the empty inside

27.2.2002

Coming home from Cardiff, all we heard on the radio was about the great stadium and how terrible it was that Glenn Hoddle hadn't gone to collect his loser's medal and that the Spurs fans had left without waiting for the ceremony.

For a start, the Stadium wasn't all that it had been cracked up to be.  The roof appeared to deaden the atmosphere, so that you couldn't even hear what the Spurs fans in the next section were singing, let alone the ones at the other end of the stadium, who were jumping up and down in apparent silence !!  I don't know if the roof being closed had any effect on the pitch, which seemed very slick. Maybe they had to water it to get it to play something near normally, but the way that Sherwood and Anderton kept slipping over, it must have been cutting up pretty badly.  Having had an indoors international and a rugby match on it within the preceding ten days, it might not have been in top notch condition anyway.

The view from behind the goal was not brilliant and I understand that some people who had 60 seats were not too impressed with their seats either.  I wonder what the best seats actually were ?  The leg-room was better than at most stadia, but the toilets left me longing for the ones running with urine at Wembley as there were not enough and they were right at one end of the stand.  

Having said that, it is nicely located and getting around town was simple and there were plenty of people around to offer directions and help.  Closing the town centre was a good idea and there was so much to do within an easy walk of the ground, unlike Wembley (unless you are interested in DIY !!).  The pubs were packed out because of the rain, but there was no trouble as far as I saw and getting away was not too bad for us, although some people did get snarled up in traffic.

At the end of the game (although it might still be going on as Graham Poll didn't seem to realise he had blown for time), most Spurs fans wanted to make their way home.  Having been stuck on the motorway getting there, the prospect of a repeat was not welcomed on the journey home, so people made their way back.  Wembley is different as most fans lived within reasonable reach, so it didn't matter about staying on as we did in 1987.  When you are a long way from home, perhaps with the prospect of having to go to work the next day, you just want to get home.  That's one by-product of having a Sunday match.  We even saw some Blackburn supporters heading for the station as we came out, so even they must have thought beating the traffic was better than seeing their team pick up their first trophy in 74 years.

We heard that it was bad form that Hoddle hadn't gone up to get his medal with the rest of the Spurs players and that most neutrals (mostly Gooners, SCBC fans and an Evertonian) thought that he must have done something terrible in a previous life to have suffered this defeat (Ha Ha).  It appears today that he didn't know that managers picked up medals for the game and that was why he didn't go up and get on.  He was also lambasted for not comforting his players after the game, but he was probably as gutted as the rest of us.  Being a fan, player and manager, Glenn must have been desperate to win something for the club.  The empty feeling inside will have hurt him, but on the day, Spurs didn't do it.  Blackburn did and that is why they went home with the Cup.

His view that we were denied a penalty was one that some callers used as a means for him to cover up the inadequacies of the team on the day.  Indeed, Oliver Holt, not a Hoddle fan, wrote in the Times on Monday about how Hoddle was arrogant and unable to accept defeat gracefully.  As a manager, he has to do that, but as a person who has a burning desire to do well for the club, like the fans, he probably finds it hard to accept that Tottenham have come back from Cardiff empty handed.  That is what being a fan is all about.  Perhaps broadcasters and journalists find this hard to understand, but as they must follow clubs, they should be more sympathetic to the feelings of the supporters.  Some will win and go home happy, others will not.

With a long day out behind us, Tottenham fans have much to look forward to in the future.  Before Holt's assertion that Spurs will not win anything under Hoddle, he should look at the way we have played this season and the players who are at the club.  There is still some parts of the squad to iron out, but there are good players there and more to come, so it just depends on when rather than if.  The five year plan continues and there could be a wait until Glenn achieves what he wants, but there will be some good times on the way, as well as some bad times.

What counts is this is Tottenham.  We never do things the easy way.  But it is about Glory.  And while we have lost the short term success of the Worthington Cup, that must be our long term aim.

I for one am happy to see this ride through.

Sterling Performance

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