One thing we as Spurs fans have learnt over the years is that the league table doesn’t lie. After 38 games we find ourselves the 5th best team in the country. Is this a catastrophic disaster? Is it the end of the world? Of course not, we are where we are because that is where after ten months of football, we deserve to be. The summer will be painful, but think back, we have endured worse hours than finishing a mere six points off second.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock
Personally, although the Champions League brings increased revenue, allows us to play our league games on a Saturday, I am happy we didn’t qualify. The thing about Spurs is; we aren’t quite ready for another pop at Europe’s elite.
Having spent a large portion of money and time at White Hart Lane this season, I couldn’t shake the fact that we are a work in progress. Everyone who stood/sat at the ground, watched on SKY or some juddering stream will have seen our deficiencies. We aren’t ready yet, who would put out their best china, invite their in-laws round then serve a meal which is undercooked and missing the vital accompaniments?
We lack quality in certain areas and we lack 16 years of experience of doing just enough to win fourth place and qualify for the CL. We and Tottenham have learnt far more about ourselves this season by failing to qualify, than we would have by being thrown into a mid August two legged qualifier. When our time comes, we will qualify because we deserve to, not because a North East team who have been poor all year decide to start playing.
This will lead many to claim that by failing to qualify we automatically limit who we can sign, but truthfully is this really the case?
Could we really match the wages that are on offer at Chelsea or the soulless Emirates?
Could our wage structure be flexed to convince an Edinson Cavani or some other exotic import to forgo an oily pay slip in favour of a 50-50 chance of even being in the CL?
Our best hope remains having faith in Andre Villas-Boas, the team he is developing and capturing some bargains from across the continent. If it turns out to be yet another false dawn then so be it.
Those that support Spurs, (under the age of 52 at least) don’t support them for the league titles or regular silverware. We chose Spurs for that piece of magic that is unquantifiable.
If you fail to see what supporting Spurs is about, then you need to take this summer as a chance to collect your thoughts. It’s the Glory Game, but is also one full of pain, bitterness and disappointment, yet to be Spurs, is to always offer the other cheek and give the team another chance. We wear White and Blue, not just Blue.
From the last ten months we need to take the positives out of what has been a transitional season. Spurs have lost players, changed the staff, moved training base yet still we have moved forward. This season we have taken the first steps in hopefully putting together something tangible for 2013/14.
The biggest positive from 2012/13 is obviously the metamorphosis of Gareth Bale from being an added dimension to a focal point. His goals, his attitude and the way he has conducted himself should make us all proud at his development.
Whether we had finished 8th or 16th his emergence will prove to be priceless (or at least 60 million.) There will be a time when he leaves, but he will leave a product of Spurs not Southampton. Just as Man U is attached to Ronaldo, Bayern to Franz Beckenbauer, Boca to Maradona, Santos to Pele, so will Spurs be eternally connected to Bale.
What Spurs need to ensure now is that for the time we have left with him, AVB and Daniel Levy provide him with the right sort of players to help him continue his meteoric rise. Should those two combine well over the summer, perhaps we can hold on to him for a little bit longer?
In defence Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen have added a fortitude to our back-line not seen since Ledley King’s knees started creaking. They have been stand out performers, and these two players will only improve and their role within the team will only increase in significance next year.
We signed these two players without a Tuesday/Wednesday night theme tune, which doomsayers amongst you honestly believe we can’t do similar this summer?
As we spend the long summer nights attempting to fill the void that football leaves behind, we must remember not to be too be depressed and despondent about what could have been. We could waste days analysing a sloppy back pass at Anfield, or a late goal at Everton or even a dull performance here or there, but we shouldn’t. Take the positives, move on and look forward.
We all know an Arsenal fan who has already started his summer boasting tour, but regardless of whatever Arsene Wenger spin you put on it, the truth is the gap is closing. Why else would their fans be shaking with delight at Wonga Stadium as their team time wasted by the corner flag?
