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The Team That Bale Built

August 31, 2013 Leave a comment

As the curtain came down on the 2012/13 season, the overriding emotion was disappointment. We had missed out on lucrative European nights, by a single point. As the late spring developed into summer though it was the feeling that had it not been for Gareth Bale, those evenings under the floodlights would have been a pipe dream instead of an enticing smell coming from an open window just out of reach.

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The thought of Bale disappearing was one that most of us didn’t even come close to contemplating. Finally he had thrown down the shackles of being an albatross, his ears had been pinned back, the hair restyled, the YouTube Channel created and the celebration trademarked, on there own they meant nothing but together they pointed to an exit, but surely not this summer. Bale had more to do before he was the complete brand, until of course FIFA, BT and NBC got hold of his image.

Suddenly Bale was the poster boy of anything to do with the round ball. His marketability although still miles off Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi and the now retired David Beckham was growing. Real Madrid wanted this new phenomena and Daniel Levy was only to happy to secretly sell the dream.

As Spurs fans we have been here before. In my lifetime of Spurs supporting I remember Chris Waddle and Paul Gascoigne leaving and more recently the departures of Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric, star players sold but never replaced. The money recouped was and in fairness to the club, mostly reinvested, but it was spent by gentlemen out of touch with how to recreate and fill a void.

 This summer at Spurs credit must go to Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini, although the sale of Bale must have been a reality since before the Confederations Cup started, we were left thinking this was nothing more than SKY stirring things up. The ITKS’, the sensationalised reports, were it appears true after all. While we guffawed at suggestions Bale was distressed, and pointed to the posters and PS3 games as proof of him staying, he was in reality secretly saying his goodbyes. It was a tremendous bluff by Spurs and one that has enabled us to dip so successfully into the transfer market.

Across London whilst that team in Red proudly announced that they had, and still do have, £70 million to spend, at Spurs we remained quiet. Instead we haggled, bartered and delayed with various chairmen and agents across the globe. The narrative was the same for weeks, with Bale staying we didn’t have a war chest, we had to fight for the right price. Had Bale disappeared to Madrid in July, then effectively every player bar Roberto Soldado (we met his release clause) would have been more expensive.

Its quite incredible to think that whilst Spurs have been spending on credit, Real Madrid are about to sign the most expensive footballer that has ever existed and he hasn’t even had a pre-season. Pressure better be something Bale thrives on because if he thinks the media glare this summer was bad, he is walking into a city obsessed with football, boasting its own newspaper, dedicated radio shows and 80,000 fans who think nothing of burning a Ferrari or two.

Thankfully though Bale’s state of mind is something that we no longer need to contend with. Instead we need to focus on his legacy at Spurs.

 Nacer Chadli, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado, and what looks like Vlad Chiriches, Eric Lamela and Christian Eriksen. If with Bale we were a one man team, without him we are one squad of terrific potential and potency. What the Welshman failed on the pitch to achieve, off it he may just have created a legacy.

In previous windows, especially those in the summer we have signed two, possibly three players who have taken us forward. Bale’s inflated price has enabled us to reconstructed our core. Add the names above to the those that are already at the club and is anything but our own pessimism holding us back from a title tilt?

Bale left the building seconds after the final whistle blew at Newcastle and the Geordies failed to win a £1 million bonus for their tea lady and other backroom staff. He wanted something he along with the rest of the squad were unable to give. Bale though has given us something we have waited a lifetime to see, an exciting, young and motivated squad with a manager at the helm we unanimously believe in.

I am going to miss Bale, as a player he was at times perhaps the finest I have ever seen. I wish we could have had Bale and the team he has enabled us to buy, but greed is a vice I try to steer clear of. Instead I will wish him well and I hope Madrid is everything he wants and needs. I along with every other Spurs fan now turn my attention to what has remained at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham is the club that Bill Nicholson built, but this is the team that Bale built. As it stands the greatest thing Bale has ever done for Spurs, is leave.

Parker: Completing The Circle

August 14, 2013 Leave a comment

When Manchester City tore us apart 5-1 at White Hart Lane, Harry Redknapp demonstrated succinctly to Daniel Levy that Spurs were in desperate need of a holding midfielder. Personally I would have preferred a demonstration that involved graphs, PowerPoint and a spread sheet or two, but the message was loud and clear. Days later Scott Parker arrived, nearly two years on, the English midfielder is set to depart.

