Midtable Mediocrity – Those Were The Days

Tim Sherwood this week stated that Tottenham Hotspur were part of his life. His passion was genuine and if he can transmit any of that to his squad then all power to him. Cut him and he bleeds navy blue and white. Problem is, on yesterday’s showing against West Brom, his mission is to return in time to the Spurs team he played in.

Plenty of effort, decent players, busy-busy. It’s only after a while that you begin to realise, this isn’t going anywhere. Misplaced passes, opportunities lost as that ball doesn’t quite make it…you think the next one will, then it sinks in, the passing simply isn’t good enough. Players and crowd frustrated, the anxiety building as time passes and the half-chances are missed, the defensive cock-ups punished. Younger fans need to know, this is how it used to be! Narrow your eyes and you can almost see Sherwood himself in midfield, static and pointing in all directions. Ah, the good old days of midtable mediocrity, when you were spared the worry of CL qualification or winning trophies….

It’s not Sherwood’s fault that he has to learn on the job. My problem with his appointment isn’t personal, not to him at least. A club of our stature and ambitions should never be in the position of appointing a manager with no experience in that role, halfway through a season that opened with an investment of £100m on new players. A fine coach he may be, ambitious certainly and we need someone who is single-minded, but we should not be in this position, Mr Levy.

Levy of course has made the appointment in a characteristically equivocal manner. 18 months gives Tiger Tim a measure of security and means the compensation will be less in the summer if it doesn’t work and Levy brings in an experienced manager who is not available right now. Meanwhile, we mark time on the pitch when we should be pushing ahead.

It’s also not Tim’s fault that his appointment has coincided with an injury and suspension crisis. The lack of a DM has caused problems but to see his real intentions, we will have to wait until Sandro and Paulinho are available. The set-up will suit them both. Paulinho will benefit from the rest. Capoue meanwhile will be left to wonder what on earth is going on. He thought he was joining an upwardly mobile team challenging for Europe. now the under 21s get the nod ahead of him. What’s French for ‘call my agent’?

Sherwood is by no means the first Spurs coach in recent times to find his attacking efforts stifled by a rigorously organised defence. It was not until near the end when West Brom tired and Danny Rose was released down the wing that we found a way round their set-up. They played a flexible formation with three centre backs and two wide men, both full-backs by trade, who dropped back to make five at the back or pushed into midfield to easily outnumber our four. With one up front, this allowed them to insert one or two midfielders between our midfield and back four. They used this space well and Lloris was at his best, blocking and diving to keep them out. It helped that one great opportunity slid past the post.

This from a below-strength side managed by a coach promoted from within. I admire Sherwood’s mission to attack more – it is noticeable that we have numbers in the box these days as well as the obvious of playing two up front. However, yesterday he came out second best in the tactical battle of the new boys.

After a bright start when our players enjoyed the freedom of movement and worked off each other, the game settled down into a familiar, unwelcome pattern. We were pressed into making mistakes, had no space to work the angled passes and were constantly being caught with the ball. Chiriches was dreadfully profligate, giving away the ball in dangerous positions at least three times in the first half. Dawson too – we could not get it forward.

The breakthrough did come through a set-piece, a stunning free-kick from Eriksen, curled round the top of the wall and in off the bar. A real beauty – such a shame therefore that its memory will be tarnished by what happened next. Instead of consolidating, Eriksen gave away the ball and West Brom scored from the resultant free-kick. The cross was not cleared, suddenly a gap as wide as the parting of the Red Sea opened up in what should have been a packed defence and the loose ball was banged home. Ridiculous to concede so soon after scoring, and from a set-piece that was completely avoidable.

After the break, Spurs began slowly but were livened up by the crowd’s agitation at the news that Ars***l were one down. That’s how it was yesterday – score-flashes got us going. That soon faded. Tiger Tim brought on Bentaleb to lie a little deeper and keep the ball moving, which he does well and which allowed Eriksen to work further up the field. It’s good to see Eriksen more involved in the play – this was a criticism I had of the way AVB used him – and he certainly has an appetite for work. He finished the game exhausted, hands on knees and bent double. He and Spurs may benefit from a defensive midfielder, allowing him more freedom.

The forwards pushed up. Again, a familiar tale of waiting for passes that never came rather than working to move the defenders out of position. It was too easy for them to sit in their five. Adebayor had one his static days, seldom causing a problem, his control letting him down on the two half-chances that came his way. Also, despite our numbers in the box, we provided few decent crosses until Rose late on rifled several low balls across the box but just out of reach of forwards who were as frustrated as the crowd.