Arsenal haven’t done anything of note this season, bar finish above us. They came second in their CL group, were then dispatched by Bayern Munich, held to ransom by a forward, witnessed black scarf marches against their board and then endured home games with row upon row of empty seats. If this is the measure of modern day success, I am happy to wait for ours.
Tottenham are coming, all we need is patience. We’ve waited this long, what’s another summer in the grand scheme of things?
The die has been cast, the season has arrived at a climactic showdown and what better place to have it settled than at White Hart Lane? The grand old stadium has played host to some of the greats of English football, and still stands as a beacon to days gone by. This season frequenting Spurs its significance to me has been burned into my soul, I love the Lane.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock
Stood at Mill Hill Broadway station on a gloriously sunny afternoon, I was approached by an old couple.
“Excuse me, are you going to Tottenham?”
“We haven’t been in years, our son gave us some tickets, but we are unsure of what’s the best way to get there?”
“Come with me, let’s go together.”
As we sped on the First Capital Connect, towards St Pancras, then filed on to the Victoria Line to Seven Sisters, I got to know my travelling companions, or should I say, they got to know me. I waxed lyrical about the beauty of White Hart Lane, the vision that is Gareth Bale at full speed and what the song Oh When the Spurs means to me.
Like a 14 year old boy who has just been smiled at by his first crush, I tried my best to gather my thoughts and portray to the old couple just what it means to be able to visit White Hart Lane. When we stepped off the 279 outside the ground, I invited my new friends into the Bell & Hare, but instead they opted to go and find their seats, my parting words were far from profound:
“Check out the Fighting Cock and enjoy the experience!”
As Bale fired in a last minute winner and the Lane erupted, I cast my thoughts over to Block 15, I am glad they saw a Spurs win.
Of course my life following Spurs hasn’t always been simple, like many Spurs fans, there were times when through financial, work or personal reasons I have been unable to attend. Many people will tell you that only true fans go to every game, but that’s naive. The world is a big place and Spurs fans are scattered across it. It’s just not possible that everyone can go week in week out, or even once in a while.
To be a Spurs fan you don’t need to visit the ground, you just need to hold the team and that wonderful stadium close to your heart.
White Hart Lane may be in desperate need of a face lift and a bar or two that can serve you a beer within 15 minutes, but nevertheless it’s ours. The feeling of walking up the stairs and then emerging to see the pitch open up before you still catches me in the pit of my stomach. It’s like finding an old photo of you and a loved one who has passed on, its like remembering that time you won your first trophy as a kid, it sticks and it still means something, regardless of how much time has passed.
This season going to nearly every home game, that feeling that first hit me in 1994 hasn’t diluted. During the 2012/13 I have learnt that exposure to Tottenham only serves to increase the addiction.
There have been moments when I pondered the meaning of life as we were one-nil down to QPR, or being ripped apart by Chelsea, but my love for the ground has been unwavering.
At the start of the season and even at certain points in the New Year there have been moments when the fans around me have bickered like a divorcing couple, but still the majority have remained loyal, and that little stadium has remained true to us.
Of course this isn’t the dark days of the late 90’s where all it took to be a legend was slipping into a shirt made by Pony. Today we have been blessed with decent players, one of whom is verging on world class. Yet even thinking back to those days in the 90’s, White Hart Lane was still was able to get a sparkle out of Oyvind Leonhardsen and Chris Perry, it’s a magical place under those floodlights.
Life, marriage and kids have affected my friends in their own way, which means I have spent most of the season going to the Lane alone. Being a lowly Bronze Member I have basically sat where I could, but as the season wore on I found myself more often than not drawn to the Park Lane lower.
In and around Block 32, sat somewhere between row 9 and 16, it was there I found my spiritual vantage point. I have seen familiar faces and heard the all too familiar cries for him to “effing do this or that”, but I have remained unaffected. Its part of the make up of watching football live, unlike Twitter, you can’t block or unfollow the person next to you.
