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FA Cup is alive and well in Stevenage

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Phil McNulty | 20:44 UK time, Sunday, 19 February 2012

At The Lamex Stadium

From the moment Harry Redknapp arrived at the Lamex Stadium to the applause of Stevenage supporters and high fives from a man trapped inside a giant bear's outfit, this was a day with an old-fashioned FA Cup feel about it.

The circus was in town and a giant big top festooned with stars and stripes towered over one end of the compact stadium Stevenage hoped would be home to an FA Cup fifth round shock against Tottenham.

To call this goalless draw a contender for the greatest show on earth would stretch the elasticity of reality to breaking point - but there was more than enough in the ingredients to keep the romantics happy.

It was the sort of occasion that reassures the waverers that the FA Cup is alive and well. It was certainly thriving along Broadhall Way on a crisp Sunday lunchtime.

The Lamex Stadium

It was a carnival atmosphere at the Lamex Stadium. Photo: Getty

Redknapp may be seen in more exotic locations in the near future, whether it is with Spurs or England, but this was pure FA Cup theatre as just over 6,000 packed in to see if Stevenage could embarrass the club standing third in the Premier League.

In truth, for all of Stevenage's wonderful endeavour, it never carried the air of a match that threatened to scratch any sort of scar on Redknapp's CV as the Football Association weigh up whether to make the people's favourite the successor to Fabio Capello as England coach.

Stevenage rarely threatened - but what Gary Smith's side did do was expend every drop of energy and spirit at their disposal to earn a thoroughly deserved, not to mention lucrative, replay at White Hart Lane.

And, as Redknapp acknowledged, it was played out in an a vibrant FA Cup atmosphere on a bobbly pitch that gave Stevenage encouragement throughout. It was not the surface that created the biggest difficulties for Spurs, however, it was their well-organised and disciplined opponents who were a credit to League One.

Redknapp's homework led him to playing three central defenders in Ryan Nelsen, Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson to combat Stevenage's direct approach. And while there was an understandable lack of the highest quality, Spurs were not allowed a moment's rest.

Players like Lawrie Wilson typified the Stevenage approach, not leaving anything behind with a man-of-the-match display and an attitude echoed by his team-mates. They may be 47 rungs below Spurs on the league ladder, but they stood alongside them for much of this match.

For Stevenage, this was a day to be enjoyed and to put their club on show, something they have become accustomed to doing in the FA Cup in the past, particularly when Newcastle United were well beaten here last season.

The media interest stretched beyond the normal press box facilities, manager Smith gave his thoughts to television during the game and chairman Phil Wallace looked a proud and happy man as he conducted a series of interviews pitchside afterwards.

In their different ways, this was a meeting between two clubs on the up - Stevenage hoping to continue their remarkable rise with a place in the Championship and Tottenham on a return to the Champions League.

Whether Redknapp is with them if that day arrives is a question for another day because here all his focus had to be on ensuring Spurs did not become another shock statistic of this great tournament.

Even then there was an England twist to the story with FA chairman David Bernstein, who heads the group choosing the next manager, in the crowd.

Redknapp admitted it was not the best showcase for his abilities, with Spurs not allowed to show the style and swagger that has been their trademark this season. Reacting to Bernstein's presence he said: "I bet he was impressed with the football I served up, yeah. He was probably thinking 'who is this geezer?'"

Bernstein knows the geezer well and knows this was not a typical Spurs performance, even though earning a replay makes them overwhelming favourites to seal a home quarter-final against Bolton.

Spurs fans chanted their support for Redknapp once more while giving an inevitable nod to the struggles of north London neighbours Arsenal after an FA Cup exit at Sunderland followed hard on the heels of their Champions League thrashing against AC Milan.

"Arsene Wenger - We Want You To Stay" was an early chant to echo around The Lamex. They also want Redknapp to stay - but it seems increasingly likely the FA will soon be putting that theory to the test.

For now, Redknapp's main priority was ensuring Spurs stayed in the FA Cup. And that they did on a day when their League One opponents did themselves proud and showed why it is still worth making a fuss of this competition.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    I know that Tottenham were without a few of their first-team players, but it just goes to show how poor the EPL is when the 3rd-placed team struggles to even dominate a game against a very lowly side like Stevenage.

  • Comment number 2.

    The FA Cup....still alive and kicking in the 21st century

  • Comment number 3.

    Have to agree with you patches, the EPL is very poor at this moment in time but in the case of the FA cup, there will always be this kind of result cropping up.

    It's actually an open competition this year, probably 5 of the teams left could realisticallly win it.

  • Comment number 4.

    or maybe it just shows how good League 1 is?

