Spurs match reports

Spurs 0-1 Wigan: AVB Protects the Fabric of the Universe

In truth, AANP speaks very little of any language beyond the mother-tongue – some impeccably-chosen Latin once the bourbon flows, the odd bon mot in French and bits and pieces of Modric-speak for the benefit of Ms AANP and her kin – so I am hardly an authority on what goes on in the AVB household, but the sneaking suspicion is that there simply is no Portuguese equivalent of the phrase ‘all action no plot’. Certainly the eye-gougingly mental replacement of Defoe with Adebayor as we chased the game yesterday seemed to betray a fervent subscription to rather than anything in this neck of the interweb.

That said, tempting though it always is to grumble at the glorious leader, our heroes on the pitch seemed pretty determined to do anything that might be construed as competitive. The two ‘holding midfielders’ would at times be better defined as merely ‘subsisting midfielders’, given that they neither create nor destroy with any particular distinction, nor do anything of note beyond the bare minimum required for existence’ while poor old Dempsey still looks like a man who needs a few jolly good steak-and-chips dinners to bulk up a tad before he will add any particular lustre to the lilywhite cause. Frightfully gaunt, that lad. But carrying considerably less threat than the Walking Dead extras he resembles. Still, with AVB evidently convinced that the simultaneous fielding of two bona fide strikers will destroy the very fabric of the universe it seems that the One-Striker-Plus-A-Dempsey masterplan is here to stay, so we may as well settle down and enjoy it.

As it happens however, by virtue of this lucre-fuelled division and its top-three subset, the realistic goal – of fourth – remains eminently manageable, and is likely to remain so until May ’13, no matter how relentlessly the lilywhite horde peddle their impotence in displays such as these. In the nearer-term, the prospect of redundant, snail-paced sideways passing against Man City and l’Arse ought to keep us all entertained in the coming weeks.

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Lilywhite Grumblings Post-Norwich & Pre-Wigan

The table continues to suggest that life is actually tickety-boo, but the brow furroweth with fresh earnestness around these parts, because hanging on for a narrow victory/draw, in games that ought to have been stopped after an hour for sheer cruelty to the opposition, now sits alongside inane twitterings and naughty-business-with-good-looking-but-vacuous-reality-TV-models on the list of favoured past-times of our heroes, with Maribor, Southampton and now Norwich providing recent evidence of this dubious trend.

This recurring business of taking the lead and then embarrassedly retreating and practically rolling out a red carpet for the opposition to wander back into the game, whether they want to or not, is frightfully sporting, but does have the dubious side-effect of leaving the army of lilywhite support wrenching out their hair and boiling their own heads in sheer, unabated frustration.What the dickens goes in their empty heads when they finally take the lead is quite beyond my ken, but for those perusing the interweb pre kick-off today – and I’m sure most of them do indulge in a spot of AANP while they go about their pre-match rituals – for goodness sake chaps, next time you have a mediocre bunch of rag-tag overweights and amateurs down on the ground, kindly whip out your medical encyclopaedia app, locate the blasted jugular, grab hold of the nearest weapon or stabbing implement and thrust repeatedly until blood spurts all over your garish green boots and the opposition are nothing but a twitching, bloodied, defeated mess.


And Don’t Think You’re Escaping Without Blame Young Man

Our glorious leader hardly covers himself in glory either, for his enterprising tactical approach of bringing on extra defenders when our opponents are ready to crumble, just to make sure that everyone realises the official party line is ‘We’re-One-Goal-Ahead-Of-A-Weak-Team-So-Rather-Than-Take-The-Game-By-Its-Neck-Scruff-And-Deliver-A-Thrashing-Let’s-Barricade-Ourselves-In-And-DEFEND-FOR-OUR-LIVES’. Which is not really the Butch and Sundance modus operandi. Just telling the troops to keep going and score again would probably do the trick, instead of this bizarre reversion to skin-of-the-teeth mode every time.

‘Twas noted by an onlooker after my last witterings that a hidden agenda lurks within the corridors of AANP, to unroot AVB, hurl him from the top floor and reinstall ‘Arry. To reiterate my response, the assorted denizens of AANP Towers tend not to roll thusly. ‘Give AVB a few years’ is very much the mantra being hummed morning, noon and night around these parts, after which we can assess if his range of party tricks extends beyond looking uncannily like a stubbly Vertonghen.

