The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Lawyers examining Contract


Nothing in here about playing well Jim.
You'll have to make do with Top Four.

The JimmyG2 Column

Here's the thing. I thought I had a contract signed in blood, sweat, tears and marital disharmony forged in the white heat of enthusiasm many years ago with THFC. I would give them my undying support and they would provide lifelong pleasure and entertainment. You notice there's no promise of success even in the small print.

Now this contract allows for both sides to err from the conditions now and then and to be fair I have delivered on my side of the bargain  more than Spurs who on occasions have gone weeks, if not months, if not seasons being dour and uninteresting.

But on the whole its been a good deal honoured in intent by both sides. We started quite well but that was in the 60's when we played good stuff and delivered the silverware. The Tottenham way was born and we became a club noted for style and built a reputation for integrity and fair play.

Now It's my contention that good football leads to success most of the time, and that playing badly is not a recipe for long term achievement. . You can see where I am going with this. Would I rather we played badly and won or would I prefer to play well and lose?

Life and football are not as cut and dried as that I'm glad to say and this is a dilemma I will never actually have to face. But since you ask I prefer to play well because I firmly believe in the long term that it brings in the points and we all know what points mean. In the mean time you are both proud and entertained.

Over the past decade more or less we have played pretty well and maintained a decent level of success compared to the previous decades. But at the moment we have a conundrum. It's a period of transition with Harry sacked; our two best players lost, although we know where they are; a rejected manager installed; six new players brought in and key players absent.

We are playing well in fits and poorly in starts. Take the Southampton game. Older viewers will recognise a venerable mother-in-law joke there but I digress. Half an hour of enterprising stuff; not quite Dom Perignon but at least an amusing  Prosecco.

Lennon was buzzing; Jermain was making intelligent runs, oh yes he was; Huddlestone was calm and composed; Bale looked interested. Big Tom failed miserably with his first attempt at an incisive pass but then got his calibrations right, looked up and chipped to the far post where Bale with speed and strength headed inside the far post.

15 minutes in; let the festivities begin. Then Lennon ran 40 yds with the ball and laid a cunning pass into the path of a diagonal run by Defoe. His shot was weak but enough to beat the agonising attempts to clear and Dempsey sniffing around bundled the ball into the net. Our third goal line bundle in three games, but who's counting.

39 minutes; let riot commence. Nope and here my lawyers are re-examining the contract. Bale went missing no doubt visiting his old haunts round town; Defoe had mislaid his shooting boots and Zokora'd the TV screen high in the stands, but only three of his five offsides passed the replay test.

In the second half it was a re-run of Old Trafford, they eventually scored but once again we survived. Sandro was almost literally a brick wall, Gallas headed clear several times. On the last occasion he turned round and glared at everybody as if to say, ' Give me a hand here you guys'. Caulker was a rock and Vertonghen only went missing occasionally.

Livermore came on and couldn't decide whether he was the ghost of Scott Parker or the Terminator and laid waste to everything that moved and one or two things that didn't. Free kicks were conceded in dangerous places. It was difficult to decide once again whether this was tactical defence or Southampton reborn. I counted ten aimless punts up field, not including Friedel, but gave up at that point as I had run out of fingers.

And there's the problem. It was Tottenham Jim but not as we know it. We are up to fourth and still in all competitions; we are beset by injuries to key players and are playing our best defender out of position. We keep putting half a game or half an hour together but the hymn sheet seems to be held together with sellotape.

When we get everybody fit, which as we know you never do, everything will probably be fine. Our present position flatters us and on current performances is not sustainable. The fact that we are in the top four may persuade AVB and Levy that everything in the garden is rosy but it is clear we need more creativity in midfield and another top class striker.

Some people are never happy you will say but it depends on what makes you happy. Spurs on-song makes me happy wherever we are in the league. Now I admit to glancing at the Premiership table occasionally and getting a little glow of satisfaction but it doesn't beat the thrill of watching Spurs in full flow and there has been too little of that this season.

Video Spot: Clint Dempsey.
 Johnny on the spot. Van Der Vaart he is not but he does have that eye for goal that we have been lacking. Now you could probably make a decent case for signing my Granny in a three minute video of her best moments but it's still quite impressive. More of this Mr. Dempsey.

Friday, 26 October 2012

If Andres is happy he's too easily pleased

Maribor? Never heard of it.
 You have now.

The JimmyG2 Column

Venimus; vidimus; nos vacillavit. We came; we saw; we dithered. Any Latin scholars out there can just butt out. Not that we were actually invading  Europe as part of Julius Caesar's  attempt to take over the Western world. A task that eluded Hitler but was eventually accomplished by the European community.

