Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The Sun

Excellent piece of mature journalism covering yesterdays press conference at WHL. Spurs have for the first time a manager who hasn't blurbed on about '1961' and 'winning the title' and has instead stated he wants to concentrate on beating Blackpool and restoring confidence. Apparently this has 'little in the way of hope' for the fans.

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

When Spooky met Martin

So there I was. Standing, chest pushed out, wearing my Jolfather t-shirt with pride. I’m not going to lie. I was nervous as hell. The big man was three aisles across in the frozen food section and by my calculations he would be heading back in this direction for the Monster Munch. He’s so far picked up some general groceries, pasta and some Brylcreem. Earlier I missed an opportunity, next to the organic vegetables. Sort of bottled it. Held a cucumber in my hand and attempted small talk by saying, ‘Nice size don’t you think?’ as I sniffed it. Thankfully he didn’t call security. He just smiled. That’s the Dutch for you.

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.
Be natural.
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”

SPOOKY: “Ariel?”

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.

Train of thought

"For the first time since I've been at the club, the prima donnas are actually being made to have a double session of training today (morning and afternoon)! Viva la revolution! " – Spurs Lodge Insider.

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.

Jol: Levy is alriiiiiiiight

This is unexpected.

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

The Two-Face Perspective

Issue #3
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…

Hola Ramos

Mr Ramos, welcome to the badlands of Tottenham Hotspur. I hope you enjoy your stay. Fingers crossed it’s longer than the standard 2-3 year visit most of our recent managers have enjoyed.

I know you are a proven winner. Regardless of some people suggesting your success at Sevilla is down to the youth structure and other parties and what went on before you arrived there, but the fact is you took a side that were not to great or pretty to the very heights of La Liga managing to beat the likes of Madrid and Barcelona along the way. In addition, two successive UEFA Cup wins playing with a wonderful passing style is nothing to frown upon, regardless of it being a second tier European competition. And one or two other trophies for larks and larfs along with a Champions League spot. Sevilla are renowned for their high tempo short passing style. They are a joy to watch. And that’s down to you.

You know how to motivate. Being a strict disciplinarian (is there any other kind?) your teams work hard and your players work hard for each other.

Now, I know that the next two months will involve you sussing out who is up for the fight and who has the necessary quality to survive as a team member from January and the summer onwards. Fitness levels will need to improve. Players will need to become accustomed to your way of doing things. Like any new managerial appointment there’s a period where you stamp your authority down, allowing the players to see how things will change. But this is one with a difference.

See, you have actually won something. You are considered world-class. We don't usually find such quality in our appointments. Players will respect you. Those that do not, those who fail to lift their game in training and out on the pitch may as well be the first to go. It’s obvious you demand to see pride and spirit in the players under your management.

But this is not relevant. I’m not here to question your abilities or the fact that you will soon see for yourself the mess the first team are in. You will see we can’t defend set-pieces or make the most out of offensive ones. You will note that we are easily bullied in midfield. Our defense is far from being a unit. We have no true balance from the back to the front. No confidence or self belief. No true distinctive style or tactic. Other than giving up a winning position and conceding last gasp goals. Sorry, there I go again. Stating the obvious.

All I want to say is good luck. Levy is a pussycat compared to José Maria del Nido. And Tottenham’s problems on the field are so obvious and blatant that you wont have too much of a problem sorting it out. I doubt you will take much notice of the media or disgruntled fans if it takes a few months to get your ethos working at the club. And my advice would be to do just that. Get on with what you do best, ignore the media and the impatient supporters and in due course I’m certain the results will do all the talking for you. Not to say you shouldn’t brush up on your English in the mean time.

Open Letter from Emperor Levy

An open letter to supporters from Chairman Daniel Levy - with counter arguments.

Dear Supporter,

Today we welcome members of our new coaching team to the Lane - Juande Ramos and Marcos Alvarez and, in doing so, we bring to an end an unsettled two months for our Club.

Unsettled? That’s a polite way of describing it. Cast your mind back a season and a bit and the Spurs faithful were actually singing your praises. End of last season the Park Lane sang a chorus of ‘There’s only one Daniel Levy’. Compared to the Hoddle days we’ve never had it so good with the press. Gone are the embarrassments of Pleat announcing new signings before they had signed. Respectable conduct. And then it all went to shit. You and Kemsley and the rest of the guilty directors took us back into the realms of comedy with one PR disaster after another. Yes, the red top media tend to go over the top and re-print message board posts and are generally blood-thirsty dogs - but where there is smoke.....

And was anyone really surprised? We are talking about Spurs here. If West Ham United is the Adam Sandler of football we are the Will Ferrell.

Now we all know that the initial dash over to Spain to offer a deal to Ramos wasn’t a knee-jerk. Some say that Jol was flirting with other clubs. Others suggest you were making the club the priority by making sure there was someone to replace Jol if the worst happened, but that would only make sense if the board and you felt that Jol would soon be on his way soonish. Not because he would be presented with a better offer, but because behind the scenes it was all going pear-shaped. Everyone loves Jol. He’s like a big jovial teddy bear with a great sense of humour. You on the other hand, don't look good. Maybe a trip to Clinique is inorder, but even with a dash of M-Lotion, you are not a pretty picture. You are not media-friendly at the best of times. The press however love Jol.

