The Night Hugo Lloris Became a Spur

Ironic that The Glory Glory Nights, Martin Cloake and Adam Powley’s luscious history of Spurs in Europe should arrive unexpectedly just before kick-off. I’ve preserved its shrink-wrapped beauty until now. Seemed wrong somehow to expose it to Spurs in Europe, the 2012 version. Borey Borey night, more like.

This otherwise forgettable effort contained one notable feature. Lazio away marked the arrival of Hugo Lloris as a Spur. He spent the evening flinging himself across his goal and all over his area. Diving saves, calmly snaffling crosses, hurling himself at forwards’ feet like a fifties custodian. He kept Spurs in the game. One point to Lazio, one to Hugo Lloris.

Lloris has the hallmark of a real Spur. He’s classy, catches the eye and distinctive. And he also possesses the classic characteristic of all great Spurs: the man has style. There’s no other keeper in the Premier League like him. Because he’s so different, he has his moments. We must get used to his punching and his fondness for coming off his line will lead to wincing as well as gasps of gratitude. However, as I said earlier this week, the good far outweighs the scary. He leads from the back.

It’s not as if he’s a flamboyant man. Many keepers are ‘characters’, or bonkers as their team-mates would call them, and they relish the limelight. Lloris does not strike you as that kind of man. This, he’s decided, is the best way to do his job and how well he did it last night. His is a quiet determination to protect not just his goal but his area too. A relatively slight man, he maintains a presence by fearlessly getting amongst the bodies in the box. His mind is sharp too. He can see the play spread before him and as sweeper he dashes to the edge of his territory and beyond to snuff out danger. This in turn enables us to play a higher line and have more bodies in midfield.

He’s even got that magic ingredient, that somehow the headers and shots are drawn to his feet and legs rather than a foot or so either side. My son who was at the game reports that he threw his shirt and gloves into the crowd at the finish. One of us now. It may not even rate a footnote in the next edition of the Glory Glory Nights but his emergence could be the catalyst to energise our fortunes this season and for years to come.

He certainly had more than enough opportunity to demonstrate his talents. The defence was porous throughout and Lazio earned a steady stream of chances, created by clever passing picking out forwards who consistently found the gaps between our back four. They were far too wide apart and the full-backs should have tucked in much more than they did. Sandro did some sterling work in front of them and Carroll is always willing but mostly we failed to cut those passes out at source. Pressing from the front was effective in the second half on Saturday but we seemed to quickly forget that lesson. Given that Dempsey and Adebayor failed to get in a goal attempt between them, they were badly anonymous.

Overall, the match was characterised by the timid vagueness typical of our away performances in this season’s Europa League. The fans are waiting for something to happen – it’s as if the team are too. These group games have ‘dull’ wired into them but we could have been actively dull yesterday by holding onto the ball better, even if we were unable to create any chances. Siggy on the right allowed for more men in the box at times, something I’m in favour of, but he hardly made much of an impact. Once more Carroll showed his maturity. Apparently unfazed by the pressure, he is always looking for the ball and his touch means often he can do something valuable with it. Things might have been different if his superb early through ball to Bale had met with the plaudits for an excellent goal it deserved rather than an unjustified offside flag.

AVB (boring, some say…) went for the points but the arrival of Lennon and Defoe merely hastened the deterioration in our defence. An away point in Rome is fine. As it happens, my suspect maths confirm that the task would have been the same even if we lost. Win or draw in the last game and we are through. At last – proper cup football where results matter now. It’s how the Glory Glory Nights were created.

The Glory Glory Nights by Cloake and Powley is published by Vision Sports, review to follow next week

Last week I was copied into a letter from Alex Stein re the Spurs yids issue, which was sent to the editors of the Guardian, Times and Telegraph, Peter Herbert, Daniel Levy and me. That’s the company I keep. It’s the first item in the comments section and adds some perspective as the premeditated attacks on Spurs fans in Rome could well be the work of fascists. 

7 comments

  1. Alan

    Dear Sirs,
    We have watched with shock at your blatant attempt at self-publicity and done nothing but now you are accusing the club we love of something so heinous and we can stay silent no longer.

    To accuse Tottenham Hotspur, the club, officials and supporters of widespread anti-Semitism is nothing short of moronic. We are both Jewish season ticket holder at the club and are fiercely proud of both our Jewish heritage and our football club. Your attempt to drive a wedge between the Jewish community and the football club for your own goals is transparent and frankly upsetting.

    I wholeheartedly defend your stance on racism in football and think there is no place for it on the pitch or on the terraces but to put the Spurs fans who chant “Y-d army” in the same bracket as Gavin Kirkham is just not right. For years the club and the supporters have been linked to the Jewish communities of North London and through this the club has gained a reputation as a “Jewish” football club. This reputation has made the club and its supporters an obvious target for the minority of abhorrent racist football fans across the country for anti-Semitic chants, songs and occasionally violence. As a direct consequence to this the Spurs fans have risen above the vile chants and hissing noises to embrace the word and its derivatives as a badge of honour for the club; we are proud to chant the phrase “y-d army” to describe ourselves, we are proud to refer to a beloved player as a “y-ddo” and we are proud to stand together in the face of actual anti-Semitism levelled against us.

