Like the flirtations of a beautiful deaf woman, there were encouraging signs about Spurs’ first game of the season at the Sports Direct Arena.
A creditable, high energy performance brought no reward in terms of points, but instilled sufficient faith that the Villas-Boas blueprint may find a far more coherent execution in his second foray into Premier League management.
Perhaps most heartening of all was watching a Spurs side tick without the midfield promptings of absent conductor Luka Modric. The team still requires reconstructive surgery in the form of emergency striker enhancement and squad liposuction, but I saw enough at first hand in the Tyneside sunshine to suggest an entertaining and potentially successful season in the noble half of North London.
Myopic FA Cup semi-final referee Martin Atkinson’s involvement was about as welcome as a honeymoon STI, but despite a liberal sprinkle of home decisions (notably soft bookings for Sandro and Jake Livermore) Spurs’ endeavour was undone by a sumptuous strike from Demba Ba and a softly-conceded penalty following Jermain Defoe’s predatory equaliser.
Ever the unfortunate, Spurs conceded the decisive spot-kick with just ten men on the field (with Sandro temporarily waved off by Atkinson following treatment) having, in the finest Tottenham tradition, mentally switched off after the restart. The dual, uneducated lunges of Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart arguably merited two penalties.
Spurs had previously hit the post through the livewire Defoe and bar via Gareth Bale’s looping header and pressed Newcastle deep into their own half with a high octane tempo that augurs well for the games to come.
Yet in the dying embers of the game, AVB’s only remaining card was to introduce rookie Harry Kane for his Premier League debut; insufficient firepower for the task in hand and never likely to bring a merited Spurs equaliser. One can only hope (or pray to any listening god or deity) that the wheezing moths are finally released from Daniel Levy’s tightly-zipped wallet and a high end frontman arrives in time for the first home game of the season against Steve Clarke's buoyant West Brom.
Otherwise, it's time to convert Heurelho Gomes to a striker and wave in a new era of chaos.