The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 30 March 2012

An apology to Ryan Nelsen

 Ryan not Horatio you fool.
I thought we'd sacked that Picture Editor, Greg

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 Looks like humble pie on the menu at A Kent Pub tonight. 'The Steak and Ale is off love'. Nothing like a goal to change  everyone's mind about a player. Ask Jermaine.  Harry was more than fulsome in his praise of our New Zealander's efforts and example both on and off the pitch. On the pitch will do for me.
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 The Greg Meyer Column
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 Lot of Famous People at the Birthday Table Today .. 30 March 2012.

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An Apology To Ryan Nelsen  ... HMS Spurs Win Another Trafalgar On Sunda
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At 9:14 on Tuesday evening at White Hart Lane most of the occupants went apoplectic and at the same time apologetic.

Relief and ecstasy combined flooded the assembled Cup faithful.

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Ryan Nelsen had broken a looming Cup deadlock and instantly gone from no mans land to Tottenham Hotspur folklore.

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In looping in a headed goal from a Spurs corner he sent the Lilywhites on their way well and truly. Never mind it was the fourth corner in a row. Never mind there had been approximately 6000 shots on goal hitherto. No mind they had all missed or bumped into a certain Hungarian goalkeeper. No Nelson had catalysed a thereafter comfortable win and prospects of a renewed top three challenge in the League.

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Was this the same Ryan Nelsen who had gifted Stevenage a penalty after four minutes in the game against Stevenage at the Lane. A man who had been released on a free from Blackburn Rovers on 31 January 2012.

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Little wonder there were murmurs of wonder at where a 34 year old , prone lately to serious injury, might fit in at a looming London giant. But no, amongst many others, our Pub are more than happy to acknowledge and apologise for some hasty judgments. Hence and courtesy of the Royal Mail ...

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A Letter To Mr. R. Nelsen Esquire...Formerly of New Zealand and latterly Lancashire.

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               Dear Ryan,

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                               at first we thought we had signed a fifth choice centre back. Then after Daws fell over it was four. Then what with Ledley and Billy Gallas having some knee and calf hiccups it became three. Of course Harry had one eye on the league and so Younes sat on the bench. Number two in a meteoric rise. Mind some looking on as doubting Thomases. Seems your knee problems at Blackburn were solved after that trip back to the motherland. Those All Black's medical experts plus the odd Long White Cloud have worked wonders.

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                              at first we thought we had signed a 34 year old centre back with the turning circle of the SS Titanic, the elevatory power of Jermaine Defoe( he does have an obvious excuse), and the pace of a Michael Dawson( even before his recent setback we hasten to note, bless).

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                             at first we thought we had signed another little Scotty in the goal scoring department. Yes hands up you are both defenders first and ... Afterall in in 180 games in England you had scored 8 times. Spurs centre backs always fancy themselves as goal scorers. Younes Kaboul anyone. Yes I know he is Gallically challenged perhaps.

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                            Ryan it had not been pretty before Tuesday night. Stevenage was not pretty. Downright slow and clumsy.Still when you have seen as many games as another oldtimer who watched you captaining the All Whites at the last World Cup, perhaps there was something us mere mortals had missed, overlooked, just plain ignored. Harry had no doubt particularly in the post match press conference.

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                          Tuesday night kicked off. Some easy pick it up and distribute from the back stuff early on. An imperceptible settling into the team rhythm happened next. Telling Ledley what to do came early in the second half. Advisedly so of course. Then a great intercept, a solid clearing header, and goodness some surprising pace shown.

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                         On the hour it was a well timed rescue mission after Spurs were nearly caught out. But the coup de WHL grasse was to come. Yes a strong accurate header in a hectic crush of bodies. The rest as they say is Spurs Cup history.

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                        Ryan,

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                                from all at our pub and beyond may all your headers keep coming, may your ageing knees stay together, you are in good company there,

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                                    Welcome to the Spurs Family,

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                                                                                 a pint or two of Steinlager on us when next you call.

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                                   Yours

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                                           the newly formed  Ryan Nelsen Appreciation Society.


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Meanwhile At A Kent Hostelery.

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A late show on Sunday promises a lot. Swansea come not to build walls but to play football. At present Spurs are ahead in that department so long as swelled heads don't collide with inflated egos.

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Our lawyer like you no doubt goes into Sunday quietly confident and dare we say it with prospects of a real go for third.

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Gathered round an anniversary table today it is a plethora of birthday greats. Music from Eric Clapton(67), Norah Jones(33), and Celine Dion(1968).Rolf Harris(82) is painting cartoons while the serious stuff is down to Vincent Van Gogh(very very old). Master of ceremonies, none other than Piers Morgan turning 47.

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By any determination Ryan is still a spring chicken.

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Cheers ...come on the chicken badge on Sunday with no apology for a big win ... Greg Meyer.     coys.
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Video Spot. 
You knew what was coming surely. Classic, vintage Clapton from 1985, today's star Birthday Boy. One of my all time heroes singing 'Layla' my favourite track; second only to Jimmy Greaves. Those opening chords give me a similar tingle to when the boys come out of the tunnel  at WHL.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Very good news for Tottenham fans.

Relax: The Nightmare has ended

The JimmyG2 Column

Spurs fans I bring you very good news. You know that recurring Tottenham nightmare where we threaten to annihilate the opposition with breathtaking football? But as the shadows lengthen, squirrels begin to gather nuts and prepare to hibernate, the trees start to drop their leaves, and the clocks go back as we fail to score and then fail to score some more? Yes that's the one.

It sometimes comes with the twist that with ten minutes to go our opponents score with their only attack of the match. The goal is usually scored by a player that last scored when all the players had haircuts like Scott Parker.

As soon as you read in the programme notes or hear the pundits reveal that 'X' has played more than 700 consecutive matches without a goal you just know that he's the one certain to end his barren run at our expense .

