The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The only way we know

There's the signpost fellas!

Welcome to the 'World of Blip';The Bad Day at the Office Roadshow; the Cosmos of Hard Luck; the Empire of Ineptitude Come on, be honest; your not really telling me that you thought we would beat Blackpool on Tuesday night and go 5pts clear of Chelsea, climb above Man.City into third and coast through until the end of the season. I know I predicted a 2-1 victory but that was whistling in the dark. A confidence booster for any of the Tottenham squad that happened to drop into the 'Musings' office.

But you know in your heart of hearts that that is not the Tottenham way. Black to win, the green baize rips and the white shoots off the table. Double top to clinch the World Championship and the final dart hits the wire and and sticks into the floor, just in front of your foot if you're lucky. Final lap of the final Grand Prix, you just need to finish to win and you clip the rear of a tail-ender and end up rolling backwards into the sand trap. This is known throughout the known universe as doing it the Tottenham way.We don't do easy.

We were offered third but we walked all round it like farmers at the cattle market; poked it with a stick; examined its teeth, and said we'd have to think about it. We shrugged our shoulders; sniffed, and politely declined. Too easy; there must be a catch.

Pundits predicted a high scoring clash between two attacking teams with Spurs quality clinching the encounter. Well Blackpool kept their part of the bargain, with generous assists from ourselves but we reverted to type and scored a belated goal when it was too late to affect the result.

It was all very unfortunate: it always is. Three efforts cleared off the line; 25 shots, some of them on target; two point blank saves by the keeper; a couple of shouts for penalties, denied. At the other end we gifted them two goals by lax defending and irony of ironies got caught on the counter attack. I thought we'd patented that at the San Siro. One of their goals was probably offside but was nicely crafted so we'll let it go.

We started too slowly without any apparent enthusiasm or belief and froze a bewildered Modric out of the game by overusing the long ball. Once he got into the game things improved but despite Lennon having been granted the freedom of the City of Blackpool, Bloomfield Rd. section, we couldn't break down a stubborn defence which knew when to pack the area and when to release the ball.

Charlie Adams who only just escaped our clutches in the transfer window played very well: strong on the ball and with a dose of that 'vision' thing that we value so highly. Pity that we got Piennar instead who looks only slightly better than average to me.

In the second half we were back into the 'total domination but failed to score' scenario. Defoe who apparently used to actually play for us, failed to score again. Pavlyuchenko missed two chances from headers but at least they were on target. His link up play was again good and he did manage to score. It was not the devastating effort that I read about in one of the papers but a deflection that Defoe would chop of one of his legs for at the moment. Not that I am suggesting that this would be a good idea but it wouldn't make a lot difference to his current effectiveness.

Kranjcar weighed down by the responsibility of being our saviour again got all four of his shots wrong. Bassong looked scared from the start and was caught on the ball early on. His tackle in the area on a player going nowhere in every sense of the word was pointless. Alongside Dawson last year he looked an excellent prospect. Looks can be deceptive. D J Cambell has scored more than all our strikers put together.

Jenas on for the struggling Palacios made a difference at first, until he was promoted to right back to make way for Crouch. I'm not sure what Harry was thinking. It smacked of desperation and a straight swap for Defoe would have made more sense.

However in the Middle East ordinary people are standing up virtually unarmed to bombs and bullets so our lads trip to the warm sun of Dubai may give them and us a sense of perspective. Some of you may think that a trip to Libya might be more appropriate. They could act as human shields for the General. Not that I wish them any serious harm. Well not now that I have had time to think about it.

There is nothing like the feeling of going into a pause in the fixtures after a win. The reverse is also true. Whether we have peaked or are just pausing for breath is not clear at the moment. Perhaps some or all of Bale, Van Der Vaart, Woodgate, Ledley, Hutton, Huddlestone or Kaboul will be available when we return.

But that was only our third defeat in 21games in all competitions since we lost at Bolton at the beginning of November. We are still a point ahead of last year after 27 games, and with 11 games to go anything could happen. See I can do rational and calm as well as knee jerk. The 'tram to third' (see last blog) was cancelled but there's still quite a lot of the journey to go but it's not going to get any easier.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Tram ride to third

The biggest Roller Coaster ride in the World.
Not if you're a Spurs fan it's not.

The last time the rumour mill turned its attention to Harry he was off to take over the England team though not before we had won the Champions' League and Premiership obviously. Now the moving finger having writ, moves on and now he's more likely to be sent down in July on the tax charges that have been stalking him for some time. I exaggerate for effect.

If either of these two unlikely scenarios come to pass and clearly they can't both happen ('England manager substitutes Defoe for Crouch by i Phone app. from behind bars, shock') then the manager of our opponents tonight is a good fit to replace him. He will need to keep Blackpool in the Premiership and perhaps challenge for Europe next year but he is the only current manager who can match Harry at the microphone and emulate his attacking style.

