The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 27 May 2011

And the winner is

A star studded occasion for the JimmyG2 2010/2011 awards.
A hint here that we might go three at the back next season.

I wasn't going to bother but a slew of e-mails, twitters, (or is it tweets?) even the odd telegram delivered by a young lad on a red bicycle, or perhaps I dream't that in another life, have convinced me that this an obligation on all bloggers. Some of you are threatening to cancel your subscriptions, and as I've already spent the money I'd better oblige.

So by public demand here are JimmyG2's end of season awards. The actual Jimmy Greaves has kindly agreed to open the envelopes for us (JimmyG1 as he is known round here). That's the big disadvantage of blogging on the Internet you can't actually see what's going on; but just take my word for it.

Ready when you are Mr.Greaves.Sir.

Player of the Year Award.
I've desperately tried to think of someone else but I'm afraid it's your very own Luka Modric who keeps popping up on the screen.
Bale flared up and burned out; Sandro got better and better; Van Der Vaart is class but seems to be carrying an injury.
But why fight it? Luka Modric it is. The heartbeat of the team and the one player I want to keep if Harry goes to Chelsea. Well stranger things have happened. He's head and shoulders above everyone else much to the bewildserment of Peter Crouch..

Young Player of the Year.
Bale's too old for this so it's Sandro or Rose
Sandro gets it because he has been improving all season and Rose came late on the scene and is probably one for next season.

Phoenix Award
Ledley King.
He's dead but he won't lie down. Rising like the Phoenix from the dying embers of the season to lead us to the two victories that gave our season a much needed rosy glow. Ledley has to get an award for something, it's in my mission statement.

Good Luck and Goodbye Award
Jonathon Woodgate. We don't want to lose you but we think you ought to go. He will have to go because of the need to bring in new senior players and he is taking up valuable over 21 space. Logistics mate it's a whole new cruel world we live in.

The 'baby please don't go' Award.
Nico Kranjcar who looks as if he will go, but who I seriously don't want to leave. Forced out by the purchase of Piennar and because he needs more than five minutes to affect the result of a game. Shame. A proper Spurs player not wanted at Spurs.

Still here but almost forgotten Award
Aaron Lennon. Who has slipped out of the consciousness of the team and the supporters. Despite being played frequently out of position he has set up numerous chances particularly with cut backs and early balls. These have been routinely missed by our misfiring forwards and he has generally deemed to have had a 'meh' sort of season I beg to differ and still feel he is a potent force and I don't want to lose him. Think of the winner against Milan as the yardstick.

The Best is yet to come Award.
Rafael Van Der Vaart. I don’t think we have seen the best of him but once Harry, if he's not gone to Chelsea, sorts out how to deploy him we undoubtedly will. Once he overcomes the calf and knee injuries he is carrying I think he will have a very influential season next year. As Danny Blanchflower once said, 'It's not the good players that are the problem'.

Most unfairly maligned player Award. ( Previously, the JJ Award.)
Pavlyuchenko. The noblest Roman of them all. Sometimes known as the Russian Marmite.
I don't like Marmite but I do love Pavlyuchenko. With more pitch time he could have been our 20 goals a season man. Interesting that so many couch potatoes and armchair critics describe him as 'lazy'. It's called 'economy of effort' and Berbatov has it too.

The thanks but no thanks Award.
Joint winners here, Robbie Keane and David Bentley. Remember them.? W.Ham have not survived and Birmingham are not keen on our David anymore so they might both be back. Preferably not. Buy one get one free might be the answer. Thanks fellas.

Spurs Manager of the Year Award.
Come on down Harry Redknapp. I did that joke last year but I like continuity in jokes as well as managers. He might be unable to collect his award as he might have gone to Chelsea in which it will go to Joe Jordan for his confrontation with Gattuso.. But it's not far, geographically speaking, to Chelsea.

The one that got away Award (Previously the,Come back all is forgiven Award)
  1. Adel Taraabt. I predict that he will torment us sorely this season and score at least two goals against us. We will probably draw them in the Carling Cup and the FA Cup and he will possibly score more. We used to have a reputation at Spurs for integrating mavericks but this is one that apparently we couldn't handle.

  1. The Olympic Stadium. We are still stamping our feet in the outer precincts of the High Court but it won't do us any good although the demise of W.Ham might. We made an opportunistic land grab and were rightly repulsed. We might get it by default but it was an episode that brought us more shame than honour.

Commiserations to all those players that didn't get awards but we knew in advance that Jermaine and Crouchy weren't going to turn up; Benny is at the hairdressers having his corn rows combine harvested; Vedran set off some time ago but hasn't arrived; Heuralho dropped his invitation down the toilet; Steven Piennar arrived but forgot why he'd come and went home; Bill Gallas is at an Age UK function; Michael Dawson head butted the door on the way in, 'Because it was there' and is receiving treatment and finally Gareth's mum said it was a bit late for him what with the 8.30 p.m. start.

