The setting was quintessentially English: the sportsclub lost at the end of a narrow lane, a ground with no stands and a pitch as green as grass in a five year old's painting. On Saturday afternoon a few hundredSpurs fans gathered to share a minute's applause for John White, tragically killed in 1964 as he approached his prime in the Tottenham midfield.
Yesterday there was a job to be done and Spurs did what they had to do. Not in a straightforward manner, of course, why break the habit of my lifetime? After conceding the most pathetic set-piece I have ever seen, which is an accolade in itself given our recent sorry history at corners, Tottenham applied themselves fully and properly.
Sometimes a bit of distance helps. Time to breathe. Sense of perspective, which is impossible to achieve in the midst of the white hot heat of a Chelsea derby with Champions League qualification hanging on the result. May the deity who does not exist strike me down but yesterdayI had Other Things to do, so no blog.
When he does those things, I just stand and gasp. Goal celebration bedlam feels wrong somehow, a vulgar demeaning of greatness. Several times this season, the instantadrenalinrush has propelled me from my seat, then I've stood, barely clapping, swaying gently as the wonder of it all flows over me, seeps through the skin, travels along each nerve untilIeventually sit,long after the whistle has blown for the restart, in a little world of my own.
Before kick-off Villas-Boas and Martinez embracedand chatted warmly. For a moment I wondered if they might turn away and find a quiet corner for tapas and a glass of white, leaving the vulgar hurly-burly of a tense top and bottom game behind them.
They have much in common. Serious, earnest students of the game, they must overcome not only their comparative youth but also the suspicion of the cerebral approach that is inbred intoEnglish football.
This year Tottenham On My Mind has often been in a reflective, philosophical mood. Underneath the delights and frustrations of this or any other season lies a search for something deeper, more profound. There's something about being a Spurs fan, a culture and heritage that connects to generations of supporters past and future.
Although I usually take little notice of the electronichoardings that surround the pitch at Spurs,it's been impossible to avoid the recent spate ofads for Stubhub. However, it's only recently that Idiscoveredwhat it is. Rather than being the tagline for a new co-ordinated anti-smoking campaign, Stubhub is a secondary ticketing serviceabout to embark on a partnership with Tottenham Hotspur to create a market for unwanted tickets for sold-out matches.
On the good days, there's nowherelike it. White Hart Lane is a proper football ground, steepling stands enclosingthe pitch so the noise cannot escape.The old place shakes beneath our feet, inspiring the lilywhite shirts and evokinggloriespast.At night,it is our world. For ninety minutes nothing exists beyond the tight glare of the lights.
Spurs' European campaign has produced tension and drama at times but franklywhen messrs Cloake and Powley produce the2040 edition of the Glory GloryNights2012-13 won't merit more than a page. There have been too many inglorious nights, nothing dreadful but too many the definition of average.
Is it only us? Only Spurscould go a goal up after a single minute in a crucial home match,then sit back and let the other team back into the game.
Before yesterday's match I was listening to Jon Ronson, whose engagingfascination for the human condition makes for fine radio.It proved to be timely because his subject was confirmation bias, the phenomenon where people have a tendancy to look for information that confirms their own beliefs.
Another in my occasionalseries of posts about football. Spurs not even mentioned once.
Careless of Sunderland to miss that fascist thing during the interview process for their new manager. Guess Di Canioomitted it from his C.V. The club seem genuinely surprised that it's cropped up and unprepared for the almighty stench it's caused.
In his entertaining and perceptive book about Spurs, Topspurs maestroJim Duggan nails the highs and lows of being a Spurs fan. It's all there, from eleven umissableterrace moments and '17 goals and a miss that define the Tottenham way' through to '22 ignominious defeats'. There's a delight to be found on every page but flicking through it duringthe international break, I kept coming back to page 186: 'Ten Spring Collapses'.
Despite their reputation as money-grabbing, self-centred primadonnas, many Premier League footballers contribute their time and energyto charity work. It's rare however to see a player actively involved with a small local project that genuinely makes a difference for vulnerable young people. Jermain Defoe's work with E18ghteen deserves a great deal of respect.
Can't hang about. These tenders won't write themselves, you know, and Ofsted will be here tomorrow. Endless pages of submissions, evidence and method statements.11,368 words to be precise. That's an eighth of a book, just for one tender. Not thatI have time to write a book. Too busy doing bloody tenders.
Building for the new stadium has not yet begun but already it looks as if they are moving ahead on the naming rights. White Hart Lane has become the Pleasure Dome, a place of euphoria and delight. Last night Spurs overwhelmed a weakened Inter Milan side with 90 minutes of sustained flowing football that simply brushed one of the top Italian teams aside as if they barely existed.