What with it being DML's 5th 4th birthday, I thought I'd select an article from the first couple of weeks of the blog to scratch the proverbial chin knowingly at the passage of time and thus opted for this not quite end of season review of the 2007 season. Remember when Martin Jol took the mic and spoke to the Lane akin to the height of Beatlemania? Hedonistic days in N17. And yet the following season we once again struck the iceberg in yet another Titanic ground-hog transitional season.
Perhaps things never truly change. Lifeboats at the ready.
There's only one Daniel Levy (Sunday, May 13, 2007 at 6:56PM)
Like **** there is.
So ends the 2007 season. Martin Jol 'just' about avoids the sack with us nicking 5th spot. And he proceeds to thank his chairman by taking the mic at the end of the game and saluting the board for their continued unquestionable investment into the club. Technically, I suppose Martin is correct in doing so. £3 for a mobile phone ring-tone of the Park Lane or the Shelf Side singing is certainly a shrewd way of taking money off the fans to 'invest', along with the additional 'investments' they are pulling in via the increased season ticket prices (if you want to have the crowd singing as your ring-tone, record it on your mobile yourself for ***** sake).
Jol also arse-kissed the home fans by telling us we are the best in the country. We ****ing know that already Martin. Jesus. We are so loud that when we're away the home team play white noise out of their tannoy system to drown out the Glory Glory Hallelujah's.
I'll get back to Jol's thank you speech later. Lets take this from the top.
Home game, last of the season, against Manchester City. Going into this we could have quite easily dropped out of a UEFA Cup spot and into the Inter-Toto, depending also on other results going against us. As usual, Spurs were playing chicken with humiliation. Now you may think me harsh. A win at home today and we would claim 5th spot for the second successive season (as long as Everton failed to win at Chelsea). Would be the first time since 1990 that we would sit in a top 6 placing for a second consecutive year.
All looks good on paper doesn't it? But then has anyone ever heard of a trophy cabinet with a piece of A4 sitting in it?
I decided to attend the final game of the season with my traditional utility belt consisting of:
- Season Ticket 2007
- A box of matches
- Plastic bag to retain the ashes in (for potential ash-throwing later on)
- Leaflets proclaiming Levy as the anti-Christ
I also attended the game in battle clothing. WTF, I hear you ask?
Well firstly, I decided against dressing up as the Anti-Chirpy this season, due to the incident in last years final home game when the real Chirpy squared up to me in Block 34 and we ended up having cock-on-cock action. It's difficult to throw punches dressed as a cartoon cockerel. Even more difficult is to know for sure whether your uppercuts are truly doing any damage due to the cushioned head-mask giving added protection. Suffice to say, I set fire to his face. Ah yes, fond memories of last year. They had to re-design him after that incident. Anyways, that was then. This is the present and today I went dressed as Sir Henry Percy aka Harry Hotspur, 1st Earl of Northumberland. Very apt if you ask me.
From head to toe, I looked the part. Even grew a beard for the occasion. However, due to sporting actual metallic plate armour (none of this fancy dress plastic rubbish - I have a friend who works in theatre) I was advised by the stewards that I would not be permitted to enter the stadium. I quite obviously stood my ground, finding strength from the fact that Henry was a true warrior. In fact, I sometimes wonder if maybe I am the reincarnation of him, which may explain my stupendous resolve and passion in times of hardship.
After a heated debate and the arrival of two police officers outside the South Stand lower entrance, I was politely informed not to continue my protest if I wished to attend the game. Or I'd be spending more than 90 minutes in the back of a police van. Fascism at its very worse. I had to remove the armour. This was not something I had planned for. I had no alternative clothing with me. And there was no chance of parting with my hard earned cash in the extortionate Spurs Shop.
I now knew how Henry felt when he took his visor off during the Battle of Shrewsbury and was hit in the mouth with an arrow, instantly killing him. I had to suffer a similar indignity, as I too was lost for words.
Under the armour, I was actually not wearing much. I was wearing nothing in fact. There's something about the cold metal and the way it felt against my skin that made me decide to go commando. That and the fact that its bloody hot having to wear it and travel on the London Underground without being able to sit down. But the whole experience really helped me to connect with Henry Percy and what it might have been like when he was about to go into battle. I'm sure they didn't have boxer shorts back in those days, so it was quite authentic.
So, having removed the armour, I used my scarf as a make-shift nappy to hide my pride and joy. I'm going to take a guess and say the wolf whistles I got were ironic. And for the record, I do not and have never liked Barrymore and at no point in my life handed out sweets.
