Glory Glory night, N17, invite only, bring a (some) bottle
Dear Mr Levy,
Here we are, looking forwards again rather than looking back. Let's talk football and leave the conspiracy laced debate for next time we return from Old Trafford where no doubt a United player will score a brace during the half-time interval and Clattenburg/Webb/appeasing FA ref-bot will allow both goals to stand on grounds of enthusiastic punctuality. Then book Ledley King for dissent. Even though King hasn't travelled up there due to injury. Then award a penalty whilst Richard Scudamore touches himself in those private of places whilst David Dein continues to orchestrate proceedings from the shadows.
Sorry, did I say 'let's talk football'? Lets.
Inter, at the Lane. Glory Glory night. On when the Spurs go marching in. Ticker-tape and plenty of oohs and aahs. We hope. It's what we've worked so hard for. Looking back at our home Champions League matches, even though we beat Young Boys and Twente it felt like we plucked and plucked with plucky effort to get ourselves through the games (actually the YB victory was far more comfortable than the roller-coaster that was the Twente game). We've not been assured. The away games have been testament to that. In fact, we've failed to be 100% at any stage this season regardless of the competition. We lack that bit of extra something with regards to testicular fortitude.
Let's not look too far forwards just yet in terms of January and the re-opening of the window.
In the present, yes we have injuries. Yes we have a conveyor belt of a defence. Yes we are still attempting to adapt to 451. Yes we don't truly have a certified full-on forward to best the formation. And on top of all this scratching of heads is that although we have players of majestic quality that can win games with individual pomp we don't quite have the cohesive flow through the team, top to bottom. The signs are there but we keep taking the route to a dead end.
It's all a bit Blu Tack instead of Super-Glue in terms of sustainable fixed focus. Have a word with Harry please. Can you perhaps replace all mentions of To Dare is to Do littered around the Lane with Two Points Eight Games?
So far this season we've had a good half here or there. Plenty of decent movement, but a distinct lack of goals - no cutting edge, no ideas outside of giving the ball to vdV and letting him galvanise offensive play or just giving the ball to Bale and moving that box of Kleenex a little closer as the beast runs rampant.
That's not to say it's completely emo-Spurs, sad eyes, reading out poetry about the bottomless pit of despair. This is hardly Ramos or Santini. Or even the worst of times under Jol. Crisis? There is no crisis. Just cryogenics as we find ourselves frozen in time. The world of tomorrow awaits.
We are what, 30%, 20% away from it clicking into place and working. The players we do possess for selection at the time of writing are more than capable of waking up and shaking themselves into the mentally powerful frame of mind - as seen last term in the push for fourth. We have it in us which is what's so frustrating. I don't buy all this 'Spurs over-extended themselves last season' nonsense. We fought for it. We need some of that fight back in abundance. And goals. Plenty of goals.
And it's up to the management and the players to prove that the thrill of the chase is not better than the catch. Last season is gone. We should be hungry for more. Have we not got more at stake this time round?
We are a team, a unit. I keep saying this every week and it's now about five games away from becoming an ominous cry for help and thus changing my tune, from a skipping whistle to a groan and moan. Wiping sweat from your beautiful bald head week in and week out as you look down from your directors box is something I wish not to witness. We have to reclaim the swagger. Not give a f*ck about the opposition in terms of respect. Turn the tempo up. Otherwise the stuttering will turn to stalling. And you'll have to wear a wig to hide your uncontrollable erupting sweat glands.
Easier said than done they tell me. Turning up the tempo. Not wearing a wig. I've not quite lost all my hair yet.
So what about the group game and our visitors?
I know this is Inter and some expect them to play ultra-defensive counter-attacking football and double up on Bale. But it's far more likely they will come out and attack attack attack after the comparative ease they walked through us in the San Siro. They'll have plenty of belief and confidence to do the same again. So how about just scoring one more than they do?