And they all know the rules which are strictly applied, if you don't turn up you can't get an award.
I am pleased to note that Harry is still with us after a couple of days of Internet and ITK
over- excitement and is able to receive his.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

As good as it gets

Will the real idiots please stand up.

Welcome friends to this the inaugural meeting of the newly formed International Division (of the ) Imbecilic Outraged Tottenham Supporters (or I.D.I.O.T.S as it is more informally known.)

This organisation was set up under the initiative of our current manager Mr. Harry Redknapp following an end of season interview on Sky Sports, when we had secured our place in the prestigious Europa Cup by coming 5th a mere 6 points behind arch rivals Arsenal.

I can see from a cursory glance at your excited faces that many of you will qualify automatically as I.D.I.O.T.S. founder members as you are wearing your 'Harry for England, Now' badges but you will not be surprised to learn that further rigorous qualifications are required.

On your seats you will have found a pre-registration questionnaire which I would like to go through with you now prior to completion.

Do you agree that this season will prove to be as 'good as it gets'?

Do you participate in 'phone-ins' ? ( Or write blogs or take part in Spurs Fan-sites?)

Do you agree that it is unrealistic to think that we will ever beat the current top four?

Do you agree that this season has been 'better than last'.

Are you prepared to 'go and support someone else' if you disagree with Mr. Rekdnapp?

Do you agree that this season 'couldn't have been better' for Mr. Redknapp?

Do you think that this has been a 'season of great football'?

If you can answer 'Yes' to at least five of the above then you clearly qualify as I.D.I.O.T.S. members and get immediate entry to the International Division (of the) Imbecilic Outraged Tottenham Supporters group. On payment of a small joining fee that goes into a hardship fund for distressed Premiership managers you will receive your commemorative vuvuzela in club colours and can join Harry in blowing your own trumpets.

Unfortunately Mr.JimmyG2 will not be joining us as he has 'issues' with the above and answered 'no' to every question except Q2 and believes that Mr. Redknapp is wrong on every point especially that this has been a season of great football. But in all sincerity I ask you what has JimmyG2  ever done for Spurs?  Suffered is the only thing that comes to mind.

He feels that whilst there have been great performances especially in the Champions' League our general level of play has not been as good as last year and especially against teams from the lower regions of the Premiership. He is entitled to his opinion, though not according to Mr. Redknapp.

JimmyG2 speaks

Thankyou Mr.Chairman but in my own defence may I say that beating Arsenal at the Emirates from 2-0 down was quite breathtaking; beating Liverpool at Anfield for only the 6th time in a century was wonderful; Bale and the Champions' League was a revelation. But these are stand out performances and in a 50 game season a dozen or so good ones are not sufficient to support the claims of the manager.

I don't mind being called an idiot by Harry, although it's a bit like being criticised for being slow by a tortoise. Many people have come to the same conclusion over the years: my mum, wife, daughters, increasingl numbers since I started this blog. But I have supported Spurs since Harry was a 1yr old and it's my club as much as his if not more so. Having an opinion different to the manager's does not make anyone an idiot.

On other matters against Birmingham we were fortunate that Crouch went off before half time with an injury allowing our only current striker capable of hitting the target to settle in and come up with two fine strikes to snatch victory from the jaws of another home draw.

As soon as Crouch went off we settled down and Modric and Sandro, increasingly more effective in midfield got the ball down and we dominated the play. But until Pavlyuchenko came, on apart from Sandro, we didn't look like scoring. Ledley's second consecutive appearance and our second consecutive win gives us hope for the future.

I'd settle for Drogba coming in and for keeping Pavlyuchenko, and Defoe. Jermaine on the grounds that he can't possibly have as bad a season as he has had this year. At his current scoring rate Pavlyuchenko would have scored over 20 goals this season with more appearances.

Unfortunately this raises his profile and makes it more likely that he will be sold. Our strategy this window will be to sell everyone we can get half decent bids for and buy anyone we can afford or who will come to us whether or not they fit the profile of what we need.

Harry doesn't like to be criticised by fans and is obviously on the defensive. It's not the first time he has had ago at us or indeed talked up his own achievements. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if he is sacked but I don't wish for it to happen. The turmoil and disruption amongst playing and coaching staff and the inevitable settling in period will set our prospects back for next year.

Would a new manager opt to cash in on Modric or Bale in order to bring in his own men? It's a risk but if Levy is going to act it needs to happen sooner rather than later. It’s been a good season with many memories to treasure. The fact that some are disatisfied with a 5th place finish and entry to the Europa league is indicative of great progress but 'as good as it gets'? I sincerely hope not.

Idiots of the world unite: you have nothing to lose but your brains.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Reign at the Lane: the Greg Meyer column.

And now from deepest Kent a man who needs no introduction, so I'm not going to give him one, the Founder and President of the Luka Modric and the Ledley King Preservation Societies, your very own,  Mr.Greg Meyer.
Sunday22 May 2011.

