That’s right. So excited, I’m writing a second preview.24 hours until kick-off, and naturally enough I’m bouncing off the walls. Yep, after the carefully-rehearsed exit from Europe, and the laboured operation to escape the relegation mire, over the last couple of days we’ve been able to devote ourselves to altogether cheerier fare.
My chat is generally inane at the best of times, but around the drinking-holes of London in recent nights I’ve become a kid on Christmas Eve, tactlessly steering every conversation towards the same topic. Any poor sod who has fallen into my field of vision duly has been pinned down and force-fed garbled cup final hysteria, delivered with ever-increasing rapidity and the wild-eyed stare of the unhinged. It is not an approach that has automatically endeared me to my fellow man. Nonplussed seemed to be the expression of choice on the faces of the unlucky souls subjected to this ranting. Nonplussed, merging into desperate glances for an escape route.
Still, a cup final is a rare treat, and as the clock ticks down towards kick-off, Spurs fans the world over are entitled to eschew the common rules of social propriety, and go a little nuts. Some appear reluctant to enter into the spirit of the occasion, seemingly unimpressed by the pedigree of the competition and more concerned about our league position. Be that as it may, but for the next few hours at AANP Towers, nervy excitement approacheth fever-pitch. Finger-nails are being shredded, chewing-gum annihilated, heart-rates gently nudged towards dangerously unsustainable levels.
No-one ought to begrudge us our day out at Wembley, and a few evenings of over-excited babbling beforehand. We long-suffering mugs have been shelling out all season, murmuring in disbelief, screaming in frustration, gawping in incredulity – and still going back each following week for more punishment. Football sure as hell owes us the occasional crack at glory, for toying with us thus, all year round. Football owes us, for the staggeringly atrocious Gomes blunders, the astonishingly mal-coordinated Bent misses and every infuriating mistake in between. No-one ought to begrudge us, and we ourselves ought to cherish these moments – it may be some time before the opportunity rolls around again.
Less of an occasion for the Man Utd lot I’d imagine. Just another day out in London for them, which really is underwhelming as most of them live in London anyway. And with eighteen other trophies on the go, and the Premiership title wrapped up in February, one suspects that tomorrow will rank alongside mowing the lawn and popping to the parents’ for a Sunday roast, in terms of excitement factor for their lot.
Massive day for us though. Win a big game and I can hold my head high in the office the next day. Win a trophy and I’m happy for a whole year. A trophy is like some sort of uber-penicillin for football, a cure for all ills. Rubbish result against Stoke or someone? I don’t care, we’ve got a trophy. Best players leaving for the Champs League sides? I don’t care, we’ve got a trophy. Season of optimism degenerating into a relegation scrap? We’ve got a trophy. House on fire, girlfriend left you, four horsemen saddling up? Who the hell cares, because we’ve got a trophy!
Winning that trophy has made it all seem worthwhile over the last 12 months – by hook or by crook or by penalties we need to get our mitts on it all over again today.