Another vital part of this nightmare is that their keeper always plays a blinder and is a 'shoo in' for MOM. He makes dozens of point blank saves throwing himself all over the place like a fool. The previous week he was openly jeered by the opposing fans for his inept concession of several goals.

After this nightmare match the opposing manager is unstinting in his praise of us, whilst desperately trying to keep a straight face even as they nick it, for being the best team that they have played not just this season but for several seasons if not decades.

Well now its official, the nightmare is over. It's a load of bunkum as we proved against Bolton in the replay on Tuesday. Not even traffic problems on the High St. could keep us from our destiny. This rag-bag of historical myths is no more, deceased, as dead as a parrot and finally consigned to the dustbin of Tottenham history.

True we didn't score until the 74th minute and they did peg us back at 2-0 but the result was never in doubt for a moment. We needed fourteen Van Der Vaart corners before Nelsen, who has never scored for Spurs, planted a header past the Bolton keeper, who was named as MOM.

But here the script started to get a little confused. Bogdan, not realising that the nightmare had not just ended but reversed itself, kept one eye on Bale and one eye on Ledley and didn't bother to keep his other eye on Nelsen. And thus the nightmare ended.

We took it in turns to miss sitters; Parker from 3yds,Van Der Vaart for the second game running and we gave Bogdan a more than sporting chance on several occasions..This was no sentimental offering to Bolton for the Muamba situation, we showed them every respect by playing some our best football.

Bale was again outstanding; Livermore had another good game; Ledley strolled royally about; the full backs ran riot and Nelsen showed us at last what Harry sees in him. Modric and Van Der Vaart demonstrated some class and when Parker ran out of steam Defoe came on like a human firecracker.

Then a bizarre glimpse of the new the world of dreams as Defoe himself unselfishly set up Bale who turned on him later for failing to do it for a second time. What's that old saying about potting black kettles? Spin it how you like but it smacks of a lack of camaraderie and discipline to me rather than a commendable desire to win.

And then more nails in the coffin of the bad dream, Saha, a late substitute, banged in another to make it 3-1 just before the final whistle. So it's not as you remember it at all. We beat them hands down as the statistics reveal and all your worries came to naught.

We had 29 shots,19 of them on target with a mere 6 shots and 4 on target for Bolton. Cudicini caught up with his e-mail and twitter accounts in the first half and apart from a couple of smart interceptions of through balls had time to phone his mother and order the after match pizzas in the second. Onward to Wembley and Chelsea (can we play you every week?) once more.

The 'Blip' is vanquished; the Nightmare is dead; long live the dream.We are unbeaten in three and have a chance at the weekend at home to Swansea to catch up on Arsenal who are away to QPR. Oh well perhaps that is a hope too far.

And now for a calm night's uninterrupted sleep as the Spurs squad gambol in slow motion through fields of corn. Defoe and Bale embrace like brothers; Ledley's knee miraculously heals; and Daniel Levy scrutinises the 'strikers for sale' section of the International Footballing Press with his cheque book open on the desk in front of him.

Spurs fans I bring you very good news indeed.

Video Spot.
And here it is, full highlights of the 'Bogdan Show'. The game that finally ended the curse of the dominant team and the late winner for the opposition. (Spoiler alert:) Don't get worried it all comes right in the end. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Miracles still Happen.....Muamba on the Bench,

Belief will do tonight.
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Greg scores a late column just before the deadline whistle. Let's hope we don't require anything like it tonight. Our recent  performance at Chelsea, and the return of Lennon should trump the Muamba factor. No miracles, no excuses, just get out there, play football and onwards to Wembley, for King Harry and St...Sorry got carried away there.
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The Greg Meyer Column.
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March 27 2012.
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Miracles Still Happen  ... Muamba On The Bench ... Spurs To Win.
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The miracle is of course Fabrice Muamba settling down on a comfortable London Chest Hospital bench and watching his Bolton revisit White Hart Lane in the Cup replay on television.
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Some of his team mates and manager Coyle plan a pre-match visit to bring him up to date on what tactics they will go with. All part of a Coyle master plan to inspire the troops to what would be an improbable win.
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Our pub hope Bolton have got the "Lets win it for Fabrice out of their system." They did upset Blackburn last weekend. Our lawyer says enough is enough.
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The Spurs Dream Revives.
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Not quite a miracle but the result at Chelsea was welcome. More the denying an important rival of 3 points.Directly it makes it much harder for Chelsea. They may need a miracle if their form continues at the same rate.
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Liverpool do however require a miracle. Not just their perilous League position but the Kenny Dalglish bandwagon is going positively surreal.Five Premier defeats in six games. Forget his misguided attempts to cast Luis Suarez as a victim. No after the latest loss even Roy Hodgson's time and post match pronouncements at Liverpool look good.
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So back to our dream of FA Cup glory.
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Our Team Against Bolton.
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Nothing official yet but rumours abound. Hopefully our little sports car is fit to start on one wing. With Aaron providing a threat on the right it makes it balanced and menacing with the Welsh wonder hugging the left. Why not Adebayor to start. A statement of intent. We don't play till late Sunday next.
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Seems all reported fit after Chelsea. King with Kaboul anyone. Just can't bring ourselves to have that lovely old new Zealander start. Certainly to perambulate on when the game is safe to rest King.Ironic when you stop to think. Ledley is hardly supreme these days.
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The firepower of Rafael -Gee I'm Running A Lot lately- Vart plus the creativity of Modric would be great. Probably Luka's last game if you believe the eternal, infernal?, tabloidal fodder this week. Probably the only place he is not going to is New Zealand.
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Meanwhile At A Kent Hostelry.
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Our market gardener, indeed the lot of us ...
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                                                      just want a rip roaring Spurs Cup win.
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We may not bet the house on it but if Peter Sellers can walk on water then just maybe the dream of Spurs glory in the Cup starts tonight.
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Just like in the League against Chelsea hopefully Spurs are back on track. No miracles needed. Just belief.
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Cheers ... great film "Being There" ... Greg Meyer.     coys.
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Video Spot.
No time today, got to pick the grandchildren up from football practice. I kid you not.
They are all Real Madrid fans I'm afraid as they live in Madrid and I'm on Grandparents' child care for Easter. Two of them sport Ronaldo haircuts. The other is a goalkeeper and worships Iker Casillas.
 So my other team is Real Madrid. Not a bad second string. 
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Oh go on then. 1960's vintage stuff for Spurs and Frankie Laine singing 'I Believe'

The boys drew 3-3 by the way. My other boys that is.
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Monday, 26 March 2012

Harry plugs the leaks and stops the rot.