The World's Best Actor And the World's Best Detective Spend Survival Sunday At White Hart Lane ... Knights Of The Realm Both.
Season ticket holders when football was football both Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be there in spirit on Sunday for the Battle of Birmingham. Both celebrating birthdays as well.
Here at our Kent pub we are no stranger to battles galore . The battle of Britain was our home ground. It probably feels almost as much a last ditch stand for Birmingham fans in their relegation dogfight at the Lane on Sunday. Our lawyer thinks that if the real Spurs turn up then ITV Thursday night ratings next year are assuredly high. Europa, probably hooray.
More on Sunday later. This week saw the traditional end of season gathering at the Kent Pub Ballroom for  ...
The Annual Season Ending Kent Pub Oscars.
Mine host has prepared the pub a treat. Marvellous what you can do with a couple of portable but palatial Marquees. These have your windows galore. A truly fitting venue for the gathered assemblage suitably entertained by very traditional Kent balladeers.
Copious quantities of fine English ale and a sumptuous feast of Kent's finest all lead up to our guest Master of Cermonies taking to the stage for the eagerly awaited nominations and then winners.
Gone are the Players awards, Gareth Bale anyone, and gone to are that other one with Scotty "I don't ever look very happy" Parker being voted best. No these carefully conducted awards are the result of hours of toil, drinking, toil, drinking, and finally getting round to collating the multiplicity of scribblings mainly on well used beer coasters so as to provide a well informed(joking not waving) verdict on a sensational Spurs season.
And now to the envelopes ...
The Elephant In The Room Award.
Nominations included Sebastion Bassong, yes he has African origins and yes Harry seemed blissfully aware of his great stuff last year, but no there were others.
Jermaine Defoe nominated himself this week. Demanding more game time but conveniently overlooking some basic mathematics. Four goals in a season is hardly frontline stuff. Yes some injury concerns but its not the old Jermaine when he does appear.
So if not Jermaine then whose name is in the envelope.
Come on down Niko Kranjcar. The Croatian midfielder in the room but rarely seen on the pitch. Some useful goals last year. This year despite a relative goal drought Harry chose to overlook the Croatian Pantechnicon. Shame because his goals were needed.
Our banker reckons his greatest asset is that along with Vedran Corluka he keeps our greatest asset, one Luka, happy and enjoying his time at Tottenham.
The London and Birmingham Water Board Award.
A jointly sponsored effort with the criteria mainly centred around excellence with the use of water and an ability to promote one's self no matter what.
This years winner was a standout. No real runners up. His judicious use of water in a celebratory medium was particularly profound Yes not completely well received nor understood by the managerial recipient. But all at our pub thought it quite a lark.
The ejection of a large bucket of H2O ,all over Harry Redknapp at Manchester Citeh late last season by one David Bentley was well received throughout the land save down Bournmouth way at a certain Sandbanks residence.
David is now driving a water cart at Birmingham. Perhaps that should be a water carrier somewhere in the midfield.
The Walt Disney Cartoon Award.
This award was founded by the Brothers Grimm. Those well known spinners of fairy tales. Now carving out a living at a tabloidal newspaper.
Previous winners included the authors of "Figo to The Lane" and " Wesley Sneider Signs For Spurs." Some formidable tabloidal stuff there. What came close.
Not a lot this year to be fair.A succession of strikers were signing in the January transfer window without success. Bale to Milan cropped up regularly. Still the silly season is just about . Stay tuned
Our pub are confident despite all the Modric to Manchester headlines coming up that our Croation wonderkid will still be here for our title tilt next year.
The Royal Society Of Physiotherapists Blue Ribbon.
As usual a very popular award. Record entries as usual. Some long term malingerers. The ocasional quicker than expected departure from the Society treatment rooms was also a happy sight.
Nominations included the boy Bale. According to Harry he has toughened up and not so prone these days. Our journalist agrees and still wonders how Charlie Adams got away with that tackle. Lee Probert was reffing. Of course. That was the day if you did not break a leg then the card stayed firmly in pocket. It's not as though Adam did not have form. Had several spells of suspension because of an accumulation of cards. Good news is that Gareth is back sooner.Not as bad as first thought.
Other nominations included the square peg in a Scottish round hole, Alan Hutton. Does not seem to fit anymore. Lots of others had spells out but mainly short term or recovered.
Our mystery MC has the envelope in hand. A sad duty but the winner is ...
        Jonathon Woodgate.  He won despite trying relentlessly to overcome a serious injury.It does not look like any hope of return. Very sad given his undoubted quality and most telling his ceasless efforts to overcome his injury. Not everyone goes to Australia nor America.
Good luck Woody and thanks from some great football.
The evening is fast coming to an end. Still lots of trophies to award including the Howard Webb Cup. There may not be time but there is still ...
The Life Time Achievement Award.
Probably the hardest one of all to win. A combination of class, quality, dedication, and sheer Spurs running through your very being is a minimum prerequisite.
This years winner has shown perfect timing throughout his career. Perfect timing in the tackle. perfect timing and perfect sense in his positional play. Just lately that perfect timing coincided with a return to action at just the right time.
Yep against Liverpool where Spurs recorded a clean sheet and their first win at Anfield in nearly 301 years approximately.
Say no more. Come on down ...
     Ledley King.
His Anfield performance means he will see out the last year on his contract next year. Perhaps the football gods will shine and allow a useful amount of games so that we can enjoy a last season in the style that he deserves.
Spurs Royalty. One King Ledley.
Been at Spurs all his football life. Fitting that he ends it at the Lane. Certainly a hope shared by one and all here ...
At A Kent Pub.
Liverpool is a fading but surprising memory. Some here thought the game was up after Citeh. But no that's our Spurs. Europa in our hands.
Just our luck to land in the middle of a relegation dogfight. Still as our teacher points out. Its at the Lane.
Last game is always special. Hope when Luka, Rafael, Ledley and your special favourite do the post game lap of honour we have a win under our belts.
Been a great season. looks like being even better next year if ...
Cheers ..  George Best has a birthday today ... played with the gusto and reckless spirit that epitomises our classy Spurs ... would have fitted in well ... useful as well versus Birmingham ....
                                                                 Greg Meyer ...                 coys.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Shake, rattle and roll

