Monday, 10 December 2007
Friday, 30 November 2007
Look, I’m not going to complain that much. When you’re in a certain situation (as we were with Jol before he left) a win is a win is a win. No matter how unbalanced. Even against a team of players that practically cost nothing. Hudd’s ball into the path of Berbatov was superb and all the Bulgarian had to do is outstretch and slide it home. The second was just as incisive with Steed placing it with effort into the top corner. Bent’s effort was a simple tap-in, from a simple free-kick. We could have had more, but with Aalborg so plucky in possession, they probably could scored again too. Their opening goal (within a couple of minutes) was decent enough. Robinson beaten from distance, obviously. Their second goal saw us cut open like Mary Jane Kelly. It was gruesome.
Credit to Ramos and his half-time team talk. And well done for our millionaire players for responding with a degree of respect to the clubs reputation and fanbase. Such a hard life. So much effort required. All Ramos can do is work with this lot, without being able to truly build his vision for the future until he brings in players that are capable of achieving what he wants. So many of them out there last night need to be sold on. Zokora. Christ, if you think Jenas is redundant. Sure, he performed admirably in the second half, but should still make way for someone who has more to offer. Like first time touch. Comolli should be sacked on that signing alone.
We have more or less qualified, and a point in Anderlecht should do the trick. Though a 100% improvement has to be made if we’re gonna survive the next round. I expect a lot more on Sunday too.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Dazza, over at Glory Glory got to bag 5 minutes with Daniel Levy. I’m some what disappointed that he didn’t let me know of the whereabouts and the time of the interview in advance. Not that I would have turned up and superglued myself to the chairman. No. It’s just nice to know where the chairman is on a day to day basis considering I pay his wages via my season ticket purchase season after season.
Here’s the interview.
And below, with comments.
Evening Mr Levy, thank you for sparing me some time on what is obviously a busy day.
DL – Yes, very busy............
Playing golf? Football Manager 2008? You get paid a cool million a year, I’m sure you can spare more than 5 minutes for one of the common people. Just hold your breath so you don’t have to breathe in the fumes of a ‘football fan’.
I’ll try and be as brief as I can then. I’ve taken a few questions from people on the website. Having read your EGM address I won’t be asking anything about the stadium or selling the club rumours.
How’s Juande’s English lesson’s going and how long before you reckon he’ll feel comfortable enough to do his own TV comments?
DL - I can sit and have a conversation with Juande and understand exactly what he’s saying but with interviews you are expected to reply quickly and he doesn’t want to be put in a position where he says the wrong thing that gets twisted. He’s probably a couple of months away from conducting his interviews.
As long as he understands ‘YOU’RE FIRED!’, right? Though its more likely he’ll be telling you in broken English to stick Comolli ‘uppa your arseo’.
Some fans are curious as to why you weren’t on screen during his initial press conference.
DL – Because if I had been the majority of the questions would have been about Martin Jol’s leaving as opposed to looking forward with Juande signing. Besides that’s the Sporting Directors job. The same reason as I wasn’t present during the unveiling of Martin and Frank Arnesen was.
Let’s correct this one.
‘Because I would have struggled to answer any of the questions posed because I handled the whole Jol affair like Pepe Le Pew on the pull’.
I saw the interview with Juande pre-match on Sky before the West Ham game and he seemed very non-committal regarding Berba’s future. Subtitles were – “Ask him”. Has his introduction had a settling affect on the squad with regards to being any closer to contract negotiations with Berba and Defoe? How much of a worry is it for you that Sky Andrew is Defoe’s agent after what he persuaded Sol to do?
DL – There aren’t any tensions in the squad. Berba is already on a long contract and he’s signalled he’s happy. As for Jermaine, he’s publicly stated he wants to stay and I reiterated in today’s EGM our wish that he does stay. Now it’s pretty much down to him. Sky Andrews – Draw your own conclusions.
Yes. You should have sold Defoe to Pompey way back. Instead, you sat back and watched a new Judas scenario develop. Not to worry. The club is bound to get it right third time round.
Do you ever ask for or get offered feedback from the players regarding the coach?
DL – I never ask for feedback but any I do get comes back via players agents rather than the players themselves.
Care to share what Sky Andrews may have said to you recently? Go on. I bet it was fruity.
What is the criteria for signing new players if the manager suggests them? Any truth in the tabloid gossip that 3 of Juande’s targets were disregarded because they were “over 26”?
DL – I can categorically say there is no truth in that rumour what-so-ever.
Agreed. Because we just over-spend on under-23’s instead.
Has there been any progress on the goal keeping coach position? Has anyone thought of offering Paul a trip to a clinical hypnotist to ease any self doubts he experiences and try and get him back to full confidence?
DL – There is no progress as yet. And if you saw Paul’s display against West Ham yesterday I think he had a good game and his confidence is there for people to see.
No, what’s there to be seen is that he still needs to shed some weight. His ‘saves’ at West Ham were alright, if a little bit overly ‘dramatic’ for the cameras to enjoy. Seeing a hypnotist isn’t that bad of an idea. How about using one on Jenas to trick him into believing he is a footballer.
Fan’s really don’t want to share with West Ham. The travel connections are even worse than WHL. Are there any truth to these rumours &/or alternatives should we have to move away from WHL for any rebuilding work?
DL – If we should, and I’m not saying we will, have to ground share at all then theoretically how would people feel about sharing with Arsenal. Which would they prefer?
That’s like asking if I’d prefer to share a bed with Michael Barrymore or take a skinny dip in his pool.
(Dazza's response) – Well I actually did an article on this, asking people to think with their head rather than their heart and you’d be surprised to percentage of people that said sharing the Emirates would be the preferable short term option with regards to increased capacity meaning more revenue and an increase in season tickets.
Stop kissing arse, Dazza. Referring to ‘revenue’ probably made Levy all giddy. I bet he smirked didn’t he? He licked his lips too, didn't he? Yeah, of course he did.
Have there been any “culprits” identified for these continuing leaks that appear to be coming from the club?
DL – We’ve investigated and found nothing. If you look at the way things transpired with Martin then it’s possible there was no leak. Firstly it was rumoured he’d resigned before the game, then that he’d been sacked at half time but no final decision was made until after the game. With regards to the leak about the ground expansion. I’m sure that came from somewhere other than the club. The reason why I’m so sure was that only a handful of people knew anything about that and most of them were from outside the club.
What? You mean there are no ‘In The Knows’ or club insiders working their magic, cryptically informing fans on forums with exclusives that have yet to hit the newsstands? No espionage? Just coincidence and enough shit thrown at the wall, some of it will stick? Damn it! I WANT TO BELIEVE!
Finally, on a personal note, do you have any spare tickets for the Anderlecht game that I can buy off of you, I’ve already booked my travel????
DL – (laughs) I’m afraid not.
Dazza, I’m disappointed. This is pretty much a stereotypical ‘last question’ to end the interview with a smile. Christ, you been watching Parkinson as prep? How about asking him about the crate in his basement with the Arsenal memorabilia? Or whether he has kept any of the effigies I’ve mailed him? Or why only the West Stand gets bagels? You’ve sold out man. You’ve sold out.
Well thank you very much for sparing me this time to answer questions. Good luck.
DL – You’re welcome
Good luck? Miracle more like.
Slick. Blame the man you hired if the hiring of the new manager fails. Just hope nobody notices that you hired the man who hired the manager. Yes, our beloved and glorious chairman has now distanced himself from potential failure. If Juande Ramos doesn’t achieve the required success (4th spot – how I miss the days of aiming for actual silverware) then Damien Comolli will most likely lose his job. Which would put us in a position of having no Director of Football or manager, meaning Levy would have to hire a new DoF who would then have to recommend a new manager. You keeping up with this? Here’s the quotage:
"Damien recommended Juande Ramos, so clearly he would have to take responsibility if it didn't work. I have every confidence it will work.
Virtually every club in Spain has a sporting director. We want a coach who specialises in getting the best out of players, which means making the team selections and making all the tactical decisions. What the sporting director does is take a lot of the pressure off the manager.
They can go on scouting missions and be in charge of scouts. They also have to be in charge of the medical department and the academy, and it is impossible for one person to do everything to the best of their ability”
So, blame Comolli if it goes pear-shaped. Again. Something I’m struggling with though is the fact that apparently Comolli is there to ‘take the pressure off the manager’ and go on scouting missions. All well and good, but how will the manager not feel under pressure if he goes out and buys us another Zokora of Kaboul? Ramos won’t stand a fucking chance.
Seems that Levy already has a ready-made excuse.
Then we have the ‘dig’ at Jol. Not unheard of the rumour concerning Jol flirting with other clubs while at Spurs. Apparently Jol ‘went for two jobs’ while in charge at Spurs. Though ‘went for’ doesn’t tell us whether he had actual interviews and rejected or was rejected. Does paint the big man in a different colour if any truth is to be had in these allegations. The same article mentions that Levy can not guarantee that Berbatov would remain at the club after the Jan transfer window. Though there is no actual quote for this one, so I’ll dismiss it until someone points me in the direction of something more substantial.
