Hilario By Name……increasingly Hilarious by Error!

Yes indeed this was truly a game not just of two halves but of two penalties, curtesy of referee Hilario (Grajeda) who was the hilarious villain of the piece as the game went on. Oh what a circus…..oh what a Ref. Is it Coco, is it Trump, no it’s……Hilario!

This was Spurs second game in the International Champions Cup normally considered as a pre-season friendly, only Roma didn’t quite Interpret it that way. They put in a few tasty hostile challenges and Manolas, thought it was an acting audition for a re-run of the Death Wish films!

This time Spurs lined up with three at the back with Trippier and Walker-Peters (KWP) as wing backs in a 3:4:2:1 formation.. KWP on the left. Carter-Vickers (CCV) started again, this time as the right of the three and Onomah got another chance to shine behind Kane alongside Dele. None of the trio shined, ‘dulled’ more like.

Roma started off strong, fast and furious with Spurs struggling to cope Playing the ball into the spaces where the FBs would normally be, and getting in their crosses too. On one such occasion in the 12th min Perotti got in behind, tracked by CCV, crossed, no danger, only for the ball, from close range to strike Cameron’s trailing arm. No problem, play continued BUT WAIT! Hilarious Hilario ran towards the sideline. The fourth official intervenes, says Penalty, and the Ref changes his mind – penalty. Everyone is confused but the Roma fans loved it. Oh what a farce. 1. Ball to hand. 2. From close range 3. Jeers.
Perotti scored with a one step run-up beating Vorm all ends up. Boo 0-1! Spurs and us fans weren’t happy, and it took a while for the players to re-assert themselves -.which they did, but they just couldn’t get back in even terms by half time.

Colonial cousins enjoying the game (Winks had just Scored)

Five changes for Spurs for the second half including young Anthony Geogiou who came on wide left for CCV as Spurs reverted to a back four. The youngster impressed on his debut displaying fast feet, quickness, trickery, and was tenacious in the tackle. He didn’t do his cause any harm at all. Winks replaced Dier, and Davies that of KWP. There was now no space for Roma to run into as we had FBs in there now. As such, Spurs pushed for the equaliser or was it just Roma being all Italian and defending what they had. Nevertheless Spurs pushed on with Georgiou and Eriksen to the fore and Roma still looking dangerous at times.

Penalty Ref, come on!!!

Farce no 2 by the Hilarious Hilario who didn’t award a clear penalty for a slow clumsy tackle on our Harry by our old friend Fasio. Boos rang around the stadium, the Roma fans loved it. Poch didn’t and the TV commentators were a tad flabbergasted. I thought Hilario wasn’t very funny any more. Certainly not funny ‘Ha Ha’ more of a funny ‘Peculiar’ in a ‘You fecking bastard’ sort of a way. Did any of our Colonial Spurs Cousins notice an empty brown paper bag floating around anywhere Post home – just wondering?

Our Harry was riled and a few choice tackles were flying in from both sides. The fires were lit and the match became heated. During one break in play our Poch and his crew also got into the spirit of things having words with the Lino and the 4th official. He wasn’t taking this lying down, but he judiciously eventually sat down before being sent-off, as the 4th official wanted, so he avoided that ignominy.

Poch getting stuck in



This was now a cracking game in more ways than one, no side backing off and Spurs push, push, pushing hard to get back on terms. Manolas I think died three times in the space of ten to fifteen minutes. Some said he earned an Oscar. No he didn’t, when acting dead, dead men don’t go rolling around and around and around on the ground. That’s ham acting and surprisingly the Ref didn’t fall for any of it – no Oscar! Maybe Roma brought only the one brown paper bag with them – that’ll teach ’em!

Then on 70 mins Wimmer replaced Super Jan and Oakley-Booth came on for Dembele. As Spurs sorted themselves out Roma attacked with Strootman breaking free from a Toby misplaced pass, a cross and Wimmers first touch under pressure was an off balance weak clearance to Cengiz Under who didn’t miss 0-2 (70 min). Poor Wimmer, he didn’t even have time to take in a second breath of air, just the one gulp, Calamity! Under is the Turkish wonder kid Spurs were tracking and according to some reports had put in a bid for his services.
This didn’t deflate Spurs who kept on chugging away, but Roma weren’t under (sic!) necessity to extend themselves and defended patiently with robustness.

Poch altered things brining on N’Koudou (GKN) and Janssen for Dele and our ‘Arry. GKN played as a right winger getting chalk on his boots and Geogiou did the same on the left, and boy didn’t it make a difference – playing with wingers that is. Spurs were getting to the bye-line putting in (good) crosses stretching Roma and Manolas carried on dying every five minutes. Oakley-Booth was making a good fist of things again in among the mele, and Winks was driving the team forward, and Eriksen with probing passes and balls into space,



In one Spurs attack Eriksen passed neatly in the box, Janssen got a foot to it and the ball weakishly ran towards goal having beat the goalie and just about had the strength to rebound off the post and eventually Winks poked home from 2 feet. One back 1-2 Yay! (87 min) Too little too late, maybe.

