I must say I have not improved my
mood since the last "View" as it seems that football along with a number
of other professional sports no longer are determined by what happens on
the pitch/track/road, but by things that are determining who will be the
best off it. And in some cases the worst.
The money being pumped into
Manchester City from their Abu Dhabi owners is beyond reality and the
£110 bid for AC Milan's Brazilian midfielder Kaka is obscene. But
none more so than the £500,000 a week wages he was being offered for
playing for the team a few places above us in the Premier League.
FIFA really need to step in now and do something about transfer fees and
wages, with a cap for both payments to stop the sport spinning out of
control and becoming a rich man's plaything.
Coming in when they did, it was
obvious that the real business of strengthening their squad would come
in the January transfer window. Signing Robinho just before the
summer window slammed shut was just a sign of intent. But when
Harry Redknapp has come in at Tottenham and now makes an assessment of the
talent available to him that it lacks the quality he thought there was is really quite frightening.
Some of this side were among those who took the club to two fifth place
finishes, so have they become bad players over the space of a couple of
Perhaps Redknapp's modus operandi is
not to get the best out of other people's players, but to bring in his
own. He has been known as a wheeler-dealer when it comes to buying
players and although the two signings he has made so far (Defoe and
Palacios) make sense, we have had to pay well over the odds for them and
some of that has been due to Hughes' millions that he has to offer for
seemingly every player Tottenham go after. Thank goodness we made
an agreement that they could have Bellamy - a player that Harry said was
what Tottenham needed, but do we really need a trouble-maker, who will
allegedly go on strike when he can't get his own way ? We have
seen what Bellamy is capable of and it tends to be the off-field
headlines which make essential reading.
With Manchester City being
flooded with oil dollars, it means that each season fans hope to
win a trophy, but now, it will see supporters reaching every August wishing for a moneyed benefactor to make sure
you are among the wealthiest and thus able to compete for the silverware.
The whole situation is unstable with the City owners already talking
about making a bid for Chelsea, which will probably leave the Mancs in
schtuck, as they can't own two clubs at the same time and obviously,
with a team in the top echelons already, it will make the Pensioners a
more attractive proposition to spread the owners name across the globe.
With such finances being pumped into clubs, it is not level playing field
for everyone. Once the "People's Game", football is rapidly
becoming the game of only the most wealthy.
Interestingly, the FourFourTwo
magazine piece about who the most wealthy men in football are saw
Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis come in fourth with a personal wealth
of £2.5 billion. First was the Manchester City owners with £15
billion; in second place was Lakshmi Mittal of QPR who is worth £12.5
billion and Roman Abramovich had slipped to third with £7 billion.
Close behind Lewis was Bernie Ecclestone with £2.4 billion.
Now, I know that this is how much
they are worth and not their stake in clubs, but it indicates the
proportion of their own money they have put into clubs. While he
gets stick for not making Newcastle United a world super-power in the
game of football, it is reported that Mike Ashley has put in £100
million at St. James Park, just to keep them afloat. I am of the
opinion that Tottenham are a well run club when it comes to finances and
that they will not over-stretch themselves. It was therefore a bit
of a surprise that the club said that they would freeze season ticket
prices for two years (what could be the last two at the current ground).
Never slow to seize on an opportunity to bump up the cost of going to
matches (in and out of the ground), it is a welcome recognition that
football is entertainment and not an essential (although it is for many
and that is what football clubs capitalise on). The empty seats
around White Hart Lane for several matches this season indicate that the
financial crisis that is gripping the world is making people make
decisions on what they can do without and with the team not excelling
this season, it has made it a less enticing option when it comes to
spending cash. I never thought I would see empty seats at the Lane
on a European night, but then I suppose I never thought that I would see
Woolworths disappearing from the High Street.
Away from the money side and onto
the pitch, it was interesting to see Joey Barton once more in the
headlines. Having served a term in prison for assaulting team-mate
Ousmane Dabo when at Manchester City, he had turned up at a meeting with
his probation officer by driving through a red light and cutting up
other drivers and more recently got involved in a contretemps on the
pitch with one of his defenders, who Barton thought should have done
better in preventing a goal against Newcastle. There appear to be
more players like this infiltrating the game, who should be grateful
they are in such a privileged position and not back on the street, as
anyone who did half the things they do would be banged up in prison
without being given chance after chance.
