Well this could turn into comfortably the worst week we have had for a while. After the frustration of Hull and the woeful ineptitude at Liverpool, a Cup-tie against lower-league opposition gives us an inviting platform for thorough and nicely-rounded humiliation.It’s been a decidedly painful week to be a Spurs fan, the players having left no stone unturned as they methodically explored every means possible in their quest for ignominy. Horrendous misses, defensive blunders, a fair share of bad luck and a dismal timidity in the face of a challenge have all been proudly evinced by our heroes over the last seven days. With l’Arse having taken top-spot in the Premiership it’s been target-practice for my colleagues in the office this week, and worryingly it is not particularly difficult to imagine the situation worsening around seven o’ clock tonight.
However, had this game taken place this time last Saturday, there would be far less concern. Leeds may have shown in the last round that they are capable of providing a stern test, but until we kicked off against Hull we were in cracking form, free-scoring at one end and miserly at the other. The Liverpool capitulation has certainly left AANP psychologically scarred, but one bad game ought not to ruin our season. I suppose such a tendency to over-reaction is programmed into supporters of most clubs, but having waxed lyrical at the victory over the might of West Ham a few weeks ago, the sackcloth and ashes which have greeted the Liverpool defeat is similarly over-the-top, and the reality is probably somewhere in between these extremes. A couple of strong performances at the Lane over the next four days will be the equivalent of a smack in the face with a wet fish, which I fancy is what we all need at the moment to snap out of this blip and get our season back on track.
There does not seem to be much chance of ‘Arry taking any chances with wholesale changes here, so we can expect a pretty strong line-up this evening. No Lennon, Ledley or Hudd, and Danny Rose might get a game against his erstwhile employers, but by and large it will be the usual suspects wandering out to the Star Wars theme at 5.15pm.
As I remarked after the 3rd round win over Peterborough, the elimination of our recent knock-out nemesis Man Utd from this season’s FA Cup makes the competition a darned sight easier for us to win, and consecutive home ties to lower-league opponents suggests that the gods are playing their part. As is the case every time we play weaker opponents at the Lane, the first goal today will be vital. Score first, and life ought to be a little easier.
And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here