So, what we have here is the old ‘lets stab him in the back before he stabs us in the back’ scenario. Don’t know what the problem is tbh. He went for the Newcastle job. That doesn’t really count.
You know what it’s like. You’re standing at a bus stop waiting for ages and then three come along at the same time. It’s been a little quiet from Mr Chairman recently, quotes wise. We’ve had the leakage of the alleged new Spurs stadium (plans have been drafted and fired across to the council). Would seem that rebuilding WHL and having to ground share is the most likely outcome. Then Levy gives us three shots of Levyisims.
- The EGM
- Comolli and Jol Blast
- An interview with a member of Glory Glory
I’m going to work through all three.
First up, The EGM – which took place on Monday 25th Nov at 2pm. Below, with comments.
Before we start on the official business I should like to say a few words to the meeting.
We have much to be optimistic about going forward and that is what I wish to concentrate on today. We have made changes recently in order to strengthen our position in several areas. This is a dynamic business and as such we have to constantly respond to changing circumstances, some within, but many outside, of our control.
Translated. 'We fucked up and humiliated the club publicly in the past so let’s not dwell on my personal mistakes and just brush it all under the carpet because the future is bright and any potential mistakes I will make going forward haven’t happened yet'.
Have to give him credit for the ‘dynamic business’ explaination, with a slight nod to ‘some within’ and ‘many outside’, in reference to control. Some within? How about all of them within? The fire is started by the man holding the matches.
As a result, these last three months have been testing times for us all. Both the Club and I personally have endured much criticism. We have absorbed much blame – very little of which was justified with facts. But we elected not to respond and rather to hold our counsel. We took the clear decision that we would not discuss private matters in public and we did this in the long-term interests of the Club and all parties involved.
I should now like to take this opportunity to once again thank Martin Jol, Chris Hughton and Hans Segers and wish them well in their future careers.
Again, this is textbook. Deny everything, sometimes with silence, sometimes with carefully constructed propaganda. I mean, come on. To state that discussing private matters in public is something the club did not do is hilarious considering the Kemsley/Ramos fiasco. If that's not publicly telling the world something is amiss at the club, I don’t know what is, whether you meant it or not. As for all the media coverage that followed, what do you expect from the tabloids finest? They never print the truth in its entirety, as distortion makes for better reading. You handled the whole affair with a distinct lack of class, playing into the hands of the media.
Nice touch with the ‘thank yous’. Magnanimous.
We have a new and respected coaching team and I look forward to introducing Juande to you after the formal proceedings today and for you to hear his thoughts on the remainder of the season.
The performance of the business means that we retain the ability to invest and, in respect of players on long contracts, we have no need to sell. It is noteworthy that all key players are on long-term contracts with the exception of Jermain Defoe, who has expressed publicly that he wants to remain at the club and I put it on record that we want him to stay.
The mention of ‘he wants to remain at the club’ is ominous. Sol Campbell anyone? The fact that Jermain’s agent is Sky Andrews should tell you everything you need to know about the situation. There’s no doubt that the player is doing the right thing from his own personal perspective. He doesn’t play every game, he doesn’t start every game. He could do so at another club. Fact is, he’s a bit shit. He hasn’t developed over the past 3 or 4 years suggesting he lacks the required footballing brain to become International class (yet alone world class). And with money being one of the main priorities of the modern day footballer, with Andrews’s guidance, why not seal a move away and earn a fair amount on the way? LOL, I said ‘earn’.
Defoe has to sign before the Jan transfer window, or he’ll be sold.
I should also like to correct newspaper reports that have existed, despite my denials, that ENIC has agreed to sell its shareholding in the Club. For nearly 7 years we have, I believe, moved this Club forward, but have had to endure constant speculation from those who would seek to detract from what we are achieving. For the record yet again, no offer has been made for the Club during my time here, not even by Roman Abramovich as was so incorrectly reported.
This year sees us report record financial results. TV, sponsorship, retail, ticket and corporate hospitality revenues have all contributed to an increase of 39% in turnover and good management of the business has seen profits rise to 31% of turnover. We have continued to upgrade the Ticket Office and this has now been relocated to Paxton Road. Service levels are critical in this area of the business and it is important that we continuously evaluate and raise standards of delivery. We have centralised customer service and this has been well received – we shall, however, continue to seek further improvements.
Yes, yes. You’re rich. We get it. Bagel sells alone in the West Stand should help pay for its renovation.
Investment and work on valuable community-based projects through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation continues to go from strength to strength. In conjunction with our application for the Training Centre at Bulls Cross is a commitment to deliver a 10 year outreach programme within the local community worth in excess of £2.3m.
We currently have a minimum of one player per week attending a community event in areas local to the club and our facilities. It is a tremendous commitment not only by your club, but also by the First Team and Academy players who derive a genuine benefit and enjoyment from this aspect of their footballing lives. It is also a much valued and appreciated service to the communities.
Earlier this month we also launched our Spurs Learning Zone – a dedicated state of the art facility located here at the stadium, that will host daily classes of up to 30 local children, providing them with access to cutting edge information, communication, podcasting and digital editing technologies - a resource much welcomed by our local council.
Not only as a football club, but as a business in general, the level, quality and effect of our contribution to communities and good causes, is outstanding and sets us apart. We should recognise this and be rightly proud.
I have nothing sarcastic to say on this. Other than the £8M spent on Kaboul could have gone to the Spurs Learning Zone. Bit more value for money.
Looking to our capital expenditure projects - In respect of the stadium I can report, as promised in January, that we have refined our options. At this stage, as I am sure you will understand, it would be commercially inappropriate to discuss these in further detail. To date, Matthew Collecott and I have directed the project and we are making substantial progress. Last week we added to our project team with the appointment of Paul Phillips, who will be the project manager on a day-to-day basis. Paul has a proven track record in delivering complex stadium solutions and was the project leader on the Emirates Stadium.
We should all be conscious of the fact that we face significant hurdles and disadvantages in our search for an optimum solution to increased capacity. For example, with our current location, we do not have inherent land values in Tottenham that could drive enabling development and regeneration. Additionally, the Olympics is taking significant public funds out of the public purse which could assist with any major schemes. There is no easy option for us but we are determined to find a solution. We shall announce our preferred option in the first half of 2008.
Please be assured that your Board is applying the same vigour and determination towards achieving a successful outcome on this capital project as we did for the Training facility and I am pleased to be able to report good news on that now.
I hope we don’t leave WHL. I’m willing to wager we don’t, though ground sharing with West Ham makes me taste vomit every time I think about it. I’m sure everyone will know the final decision before the official announcement. Just keep an eye out for bit torrent links in Spurs forums. One thing I will say. If we remain at WHL, for the love of all things transporty, please give us an underground station within minutes of the stadium. Fucking bribe someone if you have to.
We achieved a terrific step forward with future plans when earlier this month Enfield Council Planning Committee voted to grant planning permission for our Football Training Centre – a combined First Team and Academy facility - at Bulls Cross, Enfield. We were absolutely delighted with this outcome, the culmination of years of hard work and determination by a dedicated in house team and external consultants. The application will now pass to the Mayor of London and the Government Office for London for final approval.
I shall now ask James Budd of architects KSS to make a brief presentation on an overview of the scheme.
Thank you James.
As you can see it is an outstanding facility – the creation of a world class First Team and Academy training facility set on over 60 acres and we have now achieved an important first step towards realising this vital project for the Club. It will be instrumental in attracting the best young talent and afford our current squad state of the art facilities in which to train over the season.
See. Bribes do work. As for attracting the best young talent, doubt we can compete with Wenger and his world wide circle of friends. When was the last time Spurs developed and progressed ‘young talent’ into a prominent role in the first team? Ledley King? Not exactly West Ham’s academy is it?
Our Academy is already home to some of the most outstanding young talent in the country. When much has been said about the need to nurture young home grown English talent, you can be proud that your Club boasts no fewer than 8 academy players in the England youth teams. Additional to this are a further 8 players who represent their countries at youth international level. The Club now has a total of 34 international players and 7 full England internationals.
I stand corrected. We already have the talent. I await to see if Pekhart, Dixon, Parret and company ever make it pass the reserves. Our youth players always get a big shout in the match day programmes but then end up at Orient on loan. Then sold to Hull or someone of equal standing. As for 34 international players, you’ve included Ghaly in that total, haven’t you, you cheating dog? And at this current moment in time, having 7 England internationals is really nothing to shout about. Especially as the only one who would stand a chance of a consistent place in the team is King, and he’s injured.
We shall keep you informed as we progress the Training Centre project – our current timetable aims for completion in the summer of 2010 but I would stress once again that there are still further stages to be passed in the next few months and we should also expect opposition to continue. I would ask that you continue to give it your support as we progress through those stages.
In closing, I should like to thank everyone at the Club for their contribution to last season's success and to the Club's supporters for their magnificent support. This year we celebrated our 125th Anniversary – a notable landmark for a great football club – but equally important that we now look ahead with confidence and ensure that glory is not a term used only to recall events from the past. We have much happening now that will impact greatly on our future.
Believe me. We won’t be forgetting our 125th Anniversary in a hurry. It’s been a notable landmark alright. Like the time a porn star failed to get wood with Jenna Jameson. PATHETIC AND LIMP.
