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14.08.2009

So, the season is a day away and I would guess there are still some twists and turns to come before the closure of the transfer window.

There was not much surprise that with Darren Bent being sold to Sunderland he would comment about his time at Tottenham.  Daniel Levy took some stick from both Bent and Steve Bruce, but the fee he ended up getting for the striker (no doubt with conditions to be met) was a pretty good one and my one worry was that Harry was going to replace him with his wife Sandra (who, as we know, is deadly from close range).  However, in Crouch, we have an known quantity to Redknapp and one who has linked well with Jermain Defoe before.  I think one of the problem last season was that although we had four top strikers, there was no partnership there and while any one of them was capable of making goals, there was no natural pairing that created opportunities for each other.  Hopefully, the long and the short of it might do the business.

Of course, this leaves a conundrum in what to do with the other two.  Robbie Keane is captain and therefore, you would expect that he would be a first pick, but with the midfield now sorted and if Harry goes with Defoe and Crouch, Keano might have to settle for a place on the bench ... something he wasn't that happy about at Liverpool.  Pav and Defoe linked up well in the Olympiakos friendly and both scored in the midweek internationals, so will harry be ready to go with the in-form strikers ?

Sebastien Bassong looked good when he came into the side for the friendly without much chance to train with the team, with his purchase not just for the present in covering for Woodgate and Dawson, but no doubt with an eye to the longer term to take over from Ledley at the back.  He looks strong and good on the ball, so will be a useful addition with last year's relegation with Newcastle hopefully a blip on his career record.

I must say that I thought that Kyle Naughton would be one of those to be filed under "one for the future", but his showings in the pre-season matches he has played has shown a youngster with a lot of talent in defence or midfield, so he could be thrown straight into the mix.  I am sure he will acquit himself well, as he seems a very confident young man and I liked his after-match interview with Jake Livermore after the Barcelona game at Wembley.  I look forward to seeing much more of his play on the pitch this season.

Redknapp is probably about 15 million out of pocket on his transfer dealings this summer, so if he wants more incoming players, he might have to sell.  There are plenty of players who I didn't think would still be at the club.  But some of them have shown a willingness to knuckle down and produce some good football in pre-season.  How they perform when the real thing starts might determine whether they are valuable to Spurs on the pitch or in the transfer market.

The preponderance of Spurs players getting done for traffic related incidents is a worrying one.  Without the original offence, which Jermain Defoe is appealing against, he would not now be taking action against Essex Police for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment just before he flew off to China with the squad for the Asia Trophy.  While the players should be no different to any other member of society, there is a bit the club could do to stop this happening.  For a long time, the number of Spurs players appearing in court has been minimal and we need to return to that level of misdemeanour.  It is symptomatic that fast cars will be used to their maximum by anyone who has one, but when you are high profile, it needs to be laid on the line to the staff at the club that it will not be accepted.  Apart from the potentially tragic outcome it might cause, there is the effect this has on their work.  Come on lads, dive carefully away from the ground and drive on to greater things on the pitch.

The Asia Trophy was a bit of an odd pre-season trip to get caught up in, but at least it brought two decent performances and a trophy, however Robbie looked in collecting it.  Credit to those few Spurs fans who made it out there.

Odder was the game in Hong Kong against South China, which nobody seemed too happy about.  The feinge players all got a game and Spurs lost 0-2.  Not a great advert for the club if this was meant to be a game to extend the brand in the Far East.

People have been asking what I expect from this season ... well, a better haul than two points from the first eight games would be a start.  After that, who knows.  There is no Europa League to get in the way, but then with a 22 man squad of what could be first team regulars, it will be difficult to keep them all happy.  So, the target will be sixth place and good runs in the domestic cups.  With no reserve team, it will also mean that some of the fringe players might have to settle for a series of friendly matches against other reserves or teams from lower leagues.  Perhaps that is why so many players have gone out on loan, to get them competitive football rather than the kicking they normally pick up in reserve matches against youth team players from other clubs.

While the cost of football keeps going up, the number of fans who have access to tickets diminishes and although there is the new stadium to be built at some stage, the nature of the Spurs crowd is not shaped to provide for future generations.  The lack of concessions in the East Stand for many years has meant many fans have had to move behind the goals and then they are still hard-pressed to afford to take kids with all the other add-ons a day at football brings.  If you did want to take a guest you have to forego your own seat and move to another area of the ground.  I know it's not possible to fit people in where season ticket holders are seated, but the fan-unfriendly nature of ticketing hardly endears the club to it's fans.  25 for a meaningless friendly a week before the season starts and in the school holidays was probably asking for a 1/3 empty ground and that was what happened.  Many times MEHSTG and a lot of other people have said drop the price a bit and fill the ground, which would probably equal the same revenue and also give people a taste for the WHL experience so that they might want to come back again (ticket availability permitting).

Things are starting to get a bit more interesting now.  Liverpool on Sunday, then Hull City and West Ham United next week, with Doncaster Rovers awaiting us in the League Cup; I can't wait to get back into my normal seat at the Lane and enjoy the football to come.  But then again, this time next week, I could be waiting the middle of May 2010 if it all goes wrong !!

Whatever happens on and off the pitch ...

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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