THE SMILER

    

        For previous Smiler Articles, click here for page 1  
        and here for page 2.

            4.11.2002          WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
            17.11.2002        I'LL HAVE A PINT WITH MY HUMBLE PIE PLEASE !
            26.11.2002        AWAY THE LADS
            6.1.2003            DUE SOUTH
            13.1.2003          THREE POINTS NONE THE WISER
            19.1.2003          CLEAN SHEET ?  YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING
            23.2.2003          BLAST FROM THE PAST
            3.4.2003            THE ALAN SUGAR STORY (PART 1)
            26.8.2003          AS ONE GLENN'S STOCK RISES, ANOTHER FALLS
            4.10.2003          FIVE HOURS OF CLEAN SHEETS
            20.10.2003        SINGING PRAISES
            24.11.2003        MID TERM REPORTS
            26.11.2003        "
ALL THE MISERY, ALL THE ANGUISH AND ALL THE PAIN ... WERE OBLITERATED IN 90 MINUTES OF SHEER JOY"
            9.1.2004            ANYONE FOR FIXTURES ??
            13.1.2004          LOYALTY OVER-RIDING BETTER JUDGMENT ?? 
            21.1.2004          ALL'S SHARE IN LOVE AND WAR
            12.2.2004          A DEFENCE, A DEFENCE, MY KINGDOM FOR A DEFENCE
            24.2.2004          BEYOND BELIEF
            23.3.2004          THE MANY STAGES OF A SEASON
            8.4.2004            PROGRAMME OF THE YEAR

 

4.11.2002

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN (Reasons to be cheerful)

0-0.  We'd've taken that surely?  One win in 27 against Chelsea.  No clean sheets in eight.  

Well, no.  

To be honest a draw was far more satisfactory for them than us. Good game though it was, the Blues showed very little realistic goal threat, with their midfield looking about as threatening as a fluffy bunny.  Their main threat came from set pieces (we all were a little apprehensive when Zola let fly from his pair of free kicks), but overall I thought we edged it enough to say we should have won it, but equally it could have gone the other way.  Now that is a Trevor Brooking like comment if ever I saw one !  What we must do is encourage Robbie Keane to take heading lessons from Sir Les, hereby creating the ultimate striker !  Teddy looked off the pace of the game again, and made some uncharacteristic errors.  Still, we all know this will change, and with a partner like Keane, there is always going to be the opportunity to play the killer ball. 

The big tests continue to come, with a potentially awkward trip up North, to which Sunderland should in theory prove small obstacle.  To be honest, the threat of Burnley in the League Cup could be more pronounced.   That's not being blasť about the whole thing, its just that the Mackems have possibly the worst manager in the league with Howard Wilkinson, the most overrated squad, the least imaginative midfield, and a poor defence.  Only Flo and Phillips would make any other squad and feasibly improve it. 

Burnley on the other hand are allegedly in rather good form, and they did stick five in Grimsby's net the other week.  That does gloss over the fact that they conceded six however !  At least we can "enjoy" these games from the comfort of our nice warm pubs and homes !  Good luck to all of you brave/mad enough to take the trips ! 

Keep on smiling (through the snow/wind/rain/chips and gravy).

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17.11.2002

I'LL HAVE A PINT WITH MY HUMBLE PIE PLEASE !

Crux of the last article: Away wins at Burnley and Sunderland more or less in the bag. Oh dear. Humble pie for table 9.

It is important to recognise when you get stuff spectacularly wrong (Mr. Perry, we're waiting for the excuse for your attempt at own goal of the season!).  Hod disappointed me in this respect after the Sunderland game.  Instead of saying how woeful we were for long periods, he focused on the positives, of a fairly nothing display.  No passion, no fight, no goals, no points.  We were very poor.  If anything they were worse. 

As you can imagine, this didn't make me a happy bunny having foregone a quiet Sunday afternoon at home to watch the game down the pub.  Despite all this we had the best chances and could realistically have won the game (inadequate defending aside).  Still, there's always next week ...

Please note lack of reference to the RS Nail defeat.  This is due to the fact that the team gave us nothing to write about, or if your being critical, enough to write about to send the entire site into turmoil.  Still, I'm sure we're not bitter about the Ashley Cole incident.  Nice innocent young man must have slipped up on those high moral standards those from South London show us all week in week out (especially you Mister Bergstamp).  

To finish I'd like to make some more predictions. Everton to win the Premier League, Wayne Rooney for Prime Minister and Carlton Palmer to become player manager of the England team.  Now if all that happens I will eat my shorts! 

Keep on grimacing

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26.11.2002

AWAY THE LADS

Well, three well deserved points against a diabolical Leeds side that looked completely impotent and devoid of their tip top away form.  In fact, they barely looked like a professional football team.  Perhaps they'd played a pub game in the morning, and were a bit tired.  

Enough of dwelling on the negative! Keano had a blinder of a game, whilst the defence looked impregnable (not often you can say that) whilst on the flanks, Ziege and Carr provided threat.  Next up is the trip to Birmingham, to face an up and down City side that on paper we should beat.  Now I'm not going down that road again, so its best to emphasise the dynamic nature of their play, plus the appearance of every Spurs fan's favourite sheep botherer (Savage) to know that its a banana skin waiting to happen.  

It's the kind of game that in the cup we would have no worries about undertaking.  A renowned cup side, they are not (apart from their League Cup run a couple of years back), whereas we don't suffer in knockout competition.  It is however a league game.  Odds on a home win.  Reason being that the stats don't lie.  Our away record is poor if your being kind.  A win at Charlton this season promised a turnaround, but so far improvement has been out of reach. 

Never mind, it will be fixed and it's games like Saturdays fixture away in Brum that should be targets for on the road success.  To sustain a Euro challenge, picking up maximum reward against the so-called lesser teams is vital. 

C'mon you Spurs!

Carry on Smiling

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6.1.2003

DUE SOUTH

Missing:
One football team reported missing presumed somewhere between North London and the South Coast. Senior policemen are growing in fear at the disappearance of the Tottenham squad prior to their FA Cup match at Southampton. Their opponents enjoyed a walkover in front of a near empty stadium as a result. If anyone should spot the team could they please contact a Mr. G Hoddle immediately at his desk at Spurs Lodge, Chigwell.

And more seriously...

How many of you went down to the south coast ?  I was there, both times, and
was appalled at the complete disparity between the sides on both occasions.
New Year's Day was a robbery.  Not only were we the better side, the whole
stadium knew it.  We had more chances and style, despite playing a donkey
upfront, not tackling Fernandes all game and having the cutting edge of a
pair of children's safety scissors.  

Then Saturday.  Of all the noises I haven't heard much about the team letting the fans down.  This is probably due to the bunch of morons that decided to return to 1970 and exact some kind of "justice" on the city of Southampton.  It's not their fault their average for Division 1 football team was far too committed for our bunch of careless pub footballers that wore blue and black that day.  Ironic, as that's the colour theyd've been if they'd tried to have a conversation with the travelling support that day. 

