The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Vertonghen looking for exit after Norwich.


What we need is an aggressive Dutchman 
to clear up this mess.
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The JimmyG2 column.
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Norwich: Graveyard of the Stars.

The seasons over
It's time to call it a day
Chris burst Tim's pretty balloons
And they've taken the cups away

The seasons over
The floodlights flicker and dim
We danced and dreamed through the night
It seemed to be right just being with Tim.

 Now we must face up, all dreams must end
Take off your track suit, the seasons over
It's all over, my friends.

(With apologies to Comden, Green and Styne). 

We always try to be upbeat  on Musings, to find the grit in the oyster, the half eaten pork pie at the back of the fridge, the silver lining in the stormiest of clouds. But we don't shy away from ugly truths.We are not going to win the Europa and we are not going to make top four.

 The performance at Norwich brought several themes together that have been nagging away for some time. Tim is the Manager of the Mighty Spurs and has our support. The fact that he was appointed as a cheap stop-gap alternative to a properly qualified manager is beside the point.

He was invited to the party and though no-one liked him and he forgot to bring a bottle he was one of our own and we welcomed him in. He has punched above his weight as Spurs themselves have done for a decade.  As stand in DJ he started well but ran out of suitable music well before the end.

From the moment we embarked on the short term strategy of sacking even successful managers, and I include Martin Jol in this, as a short cut to the Promised Land we have shot ourselves firmly in the back of the head.

The sacking of AVB was knee jerk and amateurish and the appointment of Timothy a cynical exercise in false hopes all round. That he has almost brought it off is a shock to everyone including Mr. Levy. It has flushed out Louis Van Gaal. and Tim's survival barring miracles is doomed.

Louis and Daniel is a match made in the lower reaches of Hell and events off the field might be more exciting than those on it. An early announcement might prevent some of our players being tapped up in Brazil. I can't see Levy letting go to the extent that LVG would demand.

Norwich was a train crash at an isolated level crossing. Lennon on the left, Chadli on ahead of Eriksen, no sign of Fryers and poor displays by everyone except Lloris who was MOM by default. Bentaleb has done well, for a youth, but to keep picking him however he plays is stubborness of immense dimensions.

 Injuries have hurt us but all teams get injuries and we should have enough decent players to cope. The football has flickered from time to time mainly due to the re-emergence of Adebayor, Tim's single master-stroke, but it faded and died at Norwich.

The game was almost over before we got a shot on goal and poor control first by Dembele and then twice more by Ade  robbed us of any real chances. Soldado had a moment immediately after coming on but blazed it wide, reduced to hit and hope at the moment.

Nobody looked interested or bothered except Daws who unfortunately gets more erratic the more involved he becomes. Vertonghen is hinting that he might be off unless we make CL. which is looking a remote possibility. All four teams above us won at the weekend.

Vertonghen typifies the apparent attitude of many of the squad. 'Smiler'  hasn't added much to the gaiety of nations  or to the fortunes of Spurs lately. Too slow to be really top class, he plays as if he is doing us a favor. For the right money he can hop off.

He doesn't take any responsibility for bringing the ball out of defence which he used to do, he just passes the ball across the back line painfully slowly for Daws to deal with. He needs to have a look at himself.

Fifth would be no mean achievement after a season of turmoil but it won't save Tim's neck nor was it intended to. Tim's limitations will receive ever closer inspection and will become more apparent as the season draws to a close as will the squad's deteriorating attitude.

Are these prima donnas insulted by the appointment of rough geezer Tim. Do they not buy into or understand his vision. Does he have one? Do they fear for their World Cup hopes? All or none of the above.

It was not the fact of losing to Norwich,  that hurts but the manner of the loss and the failure of Tim to grapple with and solve the problems of selection and organisation that the season will increasingly present.

Of course the second leg on Thursday against Dnipro gives us a good opportunity to get back on some sort of track. But I said that about the Norwich game and look how well that went.

