Spurs news

Arsenal – Spurs Preview: Like Playing Stevenage Again

Times a-changing? Keep up – they’ve already a-changed. ‘Tis now generally agreed, either publicly or otherwise, that Tottenham are the best team in North London; the “St Tottingham’s Day” bet with my Arse-supporting chum Hawthy is fast becoming redundant; and following the weekly toasting of our own latest bravura successes we lilywhites as a regular side-note are also able to amuse ourselves by sniggering at the ongoing and quite spectacular implosion of that ‘orrible lot down the road.

What this means is that by any measure one cares to use (with the exception of “having that Van Persie chap loitering in our colours up the top of the pitch”), our lot have the upper hand. Which seems to lead smoothly to the conclusion “Huzzah! We shall triumph!”

Their Cup Final

Alas, this is not necessarily guaranteed, as is evidenced by the last time we travelled to a side so patently inferior. (Moi? Inflammatory? Never!) It happened relatively recently – just last weekend in fact – as our heroes dutifully trotted out onto the ill-disguised bobble-fest that was Stevenage’s local park, and encountered a team of honest, average, jolly hard-working blighters who understandably enough treated it as their Cup Final and consequently kept us bay. A further gaggle of distinctly average types awaits on Sunday, as l’Arse ready themselves for what is now their Cup Final. Bless.

A struggle awaits then, be ye in no doubt, for as with Stevenage last week so this lot will strain evey sinew for the privilege of presenting themselves as our equals, if only for an afternoon. More pertinently, away days against Top Four(ish) teams tend not to bring out the best in the glorious heroes of N17, as has been evident from the slightly meek display at Anfield a few weeks back, and countless under-performances at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and indeed the Emirates/Highbury over the years. A mentality more akin to our usual blitzkrieg modus operandi would therefore be welcome on Sunday.

In terms of personnel the news can be loosely qualified as “spiffing”, with Adebayor, BAE, VDV and Modders all available again, following their various ailments and maladies. Presuming that Ledley and Kaboul are also niggle-free and fighting fit that ought to give us just about our first-choice, pick-themselves XI. A trip to l’Arse is never straightforward, but their current vintage are liable to collapse faster than Robert Pires in the vicinity of an outstretched leg, so frankly the pre-match scenario could scarcely suit our heroes better. Your adoring public awaits chaps.

Spurs preview

Spurs – Arsenal Preview: To VDV Or Not To VDV?

Strange times these – the first in my living memory that we’ve gone into a match against that ‘orrible lot from down the road with the bookies sidling over into the lilywhite camp. The noisy babblings of my l’Arse supporting chums ring a little hollow these days. Current form; playing personnel; summer transfer dabbling; inside out; upside down – any way you look at it we have the edge at the moment.Unfortunately, this does not necessarily count for a great deal – the standard North London ruckus tends to produce four goals in the first 20 minutes, at which point pre-game indicators are accordingly lobbed out of the nearest window. Nevertheless, it’s nice at least to go into this one using little more than a knowing smile in the traditional pre-match verbal jousting with fans of the other lot.

Selection Dilemma: VDV

A big moment for ‘Arry this one, as the conundrum that quietly brewed away throughout last season is now presenting itself in the form of a life-sized, VDV-shaped selection dilemma. Where best to begin with the Dutchman – right-wing, behind a lone striker or on the bench? The mildly controversial view here at AANP Towers is to mark a big cross in the box entitled “Impact Sub” today. Before you gather the rotten fruit and proceed to pelt, consider the reasons: Aaron Lennon is now back to fitness, providing an alternative on the right; while 4-4-2, with Adebayor-Defoe as bona fide strikers, seems a darned sight more positive (and threatening) for a home game than 4-5-1 with VDV chipping in occasionally in midfield. Moreover, VDV does not seem capable of lasting more than an hour or so, a fact presumably entirely unrelated to his occasional appearances in the kebab house down the road from AANP Towers. That said however, be we 4-5-1 with VDV or 4-4-2 without, the Wenger brow will be etched with worry lines. As selection posers go, it’s rather a topper.