Well enough of whingeing about the team, let's focus on that average Division
One side, sorry BIG CLUB as the stadium announcer tried to suggest.  Obviously subscribing to the say it enough and you'll believe it theory.  Anyway, just a few things to puncture his optimism:
1) They've won nothing (except for the 1976 FA Cup final, more on that later)
2) They have no REAL fans (i.e no-one sings)
3) Their stadium is small (only 32,000, where's the ambition?)
4) Who the hell is Claus Lundekfarmergiles anyway?

Now, all of you that were at the league game will have heard this, maybe, but
at half time there was a quiz between a Spurs fan and a Saints fan, prize
being tickets for the Cup game.  Now, here's the quiz, five questions were
asked to each supporter about both teams, most correct answers wins the
tickets.  See if you guess which questions went to which person.
1) Who is the Southampton manager?
2) When was the last time Southampton reached the FA Cup final? (Here's the
1976 link!)
3) Who scored the winner in the 1976 Cup final?
4) Who is Saints top league goalscorer of all time?
5) Where do Spurs play their home games?
6) Who was Spurs' top scorer last season?
7) How did Spurs get their name?


I bet your thinking, well, they wouldn't ask all the hard ones to the other fan would you, and you'd be right. All the hard ones went to the Spurs fan.  Here are the answers by the way.
1) Saints fan (Gordon Strachan)
2) Spurs fan (Hadn't a clue-1976)
3) Spurs fan (Ditto-Bobbie Stokes Who?)
4) Spurs fan (James Beattie- Mick Channon actually)
5) Saints fan
6) Saints fan
7) Spurs fan (Named after Harry Hotspur, but the Southampton fan was asked
who his teams manager was, where's the justice?)

After her third very difficult question, the Spurs fan (anybody who is interested it was a teenage girl) swore, presumably saying "how the **** am I supposed to know that ?"  The result of the most fixed quiz from the most patronizing quiz master was unsurprisingly a landslide victory for the Saints fan. Who would've guessed it from the questions ?  Who says life isn't fair ?

Keep on grimacing

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13.1.2003

3 POINTS NONE THE WISER

Let us all celebrate.  After a pretty awful week of being a spurs fan we can
rejoice once more.  A win over rivals Everton was not only just what the Doctor
ordered, but vital to maintain our euro challenge.   

Let us start with the positives:  Well Keano was on fire, making the most of those chances afforded to him by a rather lax Toffees' defence.  Maybe in part assisted by Gus' arm to the face of the very groggy Stubbs !  Gus would also seemingly deserve a mention for running about a bit, quite a turn up for recent performances.  As per usual our very own "Delilah" Davies was found wanting with the defensive side of his game, given a torrid time by Watson, but he came through it and played a good role in the second half goal fest in a positive situation.  Glenn also changed tactics mid game to change the course of the game when it looked as if the visitors might threaten our good home record.  

Now the downside:  We were, how to put it nicely, errm.  Gary Doherty, you are not a centre half.  Naive, sluggish, position-less, mugged all too often.  Oh dear.
 Still, he played about as well as the sulking Iversen.  We finally found out he was on the pitch after being man handled in the opposition penalty area when the scores were tied (possibly 3-3, its all a blur to me).  Shame the same commitment wasn't shown when our Norwegian daisy flopped the ball onto the right boot of Steve Watson from 6 yards. 

Its a bit harsh to be complaining about a win, but the crux of the problem is that without a superhuman effort from Robbie, we would have been beaten out of sight.  We are very lucky to have signed such a talented player with seemingly limitless powers of energy, skill and stamina.  I'm not sure Mr. Yobo will be singing his praises after the torrid afternoon the African was afforded at the Lane !  What has happened to the defence though ?  From a reasonably solid unit with Deano, we turn into a very fickle bunch of wannabe defenders without the big man.  Perry is a player I've never rated in a Spurs shirt, purely and simply for the fact that if his reading of the game was better ,then half the tackles he made would be unnecessary.  For this reason, and the apparent ease it takes for opponents to gain 5 yards space from Chris, its time that we moved on.  When fit again, Tony Gardner has to come back into the side.  Pace, poise, strength all evident in the youngsters game, missing in the former Wimbledon cloggers abilities.  I'd also like to see Ledley maybe played at left back, or centre midfield, as although calm to the extreme, Led isn't the greatest man marker in the league.  For evidence of this, it was him that should've been covering for the absent Perry on the opener for Everton.  Still a great asset to the team, however needs to learn more about the game to enhance his defensive game.  

Kissing goodbye to 3-5-2 would also make me a lot happier.  At least then we can make room for Simon Davies on the right side, where he truly looks comfortable, and where the young Welshman is not exposed.  Just a mini-wish-list !  Imagine what it'd be like if we had've lost !!!  

As a brief addition to the article, the commentators for the TV said that before the Charlton game, Iversen had gone 17 games without a goal.  Current count at four games and running.

Keep on smiling

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19.1.2003

CLEAN SHEET ? YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING !

From last week's defensively inept performance, a clean sheet was something we weren't expecting from our side on a tough away trip to Villa.  In all fairness, it is the kind of game where if serious about a Euro challenge, we must win.  Other teams may come undone at such places, but bearing in mind our nature of dominating, or playing well, but still ending up empty-handed, its a trend we need to continue.  Two wins on the trot is a good start, which now must be built on to break away from the mid-table, and join up with the top five to challenge seriously.  A win against Newcastle next up would be an excellent way to jump up the table and make everyone fear playing us again.  It is away from the Lane where we need to improve though.  Our travels still yield far too few points, which needs to be addressed if we are going to move onto the next level.  For a side with a brittle defence this isn't always easy, but with the wealth of attacking talent, and the ability to pass the ball, this should be no problem realistically.  Teams like Birmingham, Villa, West Brom, Sunderland need to be put away, as from evidence over the season, they don't have the class to live with a team like ours, if the commitment is there.  This week we managed to do that, but if you look at the top teams (Utd, Arsenal) they always match teams for effort, then dominate when they have the ball. 

Speaking of the Devil, is it possible for Denis Bergkamp to go through a game without in some way lashing out at an opponent ?  The hand in the face of Bowyer in the game against the Hammers was yet another example of the Dutchman's petulance.  Bearing in mind he'd already been cautioned, he had to go.  Maybe this is why the referee chose to ignore it.  Lack of bottle to even up the sides after his earlier poor decision against Lomas for breathing on Pires.  And for the record, Wenger didn't see the Bergkamp incident.  I'm sure it'll be replayed plenty of times for him.  Here's hoping the FA take serious action to curb an undoubtedly talented player's tendency to act violently and unnecessarily towards fellow pros. 

Keep on Smiling 

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27.1.2003

THE NEW BLOKE

OK, so anyone heard of our new signing before the World Cup ?  
That'd be a no then.  
Mind you Mr. Toda certainly made an impact in his homeland during the tournament.  Oh yes, who could forget his bright red barnet dashing over every yard of pitch in the cause of helping his national side to the latter stages.  Allowing the more attack minded Inamoto and Nakata to be relieved of many of their defensive obligations.  Somewhat unsung, Toda performed a very Steffen Freund like role for the Japanese team, which maybe spells the beginning of the end for our current hero, Steffen Freund. 