Another reminder of the old days was the barracking Chadli received, at least from where I sitting. An imposing, muscular figure yet he possesses the ability to disappear for extended periods of the match. This was good old-fashioned abuse, individuals leaping to their feet in pure frustration. Not seen that for a long while now.

In praise of Kyle Walker: he’ll never sort out his positioning or day dreaming but he’s got his strength and pace back to get him and us out of trouble. Every game, if we need a goal he’s driving forward. Not everything comes off but he gives all he’s got. Another bloke in front of me roared a volley of abuse in his direction as he was absent as West Brom countered. In fact, look up and there he was, filling in at centre half having hammered back 50 yards after we lost the ball.

If I may offer a suggestion – we do well away because we can counter effectively. Maybe set up the team in the same way home or away, draw out opponents, press and then counter. Just a thought. Sincere best wishes to Tim and his team as they try to sort it out. Hard work ahead.

35 thoughts on “Midtable Mediocrity – Those Were The Days

  1. Yes, midtable mediocrity that’s what we are, let’s not kid ourselves otherwise, 7th to 10th is where we will finish this year. I don’t feel Levy had a choice about firing AVB we were going nowhere fast, a change had to be made. Anyway we have Sherwood now ’till at least the end of the season and then who knows? I wonder how many of the new signings we still be here at the start of next season? If we do appoint a high profile manager then he will no doubt want to bring in another raft of new players, and so another transitional year or so awaits us…


    • And so on and so on….transitional two decades by my reckoning. I think Levy has had positive messages from Van Gaal and maybe others so it’s short term until the end of the season, then have another go. If Sherwood comes off, then he’s a hero, if not, the compensation will be small compared with AVB and HR. I said in a recent blog – the biggest challenge is to keep our good players for next August.

      Regards, Al


  2. Nice honestly written assessment of the game and regarding Tim.
    As once again we gave them the goal. I don’t think any manager could have prevented their goal . These guys are professional footballers and should be able to man mark a player, not just stand there like lemons. It’s mostly silly mistakes that has cost us games so far and this must be rectified ASAP.


  3. All very sad but true.
    A cynical internal appointment meant to sort of appease fans
    with talk of football with extra swash and buckle
    but basically a holding appointment until another high profile man is available.
    We will be lucky to finish in the top eight
    with the inevitable loss of some of our top top players including Sandro and Walker.
    Much bollocks will be spoken by Sherwood and others,
    The only positive will be the promotion of youngsters,
    some more entertaining football in a cavalier sort of way.
    At least the nonsense about top four and title ambitions
    can be put on the back burner for a while.
    Lie back and enjoy what you can.


    • Sad indeed. I’m beyond angry, Jim, just numb. Agree with your first para – that’s exactly it. Sherwood already talking in the third person, a sure sign of inflated ego. Still, he’s supposed to be a decent coach – let’s see if he can learn from his mistakes.

      Trying to inject some optimisim there. Not that I feel it, but you’ve got to try…nah, why bother?

      Happy Christmas Jim.

      Regards, Al


  4. We should never have sacked AVB. While we were playing pretty drab football, at least we were solid. Given time the flare and creativity would have come. Now it’ll be mid table mediocrity again as Timmy doesn’t have a clue. None of the top teams play 4-4-2 anymore for good reason!


    • “While we were playing pretty drab football, at least we were solid.” What planet are you on, Craig? We lost 3 nil and 5 nil at home to West Ham and Liverpool respectively and 6 nil away to Man City!! Hardly examples of solidity!! Take off the rose tinted specs, Craig. We were heading for mid table with AVB. The players looked like they had given up at home to Liverpool and away to Man City.

      It looks like we could be mid table under Sherwood as well. We have a lot of injured players in the short term and though we have a big squad they appear to lack the skill, quality and talent of the Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea squads.

      The odds are against being Sherwood being a success. Not because of his lack of experience, but because no Spurs manager has been a qualified success, apart from Redknapp and possibly Jol, for donkey’s years.

      The reason why Levy sacks managers is because of his (and the fans) unrealistic ambitions for Spurs. We will never match Man City and Chelsea because of their financial clout and we will never match Arsenal and Man Utd because of their record of long term stabilty and the extra revenue they earn from their massive stadiums and their marketing clout.


