The Blog that's not always wrong.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Elephant in the Room at Spurs.

Sorry Jumbo you're standing in the way of progress.


The JimmyG2 Column
I've still got the old Jumbo my dad made out of an army blanket wrapped in what's left of a piece of flannel that I used to chew on. He was a tailor and had a tidy barrack sideline in soft toys, mainly elephants and rhinoceros because of the colour.

I say 'used to' because I don't need my childhood comfort blanket now: I support Spurs instead comfortingly the same under whichever new manager Levy appoints. Dominating but failing to win is now a basic component of our DNA .

Same old, same old or as the French more elegantly put it plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (“the more it changes, the more it's the same thing”).

Worried? Headaches? Support Tottenham and everything falls into perspective. A reassuring glimpse of the old blue and white stadium, 115 yrs old and still going strong is like meeting an old mate that owes you a drink.

The news that he has died leaves a big hole in your life and no recent Johny Come Lately's will ever fill the gap. He may be richer and always stand his round but some things and their memories are irreplaceable.

News that the new stadium will be delayed perhaps until 2020 or whenever is no surprise. We've waited for getting on for a decade for the shiny state of the art thingy that is planned to overshadow Sainsbury's.

We will appreciate it all the more for having to wait as I used to be told. Instant gratification is bad for the soul. We want a new stadium. When do we want it? Yesterday. Why do we want it? Well anyone who's anyone has got one.

The thinking is that with vastly increased match day turnover; a naming rights deal; an upgrade on the investment company that  runs us enables us punch our weight but at a higher level.

You are what you spend these days. We are the sixth biggest club in terms of spending and we finished sixth last season, are sixth as I speak and are most likely to finish sixth again this season. In the meantime the football outcomes remain the same.

Of course it's early days in the Pochettino revolution, the football against Sunderland showed quite long periods of some style. We were ahead twice and came out of the blocks in both halves with intent and pace.

Lamela and Dembele battered the woodwork; Eriksen was at the centre of things again; Lamela clearly understood the Argentinian for 'press' even if a few others didn't. But we only took a single point when we should have taken all three.

A deflected Johnson shot wiped out Chadli's opener and it was all square within five minutes. A late OG from a needless free kick took care of Eriksen's early second half goal. Late goals, conceding from set pieces, haven't they both been abolished under the new regime.

Mauricio bewailed our lack of killer instinct and any day now the phrase 'mental strength' will rear it's ugly head. However mental strength does not determine which side of the post the ball goes.

The referee allowed Clattermole and his mates to hack and chop until the 80th minute by which time it was a tad late and the damage had been done. Then he booked five of theirs and one of ours, Dier, rightly peeved at not getting a penalty.

Clattermole was expecting an England call up apparently. Presumably for the British Army Ground Clearing and Tree Felling Division and not the England football team. Lamela was particularly favoured by his attentions.

But let's not blame the ref. We had the chances and fluffed them. Adebayor could have had a couple, even so he was involved in both goals They offered little and without our help would have scored none and got nothing.

But 'twas ever thus, well at least for the past decade or so. We no longer have the R word in the back of our minds; the squad is certainly improving and most live in hope of new owners and a new stadium.

But as I tuck up in bed with Jumbo tonight I wonder if things have changed all that much. It's true that Levy hasn't bankrupted us but you can't help feeling that the Archway Engineering blockage should have been cleared by now.

If we had given them what they were asking when the gap was rumored to be £2million  we could be moving into a new Stadium 2 or 3 years ahead of even the most positive estimates. How much would that have been worth?

So plenty of positives in the long and short term but an uneasy feeling that we've seen this movie before. We know how it ends. As the picture fades and the lights come up the hero didn't get the girl
but his faithful old horse is still with him.

Actually his faithful old elephant in this case. I bow to the inevitable but I don't have to like it. Ambition gave up on me years ago.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
For those with kids or grandchildren over ten here's what replaces Bob the Builder . A Minecraft reconstruction of the iconic White Hart Lane. One to cut out and keep. Though I suspect there's no rush.


Son of the Cockerel said...

