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DaveYid

21-year-old student. Officially became a Spurs follower at age 15 but definitely made up for it by having Spurs as my number one thing to talk about for eternity. Plus I have 'past experience' as a Spurs fan at age 8 when I was taken to my first game - a 4-0 thrashing of Watford featuring Ginola, whose goal left a memory of that match firmly burnt into the back of my mind for good. I've never regretted it since. On the side, I love music too ;)

Jun 072012
 

Hi guys.

I play fantasy football regularly on a site called Picklive.

It has been known as ‘fantasy football on crack’ with their ‘live games’ where you pick five players from the teamsheets in a particular televised matchand those players accumulate points in real time based on what they do during the 90 minute game.

OPTA, the statistics company are involved in tracking that activity and logging it for the purpose of converting it to points which can win prizes.

Picklive cover premier league, champions league, europa league and international tournaments like this one.

There are great cash prizes up for grabs using stakes ranging from FREE [no cash prize there] to upwards of a few grand…

But as it’s kind of an ‘off-season’ at the moment and there’s an international event on, Picklive are just holding the normal kind this time. The £2,500 prize pool is one where you pay £15 to make a team of 11 players across ALL TEAMS. But here’s the difference – NO TRANSFER BUDGET LIMIT! 

You heard it right, there isn’t a set budget like the others. So if you want Van Persie, Ronaldo, Nani, Terry and Klose in the same team, you can have them! The only restraint is that you can’t have more than three players from the same country.

PLUS – The prize-pools are only a MINIMUM. If the number of entrants exceeds a certain number in any cash tournament, the prize-pool increases. Prizes are paid out to the top-three places.

In a £1000 Fantasy Football tournament for the final day of the season (£10 Stake).

1st Place – £600
2nd Place – £200
3rd Place – £100

(Picklive took a rake of 10% from the total prize pool)
If you can’t spare £15, which many of u can’t, you can play in a £10 tournament, join mine (£5) , or even create your own and invite others! Choose the stake and the phase in the tournament, pick your team, invite a few mates/office colleagues and away you go.

You can even have a tournament ‘for fun’ and just compete for bragging rights. No cash required.

However, if you sign up using my link – https://www.picklive.com/r/YJNHHRNTZFDADXSJAEZD and deposit some cash into your Picklive account, you can get an extra £3 on top. Sounds meager but that is enough for one cash entry where the prize pool is a minimum of £30.

Go to the homepage and scroll down to see the many free, low stake and stupid stakes tournaments available.

Tournaments I’ve set up:

GROUP D:
https://www.picklive.com/weeklyff/remote_games/446
Euro2012 Phase  – Group D
Stake – £5
Prize Pool – £10 (increases if more people join)

BUDGET EURO2012 TOURNAMENT FF:
https://www.picklive.com/weeklyff/remote_games/490
Euro2012 Phase – ENTIRE TOURNAMENT
Stake – £5
Prize Pool – £10 (increases if more people join)

Email support@picklive.com and ask anything you like about how it fully works and
what’s what 🙂

Have fun if you join up!

Good luck!

Jun 042012
 

Yet another degrading company-sponsored cup...yay...

Old news I know, but it’s once again annoyed me that the Football League Cup is changing sponsor from Carling to Capital One, a Credit Card company.

The Football League Cup has gone through a tonne of names since its inception:

Period                 Sponsor                                          Name

1960–1982 No main sponsor                Football League Cup
1982–1986 Dairy Crest                                         Milk Cup
1986–1990 Littlewoods                        Littlewoods Challenge Cup
1990–1992 Rumbelows                                 Rumbelows Cup
1992–1998 Coca-Cola                                      Coca-Cola Cup
1998–2003 Worthington’s                         Worthington Cup
2003–2012 Molson Coors                               Carling Cup
                                                                          Mickey Mouse Cup*
                                                                                 Tin Pot Cup*
2012–2016  Capital One                               Capital One Cup

*2008 – Present: Informally known to fans by either of those two names. Both widely accepted names
amongst Premier League fanbases. Rumoured to be re-named ‘Crapital One Cup’,
‘Capital Fuck-Cup’, ‘Two Teams One Cup’ or even the ‘Ballina Cup’.

What kind of sales increase are Capital One expecting to achieve by acting like another faceless corporation – desperate for customers who, if they bothered to realise, are trying to pay off their LAST credit card anyway – plastering their logo all over a trophy, which five of the top six premiership teams don’t care about anymore (unless of course they get knocked out of the FA Cup and Premier League title race where all of a sudden it’s worth-winning again) and in truth, was only established as an excuse to test new floodlights in football stadia??

The name ‘[Insert company] Cup’ doesn’t roll off the tongue properly (say each one out loud without cringing and I’ll buy you a pint) and yet those companies’ ideals behind it remain just as cynical as they’ve always been about customers suddenly dropping everything else to buy their products/services. I even got annoyed when presenters of FA Cup coverage had to say ‘The FA Cup…’ and then add on ‘sponsored by E-ON’ and then later ‘with Budweiser’ (which isn’t that good anyway, so no wonder they were desperate to plaster it over anything and everything they could!).

