Spineless Spurs: No Guts No Glory

The first few moments of wakefulness, befuddled your mind adjusts to consciousness and the day ahead,then BAM! It hits you. Your football team is hopeless. Wide awake now.

There are other descriptions. Rest assured they were used yesterday afternoon, frequently. I used up many last week. Stick with abject for now. Hopeless as in without hope best fits my emotional state for now. Not a literal assessment of Tottenham’s plight – it’s only early November – but sums up my feelings and those of many others, judging by the shellshocked faces in the queue at White Hart Lane station after the match.

Not everyone of course. Many were laughing, laughing at the players, the performance, the absurdity of Spurs allowing themselves to be in a position where they cannot fulfil the basic requirements of any football team, like defending, passing, trying. The absurdity of having expectations of at least some progress this season. The absurdity of paying all that money only to be catastrophically let down.

Spurs could not have made it any easier for Stoke to win yesterday. They did so without breaking sweat. For the third time this season, under no pressure, Spurs allowed an opponent to run unchallenged from halfway to score. This was after 5 minutes. Someone trying to get in the way would be nice, never mind a tackle. Not asking too much, surely. Hardly a supporter with an unrealistic expectation. Apparently it is. Second, give the ball away under little pressure, cross to a man unmarked, unnoticed. Chadli’s stunning late volley provided no consolation, only turned the knife. A reminder that it’s the hope that gets you.

Analysis of tactics and individual performance yesterday is immaterial if players can’t control the ball, pass it or move around so someone can pass the ball to them. No one emerged with any credit from an unremittingly dismal afternoon where performances differed only in the degree of negligence.

There are more fundamental questions to trouble us. The players are disorganised and lack commitment. They are not responding to their manager who appears powerless but recent shabby efforts have demonstrated that like his predecessors, he’s been left exposed and unsupported by his chairman. Supporters remain loyal but are increasingly distanced from a club that cold-bloodedly refuses to engage or respond. To repeat something from our previous home defeat to Newcastle, the resignation of the homeward-bound crowd speaks volumes. People have not been given a reason to care.

This is a spineless team in more ways than one. Every decent side has a strong spine. We have Hugo Lloris, not only top class but currently one of the very few who looks hurt by what goes on in front of him. Pochettino’s decision to have faith in Kaboul was always questionable given his injury record and now looks downright incompetent. No questions about his motivation – he’s just playing terribly. This week another potential stalwart, Jan Vertonghen, has been talking a good game in the media. Put things right, determined to turn the corner etc. Most publicity like this is not worth the effort of a single finger hitting the keyboard but ok, it was positive from a quality player who has to do the business for us. Come matchday, he’s not even in the side. Perish the thought that we paired Fazio with Kaboul to deal with crosses to Crouch only to find the ex-Spur was on the bench. Surely not….

Eriksen was substituted at half-time, such was his lack of impact. Capoue’s early season solidity has long since faded. The game passed him by, as can be said for his last five appearances. Up front the striking options are scandalously bare. Therefore we can’t rely on any of our experienced key outfield players.

I’ve seen worse Spurs sides but I can’t recall any as unmotivated or lacking commitment. Ostentatious fist-pumping and shouting is over-rated in my view but when we concede, there’s nothing. No arguments or fingerpointing, however misjudged. From where I sit I can look into their eyes and all I see is blank acceptance of the inevitable.

Motivation comes from a variety of sources. The right values offer inner drive and purpose, to be the best you can because that’s the way to be. Motivation has external stimuli too, a goal, something to aim for, or sometimes ‘away from’ motivation from the fear of the consequences of failure. In teams it comes from collective responses, do it for your team-mates, help them and they’ll help you. I see nothing except apathy and resignation.

Three reasons. One, too many of the signings don’t come with a built-in winning mentality. They want to stay within their comfort zone, play at their own pace and not impose themselves or change up if the game requires it. Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela to an extent, that’s our attacking midfield for most of the season.

Two, and related, many of these players didn’t sign up for a battle. They expected some success, progress in their own careers. Irrespective of whether they wanted it enough to work for it, they are not motivated for a fight. We learned from the World Cup that the best teams in the world work like stink, it’s nothing to do with the demands of the Premier League or the traditional virtues of British hard work.Too many of this shower want success without paying their dues and don’t want to fight for the right to play.

Three, they are not responding to the manager. I don’t know why. Pochettino’s pressing game is a distant memory – they won’t do it. If you need something else to worry about, this has become worse as the season has gone on. Too early to say if he has lost it with the players but he too talked this week about putting things right only for the message to fall on deaf ears.

For his part, Pochettino has to address a problem he’s not come across before, motivating and changing players who appear to be disaffected and who certainly aren’t responding. He knows from Southampton that he can motivate but with a squad that came with different expectations.

Our manager has had time to assess the squad. Almost certainly these are not the type of players he wants, especially for a high tempo, pressing, forward looking midfield that was the key to Southampton’s progress. That’s not his fault – probably. Levy true to form hasn’t backed him heavily in the market. I can’t believe it was Pochettino’s choice to have the three strikers now in the squad. However, we have no idea how Spurs’ buying policy works. It looks as if Baldini as Director of Football or whatever pseudo-management title he possesses buys them and then the coach gets on with it, fraught with danger at the best of times and fatal if you appoint a guy with a distinct philosophy.