We were certainly advancing on virgin territory for Spurs in Eastern Europe but the damsel survived more or less intact. We were superior in every way, including the sense of playing as if this was beneath us. We didn't appear to take the fixture seriously enough and this showed a lack of respect.

This lay entirely in the performance, not in AVB's stated attitude and in his team selection. We sleep walked into our third draw in three games and the fact that we are still in it at this stage relied almost entirely on Lazio being surprisingly held to a draw by Panathinaikos. I've always been in favour of a Greek bailout.

However when going to Slovenia, nearly a thousand miles from home on a cold Thursday night at a tight ground with fanatical supporters you have to assert your superiority not just wallow in it.

Maribor relished the occasion when alleged football royalty from the Premiership passed among them. They greeted going ahead as if water of the River Drava had be turned into wine and greeted the final whistle as if they had won the Inter Galactic Star Wars Trophy rather than getting a draw in the initial round of the Europa Cup.

Not that we didn't control the game but we could do little with our possession because we had too little guile up front and too little creativity from midfield. Huddlestone had plenty of the ball and was competent but he was too far back and I don't recall a single succesful incisive forward pass all game. His attempted tackle when they scored would have been laughable except for the consequecies.

Similarly up front, their keeper was virtually untested, our shooting was beyond poor. We scored by scambling the ball over the line when the keeper pushed the ball out to Defoe who failed to sink a chance that Sandra would have had for breakfast. Fortunately the ball arrived at the knee or shin of Sigurdsson who although he did everything to avoid scoring, failed.

Townsend who some people including me have promoted as the natural understudy for both Lennon and Bale was given his chance and frankly blew it. He is as head down as Defoe and lost possession on the half way line which eventually led to the goal.

The early half time change of Falque was positive and succesful, but I'm not joining the Falque bandwagon just yet.

Positives.

OK lets's see if we can find some.:

We are still in it thanks to Panathinaikos. The group is still open to any team that can put a couple of results together. Not us on this showing but still.

Caulker joins Vertonghen as a success story so far. He looks sounder and sounder.

Naughton looks better than Walker at the moment. I think that's a positive. He did OK. at left back.

AVB's early change was positive. Falque set up the chance for the equaliser and looked bright.

We came from behind away from home to salvage a point. It says something about something but I'm not sure exactly what.

Now I'm struggling. Another sad chapter in the AVB project but with so many players missing it's hard to lay the blame on the man unless you never liked him in the first place. Dawson succumbed to migraine before the game, I seemed to get mine after the final whistle.

AVB is on record as being 'happy' with the come-back, the fact that we have two home games to come, and the performance of Falque. Now whilst all this is true true I think he might just be clutching at straws and that behind the scenes electrical devices for removing water from follicles are being launched in all directions. I certainly hope so. If he's happy he's too easily pleased.

Adebayor was ruled out by back trouble and the conspiracy stories of a rift between him and Andres gather pace. Bale is still on paternity leave and since we thought we didn't need him anyway it was as good a time as any to allow him more time with his family.

I am not one of those that assert that if Bale wasn't ready to play then he should have sent Emma and the baby instead. I'm with Health and Safety on this one.

These are in addition to the long term wounded: Kaboul, Parker and Benny. So excuses there are many: positives there are few. The Project is misfiring at the moment although we are fifth in the Premiership. Hard to fathom really. Perhaps it's just the usual Tottenham fans over expection.
What do we want? Success. When do we want it? Now. Or sooner if possible.

Interesting facts: (Old feature revived)
Before 1920 the site of the Maribor ground had been a burial ground for many centuries and nearly was again last night.

Maribor. Second City of  Slovenia (edit) 2012 European City of Culture. 2013 European City of Youth and venue for the World Youth Chess tournament and possibly qualifiers for the knockout stage in the Europa Cup at somebody or other's expense.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Low lights of last night's game where the crowd was more interesting than the match. Sigurdsson starts and just about finishes the move for the equaliser. Don't watch their goal it will give you sleepless nights.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Money, and Crisis, Talks


Pity Gareth didn't get one this year.

The JimmyG2 Column

The main difference on Saturday against Chelsea was that they had better players on higher wages as a result  of having greater financial resources. In short, money. This is a very uneven playing field which the fair play provisions are unlikely to remedy. Once Bale and Dempsey were ruled out then the writing was on the wall. It's a bit blurred but I think it says, 'identify the key players you require and go out and buy them'.

The Chelsea attack, Torres, Hazard, Mata and Oscar cost more than the whole Tottenham squad put together. Now money can't you everything but generally it can buy you top quality equipment and ultimately success. Chelsea's new arrivals have settled in quickly and have revived Torres and allowed Mata to play to play to his full potential.