For Tottenham to progress to the next level, we are going to have to move from White Hart Lane. Its pure economics, romanticism doesn’t pay the wages and it won’t lure the 25+ goals a season striker to us. What it does unite though is the fans and it attracts to the stadium Spurs fans who to man, woman or child I am proud of.
When West Ham threw abuse at us, when Basel tried to take the mick and United thought they were owed three points by God, we stood up to them. When we blew Man City and Arsenal apart in a matter of minutes, or snatched an equaliser against United or Everton, it erupted to a glorious cacophony.
Yes modern football has damaged us and the Bundesliga may have standing, beer in view of the pitch and chairmen working in harmony with the fans, but love is blind. White Hart Lane is one of my favourite places on the planet.
Regardless of what happens in the next week, I am proud to have visited the Lane, I am proud to support Spurs and I am proud of all of us.
Love the Lane, Love the Shirt and Come On You Spurs.
Tottenham’s draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge keeps the Lillywhites firmly in the race for Champions League football. Despite being dominated at points, Tottenham kept believing and as the game wore on looked the more likely to claim the three points. Credit must go to Andre Villas-Boas for another crucial substitution, but surely there is more than just on the spot sharpness to AVB?
What exactly goes on at that multimillion pound state-of-the-art training centre? How are Spurs trying to get the edge over their fellow Champions League contenders?
At the Tottenham Training Centre, Steffen Freund is scuttling around the laboratory, whilst Andre Villas-Boas looks lovingly at the figure on the medical table. Around the two Spurs men various machines beep and flicker, time is against them they need to make this work, the season is nearly over.
“Steffy, if this works we are going to need some clothes for this chap eventually, he can’t go play naked?”
“Boss we don’t have any spare kit; let me see what I can find. Azza hasn’t played much recently; perhaps we can steal some shorts from him?”
“Ok, go for it. I will stay here and keep an eye on him.”
Removing a satin handkerchief from his pocket AVB slowly wipes the sweat that has been building on the figures forehead. With Freund out of the laboratory AVB takes the opportunity to think about the person relying on modern science to bring him to some semblance of form.
Earlier that year
“What do you mean they don’t have the parts we need? When I came here you told me that we were fully stocked, how can I complete my objectives if we don’t have a fully functional striker?”
“Andre relax, I know a man who knows a man who knows someone. They can sort this out.”
“But Daniel the season has started, we have yet to win a game. I need this striker.”
“I am aware of that; lets create a smoke screen, perhaps a falling out or some dressing room scandal?”
“Not too keen on that, what about a couple of niggly injuries, a red card here or there and perhaps an unscheduled trip or two?”
“I like it Andre, I like the way you think. You and me buddy, we are going to go far.”
“I am happy you think like that, now one more thing, you know Joao Moutinho…”
“Is that my phone ringing? Yes it is, see you later must dash.”
Back at the laboratory
The door swings open and Freund returns holding an assortment of kit stolen from Lennon.
“They won’t look good on him; the shorts will be ridiculously short as will the socks, but perhaps it will bamboozle the Chelsea defence?”
“That’s ok Stef, the real problem now is power. How do we get this guy up and running? The last time we had him at full speed was against Arsenal, but that led to a circulatory overload and he freaked out after 15 minutes.”
“I have been studying this, what we really need is precise strike of electricity, something like in Back to the Future where they harness lightning. That will provide us power that we can channel and divert to the necessary zones. Especially the first touch capacitor, finishing processor and the general motor skills application.”
“Lightning though? Does that really work? Also will lightning even hit this place?”
“Apparently they were able to channel some lightning a few seasons ago, when they attempted to prolong Ledley’s career, but unfortunately the technology wasn’t as high tech as it is today.”
“So in order to make this work we need lightning to strike the same place twice? That’s impossible, the whole plan is scuppered.”
Above the duo, in the viewing gallery a watching Daniel Levy speaks over the intercom.
