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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!!!

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…

Jul 292011
 

Maybe I shouldn’t go any further with removing the cling film from the major can of worms that is Luka Modric possibly leaving us for Chelsea; another story chewed over so much that the Innocent Drinks Co. might consider it as an idea for a new smoothie flavour.

However, I like having the final say on stuff, especially football-related discussion. So, I have been wondering what would happen if Modrić DID leave for £30-£35m. Would it be that bad? Would it give other midfielders a chance perhaps?

Maybe this would be a sign of Harry crawling back on all-fours to Niko Kranjcar and both Croatians have expressed a desire to leave The Lane for different reasons.

From here I’ll assume that Modrić has left and Kranjcar is still here:

Let’s touch on the financial implications first. Modric surprisingly doesn’t believe in paper contracts, much like other footballers who don’t know what the words ‘legally-binding’ and ‘United Kingdom Law’ mean when signing a contract. So he’s decided to forget that he signed a new 6-year contract and forget that he appreciated Spurs for giving him exposure in the English League. Chelsea started with a rather paltry £22m bid, only a few million more than what Spurs paid for him back in 2009. But then they got more serious and offered closer to £30m. £25m plus Drogba would’ve convinced me to sell Modric. Playing hardball is the key to a good profit and a possible last laugh if he flops like Berbatov did in his first few seasons at United.

Chelsea have recently upped their bid to £30m PLUS a striker! But it was Daniel Sturridge who was to be included, not Didier Drogba. Sturridge would be a slight gamble whereas Drogba would be a surefire hit as we’ve all seen it for ourselves.

Kranjcar could finally get a proper run of games to exhibit his finesse on the pitch. I believe Kranjcar can do exactly what Modric can do and more. Modric has scored 9 goals in 91 appearances while Kranjcar has scored 11 goals in 40 appearances including the matches he entered as a substitute. That matches how many Robbie Keane has scored since returning from Liverpool, barring one extra appearance by Keane. A great playmaker like Modrić is a fantastic asset to any team, but a great goalscoring playmaker is even better!

Croatia’s national team are the Mexicans of Europe. They’re not the most successful in international competition, but they can sure put on a show like their more successful continental opponents; with a feast of fluid football and the odd individual trick thrown in, the only difference between them and teams like Brazil and Italy is a major trophy; and that doesn’t do them justice.

You say I’ve gone way off topic, but not quite. What I’m trying to say is that every Croatian midfielder I’ve seen play in recent years has great vision and skill on the ball. Kranjcar and Modrić share those attributes. It seems as if Slaven Bilić ensured it was a criteria for getting called up.

And even if Kranjcar was to leave as well, we’d still have perfectly good back-ups to fill the void. Giovani Dos Santos would get the games that he should’ve had when he first arrived. Bags of energy and skill from him would give the team some added pace. Sometimes the way we play can be laggy, passing across the pitch rather than towards the goal purely for possession purposes. No point in having the ball if you’re not going to do anything with it. Dos Santos is even more forward-thinking than some of our strikers.

If there was a complete clearout of the three aforementioned players, there’d be more incentive to look within our reserves and academy for a replacement. Dean Parrett will be great I’m telling you.

Have I been jumping the gun about how this team will cope without Modrić? Yes. It might not matter if Modrić wants to leave. Let the baby have its bottle if this is how he truly feels about staying at Spurs. Sure it’ll take a bit of time to adjust, but this squad has managed 5th place with constant injuries to defenders/other key players AND a measly goal difference of +7!

That tells me all I need to know about the team – They can cope with anything.
Players leaving for clubs viewed as ‘bigger’ is nothing new to Spurs.

New mantra proposal -To just get on with it is to do.

Jul 212011
 

On seeing the video posted in another of our Triffic blogs, I’m already impressed by Spurs’ newest acquisition, 16 year old Souleyman Coulibaly. He’s just how I like lamb and women – Young and Fresh. He scored for Spurs within minutes of entering the field of play against Brighton on Tuesday; plus, he’s scored NINE GOALS in FOUR GAMES for the Ivory Coast U17s! Most of them weren’t even tap-ins, they were well-taken goals.

If this isn’t promising then I don’t know what is.

He appears to be the Anthony Lozano who was supposed to be on the books last season. So let’s give him a squad number, give him a few starts in the upcoming season and he’ll give us goals and be the black Jimmy Greaves!

BUT…there’s a big BUT regarding this hot prospect.

I don’t know if it’s just among us Spurs fans or other sets of fans in football, but there seems to be this ridiculous and restrictive criteria dreamed up by many when it comes to thinking about young players they would like to see in the team.

