My old boxing pal Dominic Negus once told me, ‘If you spent your time knocking out the wankers in life you’d never do anything else’. This inspiring moment of ‘Zen Geezerism’ immediately entered my head in the fallout of Spurs’ 2-4 reverse against a clinical Chelsea.
After likeable full-back Kyle Walker’s fallow form continued against a sharp Blues’ outfit, packed with a trio of talented and highly-paid midfielders, a few faceless keyboard warriors were almost inevitably directing abuse at the rookie defender from behind the shield of a laptop screen. Walker duly deleted his Twitter account which in the best case scenario may concentrate his mind on more important matters like defending.
But footballers, we must remember, are not infallible, computerised drones. They have problems, too. FIFA13 has fooled us. The sheer brilliance of Lionel Messi makes it seem as if players can perform flawlessly without error, but they are people dealing with the same mind-bending domestic problems as the rest of us. Walker has been poor since the tail end of last season, for whatever reason, but he’s talented, young and will surely find form in time. He will certainly play more effectively and positively with our encouragement rather than guileless cyber-derision or mindless stick from recent lobotomy patients in the stands.
Gareth Bale’s decision to miss the game to attend the birth of his child was also met with criticism. It was a personal choice and one most people will respect. Bale does appear to be a rare British footballer in a long-term and loving relationship so his reasons were nothing but sincere. The great news is Gareth’s good lady will not be dropping a 7lb wing wizard on the day of the Europa League and FA Cup finals. If someone can put a contract out on Charlie Adam, the Welshman might actually play at the scenes of our double trophy triumphs. Don’t wake me up from that dream!
An unfortunate complication of ‘baby mama drama’ meant I was bizarrely at home with the miniature doctor rather than beating my chest like a wildman at White Hart Lane and therefore I (thankfully) missed this league fixture for the first time in 14 years. Given the reserve heavy line-up, a draw seemed the best case scenario. It was not to be.
The starting XI sent shivers down my spine. Tom Huddlestone lacks the mobility to influence a game against clever, mobile, high quality midfielders like Hazard, Mata and Oscar and his decision to grow his hair until he scores means he will probably end the season looking like Captain Caveman. The midfield was the key battlefield in this fixture and shorn of the drive of Dembele, bite of Parker and electricity of Bale, Spurs often looked second best despite fashioning a creditable number of chances.
But we should remember that Chelsea top the table for a reason and, given the inequality of the first half, the response in the second was worth appreciating. A blank chequebook is an almost unbeatable opponent at the best of times. Spurs gutted it out in the trenches and made a game of it and pressing for a late equaliser always leaves a team vulnerable at the back.
The AVB revolution is a work in progress. We must greet the downs with resolve and not a whining sense of entitlement. Foundations are being laid for something progressive and potentially special. Let’s show true support and not turn off our loyalty like a tap after a single setback.
We remain fifth and North London’s premier team. That ain’t too shabby. Ask any zen geezer.
***For those who missed it, I was a guest on the stellar Fighting Cock podcast this week. You can listen to me losing the plot (standard behaviour!) at http://www.thefightingcock.co.uk/2012/10/s2e11-fight-the-power/
It’s a fantastic show created and driven by people with a pure love of Spurs at heart. Listen and love.