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It’s difficult to describe the affect that Scott Parker had on our team. Rather like Didier Zokora, Wilson Palacios and Steffen Freund before him, we loved his spirit and determination, but he will be forever remembered for his limitations.

Last season as Andre Villas-Boas attempted to create a more progressive, possession dominated team; Parker fell well short of what was required. He still gave everything he had, but age, injury and a fundamental lack of class limited him. When Mousa Dembele collected the ball there was a swagger to his play, when Parker found himself in possession, Leonardo Da Vinci doffed his cap at his attempt of circular perfection.

A 360 spin when coupled with ball retention and slice of vision is a masterful thing to behold. It has become the signature move for Barca’s Xavi and Juve’s Andrea Pirlo, but for Parker the full circle spin became a maze, once he started there wasn’t a way out.

Personally I never took the Englishman to heart, his rejections in favour of the wages on offer first at Chelsea, Newcastle then unbelievably West Ham stung. Here was a player clearly following his accountant’s advice, rather than any footballing logic. His two years battling against relegation in East London were just deserts for a man who could have been playing at White Hart Lane before his twilight years came calling.

One attribute Parker has never lacked though is determination, and it was this overbearing willingness never to give up in our “Mind The Gap” season that forced me to put away my feelings of rejection.

As Spurs charged through the back end of 2011 into early 2012, it was clear that for all the brilliance on display from Rafa Van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, it was some English spirit holding things together.

Bustling across midfield to the sound of “One Scotty Parker,” our former McDonald’s pinup rightfully won many fans and plaudits. Redknapp decreed that he was Dave Mackay incarnate, Stuart Pearce England’s caretaker manager bestowed upon him the captain’s armband, and not even a Mario Balotelli stamp could stop the combative central midfielder.

However, something did. Forces far greater than those he chased around the pitch. His own body caught up with him. Parker had found his place in a club where he belonged too late. As the “gap” vanished and Spurs crumbled so did Parker. He may have featured for England at Euro 2012 that summer, but his race had been run. He was never the same again.

Rotation, tactical naivety and nature caught up with him, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t best his own failing body. Injury and tiredness ravaged him, he would have to learn to rely only on his technique.

When the 2012/13 season began, Parker was absent still nursing the injuries that he had played through at the tail end of 2011/12 and the Euro Championships. Parker missed the start of the season and Spurs witnessed a dawn of a new central midfield partnership. As Tottenham beat Man United 3-2 at Old Trafford, we had had a glimpse of the future and it didn’t feature Parker.

Sandro and Dembele combined everything that exemplified Parker’s game, but they added the dynamism and skill that the Englishman’s game lacked. Both were capable of scoring and creating as well as tracking and tackling, when Parker returned from injury his role was clearly defined. The former Hammer’s role at Spurs became one of back-up only, until of course Spurs played QPR away and Sandro’s knee gave way.

Over the summer we have dissected what happened to Spurs and how they managed to finish once again below Arsenal. Many point to throwing away three points at Liverpool or a insipid display at home to Fulham, but for me it was the day Sandro’s knee abandoned him.

With Parker alongside Dembele the best of our Belgian was lost. Forced to patrol deeper his dribbling skills that had struck fear into opposition holding midfielders and centre-backs disappeared. For the first time in his Spurs career, Dembele became ineffective. Apart from a mazy run and a pile-driver goal away against Lyon, we never saw the Old Trafford Dembele again.

Parker meanwhile found himself further up field than ever before, in areas where as a young man he had excelled, now as a veteran he was out of his depth. Every professional footballer has that moment where his career at the top level officially ends, for Parker it was at home to Basel in the Europa League.

Having gone two goals down, Spurs managed to claw one back, then on the stroke of half time the ball fell to Parker with the Park Lane goal gaping. All he had to do was role it home, instead he contrived to hit the ball against a prostrate Lewis Holtby and saw his effort trickle wide.

It may have been bad luck or an act of an unkind God, but what he couldn’t hide was his complete lack of composure and technique. Two skills that our manager craves from his central midfielders, his career at Spurs has come full circle.

From being a player we were in despearte need of, he is now one we are happy to exist without. Parker leaves us for a club and a level of football where he will undoubtedly excel as he progresses deeper into his twilight years.

I wont let his below par 2013 form spoil the appreciation I had for him in 2011/12, he deserves better than that. I will forever though remain disappointed that he never joined us sooner, perhaps then we would be saying goodbye to a legend, not just a player.