‘Glory’ will always be synonymous with the past, because our success is firmly placed there. The sooner all mention of 1961 is banished from the terraces and the directors box, the better.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
A proper ding-dong derby, without being anywhere near the classic last year was. Robinson saving well from Ashton and Parker. Robert Green embarrassing himself with the Dawson equaliser, but redeeming himself with a rather all too comfortable save in the 90th minute from Defoe. From the penalty spot. Oh dear. Well, whatever. Green did his homework and opted for the same side as last years kick. Defoe should have tried something different. Like fucking smacking it in rather than the lame placement that allows the home side to add a new chapter to the next edition of 'The History of West Ham United'.
As for the first half incident where Green probably should have got a red card, for what looked like a nailed on penalty (Keane, chipping the ball over him in a 1-on-1 situation and then....well, you've seen it I'm sure....Greens trailing leg bringing down Keane). And before any 'ammers claim he dived, it would have been far easier to just stand his ground and tap the ball in - if he wasn't touched (ooh) by Green. Which he was. Hence the lack of balance. And having seen it several times now, Keane loses balance because of Greens leg, and had he tried to remain on his feet its doubtful he would have got to the ball. I've said that already, haven't I? If Keane allowed gravity to pull him down in a far more dramatic manner, it still doesn't change the fact that Green was guilty.
Arguably, Keane was offside in the first place, so karma balanced it all out for us. Equally, you could say two big decisions missed by the officials. Still, play to the whistle, no? If anything, Riley (the man in black) made sure he made the game all about his rather average and consistently inconsistent ref'ing. Around 32 or 33 West Ham fouls given, compared to Spurs who gave away about 8. They got booked 3 times, we got booked 4 times. Doubt any West Ham or Spurs fan would agree he had a good game.
Was quite happy with our work rate today. Ramos has influenced the team in a positive way thus far. Looked more of a unit for once, away from home. Bit more confidence. Although, four strikers on the pitch at the same time with Berbs back in midfield was a little strange. Good to see Bale back too. Wonderful talent that kid.
Kaboul, a fine athlete, but blatantly inexperienced and allowing him play in a team that generally isn't very good at defending is just asking for trouble. He has made mistakes far too often now. Jan tran window target(s)? Please let it be a centre-back.
Ramos has to also work on eliminating these individual mistakes that are costing us. Robbo's recovery is continuing and some of the players are looking far improved (Berbatov, an obvious example) with their application and purpose.
Like I said, fair result. Brummies up next in the league.
Friday, 23 November 2007
Robinson must have had a chuckle to himself, watching the Carson Calamity show. Sol Campbell showed just how brave he is, moving out of the way for the Croat to blast the third (and winning goal) in. And the world sat back and laughed at the fact that if we lose Owen and Rooney, we have Bent and Defoe as backup. Portugal haven’t got any strikers either, yet they managed to limp their way to the finals.
McClaren told everyone yesterday ‘blame me’. King of the blatant that Steve is. Big Sam doesn’t want the job, thank God. Jose has said forget about it. Martin O’Neil is being mentioned by some, whereas others suggest England will wait until after Euro 2008 to make their appointment (Hiddink?).
Whoever comes in better buck the trend and stop selecting players based on reputation only. But when have the FA ever got it right?
And onto the weekend. West Ham away on Sunday. They have injury problems. We are generally shit, but not as shit as we were a month or so back. No idea how to call this one. Losing to them will no doubt add another page to their history books. Winning for us will just be three points on the table.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Dear Disgruntled FM gamer,
Football Manager 2008 is a game. SI will fix everything. The fact is, 10 years or so of this footballing uber-spreadsheet has resulted in some of the most undeserving impatient ungrateful gamers (a minority thankfully) of any game I know of. Football Manager is not Theme Park. It’s a football game and therefore is based on a massive database of stats and processing and formulas. It will never be a 99.99% nailed on replica of real football – and some of you have quite obviously forgotten this (or choose to think it is actually possible to get 99.99% and how dare SI fail to do so). Its a simulation at best. And it tries it's damned hardest to be that. Be grateful they still make it. In a world where the emphasis is on big colourful box office style games, it's a testament to SI that the game still shifts the amount of units it does.
You know why SI don’t have any competition? Because there simply isn't a development team out there good enough or determined enough to put out what is quite obviously a monster of a genre to develop and manage and update.
I'm not saying that the game doesn't have bugs. It quite obviously does and I'm not dismissing the fact that just because I don't experience any problems playing as a Prem club, that others in the lower leagues have their playability affected by issues that need to be fixed.
Yes. It’s frustrating. But the anal obsessive detail some people complain at is just plain silly and at times almost deranged. It’s almost like there’s a group who actively go searching for problems with the games engine and can’t play it because of minor issues that do not have a detrimental effect on the game. Others do however have a right to be frustrated because the issues they find through gameplay DOES have a detrimental effect. But the manner some of you people express your complaints is pretty immature.
If SI had not released the game when they did and waited to complete further testing, you would not have had it when you got it - so waiting another week or three for a patch to make it 'playable' (the very definition of that is altogether another subject) makes no difference. That’s just my opinion and I know others will claim ‘we wouldn’t be upset if we paid £30 for the game and didn’t need a patch’. But let’s not be naïve about it. This happens all the time. Even with operating systems like Windows. Other games have massive flaws in them or simply don’t give the hours of gameplay FM can – so putting up with these type of industry quirks isn’t really a big deal. It's a fact of life. And one that most have to sadly deal with.
The irony here is that some people have choosen to forget this happened with FM2007 too but the hardcore who complained prefer to look back and suggest that it was less 'buggy', probably because they were appeased with SI's patches that followed.
Call of Duty. 5 hours gameplay. Probably didn’t need a patch on release. But that’s a shooter. FM is a completely different type of creature. As for FM gameplay? 100 hours? 1000 hours? Which is probably the reason there is such a low threshold of tolerance for ‘bugs’. But every incarnation has struggled with them – so doesn’t that tell you something? Even with such an experienced and hard working team, it’s sill a brutal experience for them to build this game. And the very nature of tweaking and adjusting means one of the consequences is that it always needs to be tweaked. FM is like a demanding girlfriend and finding her g-spot takes a little time.
It’s a joke? It’s unacceptable? You want your money back? You want to try the competition? Feel free to do just that. You'll be back soon enough and you know it.
Few developers care about their product as much as SI do - and if you look at the competition and the fact that their games are fundamentally shallow and lack depth and are just cosmetic or full of gimmicks - how on earth can you sit there and slag them off like they don’t give a shit? Have they stolen candy from a baby? Defecated through your letter-box?
Look at Championship Manager. Unbalanced game which is let down by the very fact it falls several leagues behind FM's gameplay and depth. That's the competition.
So grow the fuck up and lose the fundamentalist attitude you have towards the game.
It's a privilege not a right.
Yours 'top of the league with Spurs',
Monday, 19 November 2007
Ramos has introduced an appraisal system for players and staff in order to gage their ambitions. I can see it now.
RAMOS: So, what are you ambitions?
JENAS: To learn to control the ball with my first touch.
RAMOS: That’s never going to happen.
JENAS: I scored twice against Wigan.
RAMOS: Of course you did, you’re our very own Zizou. Here’s a lollypop.
JENAS: Yeah! A lollypop! I can do it too with Kandoo!
In addition, a new diet regime is also being implemented, so expect a pouty size zero Robinson sporting a rather lush looking goalkeeper jersey soon, drinking champers and snorting coke between goal-kicks. Also, let’s take a moment to laugh out loud at the Spanish press who appear to have out-done their English counterparts. For some rather deranged reason they seem to think that Spurs have turned into Chelsea and have ‘300 Million Euros’ to spunk on players.
The following have all been recently linked:
Casillas - £25m
Villa - £30m
Xavi - £15m
Alves - £20m
Kanoute - £15m
Baptista - £10m
Add Diego Capel (Sevilla winger) to the long list of targets and endless money pit that Levy apparently has. Love the fact that all players mentioned are attackers/forwards. Even Alves is better known for his attacking prowess than his defensive duties. All very likely, no? It’s tiresome. But then this is modern day journalism. And with the Jan transfer window not too far off, its only natural the agents and tabloids go into overdrive.
And if that’s not enough, Comolli is allegedly looking at Arsenal reserve players as potential targets. It’s Christ-maaaaaaaaaaas! Let’s balance the team out with rejects from the pikey side of town. That should elevate morale with the fans. And yes, the irony that their reserves are better than our first team isn’t lost on me. It's a cruel and bitter life.
Another tale from the terraces suggests that Taarabt (depending on who tells you) wants to join Arsenal/Wenger wants to sign him. Hands up if you think he’d be in the first team squad all the time if he was a gooner or at Old Trafford? Hopefully he will impress the Ramos in training and finally get a shot at the first team proper rather than a cameo every few months. The kid has genuine world class potential. And no, I’m not talking about the Huddlestonesque kind (though if the Hudd lost some weight he just might make it). Taarabt has to be developed, something I’m much more confident will happen with the new regime than any of the past efforts. And part of that development is playing in the first team from a young age. Ask Fergie and Wenger about the success rate with taking this particular type of plunge.