Half naked or not, I wasn't about to allow this little setback ruin my day. I took my place in my seat and watched the game with my fellow Spurs fans.
We played woefully bad again much like the Blackburn game on Thursday. Yes, we won. And yes we claimed 5th spot. But this is simply not good enough. I can only say that we must have the same kind of luck West Ham have, but sitting opposite sides of the table. We are just lucky. Evidence supporting this:
- We can not defend crosses or set pieces
- We give away painfully simplistic goals, usually created out of individual errors
- We cannot take set pieces (corners or free kicks)
- We cannot cross the ball (still no true left winger three years later)
- We cannot keep clean sheets
- We still don't have the right balance in midfield
- We sit back instead of dominating possession
These defects are still present in the team that Martin Jol built and financed by Daniel Levy. Its like having a house with several holes in the roof that water drips down from. Instead of fixing the holes, you leave several buckets to capture the falling water.
We are 5th - when we should be 3rd. No excuses. Martin Jol's tactics and Levy and Comolli strategics have failed again. 20 more games this season than last, but its not like we played anyone decent in our cup matches (domestically and in Europe) until we played the teams that knocked us out.
Still no wins against the big 4 either in the Prem (or the Cups) and in any of the crunch games apart from the 2-1 win at WHL against Chelsea. But as that was the only victory, I'll put that down as a fluke.
If you take 3 games from the season that we could have won if it wasn't for individual or tactical mishaps, we could easily be neck and neck with 4th and 3rd.
I'm getting side-tracked.
Back to today. The game matched the weather (it was depressing). I tried several times to start up anti-Levy chants, only to be drowned out by 'England's Number One'. Yes, the immovable object still gets a chorus or ten every game, which I'm sure he celebrates by having a half-time pie.
As my nipples hardened in the cold weather and with the final whistle being blown, I then had to endure more cringe-worthy embarrassment. And for anyone in Block 34, I am not referring to the incident when my scarf came loose due to experiencing an 'unnecessary' and poked the young lady who sits in front of me in the back of her head (thankfully, she thought it was my match-day programme).
I am of course referring to the end of the game 'celebrations' which included various 'Player of the Year' awards and Martin Jol being handed a microphone. Now, initially, I half expected him to do an impersonation of Dean Martin if Dean Martin was alive, sober, Dutch and had no jokes. But it turned out to be a mish-mash of Winston Churchill rallying the troops and a Gordon Brown speech.
Jol is no MC
Several bursts of sound bites followed by rapturous supporter applause and chanting. It turned into a farce the moment he gave credit to the board of directors. I found myself utterly ashamed as a chorus of 'There's only one Daniel Levy' erupted from a section of the Park Lane. These fools must have been p*ssed on cheap cider - but the more likely explanation is that they are members of the Agents of Levy, a clandestine group of paid actors Levy has infiltrating the stands to make sure the right type of 'noises' are heard during the game.
Its like the CIA in South America all over again.
All the fanfare hides another disappointing season without silverware. Eight points adrift off 3rd place and still persisting in starting Anthony 'One more year till his testimonial' Gardner.
Gardner is a paradox. A man that should never have been a professional footballer, yet finds himself playing in the Premiership and earning thousands. Constantly proves he should drop down a division with his Harold Lloyd performances, yet consistently wears our colours as a utility player. Maybe Jol is waiting for Sam Beckett to quantum leap into Anthony and turn him into a hero. Newsflash Jol; Sam Beckett is played by an actor (Scott Bakula) and Quantum Leap is a fictional sci-fi television series. Its never going to happen. Anthony Gardner will never have Al and Ziggy to help him out with his back passes and composure.
After Jol's stand-up routine (he could have shat in a hat and still got worshipped by the home faithful) I proceeded with my traditional burning of my season ticket. Sadly, due to the enforced policing and general fascist state ethos the club aspires too I had to burn the season ticket in the men's toilets. This did not have the desired effect I wished for, as people kept asking me if I could share my spliff with them.
It would appear that Levy had the last laugh today. The sun, breaking out from behind the grey miserable clouds blinded everyone from the factual truth that we are once more 'nearly' there. I find myself dead, exhumed and cut up into four quarters - each part buried in each corner of the White Hart Lane pitch. All that's missing is my head stuck on a pole at the gates of the West Stand.
It's going to be long long summer. But don't think that the battle is over. I will haunt Levy like the ghost of Henry Percy. I mean literally. I plan to break into his house tonight and walk around with a white bed sheet over my head.