The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Wake me up when it all kicks off

I going to wake up soon and discover that the season hasn't started yet. I mean, three red cards and three penalties in two games. Well if that were to happen we would be well out of the Fair Play running for a start. Worst start ever in our history under a dynamic new manager with quality international signings from Croatia, Mexico, Brazil and everywhere.

Don't be ridiculous, its not going to happen, trust me. Neither is the ensuing panic, obviously, nor the screaming for heads to roll, as many and as quickly as possible. Nor the calls for the appointment of Roy Keane. I think that many other people must be dreaming too. Why would any employed, reputable manager come to Spurs if this scenario was true.

The other strand of nightmare is the baying for midfield destroyers and players with 'heart'. Presumably in place of the people that can actually play football, Jenas, Modric, and Giovani, for example. In my dream two of the committed , passion players, Dawson and O'Hara, have both been sent off in consecutive matches.

Hopes are being pinned on the January window if its not too late by then. But again the question arises who of quality would come to us, or wouldn't quality matter any more, as long as they have muscles bigger than their brains.

Not only am I convinced that I must be asleep but nasty conspiracy theories are swirling around in my head. The players have been brainwashed by an elite Arsenal team of counter intelligence agents, led by the 'sleeper' Comolli into committing acts of self destruction in order to bring the manager down. Bale, Dawson, Gomes and Ohara in the last two games alone, and Bentley taking a leaf out of the Ghaly, Kaboul songbook entitled 'Dis the manager and close the door behind you'

This theory is supported by the kind words in support of Ramos that Arsene Wenger uttered last week. I had my suspicions at the time and now its all falling into place. Berkamp is doing his coaching badges and would like to return to England. Asian billionaire beware when his CV arrives on your desk. Oh and Roy Keane's boyhood team was Spurs and my Mum had that Alan Sugar in the back of her cab last week.

No its obviously a dream, well alright, a nightmare but clearly the season is yet to get under way. We've just beaten Roma and I'm looking forward to the first match against Middlesbrough. I have confidently predicted that we will win by three clear goals and other hostages to fortune that could be embarrassing when we are a few matches down the line.

But how can it go wrong,with this team, this manager, and a terrific pre-season. I went to bed last night drooling with anticipation at the promise of it all.

Wake me up when it all kicks off.

And when I woke up it was late October ; we were bottom of the league; Ramos, Comolli, Poyet, and Alvarez had been sacked ; Harry Redknapp was manager and we beat Bolton 2-0 for our first win of the season. Ledley King played twice in four days. Levy had written a long love letter to the fans and nearly apologised.
I've seen the future and its Harry Redknapp. Oh well this time next year it will be 13 managers in the 13 years that Arsene Wenger has been manager down the road, but hopefully we will still be in the Premiership.
I switched off the alarm and went back to sleep. Must have been something I ate.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Help!

Being upbeat and positive is really getting me down: backing Ramos; supporting Jenas; praising Modric whenever he makes a pass; raving about about Gomes as he tries single handedly to wipe out our defence; finding excuses for Bale and Dawson; its all wearing me out.

Would it be easier to join the Levy, Comolli, Ramos, Jenas and Zokora 'out' brigade, join the protesters, and tear up my virtual season ticket? It might be more fun and at least I would have a few friends.

Trying to talk up our chances of survival and facing up to the 'R' word as even the Governor of the Bank of England and Gordon Brown have at last done is 'doing my head in'. Of course they are, in the famous phrase talking about, recession and not relegation. If only Spurs fans had Gordon's problems life would be so much easier.

Now even the Guardian has printed a whole page of recycled jokes about our plight, many revamped from West Ham's predicament of two years ago. As a Guardian reader of 50yrs, a little less than my support for Spurs I have nowhere to hide. We've even taken the heat off Newcastle. Who would have guessed that 'Joe' could be the answer to the question we dare not even ask, 'Who will save us from this nightmare?'

As Shakespeare said this has changed from a ' tragi-comedy ' into a 'comi-tragedy'. I misquote loosely of course. Well comrades we are not going to get any help. Fans who demand a human sacrifice may get Comolli's head but we're stuck with Levy who can't get his price having been struck by the double whammy of the falling Spurs share price and the falling Spurs league position. At least we can't fall any lower, until the end of the season anyway. Ramos is unlikely to be sacked as even Levy must realise that the last thing we need is more upheaval.

