The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 31 January 2011

The A-Z of a cup drubbing

 It's primed to go off after 10mins and 13 seconds.The Captain's got the key.

Disobeying my own rule: 'Never blog when you're angry'
here is my initial reaction straight after the match.

We were:

Absolutely awful
Badly beaten
Comprehensively clattered.
Depressingly disorganised
Extraordinarily exposed
Fatally flawed
Grimly goalless
Horribly hopeless
Inconceivably inept
Jawdroppingly jaded
Knackeringly kyboshed.
Lazily lacklustre
Mercilessly muntered.
Numbingly neutered
Overwhelmingly outplayed
Pathetically punctured
Quietly quashed
Routinely roasted
Stupidly self-destructive
Terribly trounced
Unbelievably unproductive
Vilely vanquished
Worryingly wretched
Xpediciously xecuted
Yawningly yanked
Zestfully zeroed.


We can concentrate on the league (and the Champions' League) and by god we need to.
Modric still worked his socks off to climb a mountain getting bigger by the moment.
We held them 0-0 in the second half with 10 men. But do you really bother when you're 4-0 up?
Could have been even worse.

Strikers. Is it Pavlyuchenko's turn now?
Van der Vaart is revealing his temperamental side. Another needless yellow.
This is the third time we have pressed the self destruct button. We didn't get away with it this time.

More considered and reflective 'Musings' later.
More alphabet suggestions welcomed. You should have all cooled down by now.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Stadium problem solved. Simples

How you gonna get back to The Lane Daniel ?

Plenty to take our minds of the football which frankly at the moment is not a bad thing. The petition to save Andy Gray's job at Sky has now accumulated over 6 signatures in the last 48 hours, five from his own family and one from a Mr.Richard Keys who has been distracted from rallying round his oppressive chum by having to resign himself. Possibly the least lamented sackings and resignations in the history of industrial relations. The irony is that they fell foul of sexism rather than their complete incompetence and bias as football experts.

The Stadium controversy has gone global at least in N17. Actually now that the Olympic Stadium has been put out of bounds politically by the athletics' lobby and Levy has declared the NPD 'not viable' I say WHL and Tottenham High Road may be dumps but at least they are our dumps. If it saves anything between £250/£450 million and rising to put an extra 20,000 thousand bums on seats then let's call the whole thing off.

Levy has burned his bridges in a somewhat spectacular fashion. Only last month the NPD was a runner and now it's 'not viable'. He can hardly declare it viable in a couple of weeks time when we don't get the OS. He is hinting that we will move in any case. Where? Ground share with Arsenal? Or W.Ham at the OS? Wembley? A green-field site somewhere in Hertfordshire? Or Hackney Marshes? The heat generated from these suggestions might advance global warming by a couple of centuries and may make the whole discussion purely academic.

However your Uncle Jimmy has a simple and effective remedy which cuts straight to the heart of the problem and solves everything, except 'World Peace' obviously. It is this: increase all ticket prices and subscriptions by a third and thereby effectively increase the return on the existing ground capacity to 48.000. That's bigger than Man.City and Chelsea. I didn't say it would be popular but it has the merit of having an immediate effect and costs the club nothing.

I sympathise with the poor, I've be one of you myself for years, who are priced out of the market but hey what's new in today's world? 
'It's the rich what gets the gravy: it's the poor what gets the blame'.( Music Hall song)
There are plenty of fans on the waiting list to replace them. So at a stroke we avoid the potential debt problems and the planning problems; we get an immediate decision and get a better class of fan at the same time. Prawn sandwhiches all round.

All I want is Champions' League now and again; attractive football; 'top' if not 'top top' players and a club that has a soul. Which is roughly where we are at the moment. Now I love architects' projections too and I feel sorry for those who might not get to watch the game because of restricted numbers and higher prices. They won't get to stroll across the 'piazza' and pop into Sainsburys for a chat with Jamie Oliver, but these are hard times.

Mrs JimmyG2 suggested doubling the prices and effectively having a ground capacity of 72,000. Once she’d finished explaining the off-side rule to me, I outlined the 'Law of Diminishing Returns' to her which says that a certain point on the graph the income starts to fall. So if you increased prices by tenfold, thereby giving you the same return as a 360,000 crowd then only about 25 Spurs fans and the members of the Coalition Cabinet could afford tickets.

Increasing prices by a third is 'viable'.and offers an increased capacity to 48,000 at a stroke which is not far short of what the NPD is offering and with no outlay. I'm surprised that Levy hasn't thought this already. Hostility to a plan by core supporters is what Levy clearly thrives on and I recommend this suggestion to the Board.

It makes us less of a sellable asset but that is no bad thing. Levy despite being a two faced, duplicitous, evasive bastard is as good a Chairman as we are likely to get. I don't actually believe that the WPD is not viable just that the Olympic Stadium is a better option financially. I'm not sure I buy into all this 'next level' stuff anyway and that unless we build a shiny new stadium we are doomed to mid table oblivion for ever. A trophy stadium does not automatically mean more trophies.

On the football front which I was hoping to avoid, things appear to have stalled. Chelsea, Arsenal and Man.Utd all won easily at the weekend and subsequently Man Utd. came from 2-0 down to win away at Blackpool. We are faltering, 2 points from nine, and not a new striker in sight. It could just be mid winter blues for me and Spurs but I am not too hopeful of us finishing in the top four this year.

Of course we could just sell Bale to Inter for £40 million, a story denied before it hit the streets, and Modric for the same to United, buy Parker and keep our fingers crossed until Tom returns. That's not so much a plan as an auto destruct button.