Mata, who Harry 'looked at' as he revealed on Match of the Day in a pundit performance which made Alan Shearer look like an analyst from Zonal Marking, was our chief tormentor once again. It is well documented that Cahill who scored the opener yesterday was seconds away from signing in the Summer except for the small matter of about £30 thousand pounds a week in wages.

But it's not simply about money: it's about money well spent. Sensible investment my personal financial advisor down at Cash Converters calls it. With the late withdrawal of Bale ( no innuendo intended Gareth but there's a lesson in there somewhere) and Dembele our Modric lite replacement  you had the makings of an impending disaster which we avoided with a spirited display marred by individual errors. We had chances but put most of them straight at Cech

The early signing of Sigurdsson who has yet to convince Musings which enabled us to sell Van Der Vaart looks like a bad deal at the moment. So AVB's complete restoration in everybody's eyes and especially his own failed to materialise as we went down in a performance which ultimately lacked sufficient all round quality. We conceded our first defeat at WHL to any London rival for considerably longer than you might imagine.

Cahill scored on 17 minutes with an impressive volley from a Gallas misplaced defensive header and it was not until just after half time that Willy made amends by scoring the equaliser from a Huddlestone free kick enterprisingly kept in play by that man Vertonghen. Hopes were raised when Defoe diverted a Lennon, our MOM (Tottenham Section),  mishit shot, into the net and we were ahead.

 But the good news ended there and slowly but surely with Juan  ( ' Harry had a look at me' ) Mata becoming increasingly prominent we were caught and overhauled. Mata scored twice and set up Sturridge for the fourth goal which rather flattered them.

This came as the result of Walker becoming too personally involved with Mata which left Kyle flat on his face and the goal exposed. We can all relax now because the 'accident waiting to happen'  has happened. He lacks judgment rather than confidence and a quiet spell of reflection, if Kyle Naughton or Adam Smith can step up for the next couple of games, might do him good.
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. Another candidate for a rest is Gallas who unkind supporters say was partly responsible for the first three goals and scored his first goal for Spurs with his hand. We have never been great admirers of the man and wouldn't argue too strongly against much of that. He has played well at times including last week at Old Trafford but he is inconsistent and slow. Ironically two of the main reasons why Dawson isn't playing.

 If Kyle Naughton is available next week then Vertonghen can return to his preferred position with Caulker and the Ledley King succession can begin. Lloris should start too though perhaps he should have started against Chelsea and then the Lloris/Friedel debate could have been put to rest and we could have all got on with our lives. He might have saved the first and at least flung himself at the second but let's leave the blame with Gallas.

AVB might have missed a trick in not playing Townsend as a direct replacement place for Bale. Dempsey hasn't done anything yet to suggest he can fit into anyone's shoes let alone those of Van Der Vaart. Sigurdsson flattered to deceive at Swansea and in pre-season. We can but hope that the real Gylfi stands up soon.

 He was even taken off dead ball duties by Huddlestone having failed to beat the first defender twice running. Although Gallas, it's that man again, should have scored in the opening minutes from a cunning free kick by our favourite Icelander, apart from Bjork.

 Selling our two key creative players without sufficient re-investment makes neither business nor footballing sense. Dempsey was a typical Tottenham last minute bargain bucket buy. I am not asking for the arrival  of a life-long Spurs Billionaire to save us. We don't need saving or savings. We finished in the top four last year ahead of Chelsea and our record over the past several seasons given our financial restraints has been impressive.

It wasn't lack of money that buggered us up last year. Let's do it the hard way and enjoy the achievement not just go out on a shopping spree and buy buy buy. That's not football management, that's soccer shopaholicism.

In fact we are still fifth, clear of Arsenal, Liverpool and last years high flyers Newcastle with only Everton and a single point between us and the CL places. This was our first defeat in 10 and we nearly pulled it off with five senior players missing. Kaboul, Parker, Ekotto, Bale and Dembele.

We hosted another great game for the neutrals and made first spot on MOTD. Harry agreed with himself that with this squad a top four finish is tantamount to failure. Are you listening Andres? Chelsea are a good team and are playing well.  But at full strength we would have been more than a match for them.

 Do the sums guys, you've all got enough fingers. No babies during the season. We just can't afford it.

Bale's Baby. Its a girl! But they're calling it Ryan anyway.
I think AVB has handled this very well as this game meant probably more to him than even the fans. . A tricky situation well handled once again by AVB. A  brave public face but I bet he was shattered in private. What's the Portuguese for 'Oh for fucks sake'?

Grapevine:
Ade want's out and is having talks with AVB. But as he has been injured until now and missed pre-season this is another drama got up by the press. It's a wonder the lads get any training done, they seem to spend most of their time, according to the papers, in Andres' office having crisis talks.