In the end, there’s Levy, always Levy. His lack of a long-term plan for the club and an inability to judge a manager or to know what he wants from a manager and his staff have blighted our progress. He fires, hires then fails to give his man effective support. He knew what Pochettino wanted when appointing him. Or that’s what you would do if you were a diligent CEO of any other company in appointing your senior operational manger and leader. They come with a package, with demands. Not Levy.

I take no pleasure in this analysis. There’s no agenda here, just a supporter for half a century who still feels the pain despite the passing years and their seemingly inevitable disappointments. Supporters aren’t moaning for the sake of it. It is because we understand the heritage that we see the damage being done to our proud club. The problems on the field are profound but pale into insignificance compared with the distance between the club and alienated fans, precisely at the time when the club need us most.

Maybe all or some of this is accurate. Whatever goes on behind the scenes, everyone is culpable to some extent but 75% of the players need to take responsibility for diabolical personal performances over the past few weeks. What’s certain is that the consequences of any explanation are distinctly unpalatable. Players not responding to the manager. Chairman with a track record of lousy decision-making. The stench of decay and neglect hangs like a toxic cloud over N17.

74 thoughts on “Spineless Spurs: No Guts No Glory

  1. 4-5-4…we’re not even close to approaching ‘Arry’s benchmark, Alan — and I remember you criticising him a few times in the past. But I’m still holding out for the once traditional Spurs Cup run. Until we blow that! It is comical…if it wasn’t so sorry! Luckily, some of my other supported teams (some non-football) are doing well, including my original hometown (league two) team of Newport County…can I shout, Up the County! Because COYS doesn’t seem to do much, right now! 😉

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    • Couldn’t win a cup of tea right now Ashley.

      Re Harry, I would judge each manager on their merits and faults, and like to think I was fair on both counts to HR. Overall, he let us down at the end of two seasons plus some clueless performances, plus I never warmed to his focus on Harry not the club – but I would not have sacked him. I understand why Levy did get rid but I would not have done so unless and until I had the right replacement. And regardless of my assessment, I would have backed Redknapp not with unlimited cash but with enough to buy a striker and decent midfielder at least. All of which proves my point – Levy has no strategy, regardless of who the manager is. WHL was a terrible place to be yesterday, Ash – hope you were catching an extra dose of those rays.

      Regards, Al

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  2. I left the ground speechless Alan,even if I wanted to I was lost for words to even moan, with my cousin.
    I left him to catch the train back to Macclesfield while I walked down WHL crossing the A10 to my car. I was going over and over what went wrong and still had no answer ,my brain must of turned off to save my sanity from watching that bile of the so called beautiful game.

    Regarding the booing, I do not agree but I do understand those that do.
    Also I stayed right to the end, and was shocked that as soon as the final whistle was blown, a blast of loud music was played to drown out the booing. That got to me as I think they purposely did not want the fans to show there disapproval again. If you stayed to the end Alan, did you hear or see it that way ?

    We need to find a way to voice our disapproval at the way our club is badly handled by Levy, as enough is enough. What next another sacking as a scapegoat for Levy. Maybe he will fire Baldini, but this still changes nothing as he will find another to blame for his mistakes as chairman.

    I read that Klinsman was at the game, what must of he be thinking seeing the shambles we played.

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    • Macclesfield – must have been a long journey last night…

      I haven’t mentioned that because I simply didn’t notice the music any louder than normal from the centre Shelf, my usual seat. TBH I wasn’t paying that much attention and I heard booing loud and clear. I didn’t myself, don’t blame anyone who did. They deserved it.

      Regards, Al

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      • My cousin Tel is famous in Macclesfield Alan. There are 64 spurs members in Mac alone plus loads more in Chesire, including get togethers with other Northern Spurs from Stoke, Manchester, Newcastle and others up north. About 15 of them who knew each other from up north met at Tripolis in the Europa. Used to go to a few Northern games but it has now got to the stage it is too costly, which is a shame. Makes me laugh sitting next to the northern lot, when cockney spurs start calling the likes of Mancs northen b@stards, there face is a picture 🙂

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  3. It’s amazing how we have had three managers in the last year and it’s been pretty much the same problems for all of them. My hope is Pochettino gets to spend some money in January. If we had a quicker centre back with some leadership qualities and somebody to run midfield (Musacchio and Schneiderlin?) we might do a bit better.

    Oh and some width. Walker can’t come back too soon.

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    • Agree, and that’s what worries me. January is the worst time to rebuild a side – lack of available players, less time to settle in and have some impact. I just hope we have enough time. Also, why would anyone good what to come to us? Schneiderlin has no incentive to leave Saints any more, for example.

      Cheers, Alan

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  4. A powerful and compelling analysis, Alan. Thanks for leading this public group-therapy session with such insight.

