IN AND OUT. QUICKLY
Mickey Blue Eyes
Ever the optimist, usually I give the benefit of doubt to anyone, any time, on the basis of each to his own. But everyone has a main blind spot; mine is "London." Over the years the place and what it represents has become an aversion.
London contains far too many wannabe oblong-head deadbeat Jeremy Clarksons/James Mays, US bankers and "businessmen," quasi-intellectual David Aaronovitchs, BNPers and thug Kelvin MacKenzies (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_meOwyOZxDE), all serviced by sub-contract IT minions, corrupt civil servants, bribed Oxbridge academics, Uriah Heep accountancy clerks and PR "consultants" (read: liars), all waving that counterfeit of intelligence, the MBA - actually little more than a schutzstaffel membership certificate. Its more callow adolescent spivs seek indenture on The Apprentice. Ultimately it is a sad, frenetic place built almost entirely on Sidney Falco illusion.
Unarguably it is Corruption Central, worse than Rome, Washington, Frankfurt, Madrid and New York combined. Lahndan's establishment is a Janus-faced soap opera whose basso buffo is the moron Boris Johnson, neocon propaganda spin led by the despised Sun and Daily Mail and Sky TV. It is increasingly detached from reality of life in our small islands, indeed of many of its own citizens. It is occupied and run by a dismal criminal network gang of alien hoodlums in suits, a kleptocracy unprosecuted. Genuine workers there suffer a delusion of "economic safety" which will sooner or later fall to Earth at terrible cost as capitalism "readjusts" and presents yet another invoice for larceny. Britain - never to be confused with London - is a good country with good, talented people sucked dry by a tenth rate Yankified capital, with no better exemplar than last year's Punch and Judy Olympic Games. However, the gang is not finished. In the years ahead matters will steadily worsen into a long drawn out, carefully-managed burglary of our national wealth, all of it couched in Winston Smith drivel manufactured by News International and Associated Newspapers. You have been warned.
They can shove it......royalist flummery, tories, rat-run train system, libdems, over-pricing, New Labour, choked streets, neocon Murdochised media, crooked police and all. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, it is a city filled with phonies. Furthermore, I would rather eat grilled peasant toe nails than view the ugly Stalinist architecture of Canary Wharf and its daft uncircumcised penis structure shaped by unspeakable freemason Norman Foster and Ove Arup navvies. No sir, not my kind of place at all. No, the M25 ghetto is to be avoided at all costs. So I visit the place only when business makes it absolutely unavoidable. Or, as on this occasion, when I get the siren call of a promising footy match.
Naturally, I wanted in briefly and out as soon as our match at Tottenham Hotspur was finished. Therefore another early rise, this one greeted by watery sunshine and a slightly frosted car. As usual, overhead vapour trails streaked to and from the Americas. The day ahead required a massive protein-laden breakfast to help fuel the long journey and avoid rip off prices for tasteless food and drink at the other end. Fortunately the sun stayed with us all the way to the south east, which was nice considering that has been the source of Arctic weather laying siege to the country. But mercifully the temperature was acceptable and sunny even there.
Given the wider background, Tottenham's one-man team has of course received absurd unearned Lahndan-spewed publicity for their "success," not really unexpected following Arsenal's relative fall from grace. After all, virtually all their dreary football hacks are Arsenal or Tottenham fans. It follows that despite severe competition their cheap hype is easily the worst in England. For instance you could guarantee there would be much made of the missing Bale and Lennon and hardly a mention of missing Fellaini and Pienaar. 'Twas ever thus. Slanted TV commentaries and punditry are so bad it is comical, their newspapers fit only to wrap jellied eels.
Still, there we were, and - big but welcome surprise - Ross Barkley in for Nik Jelavić. It was the youngster's chance to impress in a highly important game. We all know his promise; the question is whether he has the necessary oomph and self discipline to deliver at this level. I knew only a few of the Tottenham players, since slippery Daniel Levy runs an expensive debt-laden revolving door at White Hart Lane courtesy of his barrow boy chums at Canary Wharf. And though they are a good side - league positions never lie - they didn't seem to have anything superior to Our Boys. If we played to our best we stood a better than even chance of a crucial victory. Our problem is we never know which Everton is going to turn up.
Within a minute we thought it was the wrong Royal Blues. Tottenham scored the kind of goal that has turned your correspondent's hair even whiter this season and which paralleled similar defensive first-seconds idiocy at Newcastle. Straight from the kick off there was a minor ping pong at the enemy centre left mid in our half before the ball worked to their man at wide left. Two of ours looked on without interfering, so naturally he slung in a routine left footed cross that curved into the penalty area at head height. Jags should have cut it out near side but didn't, it bounced once, Sylvain was too late to smack it into row Z, and their man couldn't miss from a few metres though he very nearly did. If Tim had closed his legs like a nun he would have kept it out. It was bloody ludicrous. We hadn't touched the ball.
