By Tony Attwood
My answer is yes we did learn something.
First, and most important, we (as in those of us who didn’t get to the away version of this fixture) saw what an incredibly assured play Ignasi Miquel is at the centre of defence.
He signed for us aged 15 from UD Cornella in Spain and became a pro at 17, having previously played for Barcelona (being with them for five years). So we can expect some more bleating from the bankrupt Spanish club any minute now about us stealing their youth products.
It is said that the original fee was £500,000 with another fee of the same price if we made some first team appearances, so more than likely our profit from last night’s match has just been stuffed into an envelope and sent to Spain.
When he first came across I am sure I saw a couple of comments about him being a midfielder, but as we have seen he is a centre half (who can play left back). He also looks quite tall – no bad thing in the era when everyone and his dog wants to suggest all our centre halves are under 1 metre tall.
He has played for Spain’s youth teams, which make the release from Barca all the more strange, and there were reports that when we got him some team from Manchester with supporters all over Cornwall were also after him.
So why he left Barca Bankrupt is a bit of a mystery, but I am sure they will tell us in good time.
And we learned just how far Conor Henderson has come in the last year – Conor was making his first appearance on the pitch for the first team squad.
He’s 19, plays for Ireland (although the wholly uninformative IM Scouting site has him as English) and also played for the reserves last season.
And finally we learned that humour and inventiveness is alive and well in North London. Football chants lose a lot of their charm and power when printed in black on white in the cold light of morning (compared with the very cold harsh lights of the stadium) but even so this little exercise is worth repeating in case you weren’t at the game.
People leaving the stadium early is an issue – and has over time been getting out of control. The first approach at dealing with this through singing came with “Is there a fire drill?” as people get up to leave before the end. That little ditty is still being sung, and it is interesting to see the look of concern on the faces of the stewards not in the know, when it comes up.
But last night we also had “Walk out, if you love Tottenham” and that really did get at quite a few people. I don’t know if people who were going to walk out did in fact sit down again, but I saw a lot of bowed heads and people trying to get out more quickly.
(Incidentally speaking of getting out I was very concerned at Wembley. We stayed, as we always do, to the final whistle, and then stood ready to make our way out. It took seven minutes for us to be able to get into the concourse on the upper level, from whence we could find the steps down. Seven minutes being stuck in the upper levels by our seats…. so what were we to have done in the event of an emergency? Seven minutes cannot be acceptable for an emergency evacuation, and yet I could see no other way of getting out.
I am not saying Wembley Stadium is as prone to fire as the old Bradford City ground, but in the event of smoke (which is often the killer when it comes to such emergencies, rather than the fire) I would not care to be stuck in it for seven minutes – which would of course stretch to much longer if no one could see and panic set in.
If I go to Wembley again it will only be if I can get tickets much closer to the front of the upper tier. The view of the pitch from on high is ok, but I really don’t trust the emergency evacuation arrangements.)
Anyway, back to the Orient, it was a jolly evening, and we can all now look forward to a game against one of the northern teams with a manager who seems to complain a lot about referees. Now why does he do that?
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