In world sports, the occasions that fans enjoy the most are the ones against local rivals. The atmosphere is usually electric, the stadium full, and if the players give two shits about it all the games can live in the memory for a life time. It’s no surprise then that more often than not these games end in embarrassment for one side. It happens in all sport at all levels and unless you’re some kind of social recluse you will have experienced the feeling of losing more than enough times.
This would have been the feeling for Sunderland fans on Sunday afternoon at around 3:30pm after they’d just seen their side pulverized by a Newcastle United side who were only promoted back up in May. Many wouldn’t have predicted the final score, 5-1, but it’s what happens in games when a fierce rivalry is at stake. We already saw PSV beat rivals Feyenoord 10-0 earlier this month so it’s hardly out of the ordinary.
Newcastle’s five goals came from the part-time Newcastle United probation officer, and captain, Kevin Nolan who managed a hat-trick. The other two goals came from Shola Ameobi, and it will not be known until later today as to who adds their name to the list of players arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Apart from this game, there were plenty of laughs to be had at the weekend’s action, none more so than at Old Trafford.
Where Tottenham Hotspur go, invariably comedic humour follows close behind. The days of Juande Ramos’ side bottom after 10 games side are gone but the club still seems to unearth the most ludicrous of situations.
This weekend was no exception.
Harry Redknapp’s side usually does awfully at Old Trafford as far as the luck stakes go. Over six years ago it was Pedro Mendes who scored a legitimate goal at the “Theatre of Dreams,” and there was the controversial penalty decision two years back. Now you wouldn’t say this weekend was one better but it brings home the fact that you should always play to the whistle. This is where those brave Tottenham Hotspurs failed – miserably.
In a nutshell what happened was their Brazilian goalkeeper Gomes put the ball down for a free kick when referee Mark Clattenburg hadn’t blown for one. Nani then ran to the ball, stood there for a couple of seconds, before slotting it home to seal a 2-0 victory. In the spirit of the game? No. Rather funny to everyone other than Spurs’ fans? Definitely. Add to this the fact the referee was the same one to disallow the Mendes goal and you could make a budget ITV comedy series on it all.
Spurs will hope to make amends as they welcome Inter Milan to the Lane tomorrow night, but without Rafael Van Der Vaart it’s questionable as to whether they really have a chance. They have Gareth Bale, but Inter have Wesley Sneijder and an in-form Samuel Eto’o.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, the Bodog-sponsored Fulham finally managed a win for the first time in almost two months thanks to American talisman Clint Dempsey. Chelsea remains at the top of the league and are the cool/sensible/everyone’s pick to win the league at a canter. Man City lost at Wolves, and most of them didn’t really look like they gave a toss about the game. Probably thinking about how they can spend this week’s wages.