New supporters start here. Our heroes having encountered hailstones and high winds on the first part of their return to the high wire have slipped and are hanging over the ravine by their fingertips. Welcome to the stressful world of following the Mighty Spurs. You wait half a century for a bus to come along and when it does it sails straight past. But all is not lost. I'm not sure how but 1-0 at The Lane would do it. We replaced our slick passing and teamwork of the City game with grit and determination and retrieved a 3-0 deficit after our worst half hour of football for some time. Ever? Those with better memories than mine will easily refute this.
Young Boys, at home on a difficult surface that they are used to, rode their luck and took their early chances well. We played a very high line and Dawson and Bassong were exposed by penetrative passing and pace. We looked uncertain and tentative perhaps due partly to mistrust of the surface but mainly due to the confidence and speed of our opponents. They caught us cold and we looked to be hanging onto the ropes: down but not quite out.
The selection of Palacios was logical for the away tie but Harry was quick to make a tactical change when it wasn't working. After Huddlestone came on we won the remainder of the game 2-0. Modric and Tom are our creative heart but they can't play every game in a 60+game season. We have a strong squad and are going to have to use it.
Pavlyuchenko whose movement was good but control was poor would certainly have been replaced but for Defoe's injury. His step-over and one/two with Keane was football of the highest class and his superb strike keeps us in the tie. He's 28 and is not going to change now. Take him as he is or not at all. He is a frustrating and irritating player but can give you golden moments. A powerful header by Bassong before half time gave us hope but few dared to dream that we would get up off the canvas and land a couple of body blows ourselves.
Huddlestone changed the game for us and his calm control of the midfield gave us a secure base from which to operate. It is a wonder how attitudes and opinions can change. Huddlestone, though playing in the exactly the same way as before, has gone from being criticised for statuesque immobility to praise for his zen like calm. The change of Huddlestone for Ekotto seemed tactical to me because though Bale is by no measure a better defensive full back he does offer Harry more attacking flexibility.
For the first half we played like something out of Shaun of the Dead and Young Boys could and perhaps should have had a couple more. We didn't chuck in the towel but we were bemused by their footsure passing and were slow to pick up on their example of the way to play on this surface. To judge players making their debut starts, Palacios, Bassong, Giovani and Pavlyuchenko on this tricky surface is harsh.
The opposition were better than we anticipated and we did well to stay in the tie. It was proof if we needed it that there are no easy games at this level and might help to focus our minds for the replay and hopefully beyond. Young Boys at the Wankdorf Stadium some joke, but it's on us at the moment.
So like some serial Dick Barton adventure mystery, now being repeated after 40 yrs on BBC Radio , we leave our heroes hanging over the ravine and will only find out next week whether they fall or clamber back onto the wire and make it to the other side. The second half of the journey should be easier than the first but we are Spurs: we don't do routine, predictable or boring. If you can't take the tension, the disappointment, the highs and the lows you are supporting the wrong club. But I often feel like that.
We need to beat Stoke to generate momentum after this faltering start and the return of Ledley should bring calm to the back four. Actually I'd save him for the replay which is now a must win game. For this reason I would play Palacios against Stoke and keep Modric for Wednesday. Up front I think we will see Crouch and Keane. Defoe is likely to be out for a while as he seems to be carrying the injury through from last season.
So here you have images and cliches for all ages and tastes: boxers on the ropes or high wire artists hanging by their fingertips. Another week though and I'm sure that our season will be back on track.