I’ve probably banged on about this kind of snobbery before and covered the ‘too old and past it’ label as well, but it gets up my nose so much because I keep hearing it.

Ever heard the phrase ‘He’s too young and unproven in the Premier League’??

I have.

Additionally, when we first heard about Coulibaly scoring WITHIN MINUTES of coming on against Brighton, people piped up with the classic ‘It was against Brighton. It’s not like he’s scored against Chelsea or Arsenal’

With the above in mind, how can we possibly give them that chance to ‘prove’ themselves in the League if they’re left on the bench or in the reserves all the time??

If he’s given a chance, we may see him score against such teams as Chelsea and Arsenal.

I think I have boo-boys’ thinking patterns down to a tee. The issue of Adel Taarabt may have sparked this fear of young players getting within 1ft of the starting XI.

Taarabt’s questionable attitude both on and off the pitch got him shipped across London to QPR in what I hope was a ventilated box for such a hot head.

What was originally accepted as his enthusiasm and spirit turned out to be arrogance when he spouted fantasy stories about the top clubs in England and Spain wanting to sign him. I kept thinking to myself – ‘well? where were they?’.

However, this might not be everyone’s reasoning behind apprehension about young players. Also, not all young players are arrogant like Taarabt was. So I don’t know what harm it would do to throw young players in at the deep end.

By getting them into it straight away they learn to cope and only get better.

If there are concerns about them not being able to handle bigger teams in bigger competitions, then maybe Arry can put one or two youngsters alongside the seniors in the league each week. The seniors can then offer guidance on the pitch and the high-quality performances of the whole team should become continuous.

As the longer-serving seniors begin to leave, the younger players will get older, use their experience, remember what the former players taught them and hopefully serve the club well just like those before them.

Let’s get the academy linked to the senior squad like the old days, not a loan-turned-sale for a new club. It’s time to learn from mistakes of the past and create a future. A continuously high-quality squad and a shiny new stadium for years to come would do me nicely.

Jun 212011
 

Yep, it’s me with another late thought on something which happened last weekend, but owing to knackeredness at work, this is a rare opportunity taken to air my thoughts.

Firstly, props to Levy on standing firm in the face of approaches from the likes of Chelsea. If that’s not a demonstration of ambition for the club in itself, I don’t know what is.

Has Modric been uncovered as another mercenary owing to what’s gone on this past weekend?

The Croatian is highly sought-after by many top clubs in England and across Europe I’m sure. Barcelona fans would think Johan Cruyff walked through a top-secret time machine in Area-51 if they were to see Modric in their shirt.

Chelsea decided to test the waters of Levy’s no-sale stance by making an official £22million bid for Modric. That bid was swiftly rejected. However, Luka has allegedly stated that he wants to go to Chelsea because it seems that even after winning the League and FA Cup numerous times in recent years, they still have more ‘ambition’ than Spurs, who have gone without either of those trophies for over two decades.

But surely Modric could be a part of Spurs’ ambition to win that calibre of trophy once again and feel like he earned those honours as part of a team who have given him regular starts. Now that Yossi Benayoun has recovered from injury, can we see Modric automatically taking his place in the playmaking role? Would Chelsea be so bold as to replace Frank Lampard with Modric to accomodate both of them??

Seems a little far-fetched and almost cynical of Chelsea to bid for Luka when they don’t really need him.

If you asked me if there was any deal I would accept for Modric, then I’d actually say yes but Abramovich wouldn’t like it. I’d accept £20million PLUS Didier Drogba and nothing less. I think that leaving Drogba on the bench in preference of a £50mil flop upfront was what got Ancelotti sacked, not elimination from the competitions. So if you want rid of Drogba, get rid of Drogba…

I can see what Modric means if he just wants personal honours, but it’s not like clubs above Spurs get seeded further on in the FA Cup rounds is it. Money can buy you the odd trophy in Chelsea and Man City’s cases, but it can’t buy you an automatic place in the final.

On the other hand, I don’t know if Modric was planning to leave Spurs at all.

He could’ve been pulling a Rooney. Kicking up a stink to get a rise in his wages. But I thought he enjoyed football more than being paid for that football. Surely he knew what he was letting himself in for – a wage-cap of £70,000 a week which is enforced with military consistency. If he’s already on top wages but wants to join Chelsea, it indicates another mercenary mind. But I didn’t want to think of Modric in that way.

I have not personally seen a quote in the news from Modric which says he hates it here and is desperate to leave. He has said he’ll remain respectful by not handing in a transfer request, but what’s the difference now that he’s openly considered leaving us in what would only be a sidestep as Chelsea won the same number of major honours as Spurs did this year – 0!