Georges-Kevin took over. A faint, a run, a cross. No nothing. Second chance from similar area. A faint, a run, a faint, another run, a cross, and YESSSS, Vinny boy in at the near post with a deftly directed touch past the goalie. Breathe again Phew! 2-2. Nothing more than we deserved Yay! (90+1). Sammy boy is a happy bunny!



Sit back down, look-up at the telly. Wimmer sprawled on the penalty spot, and Tuminello slotting home. Oh no, 2-3! Buggeration, done in at the death (90+2). Grrrr!

I have watched a few replays and don’t really see what happened to Wimmer. He was ahead of the Italian running back and in control with Tuminello close behind. Then he was on the floor when all eyes were on Strootman (yes him again). I feel as if a little Italian game know how came into play with a wee ankle tap. But hey ho! I wonder what my friend Sean Hurl a Roma aficionado but even bigger Spurs fan thought of the match and the result.

The youngsters again played well, taking their chance to show Poch what they can do. GKN and Janssen didn’t do their causes any harm either. By contrast some of the established ‘stars’ were, behind the pace, never mind – only a pre-season friendly as they say, time to improve.

Joy at 2-2

David Kingsley an ex-pat New Yorker sent the following to the Spurs List – an excellent read for added colour that he has permitted me to re-produce here:-

I attended the game last night and was proud to be a Spur. A conservative estimate would be that over 75% of the crowd were Spurs fans and the New York Spurs were in great voice. Having been to the previous two games at the same arena (3 and 4 years ago?), the amount of Spurs shirts, scarves, hats, etc. had proliferated.

The stadium (Red Bull) is in the Portuguese part of Newark and I started off with some beers and food at a restaurant nearby before making my way to the stadium. Whoever designed the arena is a moron. Driving to the venue is a nightmare and leaving the ground in a car is even worse. I parked about a mile away and the subsequent walk was hazardous to say the least. First, you have to cross a dual carriageway, then you have to walk down the side of the busy road as there’s no pavement (sidewalk), and finally you cross a rickety bridge with parts of the pavement closed off. I think they had in mind what a European stadium is like when they built the thing. Yeah, in ancient times!

After taking your life in your own hands, you approach a stadium in the middle of a construction site. When I got to the ground there were absolutely no signs to where the individual gates were situated. It took me ages to track someone down only to be told my gate (D) was the other side of the ground. On entry, the stairs were steep and went on forever (no lifts or escalators). I hope the New WHL has better entry points and provide lifts and/or escalators for its older patrons.

On the concourse I spent enough for Mr. Levy to buy Messi and then went to my seat (in section 101). We had the Roma team warming up at our end and they tried to kill us with blistering shots that landed in the crowd. You would think a football couldn’t be used as a missile but you were wrong. The ball knocked one guy to the ground and another hit the guy behind me on his drinking hand. His beer landed all over my expensive new Spurs shirts as he (and the rest of the people around) laughed at my misfortune. Then the guy had the audacity to moan that it was an expensive beer he had just thrown over me!

New York Spurs were behind the goal that Hugo defended in the second half and we were in great voice (I hope you heard us on TV). Having not lived in the UK for over 35 years I’ve only heard songs from the TV, and some of the lyrics I just never understood. However, being amongst the raucous fans, I was able to learn a litany of new songs; though some of them were a bit bazaar (what was the Toby song all about? What’s a “nunion”?). All the adulation from the crowd made me remember something I read about football normalizing old men fawning young boys.

Looking at the players close-on, most looked fit and lean… except Dele. He seemed a pace behind everyone else and seemed a bit overweight. Too much California cuisine? Anyway, Spurs looked better when he was subbed.

Spurs didn’t play well and were lucky to be level near full-time. After we had equalized, you could see the concentration levels drop and what a Spursy surprise at the very end! However, the team showed great spirit coming back in the last few minutes, roared on by the partisan crowd. The referee was totally out of his depth. The crowd were baying for his blood and we couldn’t understand what the whole Pochettino debacle was all about. Let’s just say: Roma, Italian, New York, Mafia.

Although we lost, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening out. Let’s hope Spurs visit again soon.


For a full Bells and Whistles report with teams and kick by kick action you can’t do better than visit Paul Smith’s Spurs Odyssey site for the Match Report

You should also visit Anna and watch her Vlog on the match on YouTube at Spurs{XY}

Anna doing her stuff




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