“Chaps this is Spurs, we specialise in lightning striking twice.”
“Perfect, when will it hit?” Asks a relieved AVB
“Always around the end of the season and the summer/winter transfer windows…hang on here it comes”
Lighting strikes the conductor on the roof, electricity surges through the cables, into the transformers before being whisked into the attachments on the figures head.
“It’s working!!!” Shouts Freund.
“He’s positively ready to complete his objectives for the forth coming game!!” Replies AVB
“What?” Reply both Freund and Levy.
“He’s alive!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome Back Emmanuel Adebayor!!”
That evening at Stamford Bridge in the commentary gantry
“Adebayor coming out of defence, he’s past one man, he is surging towards goal, he’s shot, oh my word what a goal!!!!”
“The ball is played into Adebayor, he twists away from that tackle and sprays the ball wide.”
“Adebayor’s first touch didn’t let him down there.”
“A lovely ball into Adebayor, what a subtle back heel into Sigurðsson, GOAL!!! Spurs equalise, the Champions League dream is still alive!!”
In every single pub and home containing Spurs fans
“Its like he is a new man, I can’t believe it!! It’s like we have signed a brand new striker!!”
The May Bank Holiday brings welcome relief to workers throughout the UK. In London with offices closed and the sun shining, we head for the nearest patch of grass, or beer garden to enjoy some ice cold alcoholic beverages. On Monday I found myself in Highgate Woods, spread across a blanket, cider by my side and sleep slowly creeping upon me.
“I am just going to close my eyes”
I informed my girlfriend, who wasn’t listening, it seems a 5 year old boy in a sun hat kicking a Ben 10 ball, was far more worthy of her attention than me.
“Wake me up in 5…”
Stood in the Shed End I couldn’t help but laugh, Chelsea were in disarray. Tottenham were leading 3-0 and had just been awarded a penalty. Tom Huddlestone’s turn of pace had seen him elude Ashley Cole and John-Obi Mikel only for John Terry to dash from the bench, with the Dummies Guide to Becoming a Manager in hand and spear him in the gut repeatedly with his 2B pencil.
Paramedics, the Chelsea weightlifting society, Fatima Whitbread and that hot Chelsea doctor, were all trying to put the Hudd back together again.
Further up the field Demba Ba seeing such bloodshed had crashed to the floor, Fernando Torres was stood above him trying to cajole him. Eden Hazard meanwhile was picking a fight with Aaron Lennon.
“I need to improve my image and show I am not a wimp who picks on kids, I am going to fight you, but not before promoting myself on Twitter to make sure I get maximum exposure.”
In the Matthew Harding stand, Chelsea fans were thinking about coming over to confront the Spurs faithful, but unfortunately they didn’t know who they hated more, Tottenham, Rafa Benitez or themselves.
It was a glorious sight, we were singing Glory Glory Hallelujah at the top of our voices and Gareth Bale, ball in hand waiting for Hudd’s blood to be cleaned off the penalty spot was conducting us. Each and every one of us looked into his eyes and we knew he would stay. In that one moment he epitomised Spurs, elegant, stylish, skilful and totally in love with the finer aspects of the game and Tottenham.
On the Spurs bench, Sandro who looked to be operating as assistant to assistant manager Steffen Freund was weeping.
I hadn’t been that happy since Des Walker scored an own goal in 1991. Someone though called my name; craning my neck I looked over to the left but saw nothing but darkness, freaked out I looked back to the pitch, but something had changed.
I couldn’t move, I along with thousands of other Spurs fans were strapped into our seats. Reading the notice on the chair in front of me I realised that standing, getting up, even rising slightly were all banned, even looking away from the pitch is discouraged.
With fear rising in me I attempted to wriggle free of my restraints only to discover my head was locked inside a SAW style metal helmet. I tried to avert my eyes from the pitch but a sensor read my intentions and two rather large spikes emerged pointing straight at my eyes. The message was clear. I had to watch.