'Owen Coyle' I hear you mutter but I'm ignoring him because we don't play Bolton again this season. By the time that we do Harry could be President of the United States or slopping out in Wormwood Scrubs. On the rumour and ITK circuit anyway.

Think of Blackpool and what comes to mind? Towers and trams; pebbles and Pleasure beaches; chips and candyfloss; litter and lettered rock; booze and ballrooms; football team likely to halt our serene progress into the top three? I think not. The lettering in the rock says 'Your going down' rather than 'Beware Yiddoes' Would that sell do you think? They could perhaps make a bagel shaped one with 'Mazel Tof' all the way through. Actually they probably already do.

After 5 games Blackpool were 9th , just one point behind us. At the moment they are 15th two points off the the big R zone, and 16 points behind us. So a team not exactly going places: not even to Fleetwood on the tram. The fact that they are an attacking side is what suits us best and they are not likely to brick up the goal or park the open top Illuminations Tour bus.

There are always reasons to be cautious and Arsenal's ability to beat Barcelona and then fail to overcome Leyton Orient might give the lads a moment's pause. But you do have to ask how could it be that a team could go to Milan and prevail but go to Blackpool and fail to do likewise. But as we all know 'It's a funny old game' (Jimmy Greaves whose birthday was on Sunday and mine too funnily enough.)

The Spurs of old would actively search for banana skins to slip up on and then post videos on YouTube showing themselves doing it complete with amusing captions. Today’s Spurs wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near any item of fruit except a tangerine on Tuesday night.

What can we expect from our De Luxe Box of Fireworks? At the moment we have a team packed with little sparklers; Van Der Vaart is our very own firecracker around the goal; Lennon and Bale, if fit, operate like rockets on the wings; Modric a veritable Catherine Wheel in midfield , spinning and turning, There's a joke somewhere in there about Pavlyuchenko and Roman Candles but I can't quite nail it. Any offers? As back-up if things get testy we have in reserve the rumbling Volcano on the sidelines in Joe ' You clearly don't know who I am' Jordan, our resident Scotsman and more than enough for the moment. Sorry Owen Coyle and David Moyes.

So the official JimmyG2 forcast is for a win, probably 2-1. Isn't it always 2-1 these days? This will take us to third on merit without having to calculate games in hand, consider weather conditions, or take account of interest rates. An away game on a rainy night in midweek in the North West, not until recently a happy hunting ground for us, but I am confident.

The fact that they are starting to get into a drop zone scrap and that there is a lot riding on the match for us too ensures that both of us will approach this game with seriousness which leaves less room for a fatally casual approach which has been our downfall in the past.

Man City despite beating Nott's County 5-0 didn't look that convincing which is quite a difficult trick to pull off. It was 1-0 until after the 50th minute and it was the arrival of Tevez that sparked the deluge. Manchester Utd., Arsenal and Chelsea all struggled. Meanwhile we tried not to look smug whilst taking a well earned rest.

The likelihood of Chelsea failing to make the top four this season, winning absolutely nothing and having to look for a new manager is cheering me up considerably and by beating Blackpool we can start to make it happen. All in all a very satisfying weekend and we never moved or twitched a muscle.

Third is just a tram ride away.

Friday, 18 February 2011

The goal that was heard around the World by Greg Meyer

At last Greg our roving reporter re-appears to celebrate the recent events in Italy. No idea where he is because they don't put stamps on e-mails.  I'm guessing that he's somewhere in Europe but I could be wrong.
If anyone spots a Motorhome full of Australians don't hesitate to say 'g'day', buy them a drink and put it on my tab. They're easy to spot: the bike rack on the back is full of surfboards.
I suggest that he stays on the road in case he jinxes our current run of games but he can't commit much further than the end of the month.
Should be just enough time to see us into third and through to the next round.
If it all goes wrong we know who to blame and it's not Harry this time. 

