In short, at the moment, we are a joy to watch. Still, out of tradition, I must always add caution. Instead of a wary glance in the direction of a tricky looking fixture, I find myself counting down the days until our next devastatingly slick and irresistably dynamic footballing show rolls into town. We ought to have our name in lights. At each juncture that it would be typically Tottenham to shoot ourselves in the foot (Crouch, Madrid, 2011) or perhaps for more bathos (Stalteri, Sunderland, 2006), we dispatch of the opposition again, and such confidence/ style/flair/élan/dash/verve/zest/spirit/brio/vivacity/gusto/vitality instilled by ‘Arry. Writing so positively about the Spurs doesn’t come naturally to me. If it wasn’t for the Europa League I’d say I’ve forgotten what it feels like to lose. This comes from a man whose initiation to football life came under Gerry Francis. A boy for whom the first name on the back of an overpriced replica garment was Armstrong. In honour of most of the goals we have conceded from this term, these times can be dubbed heady days. Having said that, I cannot shake the impulse that fortunes will come to a sudden theatrical halt in a manner that usually only Newcastle are able to eclipse. There is nowhere more likely for this to happen at Stoke, a famously ‘tricky place to go’ even without Gomes on hand to knock his defenders unconscious, so here’s my overview of #WWWWDWWWWWW. The new 2 points from 8 games if you will.
Wolves September 2011
Debuts for Parker and Adebayor and an early season ‘must win’ if ever there was one. Who knew Parker and Adebayor would only find themselves losing in a Spurs shirt for fifteen minutes until now. Inevitably, our former tormentor of many guises opened the scoring in one of the fabled first five games in which he was ‘up for it.’ Defoe seemed to eclipse his goal tally from last season in one swing of the boot as Jamie O’Hara, an ode to mediocre midfield names gone by, found himself on the losing team. Relief.
Liverpool September 2011
A blistering start in which Liverpool’s lack of pace and sheer ordinariness was exposed. The game offered a pattern that would mark our purple patch. Firstly, in the retributive dismissal of the Charlie Adam who last season sent Gareth Bale flying into the West Stand thereby ending his season without punishment, followed by Skrtel’s red card, indicated our useful habit of inviting red cards, something we are the best at in the league. Secondly, a certain wastefulness in our failure to turn utter dominance into its anticipated amount of goals, knew further bounds. Anyway, a delight to see, Ledley had that serial irritant Suarez in his pocket. Mainly due to Arsenal’s embarrassing start to the season, it occurred to me that someone had to finish fourth and that it should really be us. Statement.
Wigan September 2011
Expectedly we conquered Wigan. Take that two separate train stops that are opposite each other, and the pier and the unrounded pricing structure of pies. Never an intimidating affair, the DW set a trend for VdV to open the scoring, a continuation of second bookable offences on Bale and Adebayor apparently unable to see out of one eye for the duration of the second half. Should have scored more. At least one of our six year old fans won the half-time Wigan crossbar challenge after the jovial announcer inspired him with a cry ‘to give it some welly…as you say down South.’ Straightforward.
Woolwich Wanderers October 2011
A real zeitgeist was the blasé atmosphere in the air of Bruce Castle park in the hours leading up to the visit by ‘that lot from down the road.’ Our lads looked nervous as a result, it was lucky Gervinho got his angles wrong, although a familiar sight ensued as VdV opened the scoring with wild abandon. He loves playing against the Gooners. With my hands on the match-ball, I had visions of a new Pires YouTube sensation, luckily these didn’t last long and I politely gave the ball to Mikel Arteta so we could get on with beating the scum. A sloppy start to the second half saw us concede, and a missed Adebayor one-on -one showed he may have been overawed by the occasion. Like he was at Wigan. Up stepped Sheffield’s own Kyle Walker to resume normal service with a cracking strike that sent Gooners home crying into their old DVDs. Power-shift.
Pre-Sports Direct Arena Era Newcastle October 2011
A trip that bore many similarities with the year previous, a draw was a fair reflection of an absorbing encounter. Ledley had to go off which in my book fully explains why we didn’t win. Bassong came on to mass boos. Responsible for the all-time pinnacle of opposition chants with last season’s ‘We support our local team,’ the Geordies were at their passionate and nonsensical best. So preoccupied in a fellow supporter’s chest region, the blissfully unaware Geordies sang out ‘Get your tits out for the lads’ while VdV almost put us back in front. The draw that currently serves as a blot on the form copybook, in hindsight is more of a satisfactory result than it felt for us (apparently Del Boy impersonators) at the final whistle. Deja-vu.
