The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Levy Takes the Blame.

Don't shoot the Messenger.
I know just how you feel Julian.


The mutterings have started, but 'He That Is Without Sin Among You, Let Him cast the first Stone'.  The Bible is such a comfort in times of stress and frustration. So go on then get casting, not me obviously, sinless at my age? If only. Who is brave enough to have a go at our disappointing start? Where, if anywhere, does the blame lie?

Firstly don't shoot me, I'm only the messenger and a fan. But the new era hasn't exactly lit up the N17 sky so far. Two games where we aught to have gone in at half time a couple of goals up have produced one point. It must be somebody's fault.

Up first Mr. Andres Villas Boas, late of Chelsea. Young, dynamic, excellent Portuguese credentials, enviable record apart from a blip in West London, talking good sense with a smile on his face. Arguably sold down the river by the Russian who got cold feet when the 'project' stalled.

Now nobody has mentioned the word 'project' at Tottenham but it's on the tip of everyone's minds. Ours has just about limped over the starting line. There have been a few debatable decisions so far; defensive starting line-up at home and substitutions yesterday seemed odd.

The decision to sell Dawson and keep Gallas defies all logic unless you are an accountant in love with your abacus. So perhaps the puppeteer is in charge once again here. But it is obviously much too soon to start questioning the manager's methods even if I just have.

He and the squad are going to have to be given time to bed in. I would accept a finish outside the top four this season as long as there are signs that we are laying the foundations for a new era which the sacking of Harry and the appointment of AVB would suggest.

But for the second season running we have begun without a settled or complete squad. Come on down Daniel Levy who is a serial offender in going to the office without his trousers on. Spend the money Daniel, it's not yours, it's called 'investment'.

£50 million is required which now that Modric has gone at around £32 million with the money already raised on sales and with several cash cows yet to be milked, even allowing for incomers won't even mean breaking into a new £20 note. Moutinho and Llorente or Damiao or someone of their ilks would be fine. The new man should have been given support before the season began, not three games in.

But as they say 'Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose'. Or in Spurs speak, 'same old, same old'. Those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it. Actually my prediction of 13 points from the first six games is bang on track. We just have to win the next four games.

The players seem to be playing for the manager and so far most of the fans, even those who think that Harry has been harshly treated, are giving the new man the benefit of their doubt. We made two early signings and it looked as if Daniel had broken the habits of a lifetime.

But starting the season with just Defoe and Harry Kane in the striking department was asking for trouble and our inability to take advantage of good build up play has so far cost us 5 points which might be crucial at the end of the season. All very predictable really.

Against W. Brom Vertonghen was impressive especially bringing the ball out from the back and apart from a couple of iffy moments looks as if he will be fine. Bale and Lennon had a good first half; Adebayor has clearly spent the summer in a deckchair; Benny scored from a deflected long ranger and Defoe scored but was offside. 'Plus ca change etc'.

Bale alone supplied several crosses, if not begging, at least politely requesting, to be put into the net but when these offers were refused he seemed to lose interest and from then on just wandered about. Sigurdsson looked a little lost and we could have started with him and VDV and kept one of our tame rottweilers on the leash for the start.

 Defoe was ineffective again and taking him off might have been a kindness. The decision to take off Van Der Vaart was odd because once he's gone, without Modric, the engine room was firing on all cylinders with Livermore and Sandro but the central computer was in sleep mode and the ship went into reverse after going round in circles for half an hour.

 In the second half we disintegrated and W.Brom sensing blood poured forward. In the last 15 minutes when an equaliser looked imminent we lost all shape and even the ability to clear the ball from our area. Friedel was a spectator; the right back went walkerabout; we blocked two on the line and  were fortunate not to lose.

So mutterings only so far and Daniel Levy in the frame for the blame game. If it's not perfect it can be improved and to suggest so is not to want anybody's head on a block or their softer parts in a firm grip.

 Another five days Mr.L and if we haven't acquired a striker and a suitable Modric replacement the mutterings could get louder. If they get too loud I might have to change the title to 'Spurs Mutterings'.
Meanwhile me and Julian are off down the pub to commiserate with each other. Oh wait. He's texted to cancel, holed up in Ecuador apparently.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Right name two famous Belgians after Hercules Poirot. Well we might have two ourselves if this latest ITK rumour goes through: Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele. We used to collect Croatians but we've traded them in for Belgians. Might work. Tribute made by a fan when he joined Fulham.

