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Sunday 8 February 2015

Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing

Fonder Memories From The "Love In" At The Lane
                    Highbury is hardly leafy suburbia and perhaps there’s an inevitable bias with me being a Gooner. Yet although darkest Haringey is only a couple of miles down the Seven Sisters Road from the posh nosh esplanades of Islington’s pampered elite, with all the derelict wasteland that now exists around Spurs, in preparation for their new stadium project, one could be forgiven for mistaking the environs for war-torn Donetsk.

Google Is A Gooner
                  But don’t take my word for it, if you enquire of the location of “The Sh*t Hole” on Google Maps, it will direct you to White Hart Lane. Such scant conciliatory mischief is doubtless down to the same red & white techno wag responsible for ensuring that the “Spurs defence” is offered as the example, if you ask Google to “define lackadaisical”.

                    Invariably nowadays I travel to Tottenham in trepidation, with the same relish that I reserve for a trip to the dentist, hoping to come away with some of my few remaining teeth still intact. However with all the hype in advance of Saturday’s encounter and having previously experienced just a soupcon of consistency for the first time this season, I left home fuelled by more eager anticipation for a Derby dust-up at the Lane than I can recall in many a moon.

                    My optimism had been dampened somewhat by the doubts about Alexis’ fitness. Much like every other Gooner, I’d been harbouring feint hopes that his tight hamstring was a ruse to lull the Lilywhites into a state of false security. After endless teasing texts to all my Tottenham mates about the thrill of seeing Sanchez wreak havoc upon their misguided hopes and my instincts that we’d seriously miss the increased tempo and forward momentum offered by our Chilean’s unbridled energy, definitive confirmation of his absence came as a big disappointment.

                    Nevertheless, after our feckless form and Spurs’ good fortune has resulted in the league table leapfrog that we’ve endured to date, I’d been beguiled by our recent momentum, into believing that the comparative man for man abilities of the two teams on paper would surely be made manifest out on the pitch.

Should've Made Our Exit While The Going Was Good
                    As we all know, it’s the unpredictability that is the beautiful game’s most alluring asset and my foolhardy certainty lasted all of ten minutes. From the moment Mezut found the back of the net, the intensity that’s been integral to the Gunners recent swagger seemed to evaporate. In boxing it’s essential to dominate the middle of the ring and similarly it’s a truism in football that the masters of the midfield will usually hold sway.

                    Early KOs are an utterly uncivilized anathema. It’s sad to see fans rushing to down a few tins, struggling for sufficient vocal lubrication. Where bemused bodyclocks usually result in the Gunners not turning up until the second half, strangely we started Saturday’s game with the required verve. Sadly, taking such an early lead somehow resulted in us stagnating for the remainder, with the effectiveness of a Vulcan sleeper-hold.

                    We’re fast growing accustomed to our recent transformation into a counter-attacking side, where a more responsible, less liberated Gunners set out with a primary objective of not beating ourselves with a gung-ho willingness to entertain. But tactics count for little in the frenetic cauldron of a derby, when compared with intensity and attitude and with Spurs winning every second-ball, it seemed only a matter of time before we eventually succumbed to their relentless pressure.

                    When this eventually told with Kane’s equalizer, our esteemed leader, with his scientific bent, appeared to be the only spectator present who failed to sense that there was only going to be one winner, when a more intuitive manager might’ve rung the changes at the break. Only a Philistine could fail to appreciate Özil’s inherent artistry. Perhaps le Prof was banking on him being the one player with the ingenuity to break Spurs’ will and outflank the formidable Lloris. Yet Mezut’s never going to be the man for wrestling back control of such a furious battle.

                    Our subs might’ve been afforded more time to have an impact but it’s not exactly a revelation that we continue to lack the sort of player with the personality necessary to assist Coquelin’s admirable efforts to staunch Spurs flow and inspire those around them to produce the goods, or die trying!

Cherchez Le Gooner
                    I was no less apoplectic than anyone else around me when we gifted Bentaleb all the time and space he required to assist Kane in securing a crushing defeat, with only four minutes left on the clock. But every dog has its day and Saturday’s win was no less than Spurs deserved. With only six derby defeats in Arsène’s nineteen-year tenure, my Spurs mates have become so bitter about our enduring dominance that it’s far more disturbing for them to hear me magnanimously conceding all due credit to the victors. But I suspect I won’t be nearly so rational, unless normal service is resumed in the North London league following our respective results on Tuesday.

