Hands Off Balls is my attempt to liveblog Spurs games from the perspective of an uninformed American soccer fan. That should be easy, because I AM an uninformed American soccer fan. Enjoy, and COYS.

Via the lone comment made on my post following the not-so-fun Leeds FA Cup loss, I figured some background on Hands Off Balls may be necessary for context. I'm an American. Not only am I an American, I am an American from Kentucky. For most people, this statement conjures images of overalls, bare feet, and tobacco stains with Dueling Banjos (in which there is only one banjo, I might add) from Deliverance playing in the background. Whatever.

I'm a lawyer, but in my spare time I write a tumblr blog (and previously a blogger blog) that, up until recently, was mostly blather about college sports at Kentucky and Vanderbilt. I’ve been way into USMNT for a long time, but my second kid’s late night feedings have led me to watching a lot of Fox Soccer because it’s the only thing interesting on TV at 3am and Saturday mornings while my wife sleeps in. As such, I felt the need to pick a Premier League team to follow. After dipping my foot in Aston Villa and then yanking it out after the 8-0 Chelsea game in December, I re-evaluated and basically picked Spurs because of Dempsey (aided by Gareth Bale’s absolute destruction of Villa last month), and, loath as I am to admit it, Bill Simmons's column re the Premier League circa 2007.

In the meantime, I’ve taken the liberty of reading like four books about world soccer in the last month, and trying to watch as many games of as many teams as possible. I can’t really explain why I was drawn to Spurs, but the commentariat on this site provided a lot of impetus, no doubt.

SOOOOooooo, that’s why I’m here. I enjoy watching the team, really like AVB, like Levy’s approach to building the club, etc, etc. This blog, then, is what I'm seeing and thinking while I watch Spurs games. Think The Mighty MJD's Sunday NFL Smorgasbord but with me sitting at my house trying to corral a two year old and not drinking nearly as much for the time being.


  • I'm doing this from home during the week because my oldest kid is sick and my wife likes for me to be around and help while both of the kids are home. Expect spotty coverage as a result.
  • This is the first game Schalke midfielder transfer Lewis Holtby is in the 18 man roster as a sub YAYAYAY. If this match becomes an exercise in trying to get through what amounts to an 11-man defense for 90 minutes, maybe he's the key to getting that one key through ball to someone for a goal. That would be nice.
  • This seems like a good time to remind everyone that I have no idea what I'm taking about.
  • I know nothing about Norwich other than I kind of like their kit and Paul Lambert got them up to the Premiership before presiding over the nosedive taking place at Aston Villa this season.
  • Anyone catch that USA v. Canada friendly last night? If Twitter was any indication, I didn't miss much. Kentucky was playing Ole Miss at the same time and my wife double booked the DVR so I couldn't really watch the match. I did, however, notice Jurgen Klinnsman looking pensive in a jacket that I might have to buy.
  • I guess I'm going to watch the Super Bowl. No interest in who wins but I hate B'More so screw them.

2' Spurs forward Jermaine Defoe catches a ball in the balls. At least he was being assertive?

5' Just noticed keeper Hugo Lloris is dressed as you might find a Frenchman to be dressed: silly. He's been busy this game, though - possessions have been fast and all over the place.

10' Norwich has been plucky so far. It's probably due to that horse that hung out at their field last week. SOMEONE FIND THAT HORSE.

12' Norwich corner goes halfway to the moon.

13' Ah, the old "hands over the eyes" trick on Dempsey! Worked every time on my sister when I was six. No call, oddly enough. Just like my parents.

15' Wife said Norwich's Bassong is an ugly crier after he fouls somebody.

20' SOTON up a goal on United at Old Trafford? What is going on? Other than Spurs having no possession and the ball almost never being in the final third of the field? I'm Ron Burgundy?

30' Dangerous last few minutes; Norwich has really been attacking. Karl Pilkington's corner started off a scary sequence that luckily didn't produce a goal.

32' Shit. Good goal by Norwich's Hoolihan set up by a good run. His mom, Hot Pants, would be proud. Spurs are really on their heels.

39' Gareth Bale has spent more time on the ground than he has with the ball so far. Getting frustrated. Also, baby won't stop crying. This is so much fun, y'all.

43' Good run a bit ago by Defoe, but otherwise no one on Spurs seems particularly interested in possessing the ball.

HT That was...bad. Spurs look disinterested and Norwich are really pressing. This is the opposite of the QPR game. Ugh.

Spurs Stat Man on Twitter says no player completed more than 3 passes in the attacking third, and the most completed passes were between Vertonghen and Dawson. Probably not what you want.

46' Serious question: do Spurs suck?

72' Baby got up and demanded to be fed. Spurs have stiffened a bit but Norwich is still pressing when they get possession. Plenty of chances for Spurs to score, none converted though. Holtby gets in, though.

78' Holtby is welcomed to the league with a yellow card. THIS SUCKS THIS SUCKS THIS SUCKS THIS SUCKS THIS SUCKS. Spurs don't deserve any points given how they've played in this game.


80' OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Hell of a run. Now we need another one. Really, guys. Mean that.

88' Good last few minutes by Spurs, capped off by a good shot by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

90' I don't remember the last time I saw Spurs score on a set piece. WTF. 3 minutes added time.

+2 Norwich is content tto just waste time. GRRDRRMMMIIITTTT

FT. A 1-1 tie. Not really what Spurs needed. Had some chances to score toward the end but once Norwich got the ball back in stoppage time, they played keepaway. Not cool, guys. Oh well. Next game.

Anyone can write a FanPost, and we encourage you to do so! FanPosts are the voice of the Cartilage Free Captain readership. But before you write one: Lurk! Comment! Talk with your fellow members and get to know the site.