    And now you have taken it upon yourself to condemn us for this. Why has a society that is based in law and promoting fair representation in one industry taken it upon themselves to get involved in something that is not related to the legal industry? This is not your fight. You cannot and will never understand what is happening every week on the terraces of our football club, your “band-wagon jumping” could not be more transparent and your short-sightedness over this issue could be in danger of damaging your reputation as an association. We urge to stop pursuing this immediately and focus on the actual racism that still unfortunately persists in the modern game.

    Yours Sincerely

    Alex Stein and Dave Blank

    • Johnny Kowalski

      Alan: I wholeheartedly agree.

      Just who in the fucking hell is this Peter Herbert twat to lay down the law as to what is racially discriminatory and what ain’t. And by just what appointment does he claim the right to direct the Metropolitan plod to initiate investigations of racialism when he himself presumably denies Caucasians (if I may hark back to such a euphemism) entry to his glee club? Jeez. Get a grip!!

      I watched my first WHL game in 1964. Coming from leafy, suburban Wealdstone (LOL), the surrounding lower Paxton vista of sweaty, semi-intoxicated, viciously loud mouthed devotees, whose harmony was largely tone deaf and grammar execrable did little to dampen my own ardour previously developed via my granddad’s memories and the Daily Express (gawd ‘elp us).

      It was only after some time away at uni and a return to the Metrollops that I realised that sizable numbers of Spurs supporters on the terraces were sporting Israeli flags and wearing Magen/stars/shields of David, and chanting “Yid” and “Yiddo”. Wasn’t one of Boy George’s band wearing sumfink similar?

      As one brung up in the holy roman catholic and apostolic bend, this initially shocked me; especially so as my old man had escaped with the remnants of the Polish army across Europe in 1939. So I knew more than most Brits of my age what European Jews had suffered. But here again they were: proclaiming their heritage and allegiance – even though some of them looked suspiciously Caribbean or south Asian to me. They were proud to be and to be seen as Yids – it was a common cause for supporters in not very successful times.

      So we’re now more than three decades on and this pompous, self-important, personage announces to the world that unless all the Tottenham-supporting children don’t immediately clear up their fuzzy felt, he’s going to tell headmaster and all you snots in the lower remove better watch out ‘cos he’s better than you. So there!

      I have a couple of questions other than why is Mr Herbert still allowed visiting rights.

      If the word “YID” is so wholeheartedly adopted by Spurs fans (of whatever religious persuasion), why does its use infringe racial liberties. I was born a Kafflick. Paddy across the road was reared a believing that Protestantism was a good idea. If I call him a Prod will Herbert challenge me? If Paddy addresses me as a Polack Papist, is he likely to attract the Herbert ire?

      Judaism is a religion. It is not a race.

      You cannot be a racist by nominating a person’s religious beliefs.

      Herbert: are you a Methodist? Are you a Socialist? Are you a Mormon? Are you a Mason? Are you a Quare? Is your skin the correct shade for the SBLs? (You look a touch beige to me). Are you a Vegetarian? Are you a Flat-earther? Are you a Human? Do you prefer Dogs? Are you on Abramovic’s payroll? Why don’t you grow up and get a proper job to dignify someone with your inflated ego?

      PS
      Julie Welch’s new book is great entertainment and very informative. But has anybody like me spotted and been irritated by the proof-reading bloops on pp25, 46, 74, 77, 78, 110 and that’s as far as I got so far

      • Johnny Kowalski

        Oh yeah. I forgot to say… if Yid is so acceptable, why do we have to enter it as “Y*d” or the “Y-word”?

        If it’s acceptable for blacks to call themselves/compadres “niggah” and homosexuals to use the vocative “queer”, and Poles to be un-upset being Polacks; Yanks, Septics; Irish, Micks, Germans, Krauts, Scots, Jocks, Suidafrikaans, Yarpies, Canadians, Canuks; les français, grenouilles – so what’s occurring? Society of Lawyers who maybe a little darker than the average QC: get a grip, grow some balls and get a life.

        I better go. Mummy says my TWeetabix is ready

      • Alan

        Thanks for putting so much into this comment. I printed the letter without comment at the time but I agree with almost all of what it says.

        Regards,

        Alan

  2. sybrian

    I’ve been a supporter for 60 odd years and am proud of the fact. What you write is what I would like to write but I ma not of the jewish faith am proud to be a yid. When we sing yid army or yiddo it is with pride and is never negative, detrimental or anti semetic – it is pro semetic!! The Society of Black Lawyers should be condemned just for the title of their society – if anything is racist that is!!

  3. IKnowAlanGilzean

    They got in behind our high line far too easily imo. It’s all very well having someone as sharp and good as Lloris sweeping but unless we defend better from the front, which is integral to this tactic, it’s going to be very hard to pull off the high line successfully. Practice and personnel more suited to such a system are badly needed. Hopefully, AVB has the time.

    Even by the low standards of Roman (Lazio and Roma) ultras the attack on a handful of ordinary Spurs fans peaceably having a beer was cowardly in the extreme. Hopefully everyone else had a safe time there.

    There have recently been a few good and timely ripostes to Mr Herbert and the BSOL from Spurs fans. Hopefully, the more eloquent among our support can continue to show the surely simple to understand distinction between how Spurs fans use the word and those looking to bait and offend. Imo, we should be seen as an example for good in fighting anti-semitism.

  4. Pingback: The Night Hugo Lloris Became a Spur - Unofficial Network

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