"het zingen met de
is easy to say before a few beers in Eindhoven ... ďsinging with the
enemyĒ to the rest of us is bound to be easier. Getting a
business trip arranged to a site within thirty minutes of Tilburg is
one thing. Having your ticket for the match paid for by a
colleague is another. Meeting the Spurs Chairman and Sporting
Director at the airport and blagging autographs was just an added
They couldnít possibly have recalled my name from
the snotty letter I sent them after the public execution of Martin
Jol last year could they ? They didnít reply then and were
pleasant enough so probably not. Going back to Martin Jol, I
have to say that as one of his biggest fans and supporters as a
team, we donít seem to miss him and things are moving along quite
nicely, but then again Iím getting ahead of myself.
I was sat level
with the six yard line, opposite our travelling fans. All
credit to the noise in the stadium, the locals were nervous and not
only because of the atmosphere in some areas outside the ground.
Wearing no ďcoloursĒ and walking in with a stream of PSV fans, I
have to say that some of the Tottenham fans were a scary bunch and
we walked through at least one ďambushĒ point or quickly selected
area to ďF*******g stick it to ĎemĒ. Let's not go there, nasty
and scary, enough said. As bad as anything Iíve seen at the
Lane and while Dutch football can be as bad as or worse than English
at its worst, it was not a good way to start the evening.
What is it with
chips and mayonnaise ? I know that we Brits donít do foreign
food well, but the wagons outside the ground were doing a roaring
trade and I just donít get that. Hang on, think back, us Brits
love foreign food, what else would we eat after a night on the beer
? Curry, Kebab, Chinese, Pizza Ė hang on, no, who fancies
roast beef and Yorkshires or liver and onions ?
Early in the ENIC
reign, they travelled to PSV on a ďfact findingĒ mission to explore
the structure, youth policy etc, which lead to the ill-fated and
short term recruitment of Frank Arnesen. One can only hope
that the methods of building a stadium in a built up urban area were
looked at as well. While the travel links put our piece of
North London to shame, a compact, well built, albeit somewhat
soulless, concrete stadium is a noticeable difference to White Hart
Lane. Think the New Delhi that the South Coast Big Club built
with steeper seating and you are there. The PSV fans were
quiet and nervous much the same as Iíve been at the Lane, they were
being outplayed for vast parts of the game and they knew it.
Off the pitch, we were blessed with heating by the row of electric
heaters above the seats. Well built or not, the place must have a
carbon footprint the size of Staines.
Iím no linguist at
all and to me, however it is spoken, Dutch sounds like a mouthful of
wet barbed wire, but the pre match build up seemed on a par with
anything in the UK. Add the compact stadium, a pitch very
close to the fans and we could well have been at home. That
thought makes it a little hard to understand the performance of some
of the players. Keane seems to be on a mission to moan at half
the Western hemisphere before he is 30 and Jenas has the air of a
superstar in his approach ... "Iíll keep doing it no matter how many
times it goes wrong, it will work one time and Iíll dine out on it
for years." Decision making is a key weakness in his game,
short pass or long, heíll make the wrong pick. See four
penalties blasted past a good shot stopper; "Iíll side foot it and
place it at chest height."
Season over, the
remaining games are auditions for Tottenham Hotspurís next season;
the season, you know, the one weíve been promised for years.
Maybe Iím being cynical and we would have taken this last October,
but it could have been oh so much more. If the departure of
Jol had been better managed a better UEFA placing would have eased
this part of the season. But spilt milk is spilt milk ... and
chips should never be served with mayonnaise. If weíre not
having that, what will the special Juan serve up next season ?
European football and a willingness to pay wages (note to Mr Levy,
that £50 which I know you will add to my season ticket had better be
better spent this summer than last ...) and the name of Ramos should
attract a few names. What are we looking at, Robinson seems to
still be shell shocked and will at least see some serious
competition; the shocking Cut-In-Lee; the loaned players have no way
back and so another centre back, something in midfield and two
strikers seems to be the order of the day. Darren Bent sold
for whatever we can get - rumour mill is that the full £16 million
has yet to be paid and £6 million is left based on goals and
appearances. If the Berbatov stories start again, Iíll go with
the "better to have loved and lost", so long as we lose him for £35
million and somebody helps our Sporting Director spend it.
I canít help but
feel a disappointment on the night; PSV were beaten and we blew it.
As for the
Phillips Stadium and PSV fans, I canít understand a bloody word they
say, but prick them do they not bleed, score do they not cheer, and
play well, do they not applaud, much the same as us.
They just eat
chips and mayonnaise.
What is that all
about Ö ?