What sponsors of sports events think we think:
WOW, COOL, SUPER, SMASHIN’, GREAT – Capital One are sponsoring the cup now. I’m going to cancel ALL my other credit cards with MasterCard and Visa just so I can sign up to Capital One. They really do connect to me and speak to me now that they’ve plastered their name all over this cup in football, the sport I love so much and watch so often while drinking my Carling Lager and betting on the score at ESPN‘s sponsor Bet365 [as William Hill‘s odds didn’t come on until about 45 seconds before kick-off and by then it would have been too late!] with the money stored in my Barclays bank account, which I maintain at the bank I drive to using the Ford car sponsoring Sky Sports’ live coverage which will be reported in scoreline form on Sky Sports News, by which time I’ll be back at home, sitting in my armchair watching it while sniffing my armpits which have been sprayed with Sure For Men deodorant!

What we REALLY think:
What an absolute fookin joke this trophy is. Bloody corporate advertising vehicle is all it is now. Go buy advertising space in the paper, on the god-awful banners stuck around the edges of our stadiums or on TV like everyone else. Stop ramming it in our faces when we’re trying to escape into the world of watching the footy, drinking and celebrating in a homoerotic fashion when our team scores. Sod off, sports sponsors and sod off, Capital One! Leave these once credible trophies alone. Invest money in another form of advertising. Or better still, form a company football team and WIN the damn thing. You can then have your company name engraved on it for nothing!

BTW, One isn’t even a capital! It’s a number not a letter. Jeez.

“With the glory of cup competitions dying out. Its hard to find high octane gambling at all points through the season. At www.jackpotcity.co.uk its cup final day every day with big stakes gaames taking place around the clock”

Apr 152012
 

Firstly a message for Martin “Double-Vision” Atkinson:

‎”Referee” Martin Atkinson, you are a disgrace to the game. You watched that ghost-goal from a better angle than the linesman and you still give it even though it was NOWHERE NEAR the line!

I hope you can’t sleep tonight after once again propping up the ‘bigger club’ for your own ends and theirs.
I hope you realise the need for a few more refereeing lessons on what is defined as a goal.
I hope you hang your whistle up or put it somewhere really really safe!
I hope you know what I meant by that you double-vision, biased blueblood.
You got it wrong wrong wrong and you know it.

Not taking anything away from Chelsea and Didier Drogba who ravaged us in the end, but that’s not to say
that the second goal (ghost-goal) wasn’t a veritable tipping point for it!!!

Martin Atkinson had the best view of it where there were no players blocking his view, and he gives the goal regardless. Time and time again, we have been screwed over by referees, whether it be over a bad penalty claim, miscommunication of a free kick or goals which in reality were or were not.

How many big games do we have to lose before goal-line technology gets implemented in football or an appeal system is put in place to help referees make better-informed decisions???

I had a look at FIFA’s rather weak arguments for keeping technology out of the game and will demonstrate them one by one, using mainly England’s World Cup defeat in 2010 to Germany as an example. A goal which should’ve been given in one scenario; and a goal which shouldn’t have been given in another scenario.

Apart from pure penny-saving, FIFA have no other valid reason for rejecting every call for such technology to be introduced.

I will make holes in every point FIFA have against it so that they eventually look like Sepp Blatter’s native cheese type—Emmenthal for those enquiring further. For even more information on the topic of Swiss cheese with holes in it, google “Swiss cheese” or alternatively “Diego Maradona’s liver.”

But before that, let us look at their mission statement and what they stand for, besides profit like any business does (even though sport was never meant to be commercialised):

1) THEIR MISSION:

A) “Develop the game…”

HOLE— They have not developed the game much beyond the “silver goal” rule in extra time, as implemented by current president Sepp Blatter.

B ) “touch the world…”

HOLE— Rather than just touching the world, they’ve given it a nasty poke in the eye with full force by trying to save money any way they can, notably by rejecting goal-line technology.

C) “and build a better future.”

HOLE— Any new technology is for the future!

In the past and in the present, officials have had to bare the brunt of outrage when they get a decision wrong and also have to live with it for a long time afterwards (ask that Soviet linesman from the 1966 World Cup Final for more details).

Introducing technology like this will ensure that officials’ decisions are corrected if wrong the first time and prevent backlash because decisions are final and they can change everything in a game.

2) WHAT THEY STAND FOR:

…Integrity— They ‘ believe that, just as the game itself, FIFA must be a model of fair play, tolerance, sportsmanship and transparency’:

HOLE— Fair play goes out the window when a legal, above-board goal isn’t given and also when a total non-goal is given.

Tolerance?

That’s a funny one, considering that they’re not listening to good ideas put before them.

Sportsmanship isn’t there if players are allowed to dive without being disciplined for it by referees being too gullible to deal with weak South American or Ibero-American players in particular.

Transparency means you can see what their true agendas are. Judging by their persistence with rejecting goalline technology, one has to ask whether there’s a hidden agenda somewhere. Their reasons which I’m about to blow holes in don’t ring true to me, hence me blowing holes in them.

