Monday, 25 February 2008

The Didier Zokora Cup Final

Chelsea 1 Tottenham 2 aet

There was a moment in this game that had me jumping around, screaming out to the heavens muttering the same word over and over and over again.

Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why.

Why Zokora? Of all the players to find himself running towards the goal, why does it have to be him? Didier, bless him, makes Steffen Freund look like Thierry Henry. But then he isn’t a goal-scoring midfielder. Even when he managed to find Cech’s head rather than the goal, he failed to compose himself and lay the ball to Berbatov or better still, find the target with the second opportunity presented to him.

See, these are the moments that pretty much define Spurs.

If only.
So close.

The cruel irony is that the player who run from midfield is the one player that you know won’t be able to do what you oh so want him to do. But it was at this very moment that I had an epiphany.

Chelsea had done practically nothing all game. And rather seeing this assessment from a typical Spurs point of view, being ‘we’re gonna fuck it up’, I saw the game through the eyes of a neutral. Just for that one all-seeing moment.

There was nothing to suggest Chelsea would get something from the match. Spurs were in their ascendency. And I could see it. But before we get to this part of the game, let’s go back to the start. The opening 45 were ominous to say the least. My epiphany at this point in time was nothing but a sperm casually backstroking towards the egg.

We started brightly and created chances, but Drogba’s insistence at taking centre stage with his theatrics proved to be the dramatic catalyst for the wrong kind of breakthrough. This was Drogba’s no country for real men, and with each pathetic fall to the ground, it made me wish for an air-powered cattle gun. Yet another collapse to the ground, this time 30 yards out was definitely a free-kick, and the irony wasn’t lost on anyone.

What followed was a quirk that was probably noticed instantly by Ramos (mistakes like this are avoidable). A complete mess of a wall, built with Marmite rather than cement. Not only was it in the wrong place, but the fact King and Robinson failed to orchestrate some kind of organisation was unnerving. You could see exactly what Drogba was going to do. He tried it earlier. This time it was an open invitation. We hate it, they loved it. Drogba shots and scores. Robinson hardly moves. This time not because of consumption of pie, but rather the fact that even if he did dive in the general direction of where the ball was placed he wouldn’t even get there in time with rockets on his boots.

1-0 to them and much biting of nails insured.

One highlight from the first 45 minutes involved the Chelsea fans rising to sing a chorus of ‘Stand up if you hate Tottenham’. The Spurs fans stood up and sang ‘Stand up if you hate Arsenal’. The Chelsea faithful should really do their best to look elsewhere for that defining rivalry.

During half-time I wondered if this was going to be one of those disappointing days where efficient Chelsea do enough to stifle the game into a non-glamorous victory in their favour.

At this point I was worried. Goes without say I was enjoying the occasion, but I suddenly got sickeningly nervous of losing. Yeah sure, it’s the Carling Cup. The lickle half-breed cousin of the FA Cup. But this was Chelsea, and losing to them (and fucking ‘ell have we done a lot of that in recent years) is just not a feeling I choose to experience anymore. I hate it. I hate it more than losing to Arsenal. It’s like losing to Fulham. Why the fuck would you accept losing to Fulham?

Then there’s the fact that it’s a ticket back into the UEFA Cup. It’s not the ideal way in but it’s on offer. And with our bad start to the season costing us any true chance of finishing top 6, this is the dream ticket.

And finally, its silverware. You know. That thing other teams outside the top 4 sometimes manage to flirt with on the odd occasion the second-string eleven don’t make it through to the final. Makes the honours list look not too shabby either. What’s good for the goose...

Winning it would also make it number 15 in Cup competitions won domestically and in Europe (only Utd and Liverpool have won more). Call it just rewards for the progress made by Ramos in the short months he has been here or proof that we don’t choke when it matters. A medal of honour.

So back with the sickeningly nervous feeling, I couldn’t shake. And onto the second half.

“Huddlestone has to come on”, my mate commented.
“I can’t see where a Spurs goal is gonna come from”, I informed him a few minutes earlier.

And then Hudd came on. For Chimbonda. I burst several veins in my forehead screaming abuse at Pascal the Mercenary who was disgraceful in the ungracious manner he walked off the pitch. No urgency, no care in the world other than his vanity. And off he went down the tunnel. It’s bitterly disappointing he wasn’t sold in the January transfer window.

