Monday, September 27

Lasagne is a dish best served cold

West Ham 1 Tottenham 0

Where’s our tube trains gone? Having walked nine miles on the Coledale Horseshoe in the Lake District the previous day, it seems like a light ramble compared to getting to a WHU game. Still, in recent weeks we’ve seen the “Temple of Sewage” Victorian waterworks and Abbey Mills on the Greenway from Stratford, our new Olympic stadium, the best sari shops on Green Street, and the lovely roundabout at Canning Town.

After an hour’s walk Sir Rannulph Fiennes emerges in Ken’s Café to find a fit and toned Gav, alongside Nigel, Jo and Iain, all looking svelte enough to take up fell running. We now have the fittest fans in football.

Nigel and Matt are wondering Jeremy Nicholas will announce the Labour leadership contest over the tannoy in the second half. And they say that Robert Green has been to see the chaplain to discover how Jesus Saves.

The lasagne eaters are playing Bassong and Corluka at the back, which is hopeful for us, while we’ve dropped Cole. Matt says that Spurs have played four teams in a row beginning with W, which is very interesting.

From the kick-off we’re up for it, with Freddie finding Victor, who drags the ball wide. Dyer has a shot deflected just wide and Da Costa heads wide from a corner. the two front men Obinna and Piquionne are mobile and seemingly everywhere. In fact Obinna has given us the audacity of hope. Cole may not get back in on this form.

We’re looking sharp and inventive with Da Costa winning headers at the back, Noble and Parker closing everything down in midfield, Dyer having his best game for club on the flank and Boa Morte steaming in.

Spus come back into the game though, with Jenas and Van der Vaart (“wasn’t he a detective?” asks Matt) having shots tipped away by Green.

After half an hour a Dyer run wins a corner. “We’ve really got to start making something of these corners,” says Mystic Matt.

Piquionne dutifully rises above Corluka and sends a towering header into the far corner before running to the corner. We deserve it too.

Spurs have the quality to come back though and after a Lennon cross is half cleared, Modric volleys towards goal only for Green to shoos turn it on to the bar. It’s what Hansen and Lawrenson would term "a wonder save" and could mark the turning point of Robert's season. A minute later he makes another great stop frpom Van dr Vaart with his legs.

Sadly Dyer departs after 40 minutes suffering from “dizziness” according to Grant. We’re pretty dizzy in the East Stand too.

In the second half it carries on being a great end-to-end game. Huddlestone rounds Green, but pushed wide by the rejuvenated keeper can only poke the ball hopelessly wide.

With half an hour left the crowd sense that West Ham can win and really get behind the side with “Claret and Blue Army” and “Come on you Irons!” chants.

Boa Morte plays in Obinna who has a fine snap half-volley pushed away by Cudicini. Never thought I’d say this, but Boa has been really good; playing in good balls to the front two and really getting stuck in. And Gabbidon starts to dribble at left back. Blimey.

Noble strikes a fantastic shot for the top corner that Cudicini brilliantly tips over. Substitute Barrera crosses causing the mother of all melees in the goalmouth but we can’t poke it in.

“Even under Curbishley when we finished tenth we never played this well…’ declares Nigel. “And we don’t look fragile…” He’s not looked this happy since the last AC/DC album came out.

“Why is it time goes so slowly when you’re winning?” asks Matt.

“Stephen Hawking never covered it on A Brief History of Time… possibly all the laws of physics are relative,’ I answer.

The whistle blows and Spurs are beaten. Redknapp’s first loss as a manager against the Irons. Robert Green applauds in front of the Spurs fans ands then makes an "up yours" gesture towards the press box. And why not? He’s won the game for us.

“We can still make the Europa League!” I declare.

The long trek to West Ham doesn’t seem so bad now. We could probably do a marathon not a sprint. The Labour leadership results have come through too.

“Ed Milliband should make the second item on the news after us,” I suggest.

Nigel walks down Corporation Road in a daze muttering “We won… Ed Miliband won… we won… Ed Miliband won…” All the old certainties have gone. If he were a computer he might overload.

If you were choosing man of the match it would be hard to choose between Parker, Noble, Piquionne, Obinna and Green, which has to be a good sign.

We looked like a football team. This might be the end of our new labours and the start of the Grant era.


Pete May said...

A Spurs supporter writes:

You're not still banging on about that bloody lasagne!

But fair dos, a good West Ham performance and a flat Spurs one. Nice to see 'Arry forgetting who pays his wages nowadays in the post-match comments. But, like everyone else at Spurs, he's only responsible for the success. Failure's out of his control.

Did you know we only had two points when he came?

Pete May said...

Another Spurs fan, Adam Bradbury, comments:

Nice Obama gag. You'll be crossing your fingers that he follows through
on the early promise, and that he can bring the right wing with him...