Strange but True (New Feature)
Spurs have played 8 games and have 14 points exactly the same as Real Madrid.

Jimmy's Video Spot;
In fairness to Kyle Walker here is 4 minutes of what he can do, has done and hopefully will do again.
Concentrate, keep cool and lay off twitter for a while.

Friday, 19 October 2012

In Defence Of John Terry By Lance Armstrong's Lawyer.


 We're just waiting on the chapters on Armstrong and Terry.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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 Friday 19 October 2012.
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 In Defence Of John Terry and Lance Armstrong.
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 John Terry is not a racist. Lance Armstrong has never tested positive for drugs. Both propositions have their adherents. The former largely consisting of fans of a certain London football club. The latter?  Well not real sure actually.
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No hang on John Terry was acquitted in a Court of law. Well what was the FA tribunal hearing/investigation all about. Oh yes seems as though he was guilty of racial abuse. But of course to your average punter what is the difference. The words used..."you f------ black c--- . " were apparently "not acceptable" according to the recent captain of England. Some might say a belated apology.
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Hang on again. Captain of the national side. Can't be such a bad chap. What a role model you say. Well we all make the odd mistake here and there. Yes I know John might have clocked up the odd clanger. Wayne who?  Yeah but that wasn't football. Nothing to do with racism there. See can't be such a bad chap.
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Besides seems he will continue as captain of the Chelsea Football Club. See told you role model was important. Yes was fined. He will probably survive after losing 2 weeks wages. He could always put up at Ashley Cole's place for a fortnight. Not sure there is room at the inn at Wayne's place.
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Anything else. Well if there are any other sanctions Chelsea are certainly not going to tell anyone. Confidential for John's eyes only it seems. Transparency a victim you say. Never. This is the club on top of the most watched and highly publicised football league in the world. Surely they have acted openly and responsibly throughout.
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Parallels to the Armstrong saga abound you cry. Never. The Armstrong affair involved systematic doping, corruption, coercion and so the list goes on. Nothing to do with racism. A role model comes crashing down . Well yes there is that. However really John Terry is no Lance Armstrong. Probably can't even ride a bike.
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The great sadness of the Armstrong headlong ( some might say hurtling) descent into oblivion is the allegations of corrupting the young, those just starting to emerge in the sport. As a role model he is no more. The picture is only going to deteriorate with allegations of perjury, no sponsors left and litigation for the return of his prize money and even his bronze Olympic medal on the horizon.
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See John Terry  is a veritable saint  or so some would have you believe ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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Speaking of defence and John Terry the good news for Spurs is his suspension for the derby. Garry Cahill a workable replacement but our pub prefer a Chelsea without Terry. No Drogba either.
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Should be a cracking game. Lets hope for a Spurs goal first up. That will keep the game open and exciting for the purists. As well it will settle pub nerves here.
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The President of the Long Ball Club colloquially known as "Hoof It Thataway." is 58 today. Happy birthday Sam Allardyce.
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Cheers ... Armstrong once described his successes as miracles following his cancer battle ... not even a miracle will save him this time  ... Greg Meyer    coys.
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 Jimmy's Video Spot:
Fed up with these two scoundrels?. Well here's some footage of a man of whom Spurs have high hopes.Terrible defending but good movement by our man. He's no Luka Modric just yet but there's a lot resting on his and Sandro's shoulders tomorrow.Time for a second Mousa.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Walcott vs Lennon. Goalkeeper Takes No Prisoners