Jol will always be the victim in this story. But the crux of the problem is the board itself. Impatient and suffering from delusions of grandeur you more or less slit the wrists of progress by deciding (it would seem) more than two months back that Jol wasn’t the right man. And by courting Ramos, the self-destruction of performance has seen us win one game out of eleven. Why allow for £40M worth of new transfers? Why not get rid of him at the start of the season?

Apparently Poyet spoke to Sevilla one month ago. If true, this would mean that when Ramos first ‘rejected’ the Spurs dizzying offer it was probably part of a smart ploy. It would be easier to believe that you simply stated to him: Be ready soon to take the helm. Maybe at Christmas maybe in the summer but maybe sooner. And sooner it was. Jol, dead man walking, was never gonna turn things round. His dignity was pretty much gang-raped. And if was tactically naive, then why leave him in charge?

Much has been written and speculated about the Club in the past few weeks. Quite clearly there are always two sides to every story but, in the interests of the Club, we have endured much criticism without responding or retaliating. We have instead issued statements, when appropriate, containing accurate and relevant information.

Accurate? Sorry. You have done nothing other than offer us propaganda and see-through explainations that do nothing to hide the shambolic handling of replacing one manager with another. You obviously believe the DoF structure works and it probably would if you found a technical director and coach who could work hand in hand together. Maybe, just maybe, you have it right with the Ramos appointment – but that doesn’t mean you are not accountable for hiring Santini and then Jol (who happened to be there) who were obviously not cut out for it in the long run. Had they been left to sign players themselves, then who knows.

For you, the supporters, there are two particular issues on which I would now like to comment: Firstly regarding reports about Thursday evening - the first time Martin and I met to discuss his position was after the match, there were no discussions prior and there were none of the reported disagreements. We would not have, in any case, asked Martin to take charge of the match under those circumstances. Media speculation which preceded the game, inaccurately reporting Martin as having resigned, was in no way a deliberate measure by this Club, in no way served our purposes and we have resented any suggestion that this was the case. Leaks (which are wholly unacceptable) and speculation accompanied the game and it is a sad and regrettable aspect that individuals get caught in their midst.

Brilliant bit of spin right there. Let’s look at the timeline. Ladbrokes take so many bets on Ramos being the new Spurs boss they suspend from taking anymore. In the Know’s (they got something right for once) post on various Internet message boards prior to the UEFA Cup match that Jol will be sacked and that Ramos and Poyet are set to join in time for Wednesday's game against Blackpool. That’s some seriously good guesswork there, don't you think? The posts on the Internet message boards are time-stamped. You got leakage IMHO. Prior to the match and during it, rumours spread of Jol tendering his resignation before kick-off. His face was like slapped thunder after half-time. Text messages, obviously reaching players too. The fans began singing his name. Then apparently - according to you - after the game ended you had a discussion he was asked to step down along with Chris Hughton. Basically, sacked. Cue Jol going mental and using colourful language to say his goodbye.

What really happened Daniel? How about this. You and the board have been planning for a good month or so to bring in Ramos. You have been making preparations and probably discussing backroom staff, transfer budget and when to move the chess pieces. The offer made 2 months ago still stood. You know the one? The offer you denied was ever made to Ramos. Anyways, we lose against Newcastle and you make the executive decision to finally get the ball rolling. Someone leaks the information out, hence the sudden rush of money placed with bookies and the fact that it travels fast enough to make it onto football forums before the evenings football kicks off. Chinese whispers has everyone thinking Jol has quit, turning the game into a surreal emotional mess as cameras pan from the bench to the directors box. After the game you sack him and then cue a pretense that we are approaching Ramos for the first time and in the space of a few days he agrees to accept the offer. You pretty much had this in the bag two months ago, waiting for the right moment to execute Martin Jol. It wasn't slick or pretty. It was Levyesque.

Levy and Kemsley

'You da man' - 'No, you da man'

Several events clearly did not happen as we all would have wished and I am the first to admit that things could have been handled differently and better.

Yes, you mean getting found out when Kemsley was out in Spain? Yes, what a shame that didn’t go according to plan. Use a fucking DSL connection and webcam next time.

Secondly, I should like to once again outline how the acquisition and disposal of players works at the club. We have a Football Management Group which meets on a regular basis – this is constituted by myself, Damien Comolli (Sporting Director), John Alexander (Club Secretary) and the Head Coach, now Juande Ramos. This group meets to discuss, identify and acquire players in targeted positions and to consider possible disposals. No player is brought into the Club or sold who is not approved by the coaching staff – it would be counter-productive to buy players that won’t be played. It is a system that Juande has worked with for years, which allows him to specify his needs and to concentrate on coaching the team whilst Damien and his scouting network seek options. This process clearly relies on accurate briefing and good decision making. It has a collective responsibility.

