Spurs Head for the Beach In Trunks And A Sash

When it’s time, know when to let go with a smile and slip away peacefully. The final home game of the season took place in hot sunshine but couldn’t work up a head of steam and certainly didn’t fire up the fans.

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Even relegation-threatened Hull did not display the expected passion. In the end they succumbed meekly to two fine Spurs goals completely out of keeping with the leaden mediocrity of the rest of our performance. 2014-15’s time had come, and judging by the way the team have faded since the League Cup Final, it’s unlikely to be lamented.

Spurs trotted out resplendent in their new shirts, now on sale at the club shop. I haven’t bought a team shirt since promotion in the Admiral top with a collar and nasty cheap knitted polyester, but think I am right in saying that in recent years it’s not been available until early September and several games into the season. However it does mean that to keep up, fans have had to buy two different designs in one season.

Oozing PR blather like pus seeping from a blackhead, designers Under Armour say it’s part of our heritage, inspired as it is by the six lines below the cockerel on the emblem atop the West Stand. The six lines that are ENGRAVED ON THE HEART OF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. I think it’s hideous and inspired by a tin of Tesco Value Baked Beans but then I’m old and see Spurs in white shirts and navy blue shorts, nothing else. I don’t even know the squad numbers off the top of my head. In some ways I’d prefer if they just came out and said, “Look, we’re trying to flog as much schmutter as we can and what can you do with a farkuckter white shirt?” At least that’s honest. Leave the heritage stuff o when it matters.

Everyone’s ready for the beach. Even the ‘lap of appreciation’ was over in a trice and we strolled back to join the ‘queue of frustration’ at White Hart Lane station. The players nipped out, followed by excited kids holding a banner saying, “So long suckers, thanks for the cash.” Most people had left by then already. Except three Hull fans. Why do three away fans always stay behind for our lap of honour?

Every year I’m cynical about it, and every year I stay so the only sucker is me. It’s part of my end of season ritual. Endings have to be done properly and so I wait until the very last player has disappeared down the tunnel before taking a last look round the old ground and turning for home. Glad this season is done but wondering how I’ll spend the summer without it.

As the stewards came out near the final whistle as they do for every game, I chuckled that they were ready for the pitch invasion. Looking towards the Park Lane, the numbers of high-vis jackets meant it looked as if they really were. More like the brightness would wake a few people up. I can confirm there was no hysterical emotional surge towards the front as the players trooped round. I know it doesn’t matter in the slightest but they could make a bit more effort. Half of them chatted amongst themselves paying little notice to the stands. They used to kick a few footballs into the crowd and give out some tut from the shop, corny but why not. Adebayor posed for selfies last year (absent this by the way as was the club captain and the manager), again it’s corny but it’s some rare and precious interaction between fans and players.

Only Hugo at the head of the column and Kane proudly bringing up the rear really tried. Harry didn’t want to get off the pitch in a season that he will never forget. He will stay but this could have been Lloris’s last lap. I can’t see him starting next season, not even because he’s inspired by the new goalkeeping jersey. A sad loss but glad I could bid him farewell.

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We bade farewell to another Spurs keeper, Brad Friedel. Spurs gave him a new lease of life as his career looked to be on the slide. Not only grateful for the chance, he fully repaid us with much-needed reassurance at the back. The respect and influence he engendered behind the scenes was shown in the way the substitutes joined in the applause at the beginning and end of his half-time interview.

Through these soft-focus, misty lenses of my specs, more nostalgia. Or maybe they just needed a clean. Michael Dawson received a standing ovation from all four stands on the final whistle in appreciation both of what he gave us and what we have lost. I know what he could and could not do. I don’t see that what we bought was a significant upgrade and we could have sorely done with his spirit and heart.

Ah yes, there was a match. Spurs’ early intent was not matched by cohesive football. Several moves ended prematurely. At the back we looked unsteady but Hull like many opponents this term missed the chances that came their way. As the game went on, Hull appeared to be stiff with nerves and never showed the urgency I was expecting.

Into the second half, much of the same. Chadli and Lamela were reasonable in roving roles. It suits them, but other teams much better than Hull have exploited the gaps they left behind. Yesterday they combined to produce a fine goal. Lamela’s rabona brings me less joy than his ability to slide in a diagonal pass from 25 yards out. We’ve seen it several times this season. Here, it took out the whole defence and Chadli’s clever run took him past the keeper and he rolled it in.

That was my favourite but Rose followed close behind. He and Mason both had decent games. Their turn to combine, Mason chipping over the back four to Rose whose slightly mishit volley sailed in. Runs and through-balls that found the runners. Take note.

End of season and time for big changes. More about this over the next couple of weeks in the usual summaries of the season, but the essence is: these players are not good enough. Tactics, motivation, manager: all relevent but Pochettino has spent the last nine months discovering how thin this squad is, both in terms of talent and how their skills fit the way he wants to play. The optimistic post-League Cup Final articles saying we had the spine of a team in our youngsters were sweet but wrong. I like Mason, Kane, Dier and Bentaleb, Rose has come on leaps and bounds, but at a conservative estimate we need two centre-halves, one DM, wide midfielders who can defend as well as attack and two strikers to join these young men and create a strong squad with options. And that assumes Lloris, Eriksen and Vertonghen stay. But let’s worry about that another time.

11 thoughts on “Spurs Head for the Beach In Trunks And A Sash

  1. was at the game Alan, and was glad Hull missed their chances as I’m sure any other team would have punished us . Poch needs to sort our midfield and defence out next season , and only Rose amongst the defenders has given me confidence this season. The rest have cost us games, but I am excusing Dier here because he is still learning and needs the game time to improve into a great player for sure.