On the rumour front there is a link to Forlan who is a classy, Tottenham style player with a remarkable scoring record at Athletico for someone who isn't an out and out striker. (73 goals in 119 appearances) This is certainly an upgrade as far as rumours go and the asking price is only £9million which means that every team in the Premiership and La Liga will want him and some in the Championship too. Our local youth club might be in for him at that price. On the downside Harry has repeated that Crouch will not be sold.

Unless we increase our wage levels we may not attract the more mercenary of the floating foreign contingent and may have to rely on our achievements, our traditions, our history, our reputation and the fact that we are in the Champions' League and have some top class players already. It hasn't done us too badly so far and hope the new financial regime gives those without a rich benefactor a fairer chance in the future.

Did I mention Fulham in the cup on Sunday? We usually draw and then beat them in the replay so why break the habits of a lifetime.
1-1 on Sunday and 2-1 at the Lane.

You read it here first and I'm not always wrong.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Delicately poised

Harry checking the credentials of our striker recruits 

Two points from nine but only one defeat in the last eleven Premiership games. Statistics are easy to present but it's the conclusions that you can draw from them that are difficult. Another striker blank sheet to put on the pile which at the moment you need a small stepladder to access. I'm getting the lightweight extending aluminium one out of the garage just in case.

In the Premiership our four strikers have scored between them; all together that is; adding all their contributions up; combined as it were, the same as Bale and less than Van der Vaart. Our four nominal front men have scored 7 goals between them in the Premiership; five of them by Pavlyuchenko. I know, I know, strikers are not just about scoring goals but it's not a bad starting point for assessing their qualities.

Lennon saved our proverbial streaky at Newcastle with a late equaliser. Darren 'the tweet' Bent made the weekend less gloomy by scoring on his debut, again, to give Villa a narrow victory over City. He was 'over the moon' apparently. Seems to spend a lot of the time on the Dark Side that boy.

We are still in touch but if Chelsea win on Monday we are in danger of slowly slipping off the ledge, sliding soundlessly below the waters, and generally disappearing from the limelight back to the edges of mid-table mediocraty from whence we came. We are a single point ahead of Sunderland. We are 4th in the form table over the past six games but of our rivals only Chelsea are below us. We seem to be at a point of delicate balance at the moment.

Harry,' I'm not a wheeler dealer' Redknapp is in the process of swapping Kranjcar for Piennar. To what end I wonder. Perhaps we might make a million on the deal but in playing terms is there much to choose between them.? On yesterday's showing not a lot. In my view it was a mistake to put him straight on ahead of Kranjcar after so little time to acclimatise to his new club. But he did alright and hopefully will improve.

In the light of yesterday's results Arsenal and Man.Utd look to be the title contenders both winning with ease. At the moment we are only 'possibles' for top four. We might have to set our sights on winning the Europa Cup next season if we don't win the Champions' League this. However with 16 matches to go anything can happen but the trends are so-so.

The extent of Bale's injury or Ekotto's are unknown at the moment but this could seriously limit our ambitions if their absence is prolonged. These two have been almost ever present in the team for the past two seasons. You could argue that Bale has been overplayed as he has been struggling with the back problem for several weeks according to Harry. We're back to judicious rotation again.

Lennon made the switch to left wing yesterday and his quick burst inside, which is normally his quick burst outside on the right, cut out two Newcastle defenders trying to show him down the line and set him up for an equaliser which found the very corner of the goal. That’s his second late, late intervention this season; he scored the winner at Liverpool in injury time and he seems to be getting back to form.

Neither Pavlyuchenko nor Keane were on the bench, leading ITK's to begin musing on possible departures. Keane has been in 'left luggage' so long we might have to pay a penalty charge to get him out. Crouch came on as sub for the last 10 minutes and had a hand, a head actually, in the move that produced the goal. He headed on Dawson's long ball to Defoe who passed to Lennon who scored. I think that's called an assist, once removed.

Jenas and Hutton will receive their usual abuse but both played reasonably well. Cudocini should have saved the goal but made two match savers late on and again gave a decent overall performance. Defoe was cleverly set up by a Van Der Vaart flick just before half time but Harper saved well.

Their goal was the result of a fine cross-field ball by Guthrie, extremely well taken down and finished by Collocini, a centre back who suddenly appeared on the left wing. Hutton haters will blame him for the goal. The most surprising statistic from yesterday's game was that not one yellow card was shown, not even to a somewhat 'over enthusiastic' Newcastle side.

On the transfer front with only a week to go the targets continue to mount up. Most are a tribute to the ingenuity of the media and the gullibility of the so called 'In The Knows': Suarez, Forlan. Fabiano,Van Nistelrooy, Pele, Lassana Diarra and Benzema in the last couple of days alone. Some of these are over 30 and with little chance of any pay back are unlikely to interest Daniel Levy. They are also mostly on more than Harry a week which is just not on. I slipped one in the list to see if you are awake.

Now I appreciate that the members of the 'In Harry we Trust' society will assume I'm calling for Harry's head again which I am not. I'm just looking at our situation as objectively as I can. If you want adulation of Mr. Redknapp I'm sure he has a website where you can register your complete satisfaction with the way the team is being managed.

I forecast that the fans would start getting more than restless if we lost three consecutive games but at the moment it has taken only one loss, two draws and the injury to Bale to get people on the boil. Perhaps it's the tension over the Stratford bid that's making people edgy.