A troubling observation of the early days of his reign is undoubtedly that the fare peddled by our heroes these days has all the gung-ho action-packed content of a dreary black and white arty French film with subtitles, which strays somewhat from the blitz of attacking excitement to which we have been treated in recent years – but one imagines that this will be righted soon enough, particularly when Dembele returns and Adebayor is available again. The trade-off of VDV for Dempsey/Sigurdsson continues to look like shoddy business however, and I will take some convincing otherwise.

So Wigan roll into town today, and top of the wish-list at AANP Towers is that once our lot finally take the lead, they jolly well knuckle down and look for more. The frantic final 10 minutes plus injury time is not big and not clever.

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Spurs – Wigan Preview: Enough of This Bad Luck Gubbins

Here at AANP Towers we are inclined to pay short shrift to those who shuffle our way with puppy-dog eyes and quivering lower lip, complaining of bad luck. “You makes yer own luck,” we have been known to roar, with such ferocity that the aforementioned puppy-eyed, lip-quivering urchins have literally exploded into a ball of flames before our eyes; or else we invoke the barely perceptible murmur of a true testosterone-fuelled hero like that chap Stallone, and instruct “Take it like a man”; or indeed we sagely impart the sporting wisdom of some aged American golfing chap, and intone with zen-like calm “The more I practise the luckier I get”.

Between me and you however, such declarations have rather died in my throat the last few weeks. Lady Luck has taken quite the dislike to the lilywhite heroes of N17 in recent weeks. If it’s not Adebayor having goals disallowed left, right and centre it’s everyone’s favourite Italian rogue merrily crushing the skull of poor old Scott Parker underfoot, and waltzing away scott-free (ahem), before no doubt placing a whoopee cushion under the seat of ‘Arry unbeknownst to the officials, and then hanging, drawing and quartering every unused sub on our bench whilst Howard Webb’s back is turned.

All of which has earned our lot plenty of sympathy, and, coupled with our Veuve Cliquot brand of one-touch football, made us just about everyone’s second favourite team. Marvellous, but if major decisions keep robbing us of points all the sympathy in the world won’t be of much use. So I hereby offer a personal plea to Billy Bowden, or whomever is in charge of the rub of the green these days – for the love of all things wondrous, dish all the good luck back our way, and pronto.

There’s A Game Tonight Apparently

Not that we ought necessarily to need too much luck tonight against Wigan, who, for those who care of such things, are apparently bottom of the table. I fancy that this could prove another of those tortuous, one-sided-yet-laboured narrow victories, but if that be the case then so be it – we might as well gather up all the points we can and bury them deep beneath the turf, because the upcoming glut of fixtures will most certainly require our heroes to polish their shoes and sharpen their muskets.

Fare Thee Well…

Following the width-less experiment in the Cup last week ‘Arry and chums will presumably revert to the same old same old tonight, although they will have to do so without Corluka, who has apparently been loaned out to Bayer Leverkusen or some similar (and who can therefore, given his current mobility levels, be expected to pitch up in Germany some time in 2014). Some are murmuring that Louis Saha of all people is to tip-toe his way down the High Road tonight, but for now all thoughts of transfer windows ought to be shelved, and the Wiganers despatched. One point from two games is practically relegation form, so what better time to host the worst time in the division? Strut thine funky stuff please chaps.

Spurs match reports

Wigan 1-2 Spurs: Keep-Ball and Ruthlessness

A show of hands then, for all you honest souls who just a couple of weeks ago had descended into a panicked frenzy, charging around wailing prognostications of doom before leaping headfirst through the nearest window, as our lot lost the opening two games with all the gloomy emphasis of gravitationally-obsessed lead balloon.No real need to panic was there? Two shakes of a lamb’s tail – and three wholesome wins – later we find ourselves in the top six, and neatly perched like an eleven-man Mo Farah, on the shoulder of the leading lot, ready to burst for the line with bulging-eyed determination as appropriate. Moreover, unlike Master Farah, we have the advantage of a game in hand at home to Everton. All of which is infinitely better than a slap in the face with a wet fish, so someone dish out gold stars to our heroes, and pronto for their fine efforts of the last couple of weeks.

Nine-One! Nine-One! 