Spurs' biggest problem is that in the great postcode lottery that determined who runs where we live, we got the short straw and pulled Haringey Council out of the hat. Victoria Climbie, Baby P, Sharon Shoesmith - nothing good has ever come out of that wretched council, and it has conspired to mess up what should be the jewel in the crown of the area best described as the Aleppo of North London. If any of you have ever been to any major new stadium development in Western Europe (think Amsterdam Arena or St Jacob's Park, Basel, or the new ground being built for Olympique Lyonnaise, three I have visited recently) there is a combination of upgraded transport links, hotel, retail and industrial development - a bit like Stratford too. So it was to be with the new Spurs ground, until Haringey decided to ditch all of them and just build loads of social housing. Haringey borough consists entirely of social housing - or as it is known in Haringey, slum housing. That's because after the second world war, especially in the fifties and sixties, vast swathes of Haringey were cleared to make way for social housing built by the council, which are now all slums - you know, the type of low grade housing all around the current ground, and Haringey wants to build more. It's a great shame that the pygmies who run Haringey are so totally lacking in vision. The endless delays are more down to the incompetent council than any other source. We'll eventually get a new stadium and my guess is it will probably be decent (after all, we’re building it not Haringey), and when we play in European matches, which we surely will, all the French, German, Spanish, Belgian (etc. etc.) fans who take the rickety 25 minute train out of Liverpool Street and are greeted by the lines of police in White Hart Lane opposite the adverts for "second hand tyres £10" and will look at our newly constructed home and say "why didn't they upgrade the transport links, build a hotel that would enable the run-down industrial parks that dominate the area to attract vibrant new businesses, or put in a retail and leisure park to attract people to the area when the football isn't on? And the answer will come "this is Haringey - be grateful if they've managed to do a whole year without a defenceless child being gratuitously murdered while they watched on!"
Plus ca change...

G. A. De Forest said...

Two great articles on a subject close to one's guts if you're a Spurs fan -- from a longterm time-server on the other side of the world.

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

I have to say I was most enthused by out performance at Sunderland on Saturday. Self assured yet fragile at the same time. I didn't think we defended too badly overall, but the two goals were very poor ones to give away. Mind, Sunderland didn't put us under much pressure for long periods. Dembele was my pick, a lovely player, along with the first hour or so of Eriksen.

5th or 6th playing this type of stuff is okay for now. More worrying is the unknown of a potential takeover and the temp move to MK. Am I the only one happy to see us stay at the Lane as is?

JimmyG2 said...

You are not sir, as I imply. I am not of the if you can't beat 'em join 'em' fraternity and all that it implies. The pre-season tour of the USA is an example of where the football needs are second best to the franchise. requirements

Welcome and thankyou.

Son of the Cockerel.
Not in a position to contradict you though I did live in Haringey many years ago. Near the Ice Skating place. Probably a supermarket now.
There is a dire need for social housing in London but I take your points.
Thanks for a serious and lengthy response.

Anonymous said...

JG2, many thanks for the MINECRAFT vid, can't wait to show it to my keen SPURS 9 year old, he'll be thrilled as he loves the game, has made some amazing buildings wlong with his elder brother.

On matters football, clearly a side (yet again) in transition...glimpses of intelligent pressured football from the not so new talent who seem to be relishing life with the Pochmeister, and yet defensively we are still naive, SPURS the club that's just keeps giving....

6th, with a decent Europa & FA Cup run (SF would be nice, maybe even win the damn thing after all...), hell I'd take the League Cup or whatever they call the thing these days, would do me fine if the spirit and style continues to improve.

As for the ground, well, doing it the hard way without a sheikh or one of Putins chums around will always leave you at the mercy of the petty minded politics of the London Boroughs, who I'm sure have a lot to answer for.

I gave up my One Hotspur status this year, a combination of reduced financial means since divorce and the pain of getting to WHL from 75 miles West of it, the last 5 being the most fraught and frustrating. The transport issue is key to it being a success in my view, but I do hope to see it sometime soon.

Nice blog JG2, always a good read....

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