    Where I was sitting there was widespread bemusement, genuine shock and laughter. We were that bad it was comical. Forget Klinsmann being in the crowd. This was the day that Keith Burkinshaw came back to the club (looking like a million dollars I must say, given he is in his 80s. Wish I looked that well and healthy now and I’m 30 years younger than him.) I’m sorry he had to see that shower. And he is a permanent reminder of how shabbily we treat those who give us everything they’ve got. I doubt there will be a manager in my lifetime who will bring us the success Keith brought over that eight (?) year period he was in charge. And, more importantly, the terrific football we saw. (And I know he was the manager when we were relegated but he is an example of what can be done when you support the manager and give him time.)

    The cynicism of modern corporate football was exemplified by the club blaring out rock music at the final whistle to drown out the boos. I hear some ‘Levy out’ banners were taken down by stewards pretty quickly (probably moving faster than most of our players.) Now I don’t boo and don’t necessarily want Levy out (be careful what you wish for etc.) but how stupid do they think we are? As we left we were laughing again – this time at the ridiculous attempt to silence the boo-boys.

    How to silence the boos? Sort out the football. It is risible. Endlessly knocking the ball across the field, midfield, then defence and then back to Hugo. Only playing one up front. A clueless defence. Having Fazio and Kaboul in the centre is like trying to boil water in a kettle made of paper. Players not wanting the ball or not knowing what to do with it when they have got it. With one exception – Chadli’s fantastic goal. Tellingly he wanted to celebrate in the north east corner but Kyle Naughton had to drag him back to restart quickly and possibly get an equaliser. Glad that Naughton got a sort of ovation for taking one for the team.

    As a Guardian journalist has said, we are a team of millionaires who think they are too good for Tottenham and want to play somewhere else, with some notable exceptions. Identify those players who give a toss, going right down to the youth academy, build a team around them, drop and sell the rest. If I was Pochettino I’d ignore Levy’s and Baldini’s demands that certain players have to play. What’s he got to lose? He is (wrongly) going to get the sack soon enough so why not go down being true to himself.

    And I shelled out nearly £100 today on tickets for Hull away and Chelsea home. I feel like I’m chained to a radiator in Beirut.

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    • I need the therapy too, from someone qualified….didn’t read the Guardian (for once) but that’s the point I was making about players who came here for success not to scrap it out in mid table or below. Do you really think Poch is told he must play some players? Heard anything?

      Thought I was daft with my £25 fro Newcastle…you’re a true fan Russell, hope the team do their best for you.

      Best, Alan

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      • Given your support for THFC that is a real compliment. Thank you.

        I had read in one of the papers that AVB was coming under a lot of pressure to play Adebayor. His refusal and the subsequent results were major reasons why he had to go.

        Reckon MP was appointed to get the best out of the ‘big name’ signings. If he managed it he’d save Baldini’s and to a lesser extent Levy’s reputations.

        When I heard the fans chanting ‘1-0 in the San Siro’ at Crouchy I felt sad. We have fallen very far from those heady days.

        Keep up the good work. And thanks for the replies. Very classy.

        Very best,

        Russ

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  5. You cant always buy the players the manager wants if it was that easy everybody would do it.A manager is supposed to manage,manage with what tools he’s got,and boy aint we got some tools !Sorry MP not up to it by along way,I wish he was but I cant see it.What I can see is a disaster in the offing.Why are we playing avb rubbish again 40 passes in our own half until the opposition have drawn their defencive lines and our attack has to try and go through it.It was crazy then and is now,God help us but I think even he’s about ready to give up.

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    • Certainly the sense that nothing has changed at all. Poch facing challenges, hope he’s not out of his depth, will give him the benefit but no doubt he looks hacked off.

      Regards, Alan

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  6. Hello Alan
    This may not be the worst Tottenham team ever but that must go down as the most laughable effort by our two central defenders that I’ve ever seen. Toe curling doesn’t do them justice, there were moments when I longed for those distant halcyon days when the likes of Osgood and Scott marshalled our back line.
    As for the rest, I’m afraid that even a 50 plus cynic like myself bought into the hype, but the fog of desperate hope has now well and truly lifted.
    These players are hideously overrated, how often I’ve said to myself that individually they are better than the opposition.
    The simple truth is that they aren’t, unless keepy uppies and crossbar challenges on the training ground point to a players potential.
    As for Levy, I’ll content myself with the hope that one day, a Danny Rose cross will sail into the west stand and smack him straight in the chops showering him with spittle and mud.
    It would easily top a trillion hits on you tube and rival our defence for a laugh of the decade award.

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    • Osgood and Scott eh…ahh the memories. Re the players, think we were justified in getting excited by some of the signings. Paulinho, Soldado, Eriksen, Lamela all had good records with the promise of more in the future. Couple of reliable scouts on twitter said we had bought well but we’ve ruined them. Paulinho’s mind shot to pieces, Eriksen especially disappointing.

      Here’s to the next 50.

      Regards, Alan

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  7. Spurs were horrible. I agree with those that say identify the ones that will play the football Poch’s Southampton showed (and why he was appointed) and run till they drop and sideline the rest. We have a fair few highly talented individuals that likely look good in 5 a sides but have little gumption and no game management, to use a buzz word.

    As you and others say Alan, it isn’t the worse side most of us can remember, but they look a lazy, complacent, supine shower at present.

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    • Complacent is exactly it. They expect the game to be played at their pace and aren’t up for a fight. They’ll walk away regardless of how well we do. State we’re in.