      • 4-4-2 has made a bit of a comeback this season. Liverpool playing it effectively until Sturridge was injured.

        The problem for me is that we played an old-fashioned 4-4-2 where the front two were too static, too detached from the midfield. We also did not play a more defensive minded central midfielder – I like Capoue from what I have seen, good positioning and mobility, wins it then gives it quickly to a more able team-mate, keeps the ball moving.

        Levy wants success but never wholeheartedly supports the manager, which includes patience when things aren’t working well.

        Regards, Alan


  5. waddafuk???? Cant even get 3 points from the relegation battling Baggies!!!! We have got a team full of top class wankers!!! Losing twice at home to the Pikey fukwits still stings like fuck! Im so sick of supporting this bunch of losers!!! I dread watching any Spurs game at the moment. Wonder how many Man City, ManUre or the Arseteam will thrash us by when we play them all again?! Lets hope Abramobitch and Moronio dont find a decent goalscorer before we play them again either.


    • To be fair,thisteamisshite, Spurs are currently missing some of their better and most influential players through injury. Lennon, Townsend, Sandro, Vertoghan, Dembele and Kaboul are players that could have made a big difference against West Brom. No team will do well missing so many key players.

      I don’t think you should judge Spurs, or Sherwood until those players are back.

      PS. “Im so sick of supporting this bunch of losers!!! I dread watching any Spurs game at the moment.” The easy answer to that is don’t watch or support them if it makes you feel that bad!! It’s only a game after all and most of the Spurs 1st team squad are earning millions every year so be sensible and try to be sensible.


    • Utterly agree, spurs fan that is just sick of the bullshit, to sum up without the injuries, avb’s fault, £100 million worth of players, settling in stars, the media hate us, etcetera etcetera……same old boring shit spouted every time we don’t win 4-0….look, over the past few years we gave it a go at being a top side (I’m 39 and have yet to ever know us being a top side?) face it, we are shit, the players are shit, the chairmen makes it up as he goes along (he’s a shrewd businessman? yes maybe,so just fuck off levy, stop playing a real game of premier manager and go work in the city)…the push to be ‘top’ side ended with two factors (we sacked Harry redknapp and levy and Lewis didn’t support him financially when he was there) go back 2 years today (just a couple of weeks before the wheels started to become loose)….if redknapp was given £50 million in January 2011, we would have been top 2 and then we could have pushed on….who to blame? Levy and Lewis. Why? Because when they had the chance to do it, they didn’t…since then, it’s slowly gone backwards to where we are today….and we have a way to fall yet, Sherwood? Just fuck off you trumped up twat, you’ve no experience and you’ve displayed that already, bringing in some kids is your master plan?! Holy shit….


  6. This is very worrying for Spurs.

    The current EPL season is the most open for years, not just in terms of the top 4 but also winning the thing.

    Can anyone else see Manchesters Utd or City being this inconsistent again? Or Chelsea under Mourinho next year being weaker than they are this year? Strong finishes by Liverpool and A****** will enable them to significantly strengthen their squads.

    And we hand the manager’s role to a novice.

    Tim Sherwood could, and I sincerely hope he does, prove me wrong and we could still finish 4th. Not on the basis of yesterday’s performance at the Lane. Plenty of huff and puff but little creativity or end product.

    The only plus point, and admittedly it is a big one, is that he is prepared to give Academy players a run out. So far so good as far as Bentaleb is concerned.

    Lamela looked good yesterday, I thought. Probably the most naturally gifted, skillful and intelligent player we have.

    The postive consequence of finishing 8th-10th will be no Europa League next year which seems to be benefitting Liverpool.

    But who will want to come and manage or play for us?

    And every time Tim Sherwood smirks and says anything I’m reminded of AVB’s class. But what Sherwood has that AVB didn’t have is the support of the Redknapps and the media wanting a no-nonsense approach from a no-nonsense English coach.

    Whoever is responsible for this, AVB, Sherwood or Levy, has blown it in a very big way.