Regular readers of this column will know that at first I wasn't amongst our Stef's biggest fans.  Allowed little more than a mandate to run around in front of the defence, which in fairness was quite common in our midfield at the time, Freund looked for all the world like the beginning of the end for free flowing football at the Lane.  Times change however, and the welcome departure of George Graham lifted the shackles on the German international.  No longer did we cringe when he touched the ball, under Hoddle, Freund became once more a footballer.  He would be the first to admit that he's no Robbie Keane.  Beating four players with the dropping of the shoulder and dart of pace is something we have yet to see from our man.  However, the job he performs for the team is far more important than he gets credit for. 

He is the man that will put an element of urgency in the side.  He is the one that will get the crowd going.  Such players are otherwise lacking, and without the likes of him present, I fear for the resolve of the team on occasions.  

I'm sure Mr. Toda will be a success, with Tottenham traditions formed in him by ex-Spur Steve Perryman in Japan, the extrovert in him should be enough to make sure he becomes another character.  Back to the original though, and one moment sticks in the mind from all the games watching Steffen Freund.  It doesn't come from the League Cup final, or games against Manchester United, Arsenal or any Premier League games.  Instead the most memorable facet of watching Steffen was on a warm August night at Stevenage Borough's tiny Broadhall Way ground. 

A fairly large crowd had came to see new stars such as Poyet begin their Spurs careers.  For true fans there though one moment in the 7-1 landslide stood out.  Freund galloped through the middle of the pitch, one on one with the part timer's goalkeeper.  We all held our breath as Freund skipped around the keeper to leave the tightest of angles.  The ball was lofted over the stopper's despairing dive and an age passed as a trailing defender struggled to clear the ball off the line.  He failed and a huge cheer went up from the crowd.  We could all say "we were there".  Strangely, Freund only briefly acknowledged the cheers, maybe out of embarrassment.  

To conclude, Steffen Freund, you deserve to be known as what you truly are, a Spurs legend.  May we never forget you.  Whose up for a petition to prevent the club from not releasing him when his contract expires?  

I love Steffen Freund, Steffen Freund loves me,
I love Steffen Fr-eund, Steffen Freund loves me.....
All together now!

Carry on Smiling!

P.S If anyone knows the email address of the great man, then would you please contact me at s.miles@bton.ac.uk Cheers! 

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23.2.2003

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Having thought long and hard about new ideas for articles, I stumbled on a previously unchartered category. The mediocre. As far as I'm aware, no-one has charted the progress, or lack of, of former Spurs players that were, as the TV advert would say, OK. These players will not jump out at you. You will not think, "I remember his first game". So let me begin.

Not many would believe it now, but once upon a time, a Swindon defender was a hot commodity.  Our now reserve coach Colin Calderwood signed as just that way back in the early 90's for a reported fee in the region of £1.35million.  Quite a sum for an as such unproved centre back at the time.  The first time I saw him in action, well, he was inept.  Colin was in a lineup soundly thrashed by a Norwich side including Chris Sutton, Ian Crook and Mark Bowen.  The final score of 3-1 showed a certain naivety at the back. 

Ossie Ardiles was manager at the time, and the promise of an improving future was as always, in the air.  Sadly, Colin wasn't settling too well into a defence that had defending as a second priority.  If memory serves me correctly, the end of the season became a struggle, and Colin dropped by the time the next campaign started.  After such an inauspicious start, Colin's fortunes could indeed only get better, and they did.  Through a combination of injuries, and a new confidence, he worked his way back into the side once more. 

A reasonably solid Spurs career was in the offing.  A move to central midfield, although not disastrous, didn't really work out, and so David Howells was recalled into that position.  From then on, Colin became a reasonable squad player, not  really in anyone's first choice lineup, but always "on the bench". 

Looking back, his major problem may well have been Gary Mabbutt.  Mabs wasn't really a dominating centre-half, but he was a very good player, and Spurs through and through to boot.  Even know his opinion is constantly asked for, and often given, on matters Spurs.  An intelligent gentleman of the game with an excellent head for the game, it was a dominant centre back that was needed to support him.  Calderwood wasn't really up to this particular task.  Similar in many ways to Mabbutt, the partnership was proved unrealistic in that first season, and with the emergence of Sol Campbell, Colin was gently pushed into the background.  

Transfers to Villa and Forest in the twilight of his career showed that he could still adequately fill a gap, but Colin would forever be tarred with the brush of doing OK.  Perhaps this is a bit harsh on a man that won numerous caps for his native Scotland, but an adequate start to an adequate column! 

Keep on Smiling!

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Smiler
I think Colin Calderwood was very average as a player for Spurs and now he is Reserve Team Coach, I think he is proving fairly inept in that role with the Reserves failing to provide first team replacements and suffering defeats all too regularly.

RICHARD PORTER

 

3.4.2003

THE ALAN SUGAR STORY (PART 1)

We all have our own opinions of what Alan Sugar did for, and did to our beloved club. Many will say that he rescued us from financial oblivion, others that he showed a lack of ambition when the club needed it most. It is all too easy to jump on the bandwagon of criticism that shrouded Sugar's later years as Chairman. To complete the background to the story however, we need to look back beyond 1991, when Sir Alan took over, and back to a young man earning his crust selling car aerials out of the back of a van.

Many of you won't know a great deal about the humble beginnings of the man. From a modest upbringing in one of North London's less salubrious areas, Alan Sugar fought his way out, through long hard years of long hard work. No-one ever accused Alan Sugar of slacking. Another thing that set Sugar apart from the crowds were his ideas. Throughout his stewardship of Amstrad, new ways of making a few extra quid were always in evidence, from tower system stereos to personal computers, Sugar led the way to bringing the product to the masses. What's more, from the early days, prior to stock market flotation, Sugar retained offices in Tottenham, holding annual meetings at the club's ground. 

A sign of things to come maybe? The overriding feature of the early years of the now world famous entrepreneur was that he wasn't afraid to make new ideas work, no matter what it took. This, coupled with the willingness to drop products when they became unprofitable, made Alan the success story of the 80's. 

So why buy a football club? The guy had shown little interest in the game beforehand, so why now? Perhaps it was the influence of his friends, many of whom were Spurs men, or perhaps a vision of helping his community? The answer to the question is known only to a select few of which sadly I'm not one. 

In the next article, look forward to (or be indifferent to) analysing the Sugar years at Spurs, success or failure? Maybe you'll be surprised .... 

Keep on Smiling (at least its sunny!)  

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26.8.2003

AS ONE GLENN'S STOCK RISES, ANOTHER FALLS

You can't help but feel sorry for Glenn Roeder.  Sacked after a reasonable start to the season (2 wins, 1 draw and a defeat), after having seen his chances of promotion being sold off in front of his eyes.  In all fairness, he should have gone a long while ago, and in the current debacle at Upton Park, he's best off out of there.  

What I did find funny however, was on the Irons website, at the top of the article announcing the sacking, was an advert for the sponsors, jobserve.co.uk.  Wonder if there are any applicants yet ?  The phrase wouldn't touch it with a barge pole comes to mind.  Myself and a uni mate were thinking of applying for the vacancy.  Thinking that we could probably get away with managing the Hammers from the office, and with undoubted Championship Manager pedigree (we are currently lining up Tonton Zola Moukoko as our first signing !) the phone call is surely only seconds away.