What I respect Harry for above all is that he loves good football. This is what makes him a good fit for Spurs.His adulation of Modric, which I share; his delight in watching good players play, which I share; and his endorsement of the idea that good football is the route to success. This is the basis of Spurs Musings attitude too. Compare our foul count with our opponents in most matches for a concrete example of this attitude in practise.

For all this I will forgive Harry almost anything. Changing managers give a brief boost sometimes; the new manager bounce, but usually achieves little in the long run, The replacement of Benitez by Hodgson who ticked all the right boxes at Liverpool, to be in turn replaced by King Kenny is a case in point. We will have to wait and see on that one.

JimmyG2 award for the 'Silliest Transfer Window story' of the week:
Woodgate to go on loan to Arsenal. This has been firmly quashed but how could anyone have invented it in the first place? 

Friday, 21 January 2011

Another win for Chrissy, please.

 Well it sure as hell ain't Joey Barton

This is our opportunity to put the mini-blip of the past couple of Premiership games behind us. Away to Newcastle, where we have an unimpressive record, may not be the ideal game in which to do it but we beat them recently with comparative ease at home and should be able to pick up our top four challenge again in the North East.

Apart from Ledley and the other current long term invalids we have a pretty full squad plus newcomer Steven Piennar from Everton who, it is rumoured, may get a chance from the bench. They will be without talismanic striker Andy Carroll and under new manager Alan Pardew.
We need to win this one not just for ourselves but for Chris Hughton too in front of a crowd that are not yet wholly convinced by the change of manager.

Benoit Ekotto is a doubt and I would like to see Bassong play there and leave the midfield as it is: Lennon on the flank , JJ if Palacios is unavailable, half man half genius Modric and the Bale. Piennar to come on with Pavlyuchenko for the last 20 minutes and Defoe to start with Van der Vaart. Hutton, Gallas and Dawson complete the line-up with Gomes to keep another clean sheet.

If we have two Ex Geordies on at the same time this will likely confuse the Newcastle fans and will split the vote even if they don't end up cheering for us. We need to impose our new found mental strength quickly to quieten the crowd which could be a factor if we allow them to get into the game. A third 'double' will enable us to keep up with the quickening pace at the top.

A win ahead of the Chelsea game will see us back in fourth for a couple of days anyway and importantly put pressure on Chelsea to win at Bolton on Monday. This is not a foregone conclusion although Bolton have faltered recently. Newcastle's form is patchy overall but they are stronger at home with 3W/1D/ and 2Losses in the last six. We have kept 4 clean sheets in the last 5 games and another one here would give us a solid base on which to go on and win it.

Meanwhile the Stadium drama is rumbling towards a conclusion although a final decision is not expected until March. Today W.Ham and Spurs put their closing statements to the judges. Political hostility against the Spurs plan to demolish and rebuild the Olympic stadium has been building and their offer to renovate the crumbling Chrystal Palace site has not been well received.

Much airy talk of betrayal of promises and failing to preserve the heritage hang in the air and unsurprisingly the athletic community almost to a man won't accept any proposal to get rid of the athletic track 'Athletes in favour of athletics' shock. I think that in the end it is going to be politically unacceptable to grant Spurs plans and that the W.Ham bid, which is impractical in every way except that it preserves the running track, will win.

In this case Levy will be spared the wrath of the bulk of our fans who like me want the Northumberland Project to go ahead. I signed the 'keep Tottenham in Tottenham' petition months ago on the grounds of history, tradition and nostalgia. But businessmen run the show and if given a sniff of the Olympic site Levy will grab it with both hands. It's the economics stupid.

The new Spurs stadium at White Hart Lane despite getting planning permission is still fraught with transport and financial problems and raising the £450 million will not be easy under the current economic climate. We are still haggling with Haringey over transport upgrade costs. There is a potential saving of £150/£200 million pounds by opting for the Olympic site but this is not money that will be available for players, it will just be less debt.

However the finances are not my priority and the romantic attraction of rebuilding within yards, metres even, of the old stadium makes it an easy decision for me. I concede that in 30 or so years time as the old fans die off the Olympic stadium would quickly be absorbed into our history and in say 40 years time the old place will largely be forgotten. But at the moment that is not the point.

Levy will easily justify the move away if it comes to it on financial and access grounds and remember the Northumberland Project has a capacity of only 56,000 compared to the Olympic stadiums projected 60,000, equal to the Emirates. It might turn into the classic dilemma of the suits knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. But hopefully it won't come to that and the new WHL will be the only game in town.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Strikers on strike.

What do want? A striker.
When do we want him? Now.

If Harry was trying to finally convince Daniel Levy that we need a striker by starting with Crouch and keeping him on for 90 minutes then I think his cunning plan succeeded. I was convinced several months ago. Sir Alec, Vidic and Ferdinand must have had a group hug when they saw the team-sheet.

Bringing on Defoe for a ten minute cameo made little sense and leaving Pavlyuchenko kicking his heels was a waste of a player who in the past has at least shown he knows where the goal is. We didn't get a shot on target apart from long distance free kicks which went straight down Van der Saar's throat. Crouch missed the chance to clinch the game and prove us all wrong after a flowing move resulting in a Hutton cross to the near post which flashed just the wrong side of the upright.

In fact Gomes was the busier keeper although we controlled the game. He made three excellent saves and a couple of edge of the area interceptions and kept our 4th clean sheet in 5 games. This is an impressive defensive turnaround which bodes well for the next phase of the season. The return of Dawson has a lot to do with it.