Venerdi 18 Febbraio 2011. Near Milan.
"The Goal That Was heard Around The World"   ...   Kent Pub Touring  ... Why Spurs Can Finish Third.
The thrill of electrifying pace was yet to emerge.Sandro mopped up and pushed it short to Modric.Our midfield maestro spotted Lennon in space.Funny how its often our Luka whose genius for space catalyses these openings.
You sensed and hoped for something magic with all that green expanse in front of him.Not an Italian greenkeeper to be seen.Whoosh Aaron was off. And how. The afterburner kicked into gear. Spurs' fans heart rates multiplied. Aaron sped on.
Three others appeared. One Englishman, two Italians.Actually a Columbian, Yepes, and yes Alessandra Nesta, Italian superstar. Aaron sped on. The thrill of sheer pace had us all mesmerised.
What next? Spurs naysayers would expect the olde Lennon end product. Never, this is the new Spurs. The new Lennon. Aaron sped on. A professional and cynical Columbian loomed up on the radar.
The new found excellence of our Aaron emerged. Not so much the searing pace but the new found presence of mind, football maturity, to execute the cool, calculated hurdling of the attempted scything tackle by Yepes.Pace gave him wings. But more was to come. Aaron sped on.
No more the lower percentage shot on an ever narrowing angle on goal. No. A deliciously weighted, placed on a large San Siro platter, pass to our perfectly positioned Peter. Even he could not miss the Italian onion bag. A great supporting run by our lovable beanpole.
AC Milan  0   Tottenham Hotspurs  1. 
Half time in the Champions with another unbelievable night beckoning at the Lane Wednesday 9 March. We might even have our Gareth back. Perhaps even for Blackpool next Tuesday. Its our game in hand which if productive of three points means ...
Third Place in the Premier.
Sixteen days ago we were fifth and out of the Cup ingloriously at Fulham. Three league wins later we start a run against Blackpool, Wolves, Ham,Wigan and Stoke. Not all at home certainly. Moddle is back, VDV looks up to sixty minutes a game, Lennon is confident about running at fullbacks again. Bale may be about. Thats the creativity sorted. Chelsea eat your heart out.
So long as they find a missing Scotsman,our defence may be able to manage. Still with Gallas filling in at right full back perhaps they need not look too hard.Shame about our half hour man. Woody injured again. The Rolls Royce still in the Chairman's swimming pool. Two class centre halves who are surely now in their last season with us. Sad but sure to be used by Harry in those motivational chats. 
Long season short. Our Lilywhites continue to surprise fans and foreigners alike. Third is still a big shout. Speaking of shouts  ... why not  ...
At A Kent Pub.
This column has been largely written via a touring lap top, perched atop of a touring table , all part of a touring motorhome. Whilst some of you were donning oxygen masks and scaling the heights of St James away, Newcastle, Kent Pub departed home waters to visit friends far and wide. Since then, an unusual away Newcastle point led to an unexpected Blackburn three pointer which led to ....
Three more games/wins later and we are wondering when or if we will ever get back to the Pub. Mine host, having supervised massive rennovations to the pub in January is now in Teneriffe. After Milan on Tuesday he may be stuck poolside for a while yet.
Hang on. Pool, seaside. Omens galore. Hopefully our mob grind out a result at beachside Blackpool. Afterall as part of Harry's grand strategy we have the weekend off.If you are going to win a cup in a double one year then it may as well be the biggest one.Wembley Champs league remains on the radar.
Somehow the events lately in the League and on the grand stage of Europe mean our Pub might survive a weekend without Spurs in the Cup.
Cheers ... as the esteemed JimmyG2 has opined ... no better time to be a Spurs fan ... Greg Meyer.     coys.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

It's all about the football

 80,000 fans and most of them very disappointed.

It is difficult to report on the latest expedition of Spurs into Europe without straying into the realms of exaggeration and hype. Especially now that the MOTD hosts claim that anything from a goal kick to the referee blowing his nose is 'sensational'. AC Milan 7 times winners of the trophy and current leaders of Seria A 0: Tottenham Hotspur 1. What's not truly 'sensational' about that? And we've got a whole week before the mundane everyday Premiership world intervenes to savour it: gloat, relish, delight and drool over it: luxuriate, appreciate and enjoy it.

And we will don't worry. Not entirely on our own either, but joined by the lovers of good football, the admirers and aficionados of the beautiful game; the devotees and disciples of playing the game the right way the world over. Another item added to the list of Tottenham achievements which they said we 'wouldn't do' starting with getting into the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.

Yes, yes' it's only half time; it's only a one goal lead; we've still got it all to do. But that's all a fortnight away at White Hart Lane. Stadiums and transfer windows crumble to dust in the meantime. Billionaire backers? Who needs them? You could say that this game proves that we need a spanking new stadium or argue that it proves that we don't.It's great to concentrate once again on the football. Everything else is a potential distraction; but we certainly weren't distracted.

What a performance: what a night. We did it without Gareth Bale; with only half a Modric and amongst the mayhem that Flamini and Gattuso engineered without a single yellow card and without Joe Jordan being provoked into serious indiscretion. We outplayed them for the first half and out defended them in the second. They tried under the leadership of Gattuso to turn the game into just a scrap and we treated them with disdain. It takes more 'mental strength' not to take the bait than to swallow it and feel sick later.

Harry called everything right, something I am saying more and more lately: starting eleven; tactics and substitutions. Every player performed with passion and control; with energy and concentration. Crouch took a battering for the team and scored the crucial goal with 10 minutes to go. Sandro won the ball; Modric picked it up and sent Lennon away on one of his fliers; he skinned the full back and passed with precision inside to Crouch who slotted home. 10 seconds from end to end.

Gomes made two wonder reflex saves and we all suddenly remembered why we like him.. Sandro and Palacios prowled and dominated the midfield in a show of classy controlled aggression that we have seen hinted at before but which came of age at the San Siro. Rafael Van der Vaart schemed and buzzed especially for the first half hour, linked with Piennar and Ekotto to good effect and exhibited the positive approach promised by Harry.