    • Lamela only looked half decent because he replaced the awful Chadli who should have been substituted well before. If Lennon had been on that side, the strikers might have got some service. Holtby ran around a lot, looking about as menacing as a slightly damp leftover Yorkshire pudding. And god only knows what is wrong with Soldado. For an ‘in-the-box’ striker, he seems to be adept at not getting into the box when it matters. Clearly his head is not quite all there, pressure and all and it doesn’t look likely to clear up this season. Sad to see Dawson so far off the pace too, not helped by Chiriches looking less than sharp. Kaboul would do us the world of good. Danny Rose has a tattoo of the word ‘inexperienced’ across his forehead and the return of Vertonghen, even out of position, would be more than welcome. I wish Tim all the best, and given the injuries to key players, not an unexpectedly poor result. I have some hope that given a fuller squad, with Sandro behind the midfield and Lennon and Townsend on each wing, Erikson in the middle and Defoe and Adebayor up front, the season will improve. Depressing, nonetheless. Nice analysis Alan, spot on as ever.


      • Good to hear from you, Peter.

        Re the players, let’s just say Chadli has not made the impression we hoped for when he signed…he was awful yesterday. Chiriches also had a bad game but I like the look of him. Vertonghen must return and play centre half, forever. Kaboul looks shot to me – very worried that he will never recover fully from this injury. Rose worth perservering with – he’s learned a hell of a lot at Sunderland and looks very determined. Soldado’s touch in front of goal has gone – needsd a lucky one off his backside to turn it around.

        Regards, Alan


  7. The best place for a Spurs player these days is to be out injured or suspended as his stock rises exponentially.
    That was a weak show on Boxing Day. If Sherwood really thinks football at this level is as simple as get the ball and go forward we are all in for a very cold winter. You only need to be half organised to dampen our fire.

    If he’s really going to go to the emirates playing that way we are going to be embarrassed. He’ll be gone by Easter if he’s lucky. It’s like one of those 60s Batman TV episodes where the Penguin has hypnotised Batman into doing his evil deeds. The never less than pleased with himself Sir Les is an unlikely Robin or fit and functioning centre forward when playing for us very often: Holy Cockerel, Levy’s been brainwashed …


  8. I’m afraid all the pre-season optimism was unfounded. I hate that the doubts I had about my beloved club have been realised, but I knew in August that, despite our huge spending spree, the lack of a genuine playmaker (a problem masked last year by Bale of the Rovers and never ever addressed this term) would throw us back into the pack, and unravel 4 or 5 good years of us at least being in the top four/five mix.
    Without Bale we could not surmount our challenge for the top with just power and energy alone in midfield (four defensive midfielders plus Holtby ..without a creative thought between them) and only one ’embryonic’ playmaker, Eriksen. And yet all our fans on the various sites were bursting with optimism (Bale won’t be missed now that we’ve got this lot in etc etc)..
    Well, what exactly did we get? Let’s face it ..three duds in Soldado, Lamela and Chadli. I’m sick of hearing about Lamela’s promise! He’s 21 and looks like a youth team player who’s being given first team experience. He may well turn into a fine player but we needed him NOW (at £30m) not as one for the future. Soldado was bought two or three seasons too late (with this set-up we need a hunter of the ball, not a bloody box striker). And Chadli ..a man who, along with poor Sig (who’d rather play inside), has set our left flank back light years.
    Even early against Arsenal it was evident that our strong but slow build up from the back, although at first making Arsenal nervous, was quickly sussed out as they let us play our deep possession game and then simply counter-attacked. I knew (so why didn’t AVB?) that the pace and thought in midfield had to improve. Results wise we’ve done well away (City apart) but at home we adopted an awful easy-to-read and boring top heavy DM build-up pattern, and AVB could not find it in himself to change it or even adapt in games as the opposition did. The mantra for each visiting manager must have been ..’Spurs are strong and they keep the ball, so let them have it, soak it up and reduce them to long shots and half chances, cos they haven’t got the players to cut us open; stay patient and then hit them on the break’. How horribly predictable became AVB’s Roundheads ..while we’ve been used to witnessing wonderful Cavalier thrusting play in recent years.
    Other awful mistakes were made. BAE going on loan, and not covering for Rose’s injury, has cost us valuable points. Caulker, a genuine England centre half who is not yet near his peak, being sold for just £8m and replaced by someone who cost more but only provides defensive cover at best – Chiriches.
    Ade (as much as he let us down last term) being ignored because AVB didn’t like him! And so on.
    Oh, what have we done, Tottenham?! Harry would be in charge now if not for his England distraction costing our club so much! We may have held onto Bale (even if not Modric) if we’d qualified for the CL ..and, by God, what stopped us from doing exactly that those two heart wrenching seasons running? All those points in front of Arsenal and it had to be THEM that ensured we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory ..TWICE!
    Well, the facts are these. Unlike all those misguided beliefs at the start of the season, we are not finally better than Arsenal. They’re still better that us, despite our ‘strong squad’, as is clearly evident, because they have a ‘team’ playing consistently together and who know each other’s game inside out; they KNOW how to fill in that missing jigsaw piece in a squad (they don’t need to buy seven players, just one) and they have a long serving ‘loyal’ manager who the club trust to get it right. We are not better than Liverpool either (as we also thought) because they kept Suarez while we couldn’t keep Bale, and, like Arsenal, they have a ‘team’ this season. Chelsea and City are on different planets, while Man U (despite their transition) are gearing up ominously for the top four hunt. With Everton and Newcastle in the mix where does this all leave Tottenham with our strong (but unbalanced) squad and still no sense of having a ‘team’ as such?
    A one time regular for 4th or 5th for five seasons running, we are now looking at bloody 6th or worse in this, our BREAKTHROUGH season (the season where we finally challenged for the title) that’s where!


