We love you Matthew, we do......
Matthew Norman, the rainbow of the Evening Standards sports section. His latest creation can be found here.
On Monday I awoke to find a message left on the mobile in the middle of the night by a friend whose voice suggested a little sorrow-drowning after events on the south coast the previous afternoon.
"All right, you won't pay the £2.99," it ran, "and I accept that was a silly price to ask. You can have them for 49p the pair, payable in instalments of 1p per annum over the next half century, which includes an additional penny as an interest payment."
The pair in question are, of course, season tickets for Tottenham Hotspur, the offer following a performance of barely credible spinelessness at Portsmouth.
What jesting and tomfoolery you and your friends partake in. Leaving each other zany text messages. You kill me, you really do. But let’s be frank about this. There is no text message, is there? You’ve made it up for the sake of a hard-hitting, yet laced with mocking humour, dig at the mess the Lilywhites are in. Maybe next season, the money you save from not purchasing your season ticket in the West Stand can be spent on some creative writing lessons. Or a facelift.
Honestly, word of advice, either have a photo of yourself looking or at least pretending to be happy or don’t have one at all. You look like your face is about to collapse in on itself. I know things are rotten at the moment, but come on man, drag yourself up from the gutter of despair. Some day you might get that Sunday Supplement call-up.
I rang back last night to check whether yesterday's thoroughly undeserved avoidance of UEFA Cup disaster in Poland had changed his mind. "Yes it has," he said. "I'll waive the interest."
I’d like to see phone records please.
At the end of a week in which two monstrously inept displays combined with an exhibition of vicious idiocy towards Sol Campbell to add an underlayer of visceral revulsion to the familiar top coat of bemused incompetence, it's hard to know where to start.
How about with the brutal irony that, within days of Jermain Defoe elegantly converting a penalty against the club that dispensed with him, fellow discards Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov broke their scoring ducks in the Champions League while manager Juande Ramos feels unable to play Darren Bent, sole survivor of that Fab Four, alongside Roman Pavlyuchenko even when Spurs are trailing?
Hold up, is this the same Jermain Defoe who so elegantly missed a penalty for Spurs at Upton Park? I know things are bad Mr Miseryguts, but let’s not drown ourselves in self-perpetuated gloom. We have enough of the real stuff to go round. This Ramos/Bent/Pav conundrum is nothing new. It’s been discussed and dissected more times than you’ve failed to smile at moments when it’s appropriate to do so (watch an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm – I guarantee you, you will laugh out loud).
As for the Campbell abuse, it’s an element we all agree is shameful. But let’s not tarnish the vast majority of Spurs fans with the same label the other idiots deserve.
Or perhaps we can look to Germany, where Ramos's successor sits atop the Bundesliga with Hamburg? Martin Jol seems too good natured for schaudenfraude, but it's tempting to imagine a wry smile toying with the corners of his mouth.
This is the same Martin Jol who couldn’t quite reach the next level with regards to the psychological barrier that needed to be jumped for us to achieve some kind of glory (even though we grasped the Fisherprice type in the end with Ramos)? The problems behind the scenes started a while back, before the dizzying offer was made. So are you laughing at Spurs or are you ever so subtly pointing the finger of blame at Daniel Levy?
Good luck to Martin. But ‘what ifs’ are quintessentially what other fans laugh about, regarding Spurs fans. To Dare is to What if? Why even bring up Jol? Or is this the bit in your article where you pretend to be a West Ham or Chelsea fan, and ‘ave a larf at our expense? The one that got away.
Alternatively we might wonder whether, after a year in London, Ramos still speaks too little English to handle the post-match interviews, or whether he delegates them to the apparently deranged Gus Poyet, because they're beneath his dignity?
Then again, you could generalise, and wonder whether anyone at the club — the chairman Daniel Levy, survivalist "sporting director" Damien Comolli, Ramos and his players — has the faintest idea of what they are doing? But there, perhaps, the answer speaks for itself.