We tried to find Crouch but not with the early ball from central and deep, but from midfield and wide. Lennon roasted Antonini every time and played cannily with Corluka who made up with guile what he lacks in pace. Even his stretchering off after a two footed. studs-up lunge by Flamini which resulted in only a yellow barely caused a ripple in the side. Gallas moved to full back and Woodgate joined Dawson for his first appearance in 18months. We held the ball and repulsed all boarders.

They played better as the game went on but Gattuso unsettled his team-mates rather than us.What effect the addition of Van Bommel into the fiery midfield mix with Gattuso will have I dread to think but with their disciplinary record they may not appear together very often. 'Veni vidi vici': we came we saw; we conquered and our cup of pride runneth over. I was particularly pleased for Dawson, captain on the night, after he missed the early rounds.

Everyone, including me, thought that Kranjcar had earned a start but I suspected that Harry would go with Piennar for, like Lennon, he applies himself well to defence and has the pace to threaten the sort of counter attack which eventually proved Milan's downfall. And Harry got it right bringing Kranjcar on when control was more important than goal threat. And now younger fans have their own, 'Where were you when Kennedy was shot?' moment to savour.
What a season we are having; what a marvelous five years we have had; from two 5th place finishes to the Carling Cup victory over Chelsea; to the defeat of Man.City that brought Champions' League football back to The Lane. And now the adventure at the San Siro in the knockout rounds and the promise of more to come.

We not only beat AC Milan we exposed them for the spoilers that they are. Our performance raised our eyes to the horizons of football whilst theirs quietly drowned the game and their reputation below the waves. We did it the right way; the Tottenham way. I'm glad too that we are doing it without £50 million imports, with the players that have got us where we are.

It confirmed that our squad has strength in depth; that we are not dependent on any individual player; that the size of our stadium is not the most important factor; that building a squad steadily and managing the team sensibly is one way to go and it seems to be working. Success thy name is stability: or vica versa.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

True grit

Of course the grit bin's empty. Spurs have bought the lot.

So, in the fleeting pause between transfer speculation and Stadium turbulence, just time to play another couple of football matches. Football is becoming a real distraction from the more important aspects of the game: finance, money, funding, investment, commerce and business, to name but one.

Was it only a year ago that we were bemoaning the absence of 'mental strength' in the Tottenham armory? 20 points from losing positions, 6 wins and two draws, seem to have laid that myth to bed, perhaps not for ever but for the foreseeable future at least.

We did it again at Sunderland after a lacklustre display in the first half. Everyone, especially Sandro stepped up their game in the second half. If Harry were to give his half time team talk before the game then things might be different. There was not much evidence of 'silky' football but you can't play 'silky' football when all of your silky players are hobbling between hospital and the treatment table.

But, as they used to say about Liverpool, we are a very dangerous side when we go a goal down, or two if it's away to Arsenal. MOM? Dawson possibly for the important goal before half time and his usual enthusiastic display. Sandro for finally coming of age; Kranjcar just shades it for a classy performance and even classier winning goal, again. Personally I thought the boy Roman ran about a bit to good effect. But then I like the boy; he has a certain languid grace and a lovely smile. Not MOM certainly but he put in a decent session.

We seem to criticise our players for not being someone else. Jenas is slagged off, or was, because he isn't Gerrard and Pavlyuchenko because he isn't a big bully boy striker like Heskey. If you want a green cardigan then go and buy one. Don't buy a yellow hoodie and then complain that it isn't a green cardigan. And don't even mention Darren Bent. If he'd still been at the club we might be top of the league now. I said 'might'.

The whole Spurs squad have been invited to the Oscars to publicise the remake of the John Wayne classic 'True Grit' by the Coen brothers. If they haven't , they should have been. A finer example of the spirit of this film cannot be found in the whole of the football league. That's three 'gritty' winning performances in a row, two of them away from home. One loss now in fifteen games and an eminently winnable set of fixture coming up including Arsenal at that run down dump we fondly refer to as 'home'.

It put the pressure back on Chelsea last night and Fulham having ruined our cup chances did us a big favour in thwarting Chelsea. We are back in the Champions' League places for at least another week. In the last two weekends everyone except ourselves has dropped points. A heartening set of events, just in time for our game against AC Milan.

In Italy I would take a draw if offered with our resources still stretched; preferably 1-1. Harry is unlikely to be as 'gung ho' as he has been in the past although, being Harry, he says we have no alternative but to 'have ago'. Well he would say that wouldn't he? With two defensive midfielders and only Lennon to offer pace then he can't mean it. Can he?

Crouch has been saved for this one and Van Der Vaart will play off him if fit. There are pictures of Modric training and smiling at the San Siro so he looks a possibility. Bale is the centre of the 'mindless' games being played. If he is unfit then a cardboard cutout on the touchline should suffice such is the fear that he strikes in the minds of the Milanese. He's not on the plane but he might be going by bus in a cunning Redknapp subterfuge.