  • Comment number 5.

    I love Harry, but somewhat worried about his off shore bank account in his beloved dogs name. Some rather unsavoury details were exposed last week and already he has been the subject of ridicule both here and abroad. I would worry that all that nonsense would be brought to the fore, time and time again if he was appointed England manager.

  • Comment number 6.

    If this was Liverpool Phil, you'd write nothing but negatives to describe how they were not able to overcome a side scores of places below them in the league. As it's Harry's Spurs, best to romanticise the occasion. Let's not patronise Stevenage, this wasn't just a day "to be enjoyed", this was a day to work their socks off to earn something, maybe a replay and who knows, progression into the next round. Credit where credit's due. Played Stevenage.

  • Comment number 7.

    The game wasn't as good as the commentators made out. Stevenage did well but barely created a chance against an off colour Spurs. By the end, Spurs were happy were a draw and so were Stevenage for financial reasons, which symbolises the lack of romance in the cup.

    Spurs' name must be on the cup. Easy draws and all the big teams knocking each other out.

  • Comment number 8.

    @leightonaddick
    7.
    "all the big teams knocking each other out" - bit disrespectful to Chelsea, Liverpool & Everton who have just as much FA Cup winning history as Spurs.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think even after Yesterdays poor performance it's spurs' to lose! having said that id Liverpool win the CC I wouldn't be surprised to see them do the cup double...it's all about momentum and confidence after all!

    As someone stated above almost everyone left could actually realistically win it

  • Comment number 11.

    what a dull affair this was! patches 1st comment i see, that should set the tempo for another blockbuster 1000 comments on......wait for it........

    La Liga Vs The premiership.......

    zzzzz zzzzz zzzzz

  • Comment number 12.

    Spurs may have been held by lower league opposition, but there is no doubting that they are the force of North London. Arsenal’s power has slipped away, through bad management and policies.

    As a Spurs fan I would prefer to see Arsenal as a current serious rival, rather than a historic has-been.

    http://wp.me/1qHQT

  • Comment number 13.

    Ah, the romance of the cup - NOT. This was deathly dull from start to finish.

  • Comment number 14.

    I've been waiting all weekend for your 'Arsenal in Crisis' blog Phil, where is it?

  • Comment number 15.

    A pound coin was thrown onto the pitch at Ibrox. Police are trying to determine whether it was a missile or a takeover bid.

  • Comment number 16.

    @5.At 05:04 20th Feb 2012, maxmerit wrote:

    "I love Harry, but somewhat worried about his off shore bank account in his beloved dogs name. Some rather unsavoury details were exposed last week and already he has been the subject of ridicule both here and abroad. I would worry that all that nonsense would be brought to the fore, time and time again if he was appointed England manager."

    _________________________

    If Saint Harry (who is not guilty of tax evasion) does take the England job, then England will have pre-prepared excused for early exit.

  • Comment number 17.

    leightonaddick
    @9
    Chelsea are absolute gash at the moment. Liverpool and Everton Premiership also-rans.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is one of the problems for football. Many think Premiership is the absolute yardstick for a club's success in football today.

    Looking at it your way, come May of each year, 19 Premiership clubs have failed and are also rans. Too much emphasis is placed on the EPL.

    Look at it another way, the fact is, Utd and City had their opportunity and failed very early in the FA cup. Using your logic they are very much the 'also rans' and are absolutely 'gash' at the moment when it comes to cup football in England.

    The FA cup is an interesting backdrop for football. We see it time and time again. Teams, on paper with no chance, somehow overcome the gulf in presumed class.

    It would be interesting if the FA cup winner was rewarded with a Champions League place, afterall, CL is far more of a knockout competition than the EPL.

    Maybe that it explains City's and Utd's performances in Champions League this season, as you suggested supreme in the prem but 'gash' in cup competitions.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why not congratulate Stevenage for an excellent performance to well past their capabilities? It's always the case that big teams will show complacency in cup matches, for various reasons. To the Stevenage lads though it'll be something they'll be talking for years to come. Congratulations.

  • Comment number 20.

    @15.At 09:12 20th Feb 2012, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:

    "A pound coin was thrown onto the pitch at Ibrox. Police are trying to determine whether it was a missile or a takeover bid."

    Apparently, the Rangers games are going to be shown on Ski Sunday from now on since it downhill all the way from here.

    Also, that Mayan prediction for 2012 – They were not predicting the end of the world, just the end of Rangers FC.

  • Comment number 21.

    I knew the Spurs cave in would come soon enough.

    I also knew Liverpool would have a strong finish to the season - they were sensational yesterday against Brighton.

