by • August 13, 2017 • Match reportsComments (13)1527

I had planned on holding off writing this match report until Monday morning which would’ve given me the time to have had a decent night’s sleep, would’ve permitted the alcohol to have worn off and would’ve probably given me the opportunity to reflect on the proceedings in a more rational and mature manner.

Fuck that though.

Dele Alli’s a massive bastard who deserves to have his face removed with an envelope opener, Harry Kane’s jaw is a physical anomaly that will baffle archaeologists thousands of years from now and Moussa Sissoko is a non-entity who deserves to live an eternally unfulfilling and miserable life.
Pre-kick off my optimism levels were up to Defcon 1* and, although I may be getting all misty-eyed and nostalgic here due to the booze and my general faith in the goodness of my fellow man, the lads I spent the day with seemed similarly enthused as to our chances of getting something from Spurs. Having the fortune/misfortune (delete as appropriate to you) of living and working in London with several Spurs fans I got the impression from them that their team was there for the taking. A section of the support was annoyed that they hadn’t gone out and strengthened and quite a few were very upset with Danny Rose’s comments only a few days before the start of the season.

Arriving at the stadium was a treat. The flags looked stunning and the atmosphere seemed to be one of hope and relief. Finally, after the longest pre-season ever recorded since records began, footbaaaal was back and equilibrium was restored to people’s weekends.

The team selection, in my opinion, was bang on. Seeing Gayle named in the starting 11 was a real moment of joy. The first few minutes saw us playing with a bit of urgency but the game then quickly settled in to the pattern that it was always going to follow with Spurs dominating possession but being contained and not looking particularly threatening. Dummett went off with a hamstring injury after 7 minutes, Lascelles came on and Clark went to LB. The reshuffle didn’t change the pattern of play and I think the general feeling was that the team was doing what Rafa had asked of them. Lejeune looked assured, calm and very composed. One interception in particular, bringing the ball down and playing it out to feet, had me so excited that my voice regressed to pre-pubescence.

And then in the 35th minute Kane clobbered him. As I write this I’m convinced it was a two-footed tackle which was so severe and violent it ought to lead to Kane doing a 3 year stretch in Durham, only surviving daily beatings by hiding fellow prisoners’ contraband in his massive underbite. However, the ref gave him a yellow card, which is dead nice and all that, but Flo-Jeu went off to be replaced by Mbemba and our back 4 was reshuffled again. Early reports indicate that Wor Flo might have ligament damage, the thought of which is making me want to punch myself in the face on this train. I hope I’m wrong so I’ll save the self-flagellation for now. The rest of the first half played itself out and there was a general feeling at half-time that, aye, we could nick this. Atsu looked dangerous and we’d managed to restrict Spurs to a couple of Eriksen long range efforts despite their dominance of possession.

And then Shelvey got sent off for being a stupid manchild. We had the free-kick and Jonjo reacted to the fact that Alli pushed the ball away. Now, don’t get me wrong, Alli is up there with Mugabe, Trump, Erdogan and that Hungarian Prime Minister in terms of how much of an absolute bastard he is but Shelvey shouldn’t have done what he did. The fact that he did do it, and was sent off for it, led to Micky of the TF Podcast stating that as a minimum Shelvey might as well have damaged Alli. A Spurs supporting mate texted the same thing. I’m no advocate of violence but I can see the logic.

Spurs finished second last season and absolutely battered teams towards the end of it. With Shelvey going off I think the consensus changed from ‘we could nick this’ to ‘a 0-0 draw would be a good result’. The inevitable happened and Alli scored. It was a shit goal and boring move and, like Spurs’ second goal requires ZERO comment.
We created a couple of decent chances. Atsu testing Lloris and Clark (who looked comfortable at LB) going close. However, I think we all knew that at 1 down with only 10 men we were probably done which is a real shame as we had competed up to that point and, even after Shelvey’s red card, the team didn’t look deflated or defeated. Under any of our 3 previous managers that would’ve been a 4-0 job.

The full-time whistle went. I didn’t sense any negative vibes where I was standing. There were certainly reasons to be positive. Atsu had a cracking game, Lejeune looked good until Kane attempted to murder him, Merino had some good touches when he came on and, for me, the revelation was Manquillo. He’s obviously ridiculously poor because that’s what SAFC fans have told us but he looked assured, passed and moved intelligently, and put in tackles. There’s potential there, no doubt. The singing section was boisterous and incessant and hopefully it’ll grow and grow and impact positively on the rest of the stadium as the season progresses.

We all know that Rafa as a minimum wants a striker and a keeper before the window closes and, should he get who he wants, there’s no reason for us not to think we’ll be alright this season. However, as I write this I’ve not yet seen the full Ashley interview so all this optimism may have completely disappeared by the time this is published and I’ll be lying foetal on the decking in the back garden, crying. For now though Huddersfield and West Ham can’t come quick enough.

NUFC man of the match – Manquillo (closely followed by Hayden).

Spurs man of the match – don’t care as they’re harbouring war criminals.

