Spurs match reports

Tardy Musings on Spurs vs Chelski, Bolton…

Chelski 0 – 0 Spurs

Awfully puzzling game this one, as you no doubt recall. The first half of dedicated non-aggression was followed by Chelski probably edging things, only for our lot to carve out enough clear-cut chances to hand out a right thrashing. Alas, the conclusion to draw was that our lot to a man need to spend a full week engaged in nothing but shooting practice (or they could just stick Defoe on the pitch, and watch as some of those chances miraculously cause the net to bulge). Still, ‘twas another fairly encouraging performance – and in truth the standard of performance has rarely been a problem during our recent slump (the game at l’Arse excepted).

One other point of note from last weekend was neatly made by Neville on the tellybox – namely that when we counter-attacked in the second half at Chelski, the only man making a charge upfield in support of Adebayor was young Kyle Walker, belting up the pitch like his latest piece of body-art depended on it. Contrast to just about any game in the first half of the season, when such counter-attacks would have just about every man and his dog in lilywhite pouring forward. We are, it appears, beginning to pay the price for a lack of squad-rotation.

Spurs 3-1 Bolton

A return to the good old days – which, curiously enough, turned out to be just as frustrating as the decidedly more average new days. As at the start of the season, we gave the opposition an absolute battering, but watching as shot after shot was repelled by the Bolton goalkeeper sent the blood pressure at AANP Towers soaring to levels not previously witnessed in a featherless biped.

A doff of the AANP cap was made towards young Master Livermore, who supplemented his usual output of energy and tackling with a couple of quite sumptuous passes. However, the need for both he and Parker in central midfield quickly became utterly redundant. Adebayor, Bale, Modders and VDV tore Bolton to shreds, but again there were too many occasions when Adebayor received precious little support when crosses were flung his way. All this while Parker did no more than spectate around the halfway line, and Defoe spectated from the substitutes’ bench.

Still, the job was eventually done, and with the aplomb of old. It bodes well.

Spurs news

Chelsea – Spurs Preview: No Lennon, No Balance, No Hope

“He’s not available,” declared our glorious leader of One Aaron Lennon and his jazz-hands. “Other than that we’re not too bad”. Which is laudably upbeat I suppose, but a bit like Sigourney Weaver concluding that although she has looked on as the alien wiped out two entire crews, tormented her waking and sleeping thoughts, indirectly forced her to shave her head and then ruddy well gestated inside her – other than that she’s not too bad.I do of course overstate the case a tad. An orthodox four-man midfield – with Bale sticking to the left touchline and Walker manfully galloping the gallop of two man up and down the right – would probably offer the balance that we lack when Lennon sits things out, but nevertheless you get the gist. In the little man’s absence we have lacked shape, balance and a clear plan of how to outscore the opposition from minute 1 to 90.

Tough enough against Everton and Stoke, but faced with the prospect of a trip to a now officially resurgent Chelski, the denizens of AANP Towers have taken the unanimous, executive decision to shudder to our very cores. While genuinely upbeat that our final eight games really could bring us eight wins, the current trend of woe, brought about by a combination of Lennonlessness and opposition teams hitting tip-top form, looks for all the world like it will continue at Stamford Bridge.

Team News

Adebayor is also a likely absentee, but other than that the usual suspects will take to the field, start brightly, take the lead, then sit back and ultimately cave in to two late Chelski goals, at least one of which will be highly dubious. I would advise ‘Arry stops his blasted tinkering with the midfield and desperate shunting of square pegs into round holes, but nevertheless envisage him selecting Bale right, Modders left, with Parker and Sandro/Livermore in the centre (and VDV off Saha/Adebayor up the top). Delighted though I would be to gobble down double helpings of humble-pie come the final whistle, I approach this game with the same gloomy air of foreboding that accompanied a Sven-selected England team trotting out in a major tournament quarter-final. Grab what you can chaps, and then scarper.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 1-1 Chelsea: Tardy Musings

Apologies for the tardiness – AANP Towers has been overrun by tiny people the last few days…

And it had all begun so well. Our lot spent the opening minutes pinging the ball between themselves with such dizzying rapidity that the only time a Chelski touched the thing in the opening ten minutes was that lad on halfway, who was promptly crunched by Sandro, releasing Bale to release Adebayor for our goal.  Naturally enough this was the cue at AANP Towers for sense to take a back seat while I wondered quite how many we would score in the first half alone, and whether Barca would be able to live a Tottenham team in that particular mood.