Elsewhere, Spurs finally get planning permission for their new training ground, which will apparently attract world class players. Why? Will there be a poker room and pole-dancing stage with accompanying escort girls? We still await on the big talking point as to whether we are planning on re-developing WHL or moving (potentially) to a site in Enfield. As discussed before, one possible outcome is to ground share at West Ham United. Ground sharing with them lot is like asking Frank if it’s okay to share Pat Butcher in a ménage a trios. What on God’s green earth would possess you to do something so vile and disgusting?
And talking of them lot, WHU away on Sunday. A repeat of last year, thank you very much.
Elsewhere, various rumours about Ledley King doing the rounds again. One suggesting he had a setback weeks back and won’t be seen for another month or two. The other rumour, suggests he has simply been rested for 3 months as precaution (in addition to the summer months) and will be back soon. Both forum efforts these ones. Pinch of salt as per usual. Don’t cry just yet, wait for the official site to update you with the bad news.
England are back in the hunt for qualification when it seemed the dream was over. I don’t usually speak about the National side. One under-achieving team is enough to be depressed about. If we win by a few goals we finish top of the group. Knighthood back on for McClaren then. Love his thank-you speech highlighting Israel’s pride that helped ensure a shock 2-1 win. If our players had some pride we wouldn’t be relying on Russia to fuck up. Still, plenty of time for us to do just that with Croatia on Wednesday. Dear Mr McClaren, now there’s a thought…
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Wigan join Derby as one of the worst Prem team I've seen for a number of years. Utterly woeful, incapable of holding onto the ball or passing it to their own players. Instead, ace at giving the ball back to us and being generally shit, more so than us. We did enough to win the Biggest Game in our History™ comfortably, and we could easily have added 3 or more to the scoreline with the woodwork rescuing Wigan from a complete rout. The win was vital. And to achieve it with a little bit of swagger, just enough to brush a doomed team aside, gives the impression that improvement is gradually occuring. Conceding against this lot would have made me suicidal. Don't think Robinson had one shot to save. And Ramos has taken note of the fact that protecting a lead isn't the way to go - adding more goals to the tally allows for us hold onto the initiative and possession rather than sit back and let the opposing team attack. It was all a bit too easy.
And yes, the irony that our two Prem wins this season have come against the two worst teams is isn't lost on even the most fickle of Spurs fans.
Jenas (aka The Destroyer of Shit Teams™) was at his industrious best (gosh) and should have scored a hat trick, but rather than use the inside of his foot to place the ball he decided to use the outside. Gift wrapped opp, considering the Wigan defence parted like the Red Sea for him, except Moses would never have fallen on his face in the midst of such a dramatic moment. Jenas, once more a Biblical disappointment when it was easier to score. Could have done with Moses cane for assured balance as he tried to place the ball. Though kudos for the two goals he did get. And his general getting-forwardness. One day, he'll perform like this against a proper side.
Great to see that our players are taking shots from outside the area. Lennon included, who scored a fine goal. Under Jol, we always seemed to favour walking it into the penatly area and then attempting to bury it. Nothing wrong with having a crack. Just ask deflection king, Frank Lampard.
And what about The Sulk? Well, Berbatov was - it has to be said - sublime. Involved in three of the four goals (setting up two) and even managed to throw in a smile. In fact, Berbatov played very well, an anchor between midfield and attack. Playmaker, even. Another nice touch by Ramos. Works better than Keane being the anchor as he ends up playing far too deep to be effective enough. Sure, the Bulgarian appeared to be a little sulky and did his usual 'moan at everyone' routinue (as has been the case all season) but his touches and lay-offs and his general presence was telling and inspired.
A rampant Spurs side of last year or the year before would have scored 7 with ease. I think today, anything less than 3-0 would have been a disappointment.
Wigan would win the ball and then pass it back to us, and some of their defending consisted of backing away from our players and hoping nothing would come from our play. Truly miserable stuff. They brought down a hundred or fans, and I applaud them for making the effort, the poor bastards have little chance of survival on this evidence. And with Marcus 'Relegated with six clubs' Bent in their side, they really don't have the blessing of the footballing Gods. Probably what Whelan deserves, mind. Back to the Championship for you mate.
Anyway, let's get some perspective. It was only Wigan. International break up next followed by West Ham United away. Probably the first big test for Ramos.
Friday, 9 November 2007
It’s been quite some time since my last communication to you. I’m not even sure where to begin. Do we talk about the handling of the Jol sacking? The Ramos appointment? Kemsley’s departure? Director of football failure? Talk-over rumours? The re-building of WHL or a potential new stadium? Ground sharing with West Ham United? Berbatov? Woeful Premiership form? At the end of last season I actually believed that I would begin to struggle with finding complaints due to what looked like some form of progression yet this term you have supplied me with so much material I’m considering t-shirts, effigy key-rings and business cards. I’m even looking at a potential future podcast.
What the fuck is happening over there Daniel? Pull yourself together man before the next judge decides that a court injuncture against me following you around isn’t a good idea because having me rummaging through your bins will keep you on your toes. I mean, fucking hell, do you have any idea how easy it is for me to pick holes in your regime? Emperor Levy? Nero would be more apt. You’ll probably blame the Park Lane for starting the fire while you play your violin from your treasured West Stand. I’m sure Berbatov will be standing by you, doing a little jig as all around the fires burn. Taxi to Manchester!
As for the 2-0 win away in Israel. Not much to say other than, it was very average. Even against 10 men. All a bit too uninspiring. Berbatov scored but struggled initially with the memory of what he needed to do with his face on such rare occasions.
Yes, that's it, flex those facial muscles, yep, almost there...almost there.....and....that’s it! A smile! Incredible movement from Berbatov! I've never seen anything like it!
Midfield was more sideways than forwards. And considering the second half was practically a training session, its a little concerning that we couldn't add more goals. But no reason for a sudden surge of ideas and imagination in the creative department. It's still the same old players out there. Including Jenas. The immovable object. Dave Mackay would run through brick walls for Tottenham. Jenas would apologetically whisper that he has lost the keys for the door, then sleep on a park bench for the night. He usually destroys weak teams because that's when he's in his element. Play Jenas against a under-15 team and I'll tell you this now, he would score a hat-trick, nailed on. His free kicks will still be shit though.
At least KPB is playing more often. Seems Ramos rates him an awful lot more than Jol ever did. Not surprising though considering Sevilla were also after him until the Spanish team pulled out and Comolli signed him for Jol. Well, actually no he didn't. He signed him for Ramos. Unofficially his first signing for Spurs, no?
Wasn't impressed with Berbatov in the 2-0 win, even with the goal scored. Far too much complaining and moaning and arm swinging and rolling of the eyes - again a case of 'business as usual' for our only world class player although it feels more like 'closed for the holidays'. In fact, apart from Steed and Keane, the whole team was still struggling to come to terms with reclaiming even an ounce of confidence and swagger. All a bit too fragmented and lackluster. As for Bent, at this rate, we'll get £2M for him from West Ham. Looks like we've been stitched up there good and proper. And going back to the Bulgarian again, he still has the look and movement of a man with constipation. His only performance of quality this season from him was up at Old Trafford. Funny that.
Anyway, this is not going to be one of my full blown three page letters. I’m going to wait until after the Wigan game before I put pen to paper and rape and pillage my way through a thesaurus as I throw damning incitements and sardonic words your way. This is just a mini-letter. A teaser. And I’m going to pick out a random subject matter and state my opinion on it because I need to blow off some steam before Sunday's 'The Biggest Game in our History™' clash with Wigan. Lets talk about, I don’t know….maybe, I suppose, we should go with……something random......how about...Berbatov. Sound good to you?
I see you have allowed The Sulk to post his statement via the official site, renouncing all the rumours about his future. As see-through as tracing paper IMO. It’s all just a rather obvious ploy to quiet down the mass hysteria of the rumours, isn’t it? Bit like that time Kemsley marched off to Spain to meet Ramos and not offer him a dizzying deal. Bit like that time, isn’t it? Remember? Spain? The meeting with Ramos? Kemsley, with the talking and the offering? No? You don't remember? Amazing. You posted a statement claiming it wasn't true. Something about the newspapers being wankers.
