Another massive weekend with Tottenham travelling to Wigan in yet another must-win game. Does Andre Villas-Boas stick or twist? JD or Ade? Does he retain Huddlestone and Holtby for the latter stages of the game with the positivity of impact or start them in a reshaped formation, one that demands quick, direct and effective football as opposed to the more seasonal slow build up play.
We're away from home, so the counter-attack should be our friend for the day. Wigan like to play, so this game shouldn't provide us with a selection headache (especially if Lennon is fit to play). Stick or twist, either way, we have to be confident. No margin for error, no complacency or lacklustre performances. No excuses. Which means paying a little respect to their pace and their determination, as a win is as vital to them as it is to us. Defeat isn't acceptable, it only ever is if the opposing side play so well you're inspired to stand and applaud their efforts. Hopefully it's them applauding us when the whistle blows for full time.
Away support for the Spurs will
be lively. Sold out our entire allocation. Always a great away day at
Wigan. The most memorable for me personally was the 1-0 (Davids) win
from a fair few seasons ago, mainly for the crowd banter with the
lonesome Wigan fan (Billy No Mates) and the relentless singing aimed at
him, all taken in good spirit.
Worth mentioning last weeks win at home to City and the fact the home crowd, even at 1-0 down, continued to believe and did so vocally. See? I told you it works. I told you it feeds and fuels the players. There's been far too many Tottenham players citing the fact that an element of the crowd has not exactly been supportive. Supporters supporting, who would believe it actually works. I guess the reason for the sudden desire and belief last Sunday was because, at 1-0 down, it was practically do or die. At least it felt like it was. Would have felt like death at the final whistle had it remained 1-0. Now look at us, once more embracing hope. Fickle, giddy lot we are.
On Sunday, Chelsea host Swansea and Arsenal prep for the guard of honour. Perhaps it's the self-preservational mindset that is readying me for both of them to win their respective games, protecting me from despondency by accepting the inevitable. Reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi frowning, 'I have a bad feeling about this'. Still, what happens elsewhere isn't our problem, the only facere we can influence is the one in our motto. As for Manchester United (who will also face Chelsea), at the very least it would be nice if they place the celebrations on hold and look to line up with strength and focus. That's if they're not too distracted by home fans at the Emirates doing the Poznan in protest.
Then there was Monday. If you browse over to The Fighting Cock there have been some amazing articles written by supporters that went to Underhill to see the Spurs U21's beat the gooners 1-0. Some fans travelled from outside of London, just for the game. Others - of all age groups - found the occasion to be a complete escapism from the usual first team experience.
Check out the first three articles to capture what these occasions are all about. More 1882 next season. A couple of more things to add...
Firstly, I've spoken about how the 1882 movement is an ideology, that we simply live by the ethos to 'love the shirt' to 'follow' and 'belong'. I think that's true but at the same time, at a very practical level, there's also a responsibility whereby we speak to THFC to let them know we are attending a specific game and on occasions we're allocated blocks. So by virtue of communication, it's not just an ideology.
Because of this, I implore common sense. I know that the freedom of expression on occasions like this (in terms of feeling free to sing and have people around you doing the exact same) can make people think that we are somehow different to other supporters in any given first team game. We're not. We still represent Tottenham Hotspur. That's Tottenham the supporters and Tottenham the club.
There was a smoke bomb or two at Underhill. I didn't see who released them. Possibly kids, possibly someone naive enough to think it's okay to get away with something that is illegal because it isn't a 'proper match'. We did say before the game that pyro would probably get you arrested. We don't take responsibility for any individuals, everyone is responsible for their own behaviour. However, considering what we are all trying to achieve here, you wouldn't take a smoke bomb to White Hart Lane so why take one to a 1882 game? Bring your voice and your love for the shirt. That's all we need. Smoke bombs aside (one person out of 1392), everyone else behaved. Best thing was seeing old men taking their shoes off to wave them around during the singing and young kids turning to their dads and proclaiming 'this is the best, when can we came again?' 1882. It works. Hope everyone can see that, the club included.
Elsewhere - Inter fined £38,000 for the recent racial abuse incident. Every time this happens, we shrug and laugh at the punishment dished out. Racism, don't kick it out, just pat it on the back and send it to the naughty step for a couple of minutes.
A thank you to Jake Poole for this email:
No pundits ever predict a Spurs win. Each week I check out the predictions across the BBC and Sky, namely Paul Merson, Jamie Redknapp and Mark Lawrenson to try to reassure myself before a big weekend, but they're all horrific naysayers. They're all predicting a 1-1 draw with Wigan this weekend, but reckon that Arsenal Chelsea and City will get the points they need. I would understand if it was a prediction of a late season collapse in the same way that they predict Wigan will have a last minute resurgence to fend of relegation (based on nothing but previous seasons, quite ridiculously so IMHO) but it's not just April either.
Take a look at the Lawrenson table on the BBC website - if all his predictions were to come true the EPL table would look like this: 1 Man Utd 2 Arsenal 3 Man City 4 Everton 5 Chelsea 6 Liverpool 7 QPR 8 Tottenham This is a bit annoying, considering that it's not long ago we were being backed by some relatively respectable pundits for a title push. I guess that was based on the wild tactics of Redknapp, but for some reason the belief is gone. Maybe it was just the romance of a challenge on the "big four", which in reality doesn't exist any more. I'd like to see this addressed by you guys!
I love a good conspiracy. Not sure it (their predictions) have anything to do with belief. Every time I check out Lawrenson's Liverpool predictions, he's always got them to win 2-1 or 2-0. Not sure he's ever predicted them to lose a game. As for Spurs they probably predicted more wins when Harry Redknapp was in charge because everyone loves 'arry. Judging by most pundits inherent dislike of all things Spurs, most would probably have us relegated if it was up to them to predict every result and make them come true by virtue of written speech. Predictions mean nothing tbh. Otherwise everyone would win money every single weekend and the bookies would be broke by the start of the next one.
We slate Alan Hansen on this weeks The Fighting Cock podcast for pretty much the same dismissive attitude towards us. But to be fair, I prefer the baiting than having everyone 'love us' by proxy like they did when we had a media-friendly gaffer. James Maw (of Four Four Two magazine) and Chris Miller aka WindyCOYS are also on the pod along with myself and Gosling lookalike Flav. We talk about the 7 minute dismantlement of Manchester City. The modern day fullback.
Pr*ck of the week. Wigan away. Tactics and
formations for the run-in. Wrong in sixty seconds. Desert island
conundrum. Taking a chunk out of Suarez. Download, do it here.