So with the skinny demure Hudd on, things began to change a little. A disguised pass here and there. Lennon, who might as well have been in Faces during the first half, began to show a little spark. And as I thought back to my comment about not seeing where we would score from, we go and win a penalty. Didn’t think of that one. The decision was never in doubt. Juggling the ball isn’t controversial imo. It’s nailed on, ball on the spot.

The sickeningly nervous feeling turned into a haemorrhage. Up steps Berbatov. Some Spurs fans run down to the bottom of the aisle and look upwards to the fans, preferring to watch the crowd reaction rather than the actual penalty.

Up steps the Bulgarian and in one majestically cool second we are level. Pandemonium at long last. And that little bit of hope is embracing us.

Tainio on for Steed. And Spurs continue to press and push and the tempo is now where it should be. Pace with movement and purpose. Chelsea are disjointed in comparison. Anelka isolated with zero chemistry between him and Drogba, or anyone else for that matter.

Lampard unable to control a midfield bossed by Jenas and Zokora. Jole Cole on the bench. Woodgate and King in complete command at the back for us. It’s not quite a walk in the park. More of a brisk jog with a poodle chasing behind you. But you know it’s never gonna catch up, let alone bit you on the arse. Although at this point, I still had nightmares of the poodle ripping its way through my gut like an Alien.

And then, the sperm completes its journey and my epiphany is born. The precise moment this happens is when Zokora runs through towards goal with Cech being the only person standing in the way of folklore. And you know what happens next. And nobody can believe it even though the outcome was exactly what we all knew would play out.

But when I held my head up away from my hands, I knew that this miss would not go down in history as a testament of why we always seem to fail when it matters. What had Chelsea done in the game that would lead me to believe they could go on to win it? As a Spurs fan you’d automatically think it’s more likely to be us who give something away or make a mistake. But without anchoring myself to what I would normally expect in that oh so classic defeatist manner, I was free to see the facts.

Chelsea were fucking shit and had no hope in hell of beating us. I was enlightened.

Extra-time. Jenas, not for the first time this season floats in a perfect cross and Woodgate, the most unlikely of heroes nods the ball, which is palmed back onto Woody’s face and into the net. Silk finish, it was not. But when you’ve seen Gary Mabbut score an own goal, you don’t tend to be picky about the quality of a winning goal.

It was a strange moment in the stands, at least where I was. There was almost a delay in celebrations. Fraction of a second if that. The initial header and its journey away from Cech and into Woodgate seemed to take an age. When the ball crossed the line it was Pandemonium Part II.

Keane limped off. Kaboul trotted on. Chelsea huffed and puffed without really scaring us too much, though that’s thanks to a decent stop from Robinson.

When Zokora completed his brace and overplayed a ball to Lennon that would have surely settled it beyond doubt, there was still way too much tension in the Spurs end. Not helped by David Copperfield who plucked out 3 injury time minutes to be added onto the end of the second half of extra time.

One of the best moments of the game was TT wasting time with a throw-on (good to see Spurs are finally learning to do this when it matters) and earning a yellow-card, only for Drogba to come running onto the scene to berate TT, wasting more of the precious time Chelsea had left.

And then the final whistle and 9 sodding piss poor fruitless years come to an end, and for the sixth decade on the trot our players have winner’s medals.

And we got to laugh at Drogba’s complaining to their bitter end.

Who would have ever predicated Jonathan Woodgate scoring the winning goal in a Cup Final for Spurs? Effortlessly brilliant at the back, I pray he stays fit. Same for Ledley.

Jenas and Zokora were superb in the middle of the park. Berbatov, worked fact, apart from Chimbonda, I don’t have too many complaints.

Maybe had we beaten Bolton or Boro in the final (no disrespect to either of them) then this wouldn’t mean too much. But beating Chelsea also meant that semi-final 5-1 got its icing on the cake.

Spurs stalled under Jol. We all know it. He deserves some credit for what he achieved in building the foundations, but Ramos did something that Jol could not have possibly done. And that’s masterminding the semi-final win and then lifting of the Cup.

Ramos and Poyet have galvanised us. Take this Cup success as the first hurdle crossed in the transitional cross-country race.

The players have tasted success. They have beaten a Top 4 club. They now know they have it in them. And there’s no doubt when the euphoria settles Ramos will gently ease in the mentality that next time, it should be something bigger. Something like the FA Cup, or maybe even the UEFA Cup.

We all know a sustained 4th spot position is the Holy Grail. And we all know that’s still way off. But with the chasing pack taking turns each season, it’s always open to anyone who really gives it a hard push.