Chelsea were playing keep ball. Ramires, Hazard, Juan Mata and even Branislav Ivanovic were showboating, the clock showed 90 minutes had already gone, but then the tannoy announced there would be 30 minutes of injury time, the Chelsea fans went wild. They were 4-0 up and cruising.
Spurs hadn’t touched the ball in an age, Bale was playing on the right and the man running the flag was a tracksuit clad Roman Abramovich. Every time Bale came within ear shot he would show him a piece of paper with numbers on it and a quaint little cottage in Russia which apparently was:
“Perfect for your granny, she will have such fun. There is a nice lake for fishing, a beautiful fireplace and I have built an airport just down the road, you can go and visit always.”
For Tottenham though, things hadn’t started going wrong at kick-off, the omens had been bad for a few days. It started with an investigation into Hugo Lloris by someone at Chelsea. They had discovered that in Daniel Levy’s rush to make a failed bid for Leandro Damiao, he hadn’t seen a clause in Lloris’ contract, that stated when the Frenchman had made 100 saves for Tottenham he would join Chelsea with immediate effect.
Spurs had no choice but to turn to Brad Friedel, but Chelsea officials were quick to point out that playing the veteran would be against new Parliamentary Legislation regarding putting the elderly into dangerous situations. With no other choice, Spurs airlifted in Heurelho Gomes from Germany. He had been at fault for all four goals.
Tottenham’s defence deflated by the return of Gomes had crumbled, whilst up front Jermain Defoe had been distracted by Chelsea filling the front two rows of Matthew Harding stand with former X-Factor contestants, nurses and dubious models.
In midfield Tottenham’s spinning top, Scott Parker had fainted, it seemed the intricate patterns mown into the Stamford Bridge turf, when viewed spinning through 360 degrees causes you to pass out. Freund had attempting the kiss of life and put Parker in the recovery position but to no avail. Tottenham’s lightweight midfield got even lighter.
The only player playing to his usual standard was Emmanuel Adebayor, it was that bad.
Sitting there I had no choice but to accept what I was seeing, all I could do was pray it would end.
Sunlight hit my face, I felt a trickle of sweat make its way down my cheek round on to my neck. A cool breeze ruffled my hair; I could hear the noise of trees and birds.
“Anthony, what’s wrong with you?”
“Were you calling my name?”
“No he was.” Said my girlfriend pointing at a smiling old chap emerging from the forest.
“Ah you are awake, finally.”
“Wenger??? I’m still dreaming!!! I need to wake up!!”
“Not yet, I have plans, we are going on a picnic. Szczęsny, get the blanket.”
It may not be a “where were you when you heard” moment, but the death of Chris Kelly, one half of Kris Kross still resonates. When I look back to my youth, I remember fondly attempting to dance and rap to “Jump” at my first year 7 disco, it was a song perfect for that time. Unfortunately, most of the 90′s wasn’t that great for the Spurs.
With Kelly now chilling alongside other great rappers such as 2Pac, Biggie and Scatman John, perhaps its time to reflect how the music from the 90’s related to the Spurs of that time?
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock
2 Unlimited – No Limit – January 1993
The glory years of the mid 80’s early 90’s may have gone, but the signing of Teddy Sheringham and the emergence of Nick Barmby offered some hope to Spurs. Perhaps we were building something great, this hope though was crushed when we lost a FA Cup semi to Arsenal at Wembley.
The Spurs squad at the time when this Dutch duo were blazing a trial across the European disco scene were full of journey men who should have known their own limits.
Thankfully at the end of the season we bid adieu to such luminaries such as Pat Van Den Hauwe and Gordon Durie, and began rebuilding by signing midfield supremo Jason Dozell.
No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No…there’s No limit. Techno.
Whigfield – Saturday Night – January 1994
Ibiza, booze, sun, sea and sex where things all beyond my reach as a 12 year old when this song burst on to the scene. Instead I had Spurs.