But alas, Benny then decided that the spirit of goodwill required the bestowal of gifts, and five minutes later that Sturridge blighter ahd the freedom of the penalty area. Thereafter the game assumed a curious pattern, vaguely akin to that of an arm-wrestle – Chelski gaining the upper hand, but both sides spurning mighty presentable late opportunities for glory, and the rather mutual conclusion being reached, albeit rather ungraciously, that a point apiece was probably fair.

The Aaron Lennon-Shaped Hole: A ProblemThe principal conclusion to draw from a lilywhite perspective was that our heroes could do no better than scratch their heads and peer blankly at the Aaron Lennon-shaped hole that appeared on the right wing. Brazenly ignoring Einstein’s definition of madness as doing the same thing over again and expecting a different conclusion, not for the first time ‘Arry seemed to convince himself that VDV would be the solution on the right wing. The reality was that we appeared lop-sided and one man short while VDV was on the pitch, whilst the move to Modricise the right-wing in the second half was equally fruitless, and also deprived us of creativity in the centre.


Here at AANP Towers our occasional, feeble protests that BAE is the least good cog in a ruddy marvellous machine tends usually to attract polite coughs of protestation from lilywhites around the globe, but I maintain that he has too many avoidable mistakes in him for my liking.

All things considered however, the good ship Tottenham chugs along in rude health, even after this draw. Continue to beat 15 or so other teams, home and away, and the occasional draw against our Top Four rivals ought not to prove too damaging. Of greater concern was the general lethargy that set in early and remained throughout – a prompt, perhaps, for a little festive squad rotation. Nevertheless, more often than not we play the best football in the country (bar, perhaps, Man City), and the results tend to follow accordingly. This draw was no catastrophe.

Spurs preview

Spurs – Chelsea Preview: ‘Arry’s Conundrum On The Wings

Crunch time. This one could not be much bigger if it were written in size 72 font, stretched in a rack and then injected with muscle-steroid-type-things by that Russian giant of a chap David Haye beat a couple of years back. It’s not just the three points, which would give us a five-point platform from which to wave down at Chelski, with a game in hand. Winning this one would hint at a rather symbolic shifting of power within London and beyond, like the passing of the Olympic flame, but with a bit more blood and thunder and complaining from John Terry.

Beating that ‘orrible lot from down the road earlier this season hinted at a shift in power in Norf London, and while time will tell on that front, the panicky ramblings of l’Arse ‘keeper Szeszecnezcsnzy earlier this week, that their priority this season was to finish above our lot (ha!), signalled that times may indeed be a-changing. Send Chelski packing tonight, and we may be able to display a freshly bloodied scalp on the mantelpiece.

Bale and Lennon

Alas, the gods have amused themselves by flinging down injury bolts left, right and centre. Well certainly left and right at least. Lennon is definitely out, and Bale has chosen a curious time to impersonate AANP by spraining his ankle (wear a strap at all times lad, makes the world of difference). Good news for all those who pick inopportune moments to blink, and thereby miss a sprint of half the pitch by one of these two; but bad news for all lilywhite fans of the counter-attack. Or indeed attacks of a more generic sort. The pace and width of these chaps has been crucial in our merry march upwards. By the pricking of my thumbs a conundrum this way comes.

On Sunday ‘Arry responded to the absence of Bale by sticking Modders on the left; the withdrawal of Lennon then saw VDV switched to the right. Alas, for VDV in particular, “pace” sits well down the list of notable attributes, somewhere in between “magic tricks” and “intermediate Excel capabilities”. Whichever honest blighters are asked to deputise – and Kranjcar and Pienaar are also nominees – our style will undoubtedly alter tonight, and a lot more traffic will be diverted through the middle.

