Six games left, and while trips to Old Trafford, Goodison and Anfield look tricky, our home games vs West Brom, Man City and, first of all, Newcastle, are eminently winnable.If you look carefully, the words “home banker” can clearly be seen etched across this fixture. On current form Newcastle are amongst the worst in the Premiership. Two points in six games apparently, which is the sort of stat that threatens to infringe the copyright terms of ‘Arry’s own little motto. Hilariously, they seem to be the only team in history not to have enjoyed the new-manager-bounce, and are consequently making effortlessly serene progress towards the Championship.
Everyone’s Second-Favourite Team
First of all, nobody in their right mind has a second-favourite team. Football is a monogamous sport. Anyone with a second-favourite team is either related to a player (vaguely acceptable) or a bandwagon-jumping irritant who calls the game “soccer”, whines that there are too few goals and pronounces the “ham” in “Birmingham” (unacceptable, in case you were in any doubt).
I’ll root for whomever is playing l’Arse. I sometimes keep an eye out for Bristol Rovers, as a former classmate plays for them. However, I support only one team. Generally, I either don’t care about or actively dislike the other 19 clubs in the division, and 90-odd in the country. I’m pretty sure these traits are common to most football fans in the country. Anyone who merrily chirps about having a second-favourite team has completely missed the point, and ought really to be tied to a railway track and set alight.
So the notion of a second-favourite team is farcical. The notion that Newcastle is everyone’s second favourite team is miles off-target and utterly bereft of logic. We’re perennially invited to agree that we’d all love to see Newcastle win something – their success-starved fans deserve it apparently.
This is mildly insane. Football isn’t some sort of UN aid programme whereby every starving leper by right gets a bag of grain. Fans just have to accept whatever their team does, and if that means never ever winning trophies, and then getting relegated, so be it. They’ll get no sympathy from anyone else as we’ve all got our own team to worry about.
Non-Newcastle supporters don’t adopt Newcastle as their second team. They occasionally take time out from their own teams to laugh at Newcastle, for their insistence that they have a divine right to success, married to their consistent underachievement. This presumably is fairly similar to the opinion all non-Spurs fans about our lot too. In short, no-one truly cares about anyone other than their own team.
As it happens, we’re laughing at Newcastle for all sorts of reasons at the moment, as they provide a bit of comic relief for everyone else from the seasons’ travails. The magnificent outburst from Joe F**king Kinnear earlier this season was comic genius, and was sandwiched between the more gently amusing exit of Keegan and the slightly daft appointment of Shearer. Shearer’s arm-in-the-air thing was warmly appreciated at AANP Towers when he wore an England shirt, but did not obscure the fact that he was a dirty so-and-so. In his more recent incarnation he has been a pundit of such mind-numbing blandness that he frequently made me want to tear off my own ears and eat them. Won’t shed too many tears if his rescue mission bombs.
Palacios, Pav and Defoe
A few changes are likely for Spurs. With Palacios back, one of Hudd and Jenas will have to make way, whilst Pav’s slick finish last week may well earn him a starting place ahead of Bent. Jermain Defoe apparently might make the bench. He’s back in full training now, which gives us a few weeks to work ourselves into frenzies over he and Keane will fit together. More immediately however, he’s unlikely to get more than a cameo at the end of the game, by which time the three points ought to be in the bag.