    PL finish:

    Man City
    Man Utd
    Spurs
    Liverpool

    Chelsea
    Arsenal

  • Comment number 22.

    1.At 22:28 19th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    I know that Tottenham were without a few of their first-team players, but it just goes to show how poor the EPL is when the 3rd-placed team struggles to even dominate a game against a very lowly side like Stevenage.
    _______________

    Patches,

    Didn't a 3rd tier (semi-pro?) team in Spain reach the semi finals of this years Copa Del Rey? Doesn't that highlight how poor the quality of La Liga is?

  • Comment number 23.

    A league 1 team draws with premier league team at home in the F.A. Cup !
    It is hardly a first, it has been done many times before.
    Probably only worthy of a blog if Stevenage actually won the game.

    Well done to Stevenage for getting a result , but the replay will probably see them losing by a few goals.

  • Comment number 24.

    20.At 09:28 20th Feb 2012, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away wrote:
    __________

    LOL - wouldn't be a Celtic fan would you? Or a Rangers fan with a very good sense of humuor??

  • Comment number 25.

    Repo
    @23

    Add on the money for the club, which is vital to any lower league team.

  • Comment number 26.

    Interesting weekend of football, was hoping birmingham held out for a historic victory. It seems like AVB's future rests on their two games in europe.

    Tough shout for the FA cup. Has to be a priority for Stoke and Everton given their safety in the premier league. Dalglish will be desperate for some return on his 100m+ spending spree. An interesting climax and backdrop to the title race!

    I was disappointed not to see an "arsenal in crisis" piece. Though to be fair after several humiliations this season already (it's only February) I can understand why Phil probably didn't want to re-invent the wheel. All I can say is that if the rumours are true and Pep is waiting in the wings to take over, that will be the nail in the coffin!

  • Comment number 27.

    @24.At 09:35 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    "LOL - wouldn't be a Celtic fan would you? Or a Rangers fan with a very good sense of humuor??"

    I couldn’t care less about the SPL, but I wouldn’t wish that predicament on any team. That said, if the joke is funny, I am always up for a laugh.

  • Comment number 28.

    You can't expect a great performance from Spurs in EVERY match. There will always be matches like this.

    On another note can I just congratulate Sunderland on their magnificent performance against Arsenal.

  • Comment number 29.

    dogeared, #21;

    "I also knew Liverpool would have a strong finish to the season - they were sensational yesterday against Brighton."

    Hmmm. They can't really expect many teams to be as dangerous in their own six yard box as Brighton were yesterday.

  • Comment number 30.

    25.
    At 09:38 20th Feb 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:

    Add on the money for the club, which is vital to any lower league team.

    _________________________________________

    That money will come in very useful.
    But the draw against an EPL team in the FA cup is hardly a big story.

    I expected better material as we have had no footie blogs for a week :)

  • Comment number 31.

    26.At 09:39 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    Have to agree with you that I am also disappointed to see this blogs content today. Surely after Arsenals last week a discussion on their season ending in one week again and the possible end of Wenger's tenure at the club would be a far more interesting topic.

    Fair play to Stevenage but they drew with Spurs reserves (mainly) not a giant killing really. They will probably get destroyed in the return leg.

  • Comment number 32.

    21.At 09:29 20th Feb 2012, dogeared wrote:
    I knew the Spurs cave in would come soon enough.

    I also knew Liverpool would have a strong finish to the season - they were sensational yesterday against Brighton.

    PL finish:

    Man City
    Man Utd
    Spurs
    Liverpool

    Chelsea
    Arsenal

    -------------------------------------------

    I don't know which part of your comment is the most stupid. The fact you think Spurs are "caving in" after an away draw in the FA Cup or that you think Liverpool were "sensational" yesterday against a Championship club. Go and sit back on your armchair.

  • Comment number 33.

    Surely a European football blog would have been better?

  • Comment number 34.

    eduard
    @26

    RA may suprise us all if Chelsea get knocked out of the two remaing cups, he may actually stick with AVB.

    It would be a suprise considering RA's past form but it seems pointless changing managers yet again. They look like a team that is way past their sell by date and it's going to take far more than a managerial change to make them competetive again.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's time the FA "seeded" the draw so that if you were at Home last round, you must be Away this time.


    Stoke have been drawn away for all four of their rounds.


    Everton and Liverpool have been at home for all of theirs.


    And it's not the first time this has happened.

  • Comment number 36.

    31.At 09:49 20th Feb 2012, clummers wrote:
    _____________

    But weren't there a "arsenal in demise" article following their 8-2 mauling at OT? Their loss to Blackburn? Their 2-1 defeat to Man Utd? I can already predict their 2013 season....quadruple up until february, then 8 years trophyless. It's as if their season writes itself!!