Sheer Bloody-Minded Ruthlessness: Not Really Our Forte 

Make no mistake, our keep-ball is at times so good I want to frame it and hang it on the wall of my living room, but when the cushion is only one goal I think the collective pulse-rates of north London would be helped if our heroes put their heads down, scored the goals of which they’re capable and put the game beyond reach. Still, all’s well that ends well (or begins well, as it transpired yesterday).

‘Arry’s Opportunity to Dabble in Early 20th Century French Sculpture 

Young Walker deserves some extra pocket money, for his forward forays are beginning to generate the same ripple of excitement as those of Lennon, and while his defending is not exactly Ledley-esque he certainly lacks not in the commitment column.

On the debit side however, there was a reminder from BAE of his capacity to slip so effortlessly from laid-back to horizontal that he forgets his raison d’etre and starts inviting pressure upon the Tottenham goal rather than the opposite.

L’Arse At Home. Bring It On 

Still, he is an improved performer, and these are improved performances. They could be improved further – that clinical, ruthless edge could be added for a start – but Wolves away, Liverpool at home and Wigan away have been taken care of despite being eminently loseable one and all. Even with the usual glut of injuries, our starting eleven now oozes quality in every position, a situation that will only be enhanced by the returns of Defoe, Lennon, Hudd and Daws. It is all dreadfully exciting stuff – and lip-smackingly enough, l’Arse at home are next up…

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Wigan – Spurs Preview: The Games Upon Which Top Four Finishes Are Built

Exciting times, what? Having gone at it hammer, tongs and any other household implement you can think of last week, the prospect of another rip-roaring performance certainly gets the juices flowing.As well as more attacking nous than you can shake a large stick at, our heroes now come fortified with an added dose of Scott Parker, a particularly handy ingredient on away days such as these. Indeed, the sight in midweek, for the first time this season, of Sandro charging hither and thither, suggests that if necessary our midfield could now pack enough steel to open a small family-run business and pootle along quite nicely despite these dark economic times.

With Adebayor and Modders at the peak of their powers, Bale revving up a head of steam and Ledley imperiously taking care of all things defensive, the omens are ruddy marvellous. These are the games upon which Top Four finishes are built. Three points, and not a smidgeon less.

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Wigan – Spurs Preview: Doom, Gloom and Foreboding

Such are the rigours of supporting Spurs that I have been happy to bleat away for the last few weeks about how we will despatch Real Madrid over two legs, yet struggle to see us gleaning more than a point at Wigan. Legend has it that even great big burly types like Achilles had the odd weakness or two, and the chink in Spurs’ armour seems to be opposition that is near-enough fit for life in a division below us. It does not take too great a leap of imagination to foresee us peppering the Wigan goal, only to finish with the usual two dozen shots on goal, and be suckered by an unmarked header from within our own six yard box.Niko Kranjcar may want to be careful what he wishes for, as he is presently rising rapidly up the list to take over in central defence. Well, maybe not quite, but should one of Daws or Bassong stub their toe between now and 3pm on Saturday then we will be turning to Hudd, Sandro or – cross yourselves – Corluka.

Further up the pitch there is no real shortage of talented internationals just waiting to clasp their heads in their hands as yet another chance goes begging tomorrow. Bale-less we may be, but the rest of the attacking dozen or so are all available as far as I’m aware. Particularly nice it is to see the Hudd back in the squad-list, to remind everyone of the player Jack Wilshere aspires to be. I do rather quake at the prospect of what several months without rigorous physical exercise has done to his physique, but a welcome addition he is nonetheless. Forget nine-goal salvos; three points achieved in whatever manner – and no more blinking injuries – will be just peachy tomorrow.

Spurs match reports

Spurs 0-1 Wigan: An Anomaly. Right?

Well this is embarrassing. After all the hubbub last week about the Champions League and Inter Milan the decent thing would have been to have given Wigan a good thrashing, destroy their crops and set fire to their small children. Instead, I return from a weekend away at a wedding to find my Spurs-supporting chums refusing to make eye-contact, shuffling their feet and muttering about uncanny happenings in the cricket.


Four points from three domestic games then, on top of which there was the meltdown in the Young Boys first leg and the march of triumph in the second. When set out like that it seems that so far this season we have already covered just about every possible base from sublime to ridiculous.


