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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Monday, April 6

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Reviewing The English Game, a lot in a small package

Stevenage v Spurs Photo by Chris Young - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Hello, everyone!

Today we have former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga, who finished out his career playing for Atlético Kolkata in India. Meanwhile, here’s a notice that Aretha Franklin was ahead of us all.

Ramble of the Day

The latest entry in football television shows is The English Game, which you may have heard is pretty terrible. I can confirm for you that it is, especially at first with a very, very chaotic first episode that eventually gives way to a random, if toned down series with some awful football scenes.

You get a good lay of the land from the first episode, and many of the basic facts of the whole thing are historically accurate. In the late 1870s, Fergus Suter and Jimmy Love (a supporting character in this show) move from Partick to Darwen to play in an FA Cup match against Old Etonians, where we meet our second protagonist Arthur Kinnaird. Suter and Kinnaird are presented as foils, and at the start personify the main conflict at the center: the FA does not allow for players to be paid, but that shuts out working class participants. The first episode sets that up, gives us two football matches, and shows us the personal lives of Suter, Kinnaird, and even Love. It is a lot pack into a first episode, this one 45 minutes long, and it’s no wonder the first episode seems so hectic.

As the show goes on, the storylines spread out to create a nicer pace, but all of the characters mean a number of storylines. While Suter and Kinnaird continue to show the struggles of early English football on and off the pitch, we delve deep into their love lives and spend a lot of time with Kinnaird’s wife Alma and Suter’s girlfriend Martha. The show leans into its soapy nature frequently, and though both characters become fairly likable, giving them something to do means football takes a bit of a back seat at times. The writers do just enough to tie those storylines to the bigger football story, and while I applaud them for not just inserting characters that have nothing to do, it does get close to going off-tangent.

None of the show can be considered well done, or particularly gripping; the writing is as clichéd as it comes, and the acting is performed at varying levels. Worst of all, though, are the football scenes. Not one seems realistic — the goalkeeping is abysmal, and none of it seems like it matches the flow of a regular game. It may have been a tough task for the actors and directors Birgitte Stærmose and Tim Fywell, but it is genuinely comical.

In the end, no one can claim The English Game is a quality package, but is it bad enough to be entertaining? I’d argue yes, but I wouldn’t blame you for saying no.

tl;dr: I watched The English Game! It’s...not great.

Links of the Day

Coronavirus:

Bayern Munich hired Hansi Flick as the team’s full-time manager after a stint as the caretaker.

Manchester City is investigating claims that Kyle Walker broke quarantine by hosting a party.

Ireland fired Mick McCarthy, with Stephen Kenny replacing him.

Today’s longer read: Donald McRae interviews former Spurs midfielder Will Miller on retiring to focus on a film and music career, and writing a song after Uho Ehiogu’s death for The Guardian