  • Comment number 37.

    11. At 09:01 20th Feb 2012, signori wrote:

    what a dull affair this was! patches 1st comment i see, that should set the tempo for another blockbuster 1000 comments on......wait for it........

    La Liga Vs The premiership.......
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Behave yourself.

    It's incredible how everyone accuses me of turning a blog into a La Liga v EPL debate, when I never bring it up.

    Who was the first to mention the Spanish league on a blog covering the English FA Cup? I rest my case, M'Lud.

    This leads me to the conclusion that you lot are just itching to discuss all things Spanish in the world of football; although, I can't blame you.

  • Comment number 38.

    21.At 09:29 20th Feb 2012, dogeared wrote:

    B&H A actually cored more goals than Liverpool yesterday...yeah really sensational ;)

  • Comment number 39.

    Repo
    @30

    Certainly agree about the blog but maybe there are no stories to be had.

    Afterall Arsenal's has been ongoing all season, Chelsea's has too.

    We've had the Suarez and Terry affairs. Tevez and City's season, throw in the debate for referees. Throw in the failures of English clubs in Champions league.

    What about Harry, not guilty and a possible future England manager's role.

    We've had it all so far, maybe a bit of peace and quiet on the domestic front is not so bad afterall.

  • Comment number 40.

    Anyway, these Spanish teams may look good playing against other technical sides in La Liga, but how would they fare on a cold Thursday night in Stoke?

  • Comment number 41.

    38. At 09:59 20th Feb 2012, You wrote:
    21.At 09:29 20th Feb 2012, dogeared wrote:

    B&H A actually cored more goals than Liverpool yesterday...yeah really sensational ;)

    *Scored* even

  • Comment number 42.

    I would rather look beyond the 'disappointment' that one of the Premier League's most exciting and leading teams couldn't overcome third tier opposition and how this further reflects on the poor quality of the English top division. I don't care about that; what I think we should be celebrating is that the FA Cup appears to have regained a little bit of it's romanticism this season which I think it would be fair to say it has lost in previous years due to a number of factors.

    I think it is good to see lower league clubs compete with their more senior colleagues and performances this weekend of Birmingham City, Leicester City and Stevenage, as well as the performances of Brighton and Hove Albion and Crawley Town in previous rounds, should be applauded. The FA Cup has built a history and tradition based on 'anything can happen on the day'; this is what arguably has made it one of the most celebrated domestic competitions in world football.

    True, the current quality of the Premier League (however it annoys me that this is a throw-away statement that only relates to those sides with aspirations of Champions League qualification) may be suffering against continental rivals; however, I think this season has arguably been one of the best since the Premier League's inception (the year football began for many) and this season's FA Cup encapsulates everything that is good about the English game.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    bout time you had a blog phil.

    iv been made to look like i look like im busy at work.

    not happy!!

  • Comment number 46.

    34.At 09:52 20th Feb 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    ____________

    I think that's really wishful thinking!!

    Bearing in mind he sacked ancelotti for less than what AVB has so far achieved, he would very much be going against his own precedent if he kept him on.

    Not to mention the dressing room unrest that was not there when ancelotti was in charge. Look at scolari, the players (especially the senior ones) seem to hold a lot of sway with Abramovich.

  • Comment number 47.

    34.
    At 09:52 20th Feb 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    RA may suprise us all if Chelsea get knocked out of the two remaing cups, he may actually stick with AVB.
    They look like a team that is way past their sell by date and it's going to take far more than a managerial change to make them competetive again.
    _________________________________________

    RA took a chance on AVB. He had one season With Academica and finished mid table, then he moved to Porto who had a very good team and cleaned up domestically also winning the europa cup.
    That is hardly a track record to make an owner pay 13m to employ a manager (plus the costs for outing Ancellotti )

    Something is very wrong at Chelsea , it looks like square pegs in round holes all around.

  • Comment number 48.

    22. At 09:33 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    Didn't a 3rd tier (semi-pro?) team in Spain reach the semi finals of this years Copa Del Rey? Doesn't that highlight how poor the quality of La Liga is?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No. That just shows the supreme standard of the Spanish leagues. Sizzlingly sensational sides in the third-tier giving La Liga's finest a run for their money just highlights the strength in depth throughout Spanish football.

    It's now wonder that you guys are so envious.

  • Comment number 49.

    40.At 10:00 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    Anyway, these Spanish teams may look good playing against other technical sides in La Liga, but how would they fare on a cold Thursday night in Stoke?
    ___________

    Patches, what was the name of the spanish (semi pro) third tier club that got into the semis this season in the copa del rey?

