The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Cry, 'Harry for England'

That's Harry on the left, on the Lilywhite horse.

Harry for England' is a frequently heard refrain lately given a timely boost by the FA chief Executive, Alex Horn, saying that he could well be on the not very long, long list. Personally I think it's unlikely. He's too outspoken in a Brian Clough sort of way. Not really ' one of us' as Mrs Thatcher used to say. I notice too that the verbal pledge that the next England manager would be English wasn't worth the paper it wasn't written on and is 'still under consideration'.

In fact if Harry gets the job I will eat this blog. Too much unfinished business lurking in the shadows I'm afraid and legal stuff has a nasty habit of dragging on and, like fish, leaving a smell in the dustbin even when it's been emptied. It is a moot point (edit) in in any case whether Harry has saved our bacon or whether the team has preserved his.

His limitations were shown again on Saturday. Alex McLeish changed it round in good time and got the draw they didn't really deserve on the first half performance. Zigic was brought on after 60 minutes and proved instrumental in their late goal. Harry neither changed the attacking focus nor bolstered the defensive options until it was too late. Crossing your fingers is not a tactic. Sandro and Dawson were available for the defensive options and Kranjcar and Pavlyuchenko for the attacking ones.

In fairness, on Saturday we went away from home and got a point from a team that has only lost once in 27 home games or something silly but we came away feeling as if we've been robbed of 2 points. Is that just a Tottenham fan's arrogance, a failure to take the longer view, or a fair assessment of the match? We totally dominated the first half, went ahead in the 19th minute, out paced and outhought them with some clever inter passing and were only pegged back by a late equaliser.

The three points were ours for the taking but early Xmas generosity, and an attack of politeness in front of goal meant that we lost ground on City and and missed the chance to go two points behind Chelsea before we play them next week. This became a tale of two very tall strikers as ironically they 'Out Crouched' us for the equaliser. A long cross field ball beyond the far post headed firmly back across the goal by 6'8'' Zigic for Gardner to make a brave run from the edge of the area through the massed ranks of Spurs defenders to head firmly down into the corner.

Even our goal was the result of an error by Foster who pushed a Bale free-kick back into the danger zone where Bassong had plenty of time to knock the ball down and volley into the net. I hope Crouch took note of this expertise, both the firm header by Zigic and the calm finish by Bassong as he seems incapable of both.

With a decent, on form, striker we could be challenging for top spot this season. Lennon and Bale created enough chances for an even half decent front man to put the match beyond Birmingham's reach. Defoe is still re-acclimatising himself and played poorly; Pavlyuchenko was again offered a few crumbs of comfort in a ten minute cameo at the end. Keane has disappeared off the radar. Curiously we only had six subs on the bench two of which were keepers.

Bale was not quite as dominant as usual but was harshly described as a 'flop' in some reports. I suppose he was by his astronomical standards. A clean sheet eluded us once again but generally the defence were sound and little troubled overall. Once again the strikers failed to register which leads me to think we need a new name for them; non strikers should cover

I think that we should go for a striker in the January window even if they are already cup tied for the Champions' League because the Premiership must be our priority now. Unless Pavlyuchenko is given more time we urgently need someone who can put the ball in the back of the net without taking several touches and setting off in the wrong direction like Crouch; or having to shift everything onto his right foot like Defoe.

Taking the long view, given our lengthy injury list we are still doing very well: still in touch with the top four and through to the knock-out rounds of the Champions' league. But games like yesterday where we could and should have put the game to bed in the first half hour raise the old doubts about our ability to finish the job particularly without better strikers and without Van der Vaart to cover their blushes.

Players are returning so things can know, whisper it quietly... get better. Gallas has grown in stature and first Kaboul and now Bassong have come on and played well. Tuesday sees us in Holland to play FC Twente in the final league section of the Champions' League in a game that we need to win or at least to match the Inter Milan result to ensure that we avoid the Big Boys in the next knock-out round.

On the 'Harry for England' front King Harry Vth's speech at Harfleur has so many Tottenham echoes as to be positively eerie So it might be a sign of something after all.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;..(FCTwente)
Or close the wall up with our English dead.......(Clear reference to Spurs injury list)
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:......................(Luka Modric)
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;................. (Wilson Palacios)
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;....(Alan Hutton on Saturday)
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; …............( William Gallas)

(There's a few lines here where the Bard loses his Hotspur focus, so we'll move on).

Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean...........(All our strikers)
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English....(Peter Crouch)

(And again Will Shakespeare gets side-tracked into Mighty 'Alexander' and stuff.)

And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here.....(Michael Dawson)
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes............(Ledley King)
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,.... (Bale and Lennon)
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:.......(FCTwente)
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!.(Harry Redknapp)

So there you have it. Who's right me or the boy from Stratford?
Stratford! Christ what have I started?

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MalSpurs said...

A "mute" point? Lol

Journalism isn't what it used to be.

JimmyG2 said...

Yes you're right it should be 'moot point' but in its original meaning something 'open to discussion' rather something 'not worth discussing'
I will edit it.

MalSpurs said...

No bother Jim.
I'm a little bit more worried about Harry leaving than I think you are.

Remember he threatened never to speak to the media again if he was charged a few weeks ago? The FA bowed down to him. I think that suggests that they didn't want him to fall out with them, for fear that he wouldn't eventually take the job.

I do take your thoughts on his questionable tax records on board though, and why that might go against him.

Hope he doesn't go, as I'm an Irish Spurs fan. At least English fans will get a great international manager.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

The "tiger" Palacios had a solid game in my opinion. A few bad passes, but definitely good enough to have the crowd chanting his name. He will come good very soon. C'mon Wilson, bring back the tenacity you had when you first signed. I know you have it in you.

Anonymous said...

Great Read as always.

Jonny Panther said...

Great stuff dear boy.

Seeing as Harry seems to have quite a sizeable coaching team, brimming with ex-Spurs players, do you think he'll make any room for a Hughton?
I hope he has a delightful month or so on a beach somewhere, a bit of Hughton time to himself, and I would be gobsmacked if he doesn't get offered significant jobs pretty soon. But, I'd love to see him back at the lane, and I dare say he'd be a good bet to follow on from 'Arry, if 'Arry is still flavour of the month after Euro 2012.

This talk of him having no experience is nonsense. what has he been doing for the past 12 years? It's a shame that he was heaved out of the toon so soon, but the silver lining looks like it could be the return of the most beautiful man in association football: Martin 'come-here-and-give-us-a-cuddle' Jol. I'm sure my deluded judgement of Jol is completely skewed, but it would be delightful to see his lovely face again.

JimmyG2 said...

Anon 11:14
Thanks Greg

Jonny Panther:
Good of you to call.
I hope the Newcastle team all demand transfers( then we could pick up Carrol cheaply)
He deserves better than a bit part at Spurs.
He deserves better than Ashley too.

I think Martin will be wary of Newcastle.
Eight managers in eight years.

Jonny Panther said...

The pleasure is all mine Mr G2.

I think Carrol would be better off staying where he is, with his local team that he supports, and starting every week. If you've got real ambition and you want it all then you'd want to do it with your own club, no? He's got plenty of time to jump ship in the future. T'riffic player, but, for the time being, I'm not sure if he's much more useful than our current quartet. I'm rarely right about these things though.

Perhaps we could welcome both Hughton and Jol back into the fold...?
Three managers?
or is that overkill?

...I'll get back in my place now.

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