Updated: May 10
A raw evening at Carrow Road. Spurs have finally broken through an obdurate Norwich side’s defences. But the game’s not safe. Yellow shirts buzz forward. An attack is broken up. Then there’s Bale. Striding forward. Gathering speed. Screaming, with his hand extended forward. “There, I want it there.” Modric, who else?, puts the ball there. Bale is going faster. He gathers the ball. The speedometer whirrs ever higher. He’s bursting free of the pack. Yellow shirts are falling away at his heels. Half the length of the pitch and more. It’s Bale one on one. A dink. A goal. A beautiful, beautiful goal.
Football writer Paul Hayward said Bale’s goal showed there was more to football than close passing and triangles. That is showed the benefits of running at defenders at speed. It did. Bale can do that. He can do the close passing and triangles too. He can play on the wing. And when they double, treble, up, he can come inside and play through the middle. He can set them up. He can score them. There can be few players who it is more of a joy to watch. Lionel Messi is the only name that comes to mind. And Bale doesn’t get knocked down as much as he does.
That goal had me doing the ‘we’re not worthy’ bow in my front room in front of the family. It took my breath away. Last year Spurs served up an exquisite gift of a goal when Rafa van der Vaart scored against Villa away. This year Bale’s gift was even better, gold, frankly sensational and mer-vellous.
Am I enjoying watching my team this year? You bet I am.