Now back to the real world.  As funny as talking about West Ham is, we don't really care.  What does captivate our attention currently is our own situation.  As per usual we are at a critical junction.  One good season from making an impact on Europe at last, half a bad season from a change in management, if you believe the media then maybe less.  In my own opinion, I sincerely hope, and am on the verge of believing, that the former is nearest to the truth.  It is my view that from the available options to Spurs, Glenn is by far and away the best man for the job.  We have seen progression since he took over the hot-seat from the King of 0-0.  OK, we'll all admit that the second half of last season was unacceptable, and possibly a backward step.  

On the other hand, it has given the manager the backing of the board to breath new life into the squad, and blow away all the cobwebs whose attitudes could be seen as limiting our progress.  For example, anyone who saw Teddy Sheringham regularly last season will testify that he is no longer the player he was, and commanding a place in a side aiming for the top six in the table is beyond his means.  Similarly, the likes of Thatcher, Iversen and the rest also lacked the quality to fit into a high flying squad.  The players brought in hopefully can do that, and can do so without the baggage that the older more experienced departures brought with them.  At times I felt that certain players felt they knew better than the manager, which is not only fairly wrong, but also a breeding ground for disharmony.  The new players will hopefully be able to take on board Hoddle's knowledge, and become far better players for it.  Besides, if it all starts to go the way of the pear, I'll be ready to fill the breach with all my Championship Manager experience, plus I know a good 16 year old Swede that'll be worth millions in a few seasons time ...  Hopefully the dream of progress isn't as far fetched as that.

Smiler aka "The Gaffer"  

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4.10.2003

5 Hours of clean sheet

Lo! Behold! The 3-0 victory over Everton extended the period of time since we last conceded to an unthinkable 5 hours. With the Spurs defence normally having as clean a sheet as a pubescent boy, this remarkable turnaround is as welcome as it is unfathomable. In the past, clean sheets have occurred by sheer weight of attack, as could probably be said for today's performance, and that at Coventry. Sandwiched in between was the backs to the wall, hands to the pumps, and many other bad cliches this article is far too lazy to include, performance in the city of joyriding stadium against the blue moonies (incidently, does anyone know if they did indeed name a part of the ground "The Bell End"?). Back to today however, and as my first visit to the Lane of the season, I was very grateful to see an improved performance, and
3 points to boot.

My first point must be to comment on Freddie Kanoute's Wondergoal. Before I launch into a string of superlatives, I'd better mention the guy that sat next to me. The poor guy had just looked down to rearrange his coat under his seat, no longer required due to the pleasant sunshine, as the ball connected with Freddie's right boot and flew into the top corner. A minute of celebration and drooling over the sheer beauty of the goal later, we turned to the guy, looking strangely glum. Asking why the long face, he replied that it was probably goal of the season, and that he'd only bleedin' missed it. Such goals come along very rarely, so my heart went out to the poor guy, who may never see a goal as good in the flesh as long as he lives!  Anyway, Freddie's strike was no more than a glorified tap in, that you might see at any pub game on a Sunday morning ... OK, so it was goal of the season, and it has to be seen to be believed, but well, we all already know that.

My next point is Rohan Ricketts. In my view, our man of the match (not reflected by the "official vote" by the way) Rohan was a constant thorn in the Everton side. His roaming runs were a joy to behold, and RR was always an outlet for team mates to pass to. On top of this, he made David Unsworth's afternoon a torrid one (I can't recall a time when the Scouse lump managed to take the ball off the cocky cockney). Sadly, I may have to reprimand him for this as Unsworth is in my fantasy football side, and making a fool of him could be considered bad form! On the flip side, it has become known that RR's contract is up at the end of the season, and may I be amongst the first to say "sign him up!!!". Floating around on the right wing in such style that he wouldn't look out of place at Old Trafford is in my view a perfect pre requisite for holding onto a very talented young player.

Finally, I'd like to hit on the way in which David Pleat is going about his business as caretaker manager. His interviews may be full of garbage, and he may be starting to rival Ron Atkinson in the level of sanity you need to understand what he says, but Pleaty is doing his day job very well. The team, whilst not looking 100% solid, are improving defensively every game.  Also, a team spirit is developing quite nicely, and you know this has got to be good when new loan signing Stephane Dalmat is pegging up and down the wing, doing the donkey work, even as a late substitute at 3-0 up! Overall though, the biggest complement I can give the man is that at no point did I think that changing the team was necessary to achieve the end result. I was also grateful that Dalmat got a run out, and that Paul Konchesky got a full 90 (Oh Paul Kon-chesky, better than Emile Heskey, Paul Konchesky). Here's hoping the waffling wonder can keep making good sense of his team talks, and employ his talents away from the prying eyes of the vulturous media. 

Keep on smiling

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20.10.2003

Singing Praises

In my opinion, one thing that is slowly going out of our games is the original and witty chanting that other clubs still hang onto.  As (supposedly) a bunch of chirpy cockneys, we should still be able to muster some decent songs, at least to praise our own players.  

Attending the game against Everton and finding that our French goal machine had a song devoted to him that a fair few have had in the past got me thinking.  The results of which could be classed as some dodgy lyricism, but to my knowledge, they are at least original to us.  

It all began with Paul Konchesky (technically not yet one of our own, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't come the January window).  Now, what can you get to rhyme with "Konchesky" ?  The best answer I found was "Heskey", so maybe next time the fiery former Addick makes a crunching tackle, maybe we should spout up a rendition of the "I Love You Baby" tune with the words altered to say 

"Paul Konchesky, better than Emile Heskey, 
Paul Konchesky, better than Emile Heskey, 
Paul Konchesky, la la la laaaaa." 

That was my first attempt, so I'll accept that the words aren't the greatest, although easy to sing and remember.  Next up I thought of Bobby Zamora (there are still plenty of Bobby Z shirts floating around Brighton, not surprisingly).  Now our Bob has his own chant to the tune of Dean Martin's "Amore", but again, it isn't ours.  So, for some reason with Tom Jones in my head, I again thought of some words.  So altogether to the tune of Delilah, ah-hem

"Bob, Bob Bob, Zamora (la la la la la la),
 Score score score, some mor-a,
 But Bob, before, you score goals 2,3 and 4,
 Forgive us dear Bobby we just don't sing anymore."

Now the last line is lame, and I'm open to suggestions.  I have to say in my defence that we were in stitches at our awful singing by the time we got to the fourth line.   Finally, upon our South African recruit thundering home his debut goal at the crisp packet, I inexplicably broke into a rendition of the Macarana, replacing the M word with Mabizela. "Hey, Mabizela !"  Oh dear, maybe we'd best stick to "Zulu, Zulu" instead !  Anyway guys, I urge you to print out a copy of this page, take it along to the Lane on Sunday, spread the word and get us some original chanting going on.  Let us be proud and funny once again!!!

Keep on smiling!  