Friday, 24 August 2012

How Ade came back to Spurs.

Luka no like chicken badge or chicken feed wages.
 Manu says, 'it's not about the money'.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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Friday 24 August 2012 ... The World's Greatest Spy Celebrates.
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 Dear Andre ... Love Manny.
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The relief that flooded our cosy little pub was positively orgasmatic. Not quite but fine English ale flowed aplenty. After entering the final furlong of a protracted transfer window Spurs again had a quality striker. No hard feelings Jermain Colin Defoe. Taking the analogy a little further. Frankel won by a country mile. The void between Ade and Defoe is on the same page.
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So why did it take so long. It got us to thinking and perhaps the following correspondence may not be too far amiss. Dated about two weeks ago apparently.
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Emmanuel Adebayor Writes To Andre V. Boas.
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       Dear Andre,
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 Luka tells me he is feeling a little lonely training with the also rans. Well actually there is only him and little Luka.
 I know exactly how he feels with Mr. Roberto helping out my fitness regime having me train with the Man City Stiffs. Seems my very big smile is not working. I know Carlos is sympathetic when he is here. Trouble is with the matrimonials in South America, the tent pitchside acoustic difficulties and his penchant for working on his golf game ... there is not much time for Manny and Carlo to get together.
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 Luka tells me it is not about money.. Me too.
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 I mean if the Croatian press can be believed, including that nice Mr. Mamic, then Luka is only getting an increase from forty thousand to one hundred and ten thousand pounds per week.
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Chicken feed for Manu. Sorry about the chicken reference. Manu love the chicken badge. Manu also love one hundred and seventy thousand per week. And another thing the money is not for Manu. Well not all.
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You see tax advice does not always come easily. However Tottenham have expert. Harry very helpful last season. He has coal face experience of course. Just ask John Kelsey-Fry QC.  My Sea Foundation needs money. Going very well.
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Look bottom dollar, sorry pound, seems to have sorted itself.
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Man City no like Manu. Manu no like City. Both like English pounds. Why not Manu go back to lovely Spurs and City help out.
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Ergo the perfect transfer. Everybody happy.
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     Really looking forward to seeing all my pals at Spurs.
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     Andre if you can get rid of raincoat then I am sure Mr. Danny can sort my big smiling return.
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        Lots of Afrikan love
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                                  Yours Manny.
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Look the main thing is he made it back. No more Harry Kane jokes. Now it's all about just another striker ...
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 At A Kent Pub.
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The injury to Aguerro, probably the most coveted striker here at our pub, Messi apart, just shows how fickle football fate can be.  So lets hope the Damio rumours have credence. Don't think so but to dare is to dream or somthing like that. Another quality striker and we might start to think anything is possible this year. Stumbles happen in the most unlikley places. Just ask Sir Whisky of Face.
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Great to have football back even if we still have Luka till ... and then who.
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Could we just hark back to our opening gambit. Without a striker, or two of quality, all the Luka Modrics in this world are not worth a lot.
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Cheers ... Sean Connery has a birthday tomorrow ... Spurs open their account ...  Enjoy ... Greg Meyer.       coys.
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Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Another attempt to break the curse of the Musings video spot. Last time we featured Miralem Panjic and though the fat lady hasn't sung it doesn't look as if he's coming any time soon.
 So now we feature Joao Moutinho who looks pretty good, on YouTube anyway, here showing his more creative side. You never know it might just work this time.
Remember we're not always wrong and I have a very good feeling about this one.


Monday, 20 August 2012

AVB turns a blind eye

Problems? I see no problems.

The JimmyG2 Column

The positivity generated by our loss on Saturday is almost overwhelming. Not so much waves as a Tsunami of hopeful expectancy such as we rarely see after a defeat. New manager, new Tottenham, new spirit amongst the fans. No more Mr. Moody Fickle guy.

 Had we won, which we should have done, fans would have had us as serious contenders for the Premiership title, a Gold medal and the Champions' league next year. We imposed ourselves impressively until at least half time and 2-0 would have been a fair reflection of the game at that stage.

Alan Pardew clearly watching a different match when he wasn't assaulting the officials said that he thought they 'just shaded it'. Well they did in the sense that they won 2-1. Even with a better second half showing they didn't deserve to win but then goals win matches and near misses don't.

