Monday, 12 May 2008

Done and Dusted

It’s a tradition for me to dress up on the final home game of the season to further highlight and bring exposure to my crusade against Levy’s incompetent reign as chairman - and this year was no different. In the past I have been naked (more of a dress down there), and chained to a turnstile. Last season I was kitted out as Harry Hotspur, in armour with plastic inflatable sword. But this season I went beyond the call of duty. I shaved my head, stuck on a pair of glasses, a suit and wore a mouth mask which allowed for the illusion of a permanent smug smile. Monopoly money stuffed in pockets and lettering on the back of my jacket stating: PLEASE BUY THE OPUS, NEED MONEY FOR CAVIAR ADDICTION. As I skipped down the High Road, I randomly jumped out in front of Spurs fans shouting:

“I’m ripping you off!”
“10% rise on your season ticket”

“Renewal by the deadline otherwise you’re banned for life”

“The bagels are never fresh”

“New stadium, are you ‘aving a laugh….is he ‘aving a laugh?”

“Let’s ground share with West Ham!”


Yes, tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…..Daniel Levy.

Within twenty minutes of arriving at the Park Lane end of the ground, I was jumped by a group of Spurs fans who were also in fancy dress. I got a taste of Levy’s abject existence if he was to relegate himself from the high life and interact with the common man as I lay on the floor like a hedgehog all curled up and motionless while Ali G, Indiana Jones, a Roman centurion and a fat bloke in sandals kicked the shit out of me. And I allowed it. I allowed it as a testament of my loyalty to my campaign to oust the chairman. Yes, they were kicking and punching me. But in essence that was Levy on the ground begging for mercy. I made myself into a living breathing visual statement of his mis-management and ordinary salt of the earth Spurs fans instinctively reacted by beating me up. As they walked away laughing, with other fans having witnessed the incident, I knew the impact made had far reaching implications. By the time you read this the video will up on Youtube and thousands will see what I created. Levy defeated by fans.

Once I dusted myself off and walked through the turnstiles, nobody took much notice of my costume. They just assumed I was a git. I burnt my season ticket in the men’s bog. Nobody noticed. And when I took my seat, people were far too busy reading the new kits catalogue because the club knows we all want to spend loads and loads of our hard earned money on a new kit and training jacket just before we spend over £600 on a new season ticket.

The game itself was a joke. But then every single match since the Cup final, bar the 4-4 draw with Chelsea (although our defending for all of their goals was poor) has been nigh shambolic. We haven’t had a decent full 90 minutes since we lifted that piece of silverware at Wembley. Now, it’s difficult to gauge whether the teams performance in the league is down to bad management on the part of Ramos and Poyet or laziness on the part of the players. You could even argue that Ramos hasn’t achieved anything in the league, with regards to progression and development and style of play. We have looked lethargic and soft for months now. Is it because more than half the players are on their way out of the club? If so, why not play more youngsters? Maybe our first-teamers don’t think they need to bother trying week in week out knowing they had UEFA Cup football next season all sorted. Why should they when they get paid no matter what?

It’s akin to you or me getting up for work in the morning, getting to our desk and then proceeding to do nothing all day other than browse the net on forums and day dream and then disappear for two hours at lunch, browsing cd’s at HMV - and still get paid your wages, and when someone questions your effort you say, “Well I turned up, didn’t I? What else do you want?”

£20,000 - £50,000 some of them pick up for doing fuck all. What a hard life. What a struggle. Lennon wasn’t anywhere near the squad on Sunday. Apparently out drinking in Loughton the previous night, he was spotted in his Ferrari leaving WHL just after 2pm. I’m guessing he had an eyebrow appointment he just couldn’t cancel. From the looks of Jenas in the first half I’m thinking he also spent Saturday night in Loughton boozing it up. No pace in midfield and no spark upfront. And Dawson in defence. It’s what nightmares are made of. Dawson and his England aspirations are always good for a laugh. Too many of our players open their mouths and talk far too often about what they want to be achieving when in reality it’s just not going to happen. Delusions of grandeur on and off the pitch. Liverpool were nothing special, bar Gerrard and Torres. But we had no equivalents to inspire something out of nothing like they so easily did.

Instead we got Berbatov doing his utmost to do nothing, making sure no last gasp injury would ruin a move away to Italy or Spain or Chelsea (there, I said it). He hardly tracked back or closed down (something that Fergie wouldn’t stand for). Everyone else was just as poor. Based on this season as a whole I’d keep Keane (fantastic goal scoring record), Woodgate, O’Hara (decent enough squad player), Hutton and Steed. King looks like he’s sticking around unless the doctors say otherwise during the summer months, but everyone else is dead weight.

