Tottenham Hotspur: Football The Way It Should Be Played

We were in our places a few minutes earlier than usual, standing not sitting, hopping around not so much to stave off the bitter cold, more in excited anticipation. Even the veterans haven’t seen anything like this.

The players had a prematch kickabout, the mascot’s nervous pride shone through as they found a hero to play with, but all eyes were on the tunnel. Harry scuttled to his seat, eyes down, surrounded by his loyal lieutenants. A few short paces, but the march of an ancient Roman Emperor returning to the city from a successful campaign could not have been greeted as a greater triumph.

The ground sang his name from beginning to end, ‘one Harry Redknapp’, ‘we want you to stay’.  Pause for breath and it was ‘Pardew for England’. As if determined not to be overshadowed, the players proceeded to rip their hapless opponents to shreds. Inspired by a tidal-wave of goodwill, they swamped Newcastle in a breathtaking display of bewilderingly complex movement, stunning pace and ice-cold finishing.

Modric dominated the centre, sinew and artistry in contrast to his team-mate Bale, pace and muscle

Harry waves at me

rampaging through the defence. He and Krancjar swapped sides, Saha became 10 years younger in an instant. Throwing off all those injuries and scars as he drank deep from an elixir of youth. Assou Ekotto strolled up and down the left and was both playmaker and unlikely scorer. And through it all Emmanuel Adebayor provided the focus and vision around which every attack revolved.

Beforehand Redknapp tried to pretend this was business as usual but as the goals went in one by one he was as thrilled by his marvellous side as any fan in the land. He’d created this, a team of all talents that swept away a rival for the coveted top four. Harry’s a tough old bird but he’s seldom seen football this good, and he made it happen. This was beauty, the way the game is supposed to be played. He punched the air after the first goal then quickly sat down to regain his composure. Less than twenty minutes later, number four and he punched the air, a little dad at a wedding dance, part joy, part incredulity, much relief. After a week like he’s had, everything had come right and the expelled tension flowed into the night air. The Lane is home now. He’ll never feel safer.

Everything happened around and because of Adebayor. Four assists plus a sweet delicate chest high volley, it’s hard to believe he’s been out of sorts lately even though his most disappointing game was only 6 days ago. Maybe that’s the sign of a quality professional, that he decided to do something about it. Drifting wide he took the defence with him, leaving the keeper cruelly exposed, as for the opener when Benny had enough room to throw down a picnic blanket and open the hamper at the far post. More central, he held on to it under pressure or toppled sideways, in the act of falling touching back to a team-mate, eye on the ball, mind on the half chance.

His work for the first two goals was masterful, an irresistible combination of skill, pace and precision. He’s top dog here if he plays like this. He has no rival for that position. Rather than making him complacent, that’s where he wants to be, on the pitch and in the dressing room. That’s why we don’t get any disruption from him. This was the definitive modern lone striker and the first half should be used in traingn videos.

We prospered from the stream of crosses and neat balls into channels that came from all sides. Walker, Modric, Bale, Benny, Niko, a few from Parker who for the most part stayed in the background and made sure nothing much happened at the other end. Although Saha was playing off Manu, his instincts take him into the box. Recently I’ve mentioned that if I do have a niggle, it’s about scoring more goals from inside the area and noticeably we had a couple more bodies in there last night. Our second showed the value of how an ageing striker may not have the legs but he has the instinct. Right place right time, only the finest goal scorers make it look that easy. I’ll leave you to the blockbusting blasters from 25 yards. This is my kind of goal. I’ve watched it 20 times on ESPN goals and you now what, I’m pausing for a second to have another look. Oh Harry, you’ve done it again.

Manu and Louis again for the third, back to the goal touch this time, Saha close by. They say it takes time for partnerships to build and develop, but 20 minutes?

Newcastle are shattered and there’s still three-quarters of the game to go.

HR looks worried. This wasn't taken yesterday

Adebayor has pulled them all over the place. Like an old woollen jumper after a downpour, they are sagging and out of shape. Collocinni has no idea what to do but he makes a better effort than the rest of his defence. Our opponents had injuries but no pattern or organisation. Their midfield offered no protection whatsoever and their fullbacks will have nightmares for years to come, in the depths of the night a vision of blurry white shirts rushing past them from all angles. Make it stop, in heaven’s name stop, have mercy! You don’t have to be a first-teamer to stand in the right position but they failed to do even that.

The gaps opened and e filled them, piling into the space at lightening speed from all directions. Saha almost with a hat-trick then Niko followed up.

We drew breath and the second half was bound to be an anti-climax after that. We strolled, largely untroubled although Friedel made one good save, as attentive to his duties as ever. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him on the end of one of those first half crosses, such was our superiority.