    Let’s hope we beat our last games against Everton and Liverpool lose so we at least finish a respectable 5th again.
    Keep up the good worl Alan.

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  2. Nice one. I agree. My end of season ritual is to get out before the final whistle heralds the usual unemotional lap of ‘honour’. I stayed behind when Mabbsy played his last game but in recent years, I get out of there as soon as possible and don’t look back. Another close season of rebuilding followed by another season of transition. An unending cycle to which I appear to be a willing participant. Pffft (as we sigh in the Paxton Road upper.)

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  3. Hi Alan
    Thanks for painting a picture of yesterday’s events.
    Did I sense a touch of melancholly in your thoughts?
    I didn’t think that my enthusiasm for this club could have reached a lower ebb but the new shirt is a clincher for me.
    Totally unrecognisable as the team that I support.
    I DO wonder if Levi and his cretins have a laugh together everytime they visit another indignity on the supporters only to find that yet again the paying public comes back for more.
    I support a boring team with horrible owners who’s relentless greed has stopped Tottenham in it’s tracks.
    As for next season, do we really need a soothsayer to predict how it will pan out?

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  4. It’s a lovely new shirt, but it’s not a Spurs shirt!!!

    I wistfully imagine it without the ‘heritage’ sash and AIA in big red letters. It’d be a good shirt then. It reminds me a bit of Stoke away (albeit black rather than blue sash) in the mid 70s. Almost as wistfully as I look at the side thinking one or two (4-5) changes here and there …

    Around 6th is what I was expecting last August, but the purple patch in the winter had me dreaming …

    I’ve decided I don’t like 4-2-3-1. I’d love Harry Kane to get the support he deserves.

    Another season of maybes as frankly Man Utd and Liverpool are precious little better than us.

    I look forward to the end of the season and Alan’s seminal summing up!

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  5. I was at Zuma Beach, just north of Malibu today with visiting family…a school of dolphins appeared out of nowhere on their trek northward, pelicans flew overhead, and my nieces cavorted in the surf. I had a thought about August 8, but I’ll think about that tomorrow! Thanks for the posts, Alan! 😉

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  6. My friend said the new ‘heritage sash’ made them look like Miss World contestants. It’s a little thing but, when marketing people with no feel for football tell me about Spur’s heritage, it’s just another insult. The shirt’s ok for a team that plays in white and wants a flash kit but Spurs? Needless to say I won’t be buying one.
    The performance like Rose’s hair was off colour. The goals were good but little else of note. I didn’t stay at the end. I don’t like goodbyes. I suspect it was Hugo’s last game which is regrettable, many others I will have no regrets over if/when they leave. I spent most of the time musing why we let Dawson go whilst Fazio bumbled along at the other end like a Bunje tribute act.
    The emergence of the youngsters papered over the cracks for a few months but the stark reality is that this is a terrible squad and it needs to be sorted out. The question we’re all wondering is will it be?

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  7. Even the offer of a free ticket couldn’t tempt me along for this one Alan 😦
    Quite glad to see the back of this season, but already fearing the summer – how are the board going to sell players that have seen their market value tumble, and won’t be earning the same elsewhere. Like BAE showed, 2 years being paid not to play football is a crazy way for a footballer to make a living, but can we really blame the players?

    The ongoing rumours of the future of the club / stadium etc just an added distraction again, why can’t the year at MK Dons just be announced, we all know it will happen. Or does it all really hinge on getting an American Football Franchise engaged? What days will we be able to play then…

    And the sad future of looking at Pochettino and Kane and almost ticking off the weeks until they are gone – depressing, but we have been here before and in my personal view, we are going to be there again. While many fans now seem to follow what appears to be the “Top4 or nothing” mindset, I still look at the Europa Cup and see it as winnable. Let’s see how poor a team we put out to ensure we don’t get past the qualifying round shall we 🙂

    To next season, and beyond!

    Have a good summer – enjoyed all the reads as always
    Simon

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  8. Hi Alan
    Completely agree with your assessment of the match. Apart from 2 quite good goals, the rest was unremarkable. It looks like we’re in for yet another summer of upheaval with the squad. I reckon another 15 or so players in the 20-30 million pound bracket should just about do it although I doubt whether our Danny boy will sanction anything much more than a 10 million pound net spend. But here’s hoping !!!
    Thanks, as always, for your very readable comments and analysis of the games this and every season. Most enjoyed in this household. Have a great summer, and I’ll look forward to seeing you again at the Lane next season , when I have no doubt that nothing much will have changed. Keep smiling
    Up the Spurs

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  9. I am hopeful about Poch but not confident.Ill give him till the end of next season to at least show where we might be headed but this season was a no decision.
    His decisions were not great and anything that went wrong was attributed to anyone but Poch. The players,the fans,but for me Poch hadnt produced enough to show he is capable.
    He cannot safely be on the sidelines of the players we choose. He HAS a choice.He can stand by what he believes and put his job on the line or say nothing,take the positives if it works out or simply defend himself by not being part of the buying process.
    To me its his ticket.Its his game. How should own it and face Levy.
    Levy is Levy.He will do what he knows and what he is comfortable with until he is pushed. Poch DOES have a choice.
    Does he really want Schneiderlin? If so put it on the line with Levy now.Pay the price for the talisman of your team.
    If he doesnt get what he needs then we will continue to be a club of excuses.
    Its great the kinds will coming in next season but is it enough?

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