A Gentle “Keep Modders In The Centre” Petition

Here at AANP Towers we are pretty keen to see Modders deployed in the centre rather than the left. It may be harsh on Sandro, following his all-singing, all-dancing, all-conquering display alongside Parker, in centre-midfield on Sunday, but particularly in the absence of Bale-Lennon, Modders’ ingenuity is crucial for the orchestration of all things inventive. Whatever his choice, one hopes that ‘Arry has enlisted his finest team of monkeys to pore over the permutations and select wisely.

Other Injury Footnotes

Further selection frivolities are provided by Ledley’s knee, which presumably is the size of an unbraided Benny afro at present, after his 90-minute stint on Sunday. The return of Kaboul should at least help out there, whilst the official Spurs website has done little for the good of calm and order up and down the High Road by noting that Adebayor has hurt his foot.

In truth I suspect that Adebayor will be fine, nor would I be entirely surprised if Bale gambolled across the turf at some point tonight either. At full strength I would back our lot to the hilt, but given a few crucial absentees this looks less straightforward. Friedel, Gallas, Kaboul, Parker, Modders, Adebayor – this lot need to rise to the occasion tonight. Go get ‘em chaps.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 1-1 Chelsea: Make Sense of That If You Will

Dashed confusing from start to finish. Two points lost or one point gained? What the devil is Gomes playing at? And what the dickens inspired BAE to perform thus?First Things First: Two Lost or One Gained? 

Gomes: Return to the Bad Old Days? 

Time for ‘Arry, and indeed Tony Parks, to earn their corn. We do have a pretty able deputy in Signor Cudicini, but dropping Gomes would probably be a tad over-reactionary. In his defence shot-stopping is generally the strong part of his game, and the mistakes today (and indeed so far this season) have not been due to ineptitude, but rather spasms of mental meltdown. One suspects it would now be in his interests as much as anyone else’s to go through the Christmas period in nice, low-key manner, rushes of blood to the head locked well out of reach for a few weeks.

Daws and Palacios: Returns to the Good Old Days?

On a brighter note however, there were some most encouraging offerings from various others of our clan. Michael Dawson was absolutely ruddy awesome throughout, barely a hint of rust on his broad shoulders. (AANP is quite happy to add its name to the petition to exonerate him from blame for the Chelski goal, on the grounds that he was outwitted by a rogue Ivorian arm.)

Rather spiffing stuff too from Sergeant Wilson, whose performance was a wonderful throwback to those giddying days of early 2009, when he stormed into the Lane and went about mauling any opponent who toyed with the idea of crossing the halfway line in search of our net. With barely a misplaced pass and crunching tackles a-plenty, in conjunction with Gomes’ aberrations, it was like a charming sepia-tinged memory from yesteryear.

As if Sergeant Wilson’s brief renaissance was not sufficiently mind-boggling for one afternoon, further treats were in store behind his left shoulder. Having spent the best part of the season ranting at BAE for his unparalleled capacity for creating trouble where there be none, as he bestowed upon us all the gift of going completely mentally AWOL at the least appropriate moments, I could scarce believe my beady eyes yesterday afternoon, as he delivered a veritable masterclass in left-backery. Heaven knows what got into him, but I would not mind a swig before tonight’s 5-a-side. As with Sergeant Wilson, fingers are firmly crossed that every last details of this performance can be carefully memorised, then transferred identically to next week, and every week thereafter until the end of days. Or at least May 2011.

Pav: Good Day and Bad Day All In One Neat Package

One eye-catching piece of news emanating from the Lane this week indicated that the sinister agent of Pav has been keen to invite Tottenham representatives into his office for vodka shots and contract discussions, regarding his employer. Should any such new deal be inked, I presume that one clause certain to be retained would be the stipulation that Pav is only allowed to score spectacular goals. No tap-ins. No penalties. In addition to scoring spectacular goals it seems he is also permitted to whinge about being bundled over, but nothing else. As such, anyone wondering why he rocked on his heels rather than galloping forward in the second half, when Crouch flicked a header into his path, presumably  needs to be directed to his contract and the stipulations contained therein.

