nearpostflick had the surely unique good fortune to see Tim Krul’s cephalopod-like performance against Tottenham this Sunday past, shimmering elusively across the draped supra-giant screen swaying in an inner-city pool hall. The few assembled patrons who could rouse themselves for a midday kick-off at a distantly restless White Hart Lane looked at each other agape in mounting incredulity as the perpetually-youthful Dutch gloveman performed wonders (as I believe we are obliged to describe his often routine, sometimes remarkable saves) to preserve tentatively resurgent, awkward step-family Newcastle United’s slender lead. It could be said that in promoting such optical interaction between total strangers watching his performance miles from the ground in a darkened room, Tim Krul has gone at least some way toward breaking down the barriers between individuals in our increasingly atomised society, and has in fact done more than many a misguided community initiative in combating the Western social ill of detached alienation. Give him some form of token UN ambassadorship, we say. Or at least we could all call him ‘Krulio’ for a bit. OK, let’s try that.
Be that as it may (and well done for getting this far, the one of you that might have. Appreciated). There were some characteristics in Krul’s performance which are common to all truly heroic goalkeeping shutouts. So from here, this rambling and idiosyncratic piece will slip from blunt, wilfully ignorant social commentary into some kind of sub-Guardian/Buzzfeed listicle, via this unwelcome detour into indulgent self-deconstruction. Enjoy!
- Saves with his feet. Ever seen a goalkeeper produce save after save without sticking out a foot to block the ball away or divert it, like an abrupt traffic policeman, around the post? No you haven’t. Shut up, you haven’t. Krul produced that kind of stop in abundance on Sunday. Cf. Ludek Miklosko, 1995; Jan Tomaszewski, whenever England play Poland, repeating ad nauseam on ITV and ingraining itself unhelpfully ever-further into each nation’s shared folk mythos.
- Huge congratulatory bundles from his defenders after each save. Tim Krul, quite apart from any extra-curricular post-match Jacuzzi action, now knows what it’s like to be embraced bodily by Mike Williamson. The rest of you can only wonder. Probably.
- A miraculous goal line clearance to augment the goalkeeper’s brilliance. As the ball spun towards the line deep into the second half, DVLA-botherer Cheik Tiote arrived from nowhere to steeple the ball into the stands, preventing a certain goal.
- A beatific visage. Krul greeted one save with a cheeky grin of near-disbelief, which augured of a healthy regard for the vagaries of the game. It was a smile that acknowledged the role of luck in his performance, fulsomely enjoyed the moment and at once understood that in a couple of weeks a tame back-header from Mathieu Debuchy could elude his grasp for the most calamitous own-goal of the season. For one brief moment, Tim Krul could see and comprehend time, space and the scope of all existence.
- An aura of invincibility. At some point in the second half Spurs accepted that they wouldn’t score, that Krulio had them beat. Of course this needn’t have been the case (their destiny was not preordained – and neither is yours; sorry, destiny fans) but the tragic absence of rigorous rationalists from the Tottenham first XI and bench led to a meek acceptance of what they perceived to be their ‘fate’. When will AVB stop selecting superstitious, horoscope-reading flat-earthers? When?! Only then will he be able to guide Spurs to the sunlit uplands of the top four.