Bale Has More To Do Before He Outgrows Spurs

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

It has been one of those weekends; actually it’s been one of those summers. Everything to do with Spurs has been analysed, inspected and the rumours have been incessant. Roberto Soldado is set to join, Emmanuel Adebayor is off to Turkey, and predictably Gareth Bale is set to become the world’s most expensive player.

bale man cityThis article was first published on The Fighting Cock

For most of the summer I have allowed the rumours and the nonsense to wash over me. On my way home from work the BT Sport posters, the PS3 covers and various internet stories have failed to elicit a response, until today. Until David Hynter’s article headlined: Gareth Bale’s ability and ambition mean he has outgrown Tottenham appeared on my screen.

It was the straw that broke the camels back, that ridiculous sentence: He has outgrown Spurs….Bale needs to leave because he has outgrown us, really? Really?

I have had a strong affection for our former full-back, winger and now penetrative number 10 for years. I remember his debut, all hair, ears and speed. I remember the free kick he scored against Arsenal and I was at White Hart Lane when he broke his losing hoodoo against Burnley.

Two years ago after recounting countless tales of Bale to my girlfriend, I finally took her to the Lane to experience the man himself. Sat on the Shelf, mere metres away from him she passed an Alan Shearer like nugget of punditry gold: “Wow, he’s fast.” With his heart shape celebration reflecting in my eyes, I nodded in agreement.

As brilliant as Bale can be though, its very naive to claim he is the finished article. Therefore Mr Hynter I have a question for you:

How has Bale outgrown us when he is still growing?

This claim that he has outgrown us must be a side affect of the long warm summer. The past seems to have been forgotten, Bale despite his heroics in 2013, was largely anonymous for most of the calendar year of 2012.

As the reign of Harry Redknapp crumbled around him, Bale was non existent. There were no last minute wündergoals where manager and player embraced, instead Spurs stuttered to a doomed 4th place, Real Madrid scouts were at Spurs, but they were watching a Croat not a Welshman.

For the start of the following season Bale picked up where he had left off, immersed in mediocrity with brief glimpses of talent. He was a player who dipped in and out of games as Spurs struggled to find form and cohesion under AVB’s new system.

The Bale that now apparently commands an £80 million plus figure didn’t truly arrive until Boxing Day when a hat-trick against a poor Aston Villa side sent him into a goal scoring frenzy.

The Welshman was an unstoppable force from January 2013 until May 2013. That’s five months, less than half a year. For a player to have outgrown a club of Tottenham’s size in 20 weeks,  Bale must have undergone some rigorous genetically modified growing.

The truth of the matter is; Bale is a fantastically gifted player capable of doing things on a pitch that very few mortals presently can, however, does this put him on a level with Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi?

These are the globes two standout individuals. Footballers who have operated at such sustained a level for half a decade that it wouldn’t be beyond reason to claim they have outgrown two of the biggest teams in the world.

Bale despite his meteoric rise in form in 2013 has yet to out grow the 4th/5th best team in England. The Guardian’s article is pure sensationalism that has made me take not only the bait, but the whole rod, fisherman’s arm and boat.

Before Bale can hope to usurp CR7 in Madrid he needs at least to help Spurs usurp Arsenal in North London. Great players make great teams and great players have a power to bend a team to their will and define an era.

So far Bale has defined half a season and what it takes to make up bad headlines and as Mr Hynter shows; create angles where previously there were none.

For Bale, the dream has always been Real.

He spoke warmly of the club before he faced them at the Bernabéu with Tottenham in the 2011 Champions League quarter-final, first-leg and it was a sound-bite from that interview which has resonated.

“I’m not afraid to leave the country,” Bale said. “I left home at 15 [to join Southampton’s academy]. If I leave the Premier League, I’ll learn another language … I will grow as a person.”

It’s a mark of how far Bale has come that vague comments from 2011 can be used as evidence for his love of Madrid and create headlines.

Before Bale can wear the crown of the world’s most expensive footballer, he has to earn it. The media, Twitter or his agent clamouring for this title means nothing, until he earns it.  The first step on this path is to remain White Hart Lane until he proves himself, leaving with a few PFA awards counts for nothing.

If he guides Spurs to a title tilt or a cup then perhaps he has outgrown us, but only then.

