Thursday, 4 February 2010

(something you're aiming for) you're having a laugh

The snow started at about 4pm as I was driving home from work. By 5.30 it was quite thick on the ground and we knew that it'd be an effort getting to Elland Road. Accidents and scared drivers made it a painful approach but we managed to dump the car in a car tyre sales place in a gloomy industrial estate in Leeds. At this stage everyone seemed pretty friendly and jolly but, from what I've read this morning, they weren't feeling quite as jolly after the game and decided to 'hang around' in a menacing way outside the away end, and this was why the police kept us in for a full 45 minutes after the end of the game. The walk back to the car was a little more edgy with very brave Leeds fans giving us the throat cutting sign from behind the glass of the pubs they were in.

They were in a no lose situation as far as I could see. They did themselves credit on the pitch and the vast majority did the same from the stands though the talk this morning on forums like 606 suggesting the Spurs fans were quiet is embarrassing sour grapes I think. My ears and sore throat attest to amount of noise we were making and everyone who saw it on TV said that noise from both sets of fans was great.

The result was right, the quality difference was also about right for the gap in league positions but the once mighty Leeds made it hard work by running their socks off for a good 150 of the 180 minutes that the tie spread over. Rightly so too. This is what makes the FA cup so good. No doubt we'll take a fall at some point in the future to lower league opposition (later rather than sooner and PLEASE not to Bolton) but last night showed some of the quality in depth 'top' clubs are supposed to have. Without Palacios, Assou-Akotto, Lennon, King, Woodgate and (thank God) Keane we dominated possession and as Harry rightly said, should have scored 6 or more. It wouldn't be Spurs if they didn't make you wince and clench though and, sure enough, with a little help from a myopic Linesman, Leeds got back into the game on half time after Defoe got the first of his hat-trick with a bit of a lucky chip from all of 5 yards.

Second half was great- Spurs fans singing 'Oh when the Spurs....' in that slow, almost choir-like way that seems to irritate opposition fans; Leeds fans singing 'We all stand together...' or some such (I think it's their version of that Paul McCartney frog song though I need to listen more carefully next time) then a second goal from Defoe that helped us all unclench for a bit. They never really threatened second half and some players really stepped up the mark. Apart from Defoe, whose third goal at the end made up for a miss from a similar situation in the first half, notables were David Bently and Gareth Bale. Both played well, especially in the second half and the more they used the space on the wings, the more Leeds look unable to cope.

I am so glad they dumped out the other United and will watch with interest their results over the next few weeks in the fizzy pop league. All joshing aside, they are too big a club to be languishing down there in the 3rd division. When you look at the attendance Wigan got on Tuesday night for their FA cup game it makes it all seem topsy turvey.

I won't be going to the Bolton game being as it is on Valentines day. And it's in Bolton. It's interesting that it was already earmarked for a live TV coverage- just shows that the TV people were really hoping for another fairy tale. Even though Leeds blokes have a habit of calling one another 'love', there won't be any fairy tales at Elland road for at least another season.

ps. I only took one of these pictures.

me, the boy and S gave the following ratings to the Spurs players (we would have done Leeds too but couldn't rememeber any of their names apart from Beckford). I think these are what we said but it was late and I was driving in rotten conditions , drunk from euphoria and over-singing.

Gomez 6, Bale 8, Bassong 6, Dawson 7, Corluka 7, Huddlestone 7, Jenas 5, Kranjar 6, Bentley 7.5, Crouch 7, Defoe 9.


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