This was an excellent performance by Spurs where Modric danced and floated like a butterfly in midfield ably supported by Palacios. We won on every statistical measure: possession, shots, corners, and they out-fouled us by 18/9. All of the back five performed well. We hardly noticed that Berbatov and Nani were playing. Hutton was outstanding getting forward and worked well with Lennon who had a good game against Evra again.

Manchester came for a point and achieved their aim. They defended in numbers and hoped to nick it on the break. We played into their hands by relying on Crouch and if Defoe had been on from the start we might well have won it. How do I know that Crouch should not have started? Hind sight obviously. Why do I think that Crouch should have been subbed? By watching the same game as Harry but seeing things differently.

Vidic spent some time closely examining Crouch's shirt sometimes with both hands and will submit a quality control report to Puma in due course. He was uncompromising as usual and vied with Modric for MOM. Crouch is Harry's blind spot and though I reject the wilder theories of love children and secret, intimate photographs, Harry's faith in him is touching but misplaced. To give him his due he was battered all afternoon but never gave up.

But unless Crouch contributes more goals to the partnership with Van der Vaart we are effectively getting one striker for the price of two unless the Dutchman manages to score over 30 goals in the season which is unlikely. In the classic little and large combination of Niall Quinn and Phillips for Sunderland in the 1998/99 season both contributed over 20 goals each and so did Berbatov and Keane for us in 2007/8.

Van der Vaart, slightly off his game and starved of even the occasional knock down received his 4th yellow card for petulantly kicking the ball away probably out of frustration. In a packed area he twice just failed to make the space necessary for a shot on goal. Every second ball or block fell to them as they defended in numbers. We can take this as a genuine compliment. Harry is delighted with the performance and disappointed with the result.

Bale teased the precocious Rafael who was eventually sent off for a second bookable offence and made several dangerous runs inside and outside of the Utd. defence. In fact apart from Crouch everybody played well. As Harry says we are the outsiders of the five contestants for the title but we are not a 'million miles away'. Unfortunately it will come down to a couple of points rather than a million miles in the end.

We certainly played as if we belonged to the elite group and the fact that we can be disappointed by more than matching Manchester United and getting a draw is a clear measure of where we are. If Palacios or Modric could shoot we might have won it in any case. Van der Vaart was unlucky with the only clear shot he had which curved just over the bar and a glancing header that passed outside the post.

Harry has denied that we are in for Carroll whose price increases by £5 million a week even when he is injured and not playing. He is apparently not available as it would lead to Ashley and Pardew being hung from the Tyne Suspension Bridge from whence it presumably gets its name. Suarez, who I wrote about last time, if he settles quickly, would be an upgrade on all strikers and without some added quality I think finishing in the top four is going to be a tough call.

Don't rule out the re-arrival of Darren Bent in a straight swap for Roman Pavlyuchenko. Swaps as we know are much beloved of the tabloids but so rarely happen that they are a staple of Quiz nights and Trivial Pursuit sessions. Rumour is that he has gone to Villa in a deal rising to £24 million. I can't recall why we let him go in the first place. He's a striker; he scores goals.What's not to like?

Defoe's record is barely better than Pavlyuchenko' and in fact was worse last year in terms of goals per minutes played. In 9 starts and four substitute appearance he has scored 5 times. Assists are not a relevant factor with Defoe. This has been a stop start season for him with injury and suspension and perhaps with a run of games he may settle into a scoring vein. Why he didn't start yesterday or come on with at least 20 minutes to play is mine to guess and only Harry to know.

It will be no surprise to regular readers to know that Mrs.JimmyG2 didn't get her fish and chip supper as I called the team exactly right. I had a sneaking suspicion that Crouch would start and as predicted Vidic enjoyed his afternoon immensely. And despite how it might appear so did I. A great game with plenty of skill and commitment on display especially from Spurs.

Next up Newcastle and later in the week a preview of the game and an update on transfers, or rumours of transfers, or denials of rumours of transfers, or even rumours of transfer rumours, or rumours of transfer denial rumours. On the Piennar front he appears to have signed for Inter, Chelsea and Spurs but this rumour has been denied three times so I expect the Apostle Peter to sign for us later today.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Greg Meyer's Column has a dream.