At Spurs we have regularly sold our best players, its part of what comes with failing to achieve. In my Spurs lifetime we have seen Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric all depart. However there is a clear distinction between these players and Bale.

They were players at their peak, at a club unable to sustain them or their ambitions any longer. Tottenham and Bale aren’t currently in that position. We can offer Bale the platform, we have the squad to accommodate and help him flourish, the only thing we lack is Champions League football, but that will come.

Bale is a class player but in a team that features the French captain, a Confederations cup winning midfielder who put Xavi and Iniesta in his pocket, and a couple of wondrous Belgian talents, Bale clearly has some more growing to do before he needs re-potting.

The pressure is on Bale this season, he has to perform, should he lead Spurs to some glory this season, I like a million other Spurs fans will not begrudge him a move, but first he needs to give us more than five months of brilliance.

The Spurs man needs to keep his head down, focus on the forth coming season and rather like me, avoid the nonsense spouted by Mr Hynter and the rest of the worlds sporting media.

Madrid will still be there in 2014.

He hasn’t outgrown us yet, not by a long way.

Alternate Spurs Awards 2012

December 11, 2012 Leave a comment

The award season is upon us and the worlds finest are preparing for their moment in the spotlight. The tuxedos have been pressed, the speeches prepared and that tactical nipple slippage from an actress destined to be critically over-looked has been perfected.

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Tottenham Hotspur enters this season of back patting after yet another tumultuous calendar year. There have been gaps minded, ghost goals, a Kiwi centre back and the arrival of the rather dashing Andre Villas-Boas.

Despite all the upheaval though, there are situations and achievements which deserve to be celebrated. Therefore without further ado it is time to announce the nominees and winners of the:

“Get it While its Hot” Regurgitation Award: Sandro.

The sight of Sandro hurtling into a tackle and emerging with the ball has been one of the highlights of visiting White Hart Lane this season. The Brazilian enjoys the rough and tumble of the Premier League, something which goes completely against his Samba DNA. However it isn’t his strength, determination or Kung Fu skills that led him to win this award, it was his top class ability to regurgitate regardless of his surroundings or how many HD cameras are on him.

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The defensive midfielder has shown in 2012 that he isn’t afraid to let it all out. To my recollection and that of the Committee he has thrown up twice in 2012, but in his career, he has no racked up two vomits versus West Ham, a local doctor commented: “With the filth and bile emanating from the away stand, who can blame him?”

Nominees: Harry Redknapp Regurgitating the same quote, and various ITK’s for spouting nonsense all over every Spurs fan Twitter TL.

Heating a Seat via Gluteus Convection: Luka Modric

The little Croatian remains a wonderfully gifted footballer and one that Spurs miss terribly. When he does play watching him is like re-watching a sex tape of you and one of your ex-girlfriends, you don’t realise until you look back just how mind blowing it was.

It is therefore a great shame but still rather entertaining to see him keeping the wonderfully padded benches at the Santiago Bernabeu nice and toasty.

Perhaps he will get fed up watching Real Madrid from the best seats in the stadium and Daniel Levy will buy him back at a 60% discount?

We can only hope, in the mean time he can keep his award next to him on his personalised bench.

Nominees: Heurelho Gomes for being a back up to the back ups back up and not complaining and David Bentley who despite crossing Europe is still finding himself on the bench.

The Clip to Watch on a Loop: Gareth Vs Rio

Has there been a better sight all year than watching Rio Ferdinand treading water versus Gareth Bale? The Welshman tore past the legendary centre back like he wasn’t even there. It was Road Runner against Nelly the Elephant. Watch it back in slow motion and you will see each sinew straining in Ferdinand as he attempts to catch Bale.

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There have been other clips that I could keep on watching from 2012 but given that this goal put us 2-0 up at Old Trafford, a lead we managed to hold on to, this is ranked number 1.

Nominees: AVB celebrating any goal, Defoe twisting up West Ham, Jenas departing for Nottingham Forest.

The Head Scratcher: Louis Saha Arrives at WHL

The January Transfer Window 2012, Spurs as usual need a striker, Harry Redknapp opens up his big book of scouting reports from 2004 and signs Saha, a player with a goal scoring record as bad as his injury record.

Why did we do this? Some Spurs fans I know very well claimed it was a master stroke:

“A 6 month loan, make him prove himself, sign a proper striker in the summer after we cruise to third place.”

