…and that my friends is why we go to watch football.
Yesterday morning I was standing in the freezing cold at the train station, with the wind whipping icy rain into my face, wondering why I do this. The memory of the turgid Sunderland match was still in my mind and I figured that if it was still pouring down at 2.40pm, then there would be a strong argument for just staying in the pub, though deep down I knew I’d endure the soaking to watch the game.
With most forms of entertainment, you have a vague idea as to what to expect for your money. If you go to see a film, a play or a concert, the chances are you’ll have seen some reviews beforehand and will roughly know what to expect. Football is different…
We put our money down in an act of blind faith. There’s no way to know what will occur during the 90 minutes that we’ve paid to witness and all anyone can do is hope for the best.
Even when two of the best sides in the world go head to head, there’s still every chance that they will cancel each other out and the match will end up as a damp squib.
The first half of Sunday’s match was a disappointment, played out by two sides who looked far from being the best in the world. Having taken an early lead through Peter Crouch’s headed goal, I expected Tottenham to grab the match by the scruff of the neck and go in at half time with a comfortable lead.
It never happened. We took our foot off the gas and allowed them to come back into the match and dictate much of the play. At half time I was relieved to see us go in with some kind of slim lead and thought that at best we might grind out another 2-0 win, as we did against Sunderland.
Then, from nowhere, came one of the most thrilling halves of football that I have ever seen. Defoe scored a hat-trick within 7 minutes, that was only interrupted by a reply from Paul ‘Harvey Two-Face’ Scharner, who had clearly been watching Henry in midweek.
Lennon made it 5-1 with a lovely finish, that he fully deserved. People have talked about how we’ve missed Modric, but Lennon’s performance showed just what we’d been missing down the right flank. He was exceptional and would have been the man of the match, if not for what was yet to come from Defoe.
Because a mere 3 goals were not enough for Defoe. He netted his fourth and Tottenham’s sixth with just over 20 minutes remaining, before equaling the efforts of Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, by scoring a fifth towards the end of the match.
Suddenly Defoe had leapfrogged everyone to become the Premier League’s top scorer, leaving plenty of people kicking themselves that they’d transferred him out of their Fantasy League sides.
There was more to come, with even David Bentley getting in on the act. He’s not had much luck at Tottenham and you could say that this continued when he struck a beautiful free kick, that ended up ricocheting off Chris Kirkland’s bonce for an own goal, rather than Bentley receiving the credit that his strike deserved.
By this stage the fans were in a state of dazed delirium, knowing that anything was now possible and fully expecting to see more goals, despite the fact that the score was already 8-1.
The inevitable ninth came with seconds remaining from the extremely impressive Niko Kranjcar, who smashed the ball in off the bar. ‘We want ten’ we sang, although to be honest I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have spontaneously combusted had we broke double figures. I already almost bloke my phone and managed to lose my train ticket with my wild celebrations for our ninth.
What a game. I doubt I’ll ever see anything like it again and this is why we put up with all the misery. For these golden afternoons, when anything seems possible and nothing else really matters.
This was one to tell the grandchildren about. One of the images that will stay with me is the sight of the Wigan fans who stayed until the end of the match. That is dedication. Especially when you consider that plenty of Spurs fans got up and left before the end of the game.
What is with these people who take an early exit by the way? I know, the traffic’s terrible and all that, but isn’t seeing a rampant Tottenham Hotspur tear apart the opposition the very reason why we go to White Hart Lane? How could you leave at 7-1, when our every attack looked like it would produce a goal?
Do these people leave films just as the third act is kicking in, or slam shut an Agatha Christie novel just as Miss Marple is about to reveal who the killer is?
Minor gripe aside, let’s get back to the football. This was the first time that we’ve seen Crouch and Defoe together up front, without Keane being squeezed into the side somewhere and our whole formation being altered. I think it’s fair to say that they didn’t disappoint.
Note to Harry: you probably already know this, but you cannot alter the starting lineup for the game against Villa. Robbie Keane will just have to sit on the bench and suck it up and that even goes for Modric if he’s fit.
With everyone else around us slipping up this weekend, it was vital that we won and we did it with style. We’ve got two tough away trips to come, which we will go into with a renewed confidence.
Let’s not get too carried away. Wigan were awful in defence and played like the bunch of match stewards that their fluorescent orange strip made them resemble. For us also, it was just one of those afternoons when everything went right and flew into the net. As we all know, it’s not always like that.
Yet at the same time, it’s hard not to get over-excited. Days like these are far too rare and I for one have not finished drinking all this in.
There was one small disappointment. Before the game my friend who sits in front of me was saying that we only needed to win 15-0 to go ahead of Arsenal on goal difference.
So near and yet so far. Why did we have to concede that silly goal? Typical Spurs.
Now feast your eyes on these highlights.