The Game is The Game

March 12, 2011 — by John Lally1

The Baltimore Waterway
So that's where you keep the sugar

**WARNING** – This article – teased a long time ago here – contains spoilers for all 5 seasons of The Wire. If you haven’t watched The Wire yet, go to; buy the complete set, watch all 60 hours, then read this. You’ll thank me for it (probably more for having seen The Wire than for this article, but still).

Non-Spurs Fan: “If you know they’re going to end up disappointing and frustrating you, why do you keep supporting them?

Me: “Got to. This Tottenham, man

As my wife would attest, I have a special way of watching Tottenham’s games – leaned forward, literally on the edge of my seat, with a nervous look on my face and the occasional nail being bitten – similar to how I used to sit in  the Paxton Road end of White Hart Lane, now transferred to our sofa in Brooklyn.  The only other thing that has brought me to this viewing position, this physical display of angst, nervousness and sense of impending doom, was the greatest television show ever made, The Wire.

Each season of The Wire is set up very much like one for Tottenham Hotspur: first you have to get used to a new cast of characters and squad members; the story of the season then unfolds with various highs and lows; the penulitmate act brings some type of heartbreak and you then lick your wounds, wrap up and look to see where it will go next year.

Ever Expanding/Changing Cast

The Wire was unique in the way it approached it’s story telling with such a large number of characters – introducing many new ones through the years and trusting that the audience would keep up. In the same way, many a time I’d arrive at White Hart Lane one January and have to try and figure out who the Japanese player wearing number 4 in our midfield was (turns out it was Kazuyuki Toda…no, I have no idea what happened to him either).   Take a look at the major characters introduced through the five years of The Wire (listed as when they became involved in the plots not based on first appearance, cf. Prop Joe is in Season 1 but his significance becomes more apparent from Season 3 onwards), and the players who signed for Tottenham in that same time period (2002-2008)

Tottenham: (2002) Redknapp, Acimovic, Blondel, Ricketts, Hirschfield, Keane. (2003) Toda, Postiga, Zamora, Mabizela, Kanoute, Dalmat, Konchesky. (2004) Brown, Defoe, Robinson, Fulop, Defendi, Mendes, Sean Davis, Leigh Mills, Reto Ziegler, Erik Edman, Timothee Atouba, Naybet, Edson Silva, Pamarot, Carrick, Davenport.  (2005) Mido, Hallfredsson, El Hamadaoui, Radek Cerny, Dawson, Andy Reid, Stalteri, Lennon, Huddlestone, Tainio, Routledge, Young-Pyo Lee, Rasiak, Jenas, Davids.  (2006) Danny Murphy, Ghaly, Berbatov, Assou-Ekotto, Zakora, Dervitte, Malbranque, Chimbonda. (2007) Rocha, Alnwick, Bale, Taarabt, Bent, Kaboul, Rose, Boateng, Gunter. (2008) Woodgate, Hutton, Gilberto, Modric, Dos Santos, Gomes, Bostock, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko, Corluka.


Will the real Tottenham Hotspur please stand up…

August 18, 2010 — by John Lally1

I repeat…Will the real Tottenham Hostpur please stand up. We’re going to have a problem here…

There’s the obvious question of which one the “real” reflection of Spurs is: the fantastic, everything-but-the-win game against Manchester City on Saturday to start the Premier League season; or the tepid, inept, throwaway performance against Young Boys of Berne in the Champions League playoff last night.  But there’s also the more long term view.

For 20 years, we’ve been the “nearly” team. The team that goes 3-0 up to Manchester United at half time and loses 5-3 (and proving lightning can strike twice, followed that up with this 2004 FA Cup performance The team that throws away a season-long stay in 4th place on the last day of the season after some dodgy lasagna and a frustrating defeat to West Ham (cf. 2005/2006 season).  Or is the real Tottenham now the one that went up to Manchester City for the penultimate game of last season and earned a hard-fought 1-0 win to guarantee themselves 4th place.  Honestly, I have no idea which one will show up on Saturday away at Stoke, (my gut is telling me a 1-0 defeat) or for the second leg against Young Boys at White Hart Lane next week.

It’s the return of the “Ah wait, no way. You’re kidding, aren’t you?”

I guarantee that’s how every Tottenham fan was feeling after thirty minutes of the game yesterday. So many individual and collective mistakes had led to a 3-0 deficit which threatened to derail our Champions’ League adventure before it had ever really begun.  The obvious mistake for the first goal was Assou-Ekotto, who gave away a cheap free-kick from which the goal came; but in the build up to that play Luka Modric attempted a ridiculous cross-field ball which fell way short of the intended target (Bale on the left wing) and put Spurs under unnecessary pressure.