Kaboul rerun-run

Spurs are so excellent to watch at the moment - it won't last, it never does - that I did two unusual things. First, I bought some repro shirts and sent them to a friend in Denver, Colorado, as a Christmas present, for him and his two sons to wear when watching Tot-ing-ham on the telly. Which they do all the time.

I hate the repro shirt market, what a rip-off, and refused to buy them from the club shop, so went to Camden Lock, knowing there's a stall there at the end of Inverness Street that sells footer stuff. The shirts turned out to be official, priced £40. The stallholder said Spurs' lawyers and Camden Council would take away his licence if he sold the non-legit stuff. I had to trail round the dodgier shops to get bootleg shirts, this season's, with the silly Autonomy logo (whoever they are) - cost only £14 each. Today on my computer I got a photo of my friends taken on Christmas morning, all smiley kids in their Spurs shirts, looking well pleased.

The other thing I did was watch a recording of a whole game I'd missed over the holiday period, Spurs-Newcastle United. And this was despite knowing the score (2-0) and knowing what happened (that Younès Kaboul got sent off).

I have strict, if complicated rules for watching Match of the Day, which I record and view the next morning. Stay up after ten at night? You're confusing me with someone normal. I ban everyone from mentioning results, switch off the radio should they dare give the scores, until I've seen them. So it was a first for me, watching a whole game whose outcome I knew.

Yet people watch Shakespeare, over and over, knowing the stupid plot, the banal lines, the unfunny jokes, and they go to the same old operas and ballets, knowing every aria, every move. They must be potty, so I have always thought.

Spurs, at present, are an art form, a classic act, so why not sit back and enjoy them without the agony of not knowing what is going to happen ? For decades, that has so ruined my pleasure at White Hart Lane - fearing the worst when things are going well, convinced they'll muck it up. I always come away with a headache, whatever the result, whereas going to Arsenal is a pleasant and placid experience because I don't care whether they win or lose.

Knowing Kaboul was going to be sent off proved an interesting experiment - I saw it coming, sensed his aggravation building up, was aware that the Spurs team was growing furious with Cheick Tioté for roughing up Luka Modric, the little elf. So when Kaboul headbutted Tioté, it all made sense. Watching it live, I might have thought it was sudden and unexpected.

The lead-up to both goals - by Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale - was fascinating. I was on the edge of my seat as the moves began, at the far end of the pitch, when nothing much seemed about to happen, knowing an explosion was coming. Which the commentators didn't know. Listening to them getting it all wrong, saying Bale hadn't been in the game, would Lennon ever cross the ball properly, God, that was the best fun of all . .

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 10 January 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Here comes the squeeze