    Hello kettle, meet mr pot. Mr pot, meet mr kettle.

  • Comment number 50.

    The pitch didn't help, Spurs were not playing the first team side and the usual 'magic of the cup' played its part but I think this game actually highlights that there are some good players in the lower leagues. EPL clubs are so insistent on buying foreign in the misguided belief they provide good value for money that just as good players in the lower leagues are not given a chance. I have no issue with the top players coming here to improve a team but the masses of run of the mill players making the premiership an average league does us no favours. Hopefully, games like yesterday will highlight some of these players and give them the chance to move up the leagues.

  • Comment number 51.

    You don't actually need a blog at all. Few of us care what the journalists say but we do like the opportunity to to talk amongst ourselves every Monday morning on the weekends football, whatever it is.

    Bring back 606!

    Poor old Brighton yesterday though, some truly awful own goals. I guess the third was the worse, actually controlling it into his own net! The second was pretty bad given the angle Gerard was shooting from. The first was just a bad day at the office. Hey ho.

    Chelsea are very patchy right now but I think the result is really a testament to an in form and very confident Birmingham as much as a reflection of Chelsea's troubles. But, we're still in the hat, so we move on to the next game.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm not surprised #43 was found to have broken House Rules.
    What a pity, BBC.

  • Comment number 53.

    the midland 20
    @35
    It's time the FA "seeded" the draw so that if you were at Home last round, you must be Away this time.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ok until the previous round has all home teams winning. It has happened for the fifth round before.

    Or if your drawn at home and draw the game but then win the replay away, what does that count for in the scheme.

    Myself I do not want a change but if there had to be one, I'd say league position determines home advantage. The lower league position plays at home.

  • Comment number 54.

    49. At 10:03 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CD Mirandés.

    When a glorified pub-team, Chesterfield, reached the semi-final of the FA Cup the English were raving about ''the magic of the cup'', yet when a really classy set of semi-pros in Spain do the same, you attempt to use it as a stick to beat Spanish football with!

    ''O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock.''

  • Comment number 55.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 56.

    40.
    At 10:00 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Anyway, these Spanish teams may look good playing against other technical sides in La Liga, but how would they fare on a cold Thursday night in Stoke?
    ______________________________

    Touché :)

    By the way , do you know what Fabregas said to Guardiola last night when he was substituted ?
    Guardiola looked like he lost his cool . grabbed Fabregas by the neck and pushed him towards the bench.

  • Comment number 57.

    48.At 10:03 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    ______________

    So sizzling stevenage draw with spurs and that shows that the prem league is poor.

    However Mirandes being in the semi of the copa del rey shows the strength in depth of la liga?

    Wow! just wow! How you can even argue this point is beyond me.

  • Comment number 58.

    36.At 09:55 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    Very true I think there was an article earlier in the season about arsenal in demise but that was obviously a little premature. Now though it is February and all the gunners have to play for is 4th place in the league.

    This time last year I never thought I would be saying it is time for Wenger to move onwards and possibly upwards (Director of football perhaps??) but sometimes a club needs a change to inject some fresh impetuous into the team. A lot can change in a year and Wenger doesnt seem to have the fight in him that he once had.

  • Comment number 59.

    58.At 10:10 20th Feb 2012, clummers wrote:
    __________

    I said after their defeat to blackburn that
    A) Arsenal will not get 4th spot (or higher)
    B) Wenger needs to be moved on.

    I was ridiculed for both, but who's laughing now. The worry though is that who would take the role? I mean you would need guarantees that the Arsenal Board are going to be more ambitious and release more funds for transfers and more funds for wages.

    Their wage and transfer cap is not doing them any favours and they are starting to slip way behind the chasing pack.

  • Comment number 60.

    eduard @46

    Repo @47

    Totally agree with both of you.

    The previous for RA definitely a big factor.

    The club is in turmoil and I doubt it's all AVB's fault. Players are there to play and definitely not destroy the managers plans. After writing that, AVB has to shoulder responsibility for what happens on the pitch.

    Better managers than AVB, with far more experience have bitten the dust at other clubs, long before a seasons end.

  • Comment number 61.

    55.
    At 10:08 20th Feb 2012, The Tenth Beetle wrote:

    I don't think this was a good old fashioned FA Cup tie at all. It was severely lacking passion. I can't remember one decent hard tackle going in. Spurs to win the replay by 5.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    Can you honestly blame them for not putting in an good hard tackle? Slightest contact will lead to a red card these day.
    :(

  • Comment number 62.

