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 that I have time to write a book. Too busy doing bloody tenders.
I’m pleased to be able to tell people about our work. The only problem is, no one will read it. They’ll read some of it of course, hopefully most of it but consider the maths. There’s my 11,368 words, which doesn’t include the business aspects because quite rightly they don’t let me near the money, I would just pile in and give children everything they need and deserve. Then there’s the 11,368 words, give or take, of the thirty or forty other providers. Then this bid is one of four lots. So that makes 1,818,880 words that have to be digested and compared precisely to find the preferred bidders. Just a guess but I reckon they won’t be able to do that properly. And that sense of futility runs from my brain through deadened nerve fibres to every stroke of the keyboard.
Anyone who saw yesterday’s game will understand futility all too well. What’s the point, I daresay you asked yourself, especially in the long, long second half. Plenty of time to think – at times yesterday there was more noise in my kitchen when the washing’s on spin than there was in the ground. There’s been comments about the booing but it was the silence that scared me. Nothing going on, in the stands or on the pitch.
Ofsted will soon arrive. It’s all hands to the pumps in the office when they are visiting. Evenings and this weekend, the team have all put in time, while I swanned off to football. Working to prove they do a fine job. They don’t have to prove it to me, I know they do. I’ve seen them blossom and thrive over the years. I tell all my managers to work fewer hours but none of them take any notice of me.
They work hard because they believe in what they are doing and want to prove it to the Ofsted inspector or indeed anyone who comes into contact with the office. Shame the same can’t said for my football team. Bit harsh. They’ve been great for most of the season and looking back, basking in the glow of late spring sun and the warmth of a Champions League place we’ll chuckle at comments like that. Just a blip. But right now, I’m still numb with the sheer nothingness of it all. Even deep space isn’t empty. Full of mysterious dark matter, apparently, but this one defied the laws of universe because I can tell Brian Cox personally that at White Hart Lane yesterday, there was one big void.
Our Andre has not had a good week. Playing 4-4-2 to protect a three goal lead away from home was misjudged to say the least, although I have sympathy with the optimism and confidence behind it. (No match report, I’m afraid, that tender is oh so very real). Wrong, but his heart was in the right place. Perhaps that confidence in his side was misplaced. I’m guilty too – no worldbeaters these but a decent, hardworking and well-organised side. After the Inter game, he was honest enough to say that the “organisation was not there because the mind was not there”. Yesterday we suffered a collective mental fraility that seemed to have a life of its own because it spread to the five or six players who did not start in Italy. Which is bad.
Come the second half (I’d say the first was forgettable but I genuinely have forgotten it), we geared up for more effort, partly because it couldn’t get any worse and partly because in the last few months we have consistently raised our game in the second period. Nothing. AVB was at fault again. Players were all over the place. Adebayor as a left winger, Bale on the right mostly, Dempsey, well, I had no idea what he was up to and frankly neither did he. Did I detect a few grumbles every time he touched the ball? I don’t like that but he was dire.
Tempo was the problem. It stayed slow for the whole time and we don’t play well like that. Daws could have got us going but he went off. Last season Parker would have driven us on but it’s a measure of how far he has fallen that the least experienced Spur, Tom Carroll, had infinitely more about him. As soon as he came on, it was pass and move, one touch then pass and move. Simple. It’s what we do but we forgot. Playing badly so back to familiar basics. Bale charging down the left, why not give him 20 minutes, that’s all. No Lennon but width from Walker. Its what we do and it’s what is needed against massed defensive ranks. Instead we resolutely stick to one-twos down the middle with Bale coming inside to be gratefully swallowed up by the men in black.
Fulham had two shots, one went in. Lloris was presumably suffering from exposure, he had been out in the open with nothing to do for so long. The divine Dimi popped it in. Disliked understandably by many Spurs fans for the way he left us, but what I wouldn’t give for a fraction of his skill and intelligence. In this team he would be a star again.
I’m a realist with optimistic tendencies. It was not going over the top to believe that we had done away with performances like this one. The week before, the Lane was rocking with two superb games in five days. Arsenal beaten, Inter taken apart. Ten days on, unrecognisable.
There is a simpler explanation, of course. Spurs were knackered. Dembele and Siggy were, Adebayor had plenty of energy but no form. So the fresh players were balanced out with those who simply weren’t there. We can’t play with half a team.
Business continuity plan now. This is newly popular with local authorities. Think Doomwatch, 28 Days or that other wretched BBC show where a virus wiped out most of the population. If the 200 or so people who I work with were all out of action, how would we provide a service? (I haven’t made this up, by the way). Another futile exercise but I will go through the motions. Walking back to the car, I was left to ponder on the futility of hoping Spurs had tuened a corner. Another season, another blast of hope that crumbles to failure before our eyes.
Too early to tell. Maybe Andre needs a rest in the international break to recharge his batteries. Spurs need that break and to return refreshed. Still plenty of time. I’m convinced despite yesterday that the club is on sound footings.