Jimmy's Video Spot. Christian Eriksen
The Forgotten man of Spurs. Didn't start either game last week and didn't even get on against Norwich. What a waste of perhaps our best creative talent.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Lamela is off.


No need. His day is coming soon.
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The Greg Meyer Column.
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 Lamela Is Off.
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The agenda, the pace, the radar and the pitch. However you call it, he has not settled yet. AVB was a slow to learn fan. Tim Sherwood has not yet bitten the Lamela bullet. Erik Lamela, an Argentine International. Soon to play seriously for Spurs surely.

It remains the most exquisite piece of skill seen at the Lane this season. Running at pace, close control, a glide by the first opponent, closing on the penalty box, a further shoulder drop and he's past the next obstacle, a sublime caress over the ball with his left foot, too much for the next opponent and little option to bring him down for the penalty.
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 Erik Lamela against FC Sheriff. Comments flowed from hardened and long time Spurs fans. The best piece of individual skill seen at the Lane for years. Seems an eternity ago.

 Eric the Enigma and Other Conspiracy Theories.

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He arrived with considerable baggage most notably the tag of Tottenham's most expensive signing by a long way. Soldado signed for 13 million rising to 26 million. Hows Bobby gone ... hmm. Erik just 21 years old but seemingly with the world before him.
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 A part of an Argentinian side that includes Messi, Palacio, Higuin and Lavezzi as part of the forward squad. Some competition for a 21 year old.

 The early days seemed to be ease him in gently. Albeit after that stand out game against FC Sheriff and with Newcastle in the Premier up next, Andre Villas Boas chose not to start him. The conspiracy lot would point to Andre's excessive caution. Fair point and in Andre's case a fatal one.

 To quote a Tottenham fan great...

                                               deliberately sabotaged by AVB

                                               needs time to settle

                                               needs to build up core strength

                                               needs a run of games to show his obvious wares.
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 So is there any credence there. I mean Nabil Bentaleb came in and despite some poor moments does seem to have settled and improved. Mind no baggage, Bentaleb who? Still not the hardest area to settle in. The backwards, sideways and occasional frontwards pass sector. At least Nabil has started going forwards more. Leave the Dnipro game aside .. oops there's that word again.
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 The settling in period for Erik was difficult. No english skills and according to the tabloids trouble with his curtains. More serious was the kidnapping of his brother Axel in South America on his the eve of his home debut for Spurs.
Erik. His last game was Stoke and he threatened to look good in a cameo. Before that Fulham very good and Southampton was also a good game. I well remember the final whistle at Stoke. Erik was in possession, whistle blew and he kicked the ball away in Argentinian disgust. Walked directly off, alone and if body language means anything then not a happy bunny.
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 Thereafter the conspiracy theorists have had a field day. Injury, agent organising a move back to Italy,denied emphatically by brother Brian on Twitter, complete silence from the club, little comment from the new English manager, loan deal to Italy, not known to the new manager, mind Capoue had a similar problem ( got through that one... speaks pidgen cockney and Tim got the message), and just lately an injury threatening to keep him out for at least another month.
 The good news is the continued faith in Erik by the faithful. Yes there are the doubters and the knockers but the overwhelming majoritory are prepared to give youth a chance.
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 It may be hope springing eternal, it may be sentiment but our pub just think when the dust settles we do have a superstar in and on the wings. He may not be teachers pet a la Bentaleb but we are right behind him here ...
 At A Kent Pub.
 Enjoying the results under Tim Sherwood, Cups aside. Enjoying the more expansive football. So why this nagging feeling that he is not quite a Spurs Manager. Our fervent hope is fourth and yes keep the job for another season.
 Hard to get entirely enthused about the Europa. At least the plane was not shot down en route to a war zone. Still the football did not excite..

