Well this Champions League business is turning out to be cracking fun. Never mind the tube strike, I think most of us floated home aboard Cloud 9 last night.
White Hart Lane’s finest hour? Those who watched Danny Blanchflower lift the League title back in the spring of ‘61 might beg to differ, and by all accounts the UEFA Cup Final win of ’84 was one heck of a night, but the denizens of AANP Towers have been up all night carefully weaving a blow-by-blow account of last night’s fun into the tapestry of The Most Blinking Marvellous Tottenham Moments of All Time.
If Spurs were the Predator, White Hart Lane would be our home planet, Gareth Bale would probably be that three-red-dot missile thing on the left shoulder, and our collection of skinned victims hanging upside-down with their skulls ripped out would now look mightily impressive. Having accounted for Liverpool, Man City, Chelski and l’Arse last season, we have now raised the bar just about as far as it can go, with arguably the biggest skull of them all – the European Champions. No two ways about it – we must now fancy our chances against just about anyone at the Lane. Heaven knows where it will all end.
Eschewing traditional Champions League caginess for an approach based primarily on copious amounts of swash and buckle, our lot went at it hammer and tongs from the off. ‘Arry could have been forgiven for exercising a modicum of caution at the prospect of a visit from our illustrious opponents, given the contents of their trophy cabinet and the memory of that four-goal blitz in the San Siro. Instead, our glorious leader reasoned that soaking up the pressure is just too dull and boring, and squashed as much attacking talent as was physically possible into an eleven man outfit. Inter, one suspects, did not quite believe our temerity in adopting a formation that at times resembled 2-1-7, as Hudd stayed within shouting distance of the centre-backs, and everyone else bombed forward as often as they could.
Taxi For Maicon
Frankly there is not much I can add about Gareth Bale’s performance that has not already been spluttered in awe by someone else. (Other than to wonder what the deuces are those black tape things he sticks to his thighs.) His pace has been showcased many a time and oft; but wasn’t it heart-warming to see him whip in crosses so vicious they would make small children cry?
Elsewhere On The Pitch…
Naturally enough the handsome young Welshman takes the plaudits, but to a man those in lilywhite played to the peak of their powers. Even pre kick-off the sight of BAE finally having sorted out his hair gave a signal of quite how seriously our heroes were treating this. The philosophy of throwing absolutely everything we had at Inter from the very first whistle may have lacked a little subtlety, but it was a masterstroke from ‘Arry, and impeccably executed the players.
…And Off The Ball
Moreover, when not in possession our lot beavered away like men demented – the forwards pressing and harrying, and everyone else diligently scampering back to protect Cudicini like their lives depended on it. Inter had their moments, but with every Tottenham man and his dog working their socks off, by and large our esteemed guests could do little better than peer wishfully at our penalty area from afar
Even when Jenas replaced VDV – all things considered quite probably the worst substitution it is possible to make in any sport, not just football – it did not disrupt our mentality, the Lord of All Things Sideways and Backwards at least working hard to help retain the initiative. ‘Twas that sort of performance, practically perfect in every way.
So huzzah, huzzah and thrice I say huzzah. Goodness knows where we go from here, but rather than concern myself with the future I resolve to enjoy the present, for this quite simply was the greatest result of my Spurs-supporting life.