All in all a slightly mixed bag, but I suppose we should be grateful for the point, and concentrate on thrashing Blackpool next week. The unbeaten run is now half a dozen league games, which is far from shabby, considering that they have been juggled with midweek commitments. Moreover, with Daws and Defoe fit again, and various others presumably likely to amble gingerly back into contention, the outlook this Christmas is quite merry.


“Spurs’ Cult Heroes”- A Christmas Stocking-Filler

With the Christmas season upon us this seems as good a time as any to reminder ye good folk that AANP’s first book, “Spurs’ Cult Heroes” is on sale now – on, Amazon, Play and WHSmith, as well as in Waterstones and the Spurs shop.

As well as cheerily reminiscing over the Tottenham careers of 20 of the club’s most popular fans’ favourites (Greaves, Blanchflower, Hoddle, Gazza, Klinsmann and the like) the book also covers some of the most fabled traditions etched into Spurs’ history: big European nights, magic Wembley moments, exotic foreign arrivals, questionable musical offerings, dodgy mullets etc. Quite the stocking-filler for the fellow lilywhite in your life.

Spurs preview

Spurs – Chelsea Preview: No Fate But What We Make…

“The future, always so clear to me, had become like a black highway at night. We were in uncharted territory now, making up history as we went along. The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope, because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can, too.”
Sarah Connor, Terminator 2


Rather ironic sentiments from Ms Connor, I’m sure you’ll agree, given that the following two Terminator films were pretty darned awful, and her own character was promptly killed off, but one understands the point, and such buoyant optimism is shared at AANP Towers ahead of kick-off this afternoon.For the first time we go into a Chelski game with the bookies finding it difficult to choose between us (Spurs 7-4, Chelski 6-4). The bookmakers rarely get it wrong, and all things considered this is probably as good as time as there has been in the last ten years or so to play this lot. Drogba is still shaking off the ill-effects of swine-flu or some such pestilential malady, and Chelski have only scored three in their last six games, or something similar. Admittedly we ought not to become too over-excited by this, as the Chelsea Pensioners could probably stick a couple past us in 90 minutes, given our current form, but up the other end their defence has been by no means watertight, even with the dastardly John Terry restored. Our trusty game-plan, of not worrying too much about defence, and simply outscoring whoever trots out in front of us, ought to serve us well today.

The midfield will presumably be where this game is won and lost, and with VDV and Hudd still unavailable much depends on Modders. The clean-shaven Jesus has been in coruscating form, albeit a tad underrated, given the glamorous types hogging the headlines all around him, but with Lampard sitting this one out, the stage is set for Modric to assume control.

There may also be a timely return to action for Dawson, which would help stiffen things up at the back, but such is the way of things at the moment that even pre kick-off I now accept that we will concede at least one. However, with Modders back, Defoe sharp and Bale simply present on the pitch, we will, as ever have goals in us. The last 12 months have been a whole succession of marks of our progress; this afternoon should herald yet another.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 2-1 Chelsea: I Heart You Too, Gareth Bale

Someone at the club shop turn this week into a double DVD box-set with a snappy name, and pronto. Here at AANP Towers we considered our prognosis of four points from the visits of l’Arse and Chelski to be noble but sadly blinded by optimism. After last weekend’s debacle, who on God’s green earth ever envisaged a reality that saw us take six points from these two games, and with quite such élan? And all that with a team including the slightly terrifying sight of Kaboul at right-back?Performance Of The Season 

The opening exchanges – in which we pinged the ball around in neat little olé-style triangles – set the tone, with our vanquished opponents notably unable to handle the link-up play of Modders, BAE and (inevitably) Bale, and in fact barely able to touch the ball. Nor was Cheslki’s anticipated second half onslaught allowed to materialise, and I’m not even sure they created a clear-cut chance until the 93rd minute, itself an astonishing testament to our injury-hit defence.

And then there was the second most glorious sight in Christendom: the lightning-quick lilywhite counter-attacks that had us outnumbering them from the halfway line. These really ought to have seen us give the scoreboard a more memorable edge, but they did at least bring about the most glorious sight in Christendom, the sending-off of the ever-likeable John Terry.