Greg is in good company here with Martin Luther King, and, even more exciting,  fresh paintwork at a Kent Pub.  All those profits from celebrating Spurs fans are better on the walls than going to the taxman.  Perhaps a win today will take their minds off the smell of emulsion.
 Dutch courage comes in many forms as we know and another Ajax connection is made clear here in Greg's  big match analysis. I use the term loosely.
With three of our rivals for Top Four winning yesterday,  everyone, even in parts of Manchester is hoping we will do everyone a favour and tighten the gap at the top. Nothing but a win will do.
So along with Greg and Dionne Warwick I am,
'Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying 
Planning and dreaming'  for a Spurs victory at WHL today.
Saturday 15 January 
Dream Over Or Dream On ...   A Title Bout At The Lane ... Dutchmen Galore.
Martin Luther King Jr would have been 81 today. He of the famous "I have a dream" speech. It seems like that long since Spurs won at home over United. A mere 10 years ago in May 2001. Willem Korsten scored a brace. Willem who?
Title dreams for Spurs may all go down the plug hole if they are beaten by United. Certainly and always one of the biggest games of each season. Our pub has seen some animated discussion this week and not just about Sundays blockbuster.
Reflections Through Pub Glass ... Window and Pint Glass Both.
'Send in the Clowns' ...
                                a song made famous originally by songstress Judy Collins. Fashioned into a more extraordinary art form by Team Beckham. Seems the circus is denied admittance to Chigwell Lodge. Training and players only. Beckham seems to have been well received by our players and some wives too. Mrs O'Hara in particular.
Unfortunately for the Seventy Seven Sunset Strip ( very old tv series) it is just that. David proudly wearing kit number 77 is about to fade from any realistic chance of turning out for Spurs. Still our lawyer is particularly looking forward to immense improvement in young Aaron's crossing this week.
The one that got away ...
                                     the Scottish knight was unusually(?) candid this week . He admitted attempting to sign Ryan Gigg's younger Welsh brother. Spurs got there first. Hopefully Gareth fares better against Rafael tommorrow. A key matchup says our banker. As well hope the older brother doesn't show the younger up.
Caravans keenly linked to football success ...
                                                                 Rafael VdV has revealed his early upbringing was spent in the family caravan at Beverwijk. Another talented striker for United has strong caravan links. Although some might say that ever since those revelations regarding his living conditions in the Nike World Cup ad, Wayne has not been quite the same.Our medico hopes that remains unaltered.
An Irishman out and more Dutchmen in ...
                                                             If Robbie Keane finally leaves seems  we have a Dutch only policy. Steven Pienar formerly of Ajax ( honourary Dutchman surely) and Luis Suarez , currently with Ajax, seem our primary targets. Robbie to score a memorable goal in his last game. Mind nothing is gospel. Certainly not ...
At A Kent Pub.
The last time Mine Host did any work on our pub Bill Nicholson was a regular. Okay the last bit is hardly gospel but indeed major renovations have hit our pub. Our team are huddled around a campfire in the carpark for the next 2 weeks.
Means a big attendance at the Lane tommorrow where with no Twitterman and no Clutterbuck there may be a level refereeing playing field. Mike Dean is officiating. Is that the start of our dream  ...
Cheers ... a new era for Spurs and our pub beckons ... Greg Meyer.    coys.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Large banana skin avoided with ease.

Scary rumour No1. First of a series.
Come out Gareth. It's all right, he'll be on our side.

Against Charlton we avoided an obvious banana skin without too much trouble, although it needed the creativity of Modric to light our path. The pairing of Sandro and Palacios seemed a bit heavy handed for the likes of Charlton but once the little maestro came on for Palacios we scored three within 15 minutes of the restart to put the game to bed.

Townsend in his senior debut in the Premiership did a Danny Rose; not only scoring but showing enough to make him a prime subject for upgrading. He will have to wait until next season as he is going out on loan. He can play on either wing and looks a good prospect. Many had already taken note after his pre-season appearances at Bournemouth and in America.

I am winging this a little as there were no streams available for the match probably because we were paired with the Manchester/ Liverpool game for the 1.30 start. Even the Radio London stream took 20 minutes to get going. I've seen the highlights, read all the newspaper and blog accounts and I can practically smell the dressing room atmosphere; a heady mixture of Vera Wang After- Shave and Goddard's Horse Oil Linament. Footballers and my Granny used to swear by it in the old days. The horse oil not the aftershave. Aftershave wasn't manly until Henry Cooper started splashing 'Brut' all over him and gave it some credibility.

Defoe looked lively and scored twice in two minutes to settle the game and any rising nerves. Modric stole the show and Townsend certainly made his mark. Dawson was strong and Cudocini made a couple of good saves. We had to wait until the 49th minute for the opener but after that it was more or less a formality.

As I write Beckham has arrived but only to train and was wearing a Tottenham track suit to prove it. I haven't checked in the last half hour so he might have signed on a permanent basis or become Assistant Manager, mascot or Chairman by now. At least the circus will only last a month and Harry won't be able to give him even a token appearance. Insurance or some legal complication protected us from complete. submission to the Gods of the media. Harry did his best to placate them but it was not to be. Another large banana skin avoided but more by luck than judgment.

If the starting 11 on Sunday (edit) not Gomes/Hutton/Dawson/Gallas/Ekotto // Lennon/ Palacios/Modric/Bale //Van der Vaart/Crouch I will treat Mrs.JimmyG2 to a fish and chip supper even if we lose. The only selection difficulty is the Jenas, Palacios, Sandro triangle. I think Harry will start with Wilson but I think the clock is ticking on his Spurs career.

Man.Utd arrive to examine our top four credentials in earnest. They haven’t lost yet but are not playing that well. We on the other hand, until Everton, have been flying and this is a very good time to meet them at the Lane. A win is possible, a draw likely, and a loss unthinkable. I'm not paid to think the unthinkable: that's way above my salary grade.

Meanwhile Suarez who I could have sworn we signed in both the last two transfer windows and who I assumed had been waiting at the Heathrow baggage carousel for his executive Louis Vuisson matching luggage has still not arrived. Perhaps it's all part of Harry's cunning plan to snaffle him or Dzeko and slip them into the Lane while everyone is focussed on our David. Local boy made good but not locally.

Carroll has been ruled out and so too Wolfswinkel, don't laugh, because his name won't fit on our shirts and he would therefor be in breach of contract. Huddlestone wears a larger fitting for those with sharp eyes. You think I'm making this up? You should read the rumours in the daily press or on some of the more exotic football sites.

Keane and Bentley are almost definitely, that is probably, on their way out, possibly on loan, maybe. My secretary is questioning that last sentence but I've assured her that it is a fair summary of the situation. Any strikers out there are invited to submit applications, on a postcard with references from their Mum if they like, as soon as possible. We need a striker to replace Keane in the eventually that he actually goes, and frankly even if he doesn't.

