FA chairman David Bernstein was at the fifth round Cup tie to watch his future employee seal the deal on the England job. And didn’t ‘Arry do well.
The anointed one obviously decided that the way to cement the position was to mimic those that have gone in the past. So against the the domestic equivalent of Andorra or Macedonia Spurs struggled just like England do against such opposition with such regularity.
Added to that there was the change of formation, going to 5-3-2 so McClownish versus Croatia, and then the ultimate by channelling the spirit of Graham Taylor as the ball was aimed high in the sky. Ah that was the players fault not ‘Arry’s they took that decisions themselves. Players not doing what they’re told, perfect for the England job. While others running about headless chicken style, doing what they want offering nothing and giving even less, ah visions of Gerrard.
So with a number of the team injured or ill, Benny, Modric, Adebayor and van der Vaart missing here and maybe even missing the next league game, things were somewhat limited though I’m sure that Modric – who we kept being told Spurs missed the most – wouldn’t have made much of a difference in the game by straining his neck back to watch the ball fly over his head.
And that seems to be the rub of it all, on a bobbly pitch against a side of rough and ready clodhoppers, the highest placed side left in the competition decided to play down to the lowest placed team in the competition. Instead of going out and playing like Spurs they went out and tried to be Stevenage. Big fellas at the back and long hoofs up the park.
Tight ground so no wingers but wing-backs, one which never got forward and the other had so much of the ball but little end product. Now if Bale had started left and Lennon right, would it have been worse? Could it have been worse. Now Kranjcar isn’t a Modric like-for-like against top sides but this was third division (in old money). Why Parker and Livermore? The latter again outshining the golden boy former, who minced about far too much and then when he actually did something that involved going forward happened to be in just the right position to be offside when Saha’s bundling attempt hit him on the goal line.
Added to all this is the fact it’s being broadcast on ITV. And as we all know everything turns to crap on ITV. So in between the sideline interviews with the Stevenage manager (???) we get the usual guff about a classic F.A. Cup tie “terrifically contested”. As the commentators talked it up treating the watching public as idiots. Like the sideline interview crap this another example the Americanisation of sports broadcasting. No negatives. Nothing can be called what it is if it’s crap. Can’t imagine what foreign broadcasters were saying but I bet they weren’t so glowing in Spanish or Dutch.
Stevenage weren’t terrific, they were just third division crap they only survived because Spurs were third division crap as well.
Back at The Lane, proper team out – if available – proper pitch things will be different. But with these injuries could have done without a replay. Two really poor performances against lower league opposition, Bolton at home in the quarters. Name on the Cup and ‘Arry for England?
Stevenage Borough 0 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur