The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Still Waiting for Levy

What time is Daniel due?
I think Godot's bringing him.
The JimmyG2 Column.
.A Spaniard, a Dutchman and an Argentinian called in 'The Cockerel' on Tottenham High Rd. in response to a Head Chef Required notice pinned to the door.. Stop me if you've already heard it.

The Spaniard has  had many years of successful employment in some of the top establishments throughout Europe. But his habit of constantly rearranging the furniture has clearly annoyed both staff and management alike.

 His prickly temperament has led to a number of confrontations with owners and rivals and he has led a somewhat nomadic career from his early days in Spain, then to England, Italy, England again and currently Italy once more.

His academic and practical qualifications are impressive but his staying power is somewhat limited. In a 20 year career he has had 10 different jobs. Actually this may well make him suitable for the 'The Cockerel' whose high staff turnover is legendary.

His preference for allocating staff separate areas to cover rather than to personally take care of selected clientele  has also been a bone of contention. His somewhat negative and defensive attitude to running the business which smacks of recent failed managers at 'The Cockerel may' also count against him.

The Dutchman, from a well known family within the trade has had a more sparkling, widespread and successful career at a practical level than his Spanish companion but his senior management experience has been much more limited.

 Although it must be said that 'Club Ajax' where he has worked for the best part of five years  has a good reputation as a training and recruitment ground and will look impressive on his CV.

His recent decision to turn down an opportunity of a position in the North West may endear him to the High Road locals.  His fledgling managerial career has been crowned already with many honours but he does not have the width and depth of experience of at least one other candidate.

The Argentinian, has the advantage of the Dutchman in that he has recent experience in the type of  premier establishment for which currently he seeks preferment. He is younger and taller than his rivals.(Wikipedia)

He has had practical work experience in Europe and at the highest levels but again his managerial experience is limited. His preference for promoting junior colleagues may find favour amongst the regulars at 'The Cockerel' as will his more aggressive approach to customer satisfaction.

An inability to speak English has not been seen as an impediment to the careers of at least two recent employees and should not be a major stumbling block in this case.

So mine host Daniel Levy has much to ponder before appointing his 5th manager in 7 years. Experience and success against good pedigree, youth and style.

He runs a tight spreadsheet our Daniel but staff selection has not proved to be his strong suit. Whoever he chooses 'The Cockerel will survive and continue to serve its regulars

But the fare has been a little stodgy of late and there is now promise of a new and exciting chef and a more exotic menu.

 Musings has already nailed its colours to the Pochettino mast on the sound basis of hunch and ITK hints from 'The Grapevine'. But that was weeks ago. We're still waiting Mr. Levy.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Just a nudge Mr. Levy. A compilation of the best and 'sexiest' Argentinian players. We have a soft spot for Argentinians at 'The Cockerel' and I don't mean the beer garden where the sewer collapsed. Not necessarily at Head Chef level though. By the way Mauricio did not make the final cut.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Lamela's back again.

Breakfast's on the table Erik.
Your favorite. The one with the Cockerel on.  
The Greg Meyer Column.
 FA Cup Saturday 2014.

Erik Lamela's Breakfast.

The best selling breakfast cereal in Argentina is Kelloggs. Coincidentally it is likewise in the U.K. So should be no trouble for Erik to acclimatise to early mornings here in North London. Settling has apparently been a real problem. If its not the wrong curtains for the new house, then a change of managers doesn't help.
 Lo and behold an ever present injury becomes a full blown back injury. Specialists here and in Italy called to the case.

We all remember his cameo against Stoke at the Lane and the body language (universal) as he walked off. Not played since.

However perhaps matters generally, apart from breakfast cuisine are settling. We have it from the top of the breakfast table at White Hart Lane.

 "He's back."
Speaking at a Q&A with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust earlier this week Daniel Levy confirmed that our Argentinian wunderkid is back in light training after a complex back injury.

We know he's been doing unofficial light training, walking the dog on the park near his home. So this is really ramping it up.  Cannot have gone unnoticed by our Erik that the disbelieving Mr. Sherwood has also been jogged on by Mr. Levy. Certainly no Lamela fan. More good news .
He even took time out from his recuperation schedule to turn out on the pitch at White Hart Lane. His lap of honour was enthusiastically cheered by our pub going gamers before our end of season celebrations ...

At A Kent Pub.

No regrets here that Tim Sherwood's 6 month contract expired. Certainly his realisation that the break clause was an odds on certainty to be invoked explains some of his cavalier comments on a weekly basis to the press.
Some definitely had a ring of honesty but egos like Vertonghen and our pubs player of the year Hugo Lloris need to be carefully managed. In Hugo's case not so much ego but Gallic concern about a train crash waiting to happen if Tim Deadwood stayed at the wheel.