So we are a third of the way through the transfer window and, as you can see from the above, nothing much is happening. Harry was so upset by the ' Wheeler Dealer' jibe that he is apparently refusing to buy anyone despite Daniel Levy begging him to spend some money. Apart from a holding striker we are sorted. Bassong has played left back; Gallas has played right back and more back four recruits would appear superfluous. We have Walker and Caulker coming through for next season.

Suarez, or the 'Cannibal of Ajax' as he is known in parts of the Dutch media has an impressive strike record but does not usually play as a lone front man and his temperament is suspect. He might take time to settle but he's young enough at 23 and in today's climate is verging on a give-away at £20 million. Inspect his teeth with care Harry. Always look a gift horse in the mouth.

So the question is do we take a chance or give it a miss and avoid yet another banana skin? Well it's not my money so I say, 'Give it a go!' We can't rely on Rafael and Gareth to keep coming up with the goods although the re-appearance of Jermaine should help.

A late flying banana skin in the shape of Mr.Phillip John Neville (33) has been seen on the rumour boards. David Beckham and now Neville. It' must beManchester Re-United. Oh well if you can't beat them sign up their has-beens. Harry has clearly decided that all that lies between us and the title is an addition of the 'been there: done that' brigade. I prefer currently quality players myself. Neville is still a decent player but 'next level'?. It's probably just a ploy to get Piennar though what we would do with him I'm not sure.

Perhaps they should start printing, 'Dispose of outer wrapping with environmental awareness and care' on bananas. Then we can all relax.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Greg Meyer's Film night

Just in time for the Charlton deadline comes another quality column from the man from down under, lost in Kent, but found at White Hart Lane.
Bravely shrugging off the cricket and the loss to Everton he brings tidings of great joy and hope for the future, well the immediate future anyway.
He regards Charlton as a racing certainty and Man.Utd as a definite possibility. We will see, but like me, he's not always wrong. And remember you read it here first.
Do you want popcorn with that?
 FA Cup Sunday 9 January 2011.
The Title Chase  ... A Night At The Cinema ... Films Showing At A Kent Pub Near You.
A Spurs Christmas to remember. The old bloke with the funny twitch, Harry not Santa,certainly delivered. Our pub and the real team even survived a New Years hangover against Fulham,just.  Everton proved a game too far which wasn't helped by Everton finally finding some hitherto lost positivity.
Thanks to an Italian still unable to infuse a misfiring Chelsea with a modicum of creativity, a Gallic propensity to again try and walk the ball into the onion bag, and another Mancurian Italian clueless in the ambition department( no shots on target versus Arsenal), our Spurs still remain fourth and in the shout for the top job.
Sitting atop the pile with games in hand are of course our next visitors to the Lane , Cup aside, Manchester United. The thought of Berbatov, he of the once loved brigade, Nani, he of the Olympic diving team, and Gary " the moustache doesn't help" Neville both excites and appals. Mine host has therefore organised a pub night at the cinema but really minds are never far from that title chase even whilst ...
Our Pub Goes To The Cinema.
A selection of fare containing all the necessay football match ingredients seems available. Most are your mandatory 90 minutes. An added bonus, most times for Spurs fans, there is no injury time. No late nervous nineties.
A movie about a runaway football club. Hardly out of sight yet but their next four are Spurs(a), Birmingham(h), Blackpool(a), and Villa (a).No real sign of a train wreck there unless Spurs can derail them next Sunday.
Toy Story Three.
Loosely based on two teamates, Woody Fabregasp and Buzz Lightyear Walcott,they and their Arsenal mates embark on a quest to escape from a day care centre ruled by an evil French manager. Will the Arsenal "kids" win out. Next they face,West Ham(a), Wigan(h), Everton(h), and Castle (a).Nothing unwinnable there unfortunately.We ruled out seeing another 2010 cinematic offering, The Kids Are All Right. Our lawyer did not think his stomach could handle it.
A Disney classic with themes of youthful restoration abounding.Princess Rapunzel lets down her hair. All seventy feet of it. Chelsea have certainly taken on disney like qualities lately. Comedic results lacking in animation anyone.An aging squad complicates matters.
Their next four involve Blackburn(h), Bolton(a), Sunderland(a), and Liverpool (h). No guarantee of 12 points there particularly if the return of the Messiah , Kenny Dalgleish at Anfield has a restorative effect.
Rather than letting down his hair surely 2011 is going to see Carlo Ancelloti contining to tear it out.
How To Train Your Dragon.
Not a direct reference to Carlos Teves but Alberto Mancini certainly has the world's most expensive dragon collective. Snap your fingers, sign a cheque and another big buy arrives. Edin Dzeko of mega bucks adds to the mix of expensive egos Alberto has to train.
Man City next meet Wolves(h), Villa(a), Birmingham(a), and Albion(h).No title contenders there. Our banker still tips them as top three. Money talks usually. Be nice if it was a happy film ending and the forces of white, right and lilywhite won out. Reccomended viewing ...
The Fighter or The Kings Speech.
The former based on a true story. Spanish manager is sacked and replaced by well known spruiker and wheeler dealer. His impossible task. To rejuvenate a punch drunk football team ( only asset a franchise t-shirt line, " 3 points from 8"). The rest is history, so far. Ex viewer of false dawns wins World boxing title.
Spurs play United(h), Newcastle(a), Rovers(a), and Bolton(h). Hmm says our medico. If the recent fatigue can be banished then all 4 doable. The break today helps. Beckham arriving probably has little influence either way. More help would be a striker arriving.
Some of our number did plump for The Kings Speech. No sign of Ledley anwhere. The optimism of a miraculous recovery , say for part of the season remains. Our overall verdict gives Unstoppable the nod but Spurs are very much in it and need to aim high to make fourth at least. Plenty of discussion ensued post cinema ...
At A Kent Pub.
The Charlton game has our number very much passe and not overly inspired. Surely a win and an opportunity for rest to Bale, Van, Moddle  and Gallas. Perhaps the Octopus as well.
Elsewhere who said karma was a myth. The agent provocateur in the Kaboul-Tiote affair was sent off by Andre Marriner playing for Newcastle in their FA Cup loss.
Looking forward to the visit of the petulant Scottish knight. Our Preston North End skier thought Jason Ferguson had to go. Dad with predictable peevishness recalled all his United loanees. Tony, best mate, Pulis followed suit after taking a phone call from Manchester no doubt. Still Sunday 16 January might mark a watershed as regards our title aspirations.
Cheers ... in a week when Howard Webb picks up a gong then surely a no brainer for a certain Ashes squad ... MBE England ... RIP Australia ...Greg Meyer. coys.