                       " I sometimes wonder which would be nicer- a game without an interval, or an interval without a game."   apologies to Ernest Newman.
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 Just about sums up the Dnipro game. Norwich tomorrow, a swansong for a former Spurs full back great? How we could do with him now on the left.
 Back to the birthday table. George Washington, Bruce Forsythe,and Chris Moyles all have anniversaries. Our favourite is Niki Lauda. The man James Hunt so famously duelled with.
 Cheers .. a win tomorrow continues an improbable quest for fourth ... Greg Meyer.    coys.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
3minutes 37 seconds of quality from the boy Erik at Roma. Same as Soldado, you don't become a poor player from one season to the next. Needs a run in the team as soon as he's fit ahead of Lennon, Townsend, Chadli and Siggy. Oi Sherwood, you listening?
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Friday, 21 February 2014

Soldado to stay.

 Man of the Match, Brad Friedel,
 responds to suggestions that he should retire.

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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 If we were trying to impress Koloyanko we went about it completely the wrong way. His agent is checking  the flights to Liverpool airport as we speak. He was the best player on the pitch except for Brad who had a 25 year start.

It didn't really  go according to plan whatever the plan was. They were livelier, more solid, robust and quicker than we anticipated although these allegedly makeweight sides always are. Like fine wines we didn't travel well and we will have to play a lot better to overcome the goal deficit at The Lane.

Let's not begrudge Juande Ramos his temporary triumph. His line that Levy is more interested in running a successful business rather than creating a winning team has the ring of truth and AVB might well agree with him. But he who laughs last Senor Ramos.

The pitch as Timothy says was diabolical but as is the custom both sides played on it. Soldado who played well overall and showed some class touches missed the proverbial  'My missis could have scored that' sitter.

It's not the first time he's shanked a chance inside the six yard area but it's coming as a volley which was deflected wide showed. Pity about the close range miss but he played with confidence and skill.

Of the rest Paulinho was the pick until Eriksen came on. The rest can fight amongst themselves for the accolade of least worst. Townsend was a one man disaster zone and he can only hope that Roy wasn't watching. Bentaleb had his worst game under Timothy but he was no worse than many others.

Of the seniors Vertonghen played as if he would rather be doing something different somewhere else and ineptly conceded the penalty. Capoue was all over the place so perhaps Tim was right in the first place. If Chadli had come off after 15 minutes he would have been MOM by a mile.

This was not our strongest squad, a sub standard pitch, a nearly 4000 mile round trip, but we showed little quality and even less 'upforitness'. When your best player is a 42 year old veteran it tells a depressing story. Watch and learn young Archer, watch and learn.

A long way to go to get beat as I said to my brother who was on a seniors cricket tour in Sri Lanka. Three crushing defeats and saved by a downpour in the final game. No such luck for Spurs. Tim has yet to win a Cup game since he took over. Curious.

On Sunday we might knock another nail in Chris Hughton's coffin and quickly have the chance to right the wrongs of Thursday night. By this time next week it could be all smiles again. Enjoy it while you can Juande. I fully expect us to win both but we will have to up our game considerably.

The inclusion of all or most of Ade, Kaboul, Dembele, Lloris, Eriksen and Walker unless some of their niggles persist will change not just the personnel but the attitude and focus too. So what we have here is just the normal Tottenham blip folks, nothing to see here. Move on.

On Sunday could the real Totenham stand up please.Townsend, Lennon or Chadli? Or none of the above? Above my pay grade. Oi Sherwood sort it.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Roberto Soldado. Form/Class. Say no more. Need to go on a goalscoring spree Bobby to scotch those Soldado to Athletico rumours.Will he stay? No question and he will start scoring goals quite soon.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Spurs go over the top

 Careless talk costs lives.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Whisper it quietly, the Spurs brigades have dug in on the outskirts of Topfourville and are reconnoitring the territory to plan their next advance. The ground immediately ahead looks friendly enough but after that the terrain gets more difficult.