      Regards, Alan

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  8. Right on the money as always Alan. I think Mido is right, this is the worst Spurs side in ten years. Look how quickly the malaise has sucked the life out of the effervescent Ryan Mason (Pochettino overplays him and underplays Harry Kane), it’s a mere 47 days since his pile driver against Forest. And the woeful Adebayor now has the gall to lay into the fans, whilst admitting that the players still haven’t grasped what it is that the manager requires of the players. You couldn’t make it up.
    As Shearer correctly pointed out on MOTD, you can talk about tactics until you’re blue in the face, but many of these Spurs players are simply sub-standard. Pochettino surely must see this. He really has made a rod for his own back in double-quick time. If he doesn’t jettison the likes of Ade and Kaboul immediately then I have no sympathy for him. The line-up for the Asteras game was, at least on paper, pretty close to being our best eleven, I thought. Davies and Stambouli need to be given runs in the side and why not play Dier alongside Jan at the back. The latter is our top centre half, by a country mile, and yet Pochettino keeps dropping him.
    If radical changes are not made, on and off the pitch – how about sending the players and the manager to one of those corporate style bonding/motivational camps for a couple of days – I fear we will keep on sinking and Levy will pull the trigger by Christmas.
    If Pochettino does make it through the holiday period, Levy must surely back him in the window. Who would you look to bring in Alan? By the way, how extraordinary that we shipped out Siggy and Holtby. How many bum decisions can one club make? Any chance of bringing the latter back at Christmas, I wonder?

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    • Things are really bad if Shearer’s analysis is accurate…

      I can’t honestly say who to buy – don’t know enough about who is available, and be honest, would any decent player leap at the chance of joining us? I would not have sent Carroll on loan and why buy Stambouli if he is so far from the league team? To be honest, right now I have little confidence in any of them.

      Regards, Alan

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  9. Yes as everyone is saying a lamentable performance.Clearly MP is not getting his message across or the players aren’t capable of following instructions.Or won’t.
    There is too much money in the game and these players have very inflated opinions of their own ability.Sadly it appears that major surgery is required to the squad.A leader or two is essential because nobody takes control when things go wrong.Yes Dawson and Parker had their critics but they cared and led from the front.However do you do that with the present manager or promise a new one?
    Levy has a lot to answer for as it seems he does not back any manage with the purchases he wants,but instead fobs him off cut price inferior alternatives.All to hopefully turn a profit in 12-18 months.Unfortunately Lloris will be gone either in January or the summer.
    It is truly a dismal state of affairs.

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    • Dismal indeed whichever way you look. I think you have to be damn sure about the quality of the squad before you get rid of a player like Dawson, but whoever is taking the decisions about buying or selling is showing poor judgement.

      Cheers, Alan

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  10. what an excellent summary. The DNA is weak and it needs a massive overhaul of players(gutless) to be shipped out and ambitious ones in.. Baldini must go and poch has to have 2 years with his players.

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  11. The buck stops with Levy. The failure of the players recruitment strategy is down to him. Never in Spurs history has so much money been spent so poorly. The players generally have a losers mentality. They blame the size of the pitch, the crowd’s lack of support or failure to understand the managers tactics. They don’t want to accept responsibility for their errors. No one sprints back to defend, they just seem to jog back and pass on the problem to someone else. How can Bojan run so far without a challenge? Why didn’t Kaboul come out to block the shot? Why is it that when Rose goes forward he has so little cover?
    Levy must dig deep and get 2 or 3 key players that Poch wants with a winners mentality .

    Poch must sort out the defense quickly. When a team struggles to score conceding easily does not help. What on earth are they doing in training?

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    • These errors are inexplicable – all in the mind, it’s a lack of focus collectively and individually that is getting worse not better.

      Regards, Alan

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  12. Agree with all previous s posts but have to say Those who criticized Harry just because he pandered to the media and dared to say he wanted to manage his country should take a good hard look now. Levy got rid of him because he dared to ask for backing in the transfer market and to get the players HE wanted. Levy wants a manager in the ‘continental style’ so that he, via his puppet Baldini , can buy players THEY want in order to turn a profit further down the line. In terms of success, on the football field…crap, in business terms ENIC were asking that American mob 1 billion for a club they bought for around 70 million so Joe Lewis will no doubt see it as a huge success. ENGLISH NATIONAL INVESTMENT COMPANY, that’s what they are and that’s all they’re interested in.

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    • Of course ENIC are in it for the money, rospur, BUT IF SPURS ARE VERY SUCCESSFUL ON THE PITCH THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO SELL THE CLUB TO SOME RICH YANKS FOR £1BN. However they are not successful so they CAN’T sell it for £1bn!!
      Believe me ENIC want to make Spurs successful on the pitch; that is the only way they will make lots of money by selling the club. However they can’t seem to manage it, can they? You’ll just have to put up with it I’m afraid. ENIC want to sell the club for lots of money, but they can only do that if they are successful on the pitch. The longer Spurs are unsuccessful the longer ENIC will remain in charge!

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      • This is what I’ve said repeatedly about Levy – even if you look at it from his business investment point of view, not buying key players at key times for successive managers and creating uncertainty due to manager churn just does not make sense to me. I’m not asking him to break the bank, just to support managers and follow their advice. CL success is lucrative – so why not go for it?

