The Glory Game. It was the title of the book by Hunter Davies in 1972, probably the first book from the inside workings of a club, Tottenham Hotspur, as they travelled around England and Europe in pursuit of titles and trophies. It was so popular over the decades that it was reissued 30 years later in 2002.
Last weekend Tottenham Hotspur, the Spurs, climbed the 107 steps up to the Royal Box at the new Wembley to receive the Carling Cup, with a 2-1 come from behind win over holders Chelsea. The old Wembley had 39 steps up to the Royal Box, and of course 39 Steps, the extra match around the world idea of EPL Chief Richard Scudamore is dead in the water, and he cancelled his proposed visit to FIFA HQ in Zurich. Uniquely for you statisticians, all three goals were scored by players wearing ALICE BANDS, to keep their hair in place; Didier Drogba for Chelsea and Dimitar Berbatov and Jonathan Woodgate for the winners. Woodgate is a superb, cool defender, recently transferred from Middlesborough for 'only' £7 million, due to his injury problems. He had a hair cut for the occasion. They used to nickname him 'Village' as in Village Idiot, back in his Leeds United days, but under pressure in his his club matches and for England, he is so compossed. Despite his £60,000 a week salary he had complained about not being able to find an affordable house in the London area. Perhaps his winning bonus will help.
The Spurs, founded in 1882, have an illustrious history and were probably named after Sir Henry Percy who was Harry Hotspur in Shakespeare's Richard IV part I, in the 15th Century, and play at White Hart Lane, one of the most difficult places to get to in North London, with their local rivals being Arsenal. After the last war Arthur Rowe, followed by Bill Nicholson made them a household name and a promoter of cultured football. In recent decades they have been The Nearly Men, not quite making it to the very top with a revolving door of coaches and players.
Jaunde Ramos took over from Martin Jol and said the team was suffering from Negative Inertia. His first action was to change the diet of the players, cutting out ketchup, mayonnaise, cakes, fizzy drinks and replacing them with fish, fruit and water. He trained them harder and got them to lose weight. Evidently the squad lost 120lbs in the first 2 months and he demands more. The clubs motto is AUDERE EST FACERE - TO DARE IS TO DO, so all is possible.
An even bigger shock wave hit North London rivals Arsenal. Their Women's team won 4 titles last season including the Women's Premier League, The Women's League Cup, The Women's FA Cup and the Women's European Cup and has been unbeaten in any competition for 2 years. Everton Ladies, coached by the legendary Mo Marley won 1-0 in the first final of the season, The League Cup Final at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road Stadium. It was a great triumph for their coach, who also coaches the England youth team. The only goal of the match was scored in the 7th minute by AMY KANE, from a pass by Jill Scott.Over 5,000 spectators watched, a record for this competition.
This Sunday I am going to watch Arsenal play in the F.A.Women's Premier League at Leeds United, last season's beaten League Cup finalists. The 2008 F.A. Women's Cup Final will be held for a second year running at The City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest, where I joined 25,000 fans for last season's final. Arsenal vs Lincoln City and Leeds United vs Everton are the semi-final pairings.