Gratifyingly, we weren't fazed, resolve stiffened and we came forward as though nothing had happened, time on our side. For the next quarter hour we were slightly the better team. Leon Osman missed a glorious opportunity when their defence gifted him a chance at left of the D and he hit it wide. Vic Anichebe was narrowly denied at the near post after Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas sliced through on our right. Our football wasn't as pretty as it has often been this season, but it was quite solid and threatening. Tottenham began to look uncertain and nervous.
Vic Anichebe in particular seems to be listening to the Big Yin at Finch Farm because this season he is a man transformed, finally aware of his physical strength and how to dish it out and take it without complaint. I freely admit I never thought to see the day. He has learned how to shield the ball, lay it off, and take "professional" sly kicks and digs in his lower back, thighs and ankles. Mostly unaided, he made a mess of Tottenham's centre defence for most of the match. The fans have responded accordingly, as they always will to one hundred percent commitment. Meanwhile Ross Barkley was learning his trade the hard way at wide left; he did reasonably well too. In fact we were solid on that side until he went off and Bainsey was left on his own and their right back had acres of empty space to run at him with impetus. Elsewhere, defence zipped up after the aberration, centre mid has strengthened since Gibson returned to leave Osman doing the short passing and general water-carrying. Early on Kevin Mirallas looked as though he was still nursing his injury, but he grew stronger as the match wore on.
We equalised deservedly after about twelve minutes with a goal every bit as scatty as the one we let in. Barkley joined an attack down the right and was put through by a cute pass from Osman, took it to the goal line and got a right side corner. Bainsey took it and gave it one of his inswinging left foot specials to the far post, where arrived Jags while Tottenham were busy watching Vic, and he got above everybody and nodded it down and in between their 'keeper's legs. It was well earned though, and so was our smirk and "How do you like it?" attitude. The first half then settled into a tense midfield battle with a couple of tired long shots from the enemy but not much else. By the time the break arrived we looked in reasonable shape while Tottenham huffed and puffed.
We were first out of the blocks in the second half when a right side attack had the homesters all over the place and Gibbo hit one mid right from the edge of the penalty area. It took a shaving off the far post. It was a warning that went unheeded. A few minutes later Seamus headed a clearance wide right in our half and it carried through to centre right mid in their half. Vic raced over and laid it right for Mirallas to come steaming in at an acute angle, zigzag their defenders inside out and upside down, leave them all trailing, and crack home a ground cross shot. It was yet another sublime individual goal from a player vibrant with self confidence.
Straight from the restart Tottenham attacked almost casually down their left and their man got off a ground shot from left of the D that ricocheted off Jags before Tim somehow dropped onto his right and fortunately for us deflected it onto the bar and back out. And from the clearance we fashioned a move down our right yet again, Mirallas bamboozled their defence all the way to the right edge of the penalty area, pulled it back, and Osman was too slow to get the touch that would have put the game to bed. It was all going off.
With ten minutes left Nik Jelavić came on for Ross Barkley and joined Vic up front while Osman went wide left supposedly to double up with Bainsey. By this time it looked as though there would be only one winner, Us. Vic had his second wind and muscled their centre mids and backs time after time, once shooting narrowly over from long range. With five minutes left Naismith came on for visibly-tiring Mirallas and took his place wide right. Alas, in the closing phase Bainsey was left on his own so often it was bound to tell if the breach wasn't filled. Sure enough we let an equaliser in when a few minutes from time their right back was gifted a clear run, hit it into the space behind Bainsey, ran around him into the uncovered space, and then crossed it to the centre, it was cracked against Tim's left post, rebounded to the other side and got stuck home from close range.
A few minutes later Vic again made mince meat of their centre back in a muscular struggle through the middle, got clear slightly left in the penalty area, should have buried a winner......then hit it left footed against their 'keeper's lucky legs instead. Still it wasn't finished. Tottenham went on an attack through the centre, played tipp-tappy on the centre edge of our penalty area, got dispossessed, and we sprung a counter attack down our right. Nik came dribbling in a la Manchester City and again "fuckn 'it it" but this time it went straight to their 'keeper. Grudgingly, a draw was fair enough, though it was yet another game we should have won.
Our squad may be small but now Moyesy has them fit and available and in good form for the run in. We'll see where it takes us. Europe qualification remains a thin hope but far from impossible. Fingers crossed.
The road out of London took us home. I couldn't wait to complete the journey and get home to civilisation.