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FA Carling Premiership, 26/12/99
Tottenham Hotspur
The best place to start
By Matt Rowson

OK, I'm bloody with you.

Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's been pounding us with increasing weight since September 18th. But a game like this doesn't take any effort, doesn't take any getting motivated for. Not even after however many defeats, not even at midday on Boxing Day with no trains to London from Essex until the next day. Oh no.

Tottenham are bastards, and this is the sort of team we got promoted to play. So very very top flight and so very very not going to get anywhere near the top of the division for years. If we're going to start bloodying noses again, then I can't think of a better place to start.

After ten years out of the top flight, last season's FA Cup tie reminded us just how bloody atrocious the highest division has become in our absence. Things like fans not bloody singing that we've become all too used to now, were first on show to us at White Hart Lane at the beginning of the year.

Things like David Ginola. A wonderfully talented footballer. And, in the words of my mum, "a complete tart". My mum never says words like "tart". How much does he sum up the nonsense that is the Premiership? How many times does he have to tumble over a challenge (gracefully, natch) before pig-ignorant commentators cease their supercilious disdain of the opposing fans baying for him to be strung up by his onions? How much does he deserve to be portrayed on a diving board with "wanker" written on his forehead, as has recently been mooted by an acquaintance of mine? (Childish? Of course. Funny? Oh yes.)

Take the time to check out the official website, it's hilarious, but probably as much motivation as anyone needs to kick this stinking relic of a football club up the arse. The "Media Monitor", a favourite of last season... eleven months on you can still read David Pleat systematically denying that Tottenham are signing any of the names conjectured in the press. No information, just outraged, pompous denial of rumours. So that's what he's employed for.

You can also click on a link promising information on Spurs' player-of-the-year poll... but instead of information on how to post a vote (or better still, an on-line means of voting) the Tottenham customer is presented with a list of premium rate phone numbers upon which to register their view. Andy Sinton is 09068 101538, it's almost worth rigging the vote for a laugh. But not at 60p/minute.

Why does the boring tosser that can be depended upon to ring 606 and bleat about "wanting to see quality" and "wanting to spend serious money" and "we should be a big club" always support Spurs? (NB: we have such individuals as well...the intellectuals who started the "chequebook out Taylor" chant in his absence on Saturday, the moron ex-season ticket holder. But they don't all ring 606.)

This is the club, of course, who spent 4.5million on Chris Armstrong...a good 1.5m more than cost our entire squad. (This isn't serious money of course, it's bloody hilarious.) This is the only club where a player (Justin Edinburgh) can be harangued and bitched at for ten years before seamlessly becoming a folk hero for putting up with Chas'n'Dave in the dressing room for that long.

This is the club managed by George Graham, the referee's friend, the man who brought the shocking Steffen Freund ("Robbie Savage's uncle" - Unofficial site) to English football.

This is the club that Venables managed. That the worm Lineker played for. That subjected us to that semi-final defeat at Villa Park. That loaned us Danny Hill. That treats its fans with about as much respect as a night of lager and curry treats your toilet bowl. That gave us "Ossie's Dream".

This is, in every respect, a Premiership club.

This is the first game of the rest of the season.

Come on!