It's only Rock and Roll, but I like it

'Come back Harry: all is forgiven'.
So Harry is restored to Rock and Roll Hero after all.
Well not quite, but two wins in twelve is better than one win in eleven in the Premiership. When it ends a fifteen year winless run at Anfield it is even more welcome.  According to Spurs Odyssey it was only the fifth time in a hundred years. It certainly felt like it but it can't be true surely?

A win against Birmingham on the final day would enable us to qualify for the Europa outright instead of getting in by the back-door through the Fair Play league. It would also completely shut out Liverpool from Europe as Fulham would get the extra place available.

Not quite all to play for then but it would go part of the way to redeeming our season and Harry's reputation. Our failure to achieve top four has apparently caused a rift between Levy and Harry so the transfer window could well be prickly. From Hero to Rock and Roll Outlaw perhaps?

Credit to him though, his promotion of Rose has been an undoubted success and his apparent persuasion of King to play after recovering from a groin strain was an undoubted master stroke. Sandro has been carefully handled too.

Ledley played extremely well against Suarez who complained to his agent that Ledley had no right to be as good as he is given his medical condition and took a kick at Dawson just to confirm how miffed he was. Ledley has a calming effect on all around him and not just the opposition. Dawson looks much better alongside him and Cudocini too was relaxed though virtually untested.

Whether it would be worth registering him as part of our 25 player squad is a difficult one if he could only manage a dozen or so games next season. But as we can't tell in advance I think most fans would prefer to take a chance on him coming good as he did last season.

The real story though was Van Der Vaart and the first 15 minutes. We shook them up with our high tempo start; rattled them with the Dutchman's early goal; and rolled them over with a Modric penalty.

Admit it your hearts all sank when we were awarded the penalty and you realised that Van Der Vaart had gone off. There's always that initial uncertainty as to what has been given; yellow for diving? Nope, good man Webb, he's given it. Swiftly followed by, 'Whose gonna take it? Modric dispatched it straight down the middle as Reina dived to his right. I can't remember Modric's last penalty for Spurs but I think he missed his last one for Croatia.

Liverpool had clearly been taken in by our latest Premiership efforts and the fact that they were currently top of the form league. They quickly realised that a different Tottenham had turned up. For the the first 15 minutes they barely got out of their half and we stormed that Scouse kitchen and rattled those pots and pans. We played as if we really wanted that Europa League place despite Harry's doubts.

Van Der Vaart's shot was possibly deflected and the penalty harsh but we were overdue some good fortune after Chelsea and Man City and we deserved the win on merit. In truth neither side created many chances: Carrol was clearly unfit and apart from the goal and the penalty I don't recall a clear shot on goal.

The players clearly realise the value of the Europa in terms of squad deployment and Van is on record as saying that he is certainly staying and looking forward to playing in it. Perhaps we should set ourselves the target of winning it and of using as many squad players as possible.

Sandro and Modric in midfield were comfortable, not to say impressive and the defence looked compact. Piennar earned the penalty and was unlucky with a shot but I am still not convinced of his value. What he will do when Parker joins us I'm not quite sure. Rumours are that Palacios and Jenas are leaving us so we might just be able to fit him in somewhere. Not at the expense of Sandro I hope. In the absence of any contribution from the strikers once again perhaps we are going to pioneer the 460 system and just rely on a stick with a flag on it as a frontman.

The Parker rumour, and the Jenas one for that matter, is more of an old wives tale its been around so long but with W.Ham relegated, in which incidentally I take no pleasure, it might run a little longer than usual this summer. The official start of the ludicrously silly season has a couple of days more to go but I'm tired of it already.