If true, then who takes the responsibility and blame for buying players this summer that do not directly and immediatley improve our squad? Bale is a fantastic signing, but still a teenager. Kaboul is also young and inexperienced and placing him alongside an out-of-form Dawson is just asking for trouble. Bent was unnecessary and a waste, unless Berbatov is being shifted out. Did you all agree that these were the signings needed to help cement the 5th spot and push for 4th?

If so, then Martin Jol along with your Brain Trust are all fucking idiots. But I’m inclined to believe that players get bought over the managers opinion. And if I’m wrong on that and Jol wanted those players, then surely Comolli isn’t very good at this job (along with the rest of you). If ordinary fans can see we need experienced cover for our defence and a creative midfielder along with a hard-tackling ball winner – then the chairman, the director of football and the manager should be capable of doing the same. The fact that there is so much attention on the director of football structure and media coverage on the fact that nobody is certain who signs the players – you should be able to figure out that there is a serious problem at hand. But then you know that. Its the reason why Jol's time at Spurs began to dissolve.

I mean, come on now. Collective responsibility? If that’s the case, then you need to sack Comolli too. I’m guessing your above explaination of the acquisition and disposal of players is how you wish for it to work from this day forwards. I hope you strike lucky this time. For all our sakes.

In conclusion, you, our supporters, should know that your Board has always had, and will always have, the long term interests of your Club as its sole focus.

Yes. Of course you do. But that doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. You sack and employ new managers. You approve new signings. The buck stops with you. While Arsenal have had a decade of consistency we’ve had 11 managers, all of which have failed. Maybe we are trying too hard. We are not a big club. Get to grips with that and start to re-build with some common sense and patience and we might be able to make geninue long-lasting progress. Stop thinking with your head stuck up the arse of the typical Spurs fans expectations. And look at the bigger picture. Its not easy for anyone to take the place of one of the top 4 clubs. Whoever does may end up swapping it again with the team they displaced or another team that manages to sneak in for one season of making the grade. Build the foundations. Remember, the five year plan? It goes to shit within three years because you feel the need to chop and change. And yes, that's also the responsbility of the dreaming Spurs faithful. It seems that the appointment of Ramos might just save your skin. But I'm not going to hold my breath just yet.

In the past six years we have accommodated many changes, some of our own instigation and some that were thrust upon us by circumstance. I consider it the mark of the strength of an organisation as to how it deals with change, realigns and moves forward. We have made the changes, popular or unpopular as they may be, that we felt were necessary and right. New possibilities now face us, please lend us your support as we move forward together.

How about we try not rocking the boat this once? Do you think you can manage that? Yes, the fans are too blame always thinking and believing the ‘Messiah’ has arrived with every new managerial appointment. In our 125th season you have managed to make it one to remember for all the wrong reasons. Can't wait for the DVD release.


Give yourself a pat on the back.

Another bloody Sunday

Ever wondered what happened to white dog shit? Look no further than Tottenham. There’s more white dog shit there than the 1980’s. I shouldn’t be too harsh with Sundays defeat at home to Blackburn. It was a better performance than recent displays (not by much). Decent keeping stopping us from going 2-0 up but it was still without any true confidence or belief we could actually win. And as for the 93rd minute winner from Samba, well, it was pretty unstoppable and more to do with having no luck at all but then Spurs have a habit of carving out opportunities for the opposition to take advantage of. Our bad luck is self-inflicted. Yes, dry them I hear you cry. Today, Monday, we find ourselves at Day Zero. Ramos has arrived and another new era/transitional period/mistake is upon us. Poyet has also been joined as one of two first team coaches.

As for Jol, he was apparently telling viewers (via a phone-in) on the Dutch version of Match of the Day that the purchases made this summer were not his own (shock horror exclusive right there). He remarked that Bale was a £10M 18 year old, Kaboul an under-21 player and Bent a £17M bench-warmer, unnecessary with Berbatov at the club. And all signings basically failing to resolve positions that needed attention with proven experienced quality. Whether something was lost in translation or Jol was stirring, he also suggested he wanted Distin, Petrov and Elano during the summer transfer window.

And talking of Match of the Day, on BBC2 last night we heard about how Spurs were pretty much crap (no defence etc) yet no talk about the fact we could have quite easily won it if it wasn’t for some brilliant work by the Friedel. Spurs are shit, yet it was a ‘fantastic win’ by Blackburn. So beating a shit team is fantastic? Yes, yes….dry them. Being kicked when you're down isn't the most comfortable of things.

Friday, 26 October 2007

End of day rant

We over-achieved. We looked better than we actually were. The Jol / Levy (and the rest of those mugs) relationship was deep and brooding away, behind the scenes, disguised by those two top 5 finishes. Nobody on the outside had a clue, while inside the club it was going to shit. Hence the collapse. Jol was a massive improvement on the past attempts to get this club moving forwards, but football is fickle and you can see how the whole mood at the club (in the stands) has shifted back to despondency this year just because of a 10 game poor run.