The rot has been identified, treated and stopped.

The JimmyG2 Column

 Perhaps a dangerous moment to survey our season so far but then Spurs supporters live their lives on the edge of danger and under the threat of an imminent headlong plunge into the icy waters. Do I exaggerate? You know very well that I do not.

Rentokil have been brought in and the rot both wet dry have been thoroughly eradicated subject to further surveys on a weekly basis. No guarantee has been issued yet as it's a very tricky problem to which key locations in N17 are particularly prone.

Unbeaten now in two which is more impressive than it might sound; 5 points clear of Chelsea and, yes, Newcastle who are still creeping up stealthily. We have a  more than even chance of a Cup Semi-Final appearance. The ship has been stabilized even though icebergs are all around. Two draws do not a Global Warming make but the ice flows seem less threatening than before.

The season started with our Zeebrugge moment. Setting sail for the season with the bow doors open as it were. Two games and two defeats and the view from the bridge looked distinctly hazy. ( * Editor. 'Distinctly hazy'. How does that work Jimmy?) But the ship was steered out of the harbour into calmer seas and we began to enjoy deck quoits, sun recliners and taking tea with the captain.

This second phase brought us 31/33 points in 11 games with one draw to spoil a perfect passage.. We raced into third where we stayed for 18 games. But the waters were getting increasingly choppy and in the third phase we managed only 6 wins in 17. We started to lose our heads whilst all about us, Arsenal, were keeping theirs. Man the lifeboats but don't panic.

We now enter the fourth and probably final phase. 8 'winnable' games in what is probably an easier run in, on paper, than our rivals and everything to play for. Champions 'League and Wembley beckon. The well earned point against Chelsea gives us some hopes that the Good Times if not exactly leaning against the mantlepiece with a drink in their hands are at least knocking on the front door with a bottle and demanding entry to the party.

First up though is a Cup Replay against Bolton at the Lane. Home advantage may prove decisive and the fact that Fabrice Muamba has made the first vital first steps towards a remarkable recovery should reduce the emotional atmosphere of the tie and allow us to get on with the job of winning  it. Defoe,Rose, Livermore, Sandro, Cudocini,, Nelsen and anybody else found loitering on the High Road to start.
Spurs 2-0.

Against Chelsea we took the first half to have a careful look at what they had to offer. When we realised that it didn't add up to much we took them on and should have won. Though they just shaded the first half we should have gone in a goal up when Van Der Vaart surprisingly  failed to put away a clear chance in the closing minute.

In the second half Adebayor put clear by the pass of the game by Modric took the ball round Czech but under hit the shot which enabled Gary Cahill to make a lunging block. Walker too had a good opportunity but hit the side netting and Bale headed powerfully against the bar.

Mata hit the post with a free kick but that was about it from the home side apart from a couple of scary moment with Droghba and Gallas. We almost broke the Stamford Bridge hoodoo with out first win there since before the Premiership era began. But the performance in itself should restore some confidence.

Modric, Parker Bale and Adebayor all returned to something like their earlier form and with the promise of a return to fitness of Lennon 4th place if not exactly 'nailed on' seems more likely than not.Harry was more animated on the touchline and more proactive tactically too.

Sandro and Parker who played well in a more defensive role plugged the leaks freeing up Modric to do what he likes best, run with the ball. Bale was confined mainly to the left to the consternation of Bosengwa and Adebayor returned to play well up front. Third is not an impossibility.

I am a little unsure what 'nailed on' means but in any case my old woodwork teacher advised never using nails when you could use screws. Perhaps there is a lesson somewhere in there for Daniel Levy. As the Tories say 'Labour failed to fix the roof when the sun was shining' with either nails or screws.

In other words Mr. Levy improve the team even when it's doing well whenever you get the chance and use the best materials available. At least a top class striker is still needed, two if Adebayor slips from our grasp, and another keeper, under 30 if possible.There must be one or two around.

We were circled by sharks and the lifeboat sprang a leak but after two decent games we have kept our heads above water.The 'Harry for England' doldrums could be disappearing over the horizon. We are waving not drowning for the moment and there is still all to play for.

Harry and the boys have plugged the leaks and stopped the rot but vigilence is required if it is not to creep up on us again. Keep that Rentokil number handy just in case.

Video spot.
Step forward Kyle Walker who Musings feel embodies the future of the club. You wouldn't want those stary eyes bearing down on you I'm sure. Pace, power and increasingly better defending. As Harry says, 'He's learning the game'.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Why we love Luka.

 Not so much 'The Battle of Stamford Bridge'
 today as the 'Negotiated Agreement.'

 Luka went to Stamford Bridge today but came home happily with the lads on the team coach. Greg's head and mine got it spot on. A 'good draw' as they say and a more than useful point against our nearest rivals and a confidence boosting performance for our 'easy' run in.

