There’s no shortage of hot stories from the football universe to choose from tonight ; Ajax’s Dutch Cup victory over PSV, Juventus closing in on their 29th Serie A title with a 2-1 win over Palermo, Marcel Desailly’ retirement announcement, Houston taking the first ever Texas derby or the emergence of 17 year old Theo Walcott (above) as a possible candidate for the injury ravaged England team.
But fuck all of that. None of it compares to Spurs being denied a Champions League entry by bad lasanga. From the Telegraph’s Christopher Davies.
(the Hammers’ Carl Fletcher says “next time, try the meatloaf”)
Food poisoning or not, let nobody believe Tottenham Hotspur did not have the stomach for a fight in a memorable finale to the season that saw the visitors lose the game and their chance of a place in the Champions League.
Whatever the ills of English football, there is an honesty about the Premiership that ridiculed any conspiracy theories that their presence in the FA Cup final might prevent West Ham from giving their all in a match in which the outcome mattered far more to the visitors.
“We were a credit to the Premier League and so were Spurs,” West Ham manager Alan Pardew said. “Spurs gave a good account of themselves and I thought we were superb.”
For all their frustrations about the effects of a dodgy lasagne, Tottenham missed out on the Champions League because, over a 38-game season, the rub of the green tends to even itself out and each side end with their just deserts. Points thrown away during the last minutes of matches contributed to Tottenham’s fate, though joining West Ham in the Uefa Cup still makes 2005-06 a success for Martin Jol’s team even if it seems slightly anti-climatic having been so close to the Champions League.
Of the players who had suffered overnight food poisoning only Michael Carrick seemed particularly drained in a game played in good spirit given the knife-edge occasion. For that, the players and referee Chris Foy deserve credit.