To be honest, its time we fucking banned all this 1960's shit and 'We have to make top 4' and all the other bullshit we churn out that drags us down all the time. Yes, we were really good 50 years ago, so fucking what. You can’t expect to be that again simply because you were like that once upon time. There’s not right to expect that. Yes, be ambitious but be realistic too. And the fact WE believe we should have it is something that rubs off on the players who seem to join Spurs for the simple reason that there is little pressure or stress and its a comfort zone (or stepping stone even). Seems the ‘We deserve 4th’ mentality has engulfed the board, hence the impatience and ego-wars and the PR disasters.

I honestly hope Ramos doesn’t give a shit or even mention The Past™ when he takes the helm and simply aims to achieve success for his own personal ego and gain. I wouldn’t mind seeing us finish Top 4 because of his own personal goals. This is no disrespect to Nicholson or the players from yesteryear. By definition, a club is defined by its history. But when you’re history is firmly lodged in black and white its time to create a new one. Remove the anchor and fucking sail upstream.

Jol was too much of a fan. And yes, it was endearing and yes, I fucking loved the big fat bear and wish he was my dad, but our club, our little club lives on nothing but promises and ‘what ifs’ and ‘we deserve to be there’ instead of shutting the fuck up and achieving it on the only place where it matters - the pitch.

Notice our bench last night towards the end of the game? The players enjoyed a joke. Personally think that was disgusting. For £20,000 a week I wouldn’t unzip myself and piss over the fans but they appear to have no problem doing so.

If Ramos comes in, I hope he plays players who want to play for this team, his team. That story about him taking off a player and leaving 10 on the pitch to force them to work harder for each other when they were coasting 2-0 makes me quite confident that Spurs have found the man to finally sort out this mess.

If he fails, then let it be down to footballing matters and not conspiracy theories from the board room.

Ramos Released

Free to kill his career at the Lane. Speaking on Spanish radio:

"In professional life, sometimes you are presented with an opportunity that you have to take".

Poyet has been asked by Leeds Utd to 'stay away from the game' tomorrow, so its looking highly likely that this is all falling into place now.

In other news, Spurs are doomed:

Mark Lawrenson wrote:

Tottenham v Blackburn (1500 GMT)

What has happened at Tottenham this season has been nothing short of daft.

I still find it strange that Spurs have got rid of Martin Jol, considering what he has done there the last two seasons.

The question is how Spurs react to his departure, but l think they have good quality and can turn it on at home, even against a strong, organised Blackburn side that will be tough to break down.

Doomed I tells ya.

Out of Office

Without dsl over the weekend, till Monday morning so wont be blogging over Saturday and Sunday. Check out the Rumourwhore forum or if you're sadistic Glory Glory.

Hopefully Blackburn will keep the score down against us on Sunday.

And yes, a letter is in production for early next week. Its been a while, but then Levy is feeding me enough shit to build a sewer. And a sewer I will build. Then hopefully he can drown in it. Methophrically speaking of course. Don't want to be hit with libel writ do I?


The ITK's are claiming Ramos and Poyet in by next Wednesday. We already know Allen and Inglethorpe are taking charge of Sundays clash against Blackburn. Rovers, I think, are still unbeaten in the Prem. Can't see anything other than an away win. Bar some miracle.

Bizarro World

The timeline, so distorted and confusing. But then nothing is simplistic with Spurs.

At around 5pm Ladbrokes stopped taking bets on Ramos being the next manager, apparently most of the money coming from Fleet Street. The game kicked off without this making the headlines, but the story managed to leak out during the game. Perfect timing. Initially we were led to believe Jol tendered his resignation. Cue ‘how can he quit then manage the team for the evening?’ questions. As the game progressed, he remained glued to his seat. Looking sad, despondent and generally a beaten man. That went hand in hand with the Spurs performance. No shape no dominance. 1-2 score-line, only our second ever home defeat in Europe.

The 'rumours' continued. Ramos in with Poyet as his number two. Next week? In the summer? No one knows yet. But if we have to wait until the sun is back in the London sky, then welcome to the hellmouth.

An hour or so after the final whistle Spurs release a statement telling us that they asked Jol and Hughton to ‘step down’ after the game. Curious as it looked like this might have been agreed earlier on in the day. Especially reading Jol’s body language during the match. All in all, exactly the kind of inept (there’s that word again) handling we have come to detest from Levy and his board of directors. What a mess.

No hair, we don't care

However, I’m not going to start slating him or Kemsley. Not yet. I prefer to just say, thank you. Thank you to the first manager in an age that the fans loved and adored. Thank you for two 5th place finishes. Thank you for the hope and pride you gave the home faithful. Thank you for the progression.

Yes, it turned to shit in the end, and fuck knows how you even managed to stay on considering the bastards stabbed you in the back months ago – but you did and you will not be forgotten.

Thank you Martin Jol. And all the best for the future.

