After a somewhat insalubrious night visiting a number of London's
finest Public Houses, trip to Loftus Road was just what I didn't want
Having decided that it would
be a good game to sell this wonderful Publication at, I left home at
11:45. On meeting my
partner in crime at Mile End, it's a Short trip on the Central line, but
my head had already begun telling me that it would rather be anywhere
else than here today". The talk on the train was of the good sales
(Thanks to everyone who bought it), the good review in “Blue For
You” (Cheers lads) and the forthcoming game - would Gascoigne play?
Some of the papers were assured of exclusive news that he was
definitely out. My
initial worry was that last year against QPR our midfield was
"non-existent” and this year if Gascoigne was out we could well
be in for more of the same. The
other thing would be to see how well (or, how badly) Paul Stewart
played. Last year, whilst
warming up as a substitute, he had to put up with a barrage of abuse
from a section of the Spurs fans in the Paddock.
This appeared to spur him on to some of his best play,
unfortunately this season has seen him fall back to some of his worst.
I have always tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but
recently even my patience has started to wear thin.
Arriving at White City we
began to sell immediately. The
sales were slow and ticket touts outnumbered potential customers, I
haven’t seen that many in ages.
My hangover got better the more Lucozade I drunk and the more
sales we made. My
rehabilitation was helped by the incredible sense of humour possessed by
West London folk. As
the wind howled and we desperately tried to get people to part with
their fifty pence pieces, an innocent man appeared walking his dog.
A man walking the other way stopped him in his tracks and
enquired, "What is that dog?"
To which the owner bewilderingly replied, “It’s a black Labrador”.
The other man smiled and with his inquisitive mind satisfied carried on
walking, at which point we collapsed into fits of hysterics and the dog
owner left undoubtedly thinking "what a prat!”
we prepared to go to the game, a young Policeman sheepishly approached.
Wary of the problems experienced at White Hart Lane recently I
wondered what was to happen next, when all of a sudden he brandished a
50p. On handing over
Issue No. 5, he inquired "Have you seen the Screws?" For
a second I thought this may have been an in-house police football
fanzine, then realising he meant the Spurs Screws, I pointed him in the
general direction of the Springbok Pub.
On arriving at "Rangers Stadium" - Why don't they just
call it Loftus Road? – I remembered what an awful little ground it is.
The toilet facilities are diabolical, and trying to get a space on the
terrace (let alone one with a good view) is impossible. We finally got
in, in time to see the warm-up.
Gascoigne was testing Erik, and the crowd began to taunt him by
singing "You'll never beat the Viking."
With every Save the fans roared, and Gazza loved it, playing up
to the crowd at every opportunity.
I was simply pleased to see that the gutter press had got it
wrong, once again !
Whilst standing there the four members of that terribly trendy,
but absolutely brilliant band Lush, walked past (What do you mean who
are they ? They're the one's who advertise in The Spur !!). With
nerves tingling I walked up to Miki and thrust a copy of MEHSTG in her
hand, mumbling something about hoping she liked it.
I walked away. I'll never wash my hands again!!!
the game started the wind and the rain picked up, so the tempo of the
game fitted perfectly. Rangers
pressed us on a number of occasions but fortunately Mabbutt and Sedgley
were once again in excellent form.
They have definitely played a major role in our improved form
this year. Gazza had
a tough time and was eventually booked for saying a word too many to the
ref. It's so
frustrating to see this happen, the pressure that has been placed on him
has only helped to create a player unable to control his own temperament
when the heat is on. What
makes it more frustrating is that in this game, unlike against Villa,
Gazza did so much work - he was everywhere and was always involved.
Some would say he tries too hard and gets carried away, causing
even more trouble for himself, but this is the Gascoigne we know, love
and desperately need in what I still consider to be a lightweight
midfield. Our best
chance of the first half came from a near own goal by Paul Parker, but
unfortunately for us Tony Roberts, the young QPR keeper, was using this
game as an opportunity to show just how good he can be.
Paul Walsh had an excellent shot go just over the bar after a
lovely turn on the edge of the box, whilst at the other end Erik made a
great save from Ray Wilkins after our defence had left him all alone on
The second-half went more Spurs way, but it was real
"end to end stuff" (sorry about the cliché).
Unfortunately, I never thought we were going to score, the more
the game went on, the more it looked like it would end nil -nil, however
hard we tried the ball would not go in.
As the game wound its way to the expected conclusion, Samways and
Thomas came on - two of my least favourite players, but what do you
know? As if to prove a point, in the few minutes they were on
they helped quicken the pace even more and increased the strength of the
Spurs attack. There was an excellent move on the right involving
Gascoigne, Samways and Mitch, which resulted in a Paul Allen cross which
curved towards goal and almost caught Roberts out, but in the end
bounced harmlessly off the crossbar for a goal kick.
All in all it was a good game, although Stewart once again failed
to impress (he can't jump for a ball to save his life?) and playing
without a right back meant that Allen and Mabbutt were doing a hell of a
lot of work covering that area of the pitch, but by the end of the game
our goal had stayed intact for 360 minutes of football away from White
Hart Lane. A quite
remarkable feat for a Spurs side and one we should be very pleased with.
The Midfield General ---