We fought back to 1-1 after a Ba special from a defensive error by Kyle Walker compounded by Gallas failing to close Ba down . Then we gifted them the game with some poor defending by Lennon and Van Der Vaart who contrived to bring down Ben Arfa in the area. I make the guilty party Lennon but there's no prizes involved so let's not argue over the details.

Friedel looking increasingly his age didn't get close to either goal and looked decidedly awkward when, clearly under orders, came past the penalty spot to punch away ahigh cross.. Shades of the Octopus.

The absence of Modric left, unsurprisingly, a large Modric shaped hole in the conjuring up of the magic department and his absence and that of Van Der Vaart at the start left us short of ideas. Our lack of competative edge of which no doubt Andres has been warned has been replaced by its opposite; too much heart and not enough head.

We have plenty of pulsing red blood these days even if the King of Hearts himself is currently laid up for several weeks nursing his Achilles. Two yellow cards for fouls on the half way line indicate commendable zeal but more than a little deficit in the grey cell area. Ben Arfa bought both of these cards and the penalty later.

I'm not sure where the Modric replacement is going to come from although rumours about Pjanic are more promising than some. All the names in the ITK frame so far are on the rugged side and lack Luka's artistry: Meirelles, M'Villa, Moutinho the last of whom is favourite will cost almost as much as we are getting for Modders. Moutinho is favourite for the job as he is Portugeuse both press and ITK agree. Simple folk.

I would have played Van Der Vaart ahead of Sigurdsson and brought him on when the Dutchman faded and not the other way round. We can only assume that Van Der Vaart and Vertonghen were deemed too knackered by their International exertions to make the opening eleven.  The centre of defence was fine but Benny's ditziness seem to work its way across to Walker.

So we lost a game we aught to have won but chances at either end were a rarity. Jermaine Defoe gave an excellent imitation of himself, hitting the post and scoring a goal and doing very little else. This is presumably not the sort of contribution that AVB is looking for. If and when Adebayor stops fannying around and re-signs then things up front might improve. Ade and Llorente will do nicely.

Much satisfaction taken then, work in progress, promising performance, good basis to build on, and so on which considering that we actually lost is a surprising reaction. Lose at home to West Brom who beat a sorry looking Liverpool side,  and tempers might become a little more frayed, on the forums and in the boardroom. Or it might make us even more ecstatic in our current mood.

My belief is that this is a long term project and that it might take most of this season to build and train a squad to benefit from the progressive thoughts of AVB. Starting the process is not helped by the failure to get the squad settled before the season begins, for the second year running.

But we're three points off the top and clear of the relgation zone. You can't beat the old 'uns, Ask Brad, oh sorry.  Whoever thought that allowing the transfer window to overlap the start of the season was a good idea is an idiot.

But my target of 13 points from the first six games remains and we are only doing half as badly so far as last year when we lost our first two and still came fourth. Leaving aside Ben Arfa I made Lennon the MOM, he made the Defoe goal and set up Bale header with a delightful cross to the far post.
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 Early days but the boys are certainly playing for the manager, and their places of course. With a replacement for Modric and a couple of strikers we are almost good to go. As Admiral Lord Nelson once found,  it sometimes pays to ignore what's staring you in the face.

Video spot
Indulge me with a transfer rumour for once. Not that we're getting desperate. Have a look at Miralem Pjanic. He's young, he's gifted, he's almost Croatian, and he would  cost less than half the Modric fee. But why would Roma sell him? Headline writers like him, 'Panjic buy' and all that.


            

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The leaving of Luka: the Keeping of Bale.

First glimpse of our new striker.
A fully automated onion bagger

Here we go, here we go. Greg's first up with his preview and predictions for the coming season which begins at 4.30 pm on Saturday at Newcastle in case you thought we had simply ages to get our team sorted and organised. It will be alright on the night folks. Probably.

