DOWN THE LANE

18 August1998

 

The season has started at last. Following the mainly uninspiring World Cup in France, the real blood and thunder is here. Unless, of course, you watch Tottenham Hotspur. Then you see them roll over and want Wimbledon to tickle their tummies rather than have a dog fight with them. Just three months ago, we turned this lot over 6-2 and now we come away from South London with a 3-1 defeat. Although I recognise Jurgen Klinsmann as a striker of great quality, surely his absence is not the reason for our capitulation. Could it be that the players selected playing in the formation chosen was not up to the task ?? Are the Tottenham players still dreaming of the summer in France or wherever
the rest of them spent their holidays ?? The fans certainly did not have any such delusions. To paraphrase Ian Dury, what started with a soul full of hope ended with a hole full of soap. But many more performances like this just won't wash. Spurs fans may have put up with the fact that they will be paying more this season at home to watch the same old squad, but they want better showings from the men in white. They know how much they earn (even if it is in ball-park figures), they know what cars they drive, they know that they are paying for this through increased season ticket prices. They will have their say, even if it is during the match. I think that whatever is happening on the pitch, the team should be supported during the game as our common goal is for Tottenham to do well, but frustration at the antics of some of the team are understandable. Success will not come instantly. We do have to have some patience
(even after all these years since last a trophy graced our cabinets). But what the fans do need is some sign of hope from the club that things are moving in the right direction. Whether that be in the shape of signing some class players or the boys on the pitch showing that they can produce the goods. Even if Spurs don't win, if they have played well and in the true Tottenham spirit, they will get the backing of the fans. Fans are realistic and know that currently there is little hope of silverware just yet, but they need something to hang onto, however thin that thread may be.
All the talk has been on Gross being one of the favourites for the sack this season. Just because he talks with an accent doesn't make him a bad coach. It may not help him be understood, but his ideas may pay off if he is given time. In the Premier League, unfortunately, that is one thing he does not have. With only one season of his contract to run, he will be cheap to pay off if things go pear-shaped. But then who steps in ?? Joe Kinnear is a strong contender for the Spurs hot seat. An ex-Spurs man who is a favourite of Bill Nicholson and is admired by Alan Sugar for what he has done at Wimbledon on a small budget. The current heat being thrown Glenn Hoddle's way because of his World Cup Diary, could see him walk away form the England job, especially as he has said
recently, that he regrets turning down Tottenham to go to Chelsea when he left Swindon Town. How he would get on with David Pleat would be interesting as he left the club shortly after Pleat took over at White Hart Lane in 1986. Further afield, Ruud Gullitt is still without a job and he may be the big name player to attract star players to the Lane, like he did at Stamford Bridge. The big stumbling blocks there would be his "netto" salary and the amount of money available to him for transfers. His approach could also clash with Sugar's and lead to public disagreements. Who else is left ?? Big Fat Ron ?? A flamboyant manager who likes his teams to play entertaining football, but would he be the sort of manager Sugar would go for ?? Trying to tempt a younger manager away from his club could be hard, so the options are pretty limited. The best thing would be to get success with the present incumbent. Tottenham need to be safe by Easter, because the final run-in is as tough as it gets.
Rumours still abound about who may or may not be coming to play for Tottenham. We need to keep an eye out for players who will enhance the team. The latest is Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu, who now recovered from his career-threatening heart operation cannot find a regular place in the Inter Milan side. Many links are probably fabricated to make good news stories, but it would be interesting to know how many of them are true and how many times Tottenham go in at the last minute for players, making it look like they are trying to sign them. Alan Sugar has evidence that players have been ready to make the
move to Spurs, only to decide for non-financial reasons to go elsewhere. It will be hard to attract the cream of the world's talent in our present predicament. So, let's start turning that around and then the other things might fall into place.

 

PREVIOUS DOWN THE LANES
26th April 1998
20th March 1998
4th March 1998

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