So, there I was at Wembley loving every second of it.

That included Robbie Keane’s tears and utter joy at finally winning something. Berbatov also looked like something he hasn’t quite been all season. A Tottenham player. He celebrated like someone who you wouldn’t bet your money on leaving (caught up in the moment?).

And Chimbonda made an appearance along with a Spurs fan that joined in with the celebrations. The fan had more right to be there than Pascal.

Robinson can thank Cerny’s mistake for allowing him a way back into the team. Last thing he expected a few weeks back was for him to be part of the team again.

So as the fireworks fizzled out and the players disappeared down the tunnel (to finally reappear at Faces nightclub) we left Wembley happy. Chelsea fans long gone, it was pretty much the perfect Sunday.

Cheers Juande. Piece of piss wasn’t it mate?

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Que Sera

Looking forward to tomorrow. Wembley, London final. A song here and there. Would be gutted if we lost. For several reasons.

Its Chelsea.
Its silverware.
Its a ticket to the UEFA Cup proper next season.

Had someone tell me that if Chelsea are on form, then we ain't got a chance. That's a fair comment. Apart from Utd or Arsenal, who else can beat them at the top of their game? But its a [cliche]one off[/cliche], innit? The favourite doesn't always win. So all I'm asking is for Spurs to turn up. The drab, fruitless result from our last League Cup final, which saw us spurn far too many chances hasn't been forgotten. It's always disappointing when you lose a game without really forcing the issue the other way.

Berbatov, give us your swansong. And Robinson, for the love of all things Lilywhite.....make yourself big between the sticks (ooh matron). King and Woodgate at the back please. And no Chimbonda playing the opposite side he is usually accustomed too. As for the rest. Jenas, stick all your chances away. Lennon, do to them what SWP does to us.

I just hope the idiot minority keep the football factory shit to remote train stations.


Thursday, 21 February 2008

Twitching Tottenham get on my tits

Spurs 1 Prague 1 (3-2 win on agg.)

Well that was shit, wasn't it. The main highlight for me was the final whistle. I can gladly say with pride I was at home watching this with a cup of Earl Grey and not out in the cold N17 night being made to suffer by an inept performance that was pretty much a re-run of the first leg. Decent first half, woeful second. Apart from the game ending, the other moment to saviour involved David Pleat, for the first time in recorded history, pronouncing Chimbonda's name correctly. Only to then mispronounce it later in the game, laying to rest the chance of a special dvd release to mark the historic moment.

I'm not really sure what else to say about this game. Spurs were lethargic and clumsy. Wasteful with the ball and incapable of testing the oppositions keeper. Shimbo, out of position, along with the naivety of O'Hara allowed Prague to equalise Jamie's opening goal. Cue nervous final 40 minutes.

Yes, its Cup Final day for us on Sunday and the players most definitely had one eye on that game meaning, lack of concentration and the obvious necessity to avoid injury. But fucking hell, its Slavia Prague. Up the tempo, bully them and brush them aside. Casual football from the Lilywhites is one disease that needs eradicating out of WHL. Its a tumour that needs gutting.

Lazy performance, 4.3 out of 10.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Countdown to Wembley

Prague tonight. And no such luck of resting all our ‘top’ players like Chelsea were able to do in the Champions League. Nice to see them taking the Carling Cup so seriously. Obviously the game on Sunday is far more important than an away leg in Greece. Although today, there are suggestions that Terry and Lampard won't start on Sunday. Don't believe the hype.

Not certain what Ramos will do tonight, but hopefully he’ll start with a strong eleven, and look towards them killing the game off in the first 45, then take off the key players who will be vital on Sunday.

Robinson might be recalled. Not sure of Kings fitness. 3-0 Spurs.

Yes, I know Robbo will be back in goal. And yes. I'm predicting a clean sheet too. Crack is one hell of a drug.

If we lose, I'll start the 'RAMOS OUT' campaign in earnest.

Memo to Mr Levy

I told you so. I told you about half a million times. I told you with paintballs, I told you with frozen shit pellets. I even told you with piss-filled balloons. But you just looked the other way. And while everyone else was getting over-excited and wetting themselves with sticky glee, I stood as a beacon of truth in a sea of wretched lies. And it’s taken just a short space of time to prove that I was right. Not that anyone cares. Not that anyone notices. People forget and move on. They don’t actually forget, it’s more of a case of placing it on the shelf. History and your spin doctors will have you as the protagonist of change. A king presiding over his kingdom, holding firm in his hands the Magna Carta (which you can pick up for a cool £4000 from the Spurs Shop). It’s all bollocks really. The continuous flow of pathetic propaganda and condescending contradictions. One lie was followed by another, followed by another. All the time you seemed to revel in the fallacy, retaining an air of innocence and professionalism. When in fact it was all more akin to sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting ‘LA LA LA’.