Jenas is suspended so Sandro now in 25 man squad will play alongside Palacios and Lennon. Kranjcar might just have muscled his way into the reckoning though Piennar's defensive capability could secure him a start. I don't think we will see a 442 formation but it's not a profitable enterprise second guessing Harry. Gallas will play unless he is attending 'boot camp'.

Milan are without the injured Pirlo and Van Bommel is cup tied, thank god. We can do without him running amok amongst our injury stretched team, laying waste to the few that are left standing. He has been worryingly linked to Spurs several times recently. Possibly the least welcome addition to the club mentioned in recent months. His performance as captain of Holland in the World Cup finals was an absolute disgrace and I would pay him good money not to come to us.

The final decision on the Olympic Stadium has not been declared and Tottenham directors are holding fire and no doubt seeing more of their lawyers than their wives. I hope they accept the decision with dignity and spend their time sorting out the NDP. But I suspect that Levy is like a dog with a bone and won't yield without a struggle. It's a lost cause Daniel. Drop it! Good boy.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

So White Hart Lane it is then.

 So White Hart Lane it is then. Levy has still got his foot jammed in the door that has just been firmly closed, like the salesman that he is, and will no doubt go down the litigation, Judicial Review route just to save his face, but the game is over. Stuffing another couple of million down the throats of barristers, the only group that make bankers look poor will do nothing to salvage our pride.

We tried a smash and grab and were thwarted. In a move worthy of Al Capone we attempted a takeover of the West Ham rackets and were slapped down. 'Well why not' some of you may ask, 'they'd been run over by a bus and their wallet was lying there.

How long before the NPD becomes 'currently' viable again we will have to see. Until the blush fades from Levy's face probably. A year? Two years? Sometime? Never? There will be recriminations and tears, blood may be spilled. Spurs may be sold on. Who knows.

But today I feel used.. We were sold a false prospectus. I loyally sent the e-mails and signed the petitions; gasped at the architects' projections; dutifully followed the twist and turns of the planning application; celebrated when we triumphed. Was it all just a few weeks ago?

But suddenly it's not viable, dead in the water, perhaps it always was, but I bought into it. The history, the tradition. 'W are Tottenham from Tottenham '.Then a cheaper opportunity arose. Not in Tottenham exactly but near enough. In West Ham's territory but who cares about them, they're going down anyway? Might as well hold their heads under the water and make sure.

There will be anti semitic undertones to the aftermath.. We are 'Yiddoes'; cocky; on the rise, at the moment; nobody likes us but we don't care. We're in the Champions' League, anything goes. It's all about the money.

The King's new clothes are revealed for what they are: a mirage conjured up by the the Levy acoloytes. But we got swept along in the tide of those that know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. And just as in the Hans Christian Anderson tale in 'The Little Mermaid' where the Emperor was deluded into thinking that his invisible garments were the latest fashion, he is revealed as naked after all.

Look at the skating rink; the public concourse, think of the naming rights, the income flow from 55/60,000 seats. But is it right? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it the proper way to conduct ourselves? Do we have no standards or dignity? It's only business after all.

The fact that we are a weathy club and getting richer, that we have a ground nearly as big as Man.City and Chelsea; that we have planning permission for a new complex on our own doorstep apparently counts for nothing. Tottenham High Road may be a dump but it's our dump and perhaps we should address the problem in proper partnership with Harringey now.

We might just come round to this view now that we have no alternative other than to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, to save face. The new financial rules that were supposed to protect us from the ravages of multi billionaires are going to make it harder apparently. 

Poor plucky little Tottenham condemned to mid table mediocraty for the forseable future until eventually the rational take back the asylem from the financial idiots. And just as we were about to inherit the earth.

I take no satisfaction in correctly predicting that we wouldn't get it. The whole episode has made me feel used and has bought shame on the club. There's only one thing worse than trying to mug an old man in the street and that's trying to mug an old man in the street and finding ourselves flat on our backs in the gutter when he turns out to be a Black Belt Karate Master.

This view won't be popular; it will finally prove that I have no ambition, that I'm lost in the past, living on memories of the Glory Glory days.But I'm a 'Yiddo' too, and I don't care. But I hope it strikes a chord in the consciences of some Tottenham fans. We need to conduct ourselves properly on and off the pitch.

.Don't get me wrong W.Ham taking over the OS is doomed to failure, probably a slow lingering death, hastened by their probable relegation. But once the words 'legacy' and 'vandalism' started to appear the Tottenham raid was doomed to failure. No public body could support it. The fact that the opposition case was a tissue of half truths and that our business plan was coherent is irrelevant in the Heritage stakes.

Stand by then for the Hackney Marshes Development Project. Or the 'Move to Wembley Consortium', I mean its not far really. Or the 'Ground Share with W.Ham Proposition' They're not so bad when you get to know them. You've been caught out once so ignore the temptations.