Blackburn October 2011
Taking the delightful snake pass route in the car, time flew as our old mucker David Pleat offered his two cents ahead of the Manchester derby on 5iveLive. It was suggested that ‘tactical madness’ ensued. Blackburn’s tactical madness involved Robbo launching it to either Yakubu, Roberts or Samba as they obstructed and pummeled poor old Brad in goal. The Robbo love-in was in evidence once again as VdV opened the scoring, ‘that’s the problem with him’ said Jack. VdV also closed the scoring and we held on without convincing. Sign of a good side. And not to forget…KEAN OUT!!!
QPR October 2011
We needn’t have feared Adel ‘fruitcake’ Taarabt returning to haunt us at the Lane. He was hauled off at HT and we like totally dominated. Fortunately, our opponents were dealt an enormous blow in the injury to defensive rock one-size Fitz Hall. Parker was everywhere and Warnock found himself applauding Lennon and Bale’s masterful work for the final goal, no doubt out of relief that it was only the third. Nevertheless, we prolonged our unbeaten run in London derbies at the Lane since 2007 and consolidated our distinct brand of fetching football. Laaverly stuff!
Fulham November 2011
The purple patch in earnest. A smash and grab if ever there was one. Good. Fulham always make it tricky for us at the Cottage. The most enticing away trip should have been more enjoyable over the years. Harry wasn’t there, (we love) Martin Jol was. One is more likely to find the King of Pop than ultras in SW6 so from Grygera’s yelps of pain to Modric’s celebratory woops, all sorts was audible on TV. Maybe the Croat’s happy after all. Lovely interchange between Bale and Lennon formulated yet another splendid goal. All that was to follow was surely the posturing towards the inevitable conclusion of a collapse. Not these days. We cleared it off the line as many times as moves broke down at Adebayor’s feet, Kyle cradled the ball so a certain forward couldn’t trouble the heads of any Row Z occupants and even veteran Brad looked toward stand-in gaffer Joe Jordan in a manner that suggested he’d never seen anything of the sort. Miraculously we stole down the other end to nick a comical sucker-punch. Well worth an immediate pain-free SKY+ rewind to witness an outrageous stoppage time again. Harry didn’t love watching the lads this time.
Villa November 2011
Personal convictions regarding our chances of positive a result in this one bordered on arrogance. Justifiably too. News of the lineup reinforced this further. Medal winner after two games and father-beater extraordinaire Alan Hutton on the right wing and Premier League legend Emile ‘Hesks’ Heskey on the other. Also D.Bent as the lone frontman. It might as well have been Sandra. The Villa seemed content to lose 2-0 just as much as we were. Its no testament to the league that they reside in the top half. Brad’s career will see in another decade no trouble if other clubs aspire to as little at the Lane as as his former employers did. Different class.
West Brom November 2011
As if a Saturday 3pm kick-off wasn’t shocking enough, we found ourselves 1-0 down. Probably Benny could have done more to stop it. He’s top notch usually. So to is Lennon, who continued to re-prove his worth by winning a penalty that Adebayor fluffed but got away with. A goal from nothing. With less than ten minutes left, one of our better bench warmers proved a point with a typically fashioned ‘one thing on his mind’ run and shot combination from distance. The point being our great squad. Not many other teams have the luxury to give the likes of potential match-winners Sandro and Defoe a rare start. It was the same outcome by different means and stretched 2 points ahead of a few of the no hopers on our tails. Kaboul-hoof.
Bolton December 2011
No curse of the manager of the month award or yet still player of the month in Scott Parker here. Cahill didn’t impress did he? Sent off harshly by the same ref as so did at the Emirates, it still was a nasty deliberate foul. Bale had already offered a tribute to his late boss Gary Speed in front of the away end after putting us one-up from Luka’s corner. The result was never in doubt. We also scored from another corner. Unheard of. Jussi J pulled off numerous identikit saves, usually from our old favourite Adebayor. We didn’t even need Ledley. It was too painless. One had to look to the Gooners conquest of Wigan to sort that out. Cue more invites of plaudits to be bestowed upon us. Title contenders.