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07.06.2008

Cynical, I may have become over all the years I have supported Tottenham Hotspur.  So, to me, it was perhaps no surprise that the signing of Mexican wonder-kid Giovani Dos Santos was announced on the day before season ticket renewals.  In the news for a while that the club were after the talented midfielder, the 4.7 million (rising to 8.6 million) deal was put out to the press just 24 hours before the chance to shell out an average of about 10% more for the privilege of seeing Spurs play their home games in the 2008-09 season.

Now, after the last seven homes games (following the League Cup win) provided little of note for the money we had already shelled out.  Much more of that and the club might find the need to dip into the long waiting list they hold to get some takers.  Elsewhere on the site, we have seen that some fans are not able to maintain their loyal support after many years. After sticking with the club through the bad times, how loyal are the club being with the long-suffering fans ?  Don't expect nothing for nothing.  A free yearbook and the other "benefits" associated with the season tickets are nothing more than cheap tricks and I wonder how many fans would be concerned if these were not appended to the season ticket and a cut in the cost resulted ??

With the club expanding their merchandising empire into Chelmsford ... "one of our key supporter heartlands."  Now some fans will have the chance to put money into the club's coffers without having to travel to the ground.  And perhaps one of the more worrying aspects of the comment is that it might just be a shop now, but in the future, it might be the ground.  Is Stratford one of the club's supporters' heartland ??  Is Wembley ??  Might Hertfordshire be ??  No plans have yet been revealed to give anyone clue as to where the club might end up in a new ground.  Or whether they will just expand the Lane.  The global credit crunch and the depression of the construction trade have perhaps made the club back off any brave ideas they might have had to reveal how they were going to maintain their income stream through the turnstiles in a bigger ground.  Not that prices will be any lower, thus producing a huge increase in income.

Things have all gone quiet on the Training Ground/Academy development. Just like they have about Berbatov, whereas, all the talk was about the Bulgarian leaving as the season came to a close.  Maybe the price tag has put people off and when you are talking the figures about the same size of the national debt of a fairly big country, perhaps it is not surprising.  Selling players for big money does not always help the situation, as the selling clubs, who have players you might want, will know you have a copious amount of cash available and bump up their prices accordingly.

But such is the way to the transfer market.  With the supporters being the ones who the price increases for players fees and salaries is passed on to.  At the moment, it is holidays and treats which are set aside to allow attendance at matches.  With fuel prices and food prices also on the increase, it might not be too fanciful to suggest that the decision might come in the near future between watching football and being able to put heat into the home or food on the table.  Faced with such decisions, the outcome might not be too difficult to arrive at.

But, even if you can afford to go to White Hart Lane next season, what will you be seeing ??  You can bet that the side will have a decidedly Spanish flavour to it, as Juande Ramos stamps his mark on the side.  So, who will be on the way out ?  My guesses are Robinson, Alnwick, Chimbonda, Stalteri, Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul, Rocha, Gardner, Lee, Ghaly, Boateng, Berbatov and Lennon.  Of those, I would have hoped to keep Robinson, Berba and Azza, but I feel that the first will be replaced after suffering a crisis of confidence, while Dimi will want to play in Europe and win things and Lennon might not have done enough to impress Ramos.  Lennon's pace is a major weapon though and I think if he is used as a threat to the other side and we play the ball to him right, then he can be a major component of the team.  Of the rest, it would be a case of moving players out to make space for those the Head Coach wants to bring in.

Losing a star in Berbatov, Spurs will need to replace him with a big name.

Luka Modric was snapped up early and was a good piece of business by the club, who didn't want his price to rise further if he had a good Euro 2008, which might have even attract other suitors.  Hopefully, we will see in the competition starting in Croatia's first game tomorrow, exactly what we will be getting with him.

The second signing ... Giovani ... is just getting over an ankle op.  A young star who joined Barcelona at 13, he only broke into the side last season and only really hit the headlines at the very end of the campaign with a hat-trick in the last match.  At 19, he is still not the finished article, but if he achieves the potential that many clubs saw in him, it will be a coup for Tottenham to have wrapped up a deal for him.

But these are neither big names ... yet.  There have been links to 83 players so far this transfer window.  We'll have the biggest squad in the world, let alone the Premier League, if we buy all of them !!  Of them all, the one player I would appreciate coming the most would be David Villa of Valencia, who need to sell as they are short of money for their new ground, having been unable to raise much money on their old ground because of the credit crunch.  Villa is a big star, with a touch of magic about him.  A scorer of great goals, he would make an impact at the Lane and might be a more effective scorer than Berbatov, as well as creating goals.

So, will Spurs and Ramos have enough about them to convince top players to come to N17 ??  Many of the players linked with the club will be those who Ramos has knowledge of from his time with Sevilla.  Some will have played for him there or at other clubs, while many he will have faced in opposition in La Liga.  It will be interesting, as it is every transfer window to see how things pan out.

While grumping about the cost of season tickets and the cost of players, no doubt I will be as excited as ever come August and the first game.  It is just a nervous time, hoping we bring the right players to the club to put into practice Ramos' theories.  And hoping we don't shell out on some player who turns out to be completely unsuited to English football (whether from abroad or not !!), as over the years, we have spent large amounts of money on players we have had little return on.  Maybe that is the reason why there will be some hard bargaining done over the young Crystal Palace midfielder John Bostock, who wants to come to Spurs ahead of Chelsea and Barcelona.  No doubt he is a talented young footballer, but how he develops and how much that will cost Spurs will (hopefully) be reflected in his fee.  It should be linked to success, as if he doesn't make it at Spurs, he might have been a decent enough player for Palace (c.f. Wayne Routledge).

While I have slated the side for not playing after winning the League Cup at Wembley, I must say, it was a fantastic day out.  Wet on the way there and back, but in between the only dampness was the sweat when we were holding on to our extra time lead.  Every player had a decent game, with Zokora covering huge amounts of ground, but still not being able to finish when he was put through !!  The scenes on the pitch and in the crowd are what make supporting the club worthwhile.  It ensured European football for another campaign in the UEFA Cup, which we would not have had otherwise, because of the poor start and finish in the League.  It showed that we can beat top four sides, as we did in the semi as well, but it is something we need to do on a more regular basis. The home draws with Manchester United and Chelsea also show that we can live with them and hopefully, Ramos' nous and when he gets a team he is happy with, it will mean we can go on from there.  But once more, we need to turn a lot of the draws we have had this season into wins and losses into draws.  If we do that we will be right up there.  Easier said than done I know.

Even if prices prevent you from attending

...

Keep the faith.


MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
AND THE SPURS GO MARCHING ON.

BRUCE CASTLE

 

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