Meanwhile we could just make the Top Four again or even win the Champions' League. In other words fans it's all about the football and in that area we are not doing too badly. It will all stew for a year and then I hope the NPD will emerge viable and blinking in the dawn of a new day. Hopefully only W.Ham will remember our darkest hour since the sacking of Martin Jol but I doubt it.

Written for Spurs Community.10th February

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Behind the bike sheds.

W.Ham and Spurs agree: Olympic bid to be settled behind the bike sheds in a three way tag bout.

Kranjcar scores the winner from an assist by Pavlyuchenko in the 90th minute. Jenas is candidate for MOM again. What's going on? Even more unlikely is that Nico and Roman will start the next game away to Sunderland and this time JJ scores instead of just hitting the post. Every touch by Kranjcar displayed his class but Harry doesn't like to be proved wrong so unless this change is forced on him by injury I expect him to continue with Crouch, Defoe and Piennar.

But whether Harry is a'muppet' for not playing the out of favour duo earlier in the season or earlier in this match; or a genius for bringing them on late and winning it I leave you to debate amongst yourselves. The known known is that we are still challenging for 4th and playing Italian league leaders AC Milan next week in the final stages of the Champions' League. The known uknown, or is it the uknown known, is whether we could be higher up the league if Harry used our squad with more flexibility and was more astute tactically.

Without Bale, Modric, Huddlestone and possibly Van Der Vaart against Sunderland we still have six decent midfielders available: Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Kranjcar, Piennar, and Sandro who are as good a midfield force as most teams in the Premiership. The first four of these with Pavlyuchenko up front will be more than a match for any team below us especially now that Darren Bent has departed from Sunderland

The Bolton game was exciting and classy: we were classy and they provided the excitement. The referree, Mark Clattenburg, contrived to be more important than the football, which is always bad news. He gave us two very early penalties and then took one away for encroachment. He gave us another but reversed his decision after consultation with the linesman who had flagged Crouch offside.

He refused Bolton a penalty and booked Cahill for simulation. 'Encroachment' and 'simulation' learn these words for a test on friday. The one he refused was as 'nailed on', whatever that means, as the one he awarded to Lennon: they were either both penalties or neither was. If I was a Bolton supporter I might just be feeling a little miffed. But let's not spend too much time sympathising with Bolton: let's save our precious reserves of compassion for ourselves. We might need them at any time.

Gomes let in a soft goal from a shot by Sturridge and but for Kranjcar's late strike would have gone from megastar to black hole in a few short days. Lennon played well on both wings, not at the same time obviously, a flexibility which is proving useful. Jenas ran him close for MOM and Dawson returned and was on his best behaviour.

Neither striker bothered the scorers as they say in the other game; Defoe scored but was offside ; Crouch had two good chances but took too long to control the ball and the moment had passed. Elmander hit the bar for Bolton with a header and Jenas saw his free-kick bounce to safety off the post. His strong driving run from midfield was halted on the edge of the area by a foul.

We played some proper football especially Van Der Vaart until he went off at half time with a recurrence of his calf strain and is out of the Dutch international friendly on Wednesday against Austria but hopefully not for the Sunderland game. . We were gritty against Blackburn and gritty again against Bolton.If the snow returns we could offer the squad to supplement the Harringey Highways task force.

We are now ahead of our tally for last season after 25 games. ( 44 points against 43 last year) and level on points with Chelsea who lost at home to Liverpool. We have lost once in 14 Premiership games. Elsewhere Wolves beat Man.Utd and Arsenal gave up a 4 goal lead to draw with Newcastle. There were 41 goals in the eight Premiership games.The football world has gone completely mad.

Torres was taken off after 66 mins. I make that about £800,000 per minute so far. If they'd bought him from Marks and Spencers they could have taken him back. Will Ancelotti get the sack? Will Chelsea come below Liverpool and us? What will be the Xmas No.1? I'll supply the questions : you come up with the answers.

We have four players in the England squad and as much as we all want them to play for the glory and reputation of the club we actually hope that they all sit it out and return to WHL intact in mind and body. Except Kyle Walker of course who's on loan at Villa and can't get a sniff in the Spurs side where he's behind a Scottish and a Croatian international. It all makes sense to me.

The build up to the big Olympic decision rumbles on. Let the name calling begin. Accusations of 'vandalism' from Karren Brady, 'scaremongering' from Levy who has now played the 'our architect's projection is better than your architect's projection' card.

There will be blood but don't rule out a move to Wembley: it's not that far really. Or a groundshare with West Ham: they're not so bad when you get to know them. Stand by for the Hackney Marshes Development Project.

We could let them go three rounds on the pitch, or behind the bike-sheds after the next W.Ham game to decide it. If Levy and Harry are allowed to double up on Ms Brady we might get the odds on her winning down to 5-1. So perhaps not such a good idea after all. 'Vandalism': do us a favour love.
OK,OK. I've disciplined myself.

I've added a site to my recommended reads list: ( Click on and have a look.
It's very cheap and so far very reliable. Nuf said.