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23.10.2003

I read with delight, Smiler's interpretation that we need better/wittier songs to sing at the lane. So I was driving home last night and for no apparent reason started to sing "Club Tropicana" by Wham ! THEN I started to add Spurs lyrics in !! (very worrying).

So here we go, the Spurs version of (Football)-Club Tropicana:

Let me take you to a place,
where football shows it's shining stars,
The top club in Lon - don.

Style  football-of ev'ry kind & way,
Postiga, Keane & Ka-nou-taay!
Scoring goals for fun.

(The rousing chorus)

Tott'nam Hotspur will-win EEAASY!
We're the greatest - you may score 1 or 2,
WHOA! but we'll score 2 or 3!
& don't worry, we'll win the lee-ague!

There you go, so get your flight suits out and grow some dodgy 'taches.

Another one I thought of (and this is even sadder) is to the tune of Madonna's - La ile Bonnete (that's what my wife calls it anyway):

Last night I dreamt of Kanoute,
He went PAST the half way line,
The ball went so FAST (see the rhyme!)

Chorus:
Straight into the top corner,
A bullet from our footballer,
The keeper had no chance at all,
GOAL to Tott'nam Hotspur!

And when the Tott'nam play,
They'll pass you off the park,
run rings round you and win the game,
Super Lilly-whites



So strike up the band, at last that annoying drummer in the east stand can be of some use!

If I think of anymore I'll keep them to myself I promise!
The gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down then so lets see what the top lillywhite brains can come up with!

Resurrecting the faith,
Alan O'Brien

3.11.2003

Working on the Tom Jones "Delilah" theme what about ...

"Bob, Bob, Bob Zamora (he's only gone and scored another goal),
Bob, Bob, Bob Zamora (he's twice as good as Andy Cole).

It's a start that maybe someone can finish off.

Here's hoping we can get the singing back at the Lane

Mark Kidston

 

24.11.2003

MID TERM REPORTS

We are now one third through the season. A glance at the league table shows that work needs to be done, but also that we are by far from being the worst off of our "mini league" of also-rans. To put it bluntly however, this could all have been so different but for some fairly lucky results. Wins against Leicester and Villa when draws looked beyond our means, draws against Man City and Middlesbrough were nothing short of depressing for us faithful. The long and the short of this is that if we had dropped these six points then we'd be looking at relegation rather than mid-table. Therefore, bearing in mind that three times our current total of points is a mere 42 (a total that West Ham weren't safe with), we need to do better over the rest of the season. The squad seemingly has enough talent to be kept well away from the drop zone, and the hope is that once Kanoute gets back and fit, then we'll be given that little bit extra in terms of goal-scoring prowess, experience and the physical attributes that Freddie gives us. The positives are that there are teams in more trouble than us. Along with teams that are doing far better, here is a mid term report on the rest of the league:

Woolwich Wanderers

Their manager still cannot see anything. Their fans are still ignorant, arrogant and clueless (much like some of their centre backs, namely Stepanovs, Tavilarides, Cygan). Unfortunately, they are however top of the league (but fighting the ignominy of not even getting into the UEFA cup from the "Runners Up" League, not even better than a bunch of Ruskies??? He he he). Discipline wise, it's been a quiet time of it. After some early season handbag swinging, red cards have been strangely absent.

Aston Villa

Looking vulnerable. Should have enough grit and ability to get out of trouble, but then West Ham had ability ... Major problem in hitting the net, although from their performance at WHL this is more due to an ineptitude in creating chances. Will struggle as long as they avoid playing creative midfielders.

Birmingham

Riding the crest of a wave. I should imagine the wildest dreams of many a Brummy are being more than filled with the comparitive fortunes of the two second city clubs. Were lucky to beat us though ...

Bolton

Same old same old. Slowly improving, almost looking like a premiership team. Need to get more ambition. Without Jay Jay Okocha they look devoid of ideas and dull. With him they looked like Brazil at WHL.

Blackburn

Another mid table team looking in trouble. Nobody would miss them if they went down again, they have a few fans but nobody really cares. Relegation would at least see them play Burnley and have a derby game.

Chelski

Forgetting that they are Chelsea, they are a joy to watch. The games against Lazio and Newcastle showed exactly what they are capable of. Miraculously now have as many fans as anyone on Sussex coast, Cornwall and many other places with no relationship to Stamford Leisure Complex. The best is yet to come from them, which is very worrying for the rest of us. Wouldn't mind getting our hands on half their reserve team ...

Charlton

Unbelievable. At times look very ordinary, but seem to be getting results from the bigger games now (e.g. beating the Scousers). Provide entertainment most Monday nights (or so it seems), although you never see any of their fans there. Rumour has it that they want to expand the Valley. More room for away fans then??

Everton

Almost as temperamental as us, just with dodgy accents. They must be overjoyed that they have to face Les Ferdinand again this season!

Fulham

Where has all your money gone? A manager that has performed miracles, a playing squad that is playing out of its skin. I can see a downturn in form after Christmas, but are looking good enough to stave off relegation comfortably. 

Liverpool

See Everton, minus the Les Ferdinand comment.

Leeds

Are they relegated already? No, just playing like it then. Comfortably the worst team I've seen this season. You have to feel for Alan Smith, one man cannot keep a side in the league on his own. No doubt they'll beat us though.

Leicester

Forgot about them first time through. Have no affection for them due to an 80's style of football and Paul Dickov. Lack talent, and I hope they go down.

Man Utd

Don't care.

Man City

Starting to be more Spurs like by the day. Fans complaining about less good European performances. The next couple of months will be crucial for them, with a mediocre run potentially puncturing the feel good factor related to their new stadium.

Middlesbrough

A team that always seem to struggle within reason. You get the feeling that they could sign the Real Madrid first team squad and they'd still float around near the relegation zone. Pick up the odd random result, but are more solid at the back than Wolves, Leicester, Leeds and Villa. Frankly, we wouldn't mind seeing them go down so as we didn't have to travel up there (especially seen as it's always a Wednesday night ... ). 

Newcastle

Strangely subdued. Looking leaden footed in attack, and less than solid at the back. Missing Bellamy very badly, falling back into the ranks of us mid table also-rans.

Portsmouth

A friend of mine who supports Pompey is still worried. From what I've seen they look plenty good enough to avoid relegation (e.g. humiliation of Leeds). Must be careful not to be consumed by their upcoming local Derbies.

Southampton

Still as boring and one man teamish as ever. Living in fear of their precious stadium being trashed during their local Derbies with Pompey. Apparently St Mary's was built for European football. Intertoto then?

Wolves

Spectacularly erratic. From the sublime (second half against Leicester) to the ridiculous (entire game against Leicester). The dictionary definition of the fabled roller-coaster ride. May I suggest starting some kind of collection for Dave Jones' impending heart attack recuperation? I'll give 10/1 that he is bald from pulling his hair out by March, odds on grey.

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26.11.2003

"ALL THE MISERY, ALL THE ANGUISH AND ALL THE PAIN ... WERE OBLITERATED IN 90 MINUTES OF SHEER JOY"

I'm sure we all agree with these sentiments.  From the years of supporting an average Spurs side, watching an even more average England side and having "ikea politicians" (all identical, when one of them breaks you go back to the shop and swap it for a new one).  You would think that the title of this column would be fitting with the jubilation of little England winning a World Cup at the weekend.  