Don't be afraid. Don't hold back. Play emotive sweeping football and play too our strengths. Retain possession, do not concede early, hassle them in midfield and please for the love of all things Lilywhite - be clinical in and around the box. The home crowd will have to play their part in all this too.
Is that asking too much?
It's still not quite right in the league is it and it's a mix bag of heart-stopping football in Europe. Yes, it's a learning curve and we are learning plenty about how to shape up in the premier of competitions. But let's learn from the lessons dished out and play to an equal standard in both the CL and the bread and butter of the league.
Momentum from this game if we win it could prove to be priceless. And you must agree, January will be easier to do business if we are heading towards the knock-out stages and sitting in 5th/4th.
No Gomes. Cudicini concentrate please. vdV might be back. Huddlestone also. Modric is on the verge of exploding into form. Bale has been contained in recent games so hopefully he'll adapt quickly with having to cope with fourteen men marking him. But if they do double up on him (or worse) then someone elsewhere on the pitch has an advantage if another someone else is quick enough to play that first someone in. Lennon continues to improve which is important.
Concern about Kaboul in central defence who has that annoyance of switching off for a costly second far too often. Gallas still has to prove his worth to the side. Crouch will probably start, but call me crazy, I keep having visions of Pav doing very little other than being in the right place at the right time to plant the ball expertly into the net - something he can do. Does little else. But he has a habit of notching the goals. Regardless, no lumping the ball up to Crouch. And no calamity, no margin for errors. If we're going to go down, let's go down in a blaze of glory and not with clowns shoes on our feet.
That reminds me. You reckon the policy of buying young English players with sell-on value still rings true with Jenas?
You'll be in agreement that the key for this game comes in the shape of Tommy Huddlestone's feet and the pumped out relentless chest thumping of Rafa van der Vaart (please be fit). Desire and clinicality the essential ingredients.
I've not forgotten about Luka. Much like Tottenham this season, we await his arrival.
Harry has to use his smarts in the same way he has used them in some of the key battles (i.e. Arsenal at the Lane, Spurs at Eastlands) and instil that never-say-die attitude we have not lost since that famous 4-4 at the Emirates.
Back to basics for our simple creatures proudly soaking in the Champions League theme music with cockerels on chest.
But let's not underestimate Inter. Champions of Europe. The game is not going to be influenced just because we approach it a certain way. We've got to react to their tactics. They've got enough about them in terms of quality to strangle the life out of the game and take the emphasis away from us and dictate. Which is why we have to have balls the size of melons.
I know that the Bremen home game and Twente away return is where our qualification will be won or lost. And some of the faithful have quietly whispered that losing to the Italians will not be a disaster. I disagree. A point will be decent. A win, fantastical. But it's far more than that isn't it Mr Chairman? Let's remember what this club is all about in terms of it's traditions. We might not have a massive haul of silverware but if you take any random Bill Nicholson quote you'll have your answer in terms of what it means to be a Spurs fan.
Glory. Even if said glory is 90 minutes in length.
I want a performance. I want a statement of intent and end product. I want the emotion. I want the swashbuckle. I want a DVD. Damn it, it's almost Christmas and I want frigging Box Set! It's more than just Champions League this. It's more than the three points on offer. It transcends all of this. You know it. I know it. We all know it.
Wakey wakey. Rise and shine. Cock-a-doodle-dare is to do do do.
My spine is tingling. My head buzzing. Rediscover yourself Tottenham. Want it. Shout out that you want it. Then prove that you want it. Then don't let anyone stop you from taking it. You'll get more than a cuddly toy for your endeavours.
Otherwise, what's the point?
Heart on sleeves. Heart on sleeves.
So good luck. Wish the lads all the best. And let's hope the night does not end with me handcuffing myself to the West Stand gates again, naked (obviously) wearing an original Chirpy mask (the face he had prior to his self-indulgent plastic surgery) in protest of whatever excuse I can think of at the final whistle. If Jenas plays, I'll use that.