        Regards, Alan

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  13. Sherwood didn’t have Levy’s total backing either. Levy didn’t buy any new players for him in the January window. Sherwood had a long injury list to contend with and fans thought he was tactically stupid, yet Spurs performed much better under “Dim Tim” than Pochettino! Just compare the results Fans thought Pochettino might be another Mourinho, but he is just another Juande Ramos.

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  14. And to think that some people blamed the tortured supporters.for not cheering loud enough…..
    For me I want the best for Tottenham.I havent lost my hope yet and probably wont for quite some time.There needs to be changes.But asking for a new buyer when you dont actually own the club doesnt really carry too much weight,but expecting some changes is reasonable for a good reliable supporter. I mean I’m not suggesting we fire Poch but i wonder if he was asked by anyone at the club what some of these games were all about. If we the team cant play coherently then please explain coherently,even through an interpreter,what we were trying to do and why we looked like we weren’t doing anything? Is that too much to ask? What is your intention?

    and by the way….Why did you even think of making Kaboul a captain?

    I mean I really didnt get AVB,I was not interested in Harrys palaver or Sherwoods nonsense but Poch with all this recent history an knowing all off this is trying to be worse?????

    Banners have been flowing at the Lane with Bill Nick sayings,Remembrance week asked us to remember the fallen.
    I’m dying to forget. We get reminded every week.

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    • Those Bill Nick banners offered hollow comfort on Sunday, Ron. Like they were twisting the knife…and the subsequent comments about it being the supporters’ fault is pathetic.

      Appreciate your regular comments Ron, always good to read your heartfelt thoughts. All the best, Alan

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  15. There is not just a poor mentality at our club, there is a sickness pervading all areas of it.
    We seem to turn capable managers, who’ve had success elsewhere, into shambolic figures of derision. It can’t all be them simply failing!
    We turn capable and even excellent players with other clubs into uninterested and indifferent poseurs at ours ..playing at Spurs simply for the money, and with no interest in really working with the manager and/or sweating blood to forge a top team; and then we (the fans) have picked up on this misery, like spoiled children, and run with this inverted Glory of failure. Like the Geordies who support Newcastle, we almost enjoy, or wallow in, our misery because, like them, we feel that success is our right. Misery makes good bed fellows.
    Anyway, success isn’t our ‘right’ ..but what IS our right, is seeing players genuinely doing their best, whether they have what it takes or not to succeed at our club. Holtby was a case in point, and what a shame more players don’t have his attitude.

    It seems rum and oh so boring to keep mentioning the imbalance that has existed since Modric, VDV and Parker ran the middle of the park, and Bale, plus a more vibrant Lennon, ran the flanks. With a ‘loyal’ Harry (not tainted or lured straight after his court case by the sirens of England management) we should have kicked on, made the CL a regular stop-over, and carefully built on that squad from 4 years back. Instead we’ve gone into the transfer market like a Baldini in a china shop .. resulting in us going back to the mid and late 1970s, or the mid 90s (one League Cup, under Graham, of all people, not withstanding) right through to 2004/5.
    From the increasing optimism of the past 10 years, we’ve returned now to the days of mid table emptiness, with just the odd Glory player, the occasional good game, but no consistency, no real pattern of play, and little hope of getting back up amongst the big boys ..and the signs were there with all those bashings by the top clubs last season.
    Chadli, for all his (insignificant or non game changing) goals, is a setback, not an improvement. Fazio and Chiriches? How the hell did we end up with such incompetent defenders? At least Kabul tries to be a leader, as Daws was, but he too (because of injuries) is no longer up to the pace. Paulinho (enuf said), Dembele (a shadow of the player who first arrived here), Ade (the hunger has gone), Soldado (a sorry and bewildered if likable mess), Capoue (another who flatters to deceive), Vertonghen (‘why am I here?’), Lennon (ineffective and misused now anyway), Townsend (too predictable), Stambouli (what was that all about?) and so on.
    To be fair, they were all much better at their prior clubs, I’m sure, which goes back to my original point of what is it with Spurs?! Look at Sig for Swansea! Why couldn’t he impose himself like that with us (he was given enough chances)? Dembele at Fulham was three times the player he is now. It would be so easy to say ‘let’s have a clear-out’ ..retaining Lamela, Kane, Mason, Bentaleb, Lloris/Verts (although both will be on their toes soon, especially Lloris, as every time we get someone decent, we act like an obedient little feeder club for Real Madrid), Dier, Walker, Rose/Davies, Vorm, Eriksen (although he’s starting to become worryingly fed up with life at Tottenham too) etc.. All young players, some of whom may not be the greatest Spurs players one day, but can at least be cured of the sickness that is currently prevalent at the Lane.
    And then finally, the owners. Maybe Levy, for all his best intentions, should pack it in now ..taking his director of football with him.
    Maybe all it takes is a new broom to sweep away the gloom (I’m a poet), once and for all at the Lane.

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    • Sig wasn’t, he was asked to play a style that didn’t suit his natural game. Same with Dembele.
      Chadli is flourishing because the style suits him. Lloris, Mason and Bentaleb also suit the style.
      Verts, Kab, Faz, Cap, Eriksen, soldado, Lennon, Paulinho and Townsend no. They’re all good players if played to their strengths (in my opinion).