But wait.  This is not to do with the World Cup. 

This is not even the feelings of a Crystal Palace fan after winning their first game since the beginning of the season.  

The quote in fact was made by Martin Lipton in The Mirror.  Apparently Martin (quite blatantly an Arsenal fan) has been through untold angst this season, watching his pitiful team wallow at the top of the league.  I really empathise with him.  Who would want to be in his shoes ?  I'd certainly never want Spurs to be top of the league and in such "misery".  

Back in the real world, and maybe it is time that the biased Mr. Lipton found out what real football supporting anguish is.  I'm not talking about getting him to watch one of our home games (getting quite dull, but nowhere near the reality check he needs).  Instead I suggest a trip to Elgin City vs. East Stirlingshire.  The reason is that these two pitiful sides are at the very bottom of the Scottish league.  To view true misery and feel true pain (no doubt in the form of hypothermia) this is what Martin the Biased should be treated to.  Who knows, it might even turn him into a proper journalist.  

Here is the challenge then Martin.  If you feel yourself vindicated in the garbage that you penned, contact me via my email address (s.miles@bton.ac.uk).  I will be more than happy to accompany you on the trip.  We could even make a story out of it.  If any of you have any way of getting this challenge to the man himself, please do not hesitate.  I am deadly serious.  I see this not as an aggressive threat, but as a way of enlightening a small part of the media into the way the vast majority of us are forced to spend our football supporting lives.  Not experiencing the pain and misery of world class stars and trophies, but "revelling in the glory" of a poor team playing badly enough to get relegated from the worst professional league in the country.

If, on the other hand, you are to bound up in your own propaganda, then run with your tail between your legs and apologise to us and your readers.  You can even write it in one of those impartial and well informed articles of yours ...

I look forward to hearing from you.  The challenge has been set.

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9.1.2004

Anyone for fixtures?

Following the ban on use of any information prior to a game of it taking place, it's possibly time we started coming up with an alternative fixture list.  So fellow fans, after our games against Palace and Birmingham (they were in the past, so apparently that's OK, we don't have to pay), we will under no circumstances be travelling to Yorkshire and will be nowhere near Elland Road, and neither will Leeds Utd.  Please do not travel to the non-game, do not disturb the peace of Leeds by singing or shouting.  For those of you wishing not to travel (you could watch a game that won't be taking place in a public house that won't be showing football between 2 and 5), you will be glad to know that a random fixture in an unknown location against unknown opposition will have a report published at 5pm on Saturday.

The warning contained in this article is in response to the cunning arrangement of publicity professing that certain sporting events are taking place, when in fact it is merely an elaborate ploy to confuse the fixture list rapists.  As such, I can now divulge that whilst the "fake" Spurs team is languishing in the lower reaches of the league, in the real league, the are riding high, and face Barcelona in the Champions league next month.  In other news, England won the "Real" Euro champs last week. 

I'm aware that there has been a fair amount of outrage shown on the end of the original column, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't feel I could add my tuppence worth on the end.  This is just another example of the world going mad.  My question is who in their right mind would pay to print the fixture list ?  I might be kidding myself here, but possibly the fixture list is found more commonly than there are drinking sessions in breweries.  The fixtures are announced in the middle of summer (presumably for a hefty fee), and are immediately known by all.  The most ridiculous fact of the matter is that it will make little or no difference to people's ability to find this knowledge, it will delay the finding of it by literally seconds.  So well done to the guy that decided to charge for it.  I bet you're a lawyer.

By the way, rumour has it the website of the unofficial Arsenal matchday magazine (in association with Charmin, no1 in all your toilet paper needs) has purchased the rights to publish league fixtures for a completely reasonable £1m over 5 years. Who said Gooners were  stupid?

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13.1.2004

When do you know that your loyalty overrides your better judgment?

The title of this column has been something I've been pondering for a long while.  Having reached the point of no return years ago (no chance of supporting anybody else, no sitting and enjoying a game of football involving Spurs without worrying why Perry can't pass or Sherwood can't run), the next stage of loyalty confused me.  When is it that you become tragically intertwined with your team?

Is it the first time you are asked if you could chuck out that old replica shirt ?  I remember this happening years ago, and not being all that bothered as it didn't fit anymore.  The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago however, and a voice in my head said no.  I rationalised this by informing a confused mother by saying that any future "mini-Smiler" will have it handed down to him (if he doesn't wear it he's not getting anything else bought for him !).  I consider this act quite tragic, but a sign of blind faith, hardly.  That just shows that the first stage has been passed, and that your fate has been accepted.

Do you become pocket stretchingly loyal by buying your season ticket every year, and turning up every week ?  Again, I would say it helps.  The three years I had my season ticket before moving away did harvest a great deal of my passion for the game, and direct it all at shouting at Tim Sherwood, amongst various others.  It would be impossible to deny that this has a massive effect.  For me however, the three years did not quite cement that affection.  Neither was it the League Cup win in my first year in the North Stand (block 21, row 19, seat 149 I think).

The first time my true lack of rationality in all matters Spurs has come very recently.  The past couple of years or so, I've thought nothing of travelling up from Brighton when I can to see as many home games as I can afford (this isn't a search for a pat on the back, before I get all the replies of people travelling from Scandinavia etc, well done to you guys by the way).  The true nature of my predicament would have actually been seen last season.  The Monday night trip up to Man. City three days before Christmas, with two hours notice would probably be the key moment.  Not to mention the fact that it involved blowing my Christmas budget in the space of 12 hours, but we'll skip that.  At the time we were in a reasonable run of form, but still appalling away from home, and I'd be seeing another three games over the holiday period (Charlton at home on Boxing Day, 2-2, and both of the Southampton games, including the 4-0 debacle).  For some reason, all of these logical reasons for saying no didn't deter me, and the long trip was undertaken.

It has all sunk in in the past week or so however.  This is because the decision has been made again.  In my wisdom, I am dragging a couple of guys up to the Cup game (possibly Manchester again, great fun!).  This is despite the game being on TV (actually, as this is a cup game, we might even be able to say when it is being played), and it causing major difficulties in spending time with girlfriend, missing other commitments, not to mention the wedge that it'll cost.  This is blind loyalty.  Brighton to Manchester is a hell of a long way.  Especially when there really is no need.  What I can guarantee is that barring another capitulation, I'll be there shouting and singing, chanting and laughing (or crying) throughout.  That is my version of blind loyalty.

Keep on Smiling (even though the futility of it all has now hit you)

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15.1.2004

I see a lot of comparisons with my own, stretching out my own income for my season ticket-renewal, mortgage, kids at University, trying to get some sort of summer break together, then theirs my travel to Spurs from Kettering (By the way I'm not looking for a pat on the back either), thirty years of travelling support with nearly sixteen years on and off as a season ticket-holder.

If that board of directors cared half as much as us perhaps we would go on to be the greatest team the world has ever seen, in this country at any rate.

