Often in the Premier League the fans look to the players for inspiration, whilst they in turn wait for us to support. But what happens when both the players and the fans arrive with the determination to inspire each other? Last night at White Hart Lane it happened. Lamela, Kane and co brought the skill, 1882 brought the noise and support. A truly glorious evening.
A lot has been made of the lack of atmosphere at White Hart Lane. There are many reasons for this, reasons which require a far more detailed and depressing article than I am prepared to throw together, instead I have chosen to look at something else. The positives. The moment when football and the supporters meet. That spine tingling moment when you have to remove your jacket on a European night in October at White Hart Lane, because of the energy in the crowd and because of what is happening on the green stuff.
Last night the crowd and the players met halfway. We entertained ourselves, which is the norm for an 1882 event, but last night the team decided it also wanted to join the party. Occasionally the players we come to support can be the curious neighbour peeking through the curtains but last night it threw on its best clothes, cleared out the drinks cabinet and swaggered over to join us.
Front and centre of these welcome gatecrashers were local boy Harry Kane and Erik Lamela. Two young men from the opposite sides of the world, but last night driven on by the will to succeed and entertain.
The Premier League always brings with it the iron grip of expectation, which often strangles the atmosphere and the possibility for entertainment to flourish. Managers, players, the press and us are focused solely on the results. However, on nights like last night, the result is important, but the manner in which it is achieved matters more. It is Europe under the lights and we crave that flash, that swagger, that flourish.
The Premier League always brings with it the iron grip of expectation, which often strangles the atmosphere and the possibility for entertainment to flourish
The Europa League offers the players a blank canvas and a chance to paint outside the lines and to prove something to themselves as well as us. Certain players have failed to take the opportunities offered to them in this competition, to their cost, whilst others are seeing it for what it is.
The Europa League is football therapy. A padded room in which anything can be attempted. We appreciate any player trying to reach out and grasp the glory, even if they fail. It’s the trying that matters, it’s the quest not necessarily the conquest that matters.
Asteras Tripoli’s lack of following allowed 1882 to commandeer Block 35 and it wasn’t long until Kane’s first goal of his hat-trick, raised voices even more. Kane is developing quite a habit of scoring from range, it seems as if he has learnt that from distance, accuracy is just as important as power. His sweeping right footed shot was brilliant, but it was just the first note of a beautiful sonnet on what it means to capture glory in one moment.
Last night I was amongst the privileged few to see a unique sporting moment unfold in front of me. A moment where the genetic make up of Lamela, the stuff that binds him together and has made him a class footballer took over. Any mental problems, any self doubts, any family issues were pushed aside by pure instinct. That goal wasn’t planned, there was no routine, it was improvisation, it was a split second action where his mind spoke to his body and said nothing, it just did.
I was aware that I had seen something monumental but I didn’t understand it. The truth is every one of us behind that goal still don’t comprehend the goal. It’s the reason why we are sitting watching instead of doing. Lamela showed us that it is there in him, he just needs to harness it. He needs to stop over thinking, he just has to let his God given talent come out unhindered.
That goal wasn’t planned, there was no routine, it was improvisation, it was a split second action where his mind spoke to his body and said nothing, it just did
Too often we have seen him in advanced situations and he has allowed a thought to cloud his judgement and the moment passes. Last night his two goals were his ferocious talent being unleashed without a thought about what he was doing. Hidden inside that slight frame is an incredible footballer, hopefully last night was the first real step to releasing the beast.
It is difficult to try and judge a game that will in time be eclipsed by that moment, but as the game progressed post rabona, Spurs buoyed by that skill went in search of more goals. Andros Townsend looked like the player we see in an England shirt and Mousa Dembele was his usual spinning, dragging it back on to his left foot self, but he added the drive to his game he needs to oust Ryan Mason from the PL staring XI.
However, it was the Hugo Lloris and Kane double act that dominated the last 15 minutes. The England under-21 striker for grabbing two neat finishes and the French man for a stupendous save then a red card.
He is now proficient in a striking role, or slightly to the right or left, two positions reliant on technique, an ability he has by the bucket loads
With the game won and Spurs cruising, Lloris made an ill-timed challenge which resulted in his sending off and Kane taking his gloves, jersey and captains armband, then lining up his wall and putting himself in the firing line. It was perhaps just as surreal as the Lamela goal and it certainly made the last 7 minutes or so intriguing.
Kane is a player that for a long time was misunderstood. I remember seeing him play a preseason friendly at Barnet for the Under 21s and coming away from the game very unsure about him. He seemed too slow physically and mentally to lead the line, but overtime he has developed quickness of thought and movement.
The local boy is now proficient in a striking role, or slightly to the right or left, two positions reliant on technique, an ability he has by the bucket loads. In an age were image matters, he still lacks the charisma in front of the camera to enthral off the pitch, but there is now no doubting his ability or confidence on the pitch.
Would the Kane of 18 months ago put himself in a position of ridicule by taking the responsibility of going in goal? I highly doubt it.
The only down point to his evening was the incredibly soft goal he conceded, but even that in the end drew him closer to us. He found comfort in our songs and support and as the game approached its conclusion, his rapport with the crowd grew. We already liked him, now we love him, and the best thing? He now knows this as well.
Get involved, sing a song and enjoy watching football. You may end up witnessing a moment of magic in and amongst strangers who for 95 minutes are the most precious people you know
Last night turned out to be one of those perfect football supporting evenings. 1882 gathered to have fun and support regardless of the score or performance, but the team decided to add to the occasion with a hat-trick, a once in a life time goal. a powerful volley and Kane doing a Heurelho Gomes impression. It was a spectacular evening and one of the greatest football watching nights of my life. It is time more people got involved in the movement, dropped the clichés and the ridiculous reasoning as to why 1882 is a bad thing for Spurs.
Get involved, sing a song and enjoy watching football. You may end up witnessing a moment of celestial magic in and amongst strangers who for 95 minutes are the most precious people you know. No agendas. No memberships. No segregation. No arrogance. No tutting. No moaning. No groans of despair. Sing and support are the only requirements.