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      • Commentator said recently about Spurs that the method and formation should be designed around the individual strengths of the players — What a revolutionary idea, that was probably one of the first basics recognised when strategy and tactics were first discussed hundreds of years ago. All very well to say the 100 million quid crop of players is responsible — but not if their strengths are negated by one coach after the other, all with their pet theories all played on one note that they hold inviolable.

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        • This is a good question. What came first the chicken badge or the egg?
          The answer is obvious but not easy.Not all players can play any system and we dont have the money available to find all new cogs.
          So what do we do?
          Does Poch dump his philosophy and work with the clay he has?
          Do we get rid of Poch and hire another Harry? (Pullis?)
          Will the players turn around and play for Poch like they have never played for Poch?

          What a mess.

          .

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          • Difficult choices. Getting rid of MP would exacerbate the situation. Spurs do not have the money to buy a solution – Man U spent far more than Spurs, Arsenal’s wage bill is a lot larger than Spurs, can’t offer CL and we can’t compete with money. Changing styles has to take time in Spurs case.

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            • I’m still for Poch staying but we all,I’m sure,want to see some coherence soon. Its not just about winning,its about something developing.
              I watch Fazio.To look at him he looks like a World Cup stalwart but doesnt look like he has the pace for his league. Picking Kaboul as captain was a terrible choice.
              Really nothing is going too well. I think we are much better than this but we have to see something to say,that this is what we thought we would get. So far we are waiting while the clock ticks…

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              • I’m in full agreement with all of your points – and it’s up to MP to find the answers, that’s what he’s paid for. The talent is there, he has to find a way to best utilize it.

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    • Again something else I’ve written about is the we buy players and then don’t play them in their best position, or don’t play them at all. Partly this is a function of the constant change of manager – they try to fit square pegs into round holes. Redknapp had problems with some aspects of his teams but this was his strength – good players in the right position and let them play. He was successful when he did this, less so when, say, Luka was played wide left.

      This should not be an excuse for players, who are performing way below an acceptable level and some can’t be arsed which is unforgivable. However, Paulinho as advanced midfield, Siggy out wide, Dembele as DM, buying Soldado without giving him the service – ruined their careers with us and wasted a fortune. And don’t get me started on lennon and Townsend as inverted wingers.

      Cheers, Alan

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  16. Pochettino hasn’t lost the dressing room, but only because he has never had it. Can anyone really see him being able to turn this around before the January window going on what we’re witnessing now? Even if he were to make it to January, no way will Levy will sanction another spending spree.
    I hope he’s only renting.

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    • One perfectly legitimate interpretation that to be honest I just could not bear to write about. Similarly the idea of replacing two thirds of a team in January when we are in the bottom half of the table.

      Nothing personal but hope you are wrong.

      Regards, Alan

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  17. As far as I’m concerned, the players (especially the CBs) are being asked to play a style they’re not suited to – Kab and Faz are slow, to expect them to turn and chase a player is asking too much of them. Their strengths are evident when Spurs play counter attacking football – that’s what was played against Arsenal. Dier and Chiriches suit the high line but……

    Spurs also don’t have a “lone striker”. Abs is the closest but not an ideal lone striker. Playing Soldado with Kane and have Eriksen deeper would suit their styles (in my opinion). I don’t believe getting Eriksen to act as a defender / harasser helps his creative game.
    All of this could change as the team gets fitter and faster but we’re talking 6 – 9 months so next season.

    I’ve supported Spurs (and, being a Bermondey boy, Millwall ) and will continue to support them regardless of the results but I’ll keep hoping for miracles….. one day….please finish above Arsenal!

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  18. The problem is we do not play the same team twice. In europe Chelsea, Everton, Man City and Arsenal palyed thier strongest team. The same team then played the next league game 3 or 4 days later. We don’t therefore there is no continuity and the palyers never get used to playing together.

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  19. Hi Alan
    I’m impressed that you were able to write this article without going into a complete rant, or have you given in to the general apathy which seems to be enveloping WHL right now. Mo PO quite obviously does not have the players who can play to the system that he wants, therefore he should come up with a system that the players can play to and feel comfortable with. Until he can get the players that he wants he is going to have to change his idea’s to suit what he’s got.

    Unfortunately, at the moment we have a group of over paid, over pampered, pathetic individuals (they’re NOT a team) who seem incapable of putting in a decent tackle and are obviously so sensitive that they can’t be allowed to hear the crowds opinion at the end of the match in case they burst into tears. Its pitiful !!!

    Also, I’m growing increasingly fed up with hearing Mo Po and the players saying they need to work harder in training. Sod that !!! They need to work harder on match days !!! These are professional sportsmen we are talking about. One of the few things they have to do is keep themselves fit. If they can’t do that there is no hope. Then they could spend more time developing tactics for the next match, of which, the only one we seem to have at the moment is the ability to hit the first defender at pretty much every corner or free kick

    I could go on, but have got to go to work now to earn the money to be able to afford to watch this rabble under perform again in a couple of weeks time

    Up the Spurs

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    • ‘Work harder in training’ is just the modern euphemism for ‘we’re not doing what the manager wants us to’ – which Adebayor effectively confirmed in his post-match interview that got all the adverse publicity. As well as having a go at the fans, he talked about problems with the manager getting his message across. Maybe but if they won’t do the basics of putting in the effort and concentration, tactics don’t mean a thing. Pitful on Sunday, symptomatic of a deeper malaise spreading throughout the club that starts and the top and does NOT include the fans.