 The Greg Meyer Column
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 Tuesday 14 August 2012 ...  An Anniversary for the World's Greatest Batsman.
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 The Leaving Of Luka ... The Keeping Of Bale ...The Arrival Of ...
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 Leaving ...
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We started the transfer window in a blaze of glory glory.How Tottenham like and yet how unlike Spurs. Quality from Holland , Germany and Wales. Since then it's situation normal. The Modric saga drags on and the hunt for an onion bagger continues.
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Modric is no help in that department. Neither a goal scorer nor a final providor. Certainly a creative talent when his head is in the same place as the rest of him. Doubtlessly Spain might allow for coincidence between head and body.
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As we move from beermat to keyboard here at our pub Luka is still in the isolation ward at N17,his bags packed, tickets booked, new school for little Luka scouted, and Spanish language classes organised. Surely he's off. After all Niko and Vedran are long gone.
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Keeping ...
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If Luka Modric is worth ... insert here latest fantasy figure as compiled by usual tabloidal luminaries, Daily Mail anyone ... then Gareth Bale is priceless. Like us I imagine many of you thought his retention some of the best  summer news from the Lane. It came early too. One of those quality signings we mentioned earlier. 
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Our pubs Luka Modric Appreciation Society will pack our tent with a far lighter heart following our Welsh champion signing on for longer and better times. There are not many Gareth Bales in this football world. There are quite a lot of Luka Modrics.
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Our pub had forgotten how long Bale has been with us until reading Jim Duggan's preview on Topspurs.. Entering his 6th season and ready to carry the world before him. He may need to given our front line could be led by Harry Kane. Not black humour but reality as we go to Newcastle.
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Arrivals ... Goals ... Waiting ...
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Gylfi surname unpronounceable and even harder to spell does look to have attacking midfield goals in him. The Van man too but a peek under this seasons new model bonnet certainly shows a lack of horsepower up front.
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Manchester United have Rooney, Wellbeck, the little pea person, and when he gets a game, Berbatov. Yes the man who led Spurs line before his move.
Manchester Citeh have Aguerro, Balotelli, Tevez and Dzeko. Chelsea chime in with Torres, Hazard,Sturridge etc. Even Arsenal have Podolski, Giroud and RVP as it stands.
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Spurs, well with Jermain and Harry, we are having a larf. Still surely Ade returns. Stay tuned and before we go back to those arrivals ...
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The New Boy ...
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We lost what many thought to be the classic used car salesman. Don't call me dodgy Terry. Don't call me a wheeler dealer. Harry Redknapp foretold and was responsible for his own farewell.
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No long term regrets from our pub. Job well done. But the predicted seismic event has not hit White Hart Lane. Curious lack of player mutinies, no rushes on the local shops for raincoats, just a fresh new face telling it like it is.
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At least Andre has ditched the belted raincoat look albeit we are still nominally in summer. As well the managerial vocabulary has improved. Not so much "triffic" and certainly no sign of that word "project". Indeed his press conferences and media dalliances thus far have largely been a refreshing change from the winner gets all, every journalist wins a quote scenarios of our man from Sandhurst.
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Harry was apt to play the field and of course it led to his downfall. Yes Spurs, yes England, no Spurs, yes players don't need me, no from England, yes again to Spurs, and yes players now need me now I'm not distracted by England speculation. No Harry. A step too far Harry said Daniel.
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Our pub reckon obvious early days for Andre. Its a results business but we are quietly confident and happily  tipping a few down the hatch ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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Don't worry we are not shirking the issue. Our predictions are Spurs again vying for fourth, the Gareth Bale Appreciation Society to go from strength to strength,only to be rivalled by another amazing White Hart Lane Champion.
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The recent captain of Brazil will join Gareth on the podium in equal measure. Our unabashed admiration for both Gareth and Sandro is an exciting prospect. Who needs the little Croatian.
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Another champion had his last innings in Test Cricket on this day back in 1948. Sir Donald Bradman but just our Don to all across the world.
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 Cheers ... if only Daniel buys an onion bagger we are better than last year ... Greg Meyer    coys.
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Ps
     This column was written to the tune of Last Laugh by Mark Knopfler and Van Morrison ... lets hope our Lilywhites enjoy the very last laugh this season.

(Note: this piece appeared as part of Jim Duggan's 'Topspurs' pre-season review)

Video spot.
A silent tribute to the last time we played Newcastle. There's a few old friends missing this time round. Not the best visuals either but I think you'll get the point.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

AVB picks out the positives.