So here we go then.

Fresh from the 124th meeting on March 6th of the IFAB regarding FIFA and their position on technology in football are FIFA’s reasons for not implementing goal-line technology.

Take everything written by them with a pinch of salt. You certainly will after you remember all the duff decisions made by officials over the years:

POINT 1)

FIFA SAYS:

The universality of the game: one of the main objectives of FIFA is to protect the universality of the game of association football. This means that the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world. If you are coaching a group of teenagers in any small town around the world, they will be playing with the same rules as the professional players they see on TV.

I SAY:

It’s still the same rules! It’s just with technology introduced to verify officials’ decisions.

If they mean ways of officiating the match should remain universal, that is also flawed.

Lower tiers of tennis and rugby do not have “Hawk-Eye” (tennis) or audible dialogue (rugby), but even though hawk-eye in professional tennis was initially opposed by purists, Hawk-Eye has now been widely accepted, but with the compromise of limited challenges against an umpire’s decision.

Technology in professional rugby has been welcomed without the call for it in grassroots rugby. Still, officials presumably confer with each other on giving tries at grassroots level if needed.

POINT 2)

FIFA SAYS:

The simplicity and universality of the game of association football is one of the reasons for its success. Men, women, children, amateurs and professionals all play the same game all over the world.

I SAY:

If it’s the same game, it should be the same rules. As in the ball being over the line means a goal, regardless of whether it hits the back of the net or not!

POINT 3)

FIFA SAYS:

The human aspect: no matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being. This being the case, why remove the responsibility from the referee to give it to someone else?

It is often the case that, even after a slow-motion replay, ten different experts will have ten different opinions on what the decision should have been.

I SAY:

Who says the referee would need to be stripped of responsibility at all?

There are at least two giant video screens at every major stadium which play replays and follow the game on camera. All the referee would have to do is watch a short replay of the issue at hand. Maybe the referee can alert the 4th official who can ask the screen-operator for a replay of the desired event.

I mean, all the 4th official does is hold up an LED monitor at certain points in the match (OOPS, MENTIONED TECHNOLOGY AGAIN. MY, MY, AM I NAUGHTY!). It’d give him something else to do. Seriously though, those LED thingies aren’t seen at grassroots football, yet FIFA and all other professional football governing bodies use them at matches.

What’s more, LED indicators aren’t vital, hence grassroots games getting by quite easily without it.

At stadiums, substitutions and injury times are announced on a PA system anyway! That too is technology used by FIFA. So basically, they haven’t lived up to their mission statement of universality of the game. If they truly had, there’d be nothing electronic at stadium matches.

One more thing, technology is made by humans, so technically, human arbitration is always present in football. This type of human-made intervention (goal-line technology) in football would help to REMOVE ALL HUMAN ERROR.

POINT 4)

FIFA SAYS:

Fans love to debate any given incident in a game. It is part of the human nature of our sport.

I SAY:

THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE JUMPING FOR JOY WHEN OUR TEAM GETS SCREWED OVER FOR A LEGITIMATE GOAL!

Fans also love to call governing bodies of football money-grabbing fat-cats because of their commercialising football through countless adverts without caring for the spirit of the sport itself.

Fans would still have other things to debate like team selection and individual players. If anything, some fans no longer want to talk about goals/offsides that weren’t or officials that aren’t!

POINT 5)

FIFA SAYS:

FIFA’s goal is to improve the quality of refereeing, making referees more professional and better prepared, and to assist referees as much as possible. This is also the reason why refereeing experiments (such as with additional referees or the role of the fourth official) will continue to be analysed, to see how referees can be supported.

I SAY:

ANOTHER WAY TO IMPROVE REFEREEING IS STARING YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE!

Goal-line technology would save an awful lot of earache for referees and assist them as much as possible like they aim to do. FIFA aren’t even prepared to experiment with goal-line technology. Despicable stubbornness prevails here.

POINT 6)

PART A

FIFA SAYS:

The financial aspect: the application [or testing] of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level. Many matches, even at the highest level, are not even televised. For example, we have close to 900 preliminary matches for the FIFA World Cup™, and the same rules need to be applied in all matches of the same competition. The rules need to be the same for all association football matches worldwide.

I SAY:

The cheek of it: FIFA have made MILLIONS from international tournaments, enhanced further by giant sponsorship/advertising deals.

For the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, ticket prices have been astronomical! It makes Category A ticket prices at White Hart Lane look like a couple of pounds! Take a look at the following link:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/pricesandmatches.html

Pay attention from here:

As you can see on their site, the best pitch-side seats (Category 1 ) for a group game cost $160 each! That’s over £100 per ticket!

Taking an average of the South African stadiums in use for the event—with both capacity and attendance considered—they take in 50,000 fans every time. 30,000 of those tickets would be Category 1 (along the pitch) while the other 20,000 would be behind the goals or in the corners (Category 3 ).