Ok, foreplay over. Le'ts just cut to the chase. Here’s the real timeline of events that are masked behind your dark tapestry of untruthness:
Man Utd inquire about Berbatov
Spurs reject bid
Berbatov is unhappy with not being allowed to leave
Berbatov sulks during pre-season games
Spurs struggle with internal politics which results in a woeful start to the season
Berbatov and Jol do not get along
Berbatov doesn’t appear to be pulling his weight
Berbatov and Jol's miserable double-act takes centre stage at Newcastle defeat
Newspapers have a field day with Spurs lack of form and Berbatov being blatantly unhappy
Comolli meets the player and his agent for 'showdown talks'
Spurs release a public statement on the official site that states Berbatov isn’t leaving – but clearly states ‘January’ and doesn’t mention whether the player will remain after the summer
His dad claims his son wants out
His brother claims he wants out
Berbatov releases a public denial, via the Spurs site and claims everything is a lie and that he is remaining at the club and that he loves the club
This statement appeases the Spurs faithful
The tabloids are slammed as scum by the fans for bullshitting
Comolli and Levy laugh as their masterpiece falls into place
Berbatov no longer has the uncertainty the fans were experiencing to worry about, so will not get abuse from the stands for wanting to leave
Fans will sing and chant his name
Fans believe everything he said, because ‘surely, he would never lie about something like this’
Privately the club have told Berbatov he can leave when an acceptable bid is made
Spurs know that if the player ‘publicly’ states he ‘loves the club’ and doesn’t want to leave, then other clubs wont make cheeky bids undermining his true value in the transfer marker
If the player publicly ‘wanted out’ then clubs would not make bids that match the value of the player
Berbatov has the press and fans off his back and his wish set to come true
His agent gets ready for the January/End of season transfer window
Levy rubs his hands at the thought of £20M
Spurs sell Berbatov for his true value and take the heat for selling the player
The penny drops for the 'faithful'
Spurs fans are mugged off
Sound about right, Daniel? How about you reply to me on this one? If I’m wrong I will change the name of this site to ‘I HEART LEVY’ and post a poem per day about my undying love for you and your shiny bald head. And in addition, I’ll move from the Park Lane End to the West Stand and eat bagels at half-time. I’ll even visit the Spurs Shop. No, not with my ‘BOYCOTT FASCIST MERCHANDISE – DON’T SUPPORT LEVY’S PERSONAL TRUST FUND’ sign. I’ll be armed simply with my wallet and will max out my American Express Paupers card purchasing the Spurs home shirt along with posters and scarf’s. You know that bloke with the megaphone that stands on Bill Nicholson Way preaching about Jesus Christ? I’ll have words and borrow the megaphone and spend pre-match telling the home faithful that you are the true messiah and not that pansy Hoddle. As for Jesus, always thought his life was slightly exaggerated in print. I mean, we all think Bogart said ‘Play it again Sam’ in Casablanca and yet he never did. So if we can’t remember something from 1942 which has been repeated about ten billion times, how the fuck is anyone certain about some words written down by a bunch of dudes a couple thousand years ago? Jesus was either a hippie or a student and the people that wrote the bible were probably just larking about trying to make a fast dollar. Anyway, this isn’t relevant, stop forcing me to go off topic!
It’s in your hands Daniel. I want a reply. I don’t expect you or Comolli to post a statement on the official Spurs site denouncing this letter. That would be a nice touch though. But if you want to prove your worth and your word, then take your balls out and stick them in my mouth. There’s no risk, is there? I mean, worst case scenario is I’m proved right and I bite them off. If I’m wrong and the statements the club and player have made are not propaganda, then I will have to suck them. And unlike Kyle, I won’t be running off in the opposite direction.
See, you and me Daniel, we’re not that different. Yeah sure, you’re rich. You picked up a cool million in ‘wages’ in the last financial year and live in a big house. Four bedrooms, possibly five. And your fitted kitchen is lush by the way. And that coffee machine, fuck me, wow. Where did you get that? Makes a mean cup indeed. I don’t have a mansion, I live in a flat. Two bedrooms. Though I use one of them as a living room. And my kitchen is quite smile, though I got a decent Brita kettle with those fitted filters. But ignoring minor differences in material possessions, we are not that different. We are both passionate about our beliefs. Except your beliefs are wrong. Time you stood up Levy, shaved those grapes between your legs and showed them to the world.
So, am I wrong Daniel? Am I? Is Berbatov really going to stay beyond January and the summer? I doubt it. And you know it. Its damage control, plain and simple. Much like the support for Jol in another one of the official statements on the site - and a month later he was gone.
Another day, another lie. And plenty of dollars on their way to the clubs bank account. I had a momentary lapse in concentration, believing and trusting the club and player over this, but I have seen the light. And that light has failed to blind me.
Yours 'wont be fooled for a second',
Thursday, 8 November 2007
"I don't like to speak too much and don't like to be in the spotlight or the papers," said the striker. "I just want to play football.
"There has been a lot of stuff written about me leaving. I haven't said anything until now, but they are now involving my family and I cannot allow that. When somebody is writing lies about my family I must get involved.
"I am my own man, when I want to speak I will and I will tell you the truth no matter how hard it is. That is why I am talking now.
"I want to let everyone know that I am a Tottenham Hotspur player, I love the club and everyone at the club. I don't always smile so much, but that does not make me a bad person.
"I don't smile because we are near the bottom of the table and have not been playing well - I have not been playing well either.
"The worst thing is when someone starts writing lies and when people see that they start to believe it. That really is the worst thing.
"I just want to say that I am here, I am happy here and I will help the club in any way I can," he added, before stating his gratitude for the ongoing support the fans have given him since his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2006.
"The fans love the club and they have been behind me ever since my first game. I appreciate them the most and I want to tell them that I am not going anywhere.
"I have a contract and I will give my best, for now it is not going so well for me because all the writing in the papers has been messing with my head and I lost my concentration.
"I don't want to see my name in the papers anymore - I just want to play football and enjoy myself. When I see things in the paper with somebody telling lies about my father, how can I be calm? I am disappointed and I don't understand how somebody can write something like that - it is a lie.
"Bringing my family into it is the biggest sin."
That's pretty conclusive, no? Would someone truly lie about his feelings so publicly? Well, ok, not a good question considering a certain Judas did something very similar a number of years ago. But this seems geninue, and I feel a tad guilty now for believing everything else about the player just because he sulks. Not that I'm forgiving him for his lack of effort and other complaints I have about his form, but I suppose you could argue that his lack of form has more to do with the fact that his team mates are shit and we have high hopes of him to carry everyone on his back due to being some what 'world class'.
I think it's time for his feet to do the talking, and hopefully todays UEFA Cup match and Sundays clash against wonderful Wigan will play a big part in re-building confidence for Berbatov, the team and the fans.
This story is covered by most sports sites (who took the quotes from the Official Spurs site), though nice to see the following in todays The Sun:
"Dimitar Berbatov's brother says the Bulgarian striker has "outgrown" Tottenham and wants to join Manchester United "
"Dimitar Berbatov's brother says the Spurs striker gets "grumpy" when he is not the "centre of attention and main man "
There's an interview with his brother, but no quotes from Berbs, more an opinion from his bro - however, would he lie about family in this manner, blatantly saying that Berbatov wants to leave? See how easy it is to get confused when people are constantly contridicting statements?
I feel dirty that I allowed my frustrations to blind me to simple logic. Just because a newspaper reports something doesn't mean its true. Even and interview with Berbs bro.
And if Berbatov does have personal issues, unrelated to football, these are his own and not for us to judge him. Won't stop the gossip though. And we all know that even when certain people in football say something, it doesn't mean they mean it. Look at Jol and his short stories and soundbites.
I'm gonna wipe the slate clean. Today is a new day. The past is the past.
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
From this week's Times Podcast:
Guillem Balague: "I was at the Spurs training ground this week. I was amazed that some of the tactical work that Juande was trying to put across to the squad just caught many players by surprise. As if they hadn't done anything for two years, as though they were sixteen again - 'Oh, what's he want us to do? He wants us to run because this is an offensive tactic? Oh right.' It was a bit surprising. I think that is something that will affect the way that Juande will improve the side."
Can't say this is shocking. We have been tragic with tactics for some time, usually saved by fighting spirit, which has also been lost in recent times.
Hail the new age, hey?
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
He harps on about Berbatov being a bit like Cruyff. 'Gifted'. But apparently, not a figher. So, why the fuck play him week in and week out? Bit of a contridiction there Martin. Either he is good for the team or he isn't, yet you had no problem playing him and yet now suddenly you reveal he isn't a fighter. Excellent selection work right there. Stick the ones with no heart into the team to lead us.
In addition to all this, today Berbatov Senior is apparently telling everyone his son wants out THIS January.
"My son doesn't feel happy at Tottenham any more. He wants to leave."
If that isn't 'ITK' I don't know what is. In addition (the Daily Mirror) add a nice little quote from a club insider (made up) stating:
Sources close to the striker added: "Dimitar is telling everybody that he doesn't want to stay and would like to leave in January.
"He feels that he made a mistake in the summer by not asking the club to sell him when Manchester United were interested."
Thank you for stating the obvious.
Berbatov can go. World class player when he feels like it, horrific attitude towards the club. Shame really, its been a while since we've had a geniune world class player at the club, and it might be a while longer before we get another. Though he hasn't done his reputation any favours with his sulking. But then he is bound to suggest that Spurs haven't done him any favours with their politics.
Firstly, nothing new. Spurs will either move away from WHL for a couple of years while it's rebuilt and ground share or Spurs will remain at the Lane while a brand new stadium is built from scratch. We all knew this, it's obvious that Spurs will either re-develop their current home or move on. What is new in the way of information is that we have apparently we have Tony Winterbottom (who played a role in the development of Arsenal's ground) on board who is looking at how WHL can expand to 52,000. Also, Paul Philips (a project manager, again involved at the Emirates) and Ken Shuttleworth, an architect who is the right-hand man of Norman Foster who worked on Wembley.