    56. At 10:09 20th Feb 2012, repo wrote:

    By the way , do you know what Fabregas said to Guardiola last night when he was substituted ?
    Guardiola looked like he lost his cool . grabbed Fabregas by the neck and pushed him towards the bench.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't know what happened there, but I'm sure that Pep wasn't at fault. Cesc has picked up a really bad attitude after spending all those years in England.

  • Comment number 63.

    51.
    At 10:05 20th Feb 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    You don't actually need a blog at all. Few of us care what the journalists say but we do like the opportunity to to talk amongst ourselves every Monday morning on the weekends football, whatever it is.

    Bring back 606!
    ___________________________________

    You certainly speak for the vast majority !

    PS
    Do you think David Luiz looks the part now ?
    I thought the media were unfairly tearing him to shreds early season.

  • Comment number 64.

    'ere Patches;

    Can La liga boast the same calibre of reversible finishing that we saw at Anfield yesterday?

  • Comment number 65.

    54.At 10:07 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    ''O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock.''
    ______________

    Jealousy?

    Weren't you the first to post on this blog and bad mouth the premier league because plucky Stevenage managed to grab a draw with a top 3 premier side?

    I refer you to my previous comment.....

    "Hello kettle, meet mr pot. Mr pot, meet mr kettle."

  • Comment number 66.

    57. At 10:09 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Stevenage looked more akin to a Sunday morning pub-team, yesterday. They play a ''style'' of football which would even make Tony Pulis blush.

    On the other hand, Mirandés oozed class during their games, fizzing the ball around like they were born doing it.

    Segunda División B > League 1

  • Comment number 67.

    @32

    You can only beat who is in front of you.

    Truth is, Liverpool were indeed sensational against a very awkward opponent.

    Spurs were flacid against a determined but amateurish side.

    My prediction is that Spurs are going to find things difficult from here but have done enough already to hold on to a top four place. No silver however.

  • Comment number 68.

    but I wouldn’t wish that predicament on any team. That said, if the joke is funny, I am always up for a laugh
    ---------------------------------

    But if that is where financial doping (by avoiding paying taxes) takes you then so be it.

    Leaving aside the issue of job losses, this has been a fabulous soap opera for at least two years now and is set to continue.

    And talking of comedy - I fully expected Phil to do the 'Arsenal hit another low' blog.

  • Comment number 69.

    @repo #23:

    Stevenage don't do losing by a few goals. Bury and Gateshead are the only teams in three seasons to put more than two past us in a game.

  • Comment number 70.

    65. At 10:19 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    Jealousy?

    Weren't you the first to post on this blog and bad mouth the premier league because plucky Stevenage managed to grab a draw with a top 3 premier side?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    How on earth did you misinterpret my opening comment as ''jealousy''? :rollseyes:

    My comment was a neutral, objective remark about how poor the standard of the EPL is.

  • Comment number 71.

    60.At 10:13 20th Feb 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    ________

    Yeah precedent has a lot to speak for it!

    I certainly think AVB has a lot to answer for. Not as arrogant as mourinho, but not as good either! Personally more dislikeable for his rants at the media. I don't think he was the right man for the job. Should have stuck at Porto for 3-4 years and made his name there, then moved on once he's had a few seasons in full time management.

  • Comment number 72.

    70.At 10:22 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    ____________

    How did you misinterpret my comment for jealousy? Mine was merely an observation that spawned from your objective analysis?? :rolleyes:

    Clearly a semi pro side getting into the semis of a competition says a lot about the lack of quality of the league structure they play in!

  • Comment number 73.

    72. At 10:24 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    ''Clearly'', it says nothing of the sort.

    It just goes to show how even the sizzling Spanish semi-pros are a cut above the English full-time pros in their comparable divisions.

  • Comment number 74.

    #46 eduard_streltsov_ghost & 47 & 63 repo

    I rarely see any sense actually presented when it comes to matters at Stamford Bridge and the current situation is one that has attracted it's fair share of nonsense already, though not necessarily from yourselves you understand. :-)

    Anyway, even if certain players are saying too much (though we have no evidence of this whatsoever) the situation is that a number of players will be off in the summer for one reason or another. Drogba, Malouda and Kalou, for example, will all be out of contract and I see little or no appetite to keep at least two of those.

    If you change the manager, the new manager will be in almost exactly the same position as AVB would be in the summer. A big difference would be that Chelsea would probably have to fork out, say, £20m to effect that change. So, why not NOT make the change and give the £20m to AVB to spend on his team.

    It is still early days for him and in truth, the problems that he may face aren't actually the same as the problems faced by previous managers. It is these differences that will surely be noted by the powers that be which seem to singularly not be picked up by those whose job it is to find something to write about, even when a story may not necessarily exist.