30,000 Category 1 tickets (pitch-side seats along the touchline) sold per match at $160 each take in $4.8m (nearly £3.2m) every match. 20,000 Category 3 tickets (behind the goals/in the corners) sold at $80 each (approximately £53) take in $1.6m (just over £1m).

$4.8m + $1.6 = $6.4m ~ £4.2m per game.

$6.4m multiplied by the number of group games to which this pricing applies (48)
equals a massive $307.2m (around £200.4m) just for that phase of the tournament!

It begs the question of—apart from paying for energy bills (surely not all of the revenue goes towards that) and staff—where does the rest of the money go!?

Surely some of that revenue could be retained for use in experimenting with goal-line technology at least, otherwise people may get suspicious of FIFA board members simply lining their own pockets.

Wouldn’t look very good seeing as their aim is to contribute to the “good of the game”, would it?

PART B

FIFA SAYS:

The experiments conducted by companies on technology in football are also expensive. The decision of the IFAB, after careful consideration and examination of studies conducted in recent years, to give a clear answer on technology in football is also positive in this regard as these companies will now not spend significant amounts of money on projects which in the end will not be implemented.

I SAY:

You need to test technology before deciding to implement it anyway! Duh!

POINT 7)

FIFA SAYS :

The extended use of technology: the question has already been raised: if the IFAB had approved goal-line technology, what would prevent the approval of technology for other aspects of the game? Every decision in every area of the pitch would soon be questioned.

I SAY:

What the hell is the difference between investing in goal-line technology and investing in LED thingies, earpieces to communicate and signals in the linesmen’s flags which alert the referee of an offside call (the latter three technologies already being in force throughout professional football) besides the degree of usefulness!?

The flags with signals are the least useful. The referee does have eyes (in theory) and it’s out of line with what Sepp Blatter said about “keeping the human aspect of refereeing in football.”

If FIFA wanted to keep refereeing so human-based, why did they need to blow millions on flags that make a sound using one-button signal technology when the referee should be able to see the flag being raised/waved by himself?

Hypocrisy I say!

POINT 8)

FIFA SAYS:

The nature of the game: association football is a dynamic game that cannot be stopped in order to review a decision. If play were to be stopped to take a decision, it would break up the rhythm of the game and possibly deny a team the opportunity to score a goal. It would also not make sense to stop play every two minutes to review a decision, as this would go against the natural dynamism of the game.”

I SAY:

Union rugby is a “dynamic game.” Tennis is a “dynamic game.” I’m guessing what FIFA mean by dynamic is that it’s fast-paced and would look very lacklustre if it stopped too often.

Maybe so, but in football, referees may choose to play advantage on fouls. That’s enough to keep a game flowing as much as possible.

In rugby, the game always stops for scrums and throws but that’s one of the rules and fans of that particular sport still maintain enjoyment. Only boring people get bored quickly and FIFA representatives sound like that right now.

It doesn’t take a massive chunk of a referee’s life to reconsider and look at a video replay (another good idea in my opinion).

In rugby, tries can be reviewed. Can take a while but as I said, fans of that sport do not mind because it’s all in the name of totally fair and impartial refereeing.

In tennis, players can challenge a call (up to a MAXIMUM of three times in a game) and it’s a simple 10-second clip of the ball’s path and point of landing. A substitution of a football player takes longer than that!

What do FIFA want to do next?

Deny throw-ins because they “stop the game”?

Are you going to have all the subs just randomly throw a ball back onto the field to keep the game “flowing” or will the game just be abandoned because it “slowed down too much?”

Give me a break…

IN CONCLUSION

Compromise is something FIFA missed out in their mission statement. My proposal would be to introduce it but, like in tennis, have a limited number of challenges (I would accept just one as that’s the usual number of controversial decisions in a match if any).

It’s not just the ball which had crossed the line at the World Cup, it was the level of FIFA’s stubbornness and unwillingness to discuss the issue with advocates of goal-line technology. I call it a “Blatter problem.”

There is absolutely no point in having rules or professing them if you’re just going to forget those rules, one of which states that a goal is granted if the entirety of the ball crosses the line.

Why does the net have to ripple for it to be a goal?
Why does there need to be a scuffle on the goalline for it to be difficult to make the right decision?

You might as well not have a “back of the net” and instead stick a badminton net there!!! At least it ripples immediately when something hits it!

PLUS…

It doesn’t need expensive testing (more money in FIFA’s pockets and pensions, eh?), the ripple is more “visible” to even the most Uruguayan official’s eyes and doesn’t involve “TECH-NOLOGY”, that word which—when said in the company of Sepp Blatter himself—constitutes one euro being put into the company swear box.

I bet Sepp Blatter still sends messages to FIFA colleagues via homing pigeon! Get with the future you want to build, not the past which you evidently want to live in.

I am now going outside to catch a pigeon with strong-enough legs to carry this much writing to Switzerland and back…

Mar 232012
 

Set-piece, set-outcome. But I’ll get to that a bit later as it didn’t become apparent to many people until the first goal went in. Stoke were taking quite a peppering from us throughout, with Bale whacking the bar with earth-shattering force, Saha having a go from distance only to be obstructed by a classy save from Begovic; and Parker losing his chance for a debut goal just by slipping over after Kranjcar slid a sumptuous pass through to him. We have scored in every home game this season and (thankfully) it continued on Wednesday. Van Der Vaart to the rescue again halfway through stoppage time.