Our three best signings of recent years; Modric, Berbatov and Van Der Vaart arrived suddenly, with no fanfares and little ITK input. 'Luka who? Dimitar? What sort of name is that?' we said. Van Der Vaart came as a last minute gift which hadn't even been advertised let alone wrapped.

There are of course several Tottenhams available in the shops. The one which turned up against Liverpool is my particular favourite: early goal; clean sheet; a second to clinch it and pressure from the start. Another one this season. concedes early but gets back in the game and gets a point or even three. There is a European version that almost self destructs at the start but pulls it out of the fire to survive another day, apart from at the Bernabeu that is. I'm sure you can all think of other current models.

Last year we had already qualified for the CL and went down to Burnley in the last game. There's another Tottenham for you; the one that simply can't be arsed.. But this year there are still issues riding on the result for both clubs and I am expecting a gritty game with Spurs to come out with three points by the odd goal.

If Birmingham go down it will back up my theory that money, while not necessarily the root of all evil, is not the answer to everything. Who wants to be owned by billionaires? I don't.

So another victory just in time to prevent yours truly from ending up as a Rock and Roll Suicide and from our season becoming a Rock and Roll swindle. We only have to beat Birmingham and we can all go on a Rock and Roll holiday. It's only Rock and Roll but I like it.

The 'You couldn't make it up' spot.

World class keeper Stekelenburg who is on the Manchester Utd. radar drops Ajax cup from top of bus.
Gomes says 'I would have dropped it with much more style'.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Clutching at straws

The three of us can reckon
That the Champions' League would beckon
If we could only score some goals.

How many straws can you clutch at the same time? And how many straws if successfully clutched will keep you afloat? There are plenty of straws in the wind, but some are more elusive than others.

The first straw was that if we won all three of our last fixtures everything would magically come good and we would not be punished for our failure to beat the bottom six clubs. That straw disappeared on Tuesday night at Eastlands. Crouch the hero last year in this fixture was fittingly the villain of the piece with an own goal. Somebody up there hates us.

We had more shots and more possession but as they only needed a draw this was not surprising.  Lennon set up two gilt edged chances but Modric missed his and Piennar's was very well saved. They had good chances too and two excellent saves by Cudocini and a saving header by the hobbling Gallas kept us in with a chance.

Our next fixture is away against Liverpool our rivals for 5th and Europa league soccer for next year. Whoever arranges these fixture has a nice sense of timing.. So let's clutch again and ponder a victory against a resurgent Liverpool for the first time since 1985. They may well knock the stuffing out of us on Sunday.

The third straw is the forlorn hope that one of our strikers, anyone will do lads, paper, scissors, stone to decide , we don't care. Sorry where was I? Oh yes pondering the box of straws....that one of our strikers would suddenly and miraculously start putting them away. Defoe has threatened to once or twice but basically that's another straw down the drain.

The fourth straw was that Gareth Bale, no pun intended, oh go on then, magically restored to full fitness would return and recapture his Milan form and lead us to 4th. Well he hasn't been anywhere near fit and Charlie Adams crushed that particular straw and kicked it neatly into the waste basket.

Let's take another straw from the box. This one has Palacios returning to link up again with Sandro as they did so well at Milan. This one had a hole in it before half time at Man. City. Another player returning too soon from injury and out for the rest of the season.

Harry is in the process of convincing himself and us that it was 'the money wot won it'. Another clutch another let-down I'm afraid. Money in the form of investment is always handy but it wasn't the Man. City billions that got them to fourth but our one win in 10 finish to the season recently in the Premiership and our failure to put away the bottom teams. The bottom teams are bottom for the very good reason that they are not as good as the top teams.

The final straw is that we will qualify for Europe via the Fair Play League. This one actually has more substance than the others. Ironically we have all but convinced ourselves that we don't want to qualify anyway to give ourselves a clear run at the Top Four.

But if we aim to play in Europe at whatever level we have to learn to cope with midweek fixtures and learn to deploy the squad better. The Europa will give us this opportunity. I am not so sure that we are in a position to pick and choose. One man's short straw is another man's golden chance.

So: no new Stadium to generate income; no billionaire to indulge his hobby; no fat wages or transfer fees to attract the top mercenaries. But we got into the top four without any of these and my personal straw is that we can do it again. Let's hope that our heroes turn out to be more than one season wonders and that the ' the men of straw can turn themselves into 'Iron Man' clones.

.We need to to sort the wheat from the chaff in the summer but mass clear-outs seldom happen and rarely work, either of players or managers. A straw poll of Spurs fans would probably show that Harry has done more than enough to earn another season despite the noise made by his minority of detractors.

The straw that they are clutching is that ending our season with 3 consecutive losses will provoke Levy into sacking Harry and that Ancellotti or Mourinho will arrive to replace him. This is not so much a straw as a wet paper tissue and though you might just about build a raft with straws the chances of building one with wet paper tissues are nil.

