The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Can't see the wood

Trees in forest

                                                         Well there's the trees

Let us consider the case of Joe Cole. Not in a transfer target sort of way but in a discussion of general principles regarding our settled squad and the steady progress we have made, sort of way because, as you know, I never comment on transfers. But Joe Cole is different for a number of reasons and we need to separate the wood from the trees.

Firstly there is the Redknapp connection: spotted and nurtured by him as a sapling and all that. I'm pretty sure that such nostalgic connections count for little at the top end of the Premiership. However £100,00 per week and rising might. After all that's the main reason that he can't get an agreement with Chelsea who clearly don't think he's worth the money. What canker lies beneath this apparently thriving English Oak? We might like to question what that is.

And our beloved Chairman will too. £100,00 per week, that's a lot of bagels; something like ten lorry loads a week I guess, though more accurate calculations are welcomed by knowledgeable correspondents in the bagel logistics and transport world. Is Joe Cole so good that we would break our wage structure to sign him? We would need to increase our top wage by 50% from something in the region of £70,000 to meet his demands.

Would the other players accept this, however it was structured? He would come on a free with, say, a hefty signing on fee to offset his wages. But any such arrangement would not deceive other members of the squad. This might unsettle the players who have benefited from stability and who are showing signs of bonding and team spirit lately. It would look strange if Joe was excluded from the pre- match hug because of his salary level.

Is he a player that we desperately need when we have a player who is as good, more versatile, and younger in Modric and a talented back up in Dos Santos? Again is it worth risking the serenity we have enjoyed over the last 18 months for Joe Cole? Of course if Harry can do a deal for Cole which doesn't threaten all this then fine. You can't have too many good players, 'It's the bad players that are a luxury' as Danny Blanchflower once observed, although it hasn't quite worked out for Man.City who have planted out too many Giant Sequoias in too confined a space and have to keep pruning them to avoid suffocation. They've already lost one experienced tree surgeon because of it.

If Harry is going to do the business he would be advised not to wait too long as Joe looks to have regained fitness and form and could well have a good World Cup. Which is why he is delaying discussions on his future as he might have more attractive offers to consider than teaming up with his boyhood mentor and playing for what he might consider peanuts. Peanut logistic and transport experts might care to calculate how many lorry loads per week that is.

If he is prepared to change clubs because his wage demands can't be met then it makes no sense for him to look at Spurs. Like Lampard and John Terry he has never signed for a club outside London yet. The attached WAGS might view territory North of Potters Bar with some suspicion too. Joe has been there on a bi-weekly basis during the season for several years and hasn't been duly impressed. Transplanting him to the North of England might not be an ideal climate for him to blossom in. His press conference on behalf of the England this week was what is usually designated as a 'Come and get me' plea to managers that he trusts and who appreciate him. Step forward Harry but don't forget Jose at Real Madrid.

About other transfer rumours I will have nothing to say except to observe that perfectly adequate members of the squad are being rejected in favour of 'ace' players from around the world. The flags are out to bid farewell to O'Hara, Jenas, Keane, Pavlyuchenko, Hutton and Bentley in favour of all manner of world stars who probably wouldn't come to us just yet, or whose agents are just looking to fund a six person jacuzzi in the new villa.. Sometimes this is on the dubious grounds that they are not as good as other players. Jenas is not as good as Gerrard and is therefore rubbish is the current piece of non-logic`. Bentley and Beckham suffer the same comparison with equally silly conclusions.

Defoe is not as good as Torres or Drogba: and your point is? These players will not come to us and they are looking for wages that will make Daniel's eyes water. Now, as the Platini reforms take shape, is not the time to start encouraging the multi millionaires to be even more greedy or to put the business plan in jeopardy. Leave that to the men in the city and I don't just mean Manchester. At the moment we are one of the few clubs that meet the new financial criteria, let's keep it that way.

The preoccupation with the 'next level' is blinding us to the fact that we are already there, achieved by the players we already have. Did they not beat Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City twice. Are these not the famed 'next level? Or aspirants to it? Did we get there by paying over the odds for the You tube All Stars, World Wonder Kids or welcoming last chance mercenaries who crawled out of the woodwork? We did not. If some or all of Keane, Gudjohnsen and Pavlyuchenko go we need replacements. We probably need a holding striker to give us flexibility. Otherwise keep faith with the boys that got us there unless, like O'Hara, they want to leave.

Remember Harry himself wasn't supposed to be good enough to take us to the next level. I don't hear too many calls for lopping off his head though there are undoubtedly better managers out there. So fans talk of 'freshening up' the squad, by which they mean chop out the dead wood and get some well seasoned players in. Sounds simple but first you have to identify the surplus timber and make sure that their replacements are: firstly, better than what we've got; secondly, that they want to come to us; thirdly, that we can afford them; and fourthly that they will fit into the current squad. I once bought a splendid sideboard at an auction only to find that it was riddled with woodworm when I got it home.

So there you have it :about transfers I have positively no comment whatsoever except to observe that gift horses should always be closely examined by a qualified vet. I just hope that Daniel has the Rentokil hot-line number handy just in case.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Looking good, feeling fine

What a difference a place makes. Players falling over themselves to sign up for years ahead. Even Robbie Keane seems to have run out of boyhood dreams and wants to stay. 'Just leave a contact number with the girl on your way out Mr. Keane.' Not that contracts make any difference of course but it's the thought that counts.

