Terrible Norman still living in the Sky

I know I love to use irony in oh so subtle doses in my blog articles and on occasion some of you don't quite grasp the context of the point being made and react with a four letter word, slating me for being pessimistic or negative, screaming that I'm detrimental to all things Spurs and that I do more harm than good. And blah blah blah. You get the picture. Sometimes writing style or satire or opinions can be lost in translation because what's been written is a little raw and not that obvious at first glance.

I'm not here to appease every single Spurs fan because its nigh impossible thanks to the uniqueness of human kind and the countless levels of humour we possess (or don't). I write for my own sanity and hope that somewhere in the depths of these articles there is something that can stir emotion and discussion. I don't ever expect every single reader to be impressed or agree. Much like I may not bother to concern myself with the opinions of, lets say, one or two cultured folk who frequent the official Tottenham Hotspur message board. Because I can't possibly articulate to their Oracle-esque level of astuteness and insight.

Bloggers/blogs in general are an acquired taste. Much like people you hang around with. Friends. Or acquaintances at home or away games. You like some, you don't like others and some of them you hate and can't even fathom how you even support the same team. Football journalists are in essence bloggers that get paid full-time to write up their educated and respected opinions on the game for national newspapers and their on-line equivalent web-pages. Their writing is more refined. And more professional. And mostly short and concise. And has the safety net of an editor. It has to be because of the targeted audience and the fact that they need to appeal to a wide cross-section of people. Not everyone agrees with them and at times their bias might shine through. And on other occasions there's a far more obvious agenda to their piece. Much like anything in the written press. Much like anything anywhere. Including the blogosphere.

Now we know Tottenham get bad press most of the time, mainly because we are an easy target made easier by the people associated with the club mouthing off or mugging themselves off. And I don't ever expect to read anything pro-Spurs all of the time and there are moments when there is more than enough decent coverage of our never-boring existence. Other fans of other clubs will probably say the same thing about the press and their team. But Spurs tend to get the most negative coverage outside of the Top 4.

Sky are obsessed with just four clubs and we usually find ourselves in for more Mickey Mouse jokes and Keystone Cop mock-ups than we can handle compared to other teams who suffer similar fates. And when things do go right, they have to remain impartial. Although they tend to be clever here by overplaying and overstating the positives because they know it will be easier to write up a damning effort at a later date when we tumble back down.

And then there's Matthew Norman.

This morning, a work colleague walked up and muttered, "Have you read this?", passing me yesterdays edition of the Evening Standard and before he could turn to the page I answered yes. He was laughing, not so much at my expense (the article was a match review of the NLD) but more so at the content of the article, asking why they had allowed an Arsenal fan to take the piss out of Spurs so publicly and blatantly. He laughed even louder when I informed him that Norman is a Spurs fan and that it should be more than obvious to most that only a Spurs fan could take the piss out of Spurs in such a blunt self-deprecating fashion.

"That makes sense" he replied. Bless him, he's a gooner. And French. So some of the subtleties of the English media are still lost on him.

Norman is basically the quintessential representation of what other supporters believe Spurs fans to be most like. Miserable depressive melters, always complaining. He does however make some valid (if more than obvious) points about the game, but they are lost in the midst of some of the usual twaddle we come to expect from the esteemed members of the press.

Its as though Norman is trying so hard not to be biased (in our favour) towards us that he has lost himself at the other end of the spectrum. He hardly ever has a good thing to say about Tottenham (I'm not sure whether he did after our initial 100% start to the season or whether this harks back to the Levy/Standard incident, although his doom and gloom pre-dates that) so when things don't go to plan be certain he'll be there to point and laugh. Because he can. Because he's Spurs. And because we are obviously devoid of other supporters and media-people pointing and laughing at us. Until the club start playing 'Grande Marche Chromatique' at home games when the team trots out, Norman and friends will remain relentless.

He could have quite easily made all the points he needed to make without it sounding so arse-kissy. Or maybe he does hate us for the torture of failure the club have put him through over the years. Perhaps this is akin to a comedian taking the piss out of a certain type of person and being able to get away with it because he is of the same ilk. I have to be careful here because I could be called a hypocrite, mainly because my letters to the chairman are not too dissimilar in self-deprecation. There's a number of Spurs fans that went into melt-down over the weekend who were far more angry and upset. But Norman will be read by many. Angry Spurs fans on a message board by few in comparison.

Like I said, his opinions are valid. His delivery is questionable because of the arena it sits in. If I'm being blind to the fact that there are journalists out there who do the very same thing to their own team, then name names.