Apparently Chelski recorded around twice as many completed passes as our lot. Bravo to them. If anything this stat reinforces the incisiveness of our play, for while they passed sideways and sideways again, in their vain search for a chink in our armour, our heroes scythed through them repeatedly with lightning-quick one-touch moves. We completed fewer passes because we needed fewer passes. Such was the confidence and quality of our football that within two or three passes we were bearing down on goal.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Palacios?

It was the worrying question on our lips last weekend, the cause of several thousand furrowed brows trooping up the High Road. Sergeant Wilson’s two-match ban loomed at seemingly the worst time conceivable – but goodness me it was a problem addressed in quite astonishing fashion. When not in possession, Modders and Hudd did not try to mimic Palacios by rushing out and harrying opponents. Instead they kept their discipline and sat, a two-man barrier in front of the back-four, through which Lampard, Cole et al struggled throughout to fashion an opening. Absolutely ruddy marvellous.

Seasoned visitors to AANP Towers will now that here have not traditionally dwelt the Hudd’s greatest admirers. Against l’Arse and Chelski however he turned in remarkably polished performances. Not one Hollywood pass in sight, he just kept things ticking over with a glorious maturity, playing first-time passes with the air of a man who had had a quick look around immediately prior to receiving possession and therefore knew exactly where the ball would go as soon as it came his way. We kept possession like a team who truly cherished the little white orb, and for that much credit is due to the Hudd, although the contributions of our wide men, as well as Pav and, latterly, the Ice Man, also merit appreciative high-fives.

Modders too has given two of his best showings of the season this week, all slick passing, tight control, intricate dribbling and a determination not to be barged off the ball that belies his paperweight frame. Our little-and-large central midfield pairing have turned themselves into a most accomplished partnership, a feat all the more impressive as it has been achieved against a pair of teams deploying three in central midfield. Unbelievably, the problem now surrounding Wilson Palacios is how to accommodate his return. (The AANP solution is to move Modders to the left and Bale to left-back – a formation which to all intents and purposes works as a five-man midfield, once Modders tucks inside and Bale overlaps).

Other Points Of Note

I’m not entirely sure what any of Bale’s goal celebrations are about, but it’s about time we started to see them. No-one is more deserving of the headlines, but goals had been rather conspicuously absent from his series of bravura performances of recent weeks. I look forward to more curious hand-gestures in coming weeks, while bracing myself for a summer of speculation about his future.

Which unknowing observer would have correctly identified the established England centre-back from the candidates on show? Michael Dawson, I salute thee, even if Don Fabio does not.

As for the penalty calls, AANP considered that there were a couple of strong shouts – Terrys shirt-tug on Defoe, and a sliding challenge (from Malouda?) on Bale  – before the eventual penalty award (which, entertainingly enough, seemed from this vantage point a little harsh on Terry).

Sort out how to break down those deep-lying defensive teams and we could be aiming even higher than the top four. That is a conundrum for another day, however. Now is the time for making merry, and revelling in a quite astonishingly good couple of days.


Gary Mabbutt will be signing copies of AANP book Spurs’ Cult Heroes for the masses on the following dates:
Waterstones Stevenage – Saturday 24 April, 12 noon;
Waterstones Walthamstow – Saturday 8 May, 1pm

, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play).  

Spurs’ Cult Heroes

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

Spurs preview

Spurs – Chelsea Preview: Surely Not…?

Surely we couldn’t do it again… could we? After the 120 minutes against Pompey, and epic win on Wednesday night, I’ll be impressed if half of them even make it through the warm-up, but yet another Herculean effort is required today if we are to take advantage of the last-minute defeat of Man City this lunchtime. To be honest, after Wednesday’s three points, I see anything gained from Chelski today and Man Utd next week as a bonus – the critical game may well be Man City in a couple of weeks.Team News

Goodness knows what the team news is this week, our lot seem to be dropping like flies at the moment. It is certain that Sergeant Wilson is suspended, and Niko Kranjcar out for the season; while Jenas, Corluka and Lennon are apparently all unavailable today. Charming though it sounds, I simply cannot believe that Ledley might be available again today, although it would be a huge boost after his impeccable performance on Wednesday. On my idle moments I dream of a perfect world, in which there is no war or disease; Terminator 3 was never made; and


Ledley plays every week (with Lennon and Bale storming the flanks)…After this week’s exertions the players may need an extra swig of Lucozad before kick-off, but personally I can’t get enough of these crunch games at the Lane, and another atmosphere to rival that of Wednesday night. Bring it on.