Friday, 4 February 2011

How likely is that?

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the Moon
The little dog laughed
To see such fun

and Peter Crouch scored a timely second Premiership goal to win the game at Blackburn and in the process ruined my 0-0 forecast. Just when you thought you could rely on him not to score what does he go and do? 
So cats and fiddles, cows over the moon, little dogs laughing and Crouchy scoring. All very unlikely events.

But make no mistake this was an important goal and a vital win after the disappointment of the transfer window and the game against Fulham. A gritty performance which required Gomes to help us out and by general consent help himself to MOM. Defoe was the only one to go missing.

Without Bale and Modric we achieved our third (edit) double of the season, won away from home, kept a clean sheet, and gained two points on Man.City who could only draw with Birmingham.Where's all that on the likely scale? Incidently the win took us over the 40 point tally and renders relegation unlikely if not impossible even if we were to lose all our remaining games.

Van Der Vaart stepped up his game and supplied the cross in the third minute that Crouchy nodded down into the corner. Gallas was a rock, Lennon, again on the left, though I'm not sure why, ran semi- riot and set up a good chance for Defoe after a 50yd run which he didn't take. Palacios and Jenas patrolled the midfield to good purpose; Corluka and Ekotto were strong. Bassong had one or two flaky moments but seemed to have recovered from the game at Fulham. You will have noticed that Peter is 'Crouch' when he's out of favour on Spurs Musings but 'Crouchy' when he scores.

For all that it was a very scrappy performance but as they say winning when you're not playing well indicates something or other. We came under pressure towards the end but Sandro on for Defoe on 76 minutes marked the beginning of our defiant back to the walls defence of our single Crouch goal lead and we just about got away with it. A downward header by Samba hit Jenas and looped over the bar and Gomes was everywhere.

So back on track with just one fewer point after 24 games than last year and an easier run in. What a difference a win makes. Revenge would be sweet on Saturday over Bolton who beat us earlier in the season so as to maintain our push for top four. They caught us cold last time in the euphoria of the win over Inter Milan and scored four. Repetition of that is another unlikely event.

There's not much room for manoevre; if we win everything at home and draw everything away we will get another 28 points to make a total of 69. But an average of two a game is more than we have achieved so far and 65 is more reasonable to give us some leeway.

So even if we perform well it might still be a close run thing.And don't even mention goal differenceBut of course there's always the chance of winning the Champions' League. Something else in the 'unlikely' event category you might think..

Bolton have lost their last five away games and we haven't been beaten at home since Wigan in August. Yes Wigan in August. So Spurs to win it 3-1 and Defoe to emulate Les Ferdinand's hatrick of 10 years ago against Bolton in the Cup. The chances of this happening especially now that I have made it the Official JimmyG2 forecast are minimal.

So that's a doubly unlikely event.But Crouch has burst through the striker log jam and opened up the way for Defoe. Unless of course Pavlyuchenko starts. But you know what I'm going to ask I think. 'Not very' is the answer.

To add to our catalogue of events which are unlikely how about the possibility of two S.Africans 6,000 miles from home, colliding in London and rendering one of them unfit for work? Apparently Piennar has recov ered for Saturday unless he bumps into Khumalo again. How likely is that? Dawson is back after his one match suspension but I'm not entirely sure whether that is a positive or a negative in the light of his Fulham adventures.

Another win and then it's only Sunderland between us and the magic of the Champions' League against AC Milan. Before then the Stadium announcement is due but if we lose the bid for the Olympic Stadium then the litigation begins. If we win the bid then the litigation begins but with different sets of lawyers. This one will run and run either way.

We started with Nursery rhymes so let us finish with one. The cautionary tale of Solomon Grundy who had a happy event on the Wednesday but took ill and died on the Saturday.Metaphorically speaking obviously. No. It ain't gonna happen. Most unlikely.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How was it for you?

Did you pack the striker Mr.Levy?  I thought you'd got him.
This is our lane then.

So how was it for you? The transfer window I mean, your duvet diversions are of no interest here. Not much 'Audere' and precious little 'Facere' to be seen. We'll never go bankrupt 'for sure' but I just have a sneaking admiration for Liverpool who, faced with a five year absence from the top table, just 'Audere'd' it to the max. on all their credit cards.

They sacked the manager, got in their talismanic hero, sold their biggest asset and went large on the striker replacement scenario. There is a little part of me that hopes they succeed probably not this season and hopefully at the expense of Arsenal. Since the Champion's League is worth at a conservative estimate £30 million, a little cautious 'Auderiocity' to preserve our current status didn't seem out of order. We could have got Doyle for a couple of quid. Do you want some noughts with that?

But cheer up we nearly landed Phil Neville and upset David Moyes, although that's probably not difficult. We almost got Charlie Adams to add to our growing collection of decent midfielders. So Crouch it is then up front with Defoe and Van the Caravan Man with Roman making the odd guest appearance. Which bit of 'We urgently need a top class striker' do they not understand?