So positivity it is then. We wont go down although we could, obviously. I will snatch at each tiny sign of revival: 25 minutes of joined up football after we went down 1-0 down at Stoke; Lady Luck giving Bent an offside goal; I will look forward to each game believing that this one will be the turning point. That the manager and the players have the skills and experience to survive. That the catalogue of horrors that pretended to be a football match at Stoke cannot possibly be repeated. A match we surely would have won if Bale hadn't been sent off, wouldn't we?

My advice to fans is to stop whingeing, moaning, baying, feeling sorry for ourselves and thrashing about looking for someone to blame and get supporting. Starting of course with Bolton where what the team needs is a non stop barrage of support. They don't need a half cock, cock-eyed demo against Levy or booing at half-time, or at any time come to that. Don't play into the hands of the media who are loving it, this is a top story that they don't even have to make up.

No distractions in other words. Between now and January points on the board are all that matter and that will be decided out on the pitch with Ramos and the players we have. Levy and Comolli are irrelevant now. The players we sold and the ones we didn't buy are not an issue , important as they may seem on fan sites.

In some ways today's Uefa Cup game against Udinese is a side show except that it offers an opportunity to build momentum for the weekend with a good performance or even a win.

At the moment its not about what makes the fans feel better but what might make the team feel and hopefully play better.

Monday, 20 October 2008

The R word

Before the Stoke game

Firstly let me start by saying that I do not think that we will be relegated. Let me say it again to avoid any misunderstanding. I do not think that we will be relegated. Again? No,I think that's clear.

However we might be and we are certainly in for a scrap in the bottom half of the league whatever we may achieve in the cups. I am eternally optimistic but cannot deny that results and some performances have not been of the highest order. We may get drawn into a 'relegation dogfight' as the tabloids love to say, in fact they already are. However for a dog fight you need more than one dog and at the moment we have the ring to ourselves.

Nobody is too good to go down but in my opinion we have too much quality in the squad to perform at this level for much longer. But there are other factors at work: confidence and luck are important; so are the improvements in other teams and the determination of the newly promoted teams. All this could work against an immediate and sustained revival.

But luck and confidence could change at any time, perhaps today against Stoke. A lucky goal, or a dodgy refereeing decision in our favour could be crucial in putting three points on the board and giving us something to build on.

Obviously it could go the other way but in general we have played better than our points tally suggests, against Hull for example. Nobody has beaten us by more than one goal and luck on the whole has not shone its warming rays upon us.

After the Stoke game.

Well it all went wrong at Stoke, but we have no-one to blame but ourselves. Bale was sent off for a clumsy last ditch tackle that followed from his failure to control the ball and Stoke were one up and we were a man down.

We then played our best 25mins of the season, Bent scored through the legs of the keeper, again, and Lady Luck ignored the fact that he was offside. Modric showed some control in midfield and Lennon again looked dangerous but we couldn't get the second goal.

The second half was a catalogue of errors with little continuous play which suited Stoke who played better than we did in every measurable way. Corluka was stretchered off to be briefly replaced by Dawson who made an unnecessary lunging tackle and though he got the ball followed through to the man and should know better. Woodgate conceded a second penalty, which hit both posts and the follow up by Delap hit the bar, and there were 11 minutes of injury time.

Stoke's winning goal came from a good cross along the edge of the six yard box that eluded everyone except Delap at the far post. In truth they could have gone further ahead and not just from the penalty. Pavlyuchenko came on to demonstrate that he can't play with Bent and the game fizzled out .They had more chances and corners than us. We were dire at set pieces and Bentley rightly subbed.

Now where do we go? I began this piece reflecting on relegation. I'm going to have to say it again,'I do not think we will get relegated'.

Nor do I think that this is a moral judgement on our treatment of Martin Jol, although the fact that he is top of the league with Hamburg may give some people pause for thought on this. Obviously the Gods would not have let us win the Carling Cup if they had it in mind to punish us.

It might be a judgement on the posturing of Levy and our failure to replace Keane and Berbatov. It might be just reward for our wholesale clearance of players and trying to bring in too many new faces at once. Put simply, we are not playing well as a team and too many individuals are not performing at their expected level.

Ramos doesn't know what's hit him and keeps looking at the cards he's been dealt like a poker player on a bad streak. He's hinting that the dealer is crooked and that the deck is stacked against him. He's waiting for a change of cards but the Head Croupier may have him ejected from the casino before then as he's nearly run out of chips and his lines of credit, from a foreign bank, are doubtful.