Others like me were left scratching their heads in utter disbelief.

Nominees: Martin Atkinson awarding a goal that never was at Wembley, and when did Defoe become a 30 year old??

The Pat on the Back: Daniel Levy

This award is bestowed upon the person who has done the best piece of work in 2012. This year the award goes to our much maligned chairman thanks to one piece of transfer business, signing Hugo Lloris. Finally Tottenham Hotspur has secured the services of one of the best keepers in the world.

Daniel Levy

Despite many keepers during my life time capturing my imagination from Erik the Viking, Paul Robinson and Gomes, they have all shared one DNA strain, the-ability-to-chuck-it-in-their-own-net chromosome.

Lloris thankfully is a different species boasting a whole new genetic identity.

The Frenchman may look like Brad Pitt’s younger brother who gets shish kebabed on some barbed wire in Legends of a Fall, but he is one almighty keeper. I am proud to call him our number 1. For this I pat you on the back Levy. You may have missed out on various strikers and midfielders in the last 12 months, but you certainly fixed one position that needed it.

Nominees: Defoe proving he can play as a solo striker, Chirpy for coming through an extensive makeover and the cashier in the Park Lane who managed to serve more than 5 people at half time vs West Ham.

The Alternate Player of the Year 2012: Aaron Lennon

The right winger has been eclipsed in recent years by the wonderful Bale, but despite this he still remains one of the most important cogs in the Tottenham machine.

When Lennon scores Spurs don’t lose, this incredible stat may have more to do with his lack of goals than anything else, but it remains a comforting thought.

Lennon delivering

Whilst Bale has declared defending a task beyond him, Lennon works up and down his flank offering the recently off form Walker some much needed protection.

The England man has chipped in with some goals this season and some crucial assists and under AVB seems to have expanded his game. He is willing and able to run inside or outside his defender and is far more open to switching flanks mid game.

It has been a good 2012 for Lennon, he may not be our main attacking outlet but as an alternate to shake things up, he is the best in the Premier League.

Congratulations Lennon I wish you a prosperous 2013!

Nominees: Kyle walker for being great, then average and then great again, Defoe for proving me and many others wrong and Brad Friedel for accepting that he now is the time to move off his line and let Lloris in.

This article was first published on The Fighting Cock Website

Christmas Tips from Spurs

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

The season to be jolly is on the horizon and Tottenham Hotspur are looking to cash in on the festive goodwill. After the critically acclaimed success of Celebrate Pippa Middleton’s book on how to throw the perfect party, Spurs marketing supremos have moved quickly to capture their share of the market. For the past year they have been creating: Christmas Tips from Spurs a book designed to help every Spurs fan have a spectacular Christmas.

A source close to the club said: “Christmas is a stressful time for some, we at Spurs are all about making life easy for everyone. This book will be the essential Christmas guide.”

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Although it has yet to come out, my source allowed me to have a brief flick through its pages, here a few of tips that Tottenham guarantee will help you have that perfect Christmas.

Sandro:

Why go for turkey? A proper man needs big food. We at Casa Ranieri opt for Ostrich, it’s bigger, tastier and the feeling I get from cooking something I chased down and killed with my own teeth makes everything taste better. Serve it with a side of wild boar and elephant. Feliz Natal.

Daniel Levy:

Christmas shopping is all about bargains and rushing around, but why be a lemming? I always wait for the last minute that way I always manage to bag a massive turkey.

Heurelho Gomes:

Always, always, always make sure your presents are wrapped up well. Especially the fragile ones, keeping hold of something when everyone is watching can be tricky.

Andre Villas-Boas:

Been promised something special but when you get it all the important bits to make it work are missing? Put on a brave face and accept it, remember the January sales are just round the corner.

Tom Huddlestone:

Remember at the Christmas dinner everyone over indulges, to make sure that you get your fill I recommend hiding bits of food before everyone sits down. Try taping a few roasties under the table, or filling your pockets with sprouts, you never want to go with out!!

Gareth Bale:

Why not try something from abroad? A friend in Spain sent me some wonderful Manchego cheese that has been rested to perfection. He kept it on his bench so he wouldn’t forget to send it. Also try personalizing gifts, along with the cheese I got a football shirt with my name on it.

Ledley King:

Christmas is the perfect time for a good old knees up, just be careful not to go overboard on the booze. Even the nicest people can change after a few drinks!