Whenever Spurs have a set-piece to take ourselves, it never pays off or is just wasted; and whenever we have to defend one, it usually costs us important points and obviously hasn’t been addressed in training. Stoke were the best litmus test for resolve in taking and defending set-pieces. We failed on BOTH counts.

TAKING SET-PIECES –
Kaboul should not be the first-choice to take free-kicks for us.
He has become a tremendous centreback and that’s just it – he’s a defender not a striker.
I’ll admit we hardly ever score free kicks with the likes of Bale and Van Der Vaart, but the laws of probability dictate that a midfielder or a second-striker – trained slightly more intensely in the art of shooting at goal – is more likely to score a free kick once in a while. Kaboul either hits the several-man wall or sends it sky-high for any passing skydivers to catch on their descent. If you want power and accuracy, Bale’s left-peg seems to have been doing extra dumbbell reps on its own considering the two thunderous shots he fired at Begovic on Tuesday.

Our corners were also horrendous that night. Always deep towards the near post for Stoke to simply boot away. What happened to that one we took against Chelsea a few years ago where it was passed wide to Modric on the edge of the penalty box and fired it low to give us a 1-0 win?? That one worked against the best team at the time, so why wouldn’t it help us in other games? We had the same manager and almost the same players outfield, most importantly Modric!

MY SOLUTION – Revert back to the Modric element. Stoke and other teams nucleate in the penalty box during corners (‘park the bus’ if you like). If the ball is played just outside it to Modric, they have to either disperse immediately to re-mark attackers or stay as they are. It makes their situation more difficult to deal with. If not, then just launch it high and long towards the far post somewhere near the six-yard box if all else fails. Either one is better than passing it to an opponent for clearance.

DEFENDING SET-PIECES –
I don’t need to say much. All that flapping around demonstrates it all for me. I get nervous whenever we have to defend one. Defoe has been spotted by me standing on the right hand side of the defensive wall against a free kick, despite being only 5ft 7in tall!

If the defenders completely lose their cool, Friedel flaps around and a goal is conceded. Bassong used to clear the ball by heading into either open space or the path of an attacking player. And even with Bassong at Wolves, I’m still getting the jitters, both for them AND us :p Stoke scored from a well orchestrated set-piece, with Huth once again ramming himself into the penalty box to set up Cameron Jerome.

MY SOLUTION – Replace Defoe in the wall with someone taller…does Harry think a 5ft 7in midget – standing a full ten yards away from the ball – can jump high enough to head a powerfully-struck free kick clear of goal?? I’ll leave that up for discussion…

If the coaching team don’t get wise to set-piece play soon, opponents will exploit that week-after-week. If nothing is done, we better hope that all other teams’ concentration remains on our great open play.

I think out ship will be steadied by the end of next week, but currently, our set-piece play has gone to pot. Anyone want to enlighten me further as to why?

UEFA Champions League 2011-12: Time for something completely different…

 "Arrys Triffic Thoughts", Random "Triffic" Blogs, Uncategorized  Comments Off on UEFA Champions League 2011-12: Time for something completely different…
Feb 142012
 

I know this won’t be Spurs-related (until next season!), but I thought
you might like to see the preview I wrote for the last-16 of this season’s Champions League.

We don’t have a premier league game yet, the FA Cup’s not until the weekend, so why not take the time as a neutral to take in a bit of Champions League football:

http://www.bleacherreport.com/articles/956686-2011-12-uefa-champions-league-last-16-power-ratings

If you read it, thank you and enjoy!

Feb 032012
 

Well, we wanted a HUUUUGE signing on deadline day and we got Saha instead.

But it can’t be all that bad can it?

We’ve had worse haven’t we?

I’m in two minds about Louis Saha; a lot of you may not be. You have presumably taken one look at him and thought: “Naaaah he won’t do the job for us, especially with the run of games he may have to deal with over the coming months…..by the way, Nelsen’s crap too and since when did New Zealand have a national football team?”.

Saha’s current fitness is also believed to be under par.

Let’s look at him from the beginning:

In his earlier years with Metz, he wasn’t setting the place alight, but when Fulham – a lowly Division One (now known as the Championship) team at the time took a £2.1million chance on him, the return on that investment surprised everyone watching them. He notched up 27 league goals in 43 appearances during his first season with the Cottagers and sent them up to the Premier League, where they have remained ever since. But the next two seasons saw him dip very low in his league form. However, in what was to be his final season, he scored 13 goals in 21 appearances.

Financial troubles influenced Fulham’s decision to sell Saha to Premier League big-boys Manchester United, but the £12.8million Fergie shelled out for him didn’t return much at all and when compared pound-for-pound to the price Fulham originally paid for him, it makes our sale of Dimitar Berbatov look almost reasonable from Fergie’s perspective. Whilst his first season was again favourable (seven goals in 12 games), the ‘Forlan Syndrome’ struck Saha as in the next season he got just one in 14 league games.