I do not expect relegation but nor do I fear it. Whatever division we are in we will still be Tottenham Hotspur a great club with a fine history and a tradition to be viewed with awe and which most clubs would die for. We have been relegated before, in 1976 under Keith Burkinshaw, who remained in post and took us straight back. Ardiles and Villa were recruited soon after and the next 5/6 years were some of the most exciting in our history. Ashes and Phoenixes and all that.

So despair not, support the team on the pitch, moan on the fan sites and look forward to better days. Ignore anyone at work, or in the pub who looks like an Arsenal or West Ham fan, don't read the papers and don't carry a gun.Nobody is safe ,not even yourself, in your current mood.

Did I mention that I don't think we will be relegated?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Comolli : the facts

Featured column on 'Spurs Community'

Should Comolli be sacked? He seems to be the main object of Spurs fans wrath, in tandem with the general dissatisfaction with the DOF system. Second of course is Levy and third usually is Jermain Jenas.

I publish below (with kind permission of Jim Duggan of 'Topspurs from the 'Topspur' Archive) the list of all our signings since Comolli replaced Arnesen in September 2005. Since then 31 players have been signed and 29 sold or released.

Ramos became manager in October 2007. Since then 13 players have been signed and 8 released or sold.

I have included the fees involved where available so that you can have fun deciding whether we got value for money. Again we don't know precisely the Levy input at this stage.

2008/09 Frazier Campbell Manchester United Sep-08 loan

2008/09 Vedran Corluka Manchester City Sep-08 £8,500,000

2008/09 Roman Pavlyuchenko Spartak Moscow Aug-08 £14,000,000

2008/09 Cesar Sanchez Real Zaragoza Aug-08 Undisclosed

2008/09 David Bentley Blackburn Rovers Jul-08 £15,000,000

2008/09 John Bostock Crystal Palace Jul-08 £700,000

2008/09 Heurelho Gomes PSV Eindhoven Jun-08 £9,000,000

2008/09 Giovani dos Santos Barcelona Jun-08 £4,700,000

2008/09 Luka Modric Dinamo Zagreb Apr-08 £15,800,000

2007/08 Gilberto Hertha Berlin Jan-08 £1,900,000

2007/08 Alan Hutton Rangers Jan-08 £8,000,000

2007/08 Jonathan Woodgate Middlesbrough Jan-08 £7,500,000

2007/08 Chris Gunter Cardiff City Dec-07 £2,000,000

2007/08 Kevin-Prince Boateng Hertha Berlin Jul-07 £5,200,000

2007/08 Danny Rose Leeds United Jul-07 Undisclosed

2007/08 Younes Kaboul Auxerre Jul-07 £8,200,000

2007/08 Darren Bent Charlton Athletic Jun-07 £16,500,000

2007/08 Adel Taarabt Lens Jun-07 Undisclosed

2007/08 Yuri Berchiche Athletic Bilbao Jun-07 Undisclosed

2007/08 Gareth Bale Southampton May-07 £5,000,000

2006/07 Ben Alnwick Sunderland Jan-07 Undisclosed

2006/07 Ricardo Rocha Benfica Jan-07 £3,500,000

2006/07 Mido AS Roma Aug-06 £4,500,000

2006/07 Pascal Chimbonda Wigan Athletic Aug-06 £4,000,000

2006/07 Steed Malbranque Fulham Aug-06 £3,500,000

2006/07 Dorian Dervitte Lille Jun-06 Undisclosed

2006/07 Didier Zokora St Etienne Jun-06 £6,000,000

2006/07 Benoit Assou-Ekotto RC Lens Jun-06 £3,500,000

2006/7 Dimitar Berbatov Bayer leverkusen £10,000,000

2005/06 Hossam Ghaly Feyernoord Jan-06 Undisclosed

2005/06 Danny Murphy Charlton Jan-06 £2,000,000

We don't know precisely the distribution of authority within the management team: who initiates the process; who has the power of veto and under what circumstances; who conducts the negotiating process and where Comolli's role starts and ends in relation to Levy.

A wider question is of course the players we have not signed and the positions we have not filled. How far this is down to Comolli is again unclear. Were some players lined up and vetoed by the manager on playing criteria or Levy on financial ones?

I don't think that Comolli can be held responsible for the sale of players as the initial decisions on this would presumably be the manager's or Levy's responsibility.