Now you see 'em, now you don't.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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 Some Interesting Birthdays ... 16 October 2012.
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Goalkeepers Take No Prisoners  ... Lennon vs Walcott ... A Big One Coming Up.
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 Goalkeepers take no prisoners. Neither it seems do accountants. Signore Aldo Junior Simoncini trained in San Marino as a bean counter but just lately has specialised in pitchside train crashes most notably at Wembley against England on Friday last.
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 If only Theo had nodded the ball on rather than trying to loop it over the onrushing freight train then perhaps his ribs might not be bruised and temporarily battered. Even so the collision may have been inevitable. And even more inevitable a window of opportunity opened for Theo's arch rival one Aaron Lennon.
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It certainly catalysed those of our pub patrons gathered round the big screen into revisiting that ongoing debate ...
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Walcott vs Lennon.
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Lennon at 25 years is older by almost 2 years. Yes 25 years but to some at our pub he's been 21 for quite some time now. Walcott too has threatened to blossom but continues to frustrate many an Arsenal fan. Even more so given the latest debate over whether he's staying or going usually to Manchester City. Contract negotiation rumours revolve around money, his preferred position,or the proverbial lack of Arsenal silverware.
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 Of course there may also be another children's book due out which may give us a clue from the budding author. "TJ and Theo Go To Manchester."
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Lennon is out of English Jamaica by an English Irish mother raised in Leeds. Walcott was born in London but grew up in Berkshire. Given his heritage he could have played for England  .. at cricket. His grandfather is the West Indies great, Sir Clyde Walcott.
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Each has had significant bouts of injury. With Lennon it was his groin. With Walcott primarily shoulder problems. However both seem very fit and dare we say it very fast thus far this season. Of course that leads to the eternal question ...
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Who Is The Fastest.
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A straw trawl of the web by our pub accountant produced a plethora of opinions and studies. It seems Lennon was fastest with the ball and Walcott the speediest without.
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Aaron's little legs (5ft 5 in) are a familiar sight in full flight. Theo (5ft 9 in) is visibly more deceptive for obvious reasons.
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An objective pundit might say Theo has more goals in him but tends to leave the ball behind him too often on those breakneck runs. Aaron does tend to bring the ball with him and the end product has improved even this season. A manager comfortable with technique more so than the past incumbent best known for his " Just run about a bit" philosophy might have something to do with that. Surely says our lawyer not quite that simple.
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Certainly there has been a welcome hint of maturity about Lennon this season. The captains armband was worn proudly. Astute man management by AVB. We hope so.
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Walcott on the other hand is still wrestling with his Thierry Henry aspirations. His preference is forward in the middle. Monsieur Wenger does not seem to agree. There will be only one winner there then. Lennon has no such distractions.
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Look I don't think a Spurs fan would swap Aaron for Theo and I'm sure your average Gooner would prefer to persevere with Theo, hopefully beyond this season.
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Still it being the madness of the International break and given it was Paul Simon's birthday last Saturday our pub took another slant ...
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Paul Simon Says ...
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Paul and Art Garfunkel certainly are legends musically speaking. Not sure of their football leanings but surely they had Aaron and Theo in mind perhaps by extension.
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A quick look at their back catalogue reveals ...
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One Trick Pony ...
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                         equally applicable to both Aaron and Theo. Neither known for tricks but rely quite understandably on switching on the afterburners.
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Can't Run But ...
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                       as well can't pass but springs to mind . Neither known for outstanding end product although improvement from both is more threatening this season particularly.
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Slip Slidin' Away ...
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                      no comment needed ... bleedin' obvious.
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Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover ...
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                    for Aaron and Theo more likely One and Only Way to Leave your Defender. That's when the former can be forgiven for remarking to the fast receding full back ... Call me AL.
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Apologies for that last from a mob who can't wait for Saturday, yes all ...
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At A Kent Pub.
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Jermain to start. Ade to start. Seems he is back in form scoring in Africa and more important not getting shot. Yep a big one without being season defining just yet. Chelsea at the Lane on Saturday.
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Excitement building here. Only one more International to go for now. Thank goodness. As for who is at the birthday table.
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Oscar Wilde who turns 148 today would have had a succinct quote. Davina McCall is 45, not so succinct but eminently more watchable. Falcao has a birthday. Oops not the man reputably going to Chelsea in January but the Brazilian midfield maestro, also legendary for his smoking habits.
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Before we go with goalkeepers in the news surely it is Hugo Lloris France's Number one to start against Chelsea.
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 Cheers ... after all in the words of Oscar .. "Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." ... go Hugo ... Greg Meyer.   coys.

Jimmy's Video Spot: Tottenham v Chelsea
This is a previous encounter, not the last one obviously, I'm not a complete sadist.
Time stands still for the Berbatov penalty, Jenas flaps his hands and then delivers.
Woodgate is brave; Terry is not best pleased. But for Juande Ramos that was as good as it got.. Another day: another opportunity.

Monday, 15 October 2012

You couldn't make it up

Chelsea ahoy: Straighten her up now Andres
 or we'll be going back where we came from. 

The JimmyG2 Column

Just a quick round-up of ongoing news stories, rumours and total rubbish, a somewhat overlapping set of categories I'm afraid, emerging during the reality famine known as the International Break. Is it just me or do they seem longer and more frequent to you?

Benoit Assou Ekotto to Chelsea:

Well at least they didn't resort to their favourite swap scenario. Apart from the fact that Benny would seem temperamentally unsuited to life at the Bridge being a man of principal and that Chelsea have literally squillions to spend on any full back in the world. They also happen to have have a ready made replacement in the current under 21 and England left back Ryan Bertrand should Ashley fail to screw a wage increase out of Abramvo.
We rate this as: Very unlikely

Bale as bad as Suarez at diving.