Faithful, depressing, not as pretty as the others but mine nevertheless. At least Ossie Ardiles returned to the club, as someone who had never seen him play and in the days without Youtube, I was informed this was a good thing.
It was to prove not to be, it was also personally defining as I learned not to equate wisdom with age. Ossie the saviour? Really?
Thankfully we had Teddy scoring goals, when fit and miraculously we even managed to win a penalty shoot-out. Most of my Saturday nights that season though were spent watching MOTD depressed.
Did Whigfield know what it was like to support Spurs? If she did she wouldn’t have been so excited about the weekend.
Boombastic – Shaggy- July 1995
The advert, the song, the jeans and even the man Shaggy himself were pretty cool. On the back of this Spurs had had a good season. It had started badly, we were threatened by point deductions and initially chucked out of the FA Cup, but boy did we have an exciting team.
I was taken to the Lane that year, by a friend and his dad, for our game against Sheffield Wednesday. I arrived at the stadium with a small crush on Jurgen Klinsmann and emerged totally besotted.
He was great on TV, but in real life he was extraordinary. That goal he scored remains one of the best goals I have seen live. That summer though as Boombastic played everywhere and my friends and I tried to decipher what Shaggy was talking about, our Beetle driving German was off.
It was a sad end to what had been a great season; well at least we now had Shaggy in the team/treatment room and one in the charts.
The Outhere Brothers- Boom Boom Boom – July 1995
Boom Boom Boom, let me here you say……..Mistake!!! Mistake!!!
Its amazing the snow ball effect one error of judgement can have on a club. The 1994-95 season had seen Spurs finish above Arsenal, the 1995-96 season should have seen us streak away from them with some astute signings. Dennis Bergkamp was lined up, but incredibly we opted to spend £4.5 million on Chris “Got the Munchies” Armstrong.
The Dutchman who refused B.A Baracus style not to fly went to Arsenal, where unfortunately he enjoyed a successful career, despite being a Spurs fan.
Armstrong meanwhile spent another seven years at Spurs doing very little, but he did manage to score a winner in a North London derby, so perhaps I am being harsh on our ganja smoking former striker.
Run DMC vs Jason Nevins – Its Like That – March 1998
Sometimes Spurs are like that and that’s the way it is.
The season 1997-98 wasn’t a good one, yes Gerry Francis’ reign of terror finally came to an end, but waiting in line was TFL ticket wielding Christian Gross. The omens weren’t great as we were stuffed back to back by Chelsea and the mighty Coventry in two of his first three games, but things did change, slightly.
When Run DMC hit number one, Spurs finally started to move away from the relegation zone, thanks largely down to the return of Klinsmann. My former hero along with current hero David Ginola added some much needed skill to the below average squad we had assembled.
Let us not forget either this was the period where Spurs actually became a good looking team by signing, Nicola “I look good in denim” Berti. Gorgeous.
Shanks and Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate – May 1999
The season ended with Man United sweeping all aside bar the mighty Spurs. We were the only team to knock them out of a cup competition that year. We went on to win the Worthington Cup in a dull affair against Leicester, but who cares, a cup is a cup.
We may have had George Graham in charge, but after the dross of Gross and the Francis reign of dull, we had actually won something. As the Garage scene swept through my school and everyone claimed to either DJ or MC, us Spurs fans were happy to rank ourselves alongside all conquering Man United.
With the new millennium approaching Spurs fans were once again proclaiming the dawn of a new era. The following year we would be in Europe, we were about to sign Sergei Rebrov, the McCarntey to Shevchenko’s Lennon and most importantly we were finally getting rid of Pony and Hewlett-Packard. Spurs would be wearing Adidas and Holsten come the new millenia.