      Best to you and the family, Alan

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  20. I’m afraid I booed at half time. It’s the first time I’ve ever booed the team. I felt ashamed of myself for doing it afterwards but I felt they deserved it. Not because just that first half was poor but because the last several games have been so utterly gutless as well.
    I said last week it was the worst team I’d seen in 10 years. It’s starting to look like the worst team, I’ve seen period. Not because of the ability of the players but because of their attitude. Raw talent there (Chadli’s goal the only glimpse of it on Sunday) but zero commitment with a few exceptions. Their many deficiencies are highlighted many times above.
    The announcement of ticket availability for Chelsea away at £59 for Bronze members followed by Adebayor’s interview merely highlights the growing gulf between the Club and the supporters.

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    • Booing more understandable frankly than staying silent, Pete. Sometimes it is the only way of conveying the frustration. I’d like to think that plus professional pride plus a gee-up from the manager at half-time might make a difference but not with this shower – and that’s the biggest problem of all.

      Regards, Alan

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  21. Watching the last few weekend games makes me question why I am getting up early, EST, to watch this team , who looks like they are asleep as well. The players just do not seem to “get” the system, the players do not have any idea where they are supposed to be on the pitch, is this a manifestation of poor coaching, or lack of motivation and caring or all the above. Sundays game and first goal are a clear exam, of both no midfield defensive presence and failure of an incompetent central defensive pairing, that was the worst performance I have ever seen at Spurs in the center. Fazio is in way above his head, it seems, too slow, poor on the ball and no ability to deliver a forward pass. Kaboul a shell of a player, I think he is trying/cares but that does not cut it, there are no medals for 10th place, sorry. When Stoke had the ball in it’s back 1/3 watch 4-5 Spurs players converge on the ball with no sense of commitment, one easy pass out and wham, counter on the way unimpeded. Like basketball, a crap press will get ripped to shreads. I am planning to cross the pond this spring to see my first Spurs match at the Lane, while it’s still there, but I have to tell you brothers it’s getting damn hard to keep the motivation up to do so, I will continue to hope and support til the end, but I need a refill of the sublingual nitro. Even the struggles of that other North London team doesn’t seem to salve this ache. Allan thanks for the great read, it is something I so look forward too, and understand how it can become a burden, especially in the dogs days, thanks again! COYS.

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    • Appreciate your kind comments Edward, helps writing when you know someone looks forward to it. I’m not exactly approaching the Lane with a spring in my step these days and it only takes me 90 minutes or so. Flying several thousand miles – heroic. It will be worth it just to be there.

      Endorse your comments about the team – if I had a pound for the number of times I spluttered, ‘what on earth are they doing?’ on Sunday….

      All the best, Alan

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  22. You hit the nail on the head where you talk about motivation and acceptance Alan. On Stoke’s first goal, you’d think that someone would have noticed it hit Diouf in an offside position and that would have lead to some protests, heck even someone just appealing to the ref. On Chadli’s goal, he pretty much celebrated on his own. He was extremely fired up by what was a great strike, but when he turned round, no one came to him, so he just jogged back to halfway. I sense that there is something much deeper going on that we don’t know about.

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      • I don’t think it’s lack of motivation. The players seem too busy thinking about “where should I be now?”. Doubts are creeping in because players are playing in a style they aren’t comfortable with. Put them in a team playing the style they’re used to and you’ll see a different class of player.

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        • The style doesn’t fit the players or the players don’t fit the style – agree totally. That is the big problem and hard to see what can be done in the short term because that applies to so many in the squad. However, there’s no excuse for not working back when we don’t have the ball. They look to me as if they aren’t motivated to do that – sincerely hope I’m wrong!

          Cheers, Alan

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  23. Well, we are entering interesting territory with all three parts of the pyramid (manager, players, management) in a sense of denial, pointing fingers other than at themselves. First the pitch is too small, then the players don’t like their own supporters, and now management drown out the cheers or otherwise of their own fans at the end of the game. What I don’t get is that the manager, a former centre half for Argentina, for Heaven’s sake, seems unable to organize his midfield and defence into a passing semblance of a tight unit. After nearly 20 games his selections border on the obtuse and the likes of Fazio, etc. appear as skittish as kittens when attacked singly, or as a unit. Pochettino admits his set up is wrong by scrapping the game plan at half time, but he was playing Stoke, fer Crissakes, they are hardly Barcelona and you know what you are going to face. But a manager can do so much – his players have to accept responsibility and no one can account for Danny Rose switching off and allowing his mark so much time and space to pick his spot for the second goal. I’ve taken Rose to task in recent weeks and his inconsistency is mind blowing. Sunday was a typical example. He failed in his defensive duties for the second goal and then manages to set up Chadli’s goal. The sooner Yedlin arrives, the better. Hopefully the international break will allow everyone to clear their heads. Bentaleb and Walker are closer to a return to help Mason and his midfield. I can’t leave without drawing comparisons to Harry’s QPR who attacked Man City with speed and technique that recalled the days when we had a spine. It’s far too early to build a Poch Out bandwagon but he isn’t doing himself any favours and wasn’t it just a year ago that AV-B looked fairly secure and planning his Christmas party piece?