    • Good thoughts, Chris. The way benny and Manu have been hadnled under AVB was highly and unnecessarily detrimental to the welfare of the side. Re the signings, we knew they needed time and stability to develop – if that was not realised then we shouldn’t have bought them. I’m hopeful Lamela can find his place and Soldado can start scoring. Chadli too but he has a long way to go…as I said last week, AVB was not a good enough coach to get the best from so many new players at once.

      Regards, Alan


      • I knew they needed time to ‘bed in’ Alan, but I did hope some buds would appear long before the spring (when it will definitely be too late in yet another ‘barren’ season). Like you I remain ever hopeful re these (um, not so new now) players, just as I am for my club, but I can’t see how Tim will manage to keep all of them happy anyway, whilst working out his best set-up over the next few months. He will need bucket loads of luck, multi-communication skills, plus player loyalty and good will to cover his coaching inexperience at this level, in his attempts to forge a top four challenging ‘team’ from this strong but unbalanced squad (bearing in mind too the current league position we’re in) with appropriate cover stepping seamlessly into the correct positions whenever someone is rested, suspended or injured. I feel (fear rather) that Levy is preparing for another managerial change next June and, with regards to the CL, has given 2013/14 up as a lost cause. He really does have much to answer for, and I pray that Tim can pull off a miracle and prove him wrong by getting us 4th ..but let’s face it, it really would be a miracle now, that 4th spot. A position that so many Spurs fans at the start of the season would have considered a disappointment, considering our high profile spending, is now even more an elusive holy grail.


  9. Our fans are paying the second highest priced tickets in the league yet we’ve got a bloke in charge with zero experience of managing in the top division and still the fans don’t question Levy.

    Nothing is ever straight forward with Levy either, is it? His fans always give him the benefit of the doubt and follow him blindly. Some of them still think the Stratford debacle was a masterstroke in securing more money for the NDP rather than abandoning our heritage for an opportunistic land grab. They probably think Stubhub is not legalised ticket touting, but some sort of Machiavellian master plan by Levy that will eventually and magically lead to cheaper tickets. Now his fans would have us believe that hiring Sherwood on an 18 month contract is a shrewd move; “We’ll just pay him off if he’s no good at the end of the season”.

    It’s bullshit. If Levy had no one lined up to immediately replace AVB long term, then AVB should have stayed in place until he did. Hiring Sherwood on an 18 month contract is neither here nor there. It’s an act of a coward whose judgment is so shot to bits that he can no longer trust his own decisions. Another throw of the dice that financially won’t be too hard on ENIC’s pockets if Sherwood does need sacking at the end of the season, but one that will make the club look even more stupid than it already does. Should Sherwood fail it will hopefully make Levy’s position untenable at last. Although he’ll probably just move on to some other great hope and the fans will just sheepishly follow suit with teflon Dan once again avoiding the flak.


    • Should have kept AVB until a decent alternative available. Sherwood is classic Levy – he doesn’t know what he’s doing, no plan so chooses the guy who is jumping up and down in front of him. Jol did the same and got it, Poyet hoped to take over from Ramos but miscalculated. No one was more suprised than he when Redknapp’s appointment came off in the long run. Managers going on record to say they avoid Tottenham because of him.