Actually that should be 'as good as Suarez at diving'. But as Maloney admits he did clip our Gareth during the Scotland game this nag falls at the first fence. Not that the Welsh Wonderboy fresh from beating Scotland single-handed doesn't need to clean up his act a little. He's not diving he's taking evasive action but he would say that...
We rate this as: almost impossible

Bale to Real Madrid.

This has a little more legs, or even more little legs.. This is the advice given by Davor Sukor who is a Croatian and once a very fine player for Real Madrid and...wait for it, Arsenal. Are you getting my train of thought here? Hang on Luka I'm sending you my Manic Street Preachers albums while you wait for Gareth.
We rate this as: 'quite possible but not just yet, please God'.

Spurs to have 3 players in the England line up against Poland.

Nope I don't think so. Rooney and Welbeck will start with our man Defoe on the bench. Johnson and Milner will return despite a fine display by Lennon and Walker against San Morino. Mr Hodgson is a man that folds up his underpants every night and is therefor unlikely to do anything rash or exciting. Oh sorry. How was I to know that you did too?
Our verdict: this is a Non Starter.
 
Arsenal to pinch Leandro Daimiao in January.

After chasing him for the last 3 windows this has a sort of horrible inevitability about it. Now that Adebayor has booked his place in the Africa Cup in January we are going to be somewhat exposed in the striking department. More stark naked than exposed in fact. We judge this as:
an ill founded rumour which could just happen.

Daily Mail are warming to Spurs:

Read their interview with Ledley King and pause for thought. Interesting, touching and with no anti Tottenham agenda. It's full of quotes too which you would expect in an interview but this is the Daily Mail after all. We judge this as:
Apparently possible

Spurs v Chelsea is make or break for AVB and Spurs.

And probably Barack Obama; the Coalition,; Europe and World Peace. But I only read the first paragraph of that one. Its three points the same as any other game. It would be lovely for AVB and just in so many ways if we could win it. It would be useful for Spurs to maintain our momentum if we could win it. But make or break certainly not. We judge this:
Overblown hyperbollocks (And predict a cagey 1-1 draw)

You couldn't make it up. Oh they just did.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Just in case Chelsea are watching we conclude this silly season round up with another bit of nonsense. Benny keeps his dignity in the face of severe pressure from a Tottenham fan. Just who did he beat to get the chance to challenge Benny? And incidentally which would you rather have, £10 million or Mr. Ekotto? Not you, you fools, Tottenham.

Monday, 8 October 2012

AVB rides his luck.


 AVB is getting the hang of this handling the press thingy.
 Three ears  for Andres.

The JimmyG2 Column

It's widely known that when Napoleon was asked if he preferred courageous generals or brilliant generals, he replied neither, he preferred lucky generals. It was certainly applied to Harry who claimed to be illiterate, innumerate and a technophobe. What else other than his experience did he have?

Harry's luck eventually ran out but has he handed down his lucky rabbit's foot to 70 page dossier man Andres Villas Boas. However you can't depend on luck to survive and prosper. As R.E.Shay observed. 'Depend on the rabbit's foot if you want but remember it didn't work for the rabbit'.

Take Sunday where we had a comfortable victory over Villa to make it four in a row. It turned out to be comfortable but AVB took a risk in dropping Friedel and putting in Lloris. And at one crucial moment it could have all blown up in his face. Cue tabloid slavering and cocking their legs on their favourite tree. Their 'arbre de jour' as Hugo would put it.

Lloris threw the ball out quickly in the direction of Bale. The pass was intercepted and crossed to Benteke who with time and space put his header the wrong side of the post. That would have made it 1-0 to Villa and all hell would have been let loose on AVB for dropping good old Brad.

It might have damaged the Spurs career of Lloris and set back Spurs at a crucial time in the game. But it went wide and Hugo held his hands up to acknowledge the error and and AVB and Hugo
breathed a sigh of relief and got on with winning the game.

Where we come to lucky moment numero deux. Within minutes Defoe had shot wide again but it clipped the heel of Caulker and went into the corner of the net. Defoe on the verge of his 200th league goal was generous in awarding it to Caulker for his first Spurs strike.

So two lucky moments to set us on our way to that comfortable win. Two lucky moments for three lucky people; AVB, Caulker and Lloris. We rode our luck last week against United too in the second half where Rooney's free kick hit the post and the usually deadly Van Persie missed an easy chance.

Now I am in the 'it all evens itself out over the season' camp so I'm not too bothered that Lady Luck is wearing a Tottenham thong at the moment. She's an unreliable mistress and you have to enjoy her favours when you can. The Villa game could have drifted out in deadlock or worse if Benteke's header had gone in as it really should.