A new dawn was on the horizon, the 2000’s we would reign North London
The closer I got to London on Sunday night after a weekend in Cornwall, the more the fact that I was happy for Gareth Bale’s double PFA award win, but not delighted dawned on me. Like most Spurs fans, for me it’s the team not the individual that really matters. Looking at Bale’s smile as he collected two trophies was nice, but I would rather he held the invisible Wenger Cup. Third or fourth is much more important than the appreciation of the individual, especially with four big games to go.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock Website
On Saturday afternoon stood in a field champagne glass in hand, admiring the Cornish countryside whilst wedding celebrations went on around me, I was desperate for any kind of signal receiving receptacle. Cornwall rather like White Hart Lane on match day is a UK based Bermuda Triangle, there is no phone reception, I was totally cut off from Tottenham and the outside world.
Finally after a few hours of imaging the result and predicting a glorious victory, I discovered the score by stumbling upon a Gooner. By the way he was beaming, I suspected he had either swallowed a coat hanger or Spurs had messed up. With his voice full of joy he informed me of the 2-2 scoreline, how he came by this information remains a mystery, perhaps there is a Woolwich Society in Tintagle?
We may have rescued a point against Wigan, but after coming from one goal down to beat Man City last week, a point salvaged in the last minute at the DW, remains two points lost. Thankfully Arsenal were unable to beat another big team, so Champions League qualification remains in our own hands, but it does mean the Chelsea game is growing in its importance. SKY with very little else to be decided this term, must be rubbing their money scented hands with glee.
Bale’s impressive double at the PFA Awards on Sunday night makes him only the third ever player to collect both trophies in the same season. The first man to do so was “friend to women” Andy Gray; the second was serial Veet user Cristiano Ronaldo. It is a measure of how far Spurs have come, that at the end of each season our individuals are considered worthy of acclaim, but we must start to ensure we become a team worthy of similar praise.
Manchester United strolled to this season’s title with perhaps their weakest looking squad in a decade. They did sign Robin Van Persie and former Spur Michael Carrick was inspired at times, but the squad remains workman-like at best. Where United excelled this year, as they have done many times when faced with apparently more powerful opponents is in building belief and retaining it.
Chelsea and Man City may have out spent them again, but they had the strength of character, which is ultimately priceless.
Tottenham now need to ensure that they have something similar. Scott Parker, Michael Dawson and Andre Villas-Boas can talk all day about destiny and spirit, but if we don’t see it on the pitch this Saturday and in every one of our remaining games, then it’s is nothing more than PR spiel. Belief and spirit needs to last for 90 minutes, we can not continue to rely on brief episodes to rescue us.
I am a self proclaimed AVBeliever, but the knack his team has of coming in and out of games is worrying. It seems we are unable to keep the intensity and focus for the duration of a match. This is what the team needs to work on. We have won plenty of games this season by conjuring up brief moments of intensity, however if we fail to capitalise in those moments the game tends to pass us by.
On Saturday against Southampton we have a rare but welcome 3pm kick off at the Lane. This weekend the Saints were thrashed 3-0 by West Brom and all signs point to them already being in holiday mode, hopefully this continues in North London.
Arsenal meanwhile travel to Loftus Road to face Harry Redknapp’s relegated band of mercenaries and overweight footballers. If we were to look for a favour this weekend, West London would be the last on my “Where to look for miracles” list. However perhaps now the players have been officially consigned to the Championship, they will attempt to put themselves back in the shop window.
Instead we must hope that Manchester United continue their push to finish with as many points as possible when they face Chelsea. Thanks to our 2-2 draw with Wigan, I think it is the Blues not the Reds that we are now chasing. Arsenal’s uncanny ability to swot away the weak teams should seem them through to collect another Wenger Cup.
We need to ensure that when the 8th May fixture arrives, we are level on points with Chelsea. This will pile the pressure on the home side and ensure the onus is on them, they may not need Champions League football to curb their summer spending, but it may have an effect on whether or not their Special One returns for a second time.
In the mean time I would like to wish Bale huge congratulations on wining the PFA double, please remember though, you may have your rewards, but we are still waiting for ours. This season is far from over.
