Five Footballing Stages of Grief
In the season 5 episode of Scrubs, a popular patient passes away and J.D and Dr Cox go through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Ultimately this happens and they reach acceptance stage at the end of the episode.
And like with J.D and Dr Cox, the same can be applied to Tottenham’s away performance at the Bernabeau. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, all felt over the course of the day and especially during the 90 minutes itself.
Denial All day I was fearing the worst. I had in my head Real Madrid scoring goal after goal, after a few more goals, before the referee calls the game at a halt after 67 minutes with the scores at 24-0. Of course, that wouldn’t happen, Spurs do at least have a half decent defence when it wants to be. And then the build up comes, decent teams, no complaints to be had. But then at 7:40PM BST it went wrong. For some reason Jermaine Jenas appears on the pitch, where is Lennon? This can’t be good…
Anger For some reason the line up was all wrong, everything about it. The midfield was a mess, Bale started on the right, nobody seemingly fit to play on the left. Why not put Kranjcar on in that case Redknapp, further proof of tactical naivety on his part. Jenas had an awful game, constantly giving away possession, I know it is almost a cliché that Jenas gets blamed every game, but this game is proof why he gets that tag. Three minutes in, goal, Emmanuel Adebayor, ex-Arsenal, villain. For some reason Jenas is given the task of marking him, not Dawson, not Gallas, but Jenas. Nonsensical, free header, Modric messes it up a bit on the line. But hey, 177 minutes still to go right. No. Thank you Peter Crouch. Two idiotic tackles, two yellow cards. The referee had an excellent game in my view, despite Sergio Ramos getting away with two bookable offences. That ruined the game for Spurs, playing effectively a 4-5-0 formation. Rafael van der Vaart not fully with it, Luka Modric marked tight, Bale anonymous.
Bargaining But look, half time. It is only 1-0, that isn’t too bad. We can still get into this, one more goal. Stick a striker on, hope for the best. Heck, I can still just about laugh about Ray Wilkins’ new catchphrase of ‘stay on your feet’. Bale showed some glimpses, keep giving it at him, Pepe is now yellow carded, out for next game, one tackle away from a red. Run, Gareth, Run. Defoe comes on for van der Vaart, smart move, the Dutchman was dreadful in the first 45 minutes. Still time, 45 minutes and another leg at White Hart Lane to come, we did it against Inter Milan…
Depression Alas, no. Shot, shot, shot for Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo ended up with 13 overall, 13, an insane amount. 36 shots for Real Madrid. That just sounds like Tottenham really, except they score with their chances. The second goal, more defensive woe, Gallas left with two men, forgets to jump. Adebayor with two, painful. The third is unstoppable, beautiful curler from Di Maria. The fourth, oh Gomes, he was solid all game in fairness, but one mistake clouds a game. No goals in four games, 410 minutes. Les Ferdinand out and all that. Madrid deserved four, Spurs deserved nil. Poor all round, bye bye Europe. Europa League here we come, book your tickets for Finland, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina now.
Acceptance Full time, 4-0. Brushed aside. But it isn’t anything to be ashamed of, is it? Surely Real Madrid are the second best team in Europe, just after Barcelona. And what a ride Tottenham have sent everyone on. From 3-0 down away at Young Boys, to the highs against Inter Milan (3-1), AC Milan (both games), hell even being there has been special. We did it, judging by the league it may be the only opportunity Spurs get for a few years and they gave it a damn good crack at it. Quarter finals is nothing to be ashamed of. We went one round further than the lot down the road. Arsenal only made the group stages at their first attempt of the Champions League as well. Spurs had one of the best debut seasons in the Champions League without a doubt. Kings of Milan, stars, nothing to be disappointed about. Bring on FC Honka, RNK Split and FK Željezničar Sarajevo. Europe is Europe, its still more attractive to players than no Europe. It hasn’t stopped Manchester City this season, nor the likes of Porto and Napoli. One leg to go, why not go out in style.