It’s like walking along a road and finding a massive huge hole full of shit in front of you and deciding to swim through it and then half way along you bail out and decide to take another route, a route with no shit-swimming. Just because you’re on a shitless route doesn’t mean that you weren’t swimming in shit earlier. You still swam in the shit. Regardless of the u-turn, you were neck deep in it. Enjoying the warmth, blowing bubbles as your head remained above the sewage. You reek of it. And you simply cannot expect me to ignore the stench.

Your management skills surrounding Martin Jol’s reign as manager and his dismissal and the capture of Juande Ramos was shambolic.

Even with the dizzy heights of two successive 5th place spots, time and time again, I still threatened to burn my season ticket as the ultimate sacrifice. I could see the overachievement. We were simply fortunate winners of circumstance. Outside the top 4, anyone who hits form and enjoys luck will sit pretty above the other teams with UEFA Cup aspirations. Just because you’re 5th doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near catching the clubs who sit in 1st to 4th. But try telling that to a set of fans sitting in a rollercoaster that only appears to be moving upwards.

I was and still am the lone voice in calling for time on your chairmanship and questioning the players mentality and the manager at the club. I protested in blog and in person at White Hart Lane, but all anyone was interested in doing was singing Jol’s name and even yours. Remember that moment? End of last season. Jol on the pitch with a microphone doing a fine impersonation of pot-smoking Winston Churchill, with a rallying speech uniting all in the ground with hope for further progression. He gave you credit, and at that exact second you felt validated as some of the fans sang your name. Did you know then you were going to sack him? Did you politely applaud knowing that behind the scenes everything wasn’t as rosy as the Dutch man would have us believe? You should have sacked him in the summer. But you didn’t. You didn’t take the clean and fresh route. You didn’t make an effort to avoid the big hole full of shit. You preferred instead to dive head first and then swam and swam until Paul Kemsley bombed naked into it with Comolli standing legs apart, writing his name in the shit.

But it doesn’t matter now, does it? Because Jol is gone and in the short time that Ramos has been at the club he has made a mockery of all that’s come before him. All the basics – the very same I have highlighted over and over again – are finally being dealt with. Ramos and Poyet do not care for egos or treading on peoples toes. Should I give you credit for bringing them to the club? Of course not. It’s your fucking job to hire personnel of this ilk, like mine is to turn up every other Saturday or Sunday to support the team.

Under Jol, we were a glorified pub team with one world class player. Unfit, a lack of diet and no development of any kind in key areas. No development of the midfield. No holding or true defensive midfielder. No balance on the wings. Nothing to suggest we would truly break into the top 4 other than delusional day-dreams.

Ramos has been here for 5 minutes. He hasn’t made as great, he’s pulled us from pathetic to acceptable Premiership standard by changing the diet of the players and improving the fitness by about 100%. Set pieces have improved. Players hassle. We look like a unit. It’s still not perfect and there’s still various glitches with the system, but did Jol ever pull the defence apart after a shocking performance and then buy three new players? “Enough is enough”, Poyet commented….and a month or two later we have Woodgate, Hutton and Gilberto. Although whether a crock a Scotsman and a middle-aged Brazilian will improve us over the next two years remains to be seen.

We didn’t even choke in the second leg of the semi-final. In the summer Ramos true test will begin. At the moment, he’s just hosing the shit off your back.

Let me go back to something. ‘Glorified pub team’ was a little harsh. Jol was the best thing to happen to our club for a decade. Though that’s not exactly shocking considering the mis-management of previous chairmen. He was the first manager in a long time that fans loved. He embraced the clubs traditions and history and style of play and tried his very best achieve the success that we – the most egotistical of fans – lust after. However, he had his limitations. The same reoccurring problems that hindered the team would haunt us far too often. And any chance of him growing in stature and decision making would perish forever when you and your army of darkness decided that it was time to look elsewhere. Yet continued to spend millions on players that were dubious in choice. It’s incredible really how something can change over-night. You can look to be in the best of health one day, and keel over clutching your arm with your chest in pain and struggling to breathe the next.