You took Spurs as far as you could. Lets hope that this is not as far as the club can actually go. Because if Ramos fails then we've hit a bottleneck.....which means we may as well let go of the dream and support West Ham.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Man of the People

Don’t worry. This isn’t what it looks like. If you’re thinking that Kemsley is attempting to get his ‘I’m a true fan’ message across as PR to help a potential takeover bid, then sleep easy. He wore the shirt for £100k, because that’s how much money it takes for someone to be seen in one.

Jol given boot

Apparently he is not included in the new Spurs Monopoly board game which would suggest the obvious. What is far more worrying is Chris Hughton’s inclusion. Although to be fair, he was a decent player for us and there is no valid reason for Jol to be included in a game. Why anyone would even bother purchasing this unoriginal attempt by the club to gain more merchandise revenue is beyond me.

I can already see how the game will pan out.

Your boss has been revealed in the media as a backstabber and is attempting to replace you as manager. Collect £4M.


Not sure where to begin.

Jol was interviewed yesterday (shown in SSN), and he stated various things that were contradictions. Like how we (Spurs) spend more time practising/training set-pieces than any other Prem club. Firstly, how would he know what other clubs do in training? And secondly, OMFG! We spend time practising set-pieces? And yet we hardly ever score from them and ALWAYS concede from them. This is like Jack the Ripper telling everyone he’s actually a great conversationalist.

Martin looked huggered. Completely defeated, his fate blatantly obvious to all. We all know he wont walk (money money money) and we know Levy has no options with who to bring in. So, the cancer continues to spread from top to bottom, from board level to first team and through to the stands where hope has disintegrated into a puddle of shit.

Is he or is he not friends with Berbatov? Who know’s. Everyone’s read about how he apparently asked Berbs 3 times to get up and warm-up. But then Berbatov has looked and acted like a stroppy bastard since pre-season so I wouldn’t blame him. Jol explained the benching down to 'saving him for Thursday'. I wonder if Defoe feels privileged to have been left at home, all in the name of the UEFA Cup.

The confusion continues to drown the memories of what it felt like to be on the up. Once more, I refer you back to the Newcastle game (yes, I have now seen it). Tactically astute is our manager and as for our players, they know exactly what their responsibility on the field should be.

Tainio: "I was surprised I was put on pitch, as I had only trained once after an injury. I went on to play on the wing - which wing it was, was a bit unclear. I think I was told to change positions four times during the match."

It’s Total Football all over again.

The Omnipresent that is Jenas continues to do what he does so well. Nothing. But to simply lay blame on his incompetence (unable to pass or hold onto the ball), to be fair, most of the team were guilty of the same inept display. Again. May as well start copy and pasting previous blog entries to save time ranting about the same thing every week. Then again, it’s therapeutic to laugh at my own misery. Helps to elevate the tragedy of the situation.

So who is exactly responsible for this mess? As manager you expect Martin to oversee and get the fundamentals right:

- Shape
- Passion
- Belief
- Fight

But there’s so much one man can do, because out on the pitch the players are producing nothing more than a Keystone classic whether home or away. Has he really become a bad manager over night? Of course not. Looking at our prima donnas you’d think they were playing to enable those relegation clauses, post haste. All is wrong and God only knows what the psychological shot in the head this will have on the club. Again, amazing how quick you can go from being ‘nearly top 4’ to utter gush. Proving that we were never nearly top 4 in the first place (blame the fans and the media on that one).

Yes we have talented players. But we have no true balance. No true leader. Key positions are weak. And talking of 'no true leader', Jol loves pointing out the fact that we have a leadership issue, but again not his fault that we spent £16M on a striker we don’t need at this current point in time. Talented players – no direction. And the same olde trend is set to be followed. We cant handle or live up to the hype.

Modern day footballers don’t tend to bust a gut for a manager on his way out. And the boards general incompetence with on the field management and football (rather than merchandising) is dragging us down. It always has. The two 5th place finishes flattered to deceive.

We sacked Graham before a semi-final. We gave Hoddle millions to spend when it would seem Levy and his pals always looked to set get rid of him in the 2004 season and did so 6 games in. Then there was Arnesen who’s advice was ignored and Levy drafted in Inspector Clouseau and his magical mystery tour bus. Nine games later he’s gone and Jol is promoted. That’s some shrewd re-structuring there, very slick. No wonder we are hot on the trails of Arsenal. Apparently that’s the reason we have a Director of Football structure at the club. We can replace a coach without upsetting the karma around WHL – and yet it seems to do the exact opposite. To further compound the fact that Levy doesn’t have a fucking clue, him and the board (including Kemsley who apparently has wanted Jol out for an age) knee-jerk after 2 league games resulting in the Ramos fiasco and this rendering our season dead.

Fact. Jol has over-achieved. The fans got a tad too excitable. The board got too Billy big-boots.

It’s summed up perfectly by this:

Levy has enjoyed popularity over the past few years because he has put up the money - but the buying policy is now under serious doubt - many people claim that Levy wanted the young English talent like Jenas and Bent - and Comolli is bringing in player after player who are not the finished article. Running a club is not just about spending money - people tipped us to break the top 4 just because we had finished 5th and then spent £40m. But look at how Allardyce and Eriksson spent their money and look at the way we spent ours.

