As the team are in the midst of a
good run, all Spurs fans of a certain age are probably asking
themselves, "When is this going to come to an end ?"
Since the early days of August, when
the Manchester clubs took us to the cleaners, the team have settled into
a pattern of play which has been both effective and determined.
It is not only the pretty side of the game that Tottenham are now
showing, but a steely mentality that has seen them bring back points
from places where they might have crumbled in the past. But for a
late equaliser at Newcastle, the run would have been a perfect eight
wins out of eight in the league and we would have been in fourth place ... with a game in hand following the postponement of the
Everton game at the start of the season. Now as we come to
Christmas, we are in third thanks to a few more wins and just the one
defeat at Stoke, with the same game in hand to come after the FA Cup
With United not quite the force
they were, but still picking up results and Chelsea aging, while Arsenal
try to self-destruct with big defeat to the big clubs, it looked like
the best time to try and win the title ... but that was before City
started spending sums of money equivalent to that of the GDP of small
countries and pay a wage bill that might easily wipe out the Greek debt.
There will be nobody who can compete with them this season, with a squad
of top players, who Mancini has gelled together to produce a marvellous
attacking outfit. Whether their defence is up to it is yet to be
But our flying wingers and the
midfielders inside them have produced a platform for some excellent
football and some meaningful results. While Liverpool had two
players sent off, we were already ahead and then rammed home our
advantage, in contrast to the game at Fulham, when the side came under
pressure, but stood firm and then hit the home side at the death with a
killer third goal. The game against QPR showed that there are
still things to be ironed out, as the second half performance almost let
Rangers back into it and Stoke's "in your face" attitude gave us
problems that we had overcome in the last few meetings.
The understanding between the wing
backs and the full backs has been a major improvement this season, but
when the wing backs are missing, it does cut our attacking options a
fair bit. Blistering pace is difficult to live with and Lennon and
Bale would be missed by any team, but we have another way of playing,
utilising Modric's guile and van der Vaart's experience through the
middle if that happens. Rafa's hamstrings will be a problem and I
think that is why Harry was keen to give him a rest when he could,
despite the Dutchman's desire to play every game.
The defence has been ever-changing
this season, with injuries hitting that part of the team particularly.
But, whichever partnership has been tried, excepting the first two
games, have looked pretty good. Ledley's record of never being on
a losing side when he has played this season is remarkable, as is the
fact that our captain turns out for the team, despite the pain he must
suffer from playing on his dodgy knees. His loyalty to the club
over the years is truly being rewarded by the team coming good with a
typically Tottenham way of playing and getting success with it.
Younes Kaboul has done well and
seems to have improved and perhaps making the step up to the French
national side has helped him to focus during games, which he done
admirably this season after the first two matches. He is a tower
of strength in the air, is reading the game better to get interceptions
and if he could only acknowledge that he is not a goal-scorer with his
wayward shooting, he will be a fine player !!
The signing of Brad Friedel looked
an odd one, with perhaps an understudy role, but Harry has put him as
his number one keeper and he has not disappointed. With some
outstanding saves and a lot more that he makes appear run of the mill,
Brad has been as much of a major factor in the move up the table as any
other. I heard someone moaning at the Chelsea game that he had not
held a couple of shots, both of which were more difficult to deal with
than it may have looked to the complainer, but perhaps it is testament
to his ability that he has spilled so few, that these two stood out.
Redknapp is a shrewd operator and
off the field, so is Daniel Levy, so the two other summer signings might
have taken a little persuading for the latter to agree to the former's
choices. Scott Parker is not a spring chicken in years, but that
may be due to the fact that he seems to have been around for years
having started as a teenager and moved around clubs. But he plays
like one, covering more ground than most Premier League players and I
never really noticed his effectiveness when he was on the other side
until you see him week in and week out. His positioning is
excellent most of the time and he reads the game well, giving him the
opportunity to pick the ball off or to break forward or play a killer
pass. He is exactly what Spurs have needed for a long time and his
play gives others the freedom to express themselves without worrying
about the defensive side of their game. In the Chelsea game, Kyle
Walker went bombing forward and the ball ended up with Petr Cech, but
Parker's first thought was to move into Walker's position until he could
recover his ground. A signing for the club that does not fall in
line with the flair reputation of players, but without players like
Scott Parker, the base for the flair players is not there.
The other transfer of the summer
was the loan of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City. A
controversial signing, having scored against us for Arsenal and Real
Madrid, but one that gave Spurs an improved version of Peter Crouch.