Selection Dilemma Part Deux: Walker – Corluka

Another possible pencil-chewing matter for our glorious leader is at right-back. Young Master Walker appears to be the incumbent at present, and the lad certainly enjoys pelting towards the opposition by-line at a rate of knots – but can he defend? “Adequate, But Not Without Mistakes” might not be good enough this afternoon. I guess the Walker-Corluka choice might also depend on whether Lennon or VDV is picked on the right wing, at which point this all becomes terrifically complicated. As ever, my preference would be Kaboul.

Elsewhere, a collective sigh of relief would no doubt echo around the Lane once it is confirmed that Ledley is fit to start again, and Sandro may well drop to the bench, in the interests of glorious, pulsating, all-out attack. This being what it is I presume there will be at least five goals, of which van Persie will presumably score one and VDV another, while the laws of science dictate that Adebayor will score, get sent off or both. In a nutshell, it really does contain just about as much excitement as is legal on a Sunday afternoon. Home win.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 2-1 Arsenal: Late Musings On That Glory-Glory Night

Apologies for the tardiness – busy times at AANP Towers. While it would have been nice to add my tuppence worth to the wave of euphoria in the 24 hours immediately after the Arse was spanked, the delay perhaps allows for a more circumspect few musings.AANP is classifying it a game of one half and two quarters.

First Half

For spells in the first half our lot barely got near the dashed thing, and with l’Arse hogging possession it threatened to be the opening scene of one of those Final Destination films, where the kid has a premonition of unabated carnage on all sides. With no Sergeant Wilson to roll out his little routine of charging up to opponents, stopping a yard off them, looking them in the eye and then daring them to pass him, our midfield pairing off Modders and Hudd looked initially like lambs to the slaughter, alternating between standing back or making woefully ill-timed lunges for possession.

And yet, as it turned out, we kept them at arms length. Other than a first-minute shot which BAE snuffled out on the line, I’m not sure l’Arse managed a shot on goal in the entire first half. By contrast, on the counter we created a couple of chances – and as for the opening goal… As the ball dropped from the skies, a montage of Gazza’s St Hotspur day free-kick and Bentley’s Emirates volley flashed through the mind, before the boy Rose took a punt and gained immortality.


Nice to see David Ginola (Cult hero! Cult hero!) at half-time, but I spent the interval cursing our lot for what they were about to put me through. 

One Quarter

As it happened, the first half of the second half (you follow?) was simply wonderful. I’m not just talking about the goal, gorgeous though it was (who knew Defoe had the defence-splitting diagonal killer pass in him?) It was the manner in which we gave l’Arse the run-around for twenty minutes or so thereafter, with a maturity I simply did not know we had. Watching Gudjohnsen and Modders play keep-ball as weary Arse legs chased shadows was one of the most satisfying sights of the season.

On the evidence of Wednesday night, the January re-shuffle of Keane-Out and Gudjohnsen-In looked a master-stroke. Admittedly Gudjohnsen fluffled a glorious chance to kill the game, but that apart his calm, shielding of possession in midfield was brilliantly executed, and exactly what we needed. Difficult to imagine Keane giving us that sort of input if added as a late sub.

Second Quarter

The inevitable nail-biting finale soon followed however, prompted by the arrival of Van Persie. It was desperate, last-ditch stuff at time, but by golly didn’t it make the chest swell with pride? From the front (Defoe racing around to execute sliding tackles) to the back (Ledley, an absolute Rolls Royce of a defender) they fought to a man, and when we ran out of men we were able to turn to a deity in goal. On my little Spurs Fixture List booklet, next to each result, I note down our goalscorers; for this game the notes read: “Rose, Bale, Gomes (3)”. His acrobatics and reactions defied belief.

Nerves shredded and fingernails chewed to the bone, my heart has now filed for divorce from me, on the grounds of persistent unreasonable behaviour – but it seems a price well worth paying. After the Pompey defeat, the lowest I have ever felt as a Spurs supporter, I tried to remember how the good times felt; not sure I’ll ever forget the feeling around 10pm on Wednesday night.


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