GOOD things come to those that wait – Guinness taught me that.

That and eight pints of the black stuff tinted green for Paddy’s Day accompanied by a large chicken satay is only a good idea if you fancy becoming the living incarnation of Linda Blair from The Exorcist – but that’s another story.

Tottenham finally played a game in their sparkling new £1BILLION stadium this week. It was only 200 DAYS late and £600MILLION over budget (first ballpark figure was £400m before rising sharply to £750m, then £850m) and the infamous cheese room ended up being an urban myth but hey-ho you can’t win them all.

At least they kicked off with 2-0 win over Crystal Palace but those giddy fans calling it the best stadium in the world have clearly not seen Atlanta Falcons $1.5bn thing of beauty.

In PR terms it has been a disaster – and not just for Tottenham. The FA and UEFA also have not covered themselves in glory.

In 2015 the FA told Tottenham – who wanted to split matches between Wembley and Milton Keynes – that hosting matches at two different grounds was a no-go. Chief executive Richard Scudamore said at the time: “They’d have to play in the same stadium for the entire year- for the integrity of the competition. You can’t have 19 home games with 10 at Milton Keynes and nine at Wembley – completely, completely unfair. That won’t be allowed in our competition.”

For reasons known only to them this campaign they have thrown the rule book out the window and allowed them to play home matches at THREE venues (Wembley, a league cup match at MK and now the new place).

UEFA has no hard and fast rules about playing European fixtures in the same home, so the question there must be ‘why haven’t they?’

The hoped-for first game at Stadium No Name was Liverpool on September 15 and subsequent mooted moving-in dates in late-October, mid-December and March came and went.

Daniel Levy has built a reputation as a hard-nosed businessman but over-seeing this debacle has severely tainted that. Surely when Real Madrid come calling for Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen or Dele Alli they will be thinking we can get one over this man.

And I think he has missed a sponsorship trick – with the bowl-shape of the new build surely Toilet Duck or Domestos would be perfect for naming rights!

THE lead at the top of the Premier League is changing more often than the colour of a chameleon at the end of a rainbow.

Champions Manchester City held it after a routine 2-0 win at Fulham, lost it after Liverpool’s crazy 2-1 victory over Tottenham and regained it again by seeing off Cardiff 2-0 midweek.

Scarily for the Reds, last campaign’s Prem playmaker of the season Kevin De Bruyne looks to have put his injury problems behind him and was back with a bang with a fine goal and performance.

But as superbly brilliant Pep Guardiola’s men have been even they must be getting concerned that the Kop lot seemingly will not be swatted away.

Jurgen Klopp’s side needed a howler from Hugo Lloris Karius (too harsh?) and prime Virgil van Dijk to steal all three points. Tottenham’s French keeper inexplicable let Mo Salah’s routine header bounce out his grasp, hit the hapless Toby Alderweireld and trickle in. The Spurs skipper is increasingly as handy to his team as a back pocket on a shirt.

Kop giant VVD got the plaudits for single-handedly stopping a two-on-one break which surely would have won the game for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. But the Robin to his Batman was once again Andy Robertson who supplied an exquisite pass for Bobby Firmino’s opener.

Since his debut in August 2017 Robbo has set up more Prem goals than any other defender (14) and with eight this season is only four behind leading assist maker Eden Hazard.

His – and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s – self-belief and relentless optimism coupled with the calm, assured class of Van Dijk are as potent a weapon for Klopp & Co as the famed front three.

Their 79 points is the Reds’ best ever tally after 32 matches of a top-flight season – beating 76 in 87-88. The stress levels for fans might be through the roof but the Reds should try and Salah-brate the good times

THIS is your time Wolves, Watford and Brighton – take your chance or watch someone (in light blue) take it from you.

The three clubs are all in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend and will be starting to dream the impossible dream.

Yes Manchester City are the big boy still left in but as Manchester United found out in 1976, Liverpool in 1988 and City themselves in 2013 anything can happen in a one-off game at Wembley.

Wolves would be my pick from the unfancied sides most likely to spring a shock. The four-time champions who last won this famous old competition in 1960 have some great players like Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves and play their best football against top sides.

Nuno Espirito Santo, 45, is also an exciting up-and-coming manager who would dearly love to add another piece of silverware to the Wanderers cabinet to go with the Championship title they won in 2018.

And their confidence will be higher than cholesterol levels in lovers of a fry-up after knocking out Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s rejuvenated United in the last round – then beating them again in the league.

And for neutrals it would be nice to see a different face – a Conor Coady, Troy Deeney or Bruno – life the old trophy rather than see Vincent Kompany hoist it aloft again.

AND finally there is actually one profession in the UK that is performing worse than the politicians – yes referees.

Ponderous and painfully slow Chelsea were atrocious at Cardiff and yet somehow came away with the three points. The Blues did not just have a slice of luck but the whole cake.

A clearly off-side Cesar Azpilicueta had clear daylight between him and the Bluebirds defence to level, Antonio Rudiger could have been sent off twice and Cardiff had two decent penalty shouts turned down.

Men in black Craig Pawson and Eddie Smart left Cardiff fans, players and boss Neil Warnock feeling sicker than women watching R-Kelly win music awards.

Tweet @BabsDouglasBP

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.