All very good. Dream Team in place. All we need now is the decision on whether we stay or go. Don't want out of WHL. I'm a sentimental bastard. If we did move then ground sharing isn't something I'm looking forward too. Have to scoof at the idea of sharing with West Ham United. I can see the police loving that idea. Getting to the ground on match days would probably involve the odd ambush and flare-up. Imagine playing at Upton Park in a 'home' match against Chelsea. That's one three-some I'd gladly say no to. Better still, when WHU play as at Upton Park in our 'home' game and they turn up with 20,000 away fans. Wear your colours for that early kick-off.
Other suggestions have us playing outside of London at Watford or Reading. Don't really approve of that either. And as for the Emirates, no thanks. Even though, of all the potential clubs we could share with that would give us the least amount of trouble in travel. Wembley would have to be the number one choice. But the FA seem reluctant to help out.
Will be interesting to see if the club decide to ask the fans what they would like with regards to having the ground expanded or move to a new location in Enfield. Bose states that Spurs would prefer to remain at the Lane. Hopefully this is the one thing Levy won't let me down on.
"It is simply not an issue. I met with Dimitar's agent today and he assured me Dimitar is not looking for a move in January and simply wants to concentrate on helping the team push up the table.
"He is on a long-term contract with us and Juande (Ramos) sees him as an important part of our plans."
You heard the man. He will not be looking for a move in January. Yeah sure, Comolli mentions 'long term contract' but if Berbatov was planning on staying wouldn't he publicly deny the rumours? Wouldn't his agent do the same? If Spurs were confident he was not looking to move on, wouldn't Comolli clearly state 'Berbatov will not be leaving Spurs, not in January or the summer. He has a contract and he is committed to it' as means of burying the uncertainty?
No, instead he simply tells us that the player won't be looking for a move in 'January'.
This is then followed up by the usual textbook tabloid/broadsheet article (no quotes or proof) that Berbatov is leaving the club and in the summer. Maybe the journo (in this case The Times Gary Jacob) has also noted Comolli's 'January' statement and gone to town on it in a creative frenzy or maybe he can put two and two together and work out the fact that there's more chance of Levy growing hair on his head than the Bulgarian remaining loyal.
For your reading pleasure, here's the article:
Dimitar Berbatov free to leave Spurs if they miss out on top four
by Gary Jacob
Dimitar Berbatov has sought assurance that he will be able to leave Tottenham Hotspur at the end of the season. Emil Dantchev, his representative, met Damien Comolli, the Tottenham sporting director, yesterday to discuss the Bulgaria forward’s future.
Berbatov has been unsettled by Tottenham’s refusal to allow him to move to Manchester United in the summer as well as his club’s poor start to the season.
United first made an approach for the forward towards the end of the last campaign, in which he scored 23 goals in his first season after his move from Bayer Leverkusen. Tottenham were unwilling to sell him, not least because supporters would have questioned their ambition after the departure of Michael Carrick, the England midfield player, to United a year before. But the club are believed to have come to a gentlemen’s agreement that he can leave for a large fee if Tottenham fail to qualify for the Champions League this season.
There is the prospect of the striker asking for a transfer in January, but Comolli says that was not on the agenda during talks yesterday. “It is simply not an issue,” Comolli said. “I met with Dimitar’s agent today and he assured me Dimitar is not looking for a move in January and simply wants to concentrate on helping the team to push up the table. He is on a long-term contract with us.”
If we miss out on Champions League football? If? LOL. Good one Gary. If.....if all the above is true then that speaks volumes for the type of man Berbatov truly is. A let down. An a-typical modern day footballer with no true heart or commitment. Tevez never sulked last season. He got on with it. And yes, he looked far far better than he actually was because he was playing in a team that were simply woeful in every possible way, but he gave 500% for his club even though he knew he was off. Berbatov has given us an epic sulk. Nothing more. Well, apart from several flicks that have led to goals from Robbo hoofs up the field. But I'm sure post-Ramos it's gonna be a bit more attractive. Whether Berbatov has a change of heart or not, remains to be seen.
Fact is, he has the power to make all the rumours and tabloid guess work go away by simply telling us, in his own words. "I'm not leaving Spurs".
So, Dimitar...anything you want to share with us?
Monday, 5 November 2007
If Berbatov has gone against 'character' (remember, he has harped on about rejecting Utd for Spurs - and its well documented he is a modest down to earth man) and he wants out, then fuck him. For all his posturing and pretty boy looks, if he's gonna play with a dis-interested and negative attitude then I don't want him there.
If he now believes he made a mistake joining us and not going to a Champions League side instead, its because of the one season of success he had at Spurs - so surely he should continue to represent the team and build on that reputation? He signed a contract. But what does that matter in the modern age of football when players are more important than the clubs.
There's no doubt something is wrong with him this season. I heard whispers of personal problems, unrelated to football, but going from the incidents with Jol you suspect its more to do with the politics of the club and the tactics on the pitch. Maybe that's the reason he wants out. A player of his quality - a world class player - deserves the ball played to feet and not hoofed up field.
If you want, we can all hope that Ramos joining will place an end to all that happened before and if Berbatov reclaims his past form, we'll all be laughing again....at the opposition, rather than our inability to win games.
Tottenham v Wigan.
We need this. Three points. Clean sheet. Confidence booster. Yes, it will be against another struggling team - but who cares? We need that 'swagger' back. We need to brush them aside. I'm not talking in the manner we beat Derby earlier in the season. I'm talking about utterly tearing them to pieces.
This season, due to commitments outside of football, I have missed the Cup games. I was also not present at the Derby win. I have yet to see Spurs win a game of football in the Prem- season 2008.
If Spurs fail to impress in this game, then Ramos has a mission impossible to get these over-paid, passion only in sound-bites, sulking mega-stars up to an acceptable standard.
I want to see them sweat blood. I want people watching the game highlights on MotD that evening thinking they've just tuned into a trailer for Frank Millers '300'.
Maybe Ramos should pluck a fan from every stand in the ground and take them into the dressing room pre-game and let them have a word with one or two of our players.
"Get a fucking grip" - is what I would say. Its a game of football. You don't suddenly turn shit over night, and if the reason for it happening has gone - then skip the transitional period and just play like your life depends on it, because we support the team like our life depends on it and its about high time you fucking gave us something back, you miserable excuse of team. I'd probably slap Berbatov across the face, get him all fired up. And I'd also slap Dawson. No reason, just has that type of face.
Spurs 5 Wigan 0 is the headline I want to be reading come Monday morning after the game.
Boro 1 Spurs 1
One point gained or two points lost?
Another performance lacking any of the sexy qualities we would wish to see in a Spurs performance. Dawson still on roller-skates, along with one or two others who appear to have yet awaken from their deep sleep. It’s night terrors week in week out for the Spurs fans. Yes, we got pegged back by a ‘beauty’ from an ex-Spurs player. If we’re not conceding comedy goals were conceding contenders for goal of the month, with their own back story for added effect.
Two games unbeaten, so can’t be that downbeat about it. Still can’t see where a big confidence boosting victory is coming from.
Ramos starting Bent and Defoe suggests he is using his opening few games to suss out the players. Doubt he learned that much on Saturday, equally so when the disinterested Berbatov came on whom apparently was set for a meeting with his agent yesterday about his future at Spurs. Don’t care how good a player you are, if you don’t want to wear the shirt then get the fuck out. Hopefully his mega-sulk hasn’t knocked off £10M from our asking price.
What's more frustrating is the fact that once more we take the lead and fail to keep it. Stat attack:
This season, we have taken the lead in 8 games out of 12. Only Man Utd and Arsenal have done so more often than us (with 10 and 9 respectively). Not surprisingly we have the lowest % rate in the Prem for winning a game we have taken the lead in. That's how vulnerable (shit) we are.
We covert just 13% of our leads into three points. That's relegation form right there for you.
Elsewhere, Jol wants to return to Spurs at some point in the future (surely he is taking the piss?). He is still the king of the soundbites. His interview in The Observer is a strange one. Remarking about how Berbatov came to him this season and said ‘I want him to achieve things’. Think Jol must have reminded him he still plays for Spurs.
And this sums up the big man:
A master of the one-liner, Jol jokes about that affinity. He is dressed in a burgundy shirt, similar in colour to Arsenal's centenary kit of two seasons ago. 'This is the first time I wear this colour, it's unbelievable,' says Jol. 'But that is what they put into you when you are at Spurs. If I would have £2billion I would buy Arsenal. And I'd make a big parking place from the Emirates and make a new stadium for Spurs. Or for another club, you know. That is a nice one!'
If only he was as good a manager as he was dealing with the media.
Spurs now have the following fixtures, up and coming:
Tel-Aviv (A) UEFA
West Ham (A)
AaB (H) UEFA
Anderlecht (A) UEFA
Man City (H)
Man City (A) League Cup
Need to bag 3 or 4 wins before we face Arsenal. Because if we don’t, it means no improvement has been made, and they will no doubt rape us at the Emirates.
Worst. Season. Ever.
