What A Miserable Saturday, bemoaned the Tottenham faithful after last weekend’s performance against Liverpool. Furthermore, the Knees Up we were hoping for in Milan was spoilt by the concession of two late goals against Inter, and while it wasn’t quite Margate, the travelling Spurs contingent were hoping for a better result on the south coast yesterday. So often, there just Ain’t No Pleasing some Spurs supporters, but then Wallop! We were all reminded that in truth, we Mustn’t Grumble as we left the AMEX with all three points.
Given Tottenham’s current form, it was understandable that the train from Victoria to Brighton was somewhat subdued, with Tottenham fans well aware that Brighton are more than capable of picking off the big boys at home. If three defeats on the bounce was not enough to make us somewhat apprehensive, public squabbling among our own faithful in recent days was bordering on the embarrassing. A friend of mine recently mentioned how much pleasure we used to take in watching Arsenal lose in Europe and watching their supporters humiliate themselves in front of the world on that complete shambles of a platform known as Arsenal Fan TV. However, it appeared that the shoe was very much on the other foot this week.
However, on Saturday morning the news that the legendary musician Chas Hodges had passed away put all the previous week’s nonsense into perspective. Spurs fans of a certain vintage adored Hodges, but it’s important not to forget that he was arguably one of the most talented and sought after session musicians of his generation. Although famed for Chas & Dave’s Cup Final antics in 1981,1982 and 1987, it is easy to forget that songs like ‘Rabbit’, ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You’ and ‘Snooker Loopy’ are now almost synonymous with the time.
We live in an era where celebrity influences on popular culture shoe-horns society into conforming to a certain way of looking and sounding, casting aspersions on, and making it almost impossible for those who don’t subscribe to succeed. However, Chas Hodges, even in the context of his time, not only bucked that trend but defiantly sang in an authentic cockney accent while others adopted an odd, quasi-American twang to their voices. Avoiding the glam, Chas and Dave stood (or sat where there was a piano on stage) proudly in their braces and flat cap, and demonstrated no shame in where they were from. It is impossible not to raise a smile when the duo are heard over the airwaves, and there is little doubt that Hodges will be remembered fondly, not as a novelty pub act, but as a musical genius and a gent.
Ossie’s Dream could be heard reverberating around the away end at the AMEX at frequent intervals during Saturday’s fixture with Brighton, with Chas Hodge’s name replacing Harry Kane’s as the Lilywhite support bellowed, “He’s One of Our Own” during the game. The fitting tribute was complete when ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You’ rang out over the Brighton PA and was echoed around the Tottenham end at half time.
The game itself was not of a similar vintage to that of the Chas Hodges’ era, where Hoddle, Archibald, Perryman and Crooks took to the park. Tottenham did however, control the game from first whistle, calmly playing their way into the tie despite failing to put the Brighton goal under any serious threat.
There was the odd occasion when Spurs did look back to their fluid best, balanced by passages of play where we gifted the ball to Brighton and looked susceptible on the counter.
Paulo Gazzaniga, deputising for the injured Michel Vorm and Hugo Lloris looked accomplished with the ball at his feet, helping Spurs move the ball confidently out of the back but Brighton were stubborn and difficult to breakdown as the play transitioned up the field. Harry Kane’s penalty just before half time did eventually break the deadlock, but the nerves weren’t settled until Erik Lamela swept home from Danny Rose’s low cross to put Tottenham two-up in the Chas Hodges Cup.
Yet it wouldn’t be Spurs if we didn’t concede a late goal, a further late chance and scrape over the line. I looked over the barrier at a Brighton supporter who wiped his brow to suggest that we were the benefactors of some good fortune, and our own faithful all let go a collective sigh of relief as the final whistle went. Spurs had ended the barren run, and put three points on the board.
A timely reminder that it ain’t all bad, and it’s still early days in a long season.Hopefully Chas Hodges could crack a smile and celebrate with us as he fires up ‘That Ol’ Piano’ in the sky.