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The Greg Meyer Column
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Saturday 24 March .. Harry's Birthday .. A Fellow Escapologist.
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Why Modric Still Has the Magic ... The Great Escape Starts at Stamford Bridge.
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The Harry birthday is none other than Harry Houdini born 138 years ago. His Degree in Advanced Escapology would suit our Harry nicely. Just lately the 2 from 8 man has become the 4 from 15 points since Newcastle.
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Next up a London derby with the mob that offered 40 Million Pounds for Luka Modric. That got our pub to thinking how our favourite Croation son has been travelling in recent times.
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Why We Love Luka..
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Late on in the Stoke game he was surrounded by three Stoke players, seemingly hemmed in on the touchline, with nowhere to go but out. But no, some exquisite ball shuffling from front to back, behind and front again, a shrug of the shoulders and yes he had performed an escape that Harry Houdini would have been proud of. Not many have that ability to even contemplate the escape let alone execute it with such style.
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Some of our pub members of the Appreciation Society looked through a replay of that Stoke game. Must be suckers for punishment says Mine host. What was the general consensus.
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Much more possession in the first half. Some typical shoulder dropping surges forward. Does anyone else have such a recogniseable drop of the shoulder. Can't think of anyone. He had two good goal scoring opportunities but fluffed both.
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Essentially most of Spurs creativity was down to him. Not exclusive but given his eye for a pass then not unaturally others look to him. What a relief to see him back in the middle. He even offered some hard defensive work. Pinched it at one stage and set off. Just later back in our area a good block.
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Not meant to be comprehensive but probably the biggest indicator of why he is such top shelf with our pub?
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Every time he takes possession the heart rate of almost every Spurs fan and lots of neutrals skips a beat in anticipation as to whats coming next.
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Why We Sometimes Have A Lovers Tiff.
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The obvious one is the leaving for Chelsea. Uncle Daniel proved an excellent gooseberry in that affair with Luka staying. To his credit , head down and on with the job for Spurs.
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Goals for Luka are as rare as Croatian chickens teeth in Kent. No shortage of chicken badge love and kisses. Stoke last game was atypical Modric. Those two misses are ones that Frank Lampard would have buried and then some.
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Corners are not a strong point either. But then he's not Pat Malone on that one at Spurs.
So the stage at Stamford Bridge is set for Our Luka to show his past suitors why he will propel Spurs on their way in a great escape from the perils of the Europa league next year.
Certainly all will be roaring him on today from a full house ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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If Spurs manage to locate the very obvious missing weapon from Stoke on Wednesday then a rare win at Chelsea looms. Yep be great to see a cutting edge appear.
Our heart says Spurs, our head says a draw, and a nervous stomach says Chelsea.
Surely our warriors can start our great escape at the Bridge today. 
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Cheers ... an expert at Great Escapes, Steve McQueen, would have been 82 today ...  Greg Meyer.                coys.

Video Spot. 
Luka Modric: When he plays well, we play well and the opposite is also true. Pass and move; slow slow, quick quick quicker. That's our boy. Sir Alec will come calling but Danny will hopefully have his 'Not today thank you' hat on.
  

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Crouch returns for sure: Berbatov to follow?


Bulgarian media confidently report
 the return of Berbatov to Spurs.


Meanwhile back in the real world Greg 'muses' on the likely outcome tonight. He assesses why Spurs will win and even why they may not. If you can read Bulgarian you will realise that the papers displayed are for illustration purposes only. Musings is as big in Bulgaria as it is everywhere else so we have to protect ourselves.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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Possibly England's Greatest Manager's Birthday .. March 21 2012.
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Why Spurs Will Win ... Why Stoke Just Might Win. .. A Very Big One at The Lane.
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We normally stay away from match previews but recent events have been unusual. Some including Benoit Assou Ekottu, might say "surreal". With the immediate danger regards Fabrice Muamba past our pub think it now decent to return to talking our favourite subject, football.
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Stoke City have the great Stanley Matthews as their legendary icon. Early on he may have been turning over in his grave given the ugly but efficient Stoke style this time in the Premier League. Slowly but surely one of Harry's best mates( how many does he have) has them playing with a little more sophistication. Mind the presence of Peter Crouch may compel the opinion that they have some way to go yet. 
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Lovely bloke, well intentioned and for someone with his head in the clouds mostly has some great football leg skill. Still our pub are glad he moved. No choice after that missed header , a Mrs Redknapp sitter, against Man City at the start of the season. He suits the direct style of Stoke and for us it means no more Exocet passes from Dawson to Crouch. Usually ended in tears anyway. 
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So after a gathering of minds and many an ale here this week ...
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Why Spurs Will Win.
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The Foy Factor.
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Not to be confused with the Woy factor. He of West Brom and touted to have the inside track for the England job. Sorry Roy but if a Scot pushes you sideways at Liverpool then Harry is not letting you in the room even.
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Not to be confused with the Sir Chris Hoy factor either. Apparently his bike and his twitter account melted after Spurs fans vented their spleen after the last Stoke vs Spurs game.
No Chris Foy is not officiating tonight.Not quite a shoot on sight policy but you gather our drift. The referee who disallowed a legitimate Adebayor goal and cocked up lots of other decisions is probably with Peter Walton on a US tour today. 
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Mike Jones will referee and do it well hopefully.
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The Class Factor .... Also Known as The Turn Up Factor.
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Purely and simply we are at the Lane. Modric,Van der Vart, Adebayor (probably), Bale,Parker,Gallas( King for Chelsea) plus Benoit, Kyle, Younes and Sandro are just that. Sheer class.
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If the Spurs that deserve to be top four play tonight then we progress a little further ahead of our neighbours who just lately have become a little noisy.
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Why Stoke Just Might Win.
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The Curse of the Returning Soldier.
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And boy haven't we got some tonight. The previously mentioned Crouch, Mathew Etherington and Winston Palatial. No real problems with Winston as I'm not sure he's scored for anybody apart from a penalty he took for us. Someone got their who takes what and when notes wrong probably.
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Throw Jonathon Woodgate , remember that League Cup goal, into the mix and you may gather the hint of nervousness here at Pub Kent.
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Set Pieces and Corners.
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Any of the above and lately do you share our trepidation. Spurs defending has gone down the plug hole. Manchester United.. corner...goal. Bolton.. corner..goal.
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Perhaps Harry has broken the practice of a lifetime and they have addressed the issue at training. Still with most time taken up on counselling and heart checks we are not sure they have had the time this week.
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Certainly the defending any time the opposition win a set piece send a collective shiver through the regulars here ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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It started as a big week and it certainly began big with the drama on Saturday. Our lawyer and all here are looking forward to a win against Stoke and a minimum result away at Chelsea.
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Just before we grab our coats breaking news in the silliest headline department.
Bulgarian media are proudly reporting Dimitar Berbatov is returning to the Lane next season. Croatian media report Luka is off to Manchester. We actually made the second bit up but as Benny of A & E says, "It's a surreal life."
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Fabrice is on the mend. lets hope Spurs are too.
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Cheers ... Brian Clough would be 77 years young today ...  Greg Meyer.  