When Levy announced we would have a DoF structure I thought who the hell is he to decide that he knows better than the boards of Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea where the manager was all powerful - but we stuck with it and by chance ended up with a good coach. But with this structure there is too much potential for conflict and I fear that as long as Levy buries his head in the sand (or refuses to fuck off) we will slip back to being the also rans of the Prem League once more.

Nothing more to add.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Manager Odds

Evens: J Ramos

4-1 J Mourinho

13-2 M Lippi

13-2 F Capello

8-1 J Klinsmann

9-1 D Deschamps

10-1 L Van Gaal

10-1 G Houllier

12-1 bar

What, no Harry Redknapp? And who the heck is 'bar'? We don't need another Gross thank you very much.

Monday, 22 October 2007

3 points from 12th

I sat myself in front of the box, fired up Sky+ and watched an episode of 'Brotherhood'. FX is showing season one. It's pretty good and kinda fills the hole left by the departure of The Sopranos. Talking of which, I wonder how long Jol has?

Apparently (not seen or heard anything of tonight's 3-1 defeat up at the Toon, just read some forum comments after the final whistle) we were inept again. No spirit, spark or style. All lost at sea, a pale shadow of the previous two years that had as playing with grit and determination and never say die attitude.

Newcastle found it all too easy in the first half and our comeback was as limp-wristed as the vast array of poor tackles Jenas attempts. I'm near certain he suffers from ballphobia. Tottenham apparently showed the world once more that the same old problems are still there. So glad I opted for my Sky Planner and not a Internet stream of the game.

Cerny in goal, not at fault for any of them apparently. Dawson helping the black and white cause with roller-skate defending. Shows we don't need Robbo's help in goal to concede with relative ease.

3rd from bottom, its all a bit farcical and once more its time to say what we say every week when Spurs lose.......Martin Jol's position at the club is untenable.

But who's available to come into the job? At the moment, it would seem nobody is. So Levy looks set to see out the season with Jol at the helm. Why would someone take a shit on a wedding cake and then still demand everyone takes a bite?

You might ask what right I have to bitch without having seen the game, but lets face, you've seen one Spurs've seen them all.

Then again, a text message from a mate who was at the game states we were marginally better in tonights 3-1 defeat than we usually are up there. So that's an improvement from the norm. But that doesn't help quantify the current state of affairs.

Back with a whimper

I would dearly love to say that I’ve been on various information gathering blackops missions to the Levy Mansion and the Spurs training ground. That's simply not been the case. And apart from being handcuffed to the bed posts and spanked there's not much to report on. And no you can't see the pictures of me and the £300 per hour escort girls who are dressed up as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Willow. If you're wondering, I was Giles.

With regards to football (and football only) International break has left me drained and bored. Zero inspiration or drive to achieve anything in the crusade. Regardless, I was actually feeling quite good when I got up this morning until I was reminded that Spurs are on the box tonight. This means I’ll be losing out on 2 hours of playing Football Manager 2008 – the only place where Tottenham ever win anything (I’m currently 2nd with 20 games gone).

Talking about the International break, what about The England, hey? Just like watching Spurs play except Spurs are more entertaining in defeat. And although I don’t want to slate Robinson too much (the defending prior to the shot and after his ‘save’ was pathetic) it has to be stated – why on earth is he still playing first team football?

My head isn't photoshopped

At no point has he shown any improvement. No matter what he says in interviews to help boost his own confidence and no matter the support from McClaren and Jol – it’s not working in his favour. It’s like both managers expect his form to change abruptly for the better. But on current form he is simply not good enough to start games for club and country, and yet there he is. Between the posts. But apparently he has a calf injury so will miss tonight's game at Newcastle. That’s one way to drop him from the team. Invent an injury. Unless he really did hurt himself, more than likely his jaw, eating a calf.

Elsewhere Kemsley has left the building. Apparently he won’t be attempting a takeover bid of the club and has fucked off to America. That’s one down, one to go. We live in hope, right?

Chimbonda continues to act like a typical mercenary. This time (in an interview) discussing a failed transfer to Chelsea when an agreement wasn’t found between us and the scum. Fantastic opportunity he called it. Personally, anything that will make Chelsea even weaker is good in my books. This season, he can’t defend to save his life and his forward play is piss poor. But we are stuck with him for a little bit longer. How long till January?

Something else that made me laugh is the textbook preview for tonight’s clash up at St James Park in The Sun, displaying a photo of Berbatov with a Newcastle shirt and various other pictures from his younger teenage days telling us how he worshipped Alan Shearer and apparently slept with his Toon army shirt. Though Shearer didn’t join Newcastle till 1996, so bit late in the day for him to go to bed wearing a black and white striped football jersey. Maybe there was a shortage of pyjamas in Bulgaria that year. Regardless, nice to see a rehash of a story that was printed several months back. Running out of newsworthy stories are we chaps? Time to get a new group of monkeys and typewriters.