The England man had done well for Spurs, especially in Europe last
season and in his link up with van der Vaart, but there were occasions
when you would expect him to score and he didn't. In Adebayor, you
have a version that is not as good in the air (when the ball comes
across in the box in the air I will be pleasantly surprised when he
heads one in), but his ability on the floor and to take a goal is much
better. However, his goals to chances ratio is still not high
enough and it is a tribute to how many chances we are making that we
have won games, producing some of the highest efforts on goal per match
stats in Premier League history. Adebayor has also fitted in well
with the squad and while he may not make the move permanently, which
would be a shame, he seems to be enjoying his football, which he wasn't
And the whole team seem to be
happy playing the way they are and Harry has done well to accommodate as
many of the players as possible, while keeping the team spirit intact.
For us fans, I am sure you will agree it has been a joy to see them
perform like this on a consistent basis, which has always been a
failing. But now the team and the crowd expect them to go out and
win, which is probably why the draw against Chelsea was such a
Harry's court case is due in
January after four years of being put off. The legal case against
him dates back to his time with Portsmouth, when it is claimed that he
avoided paying tax by paying money into a Monaco bank account. How
this might pan out I do not know. It appears from a quick search
on the net that the penalty is the amount of tax the person sought to
have avoid paying, so in Harry's case about £180,000. High profile
cases like the late Lester Piggott (the former jockey) involved £3.5
million unpaid tax and he was sentenced to three years in 1987.
Sometimes there is a last minute settlement of the amount due, but Harry
seems determined to go through the court case on principle.
We await the outcome of the case to see how Tottenham go forward from
The Europa League campaign was a
useful exercise for the fringe players to get a game at a decent level
of competition. For the youngsters, it was a great opportunity and
most of them accepted it with good performances almost taking Spurs
through, but I guess with another nine games to win it, it would have
amounted to a third of a season on top of the domestic commitments had
Tottenham gone all the way. Harry will not be too upset by the
exit at the end of the group stages, especially with the travelling and
stringer competition in the Europa League after Christmas. And for
those reserve/youth team layers who have travelled, let alone played in
the matches, it will be vital experience for them as they continue their
development at the club.
The whole furore that surrounded
the club's involvement in the bid to occupy the Olympic Stadium at
Stratford has been an unmitigated disaster. From what was
intimated at the AGM, it appears that people at the highest level got
Tottenham involved with the promise of a chance of being the new
occupants after the 2012 games, but the criteria changed more often than
a coalition's policy. The fact that the running track has to be
retained means that whoever takes ownership will be lumbered with a
great distance to generate atmosphere over and West Ham United's latest
plans to put retractable seats in will cost a fortune in retro-fitting.
Then there was the issue of Karen Brady's phone records that
dragged Spurs into the mire, but with no finding that they ordered the
actions to be taken, only that the accountants acting for Tottenham had
been given the bills by an anonymous person or persons. The matter
of members of the Olympic Park Legacy Company working for West Ham
United or the London Borough of Newham came to light too, along with
questions surrounding the legality of Newham's £40 million loan to West
Ham United to secure the stadium's tenure, seemingly leaving the
residents of the borough out of pocket should the Irons not be able to
pay it back. At a time when local authorities are cutting services
to the bone, it seemed a strange move at the very least.
The thing was not designed for
after use and in not taking the longer view, the new occupants will be
left with a longer view for their users ... whatever use that may be.
Spurs seem set now on developing
around White Hart Lane and the demolition that went on over the summer
and has continued apace, has changed the whole face of Tottenham High
Road. It feels like the right thing to do and following the
summer's riots, the club are trying to lead businesses and the Mayor of
London's office to regenerate an area that desperately needs it.
The new ground will not only make the area more attractive to investors,
but it will further bolster Tottenham's ability to challenge at the top
table. Bigger capacity means bigger income and at a time when FIFA
are about to introduce financial fair play rules, this is the way that
the board have been looking at meeting them in the long run.
While rumours still circle about Harry
Redknapp being the new England manager, both Daniel Levy and Redknapp
himself have said that there is not an interest in the Spurs manager
leaving ... at the moment. Of course, the job does not become
available until the summer and while Harry has the court case hanging
over him and he has said he wants to win the Premier league with
Tottenham, so whether he still feels the same if he is at liberty and is
still wanted in the summer is another matter.
His transformation of the side, in
conjunction with Levy's funding of his needs as Chairman, has been
drastic. From the side who had two points from eight game to a
side who has dropped only thirteen points up to Christmas this season,
after reaching the quarter finals of the Champions League at their first
go last season.
With the team being turned into
one that can be successful, the need for a ground that befits them is
essential and it looks like Daniel is moving things in that direction.
The future looks good ... fingers crossed.
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.