My Eyes Have Seen The Glory

7 Nov

Sometimes there a moments in life that burn themselves into one’s psyche. They promise numerous re-tellings with the passing of years and serve to capture a small essence of just how glorious human endeavour and capability can be. The night of Tuesday 2nd November 2010 was, without falling into the trap of over-exaggerated hyperbole and believe me that is a distinct possibility, one of those splendidly rare occurrences. It was a night which demonstrated just how a collective will, working in tandem with the singular flair of an individual can triumph so comprehensively over the gargantuan obstacles of history, received wisdom and seemingly superior resources.

Tottenham’s triumph over Inter Milan, the Champions of Europe was a display borne out of fearlessness. In the numerous duals that were fought out all over the hallowed pitch of White Hart Lane, the players deployed by Harry Redknapp all emerged victorious but it was in the shape of a 21 year-old Welshman, that the night found its true apotheosis. As he did in the San Siro two weeks before, Gareth Bale attacked Inter’s right flank with a breathtaking show of power, speed and guile which had no reverence for illustrious reputations of his adversaries. So much so that he reduced arguably the best right-back on the planet, Maicon, to be being hailed a cab by the home support and eliciting petulant acts of foot-stamping from Brazil’s behemoth of a captain, Lucio. Bale’s heroics will have already entered White Hart Lane’s pantheon of greatness but it was the reaction of the world’s assembled media in the aftermath that has precipitated some concern.

The speculation regarding Bale’s future has already begun in earnest and it would seem that the predatory instincts of the game’s mega-clubs have already honed in on N17 in the hope of prizing away ‘the next big thing’. Bale was refreshingly modest about his performance and has pledged to see out his contract at Spurs. By all intents and purposes he is a young man with his feet firmly rooted in reality, so much so that he remarked that his Man of the Match bottle of champagne would be stored away as a souvenir as he is resoundingly tee-total. But the fear remains that the temptation will be too overwhelming to keep him at a club that is progressing rather than firmly established. In a world where the quick-fix is so venerated in the form of instant credit and instant celebrity, will Bale and Spurs merely cash in now rather than holding firm for a future that could potentially be magical? Or in his modesty, are we seeing the emergence of a less vainglorious footballer?

Witness the bile and frustration thrown towards Barack Obama in the United States on the day of the Inter match. It was only two years ago, on November 4th, that his victory in the Presidential election provided all of humanity with another one of those rare moments of hope that I have already alluded to. Obama campaigned on a platform of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ and in his quietly assuming and erudite fashion, he has attempted to make America a far more socially conscious society. His plans for healthcare reform were an indication that there was a realisation that the poorest in society cannot and should not be left to fend for themselves. He has made the US a far less aggressive global policeman with his timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. After years in which the cult of the individual was allowed to dismantle both the financial and industrial institutions under the watch of Ronald Reagan, the Bushes and sadly even Bill Clinton, Obama maintained that if the country was willing to sacrifice its propensity for the ‘I’m alright, Jack’ mentality then change was surely a possibility. Not immediately, granted. But the promise was there.

And what has he got in return for this? The mid-term elections went a long way to showing that the American people were unsatisfied with the progress he has made in two years. Apparently, his presidency was a shame. If you take the time to surf the news channels, you’ll find America’s cultural barometers, the news networks, regularly undermine and ridicule a man they hailed not so long ago. The powerful and controversial Fox News host, Glenn Beck, has openly called Obama a ‘racist’ and seeks to promote him as a godless advocate of post-colonial communism. Key players in Beck’s anti-Washington TEA Party movement such as Sharron Angle have spread nothing but innuendo and vicious gossip with the intention of demonising a President who inherited an economic crisis rather than creating it. Ms Angle suggested that since Obama’s gaining of office, parts of Texas are now operating under Sharia law. And then there’s the erstwhile Sarah Palin, who is being regarded as credible prospect for running against Obama in 2012 because she represents ‘simple folk’.

In his final speech before his assassination in 1968, Dr Martin Luther King Jr proclaimed: “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Having reached the promised land in 2008, Obama is rightly or wrongly, discovering that once you reach the zenith, the descent is usually far more stinging and that surrounding you are others who either want to ground you or obstruct you. Just as Spurs are finding that their promised land of the Champions League is potentially double-edged. Having taken on Europe’s elite with such fearlessness, Redknapp has a team and a player in Bale that is now open for attack by lesser teams and increasingly covetous glances from those with more financial clout than Spurs.

What the future holds for both Obama and Bale, of course nobody can tell. However, what we witnessed on both those November nights were magical vignettes of what can be achieved and dreamed of when the promised land is merely a dot on the horizon. It is these moments that get written into history. Not Glenn Beck. Not Sarah Palin. Not Bolton’s defeat of Spurs four days later.  Meanwhile, that taxi’s still waiting for you Mr Maicon…


Further reading: League Of Faith: Dispatch – 29th August

One Response to “My Eyes Have Seen The Glory”


  1. Tweets that mention My Eyes Have Seen The Glory « Dispatches From A Football Sofa -- - November 7, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Just Football, Greg Theoharis, Robin Macfarlane, Greg Theoharis, Greg Theoharis and others. Greg Theoharis said: This Week's Dispatch: The Rise of Gareth Bale, The Fall of Barack Obama. Read and RT and thanks as always. […]

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