  • Comment number 75.

    eduard
    @57

    I find it very hard to take patches postings seriously but.........

    I do find the standard of football has dropped in the premiership over recent seasons. I am not comparing it to Spain or anywhere else.

    It's more desperate football for clubs and in reality there are very few high quality games, Although we have had a fair few of the exciting games but that is not the same as quality football.

    This does not sound reasonable but since Ronaldo's departure, we no longer have true brilliance shown. It's now predictable in all bar a few cases. But one player should not mke a difference.

  • Comment number 76.

    66.At 10:19 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    _____________

    That's just an opinion patches.......

    Mirandes look like a side no better than what I see on a sunday morning. Clitheroe (often compared as the sunday league barcelona) look no different, 20-30 5 yard passes, back and side ways with no penetration!

  • Comment number 77.

    59.At 10:13 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    I actually think a young manager is needed at Arsenal (not a big name either)
    Someone to put his stamp on things but with Wenger in the backround as Council and support for the new guy. Its a pity none of Arsenals golden generation under Wenger have become managers of any note as they would work well.
    (Not Tony Adams though he is an awful manager and tries to sound intelligent by talking really slowly)

    Is it me but does RVP seem less interested now since the turn of the year? Did he just want to break the scoring record for a calendar year and now doesnt have the same desire??

  • Comment number 78.

    #51
    Has Drogba prepared his team talk for Napoli yet? ;)

  • Comment number 79.

    73.At 10:27 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    _____________

    Clearly you are suffering from trapped wind of the mouth.

    How does "it go to show, that the spanish semi pros are a cut above the rest?"

  • Comment number 80.

    74.At 10:27 20th Feb 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ____________

    I think like I pointed out earlier, other managers have been sacked for less, so I would be bemused as to why AVB has kept his job! Unless he wins something this season.......

  • Comment number 81.

    I think Patches gets his energy from being obviously provocative with his remarks. Fair play, he is eloquent, but the twisting of 'third tier Spanish side reaches semi-final shows strength in depth, whilst third-tier English side drawing against Spurs shows general weakness of league' is so obvious in its hypocrisy it is unreal. I would be keen to hear Patches views on the third placed team in La Liga being demolished 5-1 against second placed team and what this represents in terms of competitiveness and quality for the league?

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 82.

    Is it me but does RVP seem less interested now since the turn of the year? Did he just want to break the scoring record for a calendar year and now doesnt have the same desire??

    ----------------------------------------------

    Maybe he's been taking it easy to avoid injury in order to get his inevitable move in the summer.

  • Comment number 83.

    #71 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    The only thing dislikeable at what you call 'rants' to the media (though they are nothing of the sort) is that the media poke and prod then when they get a reaction, they act like virgins on prom night!

    Far too many journalists are simply self serving clowns with an agenda. That agenda is largely to ensure a seat on the gravy train, whilst moaning about it, and to report gossip, tittle tattle and opinions as if they are fact!

  • Comment number 84.

    78. At 10:29 20th Feb 2012, We all follow United wrote:

    Not sure I'd be cracking CL jokes with a user name like that to be fair :-p

  • Comment number 85.

    #78 We all follow United

    Has Drogba prepared his team talk for Napoli yet? ;)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You're asking the wrong person. ESPN will have the exclusive. And then apologise (again) for mis-reporting events later.

  • Comment number 86.

    It was very clear yesterday that Spurs would struggle to play their customary 'Copa-Cabana'-esque champagne football on that surface, but this is why i'm actually surprised Arsenal haven't made more of the re-laid pitch in the San Siro. The edges, as i understand, were a mess. That is at best negligent, or at worst a pretty shabby way of, as it were, 'clipping Arsenal's wings' - when Milan were playing in a diamond formation. All i know is that Spurs' conspiracy theorists would be more vociferous in the same circumstances.

  • Comment number 87.

    Wow, Liverpool fans amuse me. One good scoreline against lower league opposition and they are now favourites for the cup and to come 4th. One poor result against lower league opposition for Spurs (who looked like they didn't want to be there, Modric pulled out ill that morning(!)) and they will cling on to 3rd and not win anything! What Liverpool fans need to realise is that Arsenal and Chelsea have horrific problems on and off the pitch yet they are both still ahead of Liverpool!

  • Comment number 88.

    79. At 10:30 20th Feb 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Because they beat three sizzlingly sensational La Liga sides on the way to the semi-final.

    You don't beat teams of the calibre of Villarreal, Espanyol and Racing Santander, without being a top, top side.

    It just goes to show how strong Spanish football is throughout the tiers.