Anyway. I’m sure my inspiration will return after this evenings defeat. Oh the glory of supporting the lilywhites. Never a dull moment. Very few good ones.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I'm still alive

With Kemsley quitting, Levy getting richer and Chimbonda talking bollocks I have plenty to write about. Stay tuned. Should be back online and active again in the next day or so. w00t.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Stick it on Ebay

Whispers in the City that there's an instruction for one lucky person to go find buyers for the club. According to the rumour whores Levy will sell up for around £400M. This all follows the media's report that Kemsley (the one who doesn't rate Jol) wants to launch his own bid for the club. Lovely. That would probably mean the arrival of Harry Redknapp and me setting myself on fire.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


UEFA Cup group G
Hapoel Tel-Aviv


"We will open our UEFA Cup Group Stage campaign with a home fixture against Getafe on Thursday October 25.

This will be followed by a trip to Tel Aviv to take on Hapoel on Thursday November 8 before Match day three brings the visit of Aalborg to the Lane on Thursday November 29.

Our participation in the Group Stage concludes when we travel to Belgium for the encounter with Anderlecht on either Wednesday December 5 or Thursday December 6."

So a trip to the promised land for the Tottenham massive. Though I can already envisage our defenders wandering in the wilderness for a good 40 years before finding the stadium. The dizzy motherfuckers.

Its a wonderful life

I wont dwell on the 1-1 draw out in Cyprus and the confusion over who the pub team was. And to quote Martin Jol:

“I still consider this game a clean sheet, if you see the goal there was a handball. They had two goalkeepers on the pitch.”

Yes, that’s correct. We actually won the game and Robinson didn’t concede. Turning everything into a joke is the best form of defence. The Spurs back four don’t have to fret too much about that. They’re all stand-up comedians in their own right.

And as for the forwards, whether its first on the team sheet, Robbie Keane or always on the bench Jermain Defoe – they all back the manager. Can’t remember which of the two stated the following gem:

“Everyone is behind the manager. Everyone,” he said. “People realise what the manager has done for this football club. It has been amazing. Since he came to the club he has done a great job, so why would anyone want to change this?"

Yes. Why would they? Levy? Any return trips to Spain? Unconfirmed reports suggesting Ramos has been sacked (though they remain unsubstantiated at this current time, even with Seville’s 5 games defeated on the spin). From the looks of it, Ramos is very much suited for taking the hot seat from Jol – who may well look towards Ajax for an escape route.

And in the mean time, Spurs sit 4th from bottom, though just 3 points from 11th place. And 8 points from 5th. It’s not exactly a mountain to climb on paper. But placing stats to one side, on form, it’s not something that equally looks possible. Though you can always shine the sun on it. 6 games unbeaten. A point at Anfield. But when the same old textbook fuck-ups occur (come on, I knew at the 70th minute mark that Liverpool would score in injury time – everyone did) you have to ask when will they learn? When will lady luck squat down over our face and give us a golden shower instead of the same old scat every given Saturday or Sunday?

"Get down from there! We need to save the cheerleader"

Nothing has really changed. Jol still looks like a man who knows he is on his way out. Spurs still lack any kind of true swagger or arrogance. Yes, spirit we have, but that’s not enough. You want to believe the players respect Martin – and they do appear to have some (if little) self-respect but it doesn’t appear to be enough on both counts. And some of our tactics have been just a tad desperate at times. Pinball football and, yes, Wimbledon tactics. Let the quote do the talking:

"It was mentioned to me that our goals on Sunday were out of the old Wimbledon manual and, I have to admit, it is something I literally called for at half-time. The important thing at the time was for us to win our battles and get behind the back four so I said ‘let’s use the Wimbledon style occasionally!

I like to have a build up, but on Sunday we were overplaying around our back four and in the middle of the park and we needed to get the ball to the strikers for them to use their quality. I think it is fair to say they did just that"

Tactical genius? Why not. When the players are incapable of playing neat and tidy and concise balls, then desperate times call for desperate measures. And lets not pretend we haven’t played the hoof ball for an age. It’s the only think Robinson is good at. But still, lets please look to play it on the deck. Its nauseating all this up in the air stuff.

And a little more concentration and some basic schoolboy level knowledge of defending would have had us holding out for all three points against Liverpool. And that simple basic achievement of victory would have taken us to 13th. Unlucky for some, but a sure-fire catapult to that wonderful world of self-belief.

We could go rock bottom when we play Newcastle. I’m sure that will jerk Levy into doing something rather obvious. No matter. 5th is out of reach unless Spurs turn back the clock to 2 years ago and begin to dominate games or have a little of that tenacious lucky streak that saw us turn games around countless of times.

Until then, we can wonder if Robinson will ever be dropped or if Berbatov will regain that lost Henryesque ego that allowed others to feed off him resulting in larfs and larks on the terraces, rather than the abject distaste of misery.

Monday, 8 October 2007

1 win all season, 4th from bottom

Says it all.