Friday, 7 January 2011

So we lost a battle but the war's still on.

Rotation makes the World go round, the world go round.

 Which of the following words or phrases is the odd one out? Footballers in fast cars; trips abroad for celebrations; Mexican whiz kids; non English speaking Russians, mud wrestling; raw sewage or  rotation. Trick question because they are all dirty words to Harry. To Harry the the word 'rotation' sums up a nightmare in which Rafael Benitez and Claudio Ranieri tinker, fiddle and tweak their way through a game of football until the end of time.

It doesn't have to be that way of course. Rotation can be used not just to protect recovering players but to change tactics and to keep a squad of 25 players involved and ready when injuries, suspensions, or loss of form demand a change of personnel. Van der Vaart has been subbed early in recent games; Pavlyuchenko and Crouch have been picked for varying roles: Jenas has subbed for Palacios.

But it is not Harry's normal way. There is a definite pecking order in Harry's mind. So Bassong and Corluka are only backup in case of injury or suspension. Defoe is first choice striker and Gomes first choice keeper and like Modric and Van der Vaart play when fit. Several players are unused subs most of the time. These include Bentley, Kranjcar, and Giovani.

Some players have been brought in from the cold like Bale and Hutton when injury has demanded and have forced their way into the team but once there they are fixtures. This is good for first team bonding and for forming partnerships on the pitch but not good for squad morale and for keeping all the members of the squad match ready in mind and body.. After a prolonged period on the bench Sandro and Kranjcar have come in and tried to showcase their own skills and not put themselves at the service of the team.

Anyway I woke up on Thursday with that peculiar sinking feeling that I haven't had for some time. Not for several weeks in fact; not since the loss to Bolton on November 6th. I haven’t heard the familiar phrases 'It's only a game Dad' or 'Blimey what you gonna look like if something really bad happens'. Recently I have been greeted with ' What's up with you, won the lottery?'

Ah yes, its coming back to me now: we lost a game at last. I remembered what I was trying to forget. We weren't unlucky or robbed; we didn't dominate and fail to convert dozens of chances; we didn't go down to 10 men; we just played a team that played better than us. Everton are clearly under performing and on their own ground matched us for effort, challenged us in every part of the field, forced us into error and by the second half we'd had it. They didn't park the bus or get a lucky goal. They met force with force and pace with pace and beat us at our own game.

We looked tired and ragged and although we didn't play well against Fulham but took the three points it didn't happen here. However 9/12 points over the Xmas period would have been acceptable to most and we have been on a tremendous run. As luck would have it, not too much damage was done as other results weren't disastrous for our position and we remain in 4th.

Life could be much worse: you might be a Chelsea supporter, or even a Liverpool one, or in a worst case scenario a West Ham follower. Only Man.Utd are making dash for the title and we have the chance to interrupt that next week. In the meantime the cup game against Charlton should provide an opportunity for Modric. Van de Vaart, Gallas and Bale to rest and recuperate before we really have to set down our marker in the league.

Against Everton, Van der Vaart and Dawson played well, but there were too many individuals off the pace. Even Modric flagged in the second half and Jenas reverted to type, getting caught in possession as the game went on and misplacing his passes..We responded well to going behind before fatigue set in, Hutton crossing for Crouch to set up Van der Vaart within minutes of their opener.

The presence of Crouch led to the inevitable long ball game particularly towards the end and the introduction of Keane seemed a pointless gesture. We lacked shape and focus and Everton seemed certain to score eventually. We began the game raggedly and finished in the same way. Bale should have been subbed at half time but Kranjcar was ineffective when he eventually came on. Gallas was asleep for the first goal and Gomes who made some good interceptions was probably culpable for both.

.We looked tired against Fulham and knackered against Everton. Subs who had been stepping up were poor in this game. Jenas without the usual supporting drive of Modric looked lost. He is no playmaker and is good in support but not when he is reqiired to take the lead. Bassong and Corluka, who played well when called upon lately, were dropped to the bench.

Wholesale changes are likely in the Charlton game in the style of the Carling Cup defeat to Arsenal. I would prefer more gentle rotation throughout the season rather than throwing on the substiututes for a day out. If we were to be lose then this will prove Harry's point. But for a club with the best squad in the league, allegedly, then it would be an admittance that we only have a dozen or so players capable of challenging for top four. If true we had better set about swapping a few for some upgrades.