We have had ample opportunity to clinch 4th or even higher but our form in the last third of the season has just not been good enough. Billions are not the only reason for success. Ask Birmingham who we play in our last game and who are as close to relegation as your average billionaire can endure.

New stadiums generate income but not necessarily the atmosphere of White Hart Lane. Top money doesn't always produce better players: Dzeko and Chamakh anyone? I am sure that you can all nominate plenty of players for the 'Most Expensive Flop' of all time award. I'll give you Torres for a starter.

Let's exploit what we have, including our youngsters. The re-emergence of Rose is a straw in the wind at least. Caulker, Townsend and Walker are shaping up and hope never actually killed anyone despite what they say.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Gutted of White Hart Lane

Team huddle: crucial for team bonding or a pointless gesture?
Was Ekotto right all along?

So not such a successful season after all. There have been some exciting highlights; Arsenal at the Emirates; Bale against Milan; the Champions' League in general. But they do not make up for the general mediocrity of our play in the Premiership, the disappointing, not to say awful, showings against the bottom teams and the decline in performance over the last third of the season.

The statistics demonstrate what we all know to be true. One win in twelve in the league and 1 win in 15 in all competitions.More draws than wins at home and the least points against the bottom six than any of the current top six. The fact that we are still in touching distance of 4th shows what a golden opportunity we have wasted this season and which no Champions' League sparkle can make up for.

I would rather we had a couple of competitive seasons in the Premiership, consolidate and rebuild modestly than the flashy glitter of the Cup or European competition. I would rather watch and enjoy good football on a weekly basis with the occasional bright light. In fact I would rather we were more like Arsenal who haven't won anything for years than ourselves at the moment.

And before you start; I am a very, very long term Spurs fan and have no wish to become a Gooner.
But they play football that is good to watch with youngsters central to their team, under a long-standing manager that has his blind spots it is true but who has the consistency of vision that to play well is a preliminary to success. I can think of no better epitaph for a manager or a team and I want some of whatever they're having.

We seem to have replaced 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells by ' Gutted of White Hart Lane'. Captain 'I felt a nudge' Dawson is once again disemboweled and vows to win the next three games. Promises. Promises. He hasn't played that well this season after returning from injury. Playing on the left to accommodate Gallas hasn't helped but his tendency to lunge rather then close down quickly has let him down several times.

In fact there are several players who are playing unfit, or who are not fully recovered this season. Bale certainly and possibly Defoe. Kaboul is not back to his previous form though he may just not be good enough. Gallas too seems to be carrying a knock and Van Der Vaart has never quite shaken off whatever he arrived from Madrid with. Huddelstone probably came back too soon.

Injuries in general might be a mitigating factor for ouir end of season blues but all teams get them and it's the use you make of the squad that is crucial. Kranjcar, or on the Blackpool performance, Rose might have been used to rest Bale. Jenas generally has played well when called upon this season and could have given respite to Van Der Vaart Our bench was dubbed ' the best in the Premiership ' but there has been little evidence to support this theory.

The exception is Sandro who has replaced Palacios whose star has been waning for some time. His partnership with Modric who is my player of the season and the one man I desperately want to keep in the aftermath of not qualifying for Europe at all augers well for the future.

Not to be able to integrate a player of the quality and experience of Van Der Vaart into the team is a serious criticism of the team and management in general. He has that 'Been there, done that' quality that we continually crave but is criticised for being an unsettling influence on the team. His positional indiscipline is down to Harry to correct. 'Play where you are put or don't play at all' should be scribbled on the clip-board alongside his name.

6o seconds on Saturday against a team that invites attack was a snapshot of our season. For twenty minutes after half time with the introduction of Lennon to give us pace and balance we played well. And them mayhem .Gomes who once again had kept us in it after we had failed to take what chances came our way saved a penalty from Adams.

Within a minute he had conceded another by appearing to bring down Taylor Fletcher. Adams made no mistake a second time and we were behind for the several dozenth time this season. But once again, and this a new feature this season, we came back to equalise with a crisp shot from the edge of the area by Defoe. This used to be his party piece but he doesn't seem to get out much any more. We played out another draw our 9th at home this season. Dawson is gutted and I am disgusted and I've never been to Tunbridge Wells.

Kranjcar came on for a ritual 5 mins. Crouch came on for Pavlyuchenko to no good purpose and Blackpool got a point that may save them. Adams had time to stamp on Bale which finishes his season. The referee saw nothing amiss but the review panel might be very interested to have another look at it.

Our failure to take full advantage of our chances and our failure to replace our stuttering strike force over two windows is at the root of our problems. Just look at our goal difference in comparison to our European rivals. Liverpool have just scored five against a Fulham side that humbled us in the Cup. Go figure.

The fixture gods have handed us the chance to beat both our rivals for 4th and 5th but in the light of our recent performances this seems a cruel trick to play. We might beat City tonight to prolong the agony but the idea of repeating the performance at Liverpool seems unlikely. Knowing Spurs we will beat them both and then lose the final game against Birmingham.

