There's only one Graham Roberts
Review: Spurs 4 Villa 4
Where do I begin? Let’s start with the pint I was enjoying in Bootlaces.
ME: What way are you going home after the game?
MATE: Seven Sisters
ME: I’ll meet you then, outside the ground opposite the Park Lane lower entrance after the game.
ME: If we;re two goals down I’m leaving at 80 minutes
MATE: What if we got one back?
ME: I’d give it an extra 5 minutes
My mate left at 4-2. I stuck it out with the intention of burning my season ticket. Footballs a funny old game.
It was a given that we would get dicked. 125 years of constant heart palpitations has made it clear to me that Spurs never turn up for these type of occasions. Yes, the flag waving was rather pretty, but when the game kicked off there was yet another subdued atmosphere in the ground. Spurs fans have lost their verbal swagger. And when you take a look at the table, it’s obvious why. We have been shit this season and its Daniel Levy and his minions who are at fault. Caught with their proverbial pants down, there is no way of rectifying the shattering loss of confidence that Jol has suffered and as a consequence infected the players - who seem to be playing at around 45% at the moment.
The celebrations before the game included several legends (no Graham Roberts) and stood as a testament to the fact that we are firmly lodged in the past. Yes, a glorious past, but Spurs have anchored themselves to comparisons that seem to cause us more harm than good. The Bill Nicholson tributes were very touching. The man will forever be Mr Tottenham Hotspur. He has given us an almost impossible task of revisiting those achievements. Fan expectation is damaging.
With all the hype and colour and noise, the only positive was that the game wasn’t on Sky Sports. The twenty or so people watching Setanta would have then seen an almost comical game of football that only Spurs (and at a push, WHU) are capable of producing. The recent survey that placed Spurs at the top of the ‘most stressful team to support’ table was duly justified. We’ve suffered more heart-stopping moments that any other group of fans in the Prem League thanks to a relatively high number of narrow margin victories and defeats. I lost about 10 years off my life watching this game and by my calculations I’m due to die in the middle of next week having accumulated one too many of these horrid joyful experiences.
Aston Villa lost the three points at around the 3-1 mark. Martin O’Neil fucked up in a big way having his team sit back and allowing our midfield space and time on the ball. Before that Robinson did his upmost to continue his implosion with two tragic mistakes – a fumble and the other through his legs. And in fact the free-kick was also arguably his fault as he did his trademark jump to the left before attempting to dive to the right. All his talk about winning and confidence in the match day programme, once more ironically cruel. Time to ‘rest’ Robbo.
Berbatov’s goal was easy but he’s another player I’m concerned about. He looks unfit, lethargic. No sharpness and worryingly absolutely no arrogance at all. His problems look more personal and are probably not football related - but that's just an opinion. I hope he recovers from the lack of form in time to drag us out of the bottom three. The 1-0 was short lived and by 3-1 the Villa fans were the ones celebrating with a cheeky rendition of Happy Birthday (applauded by us, because, lets face it…it was funny).
At 4-1 fans started to leave. And who would blame them? Yeah sure, statistically we had more possession and shots on goal but that means little when you defend like drunk Keystone Cop on rollerskates. We are a team of individuals cello-taped together rather than one unit playing for each other. And players can only play to the managers instructions.
Four goals at home is unacceptable and when you dominate (half-arsed) the opening 20 minutes only to see players react so negatively to an equaliser, it's further proof that even though the players state their respect and loyalty to Jol – there appears to be a lack of true belief. They all looked as disillusioned as the fans were. Until Chimbonda scored Tottenham were as shit as the days under Gross and Francis. But that loyalty to Jol - displayed by team spirit - came to fruition.
With Villa sitting back and the crowd sensing something just might happen we notched up two more goals (3 goals in 20 minutes), surely saving Jol from the sack this morning – though arguably he knows he’s going and I doubt he will be at the helm by the time we visit Newcastle. A Spurs fan summed it up perfectly with describing our comeback as ‘crash bang wallop’ tactics. Yes – they showed determination and spirit (finally) but there was nothing sublime about it.
I won’t deny that the 4th goal made me celebrate like a husband who returns home from work to find his wife has organised a 'coke and hookers' surprise party for him. From beyond the brink of defeat to saving one point and saving me from one week of supporting Arsenal – you can only cry with laughter at how typical Spurs this was.
Happy Birthday indeed. Still 3rd from bottom and no doubt a UEFA Cup spot is looking highly unlikely (relegation still highly improbable) – making this season nothing more than a disaster. If Levy had left Jol alone, then on confidence alone Spurs would be mid-table or higher and within touching distance of 5th. Instead, no confidence on the pitch and in the terraces leaves us facing a season that will get worse before it gets better.
Graham Roberts wasn’t just missing from the Legends Parade last night. His spirit wasn’t anywhere to be seen on the pitch either.
It’s time for us to give this era a big hug and stick it in a cab out of Tottenham.