Friday, 2 November 2007
See how easy it is to yo-yo between differing opinions on this matter? It's well documented in other blog entries and I think now Jol should simply move on (hopefully he'll get the Ajax job at the end of the season) and let it be.
We will soon find out who has the biggest say in transfers this January. I'm sure the signings will fit into the Ramos mould. Of course, maybe Comolli has learnt a lesson or two with what's happened with Jol and will now sanction exactly what the manager needs. There's no room for error and I doubt - after the Jol farce - that DM and DL will take any risk to upset the brand spanking new error. I mean era.
Thursday, 1 November 2007
- We won
- We didn’t concede (thanks to the woodwork)
- Robinson made two world class saves
- Lennon looks lively again
- A little bit of ye olde confidence restored
- Robbo slipped when attempting a kick
- Kaboul had a nightmare (and managed a yellow card too)
- Defence easily beaten (remember this was against a Championship side)
- Not the performance I would have expected (where was the ‘fire in the belly’?)
- An average Premiership side would have beaten us
- Ramos wears a suit (it’s better than those silly Spurs baseball caps and tracksuits)
- Ramos is vocal and quite passionate during the course of the game. Its good to see a manager kick every ball rather than be a spectator
- Ramos appears the type to sub off any player that is not pulling his weight no matter what name is printed on the back of his shirt
- Made early substitutions (57th, 60th, 72nd) – took Kaboul off who was woeful, Keane having seen enough of him to warrant a start on Saturday (obvious one) and Bent on for Berbatov to give him a chance to impress
"On the positive side the players showed great willingness to play and fought hard for the victory, it was physically very hard especially as it was only three days since the last game.
"I suppose the negative side is that Blackpool had three or four chances to score and we shouldn't allow those chances.
"The game was how we expected, Blackpool are from a lower league but they tried as hard as they could and gave everything.
"It was very important to get a victory to give us more security, to calm the players down a bit and give us confidence. The last results have been quite negative and we needed to stop that run of results, so to get this result was vital."
Makes me a little happy, ignoring the average performance he manages to place a little perspective to the evenings result. Realist. Pragmatic. Won’t really see the difference until after Christmas when fitness levels have improved vastly and Ramos training methods begin to show their true results on the pitch.
Spurs are bottom three because they have been toilet. Lose against Boro and its going to be a long cold winter. Draw or even a win, then confidence might result in a far quicker transition from the depths of the Prem to the dizzy heights of 15th.
The current squad, minus one or two players got us to 5th last year so the goal is to get these underachieving millionaires to fight their way back to respectability.
Good luck to the man in the suit.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Ian McGarry. You're a fucking tool.
Expecting Levy to turn up? Yeah alright then, because shooting yourself in the foot having already had the other amputated due to the same accident is the wise thing to do.
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Before you think I am stalking him, I’m not. Sure, I’ve kept tabs on him for a week or so noting down his daily habits and routines outside of training and match-days. And with his recent departure from Spurs it’s not been too troublesome to follow him around building a profile of all Monday to Friday activities and therefore potential places where I could approach him without raising suspension. You know what its like. Every red top journalist is probably after an exclusive. Can’t afford to make him nervous.
Obviously, when I finally do approach him and initiate actual dialogue, I need to make it appear as a chance meeting between a Spurs fan and a former Spurs manager. It’s been 5 minutes since my first attempt failed miserably. The cucumber incident wasn’t exactly how it played out in my mind. I chose Tesco’s for this very reason. You always bump into the same shoppers when you walk around a supermarket.
Further reconnaissance required. He’s no longer in the frozen food section. He usually spends exactly three minutes there. Maybe I miscalculated the average handling time with the microwavable goods. Not in the crisps section either. Damn it. Moves fast. Deceptive for a big man.
Hold up, there he is.
Time for an approach.
He’s looking at the aromatics.
He’s reaching out for the Twinings Lapsang Souchong. This is it, don’t bottle your one-on-one now…..
SPOOKY: “Nah mate, wouldn’t bother with that one”
Oh crap, he’s looking straight at me. With that scary slanted-eye look. I’m dead.
MARTIN: “It’s not good?”
SPOOKY: “Erm, yes. But you look like a someone who would much prefer an English cup of tea. Try this one. Earl Grey”
MARTIN: “Thank you. I will. Nice t-shirt”
SPOOKY: “Oh this? Yeah its…OMG….its you, Martin Jol! What a coincidence! I’m wearing a t-shirt with your face on it! What are the odds? I’m a Spurs fan! Wow, you don’t mind if I spend five minutes or so asking you a set of non-rehearsed questions that won’t place you in a position of uneasiness resulting with having to state ‘no-comment’ as a standard response. For the record I don’t work for the national press and wouldn’t dream of mis-quoting you and currently have no electronic devices on me such as a recording device or hidden camera”
MARTIN: “Walk with me”
SPOOKY: “Cool. So firstly, let me just say you were a breath of fresh air. Don’t think Spurs fans have sang the name of a manager as much as they sang yours. Ramos not being bald is going to mean overtime for the Lennon’s and McCartney’s of the South Park Lower. You were truly one of us. We will dearly miss you Martin”
MARTIN: “What do you think? Jaffa Cakes, Chocolate Digestives, Custard Dreams or shortcakes?”
SPOOKY: “I suppose Jaffa cakes”
MARTIN: “Hmmm. I like custard creams and shortcakes, usually together. Now and again I don’t mind a Jaffa cake but don’t care much about digestives. I usually get all four so that I always have the option. You know, with the English cup of tea”
SPOOKY: “Of course. Variety is the spice of life. So, any regrets?”
MARTIN: “I once bought some Polish biscuits. Let me tell you, they were fucking shit”
SPOOKY: “I’ll remember that. I think the way Levy treated you was disgraceful. Do you really hold no resentment?”
MARTIN: “Which way to the cereals?”
SPOOKY: “That way”
MARTIN: “Levy? No, Daniel is like Coco-Pops. He turns the milk chocolatey”
SPOOKY: “Is that a good thing?”
MARTIN: “If all you want is milk, then no”
SPOOKY: “Ok. So could you have turned things round Martin?”
MARTIN: “No, the wheels on this shopping trolley are rubbish. I didn’t even ask for this one. The attendant gave it to me”
SPOOKY: “And what about Kemsley?”
MARTIN: “I’m surprised he didn’t eat Ramos. He eats anything he can get his hands on. Me? I wouldn’t eat Ramos. Miss World, maybe. But my wife would kill me”
SPOOKY: “No regrets then with selection or tactics? Never wanted to change anything?”
MARTIN: “No. Even a broken clock is right twice a day”
SPOOKY: “Many people, directors and fans felt you struggled with team selection”
MARTIN: “A wrong decision is better than indecision”
SPOOKY: “And what about Paul Robinson? Surely he should have been dropped an age ago?”
MARTIN: “All due respect, you got no fuckin' idea what it's like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fuckin' thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it all”
SPOOKY: “Sorry, I…I….”
MARTIN: “Pick that up for me”
MARTIN: “No, Daz”
SPOOKY: “Thanks for the chat Martin. Can you sign my t-shirt? I’ve got a silver permanent marker”
MARTIN: “My pleasure”
SPOOKY: “Martin, there’s one more thing. I don’t want you to freak out it’s a bit out of the ordinary, a bit leftfield…..”
MARTIN: “Left-field? Fuck! Look, I admit, it was a mistake to sell Andy Reid. Oh God, don’t tell me you have Andy Reid here. Motherfucker! Is that Andy Reid over there? Oh Christ, that’s him, isn’t it? It’s him. He always said he would take revenge. I’m gonna get fucking whacked, no? It's all gonna suddenly turn to black!”
SPOOKY: “No Martin, that’s not Andy Reid…that’s an obese middle-aged woman.”
MARTIN: “I knew that. What was it then? This leftfield thing?”
SPOOKY: “What I had in mind involved a box of matches and this effigy”
MARTIN: “What is that in its mouth?”
SPOOKY: “It belonged to Chirpy, pre-castration”
MARTIN: “Interesting. Meet me in the carpark in 10 minutes. Make sure the bonfire is lit”
SPOOKY: “Nice one. You planning to stay in football right?”
MARTIN: “There’s no retiring from this”
He didn't let me down. 10 minutes later he was there. We toasted some marshmallows and watched the effigy burn then said our goodbyes before the police arrived. He clinched his fist and gave me a reassuring nod as I stood proud on top of a parked Clio Renault chanting, 'Martin Jol, Martin Jol, Martin Martin Jol, he's got no hair......'
Goodbye Martin. All the best.
Not so much an exclusive because everyone is covering the ‘story’. Ramos has told the players (straight after the Rovers defeat) that they have to play not for 60 or 70 minutes but for 90 minutes. More or less tells you that he will iron out every niggling pain in the arse problem that Jol preferred to ignore. Can’t wait to see the response on Wednesday. Confidence boosting thrashing of Blackpool is much needed. As for it being a ‘double session’, here’s hoping that what the Spurs players experienced was actually a normal training session under Ramos.
In addition, we also know he will rotate the team – something that Jol did out of the necessity to keep certain players happy rather than what’s best for the club. Ramos also only gives out the line-up just before kick-off and never changes this particular rule. Nobody is certain to be in the team, though I’m guessing one or two of our players will be first choice every time (if fit) much like Sevilla.