I don’t get paid for my blog, and hardly anyone reads it, so when I summarise what everyone already knows, it doesn’t matter. But when a paid journalist does it, it’s like getting paid for having the ability to copy and paste.
So I prefer to start and finish with those supporters whose Wildean wit extended on Sunday to chanting false claims about Sol Campbell.
What are you referring to? Are you privy to something? What false claims? Not defending the chants or the fans who chanted them, and – hypothetically speaking – if something was in fact true, it still wouldn’t make it right, singing about it in an abusive manner. But what you’ve done here is simply chickened out of saying anything with substance. Just a faint nod in the direction of what happened. Nothing more. You not going to say anything about the racist claims? Or the fact that Campbell has made claims of racism before, many years back , before his half-time disappearing act at Highbury. No? Because when he first made those claims, it backfired. Nobody believed him, because there was no racial chanting. He suggested we were racist because we boo'ed him and called him Judas. But let's sweep that under the carpet, yeah? Make it easier for you to write in the one-dimension.
I would like the media to highlight the 'You're Spurs and you know you are' chant, aimed at Defoe, who is black. I think its relevant.
Regardless of whether such chanting constitutes a crime (this may not be the ideal day to ask Sir Ian Blair about that), I offer this challenge to those who maintain a seething grudge over Campbell's departure for Arsenal in 2001.
Clarify for me exactly what Campbell would have gained by spending the last seven years at a club that sells its good strikers, keeps its poor ones and buys new ones it doesn't wish to play; at which managers who succeed brilliantly elsewhere mysteriously fail; one with a chairman who cannot master the economic necessity of buying land on which to build a much needed new stadium; a club which continues to live off ever more remote past glories because its present is hideous and its future dismally uncertain.
Do you really, hand on heart, support Spurs? Really? Can you prove it? Can anyone prove to me that Matthew Norman is a Tottenham supporter? Apart from the miserable face, a common West Stand trait, is there any substantial proof? Because the above illustrates what a fan of, I don’t know - Arsenal perhaps, would say of the matter.
The rest of that almost-wanting-to-be-passionate rant is ok. It’s what I’ve been preaching for years. Hey, I almost felt like I was connecting with you there! Wow, I've come over all giddy. If you were a girl, we could meet up and have sex.
If anyone can persuade me that Campbell owed an ounce of loyalty to such a club, let alone to fans who disgrace themselves year after year with the incontinence of their misplaced spite, I may be able to put two season tickets their way at a quid a shot.
Extortion, I know, but even in a credit crunch a chap has to turn a profit.
A credit crunch reference. It's like I'm on the train reading the Metro.
Again, do you mind looking at it from the perspective of a Tottenham fan? When Sheringham left the club, he told everyone he was going to leave. Completely up-front about it. Honest. We gave him plenty of digs when he returned in red colours, but he had the last laugh on everyone. And when he returned proper (he came home, his words) we took him back with open arms.
Now compare it to Campbell. He lied for two years, compounding it with various ‘why question my loyalty?’ soundbites. It was completely self-made, with additional misguided help from the esteemed Sky Andrews. So of course we hate him. Fans do not begrudge players who show a bit of honesty, who are upfront. It’s the ones who wear rival colours of a team they have yet to sign for or deceive those around them and do the dirty right at the death, with an earth-shattering curve-ball. Campbell is deserving of terrace ‘abuse’, but not the abuse he was subjected to at the Pompey game. I’m talking about chants of ‘wanker’ and 'Judas'. That’s still ok right, to call a player a wanker? Campbell owed us something regardless of him wanting to leave the club. But he was gutless to do it the right way. The very fact he is blind to what he did, immensely so, is testament to the type of man he is.
But we should move on, right?
And feel free to send me the season tickets. I can have a bonfire come final whistle on Sunday. We could toast some bagels and discuss impending life in the Championship. Happy days.