Speculation is that we might even qualify for the Europa via the Fair Play table. It seems we are second to Chelsea who already qualify for Europe. What strange tricks the fates are playing. I know some people that would like to see us engineer a couple of sendings off in the final games just to keep our Thursday nights free next season.

I don't agree if only because it might keep Modric at the club if we have some form of European football to offer. It looks as if Suarez knew something that we didn't when he opted for Liverpool.
And was Ekotto right about the pre-match team huddle all along, or does he just have a bad back?
In view of our recent performances it looks like an increasingly pointless gesture.

You want cheerleaders? I'll take up the role when there is something to cheer. Notice that no manager's heads were called for in the writing of this column.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Shattering the Tangerine Dream: The Greg Meyer column.

Greg,  me, and all of you probably are slowly recovering from the shock of the injustice and trauma of the Chelsea game. Greg casts a wider eye on the ups and downs of the football world and is in quietly reflective mood as the seasiders visit the lane. He has no delusions that shattering the Tangerine Dream is a necessary evil if we are to give ourselves a mathematical chance of tasting the heady fruits of the Champions' League next season.

 George Clooney's Birthday May 2011.
Sacked Deservedly So ... Will They Go Down and Will They Go Up ...A Late Afternoon By The Seaside ... Blackpool At The Lane.
It still leaves a bad taste in our collective mouth at the Kent pub.An arrogant and poorly positioned call from 35 yards away was Graham Poll's verdict in the Mail early in the week. Agreed but it still hurts. Lance Cairns of Linesville can watch it all on the telly this weekend. Stood down from officiating. We prefer the term, sacked, for incompetence and yes arrogance. Without technology he would have got away with it. With technology via endless tv replays his goose was cooked. Mind if the dinosaurs at FIFA would allow goal line technology then Lance would not be sitting behind the tv this weekend.
Yes we lost out to two "illegal" goals but deserved a draw only. So effectively fourth hopes sunk. Still says our ebullient hostelery host there's life after fourth. Life to look forward to like Luka, Gareth, maybe Rafael, Disco Benny,and a team with say two key additions that can fair dinkum have a go at the title next year. More than can be presently said regards one of our London neighbours ...
QPR Coming Up and The Hammers Going Down.
There is a certain symmetry to the promotion and relegation of each respectively. Perhaps there is an element of karma, coincidence or both as well. Our pub banker hopes its not only karma but nailed on inevitability. Not sure what happened on an away trip to Upton Park but he's not been back since.
Karma loosely translated as you sow what you reap. More easily summed up in the vernacular of our builder, what goes round comes round.
The illegal transfer of Tevez was pivotal in the avoidance of the trapdoor by West Ham in the 2006-7 season. The victim Sheffield United , then managed by Neil Warnock achieved a 26.5 million pound compensation payment from West Ham. A legal claim handled for United by one Ian Mill QC.
Guess whose defending QPR in the latest allegedly dodgy transfer dealings involving Alejandro Faurlin of QPR. Surprise , surprise. Ian Mill QC. Oh and whose managing the alleged offending club this time. Neil Warnock no less.
As well guess whose spot QPR may take in the Premier. Yep West Ham.
You could not make it up if you tried. A decision was due today. Postponed. No surprise there then. Maybe Monday. Oh and the way this is progressing don't be surprised if Ham stay up and Rangers don't make it. Certainly not the result our pub want. A show of hands only. Don't think it would change with a formal poll done on the back of annotated beer coasters.
Relegation elsewhere in London looms its dreaded head. Blackpool visit the Lane. As our Tranmere accountant opines, if we had not buggared around with fourth then we would gladly donate 3 points to someone who we would like to stay up. A sentiment not completely well met by some of our number who  remember 45,000 shots on goal at a seaside ground with no winning result. The start of the start of the rot perhaps at Blackpool away.
Next stop Dubai for the team then, next stop for us , a fine English ale ...
At A Kent Pub.
After the bad taste game some of our number watched the Manchester vs Arsenal encounter. Did not help our gardener. His view was we are right up there except for ... you probably know and think the same way.
A steady centre half pairing. Yes Gallas is welcome. Why Arsenal and Arsene let him go surely still bugs them. Dawson an honest trundler. One word. Vidic.Crafty, clever, calculating. Dirty but very clever and skilful at it. Just ask Robin Van Persie. Hand of Nemanja anyone. 
The other except for. Of course a striker. Van Persie. Not well loved here at our pub but mightily respected as a genuine goal threat. Perhaps in the summer we finally buy one that works .
Back to the real world and Ian Holloway and his Tangerines visit N17 in a late Saturday show. No pressure for us. Surely a mathematical step towards a still mathematical possibility. The lucky number being four. Our lawyer couldn't give a proverbial about fifth. Fourth or bust and it probably equals sixth.
Yep. There is life after fourth. Settle back, enjoy Luka particularly in the expectation he will be there next year when we have a real go for first.
Cheers ... 57 years ago Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile .... keep dreaming the Spurs dream ... our pub does ...Greg Meyer        coys.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The blame game

Wot no goal-line technology?

