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Sunday, December 24, 2006

TDH Live at SJP!

Fantastic win yesterday at SJP! TDH was on the scene and will be posting photos asap. Festive atmosphere all throughout, thanks to the brilliant opening goals. (This should put paid to those bits of "Dyer was only any good at striker in that cup tie against Southampton" nonsense.) Martins was a constant threat, and the link-ups with Emre, Parker and Milner were of a generally high standard.

Roeder really made a masterstroke inserting Nobbie at right-back, for one simple reason: the man knows what to do when the ball's at his feet - total confidence. And who would have thought Ramage would be able to bottle up Berbatov like a quart of cheap Bulgarian wine? Well, almost.

It was a cold one, of course, and though TDH battled on through the first half with just one thin layer under aforementioned No. 17 European shirt, eventually just about everyone gave in and put on the parkas. Naturally, the pies had already run out by halftime. If it hadn't been for the stodge from the Clayton St. Chippy, consumed en route to the stadium, TDH might have given up the ghost. Anyway, a grand old time was had by all, even with the usual defensive blunders and an unusual but ultimately costless flub by St. Seamus.

Later, TDH took in the first MoTD for quite a while, and was pleased to see the armchairs gaffers completely unchanged in their striped shirts and with their chirpy/glum/vaguely indignant patter. Ahhh, England....

UPDATE: Too bad about Ramage's freak own goal at the Reebok, but here are some photos related to our more glorious moments on Saturday.

From the sheep in the fields of the Northeast to the street outside SJP:

The crowds pour in, and the pitch is all Adidas-y:

Visual proof of attendance and some players (or are those ants?):

Nowhere better for some warming chips than this place:

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Deja deja vu

Can it be, once again we will stride from the bottom of the table into a European place? It's not such a crazy thought. If our ramshackle, injury-wracked squad can continue to turn out good results - even if we still can't kill off a match early - then we're in with a chance. Perhaps we can collect another gorgeous bimetallic Intertoto Cup!

Ah, what was AG saying about Oba in a comment on the last post? He certainly seems to be feeling at home in the Premier League. That second strike yesterday was pure, vicious aggression, just what TDH likes to see. He appeared to have the ball at his feet in slow motion, which made the ruthlessly lashed finish look like even more of a thunderbolt. TDH will be toasting him all weekend.

The club is selling tickets online for Spurs on Saturday, and TDH will be up high in the Milburn Stand. If anyone fancies a pint at halftime or after the match, get in touch.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

You can't win anything with kids

Well, Arsene almost stole one at the Bridge, but it warn't to be. And truth be told, it never should have been. The Goon Show should feel flattered by the 1-1 scoreline. Its yoof system couldn't quite keep up, despite the splendid Eboue. Indeed, with either Cudicini or Cech in goal, it's doubtful the Gunners would even have gotten one.

There was a winner, of course, in this draw: Sir. Yes, Sir can clack his gum-chewing teeth together in glee as he picks up two more points on the champs. And who knows, we of the Toon may even gain something out of the match, if Drogba is indeed as injured as he looked. He is an incredibly influential player, which makes The Inscrutable One's decision to keep him on for the last 15 minutes of the match, possibly aggravating his knock, more than a little puzzling.

TDH will continue to puzzle over Jose's selection policy. Ballack was again all but absent, save that one slashing shot in the first half. Sheva has plainly lost a step, and he doesn't appear fully fit, either. Too many heavy English meals? And in the turnaround of the year, Fat Frank is positively svelte! He looks about five years younger. Sure, Jose wanted to shake up the Gooners with a physical start, hence Geremi (who always seems to keep the ball simply by bulling into defenders), but can he really afford to keep Rocket Robben on the bench for 65 minutes? Bench Sheva, play Robben. Bench Ballack, try out Young Joe or Obi Mikel from the off.

Finally, for those of us old enough to remember Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, I bring you this musical tribute to one of the hardest men in football management. You wouldn't like to meet him in a dark alley in Hackney, I tell you what....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Never taunt a Turk...

TDH was once reading a stuffy travel guide to Turkey when a particularly vivid passage intruded on the otherwise dully presented content. It read something like this: "Never challenge a Turk to a fight, because he will not stop fighting until he has won or he is unconscious."

Reading coaches, please take note. Our dear Emre, so often misnamed Belozoglu Emre by the football press (it's Emre Belözoğlu, idiots), showed exactly that sort of never-give-in attitude last night at St. James's. Now, it's fortunate that he didn't completely lose his rag before halftime, the way another volatile, stocky veteran of Turkish football - I'm talking about a certain Romanian magician here - undoubtedly would have. Instead, he stuck it to the suburbanites in the best possible way... even if it was against an American goalkeeper.

By the sound of the reports, it could have been 5-2, or maybe 5-3. What's clear is that our attackers are again capable of playing exciting football. Complaints of a lack of striking options are ringing a bit hollow, what with Antoine's form and Oba's return. We could indeed use a replacement for Rossi, who's heading back to Manure as TDH predicted. But surely the main need is a towering central defender, and perhaps a leftback as well. Please!

Finally, Palms: TDH is going to start deleting your comments if you persist in jinxing our players. Looks like I won't have to buy you that beer in Malawi after Dyer's latest crock, eh? Too bad - I was hoping I'd have to pay up. Now shut it, or I'll have to get all Brian Perkins on you.