CRISIS!!! (Just Kidding)


In the wake of Saturday’s debacle various members of our clan have been grabbing each other by the collars and screeching not to panic, because this is not – repeat, not – a crisis. One shoddy home defeat doth not a crisis make. Such mishaps as this occurred a couple of times last season, and were soon swallowed up by all-singing, all-dancing wizadry against the Premiership’s elite. Moreover, even this season the bright and bubbly start against Man City, hard-earned win at Stoke and jolly romp against Young Boys suggests that matters at N17 are, broadly, still tickety-boo. Somebody somewhere probably needs a good slap on the wrist after the Wigan game, but otherwise this is probably one to be glossed over before normal service is resumed.


There is, of course, the concern we dare not voice – that this sort of nonsense will follow every Champions League outing. Before we begin scrambling for places aboard that particular bandwagon it is worth recalling that the win at Stoke three days after our trip to Switzerland suggested no such malady, but time shall tell on this front. In terms of numbers and Premiership-standard personnel I would think our squad is capable of coping with a slightly bloated fixture-list, but it would nevertheless be cheery to see a little extra sprinkling of quality added to our ranks before the transfer window shuts.



Our heroes now have a couple of weeks during which to sit in the naughty corner and think about what they have done, and the curiously alliterative glut of games (West Brom, Wolves, West Ham) that follows represents a chance to right a few wrongs and go making merry, with goals and points aplenty. Mind you, fluff our lines against that lot and I won’t be able to sleep at night for the mocking laughs from the ghosts of Gerry Francis and Christian Gross. This business, of outclassing a team in every department on paper, only to succumb with excruciating apathy on the green stuff, happened far too often back in the day for me simply to forget about it in the blink of an eye. However, bag a few consecutive wins – and it is eminently feasible – and Wigan at home will be regarded as this season’s White Hart Lane anomaly.

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Spurs – Wigan Preview: Same Again?


And so, slightly dizzying, we head straight back to the Premiership. It seems like it was only yesterday we gathered around the wireless to listen to the Champions League draw, with the breathless excitement of children on Christmas morn. From Inter to Wigan in the blink of an eye. ‘Tis a lifestyle to which we will have to become accustomed fairly rapidly.

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There was something vaguely memorable about Wigan’s last trip to the Lane, and memories of that heady November evening, combined with two early-season thrashings, suggest that our visitors may approach this fixture with a fair degree of trepidation. However, I would quite happily settle for a 1-0 win this time, our heroes having put an awful lot into their midweek jaunt.

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Time for all and sundry to murmur knowingly about “squad depth” again, and opportunity therefore potentially knocks for the likes of Kaboul, Bassong, Jenas, Kranjcar, Gio, Pav and Keane, while beady eyes will presumably need to be cast over the fitness of Gomes and Modders. Saturday also heralds a potential debut for William Gallas, and having already offered my tuppence worth on his signing last week I am now quite curious as to what sort of reception he receives at the Lane.

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Alas, I will need to be informed of this and all other developments via furtive text messages while I nod and smile appropriately in church, as AANP is donning its suit to head to a wedding this weekend. Do keep me posted won’t you?

Spurs match reports

Wigan 0-3 Spurs: How Delightfully Un-Tottenham

Well we can postpone work on those “Sack ‘Arry” placards for the time-being at least. With a maturity that even they themselves probably did not realise they possessed our heroes adapted to the conditions better than the other lot, made better chances and saw out the game with consummate professionalism. While I braced myself for a late bout of insanity from someone or other, the players abandoned an age-old Tottenham tradition and instead navigated through to the end without any scares.The pitch hardly made for champagne football, and for a while it looked like our lot were under orders to bypass the mud by pinging long balls at every opportunity, but to their credit they persevered with the passing game as much as the conditions allowed. (Before Modders came and made it look like he was playing on a bowling-green.)

As well as their use of the ball and acclimatisation to the conditions, the willingness to roll up sleeves, slide through the mud and fight the attritional war was also most gratifying (in theory at least, although Messrs Defoe and Bale adopted dangerously dubious interpretations of the notion of “getting stuck in”). While we did not necessarily always win those 50-50 balls, neither did we look like we would shirk the challenges. Top marks, chaps.

The Opening Goal

I suspect even objective Wigan fans would admit that we were good value for the win, but there is no denying that the first goal went miles beyond the boundary of “fortuitous”, and ensconced itself comfortably in the world of the downright absurd. While Bale’s charge down the left merits thumping applause, Defoe had, as ever, clearly jumped the gun. He did at least have the grace to look suitably embarrassed by it all.