Most would not have predicted this season’s early collapse. The media couldn’t stop harping on about us closing ‘the gap’. They loved Jol. Our fans can be forgiven for having the wool pulled over their eyes. A win here and there can do wonders for delusions of grandeur. But you and the departed Kemsley and Comolli – you are all responsible for what happens behind closed doors. And the moment you decided he wasn’t good enough, you undermined him and inadvertently sabotaged the dream.

You got ahead of yourselves. Believed the hype. Snorted too much, and got yourselves a sickening nosebleed.

Now you may argue that you were looking after the best interests of the club. You could see Jol was not the answer, and as much as it would hurt you looked elsewhere. You made the difficult choice of going behind someone’s back. But from what we’ve seen and heard since, it was more than a catalyst. The director of football structure, and the apparent disagreements on transfers, with Comolli the centerpiece served to push the dagger deeper into Jol’s back. The system wasn’t working and it took down its victims with no remorse. Jol. The fans. Hope of another 5th spot, or better.

You and you alone are responsible for the club. You are also responsible for Comolli and his spending. You are responsible for appointing the manager.

Ramos, is his own man, and any limitations on progressing the team will be down to him obviously, but anything he can’t do because of limitations from the club will be your fault. I’m talking about the power Comolli possesses with the final decision making with bringing in new players. You clearly stated that Ramos was Comolli’s choice. That this is a partnership you believe will work as they are suited for each other. And if it fails, it’s Comolli who will face the axe. Nice choice of patsy. And if the appointment works, then once more you’ll be vindicated.

Ramos, does appear to be his own man. He has apparently rejected 6 or 7 ‘suggested’ players. He has dropped Robinson. He has been realistic over the future of Berbatov. With Poyet along his side, they have boosted moral and belief. I’ve mentioned the diet already, and that’s been highlighted by the media and our own players countless of times. Seeing Huddlestone leaner than ever and the players not overtly collapsing in the final 20 mins of games is a blessing. Actually it isn’t, it’s what any club that aspires to be more than decent should be doing. And the improvement in the likes of Jenas and the continued great form of Steed are massive highlights.

Seems we finally have a proper manager at the club. And that’s why, even though you hired him in the most calamitous way possible, I’ve decided to be magnanimous.

I’m not suggesting a clean slate. Or forgiveness. You are in a position to sit back and allow the people who know their football to just get on with it. Don’t undermine the manager and don’t mug us off.

And maybe spray yourself with a little more deodorant.

Friday, 15 February 2008

'That' celebration (from last night)

The corner-flag was basically meant to represent dieting (i.e. its long and thin, just like Kate Moss) and the players were riding the corner-flag to represent they were 'whiping themselves into shape'. The alternate version is that they were roasting Kate Moss. Make your own mind up.


Same Old Spurs

Prague 1 Tottenham 2

So, it’s simply a case of either playing our first team three days before a Cup final, or playing fringe players who run the risk of losing to a plucky team from Prague. The dilemma is consequence of a rather stupid second half performance. Look, basically, taking the first 45 Spur should have scored 4 or so goals. Steed left frustrated as nobody ever bothered to look to their left where he stood – on countless occasions – in space on his own with the goal in front of him.

It was easy, but that’s no excuse for losing that touch of professionalism required to put the tie of reach for the opposition. Instead we marvelled at their big-time Charlie swaggers and wasteful chances. You can’t afford to stroll. You lose the tempo and then it’s a struggle to recapture it. Which is exactly what happened in the second half.

Other worthy mentions go to the lack of true quality from the wings. I’m talking about crossing the ball in. To a white shirt. Tainio going off caused as all sorts of problems with the balance of the team. Chimbonda is a mess of a player with little discipline. TT is decent in possession. Chimbonda isn’t, in possession or otherwise.

Cerny’s blunder was bog-standard. He’s an average keeper who doesn’t really excel in any department. Anything after Robinson’s drop in form is always going to look good.

So we’ve got Prague up next and then three days of rest before we probably play a full strength Chelsea team at Wembley.

Bricking it?

Monday, 11 February 2008

By any means necessary

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR have confirmed that they have applied for next season's Intertoto Cup competition.

A statement on the official Spurs site read: "Meanwhile, we can confirm that the Club has applied to enter next season's Intertoto Cup. The Football Association is allowed one entrant being the highest placed of the four clubs finishing immediately outside the automatic European qualifying places."