You can obviously pore over this and draw your own conclusions. I hold no brief for Comolli but I am always suspicious when so many people are quick to attribute blame, especially at a time of collective stress and disappointment.

Of the 31 signings only 5 it seems to me are doubtful.(Gilberto,Boateng,Kaboul,Rocha,Murphy) and of these Kaboul's transfer was probably premature. You can add Taarabt and Zokora if you like, but Zokora has been our best player on several occasions and has useful flexibility. Taarabt is only 19, and Boateng 21 and should be given time before final judgements are made.

Ghaly and Chimbonda are on many fans' hate list but neither in my view were poor footballers. Their temperaments perhaps should have been an issue in the scouting process.

But if you include all these that makes 9 out of 31. I have ignored all the ITK stuff about Jol spotting Berbatov before Comolli arrived, he'd been with the club 7 months before Berbatov was signed and we just don't know.

If you are going to blame Comolli for all the bad signings and praise the manager and Levy for all the good ones you are clearly not going to be swayed by sensible argument.

My view of this is that it is by no means a poor record, particularly since Ramos arrived. I would only question, on playing merit, Murphy, Gilberto and Rocha, in the sense that we could have signed better quality players. Some might want to add Bent but mainly on the grounds of the fee paid.

Other players are young or have not had time to settle and I include Bentley,Giovani Corluka and Modric in this category. Others have been bought for the future; Rose, Dervitte, Alnwick,,Bostock
Berchiche.

But, fellow fans, there are the facts make of them what you will.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Sol Campbell,another view

Written in reply to a column on 'Topspurs' and published on there
http://www.topspurs.com/thfccol-slabber.htm )

I don't normally challenge the views of the 'true' fans who represent me at White Hart Lane. They spend the money and put in the time that we supporters from afar do not or cannot . But this matter goes beyond the 'terraces ' and and I think it is wrong to let the world outside of Tottenham High Road be left with the idea that 'Slabbers' view is the last word .

I accept that the intention of the chant is not racist and 'Slabber' argues that case well. But we don't have the luxury o f close textual analysis when the chant is heard on the terraces especially in a televised match. Supporters, visitors and the press will be under the impression that it is. The phrase 'hanging from a tree' in connection with a black player has too many racist overtones, as The Guardian rightly says.

But 'Slabber' exposes his argument with the phrase 'its no-ones business but ours'. The world doesn't end at the boundaries of White Hart Lane and when such abuse is chanted, whatever the provocation, then the outside world has every right to question and demand answers. What does it say to the listening public,through radio,television and newspapers about the state of mind of a section of Spurs supporters. More importantly what does it say about the values of a club that allows them to say it.

Then we have the assertion that homophobia is the last great taboo that is acceptable. It is not. You may think it is acceptable on the 'terraces' but you and like-minded fans do not live on the' terraces'. Your actions impinge on the world outside to your own and the club's detriment.

By way of defence you assert that 'Its playground humour' Some defence to say that you have the mentality of kids in the playground. In any case its particularly unacceptable in the playground and in a school would lead to severe sanctions. To describe it as 'teasing' is to deny the vehemence of some Spurs fans in their attitude to Sol Campbell and to attempt to deflect serious scrutiny of your actions. The fact that Campbell is not gay doesn't excuse the charge of homophobia because you are using the idea in a negative and demeaning way. But you have admitted that charge in any case.

You are right to raise the Wenger slurs and to ask why the press has not exposed these as well. They probably will now they are on our case and these are not acceptable either; they are equally disgusting about a man who happens to be the manager of a rival club. They are obviously slanderous. I'm not sure that it advances your case to say that something else that Spurs fans do is much worse.

Whether the chant is racist or not it is certainly demeaning to you and the club. Its completely out of proportion to any offence; its a disgusting outburst in a public place and out of keeping with the traditions, values and history of the club.

It is too late to ask , in such a dismissive way, for the Guardian readers, muesli eaters, Peter Tatchell and the gay rights brigade, people who can see that free speech has limits,The Daily Mail and all the other idiots and hypocrites, in your words, to leave you alone. But whose fault is it that they are on your case? Don't shoot the messenger: address the problem. In a free society we depend on everyone showing restraint in their words and actions and showing respect to their fellow citizens.