I have no point to prove or axe to grind. I desperately want Spurs to do well, I've followed them for long enough through thick and, mainly, thin. However at Everton we simply lost a battle after a long and successful campaign but the war's still on. Talk of winning the league is for the players and it is good for them to aim high as all Spurs supporters have been taught but there is no damage in fans being more realistic and to criticise even a very good manager is not to have a hidden agenda.

Harry out? Certainly not. But to say that Harry is not perfect is not to belittle his considerable achievements over the past two seasons. Substitutions and tactics are Harry's Achilles' Heel but because of the quality in the squad we succeed almost despite it. We are not yet top of the league or even certain to finish in the top four again this season. Wearing out the players one by one over the course of a 60 game season is not a sensible way to go.

Monday, 3 January 2011

What can the BBC do for us?

You cannot be serious!

Who would have thought that Aston Villa would do us a favour against Chelsea and help us remain clear in 4th. I suppose that it shows` that Chelsea are in a worse run of form than even the Midlands relegation candidates. Meanwhile we are in our best run of form for several centuries with 9 games unbeaten in the Premiership and 11 in all competitions. If we had shown the same lax defending and conceded a last minute goal like Chelsea the 'Harry out' tendency on Spurs fan-sites would be more numerous than the grains of sand in the Sahara.

Not that you would have recognised a top Premiership side in our performance against Fulham. We looked tired and our passing was sloppy for the early part of the game. Later Fulham dominated and it would have been hard to spot the relegation team. They were organised in defence and creative in the midfield, especially Murphy. If they had an on form striker they might be pushing for Europe rather than battling relegation.

We were tired because the same players with minimal changes turned out again for our third game in 6 days. Gallas even when heavily strapped up in the second half was preferred to Bassong who came on against Newcastle and played well once again alongside Dawson with whom he had kept several clean sheets last season. Do you detect a certain amount of doubting of the judgment of Harry here?

I know, I know, we won and the proof of the pudding and all that. But like the plates spinning on sticks act eventually all the plates tumble despite the ever increasing manic activity of the head plate spinner. You have to think ahead and Everton might prove a platter too far. Once again we won without playing that well and you all know what that's a sign of. Exactly 'A good team' according to popular myth.

Pavlyuchenko ran about a bit, had one shot and one good lay off to Bale to his name. Bale had a good effort saved but generally chose the wrong option. He did maintain the old double act with Van der Vaart for a goal which seemed clearly fortuitous at the time but which seems to be becoming more deliberate in everybody's minds with the passing of time.

Dawson and Gallas were firm and Dawson who was preferred as captain made a good clearance of the line. Hutton went off injured but we don't know how seriously and Corluka slotted in as if he had never been away. Our second clean sheet in a row secured the points and I suppose that in the past we would have conceded a late equaliser..

If we have the best squad in the league why don't we make more use of it? I hope and expect to see Jenas, Bassong and Corluka start the next game and even Sandro, Kranjcar and Gio who wasn't even on the bench against Fulham make an appearance. Van der Vaart, Bale and Modric could probably do with a rest though Luka is so essential to our play at the moment I would rest the other two first. Perhaps they will all get the day off against Charlton before the Man.Utd game.

If Lennon had scored having run through the Fulham defence as he did against Newcastle instead of running out of confidence and neither scoring nor passing then the pressure would have been off, both for that game and perhaps for the 'Beckham Bandwagon Carnival' fuss in the press which can only get worse as the January 'Shite-Fest' builds up.

I'm sorry for the slightly misleading headline because now I come to, not the British Broadcasting Corporation, but the 'Beckham Bandwagon Carnival' show. Now I'm not sure whether Beckham is trying to bounce Harry into a deal or Harry is trying to bounce Beckham into one. Or whether Harry and Beckham are trying to bounce Levy, or Beckham's agent is trying to bounce Harry and Levy. Or perhaps the press, who don't really give a toss either way, are just filling up space as usual.

It's January folks and the combination of the names of Harry Redknapp and David Beckham is nigh on irresistible. Now regular readers of this blog will know that I am a miserable old sod at the best of times. Snoods would be banned, Henry Ford's maxim would be followed with regard to boots: they could be any colour as long as they're black. Gloves would be allowed only when the temperature is below absolute zero and all players would live in digs with approved landladies.

So no prizes for gueassing which side of the Beckham argument I am on. I think it's a gimmick, a side-show, a distraction at a crucial time when we need to focus. I think it's personality led when our attention should be on football. I don't think he is good enough to get in the team any more than he can get back in the England team. I think it's all about Beckham and not about Tottenham.

In the time available little will be achieved especially in Lennon's crossing ability and if David wants to get fit then he should be paying us and not drawing a wage that smashes through our present structure. He is a model pro who can deliver a wicked free kick but we already have Bale and Van der Vaart for that role. He works hard to defend but Lennon already does that

His skill set is the opposite of Lennon's who's USP is his pace and there are plenty of u-tube videos to show what Beckham does without having to find space on the team bus for all the baggage that he inevitably brings with him. As a dressing room energiser, or youth coach he might have some impact but he is basically an irrelevance who is well past his 'sell by' date to Tottenham at the present time.

I am aware of the alleged benefits but they all seem to flow from us to Beckham. We don't need the publicity or the prestige that is said will come our way. All we reap is the down side of the celebrity culture that surrounds him with too little time for any practical benefit to arise.

If all those sentimental reasons about his dad and his birthplace are true they were no less true before he chose the riches of American and the glamor of Italy. Could it be the lure of the Champions' League? So to be clear: I'm against it, if it should turn out to be true, which I very much doubt.
Thanks David, but no thanks.