Game of your life Tottenham, game of your life
The inside of my head currently has more glittery explosions than any given November 5th. I didn't walk out of my home this morning as I began the first leg of my staggeringly labourious trek from the depths of Epping Forest to the badlands of Croydon (office relocation, long story). I floated. Feet not touching the ground, gliding in the air like a ghost, akin to a Spike Lee movie just without all the rage and anger. Raining and cold? I hardly cared. Knowing there were one or two N17 representatives in Madrid singing a song the night before and more to follow today was more than enough to warm me up.
It's surreal. Not in a giddy Beatlesque screeching and fainting kind of way. More so in terms of remembrance. Looking back to when we chased the dream we are now living with pomp. I'm placing aside all the discussions about the importance of progress and sustaining the current crop of Spurs players to secure a new generation of Lilywhite history rather than just a pocket of glory nights before we return to the uncertainty of the chase. Because just is more than enough when you're living that very specific moment. One that finds us visiting the Santiago Bernabeu. In it's purist form football is about moments. We've had so many of them this season, we've been enriched with the unforgettable. There's room for more. Not that I'm being greedy.
If it's our destiny to fizzle out of qualification for next seasons competition then at least we can look back at our maiden voyage into the continental elite with pride. Tottenham swashbuckling our style with refreshing zest and desire. I'm sure we wouldn't be such a massive surprise and shock if we made it back for 2012. But we've set out and proven we are more than capable to compete with the top sides in Europe. Which has irked many and had others scratching their heads in wonderment.
It's not about the taking part to feed the various guises of structure and standing. It has to be about the moments. I'll let reality consume me once more in the aftermath.
Sure, logic will tap us on the back and whisper solemnly that at some point we'll be up against a team who will shut shop effectively and punish every single mistake we make. I'd rather that exit happened in the semi-final, if it is to happen at all.
I had a dream last night. Watching the game on TV. We had two penalties. van der Vaart with the first. Crouch with the second. The home ground despondent.
Gotta dream, right?
I've followed La Liga for years, adore the Morbo in what is a wonderfully fragmented country. And like most have followed Madrid and their soap opera. They're like a Spanish Tottenham. I don't mean in silverware and domestic and European success. I'm referring to some basic fundamentally building blocks. The necessity to play attacking free-flowing football and always having a shady defence. That and the amount of managers that tend to come and go. And although in many other ways we are worlds apart, we both have rich histories. Glamour clubs. Sometimes more style than substance, but both of us on the road to progression rather than a road tinged with puddles of perdition.
And in Jose they have a manager shrewd and tactically astute enough to stifle the life out of both games and have us dumped out in inglorious fashion. The party pooper. And we have a man-manager at the helm of the first big club he's coached who has done what so many other have failed to achieve. Fulfil some of that pent up potential.
Jose knows his side won't be able to steam-roll us like the various assortments of Spanish fodder they dismantle week in week out. But he does know his English Premier League. There's a suggestion (not that I tend to believe him as he's the master of the underplay) that he believes 0-0 tonight would be a good result. The thinking that not conceding at home will be enough to win the game across the two legs. As far as Madrid and Jose are considered, we must not score tonight.
Can't see anyone parking the bus. In fact, there's a part of me that worries that Madrid might just attempt to steam-roll.
Madrid also have a number of key players on yellow cards. So hoping Sandro can bring some of that physicality and incite some hot-tempered tempo to proceedings. We do however need to retain our cool. Remain composed. And not over extend beyond our means. Stand tall at the back and aim for a knock-down or two from the tall at the front.
We are not expected to win. We're not expected to beat them over the two games. So the pressure is on them. Leaving us to play without fear. Because to do otherwise would be regretful.
I hope our defence retain unity.
I hope Bale has 'a game'.
I hope vdV galvanises his team mates on his return to his former club.
I hope Modric dictates.
I hope our players show resounding mental strength.
I hope Harry gets one over Jose.
Win the midfield battle. Play with pace. Play with width. We have nothing to lose, right? We're not meant to be in the quarter-finals, right? I'm having flashbacks, 3-0 down to Young Boys.
Our spine has to be strong. It's not beyond the realms of impossibility to get a draw there. I'll be shocked to the bone if we collapsed Inter first leg style, all choked up and star struck. We're all grown up now. It's quintessentially Tottenham when you feel slightly more confident your team will perform against the might of Real than playing away to Wigan.
Come on you Spurs. Weather the White Storm. Let's be having the Madridistas waving their white handkerchiefs.
Game of your life Tottenham, game of your life.