So off we go on another hunt which seemingly how many times Mr. Levy does it (and its 9 in 13 years or something) he does not seem to get much better at it.

Our lawyer and mine host plonk for Benitez. Understandable from our publican. Hospitality industry. No wonder he is sympatico with the Spanish Waiter.
Still with the way its trending for our soon to be Argentinian superstar Erik then perhaps Mauricio Pochettino originally hailing from downtown Murphy in Argentina will be a nice fit.
 No language barrier between him and Erik.

Although if Daniel Levy has his way then Mauricio will need to speak English pitchside with the press discussing the ongoing Spurs success.

Before settling down to a pint or two over a delicious pub gourmet lunch a word on the FA Cup final. Hull. However unlikely and our mob are planning on watching only up until Arsenal score the first goal.

Cheers ... it would be grand if an ex favourite son of our pub, Tom Huddleston, was on the winning side today ... Greg Meyer.     coys.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Here's four minutes of magic from the boy himself. This was last year at Roma. He's definitely got it. We need a coach now who can release it.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Here we go again.

Earwigo again*
 The JimmyG2 Column.
And so as the final whistle blows and the good ship Hotspur sinks below the Champions' League placings we bid farewell to Season 2013/14. It's definitely farewell to Tim and probably Hugo and Jan too.

Possibly Paulinho, Soldado,Sandro and Ade as well but we will have to wait for further news on all that until after the World Cup. To coin a phrase it's been a funny old season from the exit of Bale and the splurging of the money far and wide, to the sacking of AVB and the appointment of Timothy Alan Sherwood.

On the brighter side it's apparently hello to Mauricio Pochettino. (to be confirmed shortly  I'm reliably informed)  Well fairly reliably. He speaks English better than Harry and Tim but not well enough to do without an interpreter.

Some will complain that it's not on for the manager not to deal with the press personally and directly but I say good on ya fella. The press are 90% snakes and we owe them nothing. Best avoided by whatever means possible.

The sacking of AVB was hasty and surely contributed to the failure to settle of almost all our new shiny signings. Of the seven only Eriksen and from time to time Paulinho have made any effective contribution Lamela and Soldado never really got started.

Whether AVB would have improved on his points record and the style of football is a question to which there is no meaningful answer. In my optimistic way I would like to think so. Tim did better in terms of points per game and we scored more goals.

We finished sixth, one place up from where Tim started and he promoted Bentaleb for a time and Kane to the starting squad. Pritchard and Veljkovic made appearances late in the season. So plenty of positives including the resuscitation of Adebayor.

But the die was cast on his appointment with the end of season get out clause which Levy couldn't wait to evoke. He was set up to fail and duly failed by some measure or other known only to our esteemed Chairman. Top Four or bust presumably.

It was partly down to the same reason that Brian Clough and Harry never made the England job. Too gobby by half. Tim certainly lacked the experience and composure to manage a top class team but in a results business he made a good fist of getting the results in his own curious way.

Come back in ten years time Timothy and let's see where we all are. Meanwhile the next happy punter to try his luck is an Argentinian who played at international level and who did well enough at Southampton and who was well thought of in Spain at Espanyol.

Erik Lamela will be pleased anyway and might even get a game. Generally speaking we like Argentinians at Spurs but not necessarily at Managership level. I give him 18 months the average over the past 30 years and wish him well.

And here's a picture reminder of what he looked like.
( remember he'll be older now.)

If appointed, notice those weasily bloggers back covering words, he will be our third manager in a year; our fifth in seven years and our seventh in 10 years. You have been warned but no doubt the money will be a great compensation.

We went out with a hurrah against a poor Villa side and had it all wrapped up before half time. We scored in the first 15 minutes, just, for the first time this season and our lack of energy from the start of games has been a feature which inevitably gets the fans' nerves on edge. 

Pochettino favours a high pressure game with no sign of 442. This may help to get everybody's juices flowing. He also favours the introduction and promotion of youth, as indeed Tim did, and this will be a continuation of policies at Southampton who have produced several current stars including our Gareth.

Can we summarize the season in a word. Frankly no. Interesting is a good cop out word. Ultimately disappointing covers some of the ground though the sharper wits amongst you will have spotted that
that is two words. Moribund gives some its flavour; tedious too at times.

The sacking of AVB was the key moment. With no plan in place B Sherwood was an internal appointment who was cheap and available. It was cynical and sold not only the players short but the fans too. Progress at the club was virtually put on hold for the rest of the season.

Signing up to play under a young progressive thoughtful tactician is vastly different to being confronted by a rookie with attitude and a puzzling grasp of the essentials of team building and man management. He did his best certainly and only managed to upset about half the squad.

His treatment of Bentaleb is a case study. Surprisingly promoted from semi obscurity he established a role against some of the tougher opposition sides and was then ignored for the 'easier' games in the run in.

 Capoue got the cold shoulder, Soldado played well and was then dropped; Ade went off the boil but kept his place; Lennon went missing in many games but kept getting picked; Sandro was ignored even when fit until the last game. It's management Jim but not as we know it.

But he nearly pulled it off much to everyone's surprise including Dan Levy. Now we go again into the familiar world of Tottenham transition. Pochettino's early appointment would steady the ship but is hardly likely to give pause to any already determined to go or turn the heads of aspiring quality players.

Nor will it set the pulses of the fans racing though a solid case can be made. A sensible candidate but certainly not a world class name. But why would any self respecting manager  with a reputation to maintain want to come to us given Levy's impulsive trigger finger.

So there you have it, even for Spurs a dramatic season . Not far off success but once again we dig up the flower beds and replant. The estate will never mature and flourish under this kind of management.

To those that say 6th is about right given our spending budget I say what a boring bean counting world you must live in with Dan Levy for a neighbor. We need to be cleverer and more imaginative in every aspect of the game particularly recruitment and retention of players.

Perhaps some Argentinian flair on and off the field will do it. I hope so. There's that fatal four letter word again.

* Sorry about the old joke but my grandchildren thought it was 'ace'. I think that means it was good.

Jimmy's Gold Awards.
Best player..............Hugo despite a blip after a bang on the head. Formedablay.
Most improved........Kyle Naughton. Established as a squaddie if he wants it.
Least improved........Danny Rose. Bless him.
Most encouraging....Harry Kane. Touch and go whether he makes it big time. Like the boy.
Must keep...............Christian Eriksen. Make full use of him before he departs for Madrid
Most overated.........Jan 'the tortoise' Vertonghen (Smiler)
Most underated.......Michael (leave it me) Dawson.
Absent friends.........Erik and the other Kyle. Be like new signings.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The King: Nothing more to say really. Another goodbye to mark the end of an eventful season.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining at White Hart Lane.

With any luck no more Thursday nights.
The JimmyG2 column.
 The fat lady sang her heart out some weeks ago for most Spurs fans. In fact she ran through several arias and a wide selection of popular classics. However the band plays on and things went from bad to worse at West Ham.

But every cloud has a silver lining and we are now in danger of losing our Europa place to Man. Utd.. That's assuming that you are of the 'No more Thursday Nights' school of thought. Personally I'm with Bill Nick on the subject of Europe.

Losing three times to West Ham in a single season might just be as bad as it gets for Spurs fans. But for Lloris the deficit would have been a lot more.. Please stay Hugo at least you're assured of plenty of action at Spurs.

The dreadful performance, the bizarre starting line-up and strange tactics put the final nail in Tim's coffin. Siggy and Paulinho in midfield with no defensive midfield cover; Sandro as a late substitute with the game already heading down the pan.

To do what exactly?. Help bale out an already sinking ship with an iceberg sized hole below the waterline presumably. Kaboul clearly likes the water hot and the bath to himself and this is one red card that won't get rescinded.

Rose made Downing look world class and Dawson did the same for Carroll, not just in the air where he is pretty effective but on the ground too where it is generally acknowledged he is not. The inept defensive wall for the second just about summed up our season.

Senior International professionals who didn't just allow the ball to pass between them but invited it in and ushered it through. Lloris looked suitably unimpressed. You can see the Great wall of China from outer space. You could see through ours from 10 yards away.

An even more famous Jimmy remarked that 'it's a funny old game' Not in the humorous sense because there has been precious little fun to be had at Spurs this season. It's been a mess since the sacking of AVB.

Injuries and the eccentricities of Tim have put paid to the prospects of the new arrivals apart for Eriksen, who showed up belatedly against W.Ham. Chiriches on for Kaboul at the expense of Kane
showed some willingness and ability to play football.

Lennon ran about a bit but his recent form melted away. At times he makes Andros look world class too which is very difficult to do at the moment.

Well Tim is on his way to be replaced by any one of a dozen candidates. I hope that Daniel appoints early or the speculation and frustration will get completely out of hand. Anyone sensible and experienced should be able to make a decent team out of the squad that we have.

