Monday's trip to Anfield made me feel like I was five years old and clutching a cushion, ready to duck for cover should a cyberman appear on our little black and white cathode ray TV. In fact it was possibly scarier than that, as a team of red-clad orcs set about the chins, shins, eyes and guts of our team. Super Scott was all that really stood between the Tottenham of today and the team we all know and love but are increasingly prone to forgetting about. The team that hardly ever gets anything from Anfield.
|Jay Spearing on his day off.|
Parker was magnificent, covering for Dawson and, somewhat surprisingly, more often covering for King whenever the reds broke through. A body on the line, relentless display of invulnerability - despite the attentions of the deeply unpleasant Suarez. But it wasn't all about super Scott. Dawson restored confidence with a performance which suggests his full match fitness is almost back, he may be slightly behind Kaboul and King at the moment but I don't think it will be for much longer. We also got to enjoy the rare sight of Krancjar putting in a covering tackle at left back and Kyle Walker flying past the other England right-back. Other than that, it was better not to look. Stoic, determined but far from pretty. Still, no pain no gain... and that was undoubtedly a point gained.
Wednesday's used to be a great football day for me, P.E. or a school match, Harry Carpenter on Sportsnight, my hot scoring streak in the Devon Wednesday League in the early 90's and, more recently, some Champions League thrills. This Wednesday was more than a little mixed in terms of footballing fortunes. Harry is cleared of defrauding the taxman (hallelujah) but, before I had a moment to digest this news and raise a smile of relief as I'm driving home across the ice from work, the news breaks on Five Live; Fabio has "resigned". Cue three days of non-stop media frenzy, anyone who is anyone knows that there's only going to be one outcome, it's as close to a forgone conclusion as you can get.
It's Harry for England.
We knew this would happen, we thought the trigger point would be our national side's exit from Euro 2012, not some time in the build up to the tournament because of toxic Terry, but to say that Harry's appointment by the F.A. is anything other inevitable is to have misread the entire situation completely. Daniel Levy will concede on this one, securing compensation that he can use as a sweetener for a new Tottenham manager, one with stature, one who can keep our best players together in the squad and improve on it, one who can win things - we all know he's been working on a plan B. Plan B is being brought forward. Plan B is almost Plan A.
|Time to come out from behind the sofa.|
In the meantime, we have the last 14 games of this season in the EPL plus a run in the Cup to enjoy. Let's enjoy a long and shiny goodbye to the manager who has turned a club blighted by a disastrous managerial sacking and calamitous subsequent appointment into one which could salvage a point from the jaws of certain defeat at Arsenal and one which illuminated the Champions League in a way that Manchester City can still only dream of. It's been mostly marvellous. It's time for a long and glorious goodbye to Harry Redknapp, I'll start mine with a simple thank you. We need to make a noise at home today and at every subsequent game, and help lift the team to something special in May.
In amongst all of this Harry-mania, we can only hope that a football match might break out. Newcastle are team whose rejuvenation under Pardew is almost as remarkable as our transformation under Redknapp. Solid, hard to beat, great 'keeper, a blend of steel and creativity in central midfield, plenty of firepower and a slightly younger version of Redknapp at the helm. If Newcastle had our flanks they'd be above Manchester United, but we should edge them at home.
Rafa can't play on his birthday, so Defoe should come in with a fit-again Lennon and we have the prospect of a 4-4-2, which I still think is our best shape at home. Adebayor is struggling to make an impression on his own, Bale's form has covered for a lack of impact up front and so two strikers to occupy a Newcastle defence that has five clean sheets from the last nine matches would make sense. Games against Newcastle are never easy and this one will be tight and, to wear out another cliche, the first goal will be crucial.
A glance at the fixture list and Newcastle at home looks like a great opportunity to make up ground on the teams above us and increase the gap on our London rivals, the Manchester's both have difficult fixtures this weekend (provided Villa turn up) and Arsenal and Chelsea have lose-able away trips to Sunderland and Everton respectively.
Opportunity knocks again, let's sing our way to success, let's do it for Harry - the next three months might be as good as it ever gets for him.