I love Harry Redknapp, Harry Redknapp loves me. I think he’ll go but if anything keeps him here, it will be nights like these. The Lane is rocking, the football is delightful and Harry’s heart was pounding. He’s one of us now, and he likes that feeling. He’ll forever be associated with West Ham but Harry, be honest, you never had a night like this one at the Boleyn, now did you?

On a day when the headlines have been dominated by the wretched Suarez and a minority of apologist Liverpool fans who seek to justify his foul, base attitudes, this was the perfect antidote. Football as it is supposed to be. An outstanding, stunning performance.

23 thoughts on “Tottenham Hotspur: Football The Way It Should Be Played

  1. i know that i have been bashing ade for not putting in the effort, but against ncastle he was a god!! he really did work his ass off, and imo was mom! that is the way i want to see ade, he has it in him, but he suddenly dont do mutch for weeks. why?? WHYYYYYY? when he can be that gooooooood, he tore that ncastle defence apart alone yesterday. if he plays like this more often i would love to have him on permanent basis. and cudos to saha, two goals in hi full deby, i think he had a great time, and he does something pav did not do, he runs towards goal, in case the ball comes out there. pav started when the ball was there. cpurs where great yesterday, more to come agains arsenal. coys

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  2. HARRY!!!!!!!!!!!! Ask yourself 1 very important question!!!!! If managing your national team is supposed to mean so much to every manager, then why hasnt Alex Ferguson gone off to manage Scotland? Answer….Hes earning much more money staying put, which is exactly the same position you will be in in a couple of years probably. Continuity is the most important ingredient for success. Dont lose all the credibility you have achieved by taking on a near impossible task running a “National” team dressing room full of racism and backstabbing. Tell the FA to go phuk themselves. They could have recruited you before they opted for Crapello, but they decided the Italian was better than an Englishman to run the English team!!!! So leave the FA to stew in their own sh!t, because they made it for themselves. You will achieve much much more at Spurs than with a “National Team” of players who cant stand the sight of each other. No matter how good a football manager you are, you cant account or prepare for the undercurrents of trouble brewing amongst a collection of players all influenced by the media and their personal experiences in a country where we see racism on the increase and national identity issues coming to the forefront in the coming years! International football is a dead duck m8. I am far more interested in the exploits of Tottenham than I am of the England team! ffs Harry, the most important national team games are no longer even free to watch on the BBC anymore!!!! You will become totally anonymous to the fans, only seen on the bench during International games maybe 10 times a year, or the occasional press conference trying to save face and make excuses for yeat another dismal performance from our multi-cultural bunch of overpaid over inflated ego a55holes!!!! Dont take the chance Harry, its too risky.

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    • yeah we were well beating by a superior side although we had key players missing in midfield and defence theres no excuse.well done spurs yous are the inform team in the premier in my eyes id like to see u win it it be nice.its there for the taking and i think yous could do it playing like u did yesterday well done nufc fan

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      • Very generous Michael. We know Newcastle can do better but in that mood there are few sides who can match us. Now get back to it and chase L’arse for 4th.

        Regards,

        Alan

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    • Whilst Harry will never be anonymous, like many before him, I agree, he’ll be bored with the underemployment that characterises an international manager.

      Many reasons here for him to stay. I hope he listens, suspect he won’t. As a group of fans, we’ve done everything in our power to let him know that he’s welcome.

      Can’t do more.

      Cheers,

      Alan

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  3. I think the game showed us exactly what we’ve been missing since the vulgarian left – a capable front 2.

    We’ve tried to paper over our lack of front line quality by playing VdV behind Adebayor. This has worked well to extent, but hasn’t produced enough goals, hence Bale’s recent forays into the middle.

    Last night we saw how two quality forwards can kill a game off early and totally relieve the pressure. Something we’ve had a lot of problems doing for too long. Adebayor played his socks off, but Saha’s movement, positioning and finishing, were also excellent.

    Once Redknapp goes, and he will go, after finding a new manager and keeping the current crop happy, finding one or two (not sure will be able to keep Adebayor) strikers is imperative if we’re to keep the train on track.

    I’m convinced we would have finished in the top 4 last season had we shaken up what had obviously become a stagnant front line. And before the twerp who bangs on about us not being able to afford the best (you know who you are), it wouldn’t have cost a fortune to upgrade on the two players who have/had been holding us back (Defoe and Pav).

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    • Noticeable that we had a couple of extra players in the box than of late. Tactics certainly but also the result of Newcastle not putting pressure on us which effectively gave us an extra man. If VDV plays, I’d like to see him push on into the box more often – last season he was a quality finisher from close in.

      Problem with two up front is that Bale and sometimes others don’t drop back to defend as well as they might so we are short sometimes in that respect. Saha had a cracking game, mind. More please.