                                                                    
Jonspur

            

21.1.2004

All's share in love and war

I'm willing to bet that Daniel Levy has a better idea what the best way to raise finance for a football club is than I do.  I'll make that clear at the start.  He has risen to the top of an albeit precarious tree.  There aren't too many chairmen of listed companies as young as our man.  Personally, I don't rate my chances of following in his footsteps are all that great, but time will tell on that one.

The big issue (to get another dodgy pun in) is ENIC's share plan.  The recent past has seen newspapers plaster our £15m fundraising exercise over the back pages. Mainly this has revolved around a D-Day type scenario, with failure to secure the cash being seen as the fans wanting ENIC out.  Whether this played into Levy's hands or not is open to question, but the worry is that the business case for the issue may well have been overlooked as the trenches were dug.

In the immediate future, £15m of transfer money will do very nicely.  Spent wisely, that could see three good players coming to WHL and improving the squad to help push for the top reaches of the league.  Maybe the manager that becomes our next in the summer will splash some of that cash initially on making our no. 11 a permanent Spurs winger.  That'd be where I started anyway.  The £15 may also give us great assistance in picking up a decent manager.  It could for instance pay for Alan Curbishley's compensation fee, as well as many others no doubt.  The new manager is THE key.  It is my belief that the players we have at the club are no less talented than those at supposedly better sides.  What we have lacked is the direction and drive to make it work.  Our players are too relaxed, and tend to lack a bit of steel.  Said coach needs to have an idea of how to pass the ball on the floor before people start mentioning the George Graham team.

Now for the negative aspects of the issue.  We have opened ourselves up to be mocked in the media again.  No matter what the result was, the trash media seems to be working against Spurs once more.  The fact that we now have the money will mean every club from Aberdeen to Antwerp will know that we have a few pennies to spend, and will up the prices accordingly.  This would obviously be bad news, and result in over priced and over rated players once again making their way to our reserve team. All hail the new Ruel Fox !!!!!!

And now to conclude.  Do I think the share issue is a good thing.  This morning on Sky Sports News, the Trust's spokesman discussed the issues involved with the issue, and ended up falling in the pro category.  I really want this to be a good thing.  The money could well be enough in the summer to buy the one or two top quality players that bring a winning mentality to the team.  Alternatively it could be frittered away and we end up back at square one.  My main issue is where future finance will come from.  This avenue will now be closed for the medium term.  Does this mean any expansion of the East Stand is postponed indefinitely ?  What I would really like is to spend a week with the chairman, and the chief exec, to try and get to know the men behind the ideas.  To get a sense of the drive behind the plans and the quotes is something I believe is essential to get to the core of whether this is a god send or another chapter in the history of our fall from grace.  If I was voting, I would probably have voted for the issue.  At the end of all the reasoning, if £15m can help us pick up a top quality manager, then it may well pay itself back. If it fails then it's not the kind of cash spent by Leeds so the club should in theory be safe from that particular ignominy.

That's made it a lot clearer eh ! Or not ...

Keep smiling

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12.2.2004

A defence, a defence, my kingdom for a defence

One Ginger Pele.........
 
Gary Doherty has come in for some abuse from us Spurs fans in the past. From the moment he missed a near open goal from three yards against Sunderland on his debut (as striker) to giving away penalties at Old Trafford, via general mistakes that meant he never became truly endeared to the fans. All this is turning around very quickly however. From being very much a fringe player, to marshalling a semblance of a defence, the "Doc" has grown in stature, confidence and popularity. In fact, the chanting for his name when Dean Richards' name was announced in the team at the Portsmouth game was a measure of how far the guy has come. I have to admit that I wasn't the guy's biggest fan (mainly as I dreaded him being deployed up front, which no doubt had a marked affect on his progress as a defender). For this Gary, I apologise. Thank you for proving me wrong.
 
Following on from my (much) earlier article regarding songs, our now endeared Doc became the subject of a new (yes new!) chant up at Man City in the cup (away, not the home debacle). After his nod in at the far post, cries of "One Ginger Pele, there's only one Ginger Pele" were started up in the away section. Now, I'm sure Gazza recognises the irony in this, the fact that unlike the famous Edson, our Irish centre-back isn't the most talented player in the world isn't exactly a secret. It is however our acknowledgement that we appreciate all of the "dirty" work that he does for the team (he also has developed a mean Cruyff turn from somewhere). Is it a coincidence that our laugh a minute attempt at defending in the City home game and the Pompey game were made without our son of Ireland (that famous part of Rio). Who needs Santos when you've got Luton Town anyway ?
 
Moving away from my praise of the Doc, I'd like to move back to the song theme. The subject of this latest plea is Jermain Defoe. If the guy is going to insist on scoring in every game, we're going to need to come up with a chant or two to make him feel wanted. Bit of a coup signing him, so it'd be a shame if we didn't foster a deep love for the club and the fans in him to prevent him potentially jumping ship sometime in the future!
 
As a continuation of the random themes in this article, I'm going to touch on the run of form we're having. What is going wrong? Where is the run of defeats? This is not typical Tottenham behaviour. We're even playing reasonable football, results and entertainment = nothing to complain about. We can't be having that now can we! Even more worrying is that we are now within a couple of wins of a Champions League spot. Nosebleed territory indeed. The massive problem with this is that we'll not be able to take the high horse route about it not being "Champions" and the competition being a discrimination against teams that aren't Man Utd, Real Madrid or AC Milan. The minute a quote comes out in the newspapers that we're involved in the dog eat dog battle for the millions of Euros on offer for qualifying for it, our principles will be shot. Whatever happened to the safe certainty of a relegation battle? We've pulled out a 12 point cushion now over teams that a struggling to pick up 1, let alone 3 points on a regular basis. Rest assured though folks, looking at the fixtures would indicate that the worst is yet to come. Games against Utd and Chelsea come entwined with trips to Middlesbrough and the like. These are the games we need to get back to normal!
 
Keep on Smiling (the winning streak CERTAINLY won't last forever)  

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24.2.2004

Beyond Belief

Stats can tell you anything.  At the moment stats will tell you that there is a goal every 12.9 minutes in games featuring Spurs.  Just enough time to go to the loo and buy a cup of tea.  Such activities have been moved from their traditional half-time spots to between goals breaks due to the need for medical attention for fraught nerves and heart problems in the break in action.  In fact, I concluded that of the three minutes of injury time at the end of Sundays game, approximately 2.5 of those minutes were taken up by goal celebrations.

Now let us hark back to 2000/1. Those by-gone days when we were setting a Premier League record for goal-less minutes in games.  Four matches on the trot slipped by without so much as anything described as exciting (I think we managed to score in injury time in the fourth game, 1-0 away at Man City).  That made it an astonishing 0.25 goals a game, or 0.036 goals for every one scored in our current crazy streak. 

See? Stats. What they don't tell you is the amount of people sleeping through the 360+ minutes of goal shy action (or the decibel level of boos at WHL at the time).  Neither do they quite explain the desire of the current Spurs team to kill off half of the current crowd.  I think the minute we stop laughing, Tottenham High Road could become a new version of the River Lea, as a result of all the tears.  I'm sure we were all in a similar boat on Sunday night.  To laugh or to cry ?  How exactly can you react to seeing your team capitulate on a level only seen by one set of fans more than once before ?  We scored four goals yet again, making 15 in 4 games.  Has a team done this since the 60's and managed to not win in half of those games ?  Maybe there's a stat out there to tell us.