Video Spot:
Icons we've got icons. Sir Stanley Mathews : Began and ended his career at Stoke and played at the highest level until he was 50. Between his 19 years at Stoke he played for 14 years at Blackpool. As you can see he only had one trick but if it works every time you only need the one. The only player to be Knighted whilst still playing.


            co

No excuses.

Time to step up men.
 


The JimmyG2 Column

 Nervous about tonight?  I am. Actually I'm embarrassed and nervous. In fact I am more than a little irritated, embarrassed and nervous .How could we have let it all slip away so spectacularly? Lose our fourth in a row tonight, depending on whether Chelsea and Arsenal gain points on us again and we could be bidding farewell to the hopes and dreams so brilliantly nurtured this season.

Excuses, we have plenty: uncertainty over the fate of Harry, first in court and then for the England job; the threefold  series of blips that coincided with the revival of Arsenal and Chelsea; the shock of the sudden collapse of Fabrice Muamba on the pitch at White Hart Lane and the postponement of our cup tie.

All these take their place in the catalogue of reasons why we may not be up for it tonight. Of course this is not a forgone conclusion. Firstly we haven't been playing badly, Arsenal excepted. Fabrice Muamba is making what seems to be a wonderful recovery from which our support staff  can take some credit and from which  we can all derive some hope.

There is no reason why we cannot win tonight  and put the whole recent series of episodes behind us.
Those still dreaming of finishing above third, and I mean 'dreaming' will hope that Chelsea beat Man.City. But I stopped looking up a while ago and I am now casting anxious glances over my shoulder. Come on City, and Everton, and QPR. Who would have thought that we might be worrying about Liverpool. Well me anyway.

But it's still in our hands. The Gods have stopped helping us with results and we have to do it for ourselves. We have to go onto the pitch tonight, play our best players in their most effective positions, play our football and win a football match. Simples.  Everyone but Harry seems to know what the mantra, 'best players in their best positions ' means.

 The time for experimentation, if that's what it was, is over. Van Der Vaart behind Saha, Modric and Parker in the middle and Bale on the left taking account of likely missing players.(Adabeyor and Lennon. If either is available they should at least start.) Back to basics. Quick start, early goal and grind it out if necessary.

Stoke have won once in 37 years at WHL: and lost their last 8 games in London. They are amongst the lowest scorers away from home in the league. If they win it would be their first ever league double over us. So what is there to fear except, as Roosevelt said, 'fear itself'?

Anyone who feels that they cannot face playing after Wednesday should be excused but doubts may be raised about their mental toughness. What happened  in midweek was a shock but despite all the emotional outpourings it was not 'family' and the players must get on with the job at this particularly crucial moment in our season once it has been decided that the game is going ahead.

Waving imaginary cards, diving, protesting decisions and professional fouls are not 'family' either. The family of football is a self indulgent myth and what happened against Bolton was a natural human response to a fellow human being in distress.  So no excuses, no feeling sorry for ourselves vicariously through Fabrice. Win this game and move on.

Have I convinced myself? No  of course not, but I trust that Harry has convinced the players that sick notes are just not acceptable, not from the doctor or even from your Mum. Time to step up men.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fabrice Muamba

 Musings hope for a speedy and complete recovery for Fabrice Muamba

 Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane just before half time in the cup game between Spurs and Bolton on Saturday He is still in intensive care 30 hrs after the incident having suffered a 'cardiac event'.

The swift action of the medical staff from both sides, ensured that Fabrice was given life-saving treatment at the earliest opportunity.

The referee took both teams from the pitch and the game immediately abandoned. The reaction of players, the officials, the coaching staff and fans from both sides was, as you would hope and expect, exemplary. Football rivalries were forgotten in the presence of more important considerations.

We wish Fabrice a speedy and complete recovery and send our best wishes to his family.

In 1999 Fabrice and his family re-joined his father who had fled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1994 and been granted asylum. He went to school in Walthamstow and got 10 GCSE's and three A levels despite not being able to speak English when he arrived in England at the age of 11.

He joined the Arsenal Academy in 2002, went on loan to Birmingham in 2006 and signed for Bolton in 2008 where he has made over 100 appearances.  He has represented England at every junior level and played 33 times for the U21 side.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Cup dilemma: What would Bill Nicholson do?

Here it is boys.
Just in case you've forgotten what it looks like.