What Sol Campbell did was wrong, no argument, but the response is way over the top and your anger should have subsided by now. In fact I think it has; its only generated by the camaraderie and safety of the stands. Its become a habit, a ritual and by now a meaningless gesture and to us that don't sit in the stands, and to many that do, a slur on the good name of Tottenham.

You are in a hole of your own making: stop digging; let it go; move on.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Wake up Grandad and smell the coffee

Another day another bank collapse. As billionaires become millionaires overnight and mere millionaires queue up at the soup kitchen on Wall Street I return with renewed hope to one of my concerns: can football escape the seemingly inevitable slide into the world of big business.

Some argue that its too late ; its already happened and reply to my threads with the words, 'Wake up granddad and smell the coffee'. I'm not entirely sure what this means but take it that they think I'm out of touch and swimming against the tide.

But Iceland's banks are disappearing faster than the polar ice caps with serious repercussions for West Ham. AIG and many other shirt sponsors are going down the tubes with possible adverse effects on a number of Premiership clubs, and who knows how many rich sponsors and owners are caught up with our very own Joe Lewis in the financial meltdown.

Take another sniff my friends, is that coffee or what. Uefa are threatening to exclude clubs who have large debts from the Champions League possibly in as little as two years time. Talk of wage caps hangs in the air like, well like the lingering aroma of Nescafe. Transfer cap talk drifts up from the Fairtrade African Rich Roast Special Blend I have just poured from the pot. Greater scrutiny is promised of would be investors and more intrusive investigation of both foreign and home grown benefactors.

Clubs expenditure will be related to their assets and apparently their debt ratios will be capped. Clubs wont be able to buy up players as Chelsea did with Shaun Wright Phillips for ridiculous sums and bank them for future use like gold bars in a safe deposit vault. It could be the end of 'to the richest shall be given and from the poorest it shall be taken away' culture in football.

As the recession bites and unemployment increases more and more Sky and Setanta subscribers will
cancel their subscriptions or not renew their contracts. As advertising revenue falls commercial television will be unable to maintain the dizzying sums poured into sport. Players shirts will read 'Sponsored by Barclay's: on loan from HM Government.


The Premiership will be one of the first and one of the largest victims. Wages will not just be capped they will fall to reflect the new financial realities. Soon there may be no need for restrictions on foreign players imposed from above or rules about 'home-grown' players. The free market that got us in this mess may, as it collapses, get us out.


Most objectors to my wish for a level playing field in these matters were not because others didn't want it too but that it was not possible in the current climate. Well people climate change is not just a distant threat: it just became an imminent promise. Those who are praying for this alleged Asian billionaire to save us from ourselves may get their wish just in time to be too late. The reception and the honeymoon could well be over; pass the Yellow pages, now let me see 'Divorce Lawyers'.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Should Juande Ramos be sacked?

Should Juande Ramos be sacked? The fans are enraged and are demanding some red meat to be thrown to them as a sacrifice. Ramos,Comolli,Levy, and of course Jenas are all in the firing line..Its our worst start since the Titanic sank nearly a hundred years ago as the press are delighted to keep telling us. You can see where the fans are coming from: Martin Jol is top of the league with Hamburg; Hull City are more likely to get into Europe than Spurs; Defoe,Berbatov and Keane, late of this parish, are all doing the business elsewhere. They demand a human sacrifice and soon.

Now this is after seven games with thirty one to go. We are still in four cup competitions. On Saturday we played with heart, especially Jenas and outclassed Hull in every department but one. So will Juande Ramos be sacked? I don't think he will and given the size of the pay-off is not likely to quit. Comolli ,who to many fans struggles under the twin disadvatages of being ex Arsenal and French , might be chosen as fall guy but is closely identified with Levy who isn't going anywhere. Jenas has just been picked for the England squad by Capello a man not known for not being able to spot a good footballer when he sees one.

So nobody is going anywhere. But the question asked was 'Should Ramos be sacked?' or anyone else for that matter. Again the answer is 'No' The real question is 'What would it achieve?' apart from soothing the ruffled feathers of the fans and giving us someone at least to blame. Does the scapegoat philosophy reap any dividends. Apart from destabilising the club and the team it will achieve nothing. We are where we are and no amount of forensic analysis of our transfer policy will alter it. Comolli's record is patchy but is arguable, little of that can be laid at the door of Ramos and we all know that Levy is quick to lead from the rear when it gets sticky.