Gary Mabbutt will be signing copies of AANP book Spurs’ Cult Heroes for the masses on the following dates:
Waterstones Stevenage – Saturday 24 April, 12 noon;
Waterstones Walthamstow – Saturday 8 May, 1pm 

Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play). 
You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play). 
You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

Spurs match reports

Spurs 5-0 Burnley: Keane Sticks Four Fingers Up At Doubters

Curiously, our most emphatic win in recent years was achieved without us ever really hitting top gear. There were some moments at the end of the first half when we played true champagne football, and Defoe might have finished off a couple of moves so pleasing on the eye they ought to have been put on canvass and stuck in a gallery. Aside from that however, it was generally a little sloppy and lacking in fluency. You know the sort of thing – mis-placed passes and lack of movement. It was most noticeable in the slightly lethargic start to the second half, which might have been punished by better teams.Ah, who else but a Spurs fan could find room for complaint after a second five-goal salvo in a week? We may not have hit top gear, but there was no real need. While Jenas’ goal had a touch of fortune about it, we scored four others and created plenty more chances besides. The third goal effectively ended the contest, but I suspect we would have raised our game if it had been necessary to do so. Winning 5-0 when playing within ourselves is quite an achievement.

Keane Silences The Bloke Behind Me Who Was Laying Into Him In The First Half

Robbie Keane’s doubters have been given some food for thought. Scepticism about his finishing ability – much of which has emanated from AANP Towers, I must confess – was fairly emphatically addressed today, albeit after he had had saved a first half one-on-one. Another concern since he rejoined us has been that he spends too much time dropping into midfield, where he mixes industry with incessant moaning at anyone in his line of vision, rather than operating as one of a pair in attack. Indeed, at times in the first half he was at it again, buzzing dementedly around midfield areas; but this seemed to change once Defoe went off. Thereafter we were treated to the welcome sight of the Irishman rolling back the years and scampering straight up the middle at the head of the attack whenever we broke forward.

Fear not however, all ye Keane critics – while I’m not sure of the extent of Defoe’s injury, it can be assumed that he will retain his place in the team when fit, meaning that Keane will presumably revert back to his slightly deeper role, and there will be opportunities anew to moan, grumble and raucously curse the man. Hopefully though, he’ll never be stuck out on the left again.

First Impressions of Kranjcar

Our first chance to cast beady eyes on the boy Kranjcar. First impressions are that he is decent enough, without threatening ever to blow up anyone’s skirt. More Corluka than Modric, notably in that lumbering running style of a man attempting to get around while a rope around his waist drags behind him a set of tyres. He certainly seems happy enough to get forward, but his phobia of the touchline might need to be addressed, and his right-footedness leaves the team still looking a little lop-sided sans Modric.

Elsewhere On The Pitch…

I was pleasantly surprised to see Bassong start at the back. When he was stretchered off last week he looked so badly beaten up he seemed for all the world a man about to be euthanized – yet he was full of beans today, and from my vantage-point did not appear to put a foot wrong. Nor did Assou-Ekotto, although it was disappointing to see there was no foundation to rumours that he was once again sporting the ‘fro.

The Hudd just about coped with the rigours of central defence. Although culpable for the disallowed Burnley goal in the first half, he rather appeared to enjoy himself in the latter stages, bringing the ball out of defence with aplomb. I hesitate to suggest that he would handle the likes of Drogba and Torres with any comfort, but for the next few weeks he ought to do the job.

Cudicini had a rather wobbly moment however, his loss of concentration almost gifting Burnley a goal. With Gomes back to fitness, Cudicini’s every move will be under the microscope now. That said, ‘tis pleasing to note our first clean-sheet of the season.