C’est la vie. Statistics may suggest otherwise, but AANP is of the train of thought that these things loosely even out over a season, and we have certainly been hard done by in recent weeks (off the top of my head Defoe’s disallowed goal against Liverpool, and penalty shout against Villa, in recent weeks). Moreover, for all the controversy surrounding it the opening goal did not make a huge difference to the general pattern of the game, throughout which manful efforts to plough through the quagmire were achieved better by our lot than theirs.

However, there is a counter-argument that that opening goal was crucial for us inasmuch as that breaking the deadlock has become something of a mental barrier for us in recent weeks. Time and again we have played well but failed to get that all-important first goal, with the result that we have ended up battering away at a ten-man defence. On Sunday, through outrageous officiating we found ourselves ahead – and were then able to play against a team forced to edge out towards us. Wigan did not exactly come at us all guns blazing, but nor were they able to pile bodies into defence. As a result, particularly in the second half, our forwards found themselves man-to-man against a defender, rather than facing two banks of four.

Triffic Substitutions 

Pav: Super

He is evidently a popular little bunny amongst his team-mates, but ‘Arry did not exactly look thrilled to bits with Pav’s little cameo, the camera close-up straight after the third goal capturing a particularly morose expression across the face of our glorious leader. However, there is now no avoiding the fact that our head honcho has a selection dilemma. An inspired twenty minutes as substitute is one thing, but can Pav produce the goods on a regular basis? Does he only play like that against weaker teams? How would he fare if given a regular run in a settled side (I discount the Wendy Ramos era in which he featured as not constituting “a settled side”)? Would he and Defoe work as a combo?

Such questions are unanswered at present, but he looked mighty darned classy on Sunday, the contrast with his gangling strike partner neatly emphasised when he scored precisely the sort of chance Crouch had missed moments earlier. Not many tears would be shed if the lanky one were dropped to the bench and Pav given a starting-berth alongside Defoe for a few games. Crouch is a jack of various trades but master of none, and the time might be right to lock him in a cage labelled “Plan B”.

Corluka: Not So Super 

All told however, it was a staggeringly professional display. Solid in defence; determined and creative as necessary in midfield; sharp in attack. That’s three consecutive halves of good football from our lot – so for one week at least the Prophets of Doom have courteously shuffled aside, to let the Top-Four Delusionalists make themselves heard.


AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, will be in shops from 6 March – but is available to pre-order now from, as well as WHSmith,Amazon , TescoWaterstones and Play 

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

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

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Wigan – Spurs Preview: Nine Things I’d Like To See From Tottenham Today

Just picking an entirely arbitrary number, it’s AANP’s (by no means exhaustive) nine-point wish-list for this afternoon’s trip to Wigan…1. Same Old Same Old From Gomes

Watching l’Arse goalkeeper Lucas Fabianski pass his Three Stooges audition with flying colours this week gave a pleasant reminder that, for all our problems at the other end, between the sticks we are well-blessed. In generations to come AANP’s grandchildren will gather around and listen with disbelieving ears at tales of how calamitous Gomes was in his early days, but mercifully such an age is long passed.  The big Brazilian has been one of our best performers this season, and at the end of a week in which even such goalkeeping luminaries as Shay Given and Brad Friedel have erred rather prominently, it is good to know that our last line of defence is so secure. More of the same this afternoon please.2. Domineering Performance From Hudd

Whatever the varying opinions of his contributions, it is beyond dispute that Hudd is first-choice centre-midfielder – so let’s see him play like one. Every week. All the best players have occasional off-days, but the big lad’s are far too frequent. Wigan away might not necessarily be the jolliest of cake-walks, but a central midfielder at a top-four team ought to dominate such fare.

3. Score The Next Ruddy Penalty We Are Awarded 

4. Give Us Back Our Modric 

5. Law of the Ex 

6. Striking Alternative 

7. The Return of Lennnon 

8. Turn Up at Kick-Off 

9. Three Points

By hook, crook or penalties. Forget nine goals, just one more than the other lot will suffice. The momentum has disappeared from our season in the manner of a Jenas forward burst, pause, about-turn and backwards pass; but we are still very much in touch with the top-four chasers, and our current malady is nothing a little string of wins would not cure.



AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, will be in shops from 6 March – but is available to pre-order now from, as well as WHSmith,Amazon , TescoWaterstones and Play 

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

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