Newcastle should have shown some
gumption in sacking Barton, but the reason they didn't was because he is
worth more to the club, even soiled by his reputation, than if they let
him go. Surely people in most other walks of life would have been
dismissed from their employment if they had beaten up a work colleague
and then found it hard to find work again. In football, Bolton
Wanderers and Portsmouth were both awaiting the outcome of his situation
to see if they could could sign him up for nothing. When Kaka is
worth £110 million and Barton moved to St. James Park for £ 5.8 million,
it makes you wonder if football has lost all sense of worth, let alone
what is right or wrong and in mind, Barton is all that is wrong about
football these days.
The FA's Respect campaign is
gradually being swept under the carpet. I was surprised to see
Middlesbrough being charged with not being able to control their players
when they hassled Mark Halsey for sending off Didier Digard recently, as
no other side has been brought to book for such actions of late.
In some respects (no pun intended), referees do not help themselves in
demanding respect from players and officials, with their over-officious
attitude and refusal to apologise for mistakes they have made. It
was quite refreshing to hear Howard Webb say sorry for getting in the
way of play in the Wolverhampton Wanderers v Birmingham City FA Cup tie,
leading to a goal for Wolves. That was only him being in the midst
of the action and as the laws state "the referee is a part of the field
of play" in such incidents. Webb also said that he wouldn't have
given the penalty in the same match had he seen it in slow motion, so
admitted that he was only human, as all refs are (allegedly), which will
gain him more respect from players than those officials who refuse to
review sending offs or say they made a mistake.
Having bumped around the bottom of
the table for most of the season, Spurs are in desperate danger of being
sucked into the bottom three places as the end of the season approaches.
No team is too good to go down and with the lack of tenacious players in
the side, they will all need to produce their talented best to get us
out of the position, with wins needed sooner rather than later, as our
last three games are away to Everton, home to Manchester City and away
at Liverpool. So I want Spurs to be well clear of the bottom three
by then. But that will mean wining the games against clubs around
us in the table, which we have generally been unable to do this season.
The loss of a three goal lead
against Burnley in the League Cup semi-final second leg seems to have
been an indication of the state the club is in and came as a shock to
many. Maybe, not for me, as I have seen it before. Losing
away cup games at Notts. County, Bradford City and Port Vale in the
past, I am well experienced in Tottenham being the subject of upsets.
And anyway, we have lost three goal leads at HOME in the past to
Manchester United in the league (3-5) and Manchester City in the FA Cup
(3-4 against ten men). So, it was not too distressing. And
what did most people expect ? Burnley to lay down and roll over
just because they were three goals down. they were always going to
have a good go and with the rain and wind, they probably knew that if
they got after Spurs, the players wouldn't fancy it. With a
changed side out, perhaps Harry thought they couldn't relinquish a three
goal lead, but without much retention of possession, Burnley had the
opportunity to pressure Tottenham.
What has not been mentioned is
that we had the mental strength to keep playing until the 120th minute.
Two late goals are not our trademark, so it was nice to see the team
keep going even though the previous 117 minutes had been poor.
Even then, two goalkeeping mistakes contributed to our downfall, but a
player in his first game for the club might be a little nervous, for all
the training he has had. Saying that Gomes on leg had to play
because we had no back-up does little for the confidence. In a way
I was well pleased with the win over Burnley on aggregate for a number
Firstly, I am getting to an age
where I can't take too much excitement from Spurs matches, so just the
three minutes at the end was fine by me. Secondly, we have been
done in the last minute of semi-finals before, so now it was our turn to
get the rub of the green. Thirdly, if you watched when Defoe laid
the ball off to Assou-Ekotto in the build-up to the first goal, Clarke
Carlisle took him out with what appeared to be a forearm smash. So
it was nice that it ended with the goal that saw us through.
Finally, all the Gooners, Irons and others who were lapping up our
demise must have been gutted when Pavlyuchenko and Defoe scored at the
death to knock Burnley out. They were all getting ready to crow
about the way we lost out on a place in the final, whereas they had to
be content with the criticism at work the next morning about it being a
Mickey Mouse competition.