We have advance intelligence that an outfit, aptly named The Gunners, may come calling but their firepower is much reduced of late. The Battles of Stamford Bridge and Anfield could well be decisive although our reserve battalions are reporting back for duty for the final advance

In recent skirmishes we've confined out our only German connection to barracks in Fulham and with a mighty combination of the French, the Belgians and the English, are confronting the forces of evil on a nationwide scale.

You will have to ignore for a moment a couple or three South Americans, a Spaniard and a man from Togo. They speak French there anyway so I'm drafting him in. The current goal celebration, a military salute, of top scorer Adebayor plays nicely into out theme as does the late appearance at Newcastle of Bobby (soldier) Soldado.

As Tim says it's a results business and the results have been beyond Levy's and most of us fans wildest expectations. The carpet bombing of Newcastle to the tune of 4-0 is the kind of result that settles almost all arguments. Flexibility, imagination, and a starting eleven which apart from Lennon chimed with the opinions of nearly all  the Armchair Generals.

Adebayor and Bentaleb, both newly recruited by Field Marshall Sherwood starred along with Hugo now thankfully fully recovered from head injuries suffered in the line of duty. all were mentioned in despatches.

Hugo is making me forget why we are supposed to hate the French. Even Chadli (Belgium) got on and scored a direct hit from range. In fact we had more Frenchmen in the ranks than Newcastle which is a distinct turnaround.

Capoue (French) featured amongst them and looked pretty capoueble to me. Adjutant Les Ferdinand's defensive theories seem to have been spiked and 442 full frontal assaults abandoned, for the moment at least.

So flexibility on all fronts. Tim is certainly studying his maps and charts and the rigidity which did for AVB (Portugal) has been replaced by a much more flexible approach. A pity Liverpool won with a late assault at Fulham or our cup would have been as overflowing as the rivers of Southern England.

Timothy has clearly been studying the Military Manuals including that of Dale Carnegie's book from the early years of the last century, 'How to win friends and influence people',  and putting it to good effect.

 From Billie No Mates just a few weeks ago he is now more popular than Napoleon at the height of his powers. But remember he got the Elba in the end. Sorry.

The football was better too though Newcastle were a sorry mess and on a definite slide. But playing poorly and winning was replaced by playing pretty well and handing out something of a thumping. We will be lucky to hold onto Tim at the end of his current posting at this rate.

The big event was the return of Younis Kaboul (French) and he survived in some style for 85 minutes longer than I had forecast. Bentaleb (born in France to Algerian parents) who has ruined my nationality thesis by choosing Algeria over France for the World Cup played well in a more attacking midfield role.

Dembele( Belgium) on the right of a front three, played well until wounded. Just a flesh wound we think. No official news but a 'groin' according to commentator Tony Gale. This set up meant Lennon (GB) playing on the left which is not his best position but he did have a pot shot deflected onto the post.

The main difference from the earlier game was the complete collapse in the performance of Krul the Newcastle keeper. He more or less defied the laws of gravity and physics at WHL but he handed us the first three goals by treating the ball like a hand grenade.

Adebayor gratefully accepted two and Paulinho was quick to seize on another error. Serious thoughts of top four have returned but we have to sort out our base camp defences if we are to have any real hopes. The Gunners stalled again but 4th place at their expense is probably a dream too far.

Dnipro next Thursday.
 The footballing fates decree that Tim must face Juande Ramos in the Europa. He has many interesting things to say about his time at Spurs.

 Mainly that the club was more interested in making money as a well run business than securing players that fitted his plan to make us a successful football club on the pitch.

AVB might say the same over the sale of Modric and Bale and the failure to secure his nominated auxiliary reserve, Moutinho . Many fans have leveled the same charges against DL and there is a ring of truth mixed in with the sour grapes.

So all quiet on the 'Sherwood out' front; we are making a determined push for the Champions' League making successful sorties from our base camp on Tottenham High Rd; confidently crossing  hostile No Mans Land and establishing a bridgehead on the very edge of Championsleaguesville.