Greg goes back to the past to find inspiration for the future. A St. Patrick's Day special looms and only Bolton stand between us and a Cup Semi-Final. It might just set our season back on the right course for the run in. Something needs to. Is the Cup an inspiration or a distraction? We won't have to wait long to find out.
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 The  Greg Meyer Column.
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 Saint Patrick's Eve 2012.
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 The Bill Nicholson Solution ... Extraordinary Welsh Wingers Help. . Cup Glory Beckons.
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Bill Nicholson wasn't Irish. Scarborough, Yorkshire on 26 January 1919. Still sure he might raise a glass of the brown Guiness if his beloved Spurs win another Cup game on St. Pats Day 2012.
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Benoit Assou-Ekotto,part Irish mostly Cameroonian, has been quoted lately as suggesting they are all cup finals from here.
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Just lately the man Cliff Jones, not Irish all Welsh, rates as Spurs best manager since Sir Bill one Harry Redknapp has been stumbling. Three straight losses mean the game against Bolton is much more than a must win. Did Mr. Tottenham ever face such a dilemma? Not often if at all. But even so how would he deal with it.
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Perhaps some clues can be gathered from his very famous words on various occasions.
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"If you don't have to drag yourself off the field exhausted after 90 minutes, you can't claim to have done your best."
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The effort lately from our team has been fairly full on. The Nicholson wisdom probably lies in the words" 90 minutes". Just lately Spurs have been hot and cold.
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Remember the slow start against Stevenage. The lacklustre first half against Everton. If Bolton score first at the Lane then some at our Pub fear the worst. Mind if our team adopt another "Nicholson" then have no fear.
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"Spurs have got to be the best in the land, not the second best."
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A present day translation might be along the lines of we need our confidence back. Three weeks ago we were in such a race for best in the land. Despite those three defeats Spurs form has not suddenly become awful.
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At Man City some might argue it was but several lacking inches from a tired Defoe foot. At Arsenal probably more like wheels falling off but not helped by a Manager's tactical day off. We never beat Man United and yes against Everton we did start in with key players in the wrong positions.
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A Spurs Cup favourite who will be there Saturday would probably agree regards the ill judged starting of Gareth Bale on the right against Everton. Cliff Jones was a fast,two footed , brave Welsh wizard.
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His opinion of his Welsh compatriot ...
                                                         " For me he's the best left sided player in Europe."     Daily Mail 2011.
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So surely if we start in our most successful formation, throw in a little confidence , then surely the mighty Spurs put Bolton to the sword.
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A final Nicholism during a chat with Cliff Jones after the manager was upset with his ball hogging.
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" Do you realise the ball is round? " 
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Rather than hoof Exocet missiles forward or have our improving French Centre back keep running into blind alleys ( like a lot of your work Younes) perhaps that Nicholson should be followed. It is what Spurs do best.
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Mr. Nicholson in answer to Cliff Jones puzzled look explained.
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                                                         ' The ball is round and it will roll. Try passing the thing once in a bloody while."              Mail again.
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So if our team of very skilled modern day tyros can just pick up where they left off against Newcastle then there should be a merry night ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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Harry Redknapp has his finger in a lot of pies usually associated with horses and property development. Surely not on the board at Tescos.
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Yep just a coincidence with the retail giant moving the retirement age from 65 to 67. Our recently turned 65 year old manager has been talking England again. Just the job for an older man he says.
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Our pub reckon get the job done this season and then go with our blessing and then some.
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Cheers ... hope our luck is in on Saturday as we are very fond of Guinness ... Greg Meyer.             coys.
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Video Spot.
Here's the Ricardo Villa goal in the 1981 Cup Final with commentary by the man himself.  If this doesn't get them up for tomorrow nothing will.



Monday, 12 March 2012

Moyes passes practical exam for Tottenham job.

Specsavers now favourites for Naming Rights.
It will help us retain our focus.


The JimmyG2 Column

And it was written that 'Spurs always let you down in the end'. And lo it came to pass and we were mightily let down even unto missing out on the Champions' League and doomed to wander in the
dark undergrowths of the Europa League for ever.

Can the uncertainty of the Harry for England situation really explain our loss of winning form? Are footballers so fragile that the departure of a manager, even if it is signposted in advance and an unnecessarily prolonged process turn the 'best team' in the league into a set of 'not quite at the races has beens? Apparently so, though Harry vehemently denies it.

David Moyes repeated the mantra that we are the best team to have rolled up at Goodison this season whilst quietly enjoying his team's narrow victory. If you big up your opponents it only makes your victory more remarkable I suppose. We didn't start playing until 6.30p.m.. Unfortunately Everton kicked off at 5.30. If this was Moyes' practical exam for the Tottenham job he passed it with honours .

Defoe who has scored more than any other Premiership player coming on as a substitute started the game and failed to score. Bale the most frightening and effective player on the left in the history of football played mainly on the right.

Modric the most creative central midfielder in Northern Europe played mainly out on the left hand side.
Van Der Vaart our most enterprising player didn't come on until 70 minutes had elapsed. Modric picked up immediately as he thrives on the presence of good footballers. He might have to look somewhere else to find them if this continues.

Harry says 'We battered them' and we certainly played better in the second half. But they were content to defend their lead and, until Saha came on, we didn't look like scoring. Defoe had the ball in the net but was adjudged ,correctly, offside. Would you Adam and Eve it?  But that's only half the story, the second half of the story.

Kaboul played well apart from missing his tackle on Osman and though we had five players in the area none were within 5yards of Jelavic who scored in style. Friedel had been drawn to the right hand side of his goal to narrow the angle for Osman failed to get back across and left too much of the goal vacant for the Croatian.

This was the first time that we have lost three consecutive games under Harry and it coincided with what was anticipated as a difficult period before our 'easy' run in. We still have Chelsea away to cope with, a Chelsea side that have won their last two under probably temporary caretaker Di Matteo.

The last time we lost three consecutive games it was new velour drapes for the manager and heralded the two points in eight games episode. Then cometh 'Arry and it was 'Buena Noche Senor Ramos'. At least our 8 points in the last 8 games is four times better than that.

It might be four defeats in a row after Stoke the way our good fortune cookie is crumbling. Our 18 match run in third might be coming to an end. In fact we could be down to fifth shortly behind a resurgent Arsenal and Chelsea. If Arsenal win at home against Newcastle we would have a single point lead. Come on the Toon.