An early appointment of someone of stature might help prevent an unseemly rush for the door. I would be content if nobody left and no-one came in but that is to wish for a stability that always seems to elude us.

I think that Lloris, Vertonghen, and possibly Sandro and Paulinho will leave us in any case. Soldado will go back to Spain if he can so we will need at least one other striker. Nobody will want or can afford Ade but I would persevere with Harry Kane.

If we can get Lamela and Walker fit and back into the squad and keep Eriksen we should survive the turmoil of yet another manager. We have youngsters coming through and another season of transition is fine by me as long as progress is seen to be made.

There is a case to be made for Sherwood but it turned out to be a suitcase with a one way ticket to the lower leagues where he can learn his trade. A cynical appointment by Levy that sold not only the fans short but the new signings too.

A draw will suffice against Villa on Sunday but you wouldn't back us to secure it. The remarkable thing is that amongst all the turmoil we haven't done that badly. Under a better manager we might have done really well. Probably under AVB  as it happens.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Here's Musings tip for a second player to join Eriksen as a success story at Spurs. Vlad Chiriches. A ball playing, heart stopping defender. Actually we think that all those that stay will prove their quality next season.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Almost game over at Spurs.

Are we nearly there yet? 
The JimmyG2 Column.
 The end of the Season? Almost. And this particular destination will come as a relief to many. It seems to have been going on an awful long time. But sacking your manager before Xmas was bound to make this seem like two seasons in one.

Are we going to make our Top Four destination? Probably not though it's not mathematically impossible. (edit) Try again Jim. We can catch Everton for 5th but not Arsenal for 4th. Doh!.Have we a settled team under an established Manager? Nowhere near I'm afraid. The Transition Vision lives on at N17.

So it depends on exactly where 'there' is. In terms of meaningful progress there's little to report. So us fans in the back will have to continue to play 'I Spy' Manager; New Players arriving; Old Players departing until we get a little closer to wherever it is we're going.

'There and back to see how far it is' as mu Gran used to say. This is more a circular tour of  familiar stretches of countryside than an express coach to the high spots. Maybe the next driver will have some better ideas to keep us happy on our journey.

Meanwhile the football goes on, and on and on. Another week, another three points, another away win and according to the statistics and the man himself Tim Sherwood becomes our most successful manager ever in terms of points per game. Fact.

The word is that if Tim had kept his mouth shut and not bigged himself up and slagged off the squad to the embarrassment of all concerned he might well have kept the job, top four or not.  There is certainly a case to be made .

Tim has improved on AVB's finishing position, youngsters have been bloodied and in a sense he is no longer merely a rookie. Obnoxious and embarrassing in a sub Redknapp-lite  kind way he may be but it's a results business not a personality parade.

Of course you might say, ' it was 'only Stoke' and captain Shawcross gave us a helping hand and set his side a good example by getting himself sent off five minutes after half time for a second stupid tackle. Not that it helped us.

It seemed to disrupt whatever game plan we had. . One moment of brilliance from Adebayor and a bullet header by, I kid you not, Danny Rose and that was it more or less it for excitement. Even Christian Eriksen failed to come up to scratch this week.

 Michael Dawson returned with distinction and made several important interventions early on. Our fourteenth clean sheet while Michael has been present. Why Younis gets so much praise and Michael so little is a mystery to me.

 If the rest of the squad showed even a little of Dawson's enthusiasm, determination and a willingness to make the most of their talent the season would not be petering out in such a tedious fashion.

 Lennon, after flickering briefly of late, was awful; Harry Kane didn't even get half  a sniff of his 4 in 4 challenge Apart from Townsend coming on and getting injured and putting himself out of the World Cup there is little else to report. He may be joined on the sidelines by Kyle Walker.

So we are nearly somewhere but not quite where we wanted to be. There's always next season of course; there always is. If Liverpool can rebuild with a little patience and faith then so can we.

Next up away to West Ham on Saturday for the early kick off and Tim can perhaps restore a little dignity with a win and do his cause some more good. Possession is 9/10's of the law so they say. Two more wins and Dan Levy might have a problem.

Jimmy's interesting and possibly significant fact spot. (Old feature revived)
QPR's wage bill was higher than Athletico Madrid's.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Forget the football. The balance sheet is healthy; the new stadium is on its way;  Loius Van Gaal is to be the new coach. Cheer up the Future's bright. Well that was last week and like politics a week is a long time in football.

Then it was Tim or David Moyes; this week it's Tim or Mauricio  Pochettino, or Frank de Boer. Next week? We don't do predictions, especially about the future.