But games are composed of such moments and we should have been at least 2-0 up in the opening minutes as Bale, Defoe and Vertonghen all missed chances. It was another game of two halves but this week we came alive in the second half and played crisper, quicker football.

Lennon got on the scoresheet with a nicely taken goal and Dempsey did his best not to make it 3-0 with a header that should have gone in. Bale was unlucky with a shot deflected onto the post by Buzan. Adabeyor replaced Defoe and in a ten minute walk on demonstrated that he understands that he is part of a team and why he will be first choice as soon as he is fully fit.

The decision to drop trusty and reliable Brad seemed curious. Lloris is clearly the future but AVB had skilfully laid out the ground for retaining Friedel as the Premiership keeper. Then he turned the tables on him, Lloris and the press without warning at the swish of a cape.

So perhaps the wrong-footing of the press played a part. AVB hinted that he needed to preserve Hugo's credibility with the French manager and to get the French press of his back. He speaks several languages so he probably reads it every morning.  Perhaps he just likes not doing what people expect him to do. It keeps the team on their toes as well.

Now luck is a useful add-on to hard work but it is not a substitute as many people have said. ( The harder I work, the luckier I get. Sam Goldwyn. ) It is arguable that no-one achieves great success without it and AVB deserves a bit of breathing space after his baptism of fire at the hands of the press in his first few months at Tottenham.

We remain in fifth; a goal away from top four; four wins on the trot; 2 points per game average; the press silenced and Adebayor is back. He's a lucky boy that Andres.

Jimmy's Video Spot A fitting tribute to our speedy wingers.
 The editing is a bit irritating but you get the drift. Aaron's luck seems to be changing too. Good luck for England.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Dust to Dust: Athens to Athens.



A real tragedy for the boy Euripides, injured in training

The JimmyG2 Column

Europa Cup: Thursday. First Act of a potential Greek Tragedy.

Panathinaikos.

If ever there was a team begging to be put out of their misery Pana were it. Did we queue up excitedly vying with each other to deliver the 'coup de grace'? We did not. We were abject, lacklustre, lifeless, prosaic, uninspired, leaden and muted and my Collins Essential Thesaurus goes on for a whole lot longer than that but you get the gist.

Whatever gloss AVB puts on it: early stages, unbeaten in Europe, good away point, all to play for, blah blah blah, this performance was beyond poor. It was billed as an important game and we put out a strong team, unnecessarily strong if you have one eye on Villa on Sunday.

But we played as if we didn't care and didn't want it even as Dempsey was talking about winning the whole damn thing. We played as if we had won it before we got on the pitch. We had been told that they were a club in crises, captain sacked, abysmal performances and results so far this season. We thought that we just needed to Pass Go and collect the three points.

Now we probably need three 'Get out of Jail Free' cards to progress. We gave them more hope the longer it went on and at about the dreaded ten minutes to go mark they scored. A neat goal which both Dawson and Caulker and possibly Lloris were at fault for. But we should have been out of sight by then.Where have I read that phrase before?

Dawson had crowned his captaincy with a near post header from a Huddleston free kick, Bale had a shot well saved, a Huddleston screamer was pushed away by the keeper, Dempsey went close with a free kick but after that I'm struggling for positives in a game which we virtually dominated from the kick off especially in the first half.

When I say dominated I mean had more possession but we very slowly didn't do anything with the ball.. Vertonghen put in a shift but didn't play that well. Even Loris who made a couple of impressive catches, fumbled another couple and was completely in the dark about the intentions of Walker and Dawson on a couple of occasions.

AVB must take some of the blame for the lack of motivation and I would like to have seen Townsend start and perhaps Smith. He couldn't have done worse than Walker who has not impressed in attack or defence very often this season.

Dembele went missing, Sigurdsson was ineffective, Dempsey was almost as peripheral as Defoe who didn't have a shot on goal. Lennon flickered briefly early on and Bale though he made a couple of good runs lost interest again as the game went on.

Just as AVB and Spurs were emerging blinking into the light, up to fifth, unbeaten even now in eight games, this performance casts a shadow over the season which only a clear win at home to Aston Villa on Sunday will dispel.

The players looked tired before they even started so what condition they will be in for Sunday is anybody's guess. With any luck Adebayor will make an appearance and demonstrate how to keep the ball, a skill we sorely lack at the moment.Dawson supposedly on his best behaviour forgot himself and launched three or four aimless screamers early on.

Now I'm not one to make a mountain out of a mole-hill, well not a big mountain anyway but it's not as if this is a one off. We have played well only in short patches in games this season. A good half against Newcastle, a brilliant half against Man Utd but not a consistent whole match performance. And dropping points to late goal is becoming a nasty habit.