Nice to see Levy publicly admit this seasons Prem campaign has been a disaster. Playing 3rd rate clubs in pre-season is no different to our usual late summer travels. We have a big enough squad to cope with it, though having to play more rounds per usual to get to the group stages will mean the likelyhood of injuries increasing. The fact that Man City have also applied for this means we can probably discount it as an option for European football next season which means we have to beat Chelsea at Wembley.

Easy peasy then.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Derby 0 Spurs 3

Oh, now you want me to come on? Ok, ok, if you really want me to get up then I will. Let me make sure my hair band is in place. And I need a mirror. Why is there never any mirrors in the dugouts? More instructions. YAWN. Ok, I’ll go and touch the ball once or twice and win the game for you. Because that’s what I do.

- Dimitar Berbatov, Saturday 9th Feb, away to Derby

Only our second away win this season. Not a great performance by any stretch of the imagination. But respectable in the end, only thanks to the presence of the Bulgarian who's very presence seemed to melt the Derby defence. They simply couldn't cope with the fluttering eyelashes and Andy Garcia eyes as he swooned past them. The beautiful one, ignoring the out-stretched hands which held pen and notepad for autographs, wasn't involved in the first goal, played a part in the second and scored an ice-cool penalty at the end.

Bent returned, quietly and ineffective. The obvious problem Spurs have is the inability to retain the ball when Berbatov isn't in the team. Nothing new. We've had this issue since Carrick left. And as for Bent, we don't seem to be able to fit him into the system.

Dawson is out for three weeks. Which makes the Carling Cup Final line-up of upmost importance. Two UEFA Cup games on the way before hand, best to play a strong team in the first leg, thrash them and then settle for a second string side for the home tie. Can't afford any other blips of bad luck. Although losing Daws is probably more of a blessing. Kaboul can return to the team now to add that little bit extra composure and steel. I know, I know, I crack myself up. This joke will never get tiresome. Nice goal though, it has to be said, from the trainwreck.

West Ham dropped two points, meaning 5 points seperate us. Spurs are stuck in the middle at the minute. Directly below them, Boro are top of the 'Relegation Dogfight League'. The 'ammers are bottom of the 'UEFA Cup Place League'. Were on our own in the 'We would be 4th if we didn't have such a bad start to the season had Ramos been there from the summer instead of Jol' League.

The next 6 league games will tell us if we are going to claim a spot in Europe via a league placement. If we win the Milk Cup, it won't matter. Even though it does matter.

5th, 5th, 10th just doesn't have that decent look about it.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Le temps détruit tout

Have you ever seen Irréversible? There’s a quite brutal scene in the movie, uncomfortable as anything you're likely to see, where Monica Bellucci is anally raped. Then punched in the face and stomach repeatedly. That’s basically what the English Premier League is planning on doing to our beautiful game. So, stick that black armband on and close your eyes for a moment of thoughts and prayers. A minutes silence please. I don't want to hear a sound.

All 20 clubs have agreed to explore the proposal.

- Season extended by 39 games
- 10 extra games played
- The extra games will be played at venues all around the world
- Cities to bid for the rights to stage them
- Points will count towards the final league table
- The additional fixtures will be (possibly) determined by a draw (with the top 5 seeded)

What a farce.

We have gone from a game that belonged to the working class to a fucking shambolic family game that is better suited for the Disney Channel. We can’t stand at games without being threatened with losing our season ticket. We can’t swear at games without getting looks from stewards. Its a police state with £5 burgers for treats.

New stadiums resemble lifeless stadia better suited for mundane games of American Football, where people are more interested in hot dogs and cheerleaders.

Modern day football is heading towards an abyss of commercialism, more interested in serving up ribs and chips at half-time in executive boxes. The new prototype doesn’t want to be part of a tribe. Doesn’t want the adrenaline-rushed high and lows of supporting a club, no matter the league position, win draw or loss. The new prototype wants to be entertained. Brace yourselves, because you – the average true fan – is no longer important.

Expect this to go the way of Hollywood. Football players striking because they are not earning a percentage of the money earned by associations the world over. Its going to get bloated, like an over-budgeted blockbuster movie with big name stars in the leading roles, appealing to the easily pleased masses.

I don’t buy this crap about catering for the widest possible audience to help raise the profile of the game. Everyone who fucking matters already knows about football and the Prem League. The clubs are rich enough when they can spunk money on average talent and over-charge fans for season tickets. If a player can earn up to £60k a week today, what in 2011 when this fucking train wreck comes into effect?

