Welcome to "Spurs Odyssey"'s latest columnist Anton Lang. Anton provides his views after the Man Utd 4-0 defeat. Unsurprisingly "Old Mother Riley" comes in for some stick!:-
What more needs to be said about a match most of us hoped we'd win but
realistically expected to lose?
Old Mother Riley in charge of a match that clearly was beyond him. His pace
up front was about as sharp as Les's shooting. 20 yards behind play and he
awards a penalty for what really was such an innocuous incident that IMO
Scholes played for as much as Shezza played for the penalty at Cardiff.
In the days when we have professional referees isn't it about time we had
professional standards? Of course it bloody well is!. And for the fans who
travelled the many miles north of the border to watch this match it must
have been a pitiful journey home. Their hit lists now including one Mike
Riley and his myopic assistants steadfastly being sent to all potential
assassins around the country.
Our own display in the first half must have warmed the very cockles of those
fans hoping that our stylish play would see us through. Sadly it again has
proved not enough to win matches. Which realistically, we could have done so
in the first half had it not have been for that humungous error of judgment.
Treacle played his part in tickling Scholes who, upon receiving the penalty
award and the bonus of a player sent off, fell about the floor in hysterics
at what was unfolding before him.
True, Tarrico did touch Scholes and in the rules of the game it is a free
kick. OUTSIDE THE AREA REF!!! However, wasn't that King I saw moving into
the last man position? So why the sending off?
From this moment on the house of cards that has been built around our
resurgence as a 'stylistic' footballing team fell about us as we struggled
to hold the ball for more than 10 seconds. Once again, Les proving that
statistics mean nothing. The statistics advise us that he's a striker. Well
this theory was shot to pieces again tonight, wasn't it. He worked so well
to get the header and then, with nothing more than 8 yards, he blasts the
ball into a high enough orbit that Old Trafford have now since put a message
out to NASA for the space shuttle to give them the ball back.
It was nice to see old Rebs playing from the start and who knows, maybe this
is the sign of a fine romance between him and Hoddle but I shouldn't imagine
there were much hugs and kisses in the dressing room at half time. Though I
do have to say, from what I saw and only from the TV mind, he was more
effective than Sir Less (not a Freudian slip).
Thatcher? Where the hell was he? Presumably he was out roofing whilst his
team mates were having to cover for him. The last two goals came as a result
of his lacklustre movement back towards goal or in marking the opposition
tightly enough. How did Keane, with a deft Irish jig, get past him? I'll
tell you! Because Thatcher was sleeping in defence and when he woke it was
too late to stop Keane's Riverdance around him.
Perry and Richards, one considered an England hopeful the other, well the
less said the better, eh? We all know the skills that VN has in getting past
players but it was given to him on a plate when they both collapsed like a
heap of straw from one of Thatchers previous building projects in front of
Sullivan to allow VN his opportunity without even really trying.
But for the efforts (???) of Forlan and the mastery of our own Sullivan in
goal we could have conceded quite a few more. If our side deserved a MOTM
award, I would have to give it to Sullivan.
The removal of Poyet was understandable, you can only embarrass so many
players at once. If we clear the field of our better ones we can at least
say that we fielded a second string in the second half. And in truth, I
would rather see Poyet take on his old chums on Sunday without a red card
recieved tonight; which he was in danger of receiving from the card happy
All round this was a poor performance but not an unexpected result. The
second time in a season that the phrase "A game of two halves" has actually
comfortably referred to us.
Hoddle defended the game, for me, in the best way he could. Even Sir Fungus
accorded sympathy which IMO was fully deserved. "The penalty incident killed
the game for us" Hoddle told the reporter. So the epitaph for Hoddle's army
at Old Trafford reads "Spurs - a team in the ascendance killed by the stray
red card of Old Mother Riley and the sharp shooting marksman Van Nestle Egg"
Mr. Terry Venables, a one time saviour of THFC, acknowledged that referees
have got to be professional about their game. He is a strong advocate of the
TV replay saying, "I don't care whether it takes 15 - 30 seconds of
stoppage. They need to get it right. In my opinion, that was disgraceful and
it shouldn't be allowed to happen". Too bloody right El Tel!
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