The euphoria of the win against Man City has slowly ebbed away to be replaced with that usual touch of apprehension. Spurs travel to Wigan on Saturday a team who has become accustomed to wrecking dreams. The DW Stadium has laid many a title challenge and push for safety to bed, Spurs need to be at their best if they wish to avoid a similar fate.
This article first appeared on The Fighting Cock
Back in November I commented that Wigan Athletic, the team that no one really dislikes, has had a habit of defining us. These words came back to haunt me as Spurs then suffered a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane. The most memorable thing from that torrid experience was the free curry samples being served in the East Stand.
Thankfully since that fixture Spurs have avoided repeating such ineptitude. This season, a few set backs apart, has largely gone to plan. We are on course for a top four finish and our destiny is in our hands, once again we face Wigan at a crucial time, not just for us, but for them.
The last few seasons have taught us that when the weather warms up Wigan move up the table, but this years protracted winter means Spurs face a Latics team backed into a corner. Both teams can not afford to lose this game, it all points to a fascinating fixture.
Due to our failings from the penalty spot in Switzerland, Andre Villas-Boas has been able to give the squad a couple of days off. I may have wanted a glorious cup run to Amsterdam, but I am thankful for the respite our exit has offered us. Gareth Bale has had another six days of rest and Aaron Lennon according to reports, looks set to feature. The all important balance the diminutive winger gives us, should be back.
The return of Lennon brings with it a host of conundrums for AVB to ponder before Saturday’s kick off, the first is who plays up front?
Against not only City but a whole host of opponents this season, Emmanuel Adebayor has been ineffective. The movement, touch, understanding and finishing that made him such an asset last year have disappeared. He is a phantom of his former self, Jermain Defoe meanwhile, despite being sidelined through injury has seen a meteoric rise in his stock.
The England man before Sunday hadn’t scored a goal for Spurs in 4 four months, yet his return was seen as the second coming. Defoe remains a limited striker, but compared to Adebayor’s recent form, he is the love child of Gerd Muller and Paolo Rossi.
Regardless of Adebayor’s lack of form though, I would start him on Saturday against Wigan. It may be blind hope, but over 60 minutes he may tire the Wigan defence, then with the game hopefully stretched in our favour Defoe can be introduced. The former Pompey striker as he proved against City, is an impressive impact sub
The return of Lennon also means that one of Clint Dempsey or Glyfi Sigurðsson will miss out. Do we opt for the man who does nothing but score tap-ins, or someone who is gradually coming to terms with a place in a top tier Premier League team?
On Sunday as I watched Spurs fail to breach a resolute City for the best part of an hour, it was with Dempsey that most of my frustrations lay. The American is a footballing Rubik Cube, he has had me in delirium at certain points, but totally bamboozled as to his worth at others. Dempsey contributes very little to the team and its style of play, he is the most un-luxurious of luxury players.
Siggy meanwhile is without doubt the better all round player, but he lacks the self-confidence of “The Duece.” It is on this basis therefore I would opt for the American, with the season coming to its crescendo, you need players who believe 100% in their ability, regardless of how limited it is.
The last real conundrum for AVB is who to partner Mousa Dembele? Does he opt for the more mobile but limited in possession Scott Parker, or the occasional statuesque brilliance of Tom Huddlestone? Personally I would opt for the same Adebayor/Defoe formula. Start Parker and as the tempo of the game subsides, introduce Hudd and his masterful long passing game.
It is comforting to know that AVB has positive selection issues to ponder pre- game, but if we learnt one thing on Sunday, it’s that it’s even nicer to know we have a manager who can make the big decisions during a game. With players such as Lewis Holtby and Tom Carroll on the bench, we have game changers and a manager unafraid to use them.
Three points on Saturday, would put the pressure right back on on Arsenal who face the champions Man United on Sunday.
No team has done the double over Spurs this season; we need to ensure that Wigan isn’t the most unlikely of firsts.