Brad Friedel:

At this time of year the weather gets really cold, remember to wrap up warm and make sure the elderly are well taken care of. Also if you happen to have a French guy turn up, watch out he will have your number one spot by the TV in minutes.

The coaching staff:

Having poor relations visit from up north? Try and be as accommodating as possible. We like to let them turn up, make themselves at home and allow them to win at the post dinner games. However should you find yourself invited round to a neighbour who has recently moved into the area, try to back off should you find yourself winning.

Emmanuel Adebayor:

Christmas is a time for helping those less fortunate than you. If you see a former friend struggling lunge right in and help them out. Going over the top is always ok when you are looking to really help someone.

Aaron Lennon:

Try not to pass out before the big occasion!!

The book looks set to be a best seller, rumours that Woolwich are attempting to write their own version have been strongly denied by my source: “They don’t know who will still be there in January let alone next summer or winter, it wont happen.”

The book will be on sale in the next few weeks and will be available at most good bookshops.

Redemption and Footballing Lessons at White Hart Lane

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

As the Park Lane turned to wave off the West Ham fans that had allegedly attempted some form of racism, a general satisfaction swept over White Hart Lane. Tottenham had crushed West Ham 3-1 in the Premier League, but more than that they had taken a footballing philosophy and with pace, skill and passion rendered it obsolete.

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After a week which for some Spurs fans had proven to be not only mentally but physically painful, this result offers some welcome relief. Tottenham have stuttered at home this season, with White Hart Lane magnifying the absence of certain ex-players, but on Sunday it felt like a page had been turned.

From the very start, Spurs had the intensity and desire to match their potential; the ball was moved quickly and accurately, it looked like early 2011 Spurs but in classy Portuguese packaging.

Tottenham pressed, kept their shape, worked for their openings and comfortably shifted the ball back then across when West Ham closed down the gaps. For the East London club had it not been for some vile chanting and a collector’s item of an Andy Carroll goal, their journey across London would have been utterly worthless.

Some Spurs fans claimed it was the Hammers Cup Final, for me it was their first proper lesson in how football has evolved since Big Sam was last in the Premier League.

Redemption: A religious concept referring to forgiveness or absolution for past sins or errors and protection from disgrace, eternal or temporary, generally through sacrifice (or sorting yourself out.)

This game as well as bestowing three crucial points on Tottenham allowed Tom Huddlestone, a much maligned figure to exorcise his Emirates demons. I have long been a fan of the Hudd, but like many I have passed comment that his time as a leading central midfielder is over, but on Sunday he demonstrated that perhaps we have been too quick to cast the first stone.

Huddlestone’s return to form may coincide with Sandro’s man of the match display alongside him, but there is no doubt that this performance was the best we have seen from Huddlestone for years. His technical ability and vision eclipsed his opponents and underlined the Hammers midfield trios’ inability to hold the ball. Hudd as well as supporting and starting many Spurs attacks, also though his sheer size, assisted Steven Caulker and the returning Michael Dawson aerially.

If Huddlestone manages to back anywhere near to his 2009/2010 consistency then we will have a major asset in our top four push. However that is one major, IF.

How do you solve a problem like Defoe?

Jermain Defoe another much maligned figure from the Emirates fallout reminded the Spurs fans, that hadn’t dashed off for a half time drink, that he works best in seconds not 90 minutes.
For the opening 43 minutes as Spurs pressed for the opener he was anonymous, then from the right touch line he spun, sprinted, switched foot and smashed the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

In that moment he defined his entire career, brilliance clouded all too often by anonymity. Emmanuel Adebayor offers more but gives us less, whilst Defoe gives nothing but delivers more. The fact that despite being one of our highest ever goal scorers he still divides opinion explains everything about him.

Should new QPR manager Harry Redknapp place a bid of £10 million plus this January then Defoe will probably be off.

Dawson never Creeks

The moment it was announced that William Gallas was to be dropped for Dawson, relief, gratitude and hope swept through the stadium. The Englishman may lack the on-the-ball technique that Andres Villas-Boas craves, but he has the skill set that the manager and the team needs.

Big strong, likeable and aerially gifted his performance on Sunday made me wonder how many extra points we would have had this season if he had started every game.

Although Caulker and Dawson as two very similar centre backs may not be the ideal partnership, for now it’s the best one available. With Jan Vertonghen a stand in left-back and Younes Kaboul in the treatment room, that partnership must remain in place for the visit of Liverpool to White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.