“Some fans may feel aggrieved, but their concerns will be outweighed by the financial advantages for the clubs”

There. Right there. Fucking moneyshot in the eye. It’s all about the $$$$ and nothing else. Football has long sold out, but we could live with the executive boxes and a quiet Emirates Stadium. I’m an old romantic. I believe that the clubs – the club you support – is not the ground the pitch is on, or the name or the players. It’s the fans. Without the fans, the club would not exist. When the club up and moves location or players and managers move on, the fans are still there. The dawning of a new age will see us become redundant, unnecessary. A throw-back to the ‘poor old days’ of football. Your money won’t be missed, because there’s this cunt who can afford to bring 10 cunt’s to a game so they can sit in a box and eat sea bass.

There’s nothing in place, nothing to regulate this type of (de)evolution. FIFA? LOL. People will argue that if the Premier League wants to stay ahead of the other top continental leagues, then this will guarantee them the exposure and financial clout to keep Spain and Italy in the shade when attracting the very best players in Europe and the world. It’s a fucking move too far.

If this happens, I can’t wait to see who travels to Dubai or New York to see their team. Sounds a bit sexy that, doesn’t it? Fucking scab is what you are if you’re thinking about making a trip.

This is not the NFL. And providing the chance for foreign fans to enjoy a slice of Premiership action ‘live’ in their own backyard will only lead onto more drastic bastardisation of the game. One extra game is one game too many.

That's us in the pedestrian underpass. Fucked into a coma.

Time destroys all things.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Bale out for the season

Now the signing of 'old man' Gilberto makes sense. Please no more Chimbonda covering the left-back position. Yes, he looks stable there when called upon, but at times his indecisiveness is far too heart-in-the-mouth-of-Autoba.

Good luck with the recovery Gareth. Looks like the Hutton-King-Woodgate-Bale back four will have to wait a little longer.

One man down, one still MIA.

Football matches should end at the 80th minute mark

It was painful and disappointing, but not unexpected. That’s something like 8 or 9 times now, that we’ve conceded a goal in the final seconds of a game. 11 points lost. What a difference that would make to our Prem standing (we would sit pretty, nosebleeding in 8th spot). But you know what, who cares? So Dawson scored an own goal that Tevez claimed. Can’t blame the player. Either of them. Maybe best to be critical of the fact that nobody was guarding the near post. It happens. And I would have have taken the point before the game (cliché) kicked-off so as sickening as it is to lose two with the final fumble of the ball, I’d rather take pride from stopping Man Utd from playing their 1000mph swashbuckling game and then choke on some humble pie.

We were comfortable, with Cerny not being called into action until the final 20 or so (when, if you’re a Red you would use terms like ‘we battered them’) even though we didn’t look like conceding. We held on strong for periods and when in possession we slowed the game down enough to take the pace out of Utd - who just couldn't get a stranglehold on the game. Arguably the best starting eleven in the Prem, apart from maybe Wes Brown who is their weakest link, though still good enough for most other mid-table Prem sides. If you had told me we would be leading 1-0 long into the 90th minute I would have spat out my kebab. Rooney, Scholes, that boy Ronaldo. Terrifying. And yet it was nothing of the sort.

Woodgate repeated his performance from Everton away. Assured, calm and in command (just noticed no blog entry for the drab 0-0 result, I’m sure you wont lose sleep over it). It’s now imperative that he remains constant in our back four. Fucking asking a lot there due to his injury record. And with King’s ‘disappearance’ losing Woodgate will mean Chimbonda and Huddlestone in central defence. Which isn’t ideal. Talking of Hudd, playing him in defence (in prior games) is a shrewd move to improve the player’s defensive qualities. His attacking qualities are pretty much sublime and don't need improving. Just fine-tuning. His range of passing and dinked balls with the precision of a Treadstone agent had him perform a rather perfect quarter-back role on Saturday, picking out Spurs players all over the pitch, as we broke forward. Again, the call for Spurs buying an attacking midfielder may not be necessary if the development of the current batch of players continues. Which brings me onto Jenas. Actually no, we’ll come back to him in a second.

Hutton made a solid debut, looked unfazed. Nothing spectacular, but definitely comfortable considering the occasion. I’m sure the irony of playing against the team he probably rather have signed for wasn’t lost on him. Even Dawson (hand ball in the Cup game, and own goal in this one) was immense at times. Proving that he is a decent player when he has someone of Woodgate or Kings experience by the side of him. Berbatov is outrageously brilliant, but then we all know that. He may have a fraction of the urgency and energy of Tevez but has an infinite amount of brain-lighting, splitting trees in half (trees is a metaphor for the Man Utd defence…just work with me on this one).