But at this stage I would be happier if we made this an underground, fifth placed column strategy. Let the forces above discount our chances and write off our efforts. Then we can slip under the barbed wire and blow them away before they realise we are there.

Softly softly does it. Play up the Europa phony war manoeuvres, we have two expeditions either side of the Norwich engagement and let the other combatants tear each other apart. Whatever you do don't mention the war.

Jimmy's Video spot.
Fawlty Towers. This is exactly what I don't mean. Don't draw attention to yourselves. Get your heads down, sneak out of the changing rooms under cover of night and creep up on them. Bayonets at the ready. They don't like it up 'em

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Spurs lose their Tottenham Way.

 Tottenham Way?
Think they demolished it years ago love.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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 Play poorly and win. Spurs purists eat your heart out. It's not a choice of course. How do you set up a team to play poorly? Buy inferior players I suppose but we haven't taken that route. It's the old hoary false dichotomy question 'which would you rather: play well and lose; play poorly and win?

Over the long term, say half a season , playing with pace and invention, passing accurately and moving into space, push and run in its modern guise, will get you more points than misplacing passes, failing to close down the opposition, playing at snail's pace and generally being inept.

 Kyle Walker says that under Tim we have got back to playing the Tottenham Way. Now I like the boy and he will make us a pile of money when he finally moves on but he's too young to remember the 'Tottenham Way' and all the old videos must have finally worn out.

If that was the Tottenham way on Sunday my name's not JimmyG2. We gave them a 20 minute start once again during which time Osman alone had four shots and only Hugo's vigilance kept us at the party. After that they were the better team in midfield but actually put little goal threat together.

We won because Ade put away our only chance in the first hour, following quick thinking by Walker. Not a sentence I've ever put together before. The boy's quick but not in every department.

 Defoe doubled our shots on target with a farewell strike when he had two colleagues better placed. 'Plus ca change; plus c'est la meme chose' as Hugo remarked. He didn't even have time to put in a trademark offside just for old times sake. We may see him again anyway.

If I were Tim I'd check those starting blocks for superglue.You can't argue with the stats. We are 3rd in a league table based on the games since Tim took over from AVB. But the football is almost as uninspiring as it was under the previous regime. Almost.

Tim's inexperience shows when he says he can't work out why we start so slowly and on the back foot. He claims the team is under orders to get cracking from the get go. With such a varied international squad something must be getting lost in translation.

Tim left the ineffective and frankly uninterested Lennon on and substituted Eriksen who was at least trying to get involved. I would think that now that Townsend is recovered he will replace Aaron quite shortly. But the opening half hour malaise is still the most worrying problem.

Everton could well have done a City on us or do what Liverpool inflicted on Arsenal and be out of sight in the first half hour. Perhaps its the classic old 'keep it tight for the first 15 minutes' ploy and then gradually increase the pressure.

But even Tim must have grown out of that one especially having watched how unsuccessful it was under AVB. You hand the initiative to the opposition and good teams will destroy you. Everton might well have been two up quite quickly.

Mediocre teams will gain confidence and begin to think, 'We can do this'. They have time to refuel the bus and repaint the bays in the bus park. It doesn't do us fans any favours either. There's nothing like a quick goal to settle the nerves.

Capoue eventually got on and was within a gnat's whisker of conceding a penalty for a rash challenge. But we survived and won. Credit Tim in the end I suppose. If he could only give his half time harangue before the game things might get off to a better start.

Injury Update:
Chiriches out for six weeks. Kaboul only lasts 20 minutes. Vertonghen slowly recovering. Good job we've got Mr. Reliable, Michael Dawson. Oh and a good job we kept Capoue as he can play there too.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
'Look at life' from the early 60's. Featuring The Mighty Spurs.
Here you go Kyle best I can do. Spurs feature from one and a half minutes in. Nostalgia? Musings does good nostalgia. 'Some of these players are worth tens of thousands of pounds'.  Health and Safety should have a look at the benches in that Gym.