This article first featured on The Fighting Cock Website

Dreaming of Moyes

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Rickie Lambert soared through the air at The Dell, the Tottenham defenders could only stare as he connected with a Matt Le Tissier cross and powered the ball past Ian Walker. On the side lines a 3 foot AVB was picked up by Glenn Hoddle and punted into the away stand where two large fans started playing tug of war with him.

Anger swept over me and my only release was to start screaming:

“Daniel Levy you tight fisted muppet why didn’t you buy Rivaldo!!!!”

“Anthony wake up, wake up!! Oh my God what’s wrong with you!!??”

My girlfriend was leaning over me, a look of concern all over her face.

“It’s Tottenham they’re driving me mad, I can’t handle it, my dreams don’t even make sense!”

“Please go and speak to someone, you need some help.”

A few days later I found myself spread across a sofa talking to a shrink.

“From what I can gather you are having some issues adjusting with a major change in your life. What I recommend is hypnosis, lets see if we can get some of that stress and anxiety out of you. Please clear your thoughts and look into my eyes.”

“Ok, but I have never done anything like this…”

“I am now talking to the angry side of Anthony, please reveal yourself to me.”

The Angry Man Inside

“Bloody Daniel Levy and his appointments……”

The solution to replacing Harry Redknapp was simple. Don’t hire a manager who has just failed at one of our closest rivals, instead appoint one who continues to defy logic and make Phil Neville et al 4th place contenders.

David Moyes was the most obvious, the most logical and the best choice. Forget the propaganda, the agendas and the nonsense. Levy should have turned to the successful Everton manager, not the failed ex-Cheslea boss.

This man knows the Premier League; he has experience working under a tight budget, but has the ability to make a chairman part with his cash when necessary.

When Moyes wanted Marouane Fellaini, Kevin Mirallas and Nikica Jelavic his chairman bowed to his pressure. When AVB demanded Joao Moutinho he was given Clint Dempsey, Moyes would not have allowed this to happen.

The Glaswegian has shown an ability to see in players something that other managers are initially blind to. Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, players many teams looked at but chose not to pursue are now England regulars and highly sought after commodities. Moyes was also responsible for the nurturing of Wayne Rooney, who despite all the reports to the contrary remains England’s star player.

Moyes has also demonstrated that he is prepared to dip into the less glamorous Championship to sign a player. He transformed Wolves defender Joleon Lescott from a £4 million gamble into a title winning player worth £24 million. When Millwall surged to the FA Cup final in 2004 he was the only manager willing to gamble on Tim Cahill; the Australian went on to become one of the most threatening attacking midfielders in recent PL history.

When Spurs looked for an alternative or back up for Gareth Bale in 2011, Steven Pienaar was an obvious choice. The South African had been flying for Everton, but at Spurs he floundered. Moyes proved in that one deal that he alone is the true master of man management, not some bloke who loves leaning out of a car window.

Under Moyes, Everton have developed a style which sees them play to their strengths, something Spurs seem incapable to do at the moment.

Spurs have thrown away leads in six games this season, but worse than that there is no passion, tempo or fight to their game. Every team has days when their passing isn’t as crisp or technique falters, it is at that point you need the manager to demand more and get the players dig deep, and as a unit refuse to bend over.

Would a Moyes team have allowed a Ben Watson led midfield to dominate at home?

Would he have thrown away a one nil leads twice to Norwich, once to Panathinaikos and once to West Brom?

Would Moyes have bestowed upon Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar licence to roam at White Hart Lane?

As he has shown over the years he isn’t afraid to let his players get stuck in, hassle and demonstrate the truest form of high tempo pressing. Not the occasional chase a ball down attitude shown at Spurs this season.

Yes Moyes has made some mistakes, but that is part of being a PL manager, but these few errors are eclipsed by his successes.

Moyes will lead Everton to that fourth space, be declared the hottest manager in world football, take the Woolwich job and lead them to domestic and European glory. He will ultimately become……….

“Anthony!! Come out of the trance!! Snap out of it. You’re chewing the sofa!!”

“I am sorry, I don’t know what came over me, I never eat upholstery. What did I say?”

“Well your problems stem with a man.”

“My dad?”

“Erm not quite someone named Levy.”

“Knew it, so what’s the cure?”

“Patience. That’s all you need.”

This article was first posted on The Fighting Cock