Then his form picked up for two seasons, AAANNNND then down again.
The season-by-season form of Saha ‘inverted’ when he was at Everton.

You are probably apprehensive because of his erratic scoring records. And it scares me too. Are we going to get another Defoe, another Pavlyuchenko or worse – another Zamora (in Spurs form)???

Ooooohhh the mystery….

I’d say Saha’s a box of chocolates. We don’t quite know what we’re going to get.
But he sounds very excited about playing for us so I’d give him all the support he needs for now.
Liverpool would be a good place to start as Defoe’s niggling injury lingers on.

Which reminds me – We have to get some NHS funding for Spurs Lodge. It is practically a hospital for half our squad. Sign a new doctor in the summer, because they are by no means free on the NHS!

Till Monday King Louis…although Ledley I will need to abdicate before you are considered for that title 😉

Jan 142012
 

We were held to a 1-1 draw by our bogey team Wolves, and much against the run of play I might add. A controversial corner became a controversial goal after Steven Fletcher – always a thorn in our side – tapped in a rebound despite Spurs peppering Wayne Hennessy’s goal up the other end of the pitch. A Spurs equaliser would’ve been deserved minutes afterwards but Adebayor’s tap-in was flagged offside. However, we had yet another case as replays showed a Wolves defender playing him onside.

In the second half, we continued the pressure and it paid off quickly as Luka Modric salvaged a point with a clean strike at goal – the LEAST we deserved after the first half. But even with the addition of in-form Jermain Defoe (subbed on for Lennon), we couldn’t get the goal needed to tie with Manchester City on points at the summit of the Premier League table.

I’m just writing to say ‘cheer up lads!’ and give a bit of a pep-talk:

 It wasn’t a loss and we all know the Northern teams tend to park the bus. In he first half, Wolves had about three attacks compared to the ones we had.

I couldn’t see the second half of the game as I had to get on a train to Northampton for a party. Had to make do with BBC live text. As a matter of fact, I’m on that very train as we speak.

We are still very much in the title race with us being at the most [if they beat Wigan on Monday] five points behind Manchester City. In terms of Spurs’ quality of football, the performance today wasn’t much different from the ones we’ve been thoroughly enjoying lately, it just had less League points and you can’t win them all.

There is still time to close the gap. We have the PLAYERS; we have the TEAM; we have the MANAGER and – long time coming this one – we have the BELIEF to just dust ourselves off, get back out there and grab some more points against all the top teams in the coming months.

We have won away at Man City and Arsenal even when we weren’t as good as we are right now (but we were still pretty good back then!!), so it’s possible to repeat it.

This weekend, I won’t go round with a raincloud over my head as so far this season, the team have done us proud and will surely continue to do so in the tail end of this wild-ride season.

If you are going to slate anything on your chosen forum this weekend, slate fate, nothing/nobody else.

Today had that echo of glory which Sir Billy Nick mentioned; surely you heard it and saw it too (in the premiership table). So dust yourselves off and look forward to next week’s showdown with Man City.

Well, this is my stop; but it’s on the train, not on supporting Spurs until the bitter end, WHATEVER HAPPENS!

COYS!!!

Dec 072011
 

As a Spurs fan, I can’t help but go to bed smirking about the Citizens’ short-lived and somewhat underachieving exploits in the tournament. I think I’ll take an opportunity to speak my mind here:

As soon as Manchester City thrashed Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane, the Sky Sports pundits quickly started to compare them to the likes of BARCELONA! Well I wonder if they’ll now stop counting someone else’s chickens before they’ve hatched. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

Barcelona would start their season with a thrashing and keep it up across the board [Champions League], not in one particular competition [the Premier League]. If Manchester City are Barcelona, then Tottenham Hotspur must be the new Manchester United….Exactly, it hasn’t got to that stage and won’t for a while!!!

Dec 072011
 

As a Spurs fan, I can’t help but go to bed smirking about the Citizens’ short-lived and somewhat underachieving exploits in the tournament.

I think I’ll take an opportunity to speak my mind here:

As soon as Manchester City thrashed Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane, the Sky Sports pundits quickly started to compare them to the likes of BARCELONA! Well I wonder if they’ll now stop counting someone else’s chickens before they’ve hatched. One swallow doesn’t make a summer as we have just seen from the Champions League.

Barcelona would start their season with a thrashing and keep it up across the board [Champions League], not in one particular competition [the Premier League]. If Manchester City are Barcelona, then Tottenham Hotspur must be the new Manchester United….Exactly, it hasn’t got to that stage and won’t for a while!!!

Nov 072011
 

I think Harry’s doctor had to turn Harry’s hospital bed back around and wheel it back inside after that match on Sunday!

It was another fantastic clash between Spurs and the real club in South West London – Fulham. Our old boss Martin Jol was in charge of our opponents yesterday. It was a game of two halves for us once again.