Now we've really got someone to blame and hate.
Forget Pav and JJ; Harry, Levy, Joe Lewis, Lammy, Karen Brady and Haringey Council. Forget them all and concentrate on Mr. M. Cairns, up from Somerset and distracted obviously by the heady atmosphere of the Royal Wedding weekend.
I'd give you his e-mail address but I'm not sure I wouldn't be a party in the first part to his gruesome demise. Death by a thousand stinging electronic messages.

Forget the Gomes' blunder, which didn't go in anyway; forget Van der Vaart playing everywhere on the pitch apart from second striker in support of Pavluchenko. Forget Lennon, Kaboul and Bale all featuring in the 'Observer's flops of the week column' and rightly so. Turn your laser- like bile on Mr.Michael Cairns the referee's assistant.

Instead of echoing Mr.A.Wenger's cry of, 'I didn't see it',
in answer to the referees question,
' Did you see it?
He replied 'Yes'.
In answer to the question, 'Was it a goal?' 
he replied, 'Yes'.
In answer to the question, 'Are you sure?'
he replied 'Yes'.

Subsequent replays showed this to be untrue. Mr. Cairns could no more see whether the ball had crossed the line than the referee. The ball had not crossed the line.
The prosecution case rests M'Lud
'Guilty as charged. Take him down'

Within 10 seconds everyone at Stamford Bridge knew this; every pundit and their dog was aware that a great injustice had been perpetrated and probably the whole of Mankind across the World. But in the world of football that which has been wrongly done cannot be undone. It can in rugby,tennis,and cricket but not in football.

A minute before half time and Chelsea go in level. Thanks Cairnsy. Cheers Mr.Mariner. What's it feel like to cost THFC £30 million? What does it feel like to be the most hated men across the Spurs blogosphere? Reviled from JimmyG2 to Harry Hotspur; from Foxy to Spooky and all the way back

Fast forward to 2 minutes before full-time,don't ever say that Spurs don't do late dramatics, the fickle finger of fate picks us out again. Chelsea win and stay in the title race with an offside goal. Marginal but offside as the white line on the pundits analysis charts clearly shows.

Now forget that our recent form has not been good enough in any case; that Liverpool have already overhauled us; that far from achieving the Champions' League we might not even get the consolation prize of the Europa. Blame it all on Mr.Michael Cairns: known to his friends as Mike. Not in N.17 obviously. Voodoo dolls and pins will soon be available from the Spurs shop.

Ignore our appalling record against bottom half teams; our strikers miserable record; our tragic injury record and our appalling failure to buy the players we need; and focus on Mr Michael Cairns, who is the root and cause of all our troubles.

If you want a scapegoat then look no further. They've always been against us: referees; referee's assistants; fourth officials; Uefa; the FA; But we can take it; in fact that's how we like it. Forget Harry's tactical naivety; his strange substitutions; our lack o f squad rotation; our failure to rest players when they needed it and focus on the villain of the piece, the source of all our woes; Mr Michael Cairns.

No-one could argue that we deserved to win. But we certainly didn't deserve to lose particularly in that manner. Modric, Sandro and Van Der Vaart played some nice approach work but the goal was our only shot on target in the whole match.

Harry had been trying to get Sandro to drop deeper for some minutes and it looked as if the boy got a good telling off for being in a scoring position. Either that or Harry was not impressed with the chicken celebration. What’s the Portuguese for 'Never mind scoring I didn't put you on to score goals.' But he just wasn't listening Harry.

We saw off Torres who was poor and were thankful that Drogba was stationed out on the right until the closing minutes. By then we had pitched our tents on the edge of the six yard box and Drogba was not to be denied with a powerful attack through the middle. If Drogba had been on our side then I think we might have won.

Harry's dignity in defeat in the face of adversity was in marked contrast to the attitude of the Chelsea fans.

'There's no sweeter feeling than beating Spurs and it's even funnier that one of our goals didn't cross the line and the other was offside. Hilarious.' (Tony Glover Chelsea blogger in the Observer)

I'd like to believe that no Spurs fan could write that at least not for public consumption outside the humid, festering, hot-house and partisan world of blogging or in the pub with your mates after a couple or six. If that's the attitude bred by buying success courtesy of a billionaire I pray that we don't ever fall prey to one.

So Mr. Cairns if we don't finish in the top half it's all your fault and I hope you're proud of yourself.
In fact if Harry gets the sack it's all down to you. If Modric and Bale leave that's on your slate too, and you probably had something to do with us not getting the Olympic Stadium but I haven’t quite put my finger on exactly how you did it.

But wait here's a thought.

' Hallo. Inspector? Jimmy G2 here. You know that spate of shed break-ins down the allotments?
Well I've had a tip off about the mastermind behind it all. Michael Cairns. That's C.A.I.R.N.S.
Not at all, my pleasure.