Do you wake up at night worrying about things that probably won't happen, or that you can do nothing about? Do you keep checking the final Premiership League table? Do you scour the headlines to see if we had accidentally played 12 men against Man.City? Welcome to the wonderful world of Tottenham Hotspur, the club whose fans can never sleep. I was beginning to relax and enjoy the prospects of a summer of football, thinking warm thoughts of 4th place and of beating Arsenal, Chelsea and Man.City within 10 days. But now I've moved on and found new sources of concern eager to wake me up in the early hours in a cold sweat. Remember friends it's never too soon to start worrying
. Suppose some of our large International contingent get injured?. Will Luka go to Inter or Man.Utd or, even as I type, to Chelsea? Who will come in? Will they upset the balance of the squad? Will Joe Cole be content to play second fiddle to Modric if he stays? Who will we blame if JJ goes? Will the new stadium be built before I join Bill Nick in the sleep that dreams can't disturb?
I've recovered from Burnley and starting to get things back into perspective now. The whole season was played under the shadow of our 'difficult run-in'. The computer and fixture changes had thrown up the three top teams in succession and what turned out to be our rivals for 4th in the space of our last five games. I thought that we would need to be well ahead of the chasing pack by that point or we would be facing the prospect of scaling an Icelandic volcano in full flow.
This turned out to be a completely wrong assessment and we were propelled by the adrenaline of success, desire and hurt pride to win 9 of our last 11 eleven games including Arsenal and Chelsea in the same week. By the time we came to our last supposedly easy fixture it was all over. We beat Man.City in the pre- Champions' League qualifier for the play off round of the Champions' League and Burnley, already relegated, beat us in style but it didn't matter. It still irritates, but let it go Jimmy, let it go.
The defeat in the Cup semi final served to galvanise rather than depress us and the wounded animal analysis applied. Instead of retiring to our lair to die alone and in shame or to be torn apart by the bigger beasts in the Premiership jungle we bared our teeth and sent them all packing. Well most of them . There was Burnley of course but I'm over that now. Seriously, I am.
My confident belief that we would make 4th or even higher was certainly tested to breaking point by injuries to key players and lapses against what might be regarded as inferior teams particularly those that haven't yet been introduced to the concept of football. Our ability to fill the gaps left by the periodic absence of Ledley; the long term injury to Woodgate, the injuries to Modric and Lennon; the late season absences of Corluka, Jenas, and Ekotto were all overcome by players stepping up or rediscovering their form, especially Gomes. In turn Bassong, Bale, Bentley, Kranjcar, Kaboul, Gudjohnsen and Pavlyuchenko, three of whom were inspired signings by Harry, all made light of our difficulties and gave credence to the strength in depth, strongest bench in the league, theory.
However we go into the close season with one or two potential problems. Firstly all our strikers have mislaid the scoring touch; secondly Palacios, who with Huddlestone was at the core of our midfield for most of the season, lost form in the final weeks of the season; thirdly uncertainty about who might come in and who might leave could destabilise the squad under the constant deluge of rumour and gossip. I fear another sleepless night.
The solution to the first two might just be the summer break though a large number of our players are involved in the World Cup. The Champions' League play offs coincide with the start of the season in mid August. There will be little chance for our key players to rest apart from the Croatians, Bale and Bentley. Injuries sustained on National Service are another worry. Insomnia beckons.
Of course we want all our players especially our sizable English contingent to have a successful World Cup but it is more important that we make the Champions' League proper and make a good start in the Premiership as well. By the third week of the season it could all be over. Another wakeful dawn looms.. It's going to be an exciting early season but that's exactly what we wished for and you know what they say about being careful what you wish for. Clearly we need to bolster the squad but without undoing the good work and steady progress of the last few years and particularly the last 18 months under Harry.
Sandro has already signed and Cudocini seems to be making good progress. If Bale is going to play left mid-field we need back up for Ekotto. If Woodgate doesn't recover possibly another centre- half although Corluka, Huddlestone and Kaboul can all play there if necessary as back-up to King, Dawson and Bassong. If Jenas, O'Hara, Gudjohnsen and even Keane stay, we seem to have enough mid-fielders of decent quality hanging around the place.
Our key need is for an experienced striker who could give us the tactical flexibility of playing 451 away from home or against certain types of opposition. Many exotic names have been proposed and no doubt many more will follow during the summer transfer window. I make my plea once again to go for a Premiership ready signing rather than a player new to the country who will take time to settle. Time is not on our side at the start of the new season.
We don't want Darren Bent back and Milito after last night probably won't commit.. However there is one player who had a very good season for a club which though not our equals beat us twice. Gentlemen, I give you Kevin Doyle. Skilful, hardworking, able to hold the ball up while support arrives, with International experience, a strike rate of 1/3 and at 26 ready to step up to the big time. We could do a lot worse and possibly will. I bid you all good night and sweet uninterrupted dreams.