This time we kept up the good stuff for about three minutes at a time during the first half. Worrying signs if your not wearing your AVB tinted glasses which I might have inadvertently put on earlier in the week. Now Athens  will not prove to be  the graveyard of our hopes for the season, we are on the up even without key players like Kaboul, Parker, Adebayor and Benny.

But the win against Man.Utd.will be wasted if we don't take the points on Sunday at The Lane. But therein lies another molehill. Playing at home seems to tighten us up and until Thursday we were playing with more freedom away from the boo-boys.

I'm sure it will all be OK, won't it|? I'm just a natural born worrier.

Jimmy's Video Spot. ( Sorry about the quality but the best available)
Good near post header from Dawson from a Huddleston free kick.
Nicely weighted pass for their goal but Caulker thinks about cutting it out; Dawson thinks about bringing him down and Lloris thinks about coming a bit further out. 


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

From Turmoil to Triumph


Go on Fergie treat yourself to a new watch
 
The JimmyG2 Column


The great Alzheimer's test of the last century was,  'Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Well these days I fail that one with ease. Kennedy? Who did he play for?

The updated test for Spurs fans is 'Where were you when Tottenham beat Man. Utd at Old Trafford'. We don't need to go into all that Lineker, 23 years shtick do we? It's etched in blood on all our hearts. At last the sense of outrage at the decisions which have robbed us over the years can be packed away in the box labelled, 'Things best forgotten now that the agony is over'.

I must admit that my relief and excitement was tinged with a touch of anger at the final whistle. However did let this situation go on for so long. A whole generation of fans smarting under the insult of losing to Man. Utd. But we're over it now.

The future looks  whole lot brighter today and it began for AVB and Spurs on Saturday the 29th September 2012. We got lucky but we surely deserved it.  Vertonghen opened the scoring on 90 secs, miscontrolling the ball twice during a mazy run from left back and benefitting from a deflection. The Football Gods clearly had something different in store for us this time.

Then Bale in a Milanesque flashback ran straight through the Manchester defence following a fine tackle by Sandro, a shrewd pass by Dembele and a diagonal run by Defoe to take Evans on a wild goose chase. He scored in style with his wrong foot and Ferdinand was looking for a taxi to share with Maicon.

The third goal again featured Defoe who turned Ferdinand on the left, obeyed Bale's clear instructions of where to put the ball, his fierce shot followed which was parried into the path of Dempsey and we were 3-1 up. It had all got a bit hectic after the half time hair dryer break. They scored, we scored, then they scored again to make it 3-2. Three goals in three minutes.

We decided to call it a day with half an hour to go. High lines were abandoned, attack was forgotten and we played a training ground game of attack versus defence. At one point Friedel was the furthest man forward and by the end we had four accredited centre halves camped out on the edge of the six yard box. A tactic not for the faint-hearted, playing or watching.

But it worked. Van Persie missed a couple, but he's new and hadn't read the 'Spurs at Old Trafford'
script. Evra missed one and Rooney hit the post from a free-kick with Friedel beaten. We out muscled them in the first half and they never quite recovered. Ferdinand wished he'd stayed back in the hotel with Evra.

Fortune favoured the brave and we were brave to go at them from the start and braver still to defend a narrow lead in the second. Whether this was tactical or accidental as they came at us I'm not sure. Neither full back dropped square for the ball from Friedel and he consistently, or persistently, kicked long to no-one for 45 minutes.

However, I repeat, it worked; we got away with it. Thus were the history books updated, record books torn up and legends born. AVB, Spurs and the fans have been given a real boost to their confidence and moved from 'turmoil' to triumph. Some turmoil.

In an earlier blog my early season hope was for 13 points from the first six games and that this would put us in line for a top four challenge. Well we got 11 and are 5th. So what about the next six? This includes Chelsea at home, Man.City and Arsenal away but also Aston Villa and Wigan at home and Southampton away.

So I am hopeful of getting 12 points, three wins and three draws. This is to ignore the euphoria generated by beating United away after which you could argue that we are more or less unbeatable, but I won't. However it should put us in the top four.

So for the moment the AVB hate campaign in the Press is on hold but don't be fooled into thinking it has gone away for ever. Relax Andres for now the fans and the players have got your back

Here is my Graphic of the Day (New Feature)

League progress
League Progress 2012/13
Courtesy of Statto.com (on Football Filter)

Unbeaten in 7 in all games and three wins in the Premiership on the bounce.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
With no sense of irony Sir Alex bemoans their bad luck and the fact that there should have been enough added time to allow them to get the equaliser and the winner. The rules obviously need changing here. You've got me convinced Sir Alex declare the match null and void and award it to Man. Utd. 
The words 'Bad' and 'Loser' in that order, come to mind.