I know I'm not the only person who laughed out loud at his description of Huddlestone (an oak tree in central midfield) and lambasting Robbie Keane's pre-match fighting talk. But to dismiss all the progress we've made under Redknapp - unquestionable progress - well, this reeks of institutionalised hack-talk as though he was contractually obliged to always be on hand to slaughter us.

I'm not requesting Norman or anyone else for that matter write up something complimentary when there is nothing complementary to write. And I'm also fully aware that if he was a Chelsea or West Ham fan writing up articles of this manner about Spurs, then people would bemoan the blatant agenda. So what we have in Norman is the token eternal Spurs sufferer exaggerated tenfold who has been beaten down season upon season by transitional and false dawns. He would make a far better Spooky than me. But he ruins it all by appeasing to the consensus (sponsored by Sky Sports) and is left drowning in a sea of typical stereotypes. It's the way he conforms that blights him every single time.

The first gem:

Every win this season, apart from the increasingly devalued opener against Liverpool, have come against weak opposition, with all three away victories at bottom three clubs.

Does Andy Gray ghost write for Norman? So basically, the Liverpool win no longer matters because everyone is beating them, well, everyone apart from Manchester United. And our away wins, given to us by virtue of the Prem League fixture list computer, are not relevant because the opposition are considered unworthy and happen to find themselves bottom of the table, including West Ham who managed to secure a point against Arsenal, when we took all three off them (WH that is) when we visited Upton Park. Are we meant to only beat weak teams who are mid-table or above because the rest of them don't truly count?

Traditionally, we hardly ever have success away and get dicked over by weak opposition all the time. Yet this season, we've lost twice away - both at Top 4 clubs when we know the likelihood of that happening is fairly likely. But have faired more than decent since Harry's arrival and had the best away record going into Saturdays match.

In addition there is no mention (much like Andy Gray failed to do so) of Arsenal's opposition at the Emirates thus far this season: Pompey (20th), Wigan (12th), Blackburn (17th) and Birmingham (14th). But it would be blasphemous for anyone to point this out. I'm guessing the reason why we never do well in the league is because we never beat the weak teams, and when we do its not considered good enough because we still can't beat the strong teams. We beat Chelsea at home last season. But that doesn't mean anything if we don't follow it up with wins against the likes of West Ham or Hull. Something is definitely lost in translation. Because the suggestion is, Spurs are up in 5th place because we've flattered to deceive by defeating the shit teams that reside in the Prem therefore the fixture list has created another illusion that came to a sudden and final abrupt ending at the Emirates. Arsenal have lost to Man Utd away and Man City away and have beaten a host of shit teams at home. Including crappy Tottenham. So I guess they're also flattering to deceive too and their dream is soon to be over.

Perhaps the paradox is too much for the likes of Norman and we should resume acceptable service. Harry, I suggest two points every eight games will do the trick.

His second nugget concerns a curious nod towards Martin Jol's tenure at White Hart Lane.

This time there is no hotel chef to scapegoat, and the question posed by their lily-livered capitulation concerns not how far Tottenham have progressed under Redknapp, but how far they've regressed since the comparative glory days of Martin Jol.

2006 was special because the side ticked over consistently and arguably had it been for a more active Jan transfer window we would have had 4th spot wrapped up long before the last game of the season. But where exactly is the sense made by comparing Harry (who has only recently made it past 12 months) to Martin Jol? Considering that Jol's teams choked on so many occasions I'd say that it's a little premature to start comparisons. How on earth have we regressed exactly considering the mess the club was in under Ramos? And Ramos won us a Cup, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who rates his time at Spurs and even less people who would have him back. Our points accumulation thanks to Harry has been more than impressive. But who cares for stats when the lack of performance proves that it’s the same old Tottenham and the Top 4 monopoly remain completely uncontested once more. Which has the vast majority of Normans counterparts across the country wiping away the single drop of sweat that had hoped to begin a journey downwards across their forehead.

Perhaps in another parallel dimension where Prem games are live on terrestrial TV and Richard Keys has no hair, Spurs visited the Emirates last weekend with Modric, Lennon, Woodgate and Defoe in their line-up. Arsenal however had Fabregas, van Persie, Gallas and Arshavin all out through injury and suspension.

If we won we'd not actually read about it in the press the following day because Norman would probably spend the best part of the match review telling us how under-strength Arsenal were and how they were missing key players in key positions and that a side lacking the best forward and their main creative outlet along with their playmaker and seasoned centre-back stood no real chance. And that this one game, this collection of 90 minutes found within the blow of a whistle at both ends is not season defining nor conclusive or relevant to the past or future in the manner it is being depicted in.

Who am I kidding? He'd never find himself in that position. Probably because we'd still manage to lose the game. Altogether now...

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doot doot doodle oodle oot doot do do
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doodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle doot doot...