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Tea and Crumpets with All Action No Plot

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Things did not go quite as planned. A comfortable chat with a local blogger, some food, some laughs, some puzzled stares into space--it all seemed likely to go as per usual. That is until plans fell through and I found myself scouring the globe for a fix. I had told myself I would stay away, but the draw was simply too strong to be denied, and though my efforts led to a spot in my bookmarks for one superlative Spurs site my various skulking and lurking activities also led to my current predicament as guest of All Action, No Plot at their imposing corporate headquarters. As a last request, they deigned to speak to me about the upcoming match. Also, there is gin. So it's not all bad...

Right, questions: I have it on good authority that Gareth Bale is in fact more powerful than seven Super Messis and that his merest glance can destroy worlds, or at the very least Brazilan fullbacks, a species of footballer we find ourselves in possession of. I have also been led to believe that he will be sold to Guangzhou FC in January. Is there any truth to this?

party bale
Bale may remain in North London for a time
to sort out this whole "celebrity footballer" thing.

‘Tis well known around the lilywhite half of North London that Gareth Bale’s curious appearance is due to the fact that, like most deities, in his natural form he exists as beams of light radiating in all directions. In order to fit in amongst the mere mortals of the Premiership he has adopted an outer shell that in truth only partially resembles your average human. Young Master Bale really is in quite humdinging form, his every touch currently meriting inclusion on a highlights reel. As he is yet to be infected by The Curse Of The WAG, I suspect he will hang around these parts for at least one more season, but thereafter the bidding could well begin in earnest, alas.

We've been known to hate Harry Redknapp more than we hate the bubonic plague, though admittedly our dislike of the black death has been dulled somewhat by its recent absence as a source of terror in daily life. Some of our antipathy is down to Redknapp's buddy-buddy relationship with the media, some is his weekly column in a bit of fish-wrap which shall remain unnamed, and some is his pandering to the English football stereotype of anti-intellectualism that continually insists if players would only fucking run around a bit with heart the 4-4-2 could see any side to victory since it's worked so well for England since 1966 while those fools on the continent have fallen streets behind with team based tactics and intellectual football. Or: he can sound like somebody who had one too many lagers, called in to TalkSport, and woke up in charge of a football club. At times, though, it appears he may be more canny than he would like to let on, and one wonders just which Redknapp is the real Redknapp, as well as which Redknapp Spurs followers find more appealing.

An interesting quirk of nature this, the sentiment of Spurs fans towards our glorious leader. Results have been good, and just as importantly we play some delightful stuff, plenty of swash and buckle all over the White Hart Lane turf. However, praise for ‘Arry is tempered ever so slightly by the fact that if one stares long enough into his eyes one can detect not the faint shape of a cockerel, but instead the unmistakeable silhouette of dollar signs. Rumour has it that in his previous incarnations he had no problem with jumping one ship if a more luxurious liner appeared on the horizon, and if the England job popped up tomorrow he would no doubt be off with a cheery “Toodle-pip”. Tottenham pay his wages, he does his job – loyalty does not really come into it. There is a dedicated band of “Harry Out” types amongst the Tottenham mob, and frankly they have been forced into silence for well over a year now, but at the first sign of trouble I’m sure they’ll pipe up again. Just a couple of weeks ago we drew at home to Sunderland – a week after beating Inter Milan – and the players were booed off, prompting a few piqued words from ‘Arry and, in response, some rumblings of discontent from one or two in the stands. Love or loathe the chap, he has certainly been doing a quite corking job at the Lane.

I may have tried to start a rumour that Spurs were set to approach Arsenal about the possibility of sharing the Emirates. After all, you'll be looking for a new home soon, and all the London papers say that sharing stadiums with rival football clubs makes financial sense. So: good idea, or a great idea? Also, I may have taken to calling Tottenham the Tater Totts, and I cannot be entirely sure why since I appear to be the only one doing so. I also couldn't say if it's meant to be condescending, endearing, or if it was just a throw away line that stuck in my head.

arse begnar
An Arsenal youth seen preparing for
a day at the cod liver oil factory.

Not a bad idea, sir. To bestow charity upon one’s less fortunate neighbours is, after all, a most edifying practice, and goodness knows that the poor lambs from down the road are in need of all the help they can get at the moemnt. Allowing them to share our abode, and bask in the glow of our rapidly-accumulating glories, ought to raise their spirits, as they seem to be dreadfully unhappy at the moment.

It's probably fair to say that Napoleon was a rather polarising figure, but then again most military despots are. In any case, he also appeared to have a ridiculously outsized opinion of himself and took rather well to conducting wars on multiple fronts. However, history is littered with figures like Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose ambitious Schlieffen Plan to overrun France, Belgium, and Luxembourg before turning east bogged down, began hemorrhaging men at an unsustainable rate, and led his country to a military state so weakened that even the Russian Revolution could not save him. So, 2010 Tottenham under Redknapp: Napoleon and famous victories at home and abroad, or Wilhelm with his best and brightest picked off on the road to crushing defeat?

