Van der Vaart arrived and added another stamp of world class alongside the virtuoso that is Luka Modric.

My own ‘Player of the Season’ was perhaps, unsurprisingly, Monsieur William Gallas. A bargain free transfer, poor Bill withstood some awful stick at The Hawthorns and Britannia Stadium early on, but provided the leadership and defensive nous that was mercifully lacking at our great rivals this season. It cost them trophies. Again.

There have, of course, been disappointing performances, especially at White Hart Lane where most visitors are loathe to attack. A well-documented failure to secure a clinical striker probably denied Spurs another season of Champions League football. But if that extra dash of class up front can be delivered by the end of August 2011, we can hit those heights again.

The gap between Arsenal and Spurs is now paper thin. Don’t lose sight of how far Spurs have come after the dark Sugar years where the Nethercotts and Tramezzanis ran wild. West Ham’s implosion and relegation brought light relief when it was needed. To the obnoxious Gold, Sullivan and Brady, you will not be missed.

This will be the last ‘Evening With The Lust Doctor’. My thanks to those who have enjoyed and endured these blogs. For one season, and one season only, I wanted to shine a positive light on all things Spurs. I hope it’s brightened your experience.

We’re all Spurs fans. And, for whatever reason, a mad love beats in our hearts that defies commonsense yet defines who we are.

Embrace it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Return Agent Keane

Return Agent Keane. The target was secured at 18:01 hours on Sunday 15th May with minimal resistance. Mission: Claret and Blue Murder is complete.

We appreciate your sacrifice. Four months of jellied eels and baying lunatics has broken men before (see Agent Boogers), but you stayed strong as the caravans circled.

You will be mentioned in despatches and awarded the Silver Star of David. The record will show that, behind enemy lines, Agent Keane crippled enemy personnel Parker and Upson by taking them to his wife’s spinning class and impersonated a pub player with astonishing accuracy.

Immediate evacuation is essential to avoid incoming laser pen fire. Enemy Agent Cole’s defection request has been denied. Please ditch him at Hilton Park motorway services, Wolverhampton, on your return to base.

Return Agent Keane.

Mission complete.

*Oh and Spurs won 2-0 at Liverpool today, thanks to the return of Ledley King and a Howard Webb penalty! You couldn’t make it up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Game? What game?

Was there a game on tonight? I didn’t know. I was helping out at the local soup kitchen. Seeing a glimmer of hope in the eyes of the desperate reminded me of Spurs' last home match. Maybe a cup of minestrone and a buttered roll is the answer. Then again, Luka Modric would probably drink the soup too hot and be out for six weeks.

Spurs’ hopes of fourth place had ended long before Wednesday’s 0-1 reverse at Manchester City, but it was encouraging to watch a patched-up Tottenham side dominate the game (16 shots, 63% possession) yet receive no reward for their endeavours. Acknowledging the recent fallow period, it has been a luckless time for Spurs and I am responsible.

In April, I had the opportunity to buy some ‘lucky heather’ from an old gypsy gal on Regent Street, but bypassed the charmed lady by masquerading as a deaf mute. I apologise for costing Spurs another season of Champions League football as since then we’ve lost by a goal that didn’t cross the line and an offside winner at Chelsea; a player who should have been sent off subsequently scored (Charlie Adam); conceded a freak own goal and been thwarted by a Joe Hart wonder save despite bossing City and lost key men Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto to long-term injury.

And bizarrely the underused Niko Kranjcar has barely kicked a ball. Dark forces at work surely?

Mind the soup, Luka. Bollocks.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Section me!

“Oh what an atmosphere! I love a party with a happy atmosphere. Oh let me take you there....”

Russ Abbott would have found little to enjoy at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening. Spurs 1 Blackpool 1 was a dire, lifeless spectacle played before a strangely sterile, near lobotomised, crowd until a fractious second half where all hell broke loose.

It was a painful game in every sense. Spurs conceded two penalties (the first harshly), Charlie Adam decapitated Gareth Bale (no punishment, obviously), Blackpool tried to get Jermain Defoe sent off (the classic 'hold on to my head and lay still' routine) and I was briefly ejected from my seat for swearing at the referee and an opposition player (whilst goaded by the neanderthal in front and his chavvy son). “You are always f**king swearing,” they complained without irony.

Gomes made a sensational penalty save only to be suckered into conceding another spot-kick seconds later. It was a minute of sheer madness that defied all logical reason. What do you do with the big galoot? Sandro, apparently subject of at least one major bid, was again the star turn in a listless home performance where, at least, Danny Rose impressed in an unfamiliar left back role. Other players seemed borderline disinterested. Our season fizzled out together.

The night ended weirdly for me in Archway McDonalds with a woman, who looked like she’d copped a pound of pure, flinging her body against a bolted staff door and screaming: “I’m gonna get sectioned! Call the police, girl. This is my night! They will be sectioning me tonight, aiiight?”

We know the feeling, love. We know the feeling.