      And we can’t look any more stupid than we do now. Surely not…

      Regards, Al


  10. Feels like we’re just treading water, until the end of the season, or maybe longer than that. Although JL and DL have done an OK sort of a job, we really need a new owner who will get Spurs on the move again, starting with actually building and opening a new stadium, around WHL, or elsewhere. We will then have the credibility to really challenge as one of the top level clubs, rather than just a pretty good club. If this doesn’t happen soonish, we will probably stay at WHL, maybe expanded a bit, and for ever be a nearly club.


  11. I’ve been saying this about Levy/Lewis/ENIC for years, it’s nice to see more fans finally waking up to what’s going on at our club. These guys are speculators, nothing more, nothing less, oh and by the way we have Alan Sugar to thank for bringing them in despite saying he would ‘only sell to someone able to make this a top club’. He sold to ENIC who already had a questionable track record in their football dealings and took a nice chunk of money with him. Thanks for that Sir Alan! If they had any intention of winning anything ENIC would have supported Redknapp when we were 5 points off the top, with a game in hand, in December but no, they didn’t want a manager asking for players the team actually needed rather than investments likely to show massive profit at a later date. Ryan Nelson, Louis Saha to add to the likes of Gallas and previously Gudjohnsen , hardly the signings a PL top four and CL last eight side might expect. From the start, Redknapps first signings, often pointed to by anti Harry fans as proof of support, were players that we had just sold, even Chimbonda came back!! Ask yourself why……could it be we were still owed the majority of the transfer fees for these players meaning ENIC had only a minimal outlay? In truth our squad was in such a bad way following the Ramos disaster Redknapp was happy to get anybody. Perhaps Levy regarded Redknapp as a short term fix to get us out of relegation trouble never expecting him to become so successful and so starved him of money in the transfer windows, just missing out on our top targets because the fax machine packed up at the last minute. Then came the England job smokescreen, a situation that could have been sorted out with a single phone call as the FA have since stated Redknapp was never in their thinking, but perhaps clarification was never sought by the club, I wonder why? I think ENICS long term goal is to sell the club in the petro dollar market and now they have cleared the way for a new stadium that might not be far away, even then we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed we get the right sort of investor This is a sad time for a once great club, it’s a shame to see it prostituted purely for financial gain. COYS!.


  12. Agree with comments expressing concern with Levy, Lewis and ENIC.

    They have brought financial stability but at a huge footballing cost. Our rise to 4th/5th place finishes and Champions League football seems more down to luck than judgement.


    As much as I do want them out of our club to be replaced by people who have genuine footballing ambitions, I am nervous of them selling to the wrong type of owners.

    Eg someone who wants us to change our name or strip like Hull/Cardiff. Or a bunch of football cowboys like Venkeys at Blackburn.

    We always seem to be on the edge of the top or bottom halves of the table. For the last few years it has been the top half.

    I wonder if instead of this being the prelude to something wonderful they were the good times.


  13. A resonable asessment of our current position. I have been a Spurs man from 1961 so have seen many of our ups & downs but all in all we always played “the beautiful game” while many others played very mundane football at best. I think Mr Levy & the Board needs to have the strength of their own convictions, they are appointing these managers, they need to give them real time, at least to the end of their contracts. Two of the most successful teams have had long term managers, given the opportunity to build their teams and footballing culture. We now have a strong squad, a raft of skillful players, what we need now is to give them time to get up to speed with the Premier league, to learn their best position, to be pushed to work hard and develop their skills to the highest order and to be encouraged to compete for their shirt and palce on the team. Perhaps Tim should encourage them to review some of our legend’s, to look at players such as Jimmy Greaves and Gary Lineker could anticipate the play, get into the box and found a foot or head to hit it towards goal, the power of Martin Chivers, the technique of Alan Gilzean to head & glance the ball into the goal,, the power and leadership of Alan Mullery in midfield controlling games, the pasing of Glen Hoddle and Chris Waddle, the defending capibilities of Gary Mabbutt & Steve Perryman and who can forget the goalkeeping of Pat Jennings. For all of these palyers one thing stood strong, their commitment to Spurs, they played for their shirt, they never gave up and they knew that Spurs culture was to play entertaining football. In AVB’s reign we were lucky to see one of our players in the opposition’s 18 or 6 yard box and you don’t develop the touch of a Greaves or Lineker if you are not in the box. We do have the players with the speed and pace to get to the oppositions byline and get the cross in and we do have the players with the skill to score goals, we just need the board to appoint a good manager to gel the players into a team and to have the courage to givem the management team they appoint their full term to build a winning team. Rome was not built in a day and having 12 managers in the time Arsenal have had one build no team of note, stability or pride.
    So I hope Tim will get the chance to grow into the role, he is talking the talk so lets hope Daniel will give him time to walk the walk, with his knowledge of our youth squad, the current first team squad at his disposal and his heart for Spurs, maybe, just maybe we have a chance of managment and players developing and understanding the vision and culture that is so linked with our history. They would all do well to remember our moto Audere est Facere (lit: “To Dare Is to Do”) and that our emblem is a fighting cockerel.