People say that at the start of the season we would have sold our souls to be where we are at this moment. But that was then. Look where we were after 20 minutes of the Arsenal game. It's all been downhill since then. We can't be in freefall but we are standing still whist all below us make progress. How many consecutive blips make a disaster?

We even had difficulty getting through the Cup game at home to Stevenage. We ran out 3-1 winners thanks in part to super-sub Defoe but it was touch and go for a time. Nelsen is too old to make a schoolboy error but he certaiunly made a naive challenge when he didn't need to. We are at home to Bolton next week for a place in the semi's but need to check the kick off time if we are to be sure of progress.

So what's the winning formula? Bale on the left; Modric and Parker in the centre; Van Der Vaart to start if humanly possible; and on Saturday's performance, Saha before Defoe and Adebayor and Livermore ahead of Sandro. My MOM was Parker who was controlled and purposeful in midfield and made more runs than Modric until Van Der Vaart came on.

As Corporal Jones in Dads' Army used to say, 'Don't panic'. But I like to get my panic in early while it counts. Otherwise you miss out on a valuable opportunity to cleanse your soul of frustration anger and bewilderment. There's no point in panicking afterwards.

 Harry and the team seem to have lost their focus. There's the germ of an idea in there somewhere for a Specsavers ad.  'To stare is taboo'

Embarrassing Moment of the season so far.
Brad Friedel going up for a corner kick in the closing minutes of the game at Everton.
Rank amatuerism to which even our local youth club team wouldn't resort.

Managership prospects
Mourinho. Evens for Chelsea.Outsider for England
Harry ........Not quite the favourite for England he was. Three wins a row Hodgeson coming up fast on the rails.
Moyes.......Shortening for Spurs job.Safe pair of hands and all that.
Villas-Boas. Now favourite for Spurs...If Harry goes. Young, talented, available, something to prove, hand picked and sacked by Abramovic (always a plus on your CV)

Video Spot.
 Just for balance here is Harry's post match Everton interview. He's almost speechless and clearly not a happy man. His lawyer seems to be standing out of camera shot in case Harry boils over.If you can't take the heat Harry stay out of the England kitchen.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Villas Boas for Spurs

 Keep it simple Harry. Back to basics.
Best players in their best positions.



Greg seems to be eating to take his mind off recent events. In fact the whole of A Kent Pub seems to be joining him. Please beat Bolton, Stoke and Chelsea boys or we could have a serious obesity problem in certain areas of the South East. But, as Greg says, one game at a time.
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The Greg Meyer Column

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 March 11, 2012.
Manager Sacked ... Out Of Champions League ... So How Are Spurs Going.
We have just uncorked a fine Pinot Grigio ahead of a specially prepared Kent Pub Special Potpourrie Roast here at our Sunday team meeting. Actually more of a wind down after the events fast and furious of the last fortnight.
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We still have Harry and Chelsea now have Roberto. We never were in the Champs this year but now Arsene isn't either.. Some positives for us there. Not sure if the first is thought to be a plus by Spurs fans today. More on that later.
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Thank goodness for the FA Cup. Bet we never thought we'd say that. Only game we can win at the moment and that took two tries. Still surely two in a row at the Lane this Saturday. We need the confidence only winning can bring.
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Look as our starters of Moules Mariniere for some and Gypsy Egg saute Black Pudding for others arrives a quick look back at the fast and furious fortnight. Yep we only played the enemy at Emirates but 2 weeks ago.
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Steerage At The Lane.
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A collective groan after, was it 4 minutes, as not the quickest Centre back on the planet donated an early lead to Stevenage. Things gradually got better and a bright display by our little striker made it comforable in the end. Well comfortable for most except for ...
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A snide forward's challenge ...
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Michael Dawson at his most vulnerable receives a cunningly placed shove whilst in mid air. Our likeable lad veers off course and what would normally be a soft landing turns into a fatal collision between knee and terra firma.
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Officially ruptured ankle ligaments. Actually a very bookable and cowardly shove by the Stevenage Striker. Get well soon Daws. Why him after the achilles drama.
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Another Grigio cork heads north and as Mine host splashes the wine into waiting glasses what of another whose prospects went kerplonk this week
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Andreas Villas- Boas  For Spurs.
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Our pub has considerable sympathy for Luis Andre de Pina Cabral e Villas- Boas . 
Nothing to do with how it must have been at school with the world's longest name.
Nothing to do with his so far failed project at Chelsea. Still behind us just.
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No did seem and does still seem to have talent which might fit in at Spurs when Harry goes in June. As far as we know there is no Lampard connections, no John Terry and no senior player syndrome at Spurs unlike at Stamford Bridge.
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Surely Luka will be odds on to stay at Spurs if the manager who wooed him, albeit unsuccessfully, decides to join him at the Lane.
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Our lawyer reckons perhaps the Andre departure contract may have included a non appearance in the English Premier for at least a year.
Still with another bottle of Grigio arriving the conversation is hotting up here  ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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Everton was a hoped for point maybe three. Our pub think Harry stuffed it up.
No wonder our ever faithful away fans were chanting such tactical niceties as to where Gareth and Luka should start. For the geographically challenged, mainly from Sandhurst, its left and midddle all game every game.
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Still what a sensational cameo from Luis Saha. That name again. Our teacher reckons if Luis had started then 1-3 not unlikely given those dancing feet. Fingers crossed he stays uninjured. He may make a big impact. Not going bad so far at all.
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Dessert has arrived and not a Sticky Toffee Pudding amongst them. Understandably so says our builder.
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Our cabbie braves the Raspberry Creme Brule and firmly opines demolish Bolton, beat Stoke and then at worst draw at Chelsea...
It will be Champagne Charles Henry Redknapp back firmly on the menu.
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Cheers ... sorry but in darker or darkish times the old .. " one game at a time " .. springs to mind ... Greg Meyer.   coys  We think you can do it.
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Video Spot.
Now here's a girl that really understands the simple game and some might say the simple folk that follow it. Every home should have one. Must show it to Mrs JimmyG2 when she's in a good mood. Sometime next year hopefully. Simple food for the simple game on match days. Wouldn't go down well at A Kent Pub by the sound of it. Not sure the lads in the other room are actually watching 'soccer'.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Problems pile up for Harry.