                    The only result of the day was sussing out a traffic-free new route and a parking pitch which meant that I was there and back in the same time that it takes to walk to our gaff, along with the most welcome bonus come the final whistle of availing myself of the disabled exit, thereby avoiding the ignominy of an intimidating barrage of abuse on the way out.

                    Taking stick from the opposition fans comes with the awayday territory but being maligned by one’s own tribe is far more testing. I usually sit with the same mates at away matches. Small comfort perhaps but I guess I should be counting my blessings that we somehow came to be separated on Saturday. As a result, unlike them, I didn’t end up spending much of the second half involved in a contretemps with the stewards and then sat at home later that same night, waiting for the rozzers to turn up and take a statement.

                    You can’t be a Jewish Arsenal fan and suffer the comparatively inoffensive anti-Spurs “Yiddo” chants at every match, without them being like water off a duck’s back. However all credit to my pal for taking a stand on Saturday, as I’m really not sure what I’d have done in his shoes, in response to a Gooner bellowing “Jewish…….” accompanied by an assortment of derogatory epithets. Would I have feigned disinterest and retained my blinkers to focus on the game, pretending it didn’t bother me, only to be left feeling shamed by Edmund Burke’s quote about evil being triumphant when good men do nothing. Or would I have also risked all the potential aggro involved in reporting such unacceptable behaviour.

                    With as many “four by twos” following Arsenal as Spurs, supposedly a few in the vicinity contacted the dedicated anti-racist hotline. But because this Neanderthal had come down to voice his anti-semitic tirade standing at the front of the aisle, he couldn’t be identified by his seat location.

                    With my mate growing increasingly distressed at the stewards’ apparent apathy, he felt his protests left him more in danger of being thrown out than the culprit. Mercifully in the end there was a 2-0 triumph for the Yids on the terraces on Saturday that everyone can enjoy, when this numbskull and his partner in crime were both eventually nicked and considering events on the pitch were only marginally less irritating, perhaps my pal should’ve been grateful for such a lengthy distraction?

                    Meanwhile, despite White Hart Lane being such an uncomfortable, dilapidated stadium, with planning permission for the Spuds new home potentially only a couple of weeks away, in spite of the result, I should be savouring my easy access to one of the few remaining atmospheric, old-fashioned grounds. Not only is It likely to prove a far greater hassle to get to, if Spurs should ever actually achieve sufficient funding to build their own sterile, modern arena, but according to the steward who accompanied me up in the lift and through the kitchens, to reach the away stand on the way in, apparently our neighbours will be needing somewhere to play their home games whilst the place in under construction.

                    Never fear, they won’t be wrecking our home in the interim and he suggested Wembley is favourite as their temporary destination. So I’m ignoring Saturday’s anomaly, in the certain knowledge that North London will be exclusively ours for still some time to come.

                    Although, after our manager’s 1000th match resulted in the humiliation at the Bridge and in view of all the mickey taking that’s bound to result from a (mercifully!) rare derby defeat in his 700th league encounter, would it not be advisable to take a rain-check from any of Arsène’s subsequent anniversary outings?

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Twitter: @thedogsbollock


Anonymous said...

if it wasn't so tragic it would be hang it's tragic and funny..nah it's just tragic!!! COYS!!!

Anonymous said...

Dilapidated stadium? Cheeky cunt.
Wembley is also in North London, woolwich twat. North London was never and will never be yours

Anonymous said...

Check out where the 'Jimmy Savile Fan Club' is on google maps - rather funnier and wittier than the 'shit hole' joke, especially considering Mr Wenger's sexual tastes.

By the way, Arsenal don't play in Highbury any more, they play in Holloway, which is considerably more of a shit hole, and certainly more scary, than Tottenham. One of the murder and stabbing capitals of the capital, no less

Anonymous said...

Hahaha you wankers got dicked!!! COYS!!!

Anonymous said...

What a load of bollocks, you smutty little gooner twerp

Anonymous said...

Ignore the haters. I thought it was a good piece and quite refreshing to read - for some reason I was expecting something different. Don't worry, I'm sure we'll find a way to finish below you again