If he had said something along the lines of ‘Chelsea are a bigger club with bigger ambitions than Spurs’, it might – in true journalistic fashion – have been twisted or sensationalised to match the attention-grabbing headlines that their readers eat up like Fern Britton on Ryvita.

Sometimes, players can’t avoid being asked questions in press conferences for example.

If in the case of Modric he was asked if [he’d] be ‘better off at Chelsea[?]’, as antagonistic a question that would be, he’d be screwed whatever his response would be;

If he said yes, the fans would turn on him. That might have happened already. The media would take that quote and use it to say ‘Come and Rescue me Chelsea, Says Modric’.

If he just said ‘No, I wouldn’t be better off’ or the commonly-said-but-not-always-meant ‘I like it at Spurs’ (which Modric had said just before renewing his contract!), the media would turn that statement inside-out to make a headline like – ‘I HATE CHELSEA! SAYS CROAT-SCROTE!’. If you’re a Daily Star journalist reading this, feel free to take the above as a headline idea seeing as you like to blow stuff out of proportion so much.

I particularly remember you labelling Eidur Gudjohnsen as a Neo-Nazi using a rather pixelated image and a drunken night out as your source of information. I applaud the time and effort it took then and still takes to write your world-renowned content….

Daily Star rant over. It should be renamed the Daily STIR.

Mr. Modric, can I make a deal with you?

There’s no denial you’ve given great service to this club, and apart from the goal count, Hoddle fans have been given a chance to relive his magic on the pitch as your style looks similar. I know that Spurs haven’t made it into the top four this year, BUT we did it last year. Isn’t that enough ambition? Working towards something we want is defined as ambition. Instant success and systematic winning is defined as ambition being over and done with long before.

The deal is this:

If you can stay with us for another season (and Levy has made it clear that you will anyway) and put your shift in like you have done, I won’t begrudge you leaving if we fail to make it into the top-four/win something by the end of next season.

That is up to you, but don’t end up like Berbatov. You’ll regret it as the very fans who loved watching you play may turn against you in their droves for using us as a stepping stone.

I’m hoping one of our Croatian fans can translate the above.

Jun 072011
 

The purpose of a youth academy is to provide generations of future players, who have been nurtured in the club since childhood/teen-age and are therefore home-grown. Subsequently, most of them should go on to be some of the finest players the team has had.

The Double-winners of ’61 were mostly, if not all homegrown at this club and were some of the finest players that White Hart Lane ever witnessed. When it comes to looking at younger players and all the traditional shiz about Spurs [I am coining the term ‘Shiz-tory’], I’m an old head on young shoulders. Therefore I feel that we should look closer to home as it’s not impossible to create a fine team of homegrown talent for the future.

Manchester United seem to have the balance of academy players and imported players down to a tee. Scholes, Neville, Giggs etc. from the academy combined with Ronaldo, Nani, Van Der Sar etc. have won title after title even in the present day of assuming that a quick-fix of buying 10 players means quality immediately shows in the team.

Any team can do it. The only difference is a willingness to look closer to home for the odd few players we need.

Considering how Harry Kane has received raving reviews as of late for his international performances, and scored five goals in 18 games (about 1/3, the same as Defoe and Keane in their heydays), for a 17 year old, that’s very promising!

Does anyone else agree that whilst or instead of looking at top strikers who will reject offers from us over this summer, we should bring Harry Kane into the senior squad for pre-season matches at least?

Can’t hurt, can it? Maybe he’ll do the business regularly for us and be the answer to our striker problem. He’s young and wants to play and score. Kane brings with him experience of first-team football at Leyton Orient. Not Premier League, but first-team football nonetheless.

Best of all, he’s free!!!

What better combination than that!?

Dean Parrett is worth a go as well. He’s got a desire to win the ball [back] which is comparable to that of Sandro. Both midfielders like winning the ball to regain possession, which can prove important in pulling a late goal back.

Along with this, I urge all fellow Spurs fans to cut the ‘young-and-unproven’ and ‘old-and-past-it’ motifs out of their opinions because, if all club managers took those approaches when looking for players, no club would sign anybody!

May 242011
 

I just read Coxie’s blog on O’Hara and the comments below it.
All in all, I couldn’t believe some of the negative comments about O’Hara!

‘Mid-table at best’??? Do you even watch him play?

O’Hara is gritty, committed to whatever club he’s playing for and scores some top-drawer goals. He also appears to be a better free-kick taker than Bale and Van Der Vaart.

Dear negative commenters,

You seem to be expecting some kind of Lionel Messi carbon copy to constitute something above ‘mid-table quality’. What criteria are you using to slate O’Hara?