Still can’t see us finishing higher than 10th at the moment. Some tough home games (Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea) yet to play along with plenty of potential away day headaches to overcome.
Martin Jol revealing that he found out he was sacked from his nephew after the game. Believable Factor – 40%
He also states that it was 'rubbish' that he knew before the game. This is believable. Levy would have waited until after the game. No logical sense to ask him to clear out his office pre-kick.
But this is the most curious of his statements to the press:
Despite that embarrassment, Jol denies he angrily confronted Spurs chairman Daniel Levy as some reports suggested.
"I don't have a problem with Daniel or the club because they treated me very well throughout my time there.
Makes you wonder doesn’t it? If Jol is telling the truth here, and why doubt the big man, then that would suggest that Levy has been telling the truth throughout this ordeal meaning that everything we have been led to believe is nothing more than exaggeration and distortion of the truth by our friendly neighbourhood tabloids. Yet some how, from body language and turn of events, you just can’t quite fathom that as a possibility.
Monday, 29 October 2007
Director of Football
Harvey Dent: So another manager fails under the Director of Football structure.
Two-Face: Failed? I would argue against that. I think Levy is accountable for appointing Santini but found himself lucky to then promote Jol to work with Arnesen. It worked with those two because they were suited for each other. There is nothing wrong with the structure as long as the parts fit.
Harvey Dent: Not many Arnesen signings left at the club.
Two-Face: Yes, but the point is Jol worked well with him. It was Arnesen that gave the go-head to promote Jol. Which forms part of the continuity flow that the DoF system is meant to promote. When Frank left for Chelsea, Levy had to replace the DoF. That’s the crux of the problem thats confusing you with the suggested 'failure'. You can’t employ a new director of football when you already have the coach there because you run the risk of bringing in someone who may not like the current manager. Levy had to obviously replace the gap left by Arnesen. I do agree that this was potentially a risk and was proven so.
Harvey Dent: Yes, and by your very defination it didn't work, did it?
Two-Face: It does work and has worked.
Harvey Dent: Nope. Comolli didn’t see eye to eye with Jol and vice versa. Neither were comfortable in each others company and had different targets in mind. That's the systems fault.
Two-Face: You are simply echoing what the papers write about the DoF structure and the fact that it supposedly undermined Martin Jol. Jol approved of the signings, but was found not capable of taking the club any further. Tactically he was shown up and incapable of developing the players and team. The DoF system works fine. You are missing the point. The problem was with Jol. Not the system.
Harvey Dent: Jol would work fine without a DoF. The problem was that Comolli found himself working with someone he couldn’t work with and vice versa. That's the systems fault. You do know Jol has gone on Dutch tv and made suggestions that things were not right at the club since the summer? He stated he had the same view as Arnesen. Doesn’t have to mention Comolli, and the fact he doesn’t speaks volumes. You even touched upon this yourself. He also stated he felt something was wrong during the summer and that in the end he was simply waiting till they took him aside to tell him he was sacked.
Two-Face: Thats Jol's perspective. Levy and Comolli will possibly suggest the opposite of that. But Levy knows to admit to anything would be detrimental for the way people percieve the DoF system. Levy knows the system works and knows that Jol doesnt fit into the system.
Harvey Dent: Best manager we've had for years and we've got rid of him because the system doesn't work? Lunacy. What about Petrov, Distin, Elano?
Two-Face: What about them?
Harvey Dent: Three players he wanted to sign, that’s Jol. Rejected for being either too old or too expensive.
Two-Face: We don't know that for sure. Didn't Petrov reject us because we wouldnt say yes to 100% first team football?
Harvey Dent: He also mentioned on Dutch tv that you can’t read too much into the £40M spent in the summer as the players are either for the future or for the subs bench and thus are not that big of an improvement to the squad. Sure, we all know Bent is a replacement for Berbatov. But how about spending money on areas that need immediate improving rather than covering our backs with the potential sell of one of our current players? The DoF was stagnating Jol.
Two-Face: Look, I'm not arguing that it wasn't working out for Jol - but that's down to Jol and not the system itself. It wasn't working in his favour, we can agree on that. In fact I would go as far as saying that Levy and Comolli made their minds up a while back and the players bought in the summer were players that another manager could reap the benefits from rather than signing a player that falls into the Jol philosophy. So that explains Jol's frustration on that £40M spent.
Harvey Dent: So you are saying what now? That the DoF works but it has to have the right director and coach?
Two-Face: Yes. Do you not listen? You know that's exactly what I mean. Look at Ramos at Sevilla. The DoF he had there was able to work in complete unison with Ramos. It was a perfect partnership. Comolli has appointed Ramos. Comolli sees him as the person, the type of coach, he can work with. They share the same philosophy therefore there will be little or no disagreements with signing players.
Harvey Dent: So let me get this straight. As long as the DoF remains consistent, i.e. the same person, then it doesn’t matter who is coach as long as the coach is of top drawer quality?
Two-Face: Retaining a DoF allows for continuity. It isn’t detrimental when we have to change manager. A new coach comes in and the same club ethos continues.
Harvey Dent: That’s really dressing it up right there. Detrimental? Of course it is. It’s not like there’s world class managers waiting to be picked off a tree. How many other managers do you think would suit Comolli? Surely we are limited to the DoF and his ethos? In fact, its almost like the DoF is the kingpin and the coach is there for his benefit. And if the DoF walks, then you need to start again. Its potentially messy. Very untidy.
Two-Face: And having one man buying and selling and coaching isn’t? The DoF is there to assist the coach. The coach wants a certain type of player, the DoF will draw up a list of 5 or so, and then along with Levy and others they will agree to sanction the transfer.
Harvey Dent: Works for Fergie and Wenger, not having a DoF.
Two-Face: DoF worked for Sevilla and Ramos pretty well too. You need to remember, when this system works – with a DoF and coach – who see eye-to-eye, then it WORKS. They obviously gave it a go with Jol due to circumstance and it worked with two top 5 finishes. But there’s been problems there for a while and they unfortunately exploded in August. Jols wasn't improving the team and if you look closely, which Levy obviously did, the team were going backwards. We flattered to decieve. Hence the chase for Ramos. And look what happened just before we got Comolli. We signed Rasiak. A DoF is there to aid the coach. If you want to believe the press that there is continuous disagreements on who we should sign then you are some what delusional. Nothing more, nothing less. The system does work. Jol simply wasn’t good enough for the system. He had to go.
Harvey Dent: If a manager isn’t capable of buying players on his own, then that individual can’t possibly be a good coach. Sure, have someone doing all the leg work but don’t dress it up as a ‘Director of Football’ and stick him at the top of the hierarchy. That has the potential for conflict. Jol was undermined because of it.
Two-Face: Oh please. Do one. Undermined? How so?
Harvey Dent: If you are part of a system that doesn’t work, how can you possibly concentrate on the work at hand? How can you even work with players if they are players that you did not want in the first place?
Two-Face: You’re saying what? That Spurs poor form is down to interference from above? That Jol wasn't inspired to work with the team he had because the team he had wasn't completely his own selection? That Levy and Comolli are to blame? That’s pushing the boundaries of belief just a tad. Put down your copy of the News of the World. Levy and Comolli are not out on the training field shouting out instructions. Jol takes reasonability for that. And he has failed to correct countless long running problems with selection and tactics. You can’t say this is the fault of the DoF system.
Harvey Dent: Ok, maybe not directly. But by your own admission you are saying it’s not working with Jol stuck in the middle of it, so ignoring the ideal template for the system - if all parts fit, it works like a dream – when they don’t fit, it quite obviously causes problems. In this case it’s done just that, so you can't argue that it works. The moment someone, a coach, feels surplus, then this will affect him and affect his management and his coaching and the players and the results. That’s exactly what’s happened. Jol has admitted that things haven’t been right since the summer. So, this is the fault of Levy above anyone else for the single fact that this whole system is his responsibility. The moment he brought in Comolli he should have sacked Jol if that’s what Comolli felt was the right thing to do.
Two-Face: Sack Jol? At the time there would have been a riot. The team were playing well and improving.
Harvey Dent: And the progress stagnated. The DoF system didn’t help matters. Again, remember you have stated that when the right people are working as part of the structure/system it works, when there's one person who isn't quite right, it doesn't work. What was it you said? There is nothing wrong with the structure as long as the parts fit.
Two-Face: Thats right.
Harvey Dent: Yes, and that's my point. If you don't have the right people in there then it wont work which means the DoF system doesnt work. Its not full proof and not stable.
Two-Face: It is if you get it right and you are naive if you think its easy to rid the club of Jol in a blink of an eye and replace him. Levy and the board have had to think this over and make the necessary changes over time. Wasn't fluid, but it wasn't a knee-jerk either. Levy's aim has been to bring back stability that will help produce the results needed. You need to see beyond Jol's lovable character and see he wasn't cut out for it. DoF or not.
Harvey Dent: This will go on and on...
Two-Face: Flick a coin and be done with it.
Harvey Dent: Up, up it goes…