Now we have Luka Modric showing definite signs of loyalty and pledging himself for six years. Six years! Slagging off other suitors and sideswiping former depertees as he signs on the dotted. And Daniel Levy jetting off to Croatia to seal the deal. None of that, 'Just drop into my office Modric when I have a moment'. So now we get to choose from the higher shelves and keep our own Crown Jewels into the bargain. And Luka is the crowniest and jewliest of them all.

Daniel must have some serious holiday plans this year; that's King, Bale and Luka all signed up even before the World Cup starts. Lets hope that Daniel and Harry spend a few week's in Sarf Africa casting their collective eyes over top class, holding strikers. One of them might even come to us now.

Now as a serious accredited Tottenham Blogger I have to try to keep the wilder excesses of joy and over the topness under control. Not for me going around with that silly smile on my face, that was all done with after the Man.City game. You quite rightly expect an informed, serious, well argued, coherent and scholarly assessment of our current situation and future prospects. What else am I not being paid for.

OK here goes. 'We're gonna win the league, We're gonna win the league and now you'd.'.......Sorry, sorry, the mask slipped there for a moment. I'll start again. With an astute signing or two we may well improve on our present achievements and, at the expense of Arsenal, challenge for second place with Man.Utd. There I've said it. No slipping back, slackening off, petering out, fading away, no drooping, wilting or weakening. We've snuffed out the the volcano and capped the oil leak and we ain't gonna throw it all away now. So there you have it, fanaticism and topicality in an attractive box.

Mental toughness: I embrace you. Professionalism: that's our middle name. When the going gets tough, send for the Boys from White Hart Lane. And, in case your next year's free calendars have not yet arrived it, ends in a one. 2011: you little beauty, come to Jimmy. Having smacked Chelsea, spanked Arsenal and faced down Man.City in the space of a week or thereabouts what can possibly go wrong?

.World Cup? Who cares? The fact that I can watch England games without a flutter of the heart or a tightening of the sinews proves that I don't really care, whereas with Spurs even the warm up sets my pulse racing and the butterflies fluttering. I did for a time when it looked as if we might have as many as six representatives. However Tom and Michael won't be going. Michael was just invited along for the ride and Tom, though tidy, didn't produce anything that might book a seat on the plane. So we're down to four and they may only get bit parts.

At least Lennon doesn't have to share the wide Speedy Gonzales role with Walcott. But it looks as if Heskey may get the starting role up front with Rooney, leaving Defoe and Crouch to squabble over the walk on parts. Ledley will be on emergency call only unless there's a dead fixture. I will still be nervous about their performances and we do have more players in the squad than any other team, but I am borderline indifferent about the results. No flags flying on the JimmyG2 jalopy.

What else can we deduce from the pre-tournament friendlies? We will be lucky to make the later stages of the tournament if the Japan game was anything to go by. Japan look good value at odds of 500/1 and sportingly scored all three goals. Patriots can help their local bookmaker and their impoverished families by backing England at 7/1. The defence looks suspect, the midfield uninspired and disfunctional, and the attack disjointed. Rooney is our only world class player but looks to be on a shortish fuse and unless he calms down could being seeing red, literally, sometime in the near future.

The Mexico game suggests that Giovani Dos Santos would be an asset back at the Lane. He would play well off Modric and might save us a fortune on Joe Cole's wages. Joe though was back to something like his old self and might just add to the sparkle in midfield for England and Spurs. So that's another little job for Daniel and Harry before they pack the suntan lotion for real.

I've had another of my nightmares in which England don't even reach the second stage; Capello is sacked and goes back to Inter; Harry gets the England job and the merry go round cranks up again. But correspondents assure me that the authorities won't touch Harry whilst tax charges are still pending and in any case Roy Hodgson is the blue eyed boy at the moment.

A word about our dynamic but diminutive Chairman, a hint there of why we sign so many short players. There's nothing worse than for the Chairman to go into the dressing room to congratulate the lads and not be visible. The Jol/Ramos affair seems to have taught him a salutary lesson although Chairman always have other, financial, agendas. But he got lucky with Harry, and so did we. Success and good football, it's like having a birthday every day.

After all there are Tottenham websites which used to be solely devoted to the abuse of Levy and quite justifiably so at the time. Enjoy your moment in the sun Daniel and keep that Biro handy. You've done the right thing recently but you're only as good as your latest signing.

It's going to be a long summer. Next up for the worry beads is the 2010/2011fixture list which should be published a week after the World Cup begins. They will need careful scrutiny to plot how many points we will have after eight games, which has been officially adopted as the International Standard Measurement Of Spurs Progress (the ISMOSP 8th game Index for the technically minded). Last year we had 16 points and finished 4th; the year before we had 2 points and finished 8th. This gives you a simple foolproof, logical, mathematical method of plotting our eventual league position.

At least this will give you something to do when you can't sleep and you're restless because your Modric jim-jams are in the wash. All part of the JimmyG2 service and no hidden extras.