Ramos' team selection and substitutions have been difficult to fathom at times but we seem to be on an upward path though too slowly for most. Ramos came to us with agood reputation and solid achievments and just as good players don't become bad ones overnight nor do managers. In any case who of any standing would come to us at the moment? Poyet is deeply involved in all that has gone on and with the same squad would probably fare no better.

I firmly believe that Ramos, Poyet,and the players will turn this round and we might still make a cup run and finish mid table. Not what we set out to achieve at the start of the season but acceptable to most right now. We have had too many managers and too many newcomers in recent years and need to stick with this one as I believe he has the right credentials and the qualities to bring out the best in this squad. The squad needs some strikers in January and possibly a defensive midfielder but the main thing it needs is support.

It should be made clear to Ramos and the fans that he will be given the rest of the season to get it right and that should we go down he will be be responsible for getting us back up again. Let's have some continuity and trust. Keep yor fingers crossed if you like but Ramos' head in the basket will please only the old women knitting in the front row and will be counter productive. Changing the manager is a knee-jerk reaction that rarely improves the situation in the long term.

Fiddling while Rome burns

Wed 1st October.
The world financial system is in meltdown; the Conservatives could win the next election; Senator McCain could win the U.S. Presidential race and here we are worrying whether Tottenham could go out of the Uefa cup this afternoon and whether Hull....Hull! might beat us on Sunday. Fiddling while Rome burns or what. I think its called displacement activity. At least we know a bit more about Spurs than either of the other two.

Or do we. I am reasonably well educated and a keen student of the politics of the Western world but cannot for the life of me even guess why Gilberto was preferred to Modric against Portsmouth. So perhaps Tottenham is more of a mystery than the world's financial and political systems after all.
There are some good omens: Berbatov and Keane have broken their ducks proving that quality will triumph in the end. By this logic we will sail out of the doldrums quite soon, maybe today, and the crisis will be over. A clean sheet and the Wisla tie is ours and look out Hull.

Against Wisla we were nervy and disjointed. Individuals flickered occasionly but rarely at the same time. We were lucky, if signing a top quality goalkeeper can be termed 'lucky'. Bent and Zokora went close and Frazier Cambell again looked lively. In my view nobody played badly apart from Woodgate and King being caught out for their goal. Gomez came when he probably should have stayed but that's how he is and it is a fault on the right side as he will save more than he lets in by doing so. We were not a cohesive unit and rarely played 'joined up' football as they say in politics.

However we won so all the dramatic scenarios about a new manager have been temporarily postponed,although the papers are awash with stories of Avram Grant or Terry Venables replacing Comolli. The part time journalist Phil Space seems to have taken up a permanent role these days. My how we'll laugh when we look back after we've won a few matches.

Against Hull on Sunday we should pretend that its a fifth round cup tie and go for it as if it was all or nothing. In fact we should play all our remaining fixtures in cup tie mode because if we don't start 'gelling' soon our fixtures will in fact become make or break occasions.

Sunday 5th.October.

Well we made a bit more effort; won all the statistics and went down to a Geovanni special. Lennon was substituted when playing well; Bentley was a sort of right back. Our best player was Jenas and whatever some fans think the England manager agrees. Ironically it was probably our best performance of the season in terms of chances and effort.

Will Ramos get the sack? I don't think so as it will achieve very little and leave Comolli and Levy very exposed after their Martin Jol coup of a year ago. They are all going to hang together when the time comes and it won't be until Xmas at the earliest.

Who would take Ramos' place? Poyet as caretaker presumably but why would the monkey be an improvement on the organ grinder? He is an integral part of what is happening at Spurs. Kinnear isn't available for at least two months; so Terry Venables it is then. I still think that Ramos, Poyet and the players will turn it round and that relegation is unlikely.

As the season progresses I am obviously finding it harder to hang on to this belief and to rationally explain why I believe it. Its something to do with the quality of the squad and the pedigree of the manager, but I have expressed doubts about the magical qualities of Ramos before and our league performance and record since the Carling Cup win is abysmal. The case against Comolli is arguable, you can prove whatever you want . Levy isn't going anywhere until he cashes in his chips and we are where we are. Sacking Ramos may feel like justice for our poor record but it would destabilise the club and the team.

In my view he should be given a full season and should be told this by Levy. If we were to get relegated he should be tasked with the job of getting us back up again. It would not be the end of the world, or of the club. Disappointing,embarrassing, inconvenient,humiliating maybe but not the end of the world.