Yes, what a depressing day. It all started with high hopes and expectations and ended with a whimper.
I predicted that we would win 3-1 and only got the one right, and that was there one-goal. I think you can safely say that Spurs won’t be challenging the top two after this match. If we were title contenders, then we needed to beat teams like United (h), Wolves (h) Watford (a) and Arsenal (a). The funny thing is that we’ve already beaten those teams this season, so it shouldn’t have been beyond the effort to beat them again. But we didn’t or couldn’t. Nonetheless, we are still in the top 4 (third actually) and all to play for (that is a top three or four spot). Plus we are still in all competitions (hooray!).
The United match was on Sunday, and Sunday was a funny old day. Supposed to be a day of rest for some, and being a Tottenham supporter nobody rested.
Even though I left at 11.00 and got to South Ruislip at 12.20, by the time I got to the queue at the Premium/ hospitality entrance, there were 10 minutes to spare (the gates opened at 2pm). Now, I know what you are thinking: what the hell was I doing between arriving in South Ruislip and getting to Wembley? Popping into my cousin for a chat and tea (and biscuits), is my answer. Then you probably are also thinking; so what, you got there with 10 minutes to spare; true. However, the queue started forming long before I got there and I ended up way back. But then again, in the greater scheme of things, I got there in the end.
When I did get through, with all the palaver attached to it (security, frisked…) I finally got to our table where the others were waiting.
What was interesting was that a few of the players came over (Graham Roberts, Paul Miller and Clive Allen) for a chat and they said that they were informed that our first game at the new stadium will be against Palace. However, if we should get through to the next round of the FA Cup (by beating Palace away) and then that next match was drawn at home, our first game could be then (I hope you are following so far?) They also pointed out, nothing was 100%, but they were pretty sure it will be in March (Palace or…?).
My Wembley appearance before this one (Chelsea) I had a long chat with Clive Allen (and again at the United game), and I told him that back in the 80s I purchased his book (autobiography) and he had signed it for me. He then said to me (that was now, not then) that he has another one coming out – with what has been happening to him since his last book came out – and should be out at the beginning of next season. Something to look forward to then (and when it comes out I shall review it for you).
As for the food we were served; roast potatoes, chicken, carrots and stuffing (who was stuffed, I am not too sure, but stuffing was on the menu). As the food is only children’s size, I had a second helping at the break. Jeff, one of my friends, who also is a chef, didn’t fancy what was on offer (read what you want into that) so gave me his voucher. To be fair, if you want another helping then all you have to do is ask one of the hospitality managers. They end up throwing so much away at the end of the day that they don’t mind.
Anyway, to the match (I can hear you shout; really, haven’t we suffered enough?).
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea produced a Wembley masterclass, in front of a crowd of 80,062, as interim manager Ole Gunnaer Solskjaer made it six wins out of six to damage our Premier League title ambitions. If he carries on this way he will be challenging for one of the two spaces, under City and Liverpool, in the top four. Which will probably end up being between Chelsea, United and us.
Marcus Rashford's low finish from Paul Pogba's superb pass on the stroke of half-time stretched Solskjaer's flawless start - but the Norwegian had De Gea to thank for a magnificent display as we laid siege to United's goal after the break.
The Spaniard made a succession of crucial interventions, 11 in total, including many with his feet, as we tried in vain to avoid a defeat that makes our task of keeping pace with Liverpool and Manchester City even more arduous.
United showed great resilience to back up their early positive approach, but it was De Gea who broke our hearts by denying Harry Kane on several occasions, as well as Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld.
The result leaves us nine points behind leaders Liverpool, with United level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal as they revive their top-four hopes. Chelsea are in fourth.
I will make a bold prediction; I believe we can go to City and Liverpool and get a result at their grounds. I think we are playing well away. Saying that; Harry Kane limped off at the end of the United game and will be out for about 8 weeks.
Next match I will be going to is against Fulham (away) this Sunday. This time around I am going with my son-in-law who is a Fulham supporter. The last time Fulham were in the Premier League I also went with him, sadly, from his point of view, they lost. At that time I sat in the Fulham area and when we scored I jumped up, to his annoyance (i.e. because I was in the home end). This time around I shall be in the Spurs end. I also got a ticket for Chelsea, in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final. Of course, with me going to all these matches it doesn’t leave many weekends free, and this annoys Hanna. We used to go to the theatre quite a lot, but now weekends are usually taken up with Spurs. Priorities old girl, priorities… but I did say that once we move to the new stadium, she should see me a lot more often; as she only lives half an hour away, by car, from the new stadium (about an hour by train) and that I could stay with her then (albeit, with her looking after my dog). Yes, I am that kind and thoughtful. It is a gift! As I keep telling her. What precisely gift it is, well, that is open to interpretation.
Until next time, enjoy, be happy. Remember; supporting Spurs isn’t just for Christmas, or a season, but a lifelong dedication.
By Glenn Renshaw