Look carefully I'm probably in there somewhere. I was too young for a flat cap.

Monday, 3 February 2014

No tea party for Spurs.


Good afternoon Vicar.
What do mean get yer kit on? 
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 You will have noticed that no ITK's are injured or even slightly maimed in the writing of Spurs Musings. Similarly we try to avoid completely invented fantasy press reports of swoops, meltdowns on or off the pitch, training ground bust ups, or reports of the progress of a new stadium at White Hart Lane and other unlikely occurrences.

So we just note with a wry smile the Daily Mirror suggestions that Levy is already tired of his latest managerial appointment on the grounds of Tim's abrasiveness and continuing selection of an inexperienced youth player ahead of more experienced recent signings.

That he has Louis Van Gaal lined up as a replacement after the world Cup is the sickest of sick jokes.  Firstly even after the limp draw at Hull Tim's record is probably beyond Levy's wildest imaginings and he clearly knows nothing about the Dutchman's history and attitudes.

The man's middle name is whatever the Dutch for 'abrasive' might be; his style confrontational and his promotion of youth players at Barcelona a standout feature of his approach. So not only is Tim 'Harry Lite' but 'Van Gaal Lite' too. An interesting mixture.

The imposition of a club style as at Ajax, Barcelona and currently Arsenal sounds like an idea whose time has come back into fashion to me. If it recaptured the Glory Glory days of pass and move, push and run,with the addition of pressing from the front then bring it on.

Anyway we have even more pressing issues at the present time. We turned up late again on Saturday but only twenty minutes this week. A goal down to an enterprising link up between Jelavic and Long, Hull's new strike force. Neither of whom would get anywhere our first team.

They caught out the ever present Dawson and the newly returned Vertonghen with only 12 minutes played. Walker wandering back from somewhere or other made a half hearted attempt to bring Shane Long down but thought better of it and he scored with aplomb, as they say in all the best Soccer Journals.

 After that we more or less bossed the game and Tim pronounced himself disappointed but judged that there was no danger of us losing the game. I'm with him on the first part but part company with him on the second.

Once again we relied on a midfielder scoring for the equaliser, this time another returnee Paulinho with a sharp finish from a Danny Rose pass or shot, just as I was beginning to fear the worst. A couple of openings and chances is not good enough for top four aspirants against Hull who had lost their last four games.

Lennon was again completely ineffective; Soldado was found wanting and Bentaleb straight back on his bike after falling off against City was as good as many and better than most. Adabeyor worked his socks off and was my MOM by default.

With Kaboul on the bench and others not far off there is no need to despair or panic. However we seem to be turning up to a Vicarage tea party with the prospect of Guess Teddies Name; How many Sweets in the Jar', and a gentle 'Crossbar Challenge' and are shocked to find we are involved in a full blown Premiership match.

'Important point at the end of the season' says Tim, I doubt that too. Arrogance, fatigue, confusion: you choose. Van Gaal has plenty of the first. And he would certainly cast out the others but in the meant-time there's the rest of the season to get through.

It might get worse before it gets better but it won't get that bad. Thursday nights loom but that means plenty of games to keep the whole squad happy, whoever's left after the next great clear out and inevitable change of manager of course.

Jaded and cynical moi? Well a little although I should be used to it by now. Yet another season or two of turmoil and transition before another splurge of spending when we sell whichever star captures someone's eye. Sandro, Lloris, Lamela, Soldado, Vertonghen, Walker: any or all of the above.

I thought I might just live to see us win the league and/or build a new stadium but it's going to be a damn close run thing for either by the looks of it.We need gel and lashings of it to make the wait attractive and interesting but I'm not holding my breath. Not at my age.

Jimmy's Video Spot: The lost sheep returns, the Prodigal son comes back. Sherwood's Resurrection Man.
Recent videos and with AVB in happier times.