By accident or design our glorious leader has managed to make a series of correct decisions, on a daily basis, stretching over around two consecutive years. Should he ever actually head up an army I would pity the front-line mob, whose instruction every week would undoubtedly be to attack, attack and attack some more, but it appears to work in London N17. In particular ‘Arry’s unique brand of “Attaaaaaaack” has livened up the Champions League group stages, traditional home to insomnia-curing caginess so dull and drab it inclines most armchair viewers to chew off their own arms, and I take some pride in the thought of bewildered continentals staring in awe at their telly-box as we send eight or nine men forward in search of goals, despite already being three-nil up, and leaving just the goalkeeper and one crocked and ageing centre-back to deal with the combined threat of, for example, Eto’o, Milito and Sneijder. That he has some fallibility as a tactician is hardly in doubt, given the number of times we have fallen behind, but the reliability of our approach – “Attaaaaaaack” – has papered over the cracks that frequently see us two or three goals adrift at half-time. If it does not last, and our heroes die in a hail of bullets, agonisingly short of our target (top four again), so be it. We’ve been awful for years and years, so it’s marvellous fun simply to enjoy the moment and lap up the good times while we have them. Better to lose 4-3 in a blaze of glory, than meander to a 1-0 defeat (which is the alternative translation of “Audere est Facere”)

attack
This may not go well for us.

How delightful a prospect for our lot come Sunday, but anyhow, is there any demand amongst Spurs supporters that the club should try to win something more than the Beer League Cup this decade, or are they all happy to go on winning English football's participation medal just to keep that record six decade silverware streak alive? I mean, the streak is nice and all, but that level of trophy aspiration doesn't seem very To Dare Is to Do, or whatever inspiring Latin phrase that bird on a basketball is supposed to be spouting.

Tsk tsk sir. Have you not been poring over every line of tabloid buffoonery churned out over the last couple of months? Recent events have seen to it that our heroes are now installed as nailed-on favourites for a Champions League and Premiership double. As well as this I quite fancy us for the Ashes, Superbowl and next summer’s Wimbledon, before moving on to replace the coalition, oust Ban-Ki Moon and ultimately force Zeus and his chums to step aside. The year ends in one you see (not sure if you Merseyside types have been paying attention to warbling Cockney hipsters Chas’n’Dave, but it’s traditionally lucky for Spurs when the year ends in one). Anything less than such a grand slam of every trophy ever made would be greeted with no end of quivering upper lips and letters of apoplexy to the broadsheets from the terrifying White Hart Lane faithful. The only thing that could possibly placate our frenzied rage would be another top-four finish, which to be honest is our primary goal we have this season.

While doing my thirty seconds due diligence to see what exactly is the talk of the talk amongst Lilywhites, I read that in light of Roy Hodgson doing his best to prove the LMA award is almost entirely reserved for second tier managers punching above their weight England may have changed tack and settled on Harry as their newest savior. The various mooted names to take over at Tottenham should he leave seem a veritable list of why bothers. You've got your painfully average Moyeseses and your "Doesn't operate well in a prototypical English system" Capellos, and then you've got people mentioning Roy Hodgson. Let's be clear that if you offered us a zone three ticket for him I would bite your proverbial hand off--or your real one, if that's what it took--but if you're looking to stay British why not just go for the best and bring Phil Brown back where he belongs? Magnificently striding Premier League technical areas, spray tan and mic leaving men weak in the knees and women weeping in awe--what's not to love? I know after one particularly intense session of him staring at me through the television screen--it was shortly after he'd shaved off his goatee--I found myself so shaken up I had to take a home pregnancy test, which was odd seeing as I fundamentally lack certain pieces of equipment commonly held as necessary if one is to become with child. Still, when my period came as expected two days later it put an end to my panic at a false positive caused by the massive release of hormones when his eyes connected with mine just. Like. That. What was I talking about?

harry's mullet
Arry says: Don't worry about tomorrow, kids.

Hmmm. If the blogging lark does not work out there will surely be a niche for you as Garth Crooks’ understudy. I presume that come 2012, when ‘Arry takes the England job, Spurs will quietly slip back down to mid-table mediocrity. Or perhaps we will slip back down kicking and screaming. Either way, a return to the more familiar surroundings of under-achievement, over-hype and managerial transience appears jolly dashed possible, if not probable. Managers who purvey the brand of slightly mental, all-action-no-plot attacking football we Spurs types crave are rather thin on the ground, so rather than concern ourselves with the problem of Summer 2012, I think our lot are just enjoying the joys of Winter 2010 as it unravels.

I heard you had a book. Assuming Bale hasn't knocked over all the world's forests with his left peg by the time people read this, and with it not beyond the realm of possibility that some of our readers have friends and relatives with Spurs leanings as this holiday season approaches, do you have any intention of giving it a brief mention or plug or general what-have-you before we call it a day?

Indeed. No doubt such lilywhite luminaries as Ricky Villa and Steve Perryman, Gary Mabbutt and Graham Roberts – and even David Ginola’s agent – to this day go a little misty-eyed at the recollection of the day they were interviewed by yours truly for “Spurs’ Cult Heroes”. As well as cheerily reminiscing over the Tottenham careers of 20 of the club’s most popular fans’ favourites (Greaves, Blanchflower, Hoddle, Gazza, Klinsmann and the like) the book also covers some of the most fabled traditions etched into Spurs’ history: dodgy mullets, exotic foreign arrivals, big European nights, questionable musical offerings, magic Wembley moments et cetera. Moreover, as I discovered while attending a summer World Cup barbeque at an acquaintance’s abode, the book is also sufficiently versatile to act as a handy door-stop. (This particular acquaintance is a Liverpool fan as it happens). Spurs’ Cult Heroes is available online at Amazon, WHSmith, Play etc as well as in Waterstones and the Spurs shop.

Well, there you have it, then. Perhaps if you all buy his book they'll let me live. At the very least do take the time to peruse the AANP blog--it doesn't seem a stretch to suggest that there are far worse places to find oneself trapped for a time and that it is the sort of blog whose quality is likely to help sway the otherwise neutral.