The league is the greatest concern
at the moment. Having reached the League Cup Final, the last thing
we need is players pulling out of tackles so that they are not injured
for the Wembley meeting with Manchester United. It is a game that
the Red Devils will probably field a shadow side, with some experienced
players on the pitch and some on the bench. Unfortunately, the
only one of the three games we have left against them this season (or
four if we draw in the FA Cup) that they will field a strong side for is
the one we need to do well in ... the league game at Old Trafford.
A lot of what had happened this
season can be laid at the feet of United striker Dimitar Berbatov.
From the start of the season, the team was
destabilised by Berbatov's moods and his determination to move was held
up until the last minute as we tried to squeeze the last penny out of
United. That left us with no chance of signing a replacement and
left us short up front. Pavlyuchenko has done well and I think he
is worth sticking with, but the fact we do not play to Darren Bent's
strengths and he lacks confidence, means we need to bolster the forward
department. We still need experienced cover at centre half, a
ball-winner in midfield and the left side needs to be sorted out, with
Assou-Ekotto wanting a return to France and Bale not playing his best at
full back, with midfield a better option for him.
With the malaise in league matches
going back to last season's League Cup victory, Ramos did not address
the issue then and it carried on through this season until Daniel Levy
moved to make a change to stop the rot. Brining in Redknapp was a
surprise, but one which might have been expected, as it resolved the
Sporting Director role too. Comolli has not been up on transfer
dealings and whenever Tottenham decide to replace him in a like for like
role or appoint a Director of Scouting, they need to bring in someone
who will make the best use of our money.
Too many player shave not been
playing to their potential and it took a long time for players to settle
in, so by the time they had, we were sitting bottom of the table.
Getting away from it is proving more problematical, as it seems every
time we do pick up points, so does everyone else. A good run is
needed and soon.
The current issues about Spurs
fielding an under-strength side in the FA Cup tonight against Manchester
United is of little consequence to me. While appreciating that I
always want Spurs to win, this is one competition that we were unlikely
to progress much further in, being drawn away at Old Trafford for the
second season in succession at the same round of the competition.
With Man U missing ten players injured, they are in the same boat.
Also, for Tottenham, there are more important issues to consider.
The league position is one which
the team needs to focus on. We face upcoming games against Stoke
City and Bolton Wanderers. Both teams who have got results from
their hard graft rather than willing to rely on skill and finesse.
Unfortunately for Tottenham, we are not set up like that and Redknapp's
criticism of players for not being up for the fight will not really
change things. We have the squad of players as that was the way
the previous Head Coach wanted to play and he is no longer in that
position, because it didn't work. Yes, Harry has to run with what
he has got, but he must motivate them to play up to the level that they
are capable of rather than de-motivating them by saying he was going to
bomb a lot of the out of the club.
Maybe it is time to bring in a new
manager and get a few good results on the back of the new man coming in
Claims we should be punished by
the FA for fielding a weakened team is a bit rich when other clubs have
been doing it for a number of seasons now. The injuries we have -
however small they might be - means we can't risk players from being out
of our league team when those games come along. It would have been
easy for the manager to couch his terms differently to make it an
opportunity for the fringe players to stake their claim rather than
making it a chance for them to shine in the shop window before showing
them the out door. It can only be a matter of time before Hangdog
trots out his favourite all-time saying that we are "down to the bare
But spending £12 million on a
player worth £550,000 a year ago and one who rarely has registered on
many fans radar before now is a big gamble. How much more he will
spend in the transfer window will be determined by exactly how many
places in the side he thinks he needs new recruits. With his
penchant for hulking great midfielders, it might soon become the "Valley
of the Giants", which I wouldn't particularly like to see. Rather
than accusing the players of sulking, he should turn their
dissatisfaction into a spur to impressing him more, like when he first
arrived. I fail to see how Tom Huddlestone turns into a poor
player in the space of a few weeks, but you have to accept that he is
not going to be a box to box player, so play him for his strengths and
work on his weaknesses.
These days money talks. No
that's not true ... it shouts and whoever shouts loudest gets to gain
all the attention. While Spurs don't have the most money, I just
hope that they can spend it wisely and that anything we do say in public
is thought out rather than said off the cuff. Oh, and that we get
a finishing position in the league that is anywhere above 18th.
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.