And so the crazy roadshow moves onto the Riverside.  Andy Gray stated that it's not likely going to be 0-0 given the recent madness enveloping all things Lilywhite and Blue.  The same Andy Gray also suggested we hadn't seen the end of the scoring at 2-1 on Sunday (after 13 minutes, ahead of schedule that !).  Wonder where he gets all his wisdom from ? Maybe he could pass some of it on to the players that dropped some quite spectacular howlers on Sunday ? That includes whoever told Darren Anderton to mark Ben Thatcher at corners by the way ...

P.S. Anyone else having nightmares?

Smiler

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23.3.2004

The Many Stages of the season

Looking back over the story so far, you could be forgiven in forgetting how it all started.  I've sat back, with Southampton tickets no arrived, and thought back to the days of Hoddle, his last game being a 3-1 drubbing against the Saints. The next thing that came to mind was the other points of our season.  In case you'd got swept along with it all, here's a summary:

Pre-Season-Spurs given a good chance of reaching Europe after summer signings.  First home defeat of the season sees media jump on Hoddle's back.

Early Season  -  Things start to go a bit wrong at the Lane, bad home losses to Fulham and Southampton over shadow promising displays at Chelsea (where we lead for a time), and Liverpool (clean sheet and a point).  Hoddle is sacked by a honey-mooning chairman.

Early Pleat  -  The leak of goals is stopped immediately, and the Keane-Kanoute partnership starts to flourish.  The highlights are continued progress in the league cup, and a seeming upturn in morale.  Kanoute scores one of the goals of the season against Everton with a 35 yard screamer.  We begin to look more like the mid table side we've become accustomed to being, and everyone is completely caught up in the speculation about a new manager.

Christmas  -  Things fall away badly, loss follows loss, culminating in defeat at home to Charlton and being beaten on penalties against Boro.

New Year  -  Unprecedented run of form sees us dart clear of the relegation zone and up to the middle reaches of the league that are our home.  An away win at Leeds sees the spectre of relegation loom less large, as does a convincing win over Birmingham.  Somewhere in amongst the good run, it is announced that Pleat will keep control until a new man is installed at the end of the season. Apparently this new man is already lined up, and significant spending on Brown and Defoe in the transfer window would seem to back this up. 

Goal Frenzy  -  After a 1-1 away in the cup, a goal frenzy ensues during the replay, and hangs over the Lane for the next month.  Sides come to town and forget how to defend for 90 minutes, as first we throw away a 3-0 lead to get beaten by 10 Man City.  Next up is Portsmouth, struggling on their travels come back from a goal down on three occasions before finally succumbing to Gus Poyet's right knee from a yard.  A trip to Charlton keeps the goals flowing as we look like brushing the Addicks aside (again 3-0 up) before finally killing the game with a 4th (4-2).  The series of defensive debacles is concluded with a 4-4 against Leicester.  I remember little of the second half of this match, as it was viewed through fingers covering eyes, but I distinctly remember leading 3-1 at half time, and giving Leicester all four of their goals on a plate.  Scored a last minute equaliser to save a point.  Jermain Defoe starts his Spurs career on fire in the African Nations Cup absence of Kanoute, with four goals in three.  Europe a possibility?

Post Dubai  - The sheets are cleaner, but the goals have dried up.  One in three games since our break, and perhaps an end to to end to end fantasy football of the previous month.  To be fair, we've begun to play better sides now (i.e. ones that know how to defend) and so that may be a cause for the goals drying up.  Fingers crossed that we manage to find our feet again and the goals can once more flow (at the right end!).


Smiler

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8.4.2004

Programme of the Year

On the recent trip to Southampton, I noticed that their match-day magazine had been given an award for it's quality.  Expecting to be impressed then, I began to leaf through and read some of the articles, which to be honest, were the usual type of drivel that we come to expect from programmes up and down the country.  Fine I thought, probably just one of those awards they throw around to everyone if you wait long enough.  Then on turning to the team-sheets on the back (and I'm sure many of you would have done the same), I noticed that we had managed to sign a new Swedish player.  

I was shocked, who was this new signing ?  Why had we not heard of him ? 

The answer to these questions is that far from being a new player, we were being informed that Rohan Ricketts (now to be known as Bjorn Jonsson-Ricketts), had not in fact been born in our own country, but instead was brought into the world in the land of Ikea and Sven Goran Eriksson.  As you can imagine, this brought a bit of a smile to our faces, as did the soon to follow revelation that Goran Bunjecevic (spelling liable to be incorrect!) was born in me (or "YOU") as the programme suggested.  Having never given birth to anyone (and it being biologically impossible), I naturally became a bit worried.  However these fears were abated when we realised that it was a slip of the keyboard, and what was meant to be penned was the three letter abbreviation for Yugoslavia.  I was relieved I can tell you !  The final point of hilarity was in the searching through of the betting odds on the inside cover.  As you'd expect, the listed goalkeepers were excluded from the betting BUT ... our sub keeper, Lars Hirschfeld (spelling again liable to be very wrong) was quoted as 6-1 joint favourite to open the scoring.  I'm not a betting man, but those didn't appear good odds for someone that has yet to make a first team appearance for Spurs, let alone pull on an outfield shirt and score a goal.  Still, clearly even programme of the year is liable to mistakes !

Please email me (or the site) to add any programme faux pas that you may have seen on your travels, and we'll see if we can make us all laugh a bit (no doubt we're now going to be subjected to a string of "Koch's", and Kuntz's from the Bundesliga !).

I received a reply from one Martin Lipton this week, in response to an article I submitted previously this season.  Martin stated that he was not an Arsenal fan, and had spent too much time suffering with the rest of us through the bad times to be classed as such.  Therefore, I apologise to Martin for my accusation, and hope that any mis-understanding has now been put to bed. 

To round off this article, I'd like to offer my condolences to all the miserable Gooners out there.  We as Spurs fans appreciate that it can be absolutely heartbreaking to get beaten by Chelsea, and if you all need a shoulder to cry on, then maybe you should stop complaining and wake up to what the rest of the league has to suffer, as opposed to the bank-rolled part of the Premier League.  We're not bitter, don't get me wrong, your team is very good, and no doubt the envy of much of the Europe.  It's just so much fun watching all those arrogant whiny little girls get beat when they least expect it!

I'm off for a stiff drink, make mine a treble (that one has been doing the rounds this week!)

Keep on Smiling!!!

Smiler

Respond to Smiler's column by e-mailing us here.

11.04.2004

In response to Smiler's article on this year's laughable SCBC-Spurs programme - from the 'Hot Team Sheet' in the same programme I learned that Fredi Kanoute had decided to change from Mali BACK to France again (wish he'd make up his mind); and also that we seem to have re-signed Paul Konchesky on loan (apparently without telling him!).  It's good to see that in the black hole of England that is Southampton they still manage to keep up-to-date with the latest football news!

Block 32 Yid

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