  14. Alan, very excellent post. As for our Spurs, I got nothing. My former hometown team Newport County, managed by ex-Spur Edinburgh, are three points off 1st in League 2 in their first year back in the league. I’m taking pleasure out of their success at our Rugby ground no less, ’cause there ain’t much going on at the Lane. We all wish it not to be so — but after the next 3 games, including the FAC battle, this could be really really ugly for Spurs! Happy New Year from the sunny Left Coast!


    • Happy New Year Ashley, I’m travelling back in time today – off to the Lane in other words….yer man Justin Edinburgh already being touted for vacant manager’s jobs higher up the league…must be doing well.

      Regards, Al


      • Alan, you must’ve enjoyed those lineup surprises at WHL — throw in two young English fullbacks, only play one recognized winger and two interchangeable CMs (Dembele & Pauli also doing his jogo bonito best impersonation) as opposed to two #10s in there, add in a dash of the two upfront and we get some goals and a clean sheet. Who knew Timmy could adapt so quickly. How are we just 3P off CL spot with all the upheavals and pastings — and only 2P off our recent 0-5 conquerers Pool. Now to two big games — ManUre and L’Arse. No predictions but a little running about, some more jogo bonito, and some steel in the middle would be welcome. COYS!


        • A welcome surprise. Arrived at the Lane without my usual excitement level but we played really well, warmed to them and enjoyed it once we were two up. Tim has played several different versions of 4-4-2 so it’s not the same system but real test – he can do this attacking lark but defend too? We’ll know after this coming Saturday.

          Happy New Year.



  15. I enjoy reading comments from others from the ‘bygone days’ – reminds me of the more successful moments and great footballers to have graced White Hart Lane.

    However that was then. This is now. We have a great pool of talent but unfortunately a few holes in key places and 100 million quid aside, I think some activity this January is warranted. I asked myself what is the one thing that if it were changed would make the biggest difference to the first team structure and performance?

    Top for me is a genuine deep-lying play-maker in the mould of Andrea Pirlo or Xabi Alonso. Someone who can command the space in front of the back four and pick out runners quickly. This is THE key position. Not only does it shield the CHs, it also allows our forward playmaker – Erkisen or Paulinho in our current line-up – to play higher up. Too many times this season Paulinho has been too deep and charged with too much defensive responsibility. This includes covering for Dembele (whose positional sense is not as good as Sandro’s) and whose natural instinct is to dribble head-down, out of trouble. All too often he is dispossessed as a result.

    Of course there is no way that Lewis and Levy would/could get a player like this mid-season but that doesn’t mean we can get by without one. We can’t. The squad is overloaded with run-of-the-mill midfielders. Take right-sided outfield. Lennon/Chadli/Lamella? Sooner or later it will come down to choices. Is Lennon really the player for the future? Can he develop further the way Walcott has for Arsenal? No on both counts. Put faith in Lamella. Nurture him. He is a player with genuine vision. And he’s only a lad at 21.

    More importantly we need to send a sign to others that we want to come to WHL that we won’t simply throw them out when they fail to instantly justify the transfer fee.

    TS has to understand the realities of a PL manager, one of which is that heroic adherence to an attacking vision (e.g. 4-4-2) that results in too many inconclusive draws or gallant defeats will not stop the axe from falling. He needs to wake up – quickly.


    • Thanks for such a thoughtful contribution. Agree re playmaker in the sense that all teams could do with someone like that. I think we can make more of what we’ve got. Will Sandro ever be fit for 10 games in a row? Paulinho and Dembele were played in the wrong roles by AVB and Eriksen is already looking better by being more involved.

      Re 442, I fear Utd and Ars***l could do serious damage to the current team. We will find out soon enough and it will be a real test for Tiger Tim’s qualities. However, he has played different variations of 442 so we’ll see what he comes up with.

      Regards, Alan


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