    Whereas Stevenage, from a very poor division, held their own against a vastly overrated team which all the London-based sports media luvvies have been raving about. ''Nuff said.

  • Comment number 89.

    77.At 10:28 20th Feb 2012, clummers wrote:
    _____________

    Yeah well there's steve bould who's in charge of the reserves now I think? Due to become Wenger's no.2 when pat rice steps down. I think someone like rodgers or hughton would be a good shout for them. Though I think the fans will be expecting a big name, cv laden manager.

    either way, I wouldn't like to be an arsenal fan!!

    Yeah I think RVP has realised he will have another medal free year so will be looking to cruise till the end of the year. What's the point of pulling your weight if nobody else is bothered to?

  • Comment number 90.

    #

    #83, MrBlueBurns

    "the media poke and prod then when they get a reaction, they act like virgins on prom night!"

    No truths here: you might break House Rules.
    Why not congratulate the Sports Editor of BBC for that daft picture of Hulk with the article on his alleged price tag and his certain diving supremacy, especially when it reflects an image like that stupid photograph chosen by the BBC?

  • Comment number 91.

    #80 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    74.At 10:27 20th Feb 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ____________

    I think like I pointed out earlier, other managers have been sacked for less, so I would be bemused as to why AVB has kept his job! Unless he wins something this season.......
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes, but the problem with the premise of your argument is that you are not comparing like with like and therefore, it could not necessarily be said that they were sacked for less.

    e.g. let's say Scolari was sacked for falling out with Drogba. This was the Drogba who, in 2008, was 29 and in the middle of a long term contract. He is now 33 and is out of contract in the summer. Therefore, any fall out would not have the same consequences. Drogba is no longer the future, AVB may be.

    See?

  • Comment number 92.

    Just like to say, I'm really excited about LFC at the moment, seems like the players are starting to click albeit against lower tier opposition (no offence to Brighton), this cohesion is what i have wanted to see from Liverpool for a long time and i think we can have a good crack at the second half of the season.

    I know its a Tottenham/Stevo blog but there have been few reasons to celebrate an Liverpool performance this year so I'm taking liberties while i can!

    also Everton Sunderland draw looks a cracker!

  • Comment number 93.

    #84
    I actually suggested the blog should have been about European football so not mocking it. I just hope this weeks games in both are better than last weeks. The Champions League games last week were largely dull bar the Zenit - Benfica one; although the comedy factor in the San Siro partially made up for the lack of excitement!

  • Comment number 94.

    Talk about people over reacting. Spurs were very poor yesterday indeed, there is no denying that. However its a blip in what has been an otherwise great season so far.

    Its the FA Cup and we knew Stevenage would come at us.......

    Anyone would think taht we lost -

    WE played without all our creative players and I think Stevenage deserve a lot of priase.

  • Comment number 95.

    #91

    re Scolari: 2009 and Drogba was 30. All else regarding the point remains the same though.

  • Comment number 96.

    83.At 10:35 20th Feb 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ____________

    I don't know I just take the example of say the chelsea / man utd game. AVB was questioned if he was happy, bearing in mind they were outplayed in the first half. Instead of giving an answer he questions who said chelsea were outplayed and asks if the interviewer thought that. When the BBC interviewer says in his opinion chelsea were, he smugly smiles and says ok (obvious in between the lines he's saying what do you know about football to the interviewer). It's just a little unsavoury for me. But then again I can understand why many people have a dislike for fergie. Or Wenger (fluent in five languages, but doesn't know how to say, "yes, I saw that incident very clearly")

  • Comment number 97.

    88.At 10:37 20th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    ____________

    Or it just goes to show how poor la liga is in quality if Villareal, Espanyol etc are beaten by a bunch of bartenders and builders!

    Sorry I can't treat your mouth farts patches!

  • Comment number 98.

    A whole blog over a game that ended a draw, and now more than likely the premier league team will go through. Stevenage played well, Tottenham didn't show up really, the pitch was in a terrible state for Tottenham to play their style, and without Adebayor, the long ball didn't work. For Stevenage, it was their cup final, and they played like it. They now they've got more to come, with a trip to the lane, where i cannot see anything other than Tottenham dominance.

  • Comment number 99.

    91.At 10:40 20th Feb 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    ___________

    So the treatment of ancelotti cannot be used as precedent for AVB? It's only been a year. Plus ancelotti won the double the previous year!

    Like I said, I will be amazed if he's still in the job if chelsea are trophy-less this season.

  • Comment number 100.

    This proves for me that Premier League is not very good at the moment, Man Utd and City in Europa Cup also prove that, Italian League is best at the moment

 

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