Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gomes – Margin’s part in his success

In mid November Spurs’ number one priority for the coming transfer window was to buy a new Number One.

The fans groaned as much every time a cross threatened us. The press printed it and listed possible replacements. And Harry Rednapp hinted the same with all the subtlety of a Soho Strumpet after a cut price jug of sugary purple cocktail.

Of course Gomes wasn’t ever as terrible as he appeared. The Brazilian’s poor record of three clean sheets in nineteen games was also the fault of shoddy defending. And he did made a string of impressive saves in those games.

But there was no escaping it. He more than matched the good with the inexcusably bad. He was indecisive, he punched instead of caught, and he flapped so badly at so many crosses that a lighter man might have flown.

So why is it then, that now January has come, no one anywhere thinks Spurs want a new keeper?

The answer is that, as Jarvis Cocker once sang with Pulp, something changed. And that something was a home game against Blackburn Rovers.

Now you have to understand, and I don’t believe I can illustrate this adequately with mere words on a page, that Paul Robinson was not worshiped as a footballer at Spurs. He was loved as our friend. And that was especially so for the rowdy bunch of crooks and scoundrels who join your beloved Margin in the Park Lane every other week.

This was a man who, like many a Spurs fan, would shout “Yiddo!” in recognition of a lilywhite shirt in the street. He would signal a fan about to return the ball to the pitch to throw it the wrong way if we were winning. He bought us dozens of Spurs printed footballs and excitedly kicked them to us as gifts at Christmas. He rushed to join us, and instinctively us, when he scored his 80 yard goal. And he came to share his gleaming winners medal with our stand the game after last season’s League Cup victory.

Robbo even admitted on TV before the game, almost unprofessionally, that he didn’t how he’d feel if Blackburn won, and that perhaps a draw would be for the best. So when he returned we cheered, sang his name, and praised a man whose monumental slump in form never could diminish his standing as our best mate in football.

Then the second half came, and he was replaced in front of the Park Lane by Gomes. And having backed Paul Robinson for 45 minutes, we turned our attention to supporting his usurper. We had to. He was our keeper now and we owed him our support. So we sang his name. He cheered his every touch of the ball. We held off from groaning for a full 45 minutes. And we gave him all the support a struggling player dreams of having.

We won. With a clean sheet. And we now cheer Gomez every game.

We sing his name and ask him ‘what’s the score’ knowing he’ll only answer if goals against stands at nil. And such is the turnaround in his fortunes that we have achieved five clean sheets in twelve games since then.

So now that the importance of that drab 1-0 home win is clear I thought take my credit. Gomes walks tall onto the turf of White Hart Lane nowadays, and I undoubtedly played my part in making that happen. After all, he himself has put his turnaround down to support from us fans. And who am I to argue?


offsideintahiti said...

A great, cheerful start to 2009, Margin.

Happy New Year, everyone!

bluedaddy said...

Did Spurs win the League Cup last year? I don't seem to recall the final at all.

So much of football is about the final few percentage points - of skill, of wit, of endeavour, of fitness, of tactical prowess, and, of course, of confidence. And it is definitely in this last crucial matter that fans can indeed make a player walk tall or feel small.

I felt sorry for Robinson. To drop a (very unfortunate) clanger for your country is one thing, but to suffer it under the charge of England's very own Fozzie Bear, Shteeve McLaren, is a double dose of bad luck. Marry that to the bizarre episode that was Ramos' time at Spurs, and you'd be ready to kick the nearest black cat too.

When Robbo was bad he was truly bad, but a more secure manager might have pulled him through.

Margin, what's your take on Harry Marmite Redknapp?

Happy New Year to one and all.

How did you enjoy France M. intahiti?

offside said...

It was great, but I've only just started to thaw. (which is just as well, since I have a good ten pounds to shed now). I blame it on the foie gras.

How was your holiday?

bluedaddy said...

Had a lovely Christmas/New Year. Stayed at home for once (normally do about 850 miles driving) and really felt relaxed. Champagne on the beach on Xmas day (but didnt swim, though many did) and then, at the kids' request, roast duck for dinner.

And had great fun on new year's eve DJing for loads of kids who couldn't believe their luck being awake and at a party at 1am.

On Monday I start a four week long cookery diploma in Devon, transforming the finest produce Devon has to offer into mouth-watering dishes, which I then eat myself. Come February I may have something else in common with Paul Robinson other than being a dodgy keeper. The course finishes off with two days working in the kitchen of a gastropub near Dartmoor.

Can't wait.

guitou said...

j'en ai l'eau a la bouche-
savoring your story, I am still puzzled by Ramos firing
so early in the season.

andrewm said...

Happy New Year to all.

You should write more, Margin. I would appreciate it - what more reason do you need?

offsideintahiti said...

BD, looks like my evil plan is coming to fruition, you're turning into a Frenchman.

Seriously, great idea and good luck with the course. You'll définitely be in charge of the food when we hold the Pseuds' convention in Tahiti.

But I hope you didn't corrupt the young ones' ears with Michael J?

beyondthelane said...

Margin--You may be pleased to know that your contention herein was corroborated by the Guardian report on the role of Gomes, and the White Hart Lane loyalists who stood behind him, on the crucial day:

'"It's difficult for the boy, he can hear that the crowd are singing for Robinson, he's not stupid," said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. "When the crowd suddenly go 'Wooo' before he kicks the ball, it cannot help you. But then it all changed when the lad began to hear one voice in particular ringing out clear and strong behind him. None of us knew who the individual was, but that one voice made all the difference."

'The afternoon ended well for Gomes and Tottenham. He even heard the Park Lane End hordes claim that they loved him, which supplemented the slightly surreal edge to the atmosphere. And of the supportive singing throng, no voice did indeed ring out more clearly than that of the mysterious figure who calls himself Margin, thought by many to be the undercover correspondent of the sporting site Pseuds' Corner.

'It may be no exaggeration to say that Margin, shedding his reportorial objectivity in the interests of higher ends, played a significant part in this famous victory.'

Margin said...

Hi guys, and a Happy New Year to you.


My take on Ramos was that in the long run he'd have made us great, but in the short run he'd have taken us down - and he seemingly wasn't willing to compromise on his long term plans to get the short term right.

As such I don't blame the board for doing what they did.


My take on 'Arry, is that he has done pretty well so far despite taking on a disfunctional squad at the foot of the table, but he has a long way to go to get us safe and I'll reserve judgement until he does that.


Pleased to see I was rightly mentioned. Its about time the Guardian joined the celebrity focused modern form of sports reporting and highlighted individual endeavour over collective spirit.

offside said...

Hey Margin (and Ebren), any idea what happened to the writing collective known as Premcorrespondent? Any chance we can have it back for the 2nd half of the season?

Ebren said...

Hi Offie,

Premco had a little accident involving trying to write a season review for every club, and ending up in a brandy-induced stupour unable to say anything more than "puce faced, son of Govan" over and over again.

offside said...

Strange. It's not like being drunko paralytico ever stopped "him" from writing before.

Margin said...

its not the drunken state that's really wiped him out. He's finally had the break down he always said modern football would induce.

I visited him in hospital the other day, and he seems to just sit there rocking and mumbling about Derby County in 1972.

Its really sad and the medication doesn't seem to be helping. Especially as the nurse dolling out the pills looks a bit like Benitez.

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