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    • An unappealing choice David – more change or more of the same.

      Agree re Poch – I just don’t get how an Argentinian centreback can’t organise a defence better. Explanations for this and many aspects of our play unfathomable and I can’t believe Fazio is an international and captain of a La Liga side. Time to try Davies at left back. And from the denial shall emerge action – except that usually denial is followed by more denial and/or lethargy…

      Best, Alan

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      • Alan,
        I got so caught up in the wave of outrage at our recent form that I forgot to say that I’m starting to warm to Chadli. He has put together a growing collection of goals in a poor team and seems to be in the right place at the right time when it counts. Sunday was a case in point. It would have been easier for him to bottle it from such an acute angle and pass inside, but instead he trusted his technique and took the roof off, in more ways than one. In a midfield of Eriksen Lamela and Chadli he is neither one thing or the other. But in a midfield of four he could have a more attacking responsibility. Maybe he replaces Townsend as our current go to choice for width, but he gives an end product to go with it. I’ve a horrible feeling that Townsend will be offloaded as a make weight in any future deals. But Chadli looks like a keeper (no pun intended) and he can nail down a spot as an attacking midfielder in a more settled line up.

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        • I agree, he’s playing well. I’d be tempted to try him as a lone striker. He’s big, can run, can score, can pass, can hold up the ball – and makes himself available for the possible pass.

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        • I think Chadli is a big part of the problem, David. At least he is as a midfielder alongside two other attacking midfielders. Churlish to complain about goals but he does no work. Hugely talented, he is not prepared to work back or get himself regularly in good positions. Always leaves his full-back exposed. We just can’t afford that. Build a system that allows him to drift forward, i.e. someone else does the work and in return he gets the goals, OK then do it, but don’t play a pressing game and expect him to participate.

          Regards, Alan

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  24. Talking to a Southampton fan who asked what I thought of MP…. said I wasn’t sure yet. He made the point that Poch works best with a relatively young and hungry side keen to impress and work hard. Seems to be the case, only he doesn’t have one now. Large number of players who think that the way you get to play in the Chumps is to get bought by a club already there, not improve the side you’re in by trying a bit. Looking at the effort some of them make, that’s not going to work for them.

    I feel most sorry for Hugo, really. I wouldn’t blame him for leaving.

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    • Confirms my point about comparing Saints with now. Dealing with experienced players with an agenda and high expectations is new for him, he’ll have to learn on the job and it could be painful. And talking of pain, that’s how Hugo looks most of the time. Top player, top attitude. One of the few winners at the club.
      Regards, Alan

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  25. Is there light at the end of the tunnel,Alan? Does the Evening Standard have it right?
    Is there a consortium out there willing to maybe try and make some money and collaterally give us,the Navy People,some good gifts?
    We do deserve it. Please.
    Joe,go easy on them. Its not worth a Bil even though I can see Mike Myers doing Levy in the the NBC ad asking them for 1 Billion Dollars.
    Please Joe.Lets get it done.

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    • Who knows Ron, and that’s the problem. Having been patient I would shed no tears if ENIC departed. However, a quick look on wikipedia reveals that the company allegedly interested in Spurs specialises in leveraged buyouts, i.e. they use income from the club to pay back the loans used to buy the club in the first place. There could be the seeds of long-term problems, especially if Spurs do not do well. Anyway, these things tend to be unfounded rumours that seldom amount to anything.

      Regards, Alan

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        • There are a lot of investment companies in the US that support good businesses and help them grow.Its not all doom and gloom. I think for them to buy Tottenham,they would be looking on the positive side.Its a company that needs investment and can grow. The assets are not so big. Football team.Iffy Stadium,average players,not a quality area.The only way to make money would be to help make is a success not a failure

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  26. Alan

    not sure why but you activities have suddenly titillated (in a very unlike contemporary THFC manner) my AVAST antivirus. Is there a problem of which you’re aware?

    Pip, pip!

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    • Steve and everyone – there should not be any virus problems on the site. Tottenham On My Mind is hosted by wordpress.com, not my own server or another company, so it is rock solid, and the photos come from Getty, again with a worldwide reputation.

      Let me know if there are further problems. Regards, Alan

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  27. I’m a lifelong Spurs supporter who started going to games in the early 60’s. Now living across the pond and suffering from afar. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more frustrated with the situation at Tottenham in all the years I’ve supported them. Your comments were spot on and brilliantly articulated. I’m fortunate that I can watch all the games over here and listen to several podcasts. Why is it that we can all see the problems that are so evident and yet the organization refuses to address them!

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    • Good to hear from you, Steve. Can’t answer your question though. Not sure anyone can. Certain Levy can’t, he has lost his grip on strategy. I am, if I say so myself, a fair-minded person but I cannot for the life of me work out what they are up to.

      Regards, Alan

      Like

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