Keane should have made it 2-0 after Berbatov Ghosted past several red shirts. Hate the amount of times I have to state 'should'.

And then we have Jenas. A player who has always promised so much but has shown so little, and usually only in spurts against weaker opposition. Yes, his composure can be improved vastly, but his recent box-to-box form has turned him into 18-carrot gold. Energetic, hungry and fucking on fire. Has Poyet had a word, raising his confidence? Ramos worked his magic in training? Capello has noticed for sure. JJ is in the England squad and is probably worth a start. Some players have less talent but an abundance of self belief, which set them apart from the competition due to sheer determination to succeed. Others have the talent and retain the form with their sheer arrogance. Jenas far too often has buckled under the pressure of expectation. But times are changing and Jenas has been performing with zest and a rather compelling end product (though his one-on-one skills are still a tad too Keanesque). Suddenly we have our own lickle Gerrard. Just black and with a rather fruity haircut (or lack of). And now all the wasted performances are (almost) forgotten. Yes, this is Tottenham and it’s not worth getting 'too' excited until Spurs/Jenas replicate this form against both strong and weak opposition over the course of the next 3 months.

We are on the up though (copyrighted to all of Sundays and Mondays tabloids). I’m not worried about league positions at the minute, I’d prefer to look at the teams fitness and organisational sense and managerial tactics and player development. Though a continued improvement will equal a climb up the table. Thus far, Ramos has made a mockery of Jol’s reign.

Levy, using ye olde hindsight, should have sacked Jol in the summer and brought him Ramos then. As if common sense ever prevails with how Spurs manage their business. Then again, no one would have guessed that Jol was on a death march.

Anyways, decent game. Should have won it, didn’t, but enough positives to take into the next game.

Well done Spurs. Next time, make it 2-0 and bag the three points.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Spurs v Man Utd

I'm off to get me suit measured for the game. I expect Spurs to run out comfortable 5-0 winners. Woodgate, to give Ronaldo a sporting chance, will be blindfolded for the game. Look away Fergie. We don't want to lose you to a heart attack.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Hello, Goodbye

Enough of this 'JD was part of the furniture' bullshit. He had no intention of signing a new contract and rather than spend hours debating whether it's a mistake to let him go to Pompey, it should simply be a case of: We dont want players who don't want us.

Defoe will score goals at Pompey for sure, but in the long run, his lack of footballing intelligence will shine through. At the age of 25 he has yet to work out that he doesn't have to get caught in the offside trap 98% of the time, considering the pace he possesses. And all the 'he's an instinctive goal-scorer' nonsense as a defence doesn't quite work when you look at his rather inept finishing this season.

That's not to say he hasn't made us smile once or twice, and there's probably no bitterness from the Spurs faithful either. Expect applause when he returns to the Lane. He was popular. But not better than Robbie Keane.

As for Gilberto. This is textbook Spurs. Failed medical? Unlikely. Thats the Comolli tactic of telling the selling club to lower their estimated value of the player. Its ok for us to spend £16M on Bent or £8M on Kaboul, but we haggle for a £2M player.

No last minute loan to cover for the departing Defoe, which means Keane and Berbatov have many games to look forward to between now and the end of the season, and Bent (when fit) will play a far bigger role. I'm sure Spurs will look to Europe come the summer when Berbatov departs. That's the reason no major major signing was made now. David Villa anyone? Unlikely without Champs League. So, better to wait for the whoring to begin the moment the season ends.

As for the defence. Sorted? Possibly. Interesting that Chimbonda didn't move on. Gardner joining Everton is a very strange move. Has Moyes seen Anthony play? Stalteri has gone to Fulham. Should find his level there. With Gilberto in, that gives us:


Add Huddlestone as a decent makeshift centre-back and Chimbonda capable of playing there too, and there's no doubting the cover we have in all the back four positions. Once Bale is back, I'ld like to see:

Hutton Woodgate King Bale

...line-up. For the time being, it's likely to be:

Hutton Woodgate King Gilberto

Which isn't too shabby.

As for the midfield, Ramos obviously has faith in the players we have, and maybe its for the better that no new defensive midfielder or attacking midfielder has joined the club. The likes of Jenas and O'Hara can prove something to the manager pre-summer transfer season. Although I expect at least one major signing for the middle of the park before next season.

Until then, this lot will have to do. First up, close the gap on West Ham.