Once Bale is back and Modric is settled, the escape from this bland abyss of shit will be truly complete if we can avoid any traditional Comolli signings (i.e. Zokora, Kaboul) and bring in players that are actually capable of giving something back. I say that every year, so history would suggest we are screwed. Again.

Talking of signings, maybe someone from the club can explain why Gunter wasn't involved more after the Cup final (is he injured?) and as for Gil- the best is yet come -berto, awful.......just awful awful awful.

Highlights of the game included a brawl in the East Stand between supporters. No idea if it was Liverpool fans in amongst our own, or the usual in-house fighting over much ado about nothing. Loads of punches thrown, kicking to the floor, pushing and goading. Must have been another Daniel Levy look-a-like at the centre of it. An other brother on a mission. Not a single police officer in sight during all this high drama. Just bewildered stewards watching on in fear. The police were all too busy at the various tube stations in London due to us, West Ham and Chelsea playing at home. The brawl was followed by coin/programme throwing at one of the executive boxes (just above where the trouble was) which had Liverpool fans in it. Classy stuff there lads. Especially as one of the Liverpool fans was about ten years old. The events at the JJB and Stamford Bridge were getting more cheers than anything happening on the pitch. Dire stuff all round. The sun was wasting its shine on our lot.

So that’s it. End of the season. The true test of Ramos managerial skills will run the gauntlet from the first game of the 2009 season. Apart from the Cup run we haven’t shown any evidence of improvement. There has been no swagger since last season’s exploits, nothing to match the UEFA Cup run. This years effort was abysmal, a continuous struggle from one game to the next.

From the moment that the club decided to get rid of Jol and decided that doing it publicly would be the best route to go down, we haven’t fully recovered. There have been moments. We have entertained. Scored a ton of goals and conceded us many. There’s been plenty of positives, but far too many depressing negatives. 30% of all goals conceded have come from outside the box is one of my personal favs, especially when Fulham are send in that table with just 14%. Getting rid of Robinson should save us about 18 points.

I can only hope that the reason we have been so poor is because so many players know their future is away from the club. Robinson has dyed his hair blond. Highlight of the season for him (ooh pun). He got a rousing ‘England’s number one’ during the lap of honour. It felt like the singing faithful knew this would be the last time we would see him as a Spurs player so they choose to remember better times. He waved. All very low key. Much like Berbatov’s wave as his name was sang out. All the best in the Champions League.

The 4-4 Villa draw, the 5-1, the Reading 6-4, the Cup final. It’s been a bit mad.

We’ve also gone from having a steady reliable defence (the two Jol years) to having one that just can’t defend at all. A return to the status quo then. Our home record has gone to shit. We still can’t take set pieces (apart from O’Hara corners) and still can’t kill teams off.

It’s unfair (repeating myself) to be critical of Ramos. He managed a win over Arsenal. Jol never did. We didn’t choke in either of those semi-finals and held our nerve to beat Chelsea in the final. Disappointingly, we failed in Europe – but too often this was down to the players rather than the tactics. At least that’s what I prefer to believe at the moment.

Ramos has done a damage limitation job. He has assessed the squad and from the looks of it has been winding down the season because there is nothing more for him to learn about the current batch. He has done a decent job considering that the season was practically lost when he joined (the league push for Europe was dead). Regardless of Kaboul’s rant about how we would have won the Cup with Jol in charge. We would not have won it under Jol. He had his chance the previous season.

Robinson, Lee, Kaboul, Chimbonda, Tainio, Stalteri, Cerny, Rocha (does he even exist?), Gardner, Boateng, Ghaly and Berbatov will all be gone. The other rumour is that Defoe’s transfer to Pompey included a deal that will allow Diarra to join Spurs. Arsenal wouldn’t sell him to Spurs but whether he was bought by Harry with the intention of allowing Spurs to ‘swap’ him for Defoe or that it’s just turned out that way is up to your own imagination. Defoe has apparently cost Pompey just £3M. Would explain Diarra’s ‘stepping stone’ comment 5 minutes after signing for them. Although with Pompey in a proper Cup final and above us in the Prem, it’s not so much a stepping stone but more of a trip into a muddy puddle.

Seville had a swagger about them under Ramos. I’ll be happy if we can have a bit of that about us again. And another 5th spot finish would make up for a truly unspectacular 11th.

As I left the ground, with a summer of Englandless football to look forward too, one thing sat in my mind as I contemplated next season…………will my hair grow back? That and……Here we go again.

2 comments:

shelf side warrior said...

Season ticket prices have been published. The rumours of 8%-9% increases was spot on. Roll out that credit card chaps..

booster said...

Another massive clear out on the cards down at the Lane. The amount of times we buy up then clear out is astonishing.