*Defcon 1 – The DEFCON scale uses a minimum of 5 (for normal peacetime status) and a maximum of 1 (for situations of global severity, like nuclear war). Using this scale it’s clear I was very excited.

Norman Riley @likethegoat

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  1. Mike says:

    Is it me or was that total crap?? What were the tactics 1st half just the contain spurs let them play pass the ball to feet and we just sit back? They played us off the park. Don’t get me started on the corners ….short corners…dross. a captain sent of for total stupidity . Rest of team gave up. Not good enough. Rafa if u have pride go and tell that greedy fat basket to shove it. Leave with our blessing. I’m putting money on that ars kisser pard being back by xmas

  2. And there we have the result of Mr Ashley’s ambition for our club. Yes it is just one game and I admire all those fans who still want to back the team and give their support (well some of them!). But for many of us this just vindicates what we say about an Ashley-owned NUFC. He is happy to make some money, promote Sports Direct and count on 50,000 Geordies to turn up come what may. He is basically abusing the support and pretends in some way he is doing us a favour. It is not the fans. It is not a lack of vocal backing.It is not unrealistic expectations.It is an owner who does not care one jot about the club, the region or the fans (or Rafa!) He is poison and until he is gone-nothing changes. I am sure regular readers will know this is not my view formed after one game but after years of neglect and wilful destruction by Ashley. Again I say, give us any other owner, and I mean any, and I would take whatever that brings rather than the coma of a club that we have become. One game in and we all know that its another year of what could and should be for our once proud club. We needed to fight him and fight hard until we won. We declined that fight and we now pay the price for that.

    • john rush says:

      Peter i cant believe why some of our fans time and time again fall for the ashley has changed routine then do a double take when he fails to back the manager. This close season has been classic, promise this then rumours of a takeover appear, new trusted confidant appears on the scene then as the man once said its not like the brochure. And yet i was out last night discussing ashleys sky interview when i suggested it was a pr stunt and nothing would change from the last ten years two of our crew whose opinions i respect were still saying give him a chance and see what he said in the interview

  3. Andy says:

    No surprise, shelvey was a liability, long road ahead

  4. Bob says:

    The fact that Alli is a prick has been voiced by so many people it must be true. Unfortunately, Shelvey is a bigger prick, complain to ref that Alli should be booked for holding the ball and throwing it away, call him a prick and move on, but if your going to stand on his foot then do it properly. Alli was play acting a bit throughout the game and should have at least had a yellow card for his agressive response to being tackled by Hayden or Lascelles not sure which. Ref allowed him to continue for some reason and allowed Kane to get away with his tackle on Lejune. Shelvey couldn’t or wasn’t allowed to get into the game and had no answer to it so he got frustrated and let everyone down. An apology isn’t enough. Merino did more in the short time he was on cos he was moving and finding space – he may turn out to be a good signing. Atsu was our motm for me. No justice for us here just as in the championship. We’re obviously not in the A lister category with pundits and referees alike.

    • Delusional Jawdee says:

      Uncle Fester has the movement and speed of a wheely bin and didn’t get a kick, that’s why he was frustrated. Rafa should never have given him the armband, big mistake.

  5. john rush says:

    Good old school report. I was beginning to think that i was the only one who thought delle alli is a dispicable nerk and when i was a lad we were told if you were going to get sent off take the opponent out as well. Today brought back why i hate the premier league cheats prosper and then get praised , the southern press is bigging alli up for keeping his cool. Typical star struck refereeing from marriner in my opinioni if mitrovic done the same tackle on a spurs player as kane on lejeune he would have got a red card and if lascelles had reacted to an alli tackle as alli did to lascelles he would have got a card or worse. All i have heard sonce the rnd of the gsme is our fans slagging off shelvey, yes he was stupid but howay man we gave mr alli an easy tide after the incident, no point in booing him when he is going off. In the old days he would have had a torrent of spite and abuse from a crowd half the size

    • Mark says:

      You can’t comment that you should injure a fellow player in a sending off incident and then whinge about cheats prospering. Shelvey is a violent idiot and deserves a long ban.

  6. SteveP says:

    Can’t say I noticed any real difference in atmosphere or singing to any other game in the last 4 years.

  7. James Butler says:

    I don’t understand the criticism of Ali or Kane? If it had been our players we’d not be calling them out for it? We’d also take them both in a heart beat? Just seem’s like a childish match report to me. It’s a shame.

    • Steven P says:

      I entirely agree with your sentiments. I usually enjoy the TF match reviews, but this one was so one sided it lost credibility. Maybe the author should have waited until the Monday before writing it as planned.

      Generally it feels like some of the bad feelings borne out of the frustration of the management of the club are beginning to creep in. I think that’s understandable. Ashley’s interview/promo piece with Sky made my blood boil. He’s like a politician, trying to create a certain narrative even when it bares almost no resemblance to reality.

      No one in there right mind expects us to be up with Man City, Man U and Chelsea. But we do have a sufficient revenue to enable us to compete in the transfer market with the likes of Southampton, Bournemouth and West Ham and we are not.

  8. Delusional Jawdee says:

    Spuds didn’t need to shift out of 2nd gear.