We were repeating our current match form in the first half. Lovely tippy-tappy football from Bale and Lennon in particular, the scorers of the two goals we deserved from the game.

But in the second half, many of us felt like joining Harry in the cardiac unit! Fulham came back firing on all cylinders and far exceeded Spurs’ shot tally within the space of half an hour. Dempsey, Murphy, Zamora, Hangeland, the nearby pigeons, you name them, they were there in the penalty box! Fulham started piling on the pressure and our defence lost track of the fact that you never get a 2-0 first half lead at Craven Cottage and expect to keep it for very long.

Even The King lost his way which may have rubbed off on Kaboul when a frantic corner led to Kaboul being Fulham’s only way past a [insert exaggerative profanity here] heroic Brad Friedel. The ball bounced off the heads of both our centrebacks to give Fulham a lifeline and bring the score to 1-2.

The mayhem didn’t stop there as another corner scared Spurs again. Kyle Walker cheekily got his hands on the ball while Friedel was down after a parry. One commentator said of this crucial incident – ‘Walker has done everything with that ball apart from sign it’ after seeing him handle it like a goalkeeper. All appeals for handball were waved away by the referee as the crowded area made it difficult to see the ball at all. Modric was a saviour of a goal too, clearing the ball off the line near the right post.

2-1 to Spurs looked like the final score and considering the second half we had, it looked like slightly more than we deserved. We were already past four additional minutes and it looked like a close game.

Cue Jermain Defoe – Our diminuitive dynamo officially killed the game off using a well-worked cross from Adebayor to volley a straight shot just past Mark Schwarzer’s outstretched hand. However, this would be Adebayor’s only significant contribution for the entire game.

About the defence, I don’t know what got into the back four in the second half. It’s another classic case of score two and relax if we’re keeping a clean sheet.

At times, the fullbacks were too far forward and not getting back quick enough to reach the likes of Dembele, Dempsey and Riise who were going hell-for-leather at our goal with shots flying from all directions. Modric was in two minds about whether to cover the right flank or move to the centre to defend, leaving open space for any Fulham player to fill.

Fulham had their fair share of set-pieces around the penalty box and in corners. It took reflex saves from Friedel to prevent upset and the defence couldn’t cope with so many Fulham players, flooding the penalty box like bees round a honeypot. They should’ve taken the victory from under our noses.

But hey it was probably one lapse, a blip, even if it’s not supposed to happen with King in the centre 😛

Sep 242011
 

That Liverpool game was absolutely astonishing. And fortunately this time, it wasn’t in the ‘we got thrashed 5-1’ kind of way. It was the ‘we thrashed them’ kind of way. We had our long-serving stalwart Ledley King in defence, we finally had more than one decent forward upfront in Adebayor and Defoe (eventually) and most notably, we had the finest central midfield in the league. The dogged holding role of Scott Parker plus the playmaking ‘eyes-all-the-way-around-the-head’ prowess of Modric, along with a rip-roaring goal from the Croatian. All those factors ensured that Liverpool hardly got a look-in on Brad Friedel’s net and when they did it was either offside or shut down with immediate effect, as the usually rampant Luis Suarez found out.

The scoreline, coupled with the quality of the football we witnessed on Sunday [the latter undoubtedly irrelevant to Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel being sent off] made for yet another memorable clash with the Reds. However, to add another downhill slide to the constant roller-coaster which is ‘being a Spurs fan’, we crashed out to Stoke in the League Cup on penalties after a goalless draw. The regulation 90 minutes was illustrated in perfect detail by about five seconds of footage on BBC’s League Cup highlights show. My pondering mind now asks this:

Do Spurs need bulky centre midfielders like Sandro anymore? Or are they a lot better off with creative playmakers and solid peddlers of Cruyff’s brainchild ‘total-football’ like Parker and Modric? Are Spurs better with their tradition of slick midfielders with ‘Fizz’? Or should they stick with ‘Fizz-ique’?

FIZZ:
Last Sunday, it was a rare treat to watch Spurs win against such a high-profile team. The last time that happened was last November against Arsenal on their own turf, and in unlikely fashion. The team we had on Sunday didn’t contain any real beefcake in the form of Sandro or Huddlestone like Harry would usually employ for possession purposes. Modric and Parker made up the central midfield with no holding player behind them and commanded it briliantly. Parker’s dogged defending as well as his combination with Modric made him look like there was a well-built 12th man on the field for Spurs as it kept possession for Spurs in long [and joyful] periods. Call it a Shallow Hal moment but in reverse. We see Scott Parker as a tad scrawny but he possesses the strength of a large defensive midfielder.

Add Kranjcar, Bale and to an extent, Walker to the midfield and you have Adebayor and Defoe supplied with more ammo than the Royal Barracks. The attacks were so mercilessly frequent that there was hardly a need for defence.

However, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Games aren’t always going to be won with pure fancy trickery, because if they lose the ball, they might not always win it back.