Young Mr. Grace writes AVB's scripts
 'Your all doing very well'

 The JimmyG2 Column

It certainly seems as if AVB has drawn serious lessons from his Chelsea experience. Everyone is doing 'very well ' as young Mr. Grace on 'Are you being served' used to say. Don't remember it? Before your time? In all honesty you haven't missed much. But he  went around praising everyone just before he sacked them or cut their bonuses.

And so it could be at Spurs. Everyone is to be given a chance, even David Bentley. In fact he's had two which is beyond fair. True, playing him on the left wing was like tying his boot laces together but he can't say he hasn't had pitch time. Even Gomes got a full game last night but Red Bull failed to get a shot on goal and he might demand a re-trial.

If Gio ever gets back from banging them in for Mexico he too will be looked at and all Harry's player notes have been shredded. Jenas has had a couple of games and has taken the precaution of wearing bright yellow boots to make sure that everyone realises he is on the pitch. I would think that one through a bit more JJ. I think he will be kept on but not David Bentley. You read it here first.

Telling everyone they are bloody marvellous might work with a class of recalcitrant 7yr olds but he could be advised to be a little more critical of professionals on £50,000 a week and more. However it's early days and there is plenty of time for brutal honesty as the opening game at Newcastle gets closer.

Unfortunately pre-season is going pretty well. I make that unbeaten in five and last night's second half performance was not only a big leap forward in quality but secured a fine piece of silverware for the trophy cabinet. So 'that's all good then' as they say.

I say 'unfortunately' because my rule of thumb based on past experience is that the better the pre-season the worse our opening games results turn out. Two from eight and the arrival of Saint Harry followed a pretty good pre-season under Juande  Ramos.

More Positives:
Andres Villas-Boas. Seems to have won the minds if not the hearts of everyone at the club and most of the fans. But then it doesn't pay to tweet ' The new man's a prize prick' and hope to get into the squad. I worked with a guy once who stood up at every staff meeting and announced that in his opinion the boss was doing ' a damn fine job'. Not surprisingly he got promoted ahead of me.

Gylfi Sigurdsson. Clearly a classy footballer and has made a couple, scored a couple and missed a couple. Signed early and making hay while Van Der Vaart's sun is obscured by injuries. 

Jan Vertonghen. Another early signing and with the retirement of the King is going to be a major asset when he settles. Playing very cautiously at the moment but with Kaboul will be a strong centre of defence. We haven't seen much of his goal scoring talents yet.

Modric. He's still with us but see negatives. Could he stay? Nope me neither.

Youngsters.
Carroll, Smith, Townsend and Kane look likely to play a part this year. Haven't seen Falque and Rose and Caulker are at the Olympics. Kane is our first, and only, choice striker at the moment and shows maturity for a nineteen yr. old. Happy to see him in the squad and I hope Caulker is kept close by too.

Piennar. Gone back to Everton and we made £2 million or so on the deal. Genius. He played one good game for us at Milan but otherwise never looked the player he does at Everton.

Some Negatives.

High line tactics. This depends on closing down from the front and pressing in the midfield, fast defenders, and a keeper on the alert to play sweeper. Not all of the available staff can fulfil these functions. AVB may have to compromise on this. Friedel doesn't do sweeping and Dawson and Gallas don't do speed. Vertonghen was caught out last night and conceded the penalty and he's relatively quick.

Modric.
Even Daniel knows he's not worth £40 million but that won't stop him trying. We seem to be edging closer to a deal with Real Madrid. If they had a player (a) that we wanted and (b) who would come us, the deal would have been done by now. Last word was that we had rejected £38 million. Obviously Dan Levy knows what he's doing. Obviously. Let's just pray that Jose Mourinho's in on the deal. We need the money for a striker or three.

Adebayor
Still dragging on. Been 'close' or even 'done' for several weeks now but the financial gap seems to be narrowing. If he doesn't sign we need two top class strikers at least. But then we've needed them since Berbatov left and Sandra retired.

Video spot.
All the thrills and spills from the Red Bulls game. Spurs finally got it together for the final 45 minutes of their tour. We speeded up the play and moved the ball more quickly. We gave up the high line with Gallas and Dawson at the back. Bale who was wasted at centre forward in the first half gave  way to Kane who gave us more focus and Gareth played deeper to good effect.
 He and Sigurdsson ran the show and the goal by Gylfi is worth the entrance money on its own.

The commentary demonstrates George Bernard Shaw's view that we are two countries separated by a common language.