Being Spurs Manager is not rocket science.
It's much more difficult than that.

 The JimmyG2 Column

 What's a Manager to do? You get the team up after the Rocky Horror Show at the Emirates, they play well, dominate even, and then a lapse of concentration in the dying moments of the first half and it all begins to unwind. There were no apparent lingering hangovers from last week but Bale, Parker and Van Der Vaart, three key players, were missing.

Harry selected arguably the best eleven from the players available. You can quibble whether Defoe should have played instead of Saha or more forcefully that he should have come on earlier but these are matters of opinion and Harry's opinion takes preference. It's what he gets£4 million pounds a year for..

The Defoe problem is complicated by the fact that Harry keeps praising him but not picking him and that within minutes of coming on in the 84 th minute he lazily thumped the ball into the net from the edge of the box for our consolation goal. Harry got most things right on the day given the available staff but was slow to react to adversity.

We went 2-0 down after an hour but he waited another 20 minutes before taking decisive action or any action at all. If it's not working you need to do something: Defoe, Kranjcar or Dos Santo on for Saha; Joe Jordan for Adabeyor, anything to try to change it round. It wasn't a very impressive bench but Harry put them there  so why not use them. The 'Micawber, 'Something will turn up' option didn't work on the day but it rarely does.

We were mugged once again by Sir Alex. All week he'd been paying his respects to Harry and the boys. How he must be laughing now. They ambushed us, a classic dry gulching. They let us have the ball to play with outside the box and built a solid wall 20 yds out and allowed us to run into it. Rooney was sharper than Walker for the first, Nani sharper than Modric for the second and Young, not closed down quickly enough by Kaboul, was too good for everyone for the third.

Lennon nearly unpicked the lock but for the second time one of our strikers with 24 ft of space to aim at managed to hit one of our players on the line. They must practice that skill along with kicking balls off roofs into skips and hitting the crossbar from a dead ball situation. Ekotto demonstrated that at least this last practice had not been in vain.

The resulting goal deftly taken by Adebayor was ruled out for hand-ball. It wasn't 'deliberate' but certainly helped him control the ball and was a painful but probably correct decision. And apart from a deflected shot by Livermore which De Gea saved brilliantly and another from Adebayor that's about all there is in the 'chances' file.

When a Scot starts recommending the new England Manager it's time to make an inventory of the silverware. When he starts showing respect for our title hopes you know the safe is going to be found wide open with an acrid smell of Semtex in the air.

Clutch at straws if you like. The last time we lost two in a row at the start of the season we went on an eleven game unbeaten run but it's unlikely to happen again. Achieving third place is getting harder by the game. We have lowered our sights from title challengers, to automatic Champions' League qualification, to top four, so far.

The run in with a ten point cushion which looked 'winnable' now looks more difficult and the gap is down to 4 points and we've still got Everton and Chelsea away and Stoke, themselves no pushovers, before the 'easy ' games against teams 'scrapping for their lives' as Harry says. He must have been tearing his hair out in his dignified way as Sunday's events unfolded. Problems, problems.

On Musings we got the sacking of Villas Boas spot on. What about Mourinho? The Tottenham job is not big enough for Jose unless he fancies a proper challenge. The England job might be big enough for his ego but he might enjoy rubbing Abramovich's nose in it by going back to Chelsea. That would be their 8th manager in 9 yrs, or some such, so the lawyers will probably work on the severance pay clauses first.

My guess is that he will take on Chelsea again as Harry is on a promise for the England job and the uproar if a Non Brit. was appointed would probably cause the collapse of the Wembley arch. All the other names added to the list on a day to day basis  is only an attempt to make the Harry for England 'shoo in' just a little less obvious.

Positives from the United game.
Livermore played well, not for the first time, and though we at Musings tend towards a certain degree of football snobbery there is plenty of room at The Lane for honest individuals who give their not inconsiderable all especially if they are home grown. More than just the new O'Hara in our view.
Lennon certainly stepped up and on either wing was more than a nuisance.
Ekotto. Had a good game, not only kept Nani quiet but was good going forward too.
Modric. Subdued out on the left but still ticking over enough to catch the eye. Fell asleep for the second goal.
Ledley. Another welcome appearance just to prove Musings wrong and he wasn't our worst defender.

Negatives.
Carl Walker had a 'bad day at the office' as he says himself on Twitter. Rooney stole a yard on him for the crucial first. Poor clearance for the second. But he's young and learning and embodies for us the spirit of the new Spurs.

Stevenage Replay.
On a flat pitch with home advantage: Spurs 3-0. Could be the beginning of the end of the beginning if we don't win. Odds on for Defoe to start, and probably Dawson and Nelsen with Kaboul at right back. Remember you read it here first.

So from small decisions; Defoe or Saha?  Livermore or Sandro dropped for Parker against Everton? Adebayor for Spurs at the end of the season? Giving Ledley a new contract? to bigger ones; Spurs or England? Harry's life has become interestingly problematic since winning the 'Get out of Jail ' card at Southwark Crown Court. What's a Manager to do; stick or twist? Open the box or take the money?

Whichever way you look at it our loss of momentum, two wins in seven recently, adds to the problems piling up for Mr.Redknapp. If he solves the problems at Spurs then England awaits. If not he might get the chance to continue his good work at WHL.

Video Spot.
Lennon gets the spot as a reward for his performance on Sunday. Aaron gives us the lowdown on his team-mates.