DOWN THE LANE

20 March 1998

 

So, rifts between the players and management, rumours about new players and a couple of results which helped us (but all the other results went against us). So, what's new?
The power struggle between Gross and the players continues to rage. The strict regime which the Swiss manager brought in seems to have upset many of the squad, while David Ginola explained in The Times recently that he likes a bit of discipline (Ooh Err). Fines for not wearing the correct attire on match days follows stories that there are measures to be taken if players do not use a napkin in the canteen. All these things have found their way into the papers at a time when there are enough concerns on the field. Iversen has allegedly criticised the club about the treatment for his injury; Ferdinand reportedly supported Jurgen's criticism of Ginola's positional play. Rumours abound that Chris Armstrong wants
to leave the club and that many of the younger players are biding their time until the end of the season, when they will leave the club, as they stand no chance of first team action.
Jurgen's offer to become player/head coach made it's way into the newspapers after the Bolton game. How true this is - who knows, but everything points to it being spurious at the very least. Surely, the bright lights of the NASL appeal for Klinsmann in the twilight of his career. Having said that he and Gross will be going in different directions, it may be a veiled reference the Christian will not be at Tottenham in August one way or another, but neither will the German. Along with Raddy Antic, a new contender has been linked with the Spurs management post. George Graham's name has been mentioned as a possible successor to Christian Gross. While he is very successful and has done a remarkable job at Elland Road, I'm not sure he would be the best choice for the Tottenham hot seat.
For one thing, his relationship with Alan Sugar may be somewhat tempestuous, as he his very determined and likes to have his say. The other potential drawback could be how he would get on with David Pleat. After his misdemeanours at Highbury, someone overseeing transfer deals and contract talks could be a way to relieve him of such worries, but I get the impression that Graham is a man who likes to have complete control to avoid any possible personality clash. So who's in and who's out on the playing side? In so far, the only new entry, is Fan Zhiyi - a trialist from China, who plays for the Shanghai side that Tottenham Hotspur plc were interested in buying into. I wonder if it was Ted Buxton (ex China national team boss and Ex-Chief Scout at THFC) who recommended him??
On the next train leaving White Hart Lane could be Justin Edinburgh. He is out of favour with Gross and being kept out of the team by Wilson. He has been asked to travel with the squad, when he would not be in final sixteen, so why keep him hanging on. I think he will go before the deadline day with clubs showing interest at around 0.5 million. His ex-Southend defensive partner, Dean Austin is on a rolling contract and seems to be destined to leave. Already shipped out are some players who were on the fringe of the squad and some who never made the cut. Stuart Nethercott has roared off to Millwall, while Paul Mahorn's contract was paid up to get him out of dock and allow him to sail off to Port Vale, where he is
training. Jamie Clapham has headed north to Suffolk after failing to impress the management despite good reports in the reserves and while on loan at Ipswich. 300,000 isn't a bad sum, but he could have been a useful member of the squad here. Contract talks are allegedly being left until the end of the season, but the impressions coming from the club are that Howells and Mabbutt will be released. During the half time break in the Liverpool match, fans were spoiled for choice for entertainment. It was either David James trying to beat Phil Babb playing goalie at one end or David Pleat expounding his theories on Spurs on the videoscreen at the other. Pleat explained that the squad had to be cropped to make room for new arrivals. Tottenham are baulking at Crewe's asking price for Seth Johnson and are looking at Chile's centre-half Margas to steal him from under the Hammer's nose. The rumours that Juninho is alleged to have said that he would be interested in coming to Spurs may be linked to Antic's arrival, but may also be reliant on our top flight status being maintained. That goes for anyone who would be thinking of coming to the club and for some of the current players.
What about the on pitch action? Well a home win against Bolton was very welcome as was the point versus Liverpool (despite everything)), but defeat at Leeds and some of the results for the teams in the mire around us has left us back in it up to our necks. Of the games remaining, it is important that points are accumulated - four wins have been quoted as the required aim. If we win our home games, then that should be achievable. However, it is perhaps more crucial that we win the three matches against Palace, Everton and Barnsley. It is also in our interest that the Premiership chase goes to the wire what with some of the strugglers still having to play the contenders while we have already got those games out of the way. If the team can play like they did against Liverpool (and why haven't they been
doing it all season?) then there should be no problem. Big if though! Ginola played out of his skin and produced the goods for the others in the team. The sort of show we need from him to help the club stay up. Unfortunately, his tongue got him a yellow card which rules him out of the Palace game. Let's hope we'll have enough to win without him. The hard work of Nielsen and Berti in midfield will hopefully prove complementary to the Frenchman's skills and give Tottenham the boost they need in the battle to stay afloat in the Premiership they are currently sailing in.

 

OTHER DOWN THE LANES
26th April 1998
4th March 1998

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