Lack of appearances?? Lack of goals? A spot on the ITV pundit panel during a semi-final between his loan club and permanent club??

Being ineligible to play against your permanent club isn’t his fault. He was put on the spot with the question about who he wanted to win the semi-final. There was no malice in my opinion when he leaned towards Portsmouth, because he was a player for that club at the time and wanted to compete for a personal honour at Wembley. What’s wrong with wanting to win a title?? If he wasn’t playing for Portsmouth, he’d probably be in that semi-final squad for US. Then you wouldn’t think anything of it.

I don’t hold a grudge against him for that. And why should I?
His quotes were taken way out of context to suit the boo-boys’ own ends.

As for lack of appearances, it’s not his fault that managements have overspent on many midfielders, thereby forcing him onto the bench. It’s another sad story which will end with O’Hara going somewhere else permanently. Pienaar will also follow suit. Watch that space.

We already have Kranjcar looking to leave for greener pastures, and quite right too. I wouldn’t want to be a top footballer sitting on the bench where nobody can see him exhibit true footballing talent.

Apart from Ledley King, Jamie O’Hara has been the only player from OUR youth ranks to get a string of regular first-team appearances and you want him gone!!!???

We need more players like him from the youth ranks, like the old days.

And before you counter-argue that point, Defoe came from Charlton, Rose and Lennon came from Leeds, Dawson came from Nottingham Forest and Bale came from Southampton.

If you can come up with another regular starting player [apart from O’Hara] who has come through our youth ranks since Ledley King I’d love to hear about it.

May 112011
 

It seems I wrote that previous Crouch article a little too early 🙁

Generally, the team put on a solid performance. Gallas saved Spurs’ blushes with one defensive header against fellow ex-Gooner Vieira’s shot on goal which would’ve sealed the deal convincingly for City. Lennon also made his mark by cutting into the box regularly. It’s just a shame the crosses were not up to scratch.

Modric confirmed why he isn’t a striker by putting a rather easy goal wide. Finding himself in acres of space on the edge of the box he should’ve made more of the chance, but put it just wide of the right post.

Danny Rose took on double the work by making brilliant tackles and then pushing forward to cross into the box. Sandro again put a great shift in. Cudicini made a fantastic save early on. Would Gomes have saved that? I’d say yes, but feel free to debate amongst yourselves.

Crouch scored again, but in his own net. It was the only goal that Manchester City could speak of which cemented their place in the top-four. It’s looking more and more tempting for me to openly say ‘sell him’. Even though I should back all players all of the time, it’s made difficult by the mistakes they make which cost dearly. Crouch already got himself an early exit from the Champions League by being gung-ho with slide tackles in the opposition’s half and tonight he scored in his own net to give City the narrow 1-0 lead which ended Spurs’ hopes of another top-four finish.

The heroes of yesteryear (2010) have become villains. Gomes has appeared on Soccer AM’s ‘Taxi’ segment twice in the same season whilst Crouch scored Manchester City’s only goal to secure the Citizens’ place in the Champions League [Playoffs]. Time for a chorus from Alanis Morisette:

“…And isn’t it ironic
Don’t you think?

It’s like rain on your weddin’ day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
And who would’ve thought, it figures….

If I had that ringtone and Harry’s mobile phone number, I’d send that after the full time whistle.
It’s the good advice [‘get a striker’] that he just didn’t take. And who would’ve thought it figures.

Now that this season is pretty much over for us, the knee-jerking will begin and not stop until after pre-season. In fact, I’m doing some now I’ll admit. But if it is a valid point which has to be repeated until accepted, then so be it.

I still remain faithful to Harry and Danny Boy (Levy), BUT the fact remains; such a simple thing like buying a striker would have turn this season a full 180. Not seeing what was [or wasn’t] right in front of them has annoyed me the most. It was obvious we needed another striker to get the goals which would win games; but Hthe two powers-that-be will forever be too full of pride to admit that leaving the striker vacancy unfilled was the biggest mistake in their tenures here.

Of course I’ve been told by someone to ‘apply for the job of manager as I obviously know more than Harry’, but I would seriously call his bluff. At least I’d notice that we’re missing a 20-goal-a-season striker.
I’m not calling for heads on plates. I’m calling for a striker signature on a paper contract.

Was one more striker really that much to ask from our management/chairman???

I’m hoping that big important lessons are learnt from this, as well as hoping to see how Manchester City fare in the playoffs. If they get through to the quarter-finals/beyond, it’ll be a mockery and rub salt in the wounds for Spurs. If they fall at the first hurdle, it’ll still be a mockery by being a waste of a space.

The ball’s now in your court Mancini; and there’s no need for goalline/Hawkeye technology on that.