FIZZ-IQUE:
With Palacios dropped to the bench and eventually sold to Stoke, Sandro has had his chance to shine in the League for Spurs. And he has shone. His ball-holding abilities and sheer desire to win possession hasn’t gone unnoticed. He is even known to possess a Huddlestone-esque strike which blasted past Chelsea keeper Petr Cech in the most recent Chelsea v Spurs game. Huddlestone is a great playmaker known for long passes out wide to set the team up for wing attacks. His shots are also ferocious and in recent times his goals have been pivotal. He scored a solitary goal against Bolton in Spurs’ 2009/2010 top-four campaign to help us towards 4th place with a vital three points. Last season, he scored a blinding goal against Arsenal which went through the legs of Van Der Vaart on its way into the net. Spurs were 3-1 down before that goal but went on to draw 3-3 after a Van Der Vaart penalty late into the second half.

The flaw in bulkier centre midfielders is that some of their short passes can be very wayward and so that loses possession cheaply. Not only that but as awe-inspiring as long distance goals are, they don’t come often from Sandro and Huddlestone. But then again nor do they come from Modric or Parker often enough.

It is difficult to compare a bulky midfield in a non-essential cup to a full-on attacking midfield in a more important Premier League clash because it was two different teams and two competitions of differing significance. obviously the manager decides which competition is a priority. Harry did so through the strength of his squad selections and for the Stoke game, there was a complete change of personnel barring the defence. So we can’t be sure which is best.

Maybe we need to wait for a few more games. Good things come to those who wait don’t they?

Discuss…

Aug 282011
 

This is no boo-boy coming at you. This is honesty and fact. Do not try and adjust your computer screen.

We’ve just been thrashed by City (well, Dzeko really) 5-1, conceded eight goals in total, scored one, won none and plummeted to 20th place, with two more gruelling encounters coming up with the likes of Wolves and Liverpool.

Midfielder-hoarding and favouritism has now cost us dearly. I don’t need to name names as there’s only one manager per-team. His persistence in placing Crouch upfront (or anywhere else) is now beyond explanation following another ineffective performance. Crouch’s partnership with VDV was effective a year ago, for two games, but not now. Today’s headers went almost nowhere and shaved the wrong side of the post.

You could say Van Der Vaart hasn’t been at his best lately, but he can still create things whereas Crouch looks more like a glorified centre midfielder or a jack-in-the-box who jumps up at random points to show us that he is still on the pitch, taking up the space of a more effective player.

Well, I’m now the one who’s wound up and ready to headbutt anyone in the way.

Following today’s humbling by Man City, my patience with Crouch is now completely drained and my reservations about dawdling with the January transfer window over a PROPER striker have now been compounded.

If we offloaded Crouch and not bought more midfielders than we could sell, we might have freed up enough cash for a permanent striker by now! But no, we had to maintain what could of made up a second senior squad!

Sometimes I think the powers-that-be are a law unto themselves, blaming everything else apart from their own actions with not selling players who really aren’t doing their bit for the team anymore. Redknapp can’t even see who we need and instead wants to overload the squad further with midfielders, while it was our forwards and defenders in need of replacing due to being sidelined with injuries!!

Pav might have been the key to our striking problems with a constant run of games but evidently Harry is excellent at burning bridges. Adebayor is only on-loan, so we need another striker who will be permanent.

Can you honestly tell me we needed Pienaar given all the other midfielders we had at the time and still have now?

It’s like trying to swallow that last Krispy Kreme doughnut when you’ve already ingested the other 11 in the box. You only want it because it’s there, you don’t need it; and it clogs up the space for more important things like an all-round striker and a defender who has a fear of hospitals.

Pienaar is already looking like the next Niko Kranjcar. And by that I mean getting splinters in his arse, which isn’t what I want for Pienaar or Niko. Pienaar’s injured, yes, but maybe that’s the only time he’ll be mentioned on team news updates.

I can’t actually fathom what our formation is going to look like in a few months time.
Oh wait, I can:

Friedel

Dawson________Kaboul________BAE

Lennon_VDV_Huddlestone_Parker_Modric_Kranjcar_Bale

____________where a striker used to be________________

The new patented Redknapp 3-7 formation!

There are too many midfielders and not enough top strikers to score goals.
Van Der Vaart is an attacking midfielder, not a striker.
Defoe is a good striker but needs others to work with him.

I appreciate what Harry and Levy have done for the club in recent years, BUT that doesn’t mean they can be immune from criticism when necessary. I don’t want Harry out on his ear, but I do want him to change some of these favouritist attitudes he has about certain players and his tactics. Levy already annoyed me when he sacked Martin Jol. The Stratford thing took the piss [and it has continued with this appeal to the OPLC] and there’s always going to be a slight resentment about that.

Do we need to be relegated before Harry realises that maybe he shouldn’t have bought all those midfielders just for being ‘triffic’?

We’re obligated as fans to not knock something until we’ve tried it. We’ve tried it, it hasn’t worked…on numerous occasions and so we have to knock it.

I’m hoping and praying that this midfield clogging goes no further than Pienaar, e.g. leave Parker alone.
But hey, Parker’s scored one or two goals before so he’s triffic; stick him upfront instead. That’ll get us 20 goals a season and shut me up…