      Regards,

      Al

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  4. Great summary from the heart. Chris Waddle summed it up, pace, precision, technical ability, it was there for all to see. I have always believed it a myth that players need time to get to know each other before they perform and gel, evidence to the contrary yesterday from the front 2. Yes pundits, we know, we have to keep Saha fit and he’ll be a great signing. Lots to look forward to in the run in.

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    • Cheers Tony, I try and write from the heart whilst keeping my feet on the ground. And mixing metaphors.

      It’s the value of experience – Saha was so canny.

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  5. It is hard when you have to eat humble pie, but I guess I will have to after my last posting, when I referred to the signings as “Chelsea Pensioners.” It did not take long to prove me wrong. Saha certainly did that in short order. I guess Harry Houdini is truly a “Wheeler and Dealer” I look forward to your comments each week, as you nearly always hit the nail on the head. I sincerely hope we can go forward over the next few weeks, which will be a difficult period to survive. I feel reasonably confident over Manchester United, but Arse-n-al being a local Derby is harder to predict, but onwards and upwards.

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    • Don’t think anyone was over-excited about the deadline but if anyone can make it work, Harry can. There is so much energy in that team that we can allow Saha the luxury of not tracking back every time. We’ll see if it works against better teams in the next two home games. it’s less about age, more about a player being able to do a particular job.

      Regards,

      Al

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  6. Great write up as usual Alan, I enjoyed every word.
    At the beginning of the season, by which I mean after the United and City defeats, I started saying to the bloke next to me that this team was the best we had since Pleat’s 87 side. As the season’s gone on I’m sure Harry’s team have not only passed that side, but also the 80’s Cup and UEFA winning era (Airdilies, Hoddle etc), and the seventies. I’m now back to the mid sixties to my first ever Spurs side (The G Men, Jennings, Mullers etc). If this carries on it goes beyond my experience as I was too young to see the Double.
    What we need is to win a trophy (the Cup would be lovely) as well as qualify for he Champions League. That was the problem with Pleat’s team although we came mightily close.
    Harry has done a great job but when he goes (and go he will) the queue of managers outside Levy’s office will stretch a long way down the High Road. So will the waiting list for season tickets.
    Lets enjoy the moment.
    The Game is About Glory.

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    • Thanks my friend. Sounds like we are both of the same vintage. I think this side matches 81. I would have liked to have seen more of Pleat and that side, I really liked it. Hard to compare because the game is so much more physical these days but this side at their best, as on Saturday, can ping it about as well as 81. And 81 won something.

      Regards,

      Al

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  7. It’s worth remembering that had the CL been in place back in the day, Pleat’s side would have made it, as would Burkinshaw’s and Shreeve’s, on a few occasions. Also the FA Cup and UEFA Cup were fiercely contested by all teams back in the day. Indeed, it is a trope of mine that in terms of depth the UEFA Cup was superior to the European Cup then. (I can expand on that, but don’t want to torture you all).

    While fun and not without merit ( I do it myself often) there are perhaps too many variables in comparing across the ages (training and diet, pitch quality, squad size, changing tactics (including bare rotation) and likely a host of others) to say with certainty.

    I still think the 1981-82 side to be the best in my time watching Spurs. Though this one is super, and really super at times like Saturday. The battling to the bitter end on four fronts, fixture pile up, small squad, harsh winter and great Liverpool side apart, I reckon that was the only one that was really good enough to win the league. I hope I am wrong come May. Burkinshaw wouldn’t compromise on our style of play away from home, which Harry is starting to do this season. The first Spurs side I saw was the early 70s one but I was too young to really appreciate it.

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  8. Alan, your report as beautiful as the football we played — inspired. Regardless of what happens after this glorious season, we should continue to bask in what ‘Arry and Mr. Levy have concocted to unleash upon the premiership. If the football gods smile upon us, maybe it will continue past this season. But that’s for later. PS Noticing some of the moaners from other sites trolling on over here, obviously for the inspired reporting, but they’re bringing their negativism with them. Oh ye of little faith, if I may, push off! PSS Keep up the great work, Alan!

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  9. Harry has taken a side in trouble and made them successful once more.
    He might prefer to go into semi-retirement and try to do the same with the England team than push his ‘luck by sticking with Spurs.
    Not that they will ever achieve the quality of our performance against Newcastle.
    I think that our priority should be securing Ade for next year.

    Another quality piece.

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  10. The fans reaction in the Newcastle match was superb, showing Harry why he should stick with the mighty Tottenham and not join the poisoned challis that is the England manager’s job. As much as he has many friends in the press, he would be hounded as all before him and it would make for a dreadful experience.

    Why would anyone leave Tottenham when we are on the brink of something special.

    That performance against Newcastle was amazing! As your title says, ‘The way it should be played’! Adebayor has been poor in recent weeks but showed true class and guile with his assists and his fine finish.

    Long may the run continue!
    COYS!

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