By the closing stages it had turned into something of an exhibition match. Hudd started rolling out his Beckenbauer impressions. Bale was brought on to break his non-winning Premiership hoodoo. Dawson was ushered back into the fold. (Bentley was nowhere to be seen). Chas’n’Dave were honoured in fittingly unmelodic fashion. News of the Chelski result prompted another celebratory cheer. It may not have been a bravura performance, but we natives departed contentedly enough.

How The Blazes Did Burnely Beat Man Utd A Few Weeks Back?

Finally, a word or two on our vanquished opponents. A couple of weeks ago Man Utd came to town and were sublime; Burnely were ruddy awful. Quite how they beat the champions last month is beyond me, because at times they displayed basic technique so bad they resembled a pub team. If there was an opportunity to mis-kick they mis-kicked; if a pass could be mis-placed they duly pinged it miles off target. Presumably they are a much better team than they showed today, and we can expect a much tougher test at Turf Moor later in the season, but their efforts did much today to lull us into a quite appropriate sense of security. Still, our players had to trot out there and beat them, and did so with plenty to spare. Top-six form, at least.


Your memories are still welcomed here on Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, the latest to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes. Feel free to contribute your memories – or browse those of others – on Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here, Gary Mabbutt here or Graham Roberts here

Spurs news

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Supernanny Discovers Her Next Assignment

Real classy from Chelsea. It probably started with Mourinho, instilling arrogance in them, but after the final whistle they just morphed into four year-olds in need of that Supernanny lass. John Terry probably has a right as captain to have a quick word with the ref, but not to scream in his face and finger-jab. The England captain really ought to have some vague notion of decency. That gentle tremor causing the crockery at AANP Towers to shimmer is the sound of Bobby Moore rotating, six feet under. Hiddink acted far more decorously – quiet word, made his point, walked off. As did Lampard, to be fair.Drogba Promotes Schadenfreude 

I honestly didn’t understand why he got involved, having been subbed off long before the final whistle – it’s not as if he was still pumping from having been playing. He would have calmed down on the bench. Struck me almost as if he wanted a bit of limelight. Maybe to distract from missing the easiest chances of both legs (after all, no-one’s talking about that now, are they?)

Mind you, it was mighty impressive that he had the energy to get so involved, having been hacked, beaten, stabbed and shot so frequently by all those phantom challenges, bless him. I do rather wonder what the poor old Chelski physio makes of it, having to run on straight-facedly in front of millions of TV viewers every ten minutes when Drogba goes down, then having to go through the motions of checking he’s not actually hurt, then having to help him limp off the pitch – all the time knowing that it’s just another act.

Curiously, the one thing I did understand – not really condoning, but understood – was Ballack’s fantastic mentalism in the final minutes. Didn’t think it was a penalty, and he put his hands on the ref, which could have been a straight red card – but in the heat of the moment, on the pitch, I can understand instinctively turning around and shrieking at the ref. Thereafter however, is the time to shut up and get on with the game. The instinctive sweary bit I can understand, but once the moment has passed, there is no real excuse.

When Does A Team “Deserve” To Win? 

Not sure who deserved to win – Barca were miles better technically, short-passing their way out of trouble. Whenever Chelsea tried to triangle-pass their way through the move tended to break down. But… what’s the point of Barca’s pretty football if they don’t create one decent chance in 90 mins? It’s not ballet. You don’t “deserve” to win by looking pretty. In the crudest terms, you deserve to win by sticking the round white thing in the net more than the other lot. Barca rather seemed to miss the point, passing to death. Without a Drobga-esque target-man to work around they didn’t have a presence right in the middle, to occupy the centre-backs. All rather reminiscent of last year’s two-legged semi against Man Utd. Chelsea created three or four clear-cut chances, and should have won comfortably – despite being technically inferior. Strange game.

As a neutral though, I had splendid fun – a clash of styles, dodgy reffing, pantomime villains, tense finale. The entire tie might have been more open and entertaining if Barca had scored early at the Nou Camp, forcing Chelski to abandon the six-men-in-their-own-area approach and be a bit more adventurous. Still, the final ought to be cracking fun now, with two teams fairly committed to the all-action-no-plot approach. I back Man U, on the basis that Barca are so determined to walk the ball into the net, coupled with the absence of both full-backs and Marquez from their defence.