For anyone that reads my blog on a regular basis, you will know that being a Spurs fan can be a fairly lonely existence at times. All the other clubs hate us ‘cos they ‘aint us, the pundits often forget that we exist and the powers that be seem intent on bringing us down, one ridiculous ruling at a time. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next man (unless of course the next man is Tom Cruise) but even by our standards, the last four weeks have been an absolute clusterfuck of poor decisions and good old fashioned bad luck. So seeing as we are currently on another international break and the FA are busy trying to get our players injured ahead of a crunch game at Anfield, I thought that now would be a good time to reflect on the debacle of the last few games and discuss which specific circle of hell would be most suited for Mike Dean when his time eventually comes.
So that is where we shall start, with the infamous trip to Turf Moor on February 19th where we faced Burnley, seemingly the only professional rugby union team that have been given permission to compete in the Barclays Premier League, since it’s inception 26 years ago. For any Inbetweeners fans out there, I think you will agree that if nothing else, this game perfectly summed up the sentiment “When people ask me if I like football, I say yes, I like football. But not Burnley. Burnley can fuck off!”. And in all fairness, aside from the fact that Sean Dyche had deliberately sent his players out to compete in a game of bloody Rollerball, it was once again the referee and everyone’s favourite little Hitler, Mike Dean, who stole the show….and for all the wrong reasons, as per usual. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the rod up his arse has a rod up it’s arse!!! Having already gifted the home team the lead when he incorrectly awarded them a corner, he also somehow forgot to send off Phil Bardsley for attempting to hang, draw and quarter Danny Rose on the touchline. Predictably, this didn’t sit well with Mauricio Pochettino, who approached Dean at the end of the game and as we all know, things escalated pretty quickly from there. Unfortunately, we will never really know who said what to whom, as Mike Dean had conveniently switched off his microphone before proceeding to antagonize Poch (who was already walking away from the situation) in the obnoxious manner that is fast becoming his trademark. And as the whole thing was televised, it was no longer just the Spurs fans who were left asking “who is this clown?” but the majority of the footballing world as well. Side note – this is probably one of my favourite insults of all time. Not only are you insinuating that the person in question is a clown, but that they aren’t even one of the better-known clowns on the clowning circuit!!! Unfortunately though, Mike Dean certainly is one of the better-known clowns on the clowning circuit that is more commonly referred to as the Professional Referee’s Association. And in all honesty, a man with his experience really should have known better. Pochettino may normally be as calm as a Hindu cow but everybody knows that deep down, he has always loved a bit of argy bargy!!!
Predictably, the FA proceeded to punish Poch with a two game touchline ban, despite a public apology and Mike Dean (once again) got away scot free and lived to mince another day. In isolation, this may have seemed like a fair punishment but when you consider that both Jurgen Klopp and Marco Silva were only handed a fine, despite displaying alarmingly similar behaviour towards a match official, you can start to empathise with the so-called “anti-Spurs agenda” that has been gathering pace in recent weeks. And whilst we are on the subject of Jurgen Klopp, it would be remiss of me not to draw attention to the fact that most of his post match interviews appear to be turning into increasingly ridiculous amateur weather reports! So far this season, Liverpool have dropped points due to the conditions being too windy, too dry, too snowy and once again, too windy! The wheels may well be coming off their title bid due to the unpredictably windy side-effects of global warming (so it’s not all doom and gloom, apparently) but I tell you what, this is a golden era for my professional kite flying team, The Mighty Kites!!! Anyway, back to Spurs and the continued institutional sabotage of our season. Having already fallen afoul of Mike Dean and his overly-theatrical machinations, the awful level of officiating continued as we took on Arsenal at Wembley. Firstly, everyone’s favourite celebrity assassin, Aaron Ramsey, was allowed to score from an offside position (whilst simultaneously killing off The Prodigy….thanks a lot Rambo, you prick) before Arsenal were awarded a very soft penalty in the dying minutes of the game, which would have effectively given them the North London Derby bragging rights for the remainder of the season. Thankfully, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was about as cool and composed as Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah and managed to miss the penalty, meaning that we somehow managed to escape with a point and our honour (just about) intact.
We managed to follow this up with a consummate victory away to Borussia Dortmund, which saw us become the first North London club to make it through to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League since 2011. The last club to do it was also Spurs, just in case you were wondering. However, we then faced a difficult trip to struggling Southampton in the league, where the veritable clown car of refereeing incompetence continued unabated. Despite playing them off the park in the first 45 minutes and taking a 1-0 lead, we managed to concede an utterly ridiculous equalizer after the break, as Danny Rose’s latest attempts to defend via telepathy ended with predictably calamitous consequences before James Ward-Prowse scored from a free kick that was somehow allowed to be taken 10 yards closer to goal than where the foul was actually committed!!! Once again, the inability of the referee to keep up with the game or make the right call under pressure had cost us valuable points and seen our 13 point buffer in 3rd place eroded to just 1 point. Take nothing away from the teams that we have played against over this period, because in all honesty, we would struggle to beat Rhianna on current form. But sometimes you need the rub of the green and that seems to be the exact opposite of what we have been getting from the officials of late…..but I suppose that this explains why we didn’t send any of them to the World Cup last year. They say that these things often even themselves out over the course of a season but I guarantee the people who say that haven’t been through what we have just been through in the last month or so. Couple that with the fact that we have been given the most difficult possible draw against Man City (the football team, not the gay bar out by the airport) in the Champions League Quarter-Finals and it is easy to understand the general feeling of malaise amongst Spurs fans right now, as literally everything seems to be going against us.
Of course, all of these shenanigans continue to bring us back to the ongoing argument of the role that V.A.R should be playing in the Premier League. For those of you who currently live in a cave on the moon, with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears, I should probably explain the concept of V.A.R and it’s proposed future role in professional football. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just a tool that was invented to help Manchester United progress in European competitions but it also stands for Video Assistant Referee and is seen by many as the future of officiating, supposedly eradicating incorrect decisions forever. Now, anyone who knows me will know that I think V.A.R is the devil and it’s implementation will just be opening the door to a future that is dominated and ultimately controlled by SkyNet, thus signalling the destruction of mankind as we know it. However, based on the consistently poor performances of the aforementioned referees over the last month or so, that’s currently a risk that I am more than willing to take! Over the last three matches alone, V.A.R could have saved Spurs several vital points in the race for the Top 4 and more importantly, it could have stopped my stomach ulcer from inexplicably developing it’s own stomach ulcer in the process! Having watched plenty of Bundesliga action over the last couple of years (it is both a cheaper and more enjoyable way to embrace my wife’s German heritage than bothering to learn the language), I have seen how it has wrecked the atmosphere on match day. The delay between a team scoring a goal and the crowd actually celebrating (whilst the referee checks the validity of the goal) makes FIFA 18 look incredibly realistic, all of a sudden. But as we saw with the Mike Dean debacle, the referees in the Premier League are, for the most part arrogant, incompetent and have zero accountability when they make game changing mistakes. If players or managers were to act in a similar way, the FA would throw the book at them, much like they did with Mauricio Pochettino. Unfortunately, our current crop of officials are untouchable, so the sooner we replace them all with robots, the better for everyone…..except maybe Sarah Conner! COYS.