So not a good month for Spurs on or off the pitch. We've only lost once in the last 12 Premiership games but are just beginning to lose touch with the leaders. The failure to replace Robbie and our pitiful performance at Fulham is beginning to leave a black cloud of foreboding like crows on the roof of Chez JimmyG2.

I almost have a wistful desire for the return of the much maligned Damian Comolli. Remember him? He and Juande Ramos brought the club to its knees but not before he'd signed most of the current squad and Berbatov. The sort of catastrophe we could do with a bit more of. Of the current squad he signed Gomes, Modric, Bale,Corluka, Pavlyuchenko, Hutton, Woodgate, Kaboul, and Ekotto. He signed Bent and Bentley too but you can't win them all.

Which brings me in the light of the Fulham train wreck to the question of how do you like your bloggers?

Laid back and clinical: idly lying on the chaise longue; red silk dressing gown; long cigarette holder; coolly plucking sentences from the air; breaking off from time to time to play Mozart violin concertos; logical; statistical, and at home with classical allusions and indeed the Latin mottoes?

Or phlegm speckled, shouting at the screen; sweat streaked; swearing; handfuls of hair mounting up in ragged piles; keyboard red hot, straining under the pounding fingers of an angry man; passionate; short-tempered; contradictory; a triumph of emotion over analysis?

Well the angry man was me on Sunday night but the Sherlock Holmes of Spurs bloggers, the Don Juan of the 'bon mot' has returned. Humiliated, embarrassed, shamed and humbled at Fulham when it was all going so well. Hopes turned to dust, the beginning of the end, 'Harry out',he's gone as far as he can take us and not a striker in sight. But, despite all that, the urbane sophisticated, debonair, self appointed maestro of the blogosphere returns, not a hair out of place.

So just who did we get? Literally, 'Peanuts'. No Aguera, Torres, Benzema,Carroll, Llorente, Suarez Forlan., Parker, Adams, or even Phillip Neville. Just little Steven Piennar another half decent midfielder to paste into the album of our growing collection. Have Harry and Daniel fallen out? Or were they doing their usual good cop, bad cop routine, sniffing round the Bargain Basement for end of line rejects and seconds and haggling even when it says 'free to good home'. Then stepping forward just as the curtain falls to reveal the marquee signing we have all craved. Well evidently not.

But today although things have stalled lately I'm back in my rational 'just a blip' mode. Managers, players, teams or squads do not become useless overnight. Michael Dawson was not made captain and anointed 'Hero of N17' on a whim and two careless errors resulting in two penalties and a sending off within 12 minutes of the start is cruel and bizarre but not quite the end of the world as we know it.

The Fulham game changes nothing or tells us anything we don't already know. Hutton and Dawson are prone to rushes of blood, and Ekotto too, although he was blameless at Fulham. For them both to over-react and commit unnecessary fouls, give away two penalties in ten minutes and for one of them to get sent off is an unlikely scenario even at Tottenham.

This game was lost in the first 15 mins and Fulham were not likely to concede much from that position; they rarely do anyway. I think that our season is beginning to unravel although we have two 'winnable' matches this week. Aren't they all? The Fulham game does not undermine where we are and what we have achieved this season.

Pathetic it may be, depressing it seems at the moment but hey we lost a football match in unusual circumstance. It's certainly not all Harry's fault though as a manager he has take part of the blame.
That's the third time we have attempted to self destruct this early in a game. This time we didn't get away with it. It's still there in the Tottenham DNA and we should have learned to live with it by now. Are we downhearted? Yes. Are we mortally wounded? Who knows.

You can say that we drew the second half but were they likely to expose themselves when 4-0 up.
Modric was the last to give up but Van der Vaart showed his petulant side with another silly yellow card. We had no Bale to rescue us but whose fault is that? Like Van der Vaart he has been used when he should have been rested. I thought that we actually played well for the first 8 minutes. Much shorter matches is the answer.

Both strikers were nowhere to be seen which is quite hard when you're 6ft 7. Gomes was in jittery mode but without him things might have been worse. He had little chance with any of the goals.King is out for the rest of the season; Kaboul is out for six weeks and Dawson misses a match. Bassong was exposed by Dembele, but only he, Gallas and Corluka are available for tonight There are rumours that Woodgate might return. Premature and likely to backfire if you ask me.

Another blip at Blackburn and that will be 2/3 points out of 15 at the turning point of the season. Chelsea now have Torres and Drogba; Liverpool Carroll and Suarez; Man City Dzeko and Tevez Arsenal Shamakh and Van Persie; United Berbatov and Rooney. Perhaps Harry really does believe that Crouch is the answer. Run the question by me again.

Will we bounce back at Blackburn? I'll give you three guesses. My guess is that Robinson will play a blinder and it will be a draw. Probably 0-0. But if you care to check my Fulham forecast you will wonder why I even bother with predictions. Mystic Meg I am not. Whatever happened to her and why didn't she see it coming?