When I defeat this horrid chest infection I will round-up the past week or so with the usual inane ramblings of a man who wished he was a teenager in 1961. Not just for the football, but the birds back then wore exceptionally high mini-skirts.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

There's only one Graham Roberts

Review: Spurs 4 Villa 4

Where do I begin? Let’s start with the pint I was enjoying in Bootlaces.

ME: What way are you going home after the game?
MATE: Seven Sisters
ME: I’ll meet you then, outside the ground opposite the Park Lane lower entrance after the game.
ME: If we;re two goals down I’m leaving at 80 minutes
MATE: What if we got one back?
ME: I’d give it an extra 5 minutes

My mate left at 4-2. I stuck it out with the intention of burning my season ticket. Footballs a funny old game.

It was a given that we would get dicked. 125 years of constant heart palpitations has made it clear to me that Spurs never turn up for these type of occasions. Yes, the flag waving was rather pretty, but when the game kicked off there was yet another subdued atmosphere in the ground. Spurs fans have lost their verbal swagger. And when you take a look at the table, it’s obvious why. We have been shit this season and its Daniel Levy and his minions who are at fault. Caught with their proverbial pants down, there is no way of rectifying the shattering loss of confidence that Jol has suffered and as a consequence infected the players - who seem to be playing at around 45% at the moment.

The celebrations before the game included several legends (no Graham Roberts) and stood as a testament to the fact that we are firmly lodged in the past. Yes, a glorious past, but Spurs have anchored themselves to comparisons that seem to cause us more harm than good. The Bill Nicholson tributes were very touching. The man will forever be Mr Tottenham Hotspur. He has given us an almost impossible task of revisiting those achievements. Fan expectation is damaging.

With all the hype and colour and noise, the only positive was that the game wasn’t on Sky Sports. The twenty or so people watching Setanta would have then seen an almost comical game of football that only Spurs (and at a push, WHU) are capable of producing. The recent survey that placed Spurs at the top of the ‘most stressful team to support’ table was duly justified. We’ve suffered more heart-stopping moments that any other group of fans in the Prem League thanks to a relatively high number of narrow margin victories and defeats. I lost about 10 years off my life watching this game and by my calculations I’m due to die in the middle of next week having accumulated one too many of these horrid joyful experiences.

Aston Villa lost the three points at around the 3-1 mark. Martin O’Neil fucked up in a big way having his team sit back and allowing our midfield space and time on the ball. Before that Robinson did his upmost to continue his implosion with two tragic mistakes – a fumble and the other through his legs. And in fact the free-kick was also arguably his fault as he did his trademark jump to the left before attempting to dive to the right. All his talk about winning and confidence in the match day programme, once more ironically cruel. Time to ‘rest’ Robbo.

Berbatov’s goal was easy but he’s another player I’m concerned about. He looks unfit, lethargic. No sharpness and worryingly absolutely no arrogance at all. His problems look more personal and are probably not football related - but that's just an opinion. I hope he recovers from the lack of form in time to drag us out of the bottom three. The 1-0 was short lived and by 3-1 the Villa fans were the ones celebrating with a cheeky rendition of Happy Birthday (applauded by us, because, lets face it…it was funny).

At 4-1 fans started to leave. And who would blame them? Yeah sure, statistically we had more possession and shots on goal but that means little when you defend like drunk Keystone Cop on rollerskates. We are a team of individuals cello-taped together rather than one unit playing for each other. And players can only play to the managers instructions.

Four goals at home is unacceptable and when you dominate (half-arsed) the opening 20 minutes only to see players react so negatively to an equaliser, it's further proof that even though the players state their respect and loyalty to Jol – there appears to be a lack of true belief. They all looked as disillusioned as the fans were. Until Chimbonda scored Tottenham were as shit as the days under Gross and Francis. But that loyalty to Jol - displayed by team spirit - came to fruition.

With Villa sitting back and the crowd sensing something just might happen we notched up two more goals (3 goals in 20 minutes), surely saving Jol from the sack this morning – though arguably he knows he’s going and I doubt he will be at the helm by the time we visit Newcastle. A Spurs fan summed it up perfectly with describing our comeback as ‘crash bang wallop’ tactics. Yes – they showed determination and spirit (finally) but there was nothing sublime about it.

I won’t deny that the 4th goal made me celebrate like a husband who returns home from work to find his wife has organised a 'coke and hookers' surprise party for him. From beyond the brink of defeat to saving one point and saving me from one week of supporting Arsenal – you can only cry with laughter at how typical Spurs this was.

Happy Birthday indeed. Still 3rd from bottom and no doubt a UEFA Cup spot is looking highly unlikely (relegation still highly improbable) – making this season nothing more than a disaster. If Levy had left Jol alone, then on confidence alone Spurs would be mid-table or higher and within touching distance of 5th. Instead, no confidence on the pitch and in the terraces leaves us facing a season that will get worse before it gets better.

Graham Roberts wasn’t just missing from the Legends Parade last night. His spirit wasn’t anywhere to be seen on the pitch either.

It’s time for us to give this era a big hug and stick it in a cab out of Tottenham.