The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Spurs: 50 ways to leave the fans frustrated. Update.

 Number 51: Do it in style, Kyle.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Chas and Dave have got together to update the 70's Paul Simon hit '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover' with a Tottenham version called '50 ways to really frustrate your fans and make victories seem like losses'.

Now Paul actually only came up with five ways but Tottenham are much more creative than that. But not in a good way.

It's out on ' Heartbreak' Records and the release date is April 1st. Lyrics include 'Slip up at the back Jan' and 'Make a new plan, Mauricio man'.

The game against Leicester went more or less to plan. 3 points against the team at the bottom of the league. And never forget the table doesn't lie. Leicester are bottom for all sorts of reasons and will get relegated whatever Nigel Pearson says about bad luck and poor refereeing.

So an early goal and then the Spurs supporters normal fervent hope a second both by Mr. Harry Kane who makes his debut for England later in the week. Just a ten minute cameo I expect but still the best of luck to the boy.

 All this in the first 12 minutes. The first was a tap in following a corner ; the second an in-off a defender which I think has been credited to him. Now the fans could relax and enjoy the formalities. Not just the crowd unfortunately.

Clearly Nigel and Leicester hadn't read the script. Before the hour was up they were level. A quick breakaway and an unmarked defender from a corner. Items 24 and 27 on the '50 ways' Tottenham list.

But the football gods took pity on us in our despair and Harry gets his hat-trick with a cool penalty following a push on Rose in the area. With the withdrawal of Sturridge he might get 20 minutes after all.

Then Paulinho, surprisingly good, mainly due due to our low expectations, sets up Eriksen who signals the required pass but a heavy touch leads to a mix up with Schlupp and Schmeichel.The gods are still smiling and the ball ends up in the net.

 Two deflections already. What can possibly go wrong. Well here comes item 3, a complete nonsense by a defender. Not by Walker either who has sections all to himself in the 50 ways list. (45/47).

 This time it's by captain Jan Vertonghen  wherein lies another tale of woe. Keeper put in hospital by own defender within a minute of the start. Actually I think that's a new one for the list. 51 up and counting. Do it in style, Kyle.

Lloris is rumoured to be not as badly injured as first feared and should be back for the Villa game on April 11th. Number 28 on the list is injuries taking much longer than predicted to heal. Don't hold your breaths.

We play out time for a 4-3 victory. I use the word loosely. And so the saga of the Premiership top four 2014/15 goes on.  Man.Utd did themselves no harm by beating Liverpool and probably us no good either.

 On the bright side we now have five in the England squad, four of them home grown. I think getting injured playing for England is 20th on the list but as they won't get more than an hour between them we should be  OK this time out.

If you get on lads. Make Jimmy proud:
 'Play like a lion, Ryan': 'Show them who's boss, Andros'
'I'm a really big fan, Dan': 'Don't dilly dally, Harry'.
Kyle Walker: nuff said.

Incidentally No.1 on the list is out-playing the opposition and failing to put our chances away.
But we didn't do that against Leicester. We had more possession but they had more shots on target.

Which prompts the question,'Why are you shooting so badly, Chadli?'.
Jimmy's Video Spot:
The original 50 ways by Paul Simon.
Some very apt lines: 'The problem is all inside your head': 'It grieves me so to see you in such pain'
Plenty of rhythm here. Perhaps we could borrow some.
Anyway we're getting there slowly and I am a very patient supporter.

Cheer up it's not so grim, Jim.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A Smoking Gun at The Lane

 'If you can keep your head' the season is not over yet.
The Greg Meyer Column
Sir Walter Raleigh Day   20 March 2015.

A Smoking Gun at The Lane.
My most vivid memory of Leicester City , a “smoking gun “ moment,  occurred recently on Saturday 24 January at the 90th minute . Michel Vorm was left stranded staring at a smoking gun held by Jeff Shlupp. Spurs 1-Leicester 2. More properly called a “Michel Vorm “ moment.

Sir Walter Raleigh has a lot to answer for. Born in East Budleigh, Devon and apparently an adventurous sort when he turned out for ye olde Budleigh United. Budleigh have him immortalized with a Statue in the village. Very fashionable at lots of football grounds.

 British Tobacco paid for the statue and thereby hangs a tale. Sir Wal  Sailed home from Virginia on Sunday 27 July 1586 with a brand new product that was to take the world by storm. 

Before  coming home from the Colonies  Sir Walter rang  his boss in London, Sir Bob Newhart. The conversation went a little like this from Sir Bob’s end.

“ Its nutty Wal again.

   You have another winner Wal? … tobacco?  What’s tobacco Wal. A leaf … you’ve bought 80 tons of leaves.

What do you do with tobacco Wal?

 You can shred it, put it in paper, roll it up and put it between your lips. And then what Wal.

And then you set fire to it Wal.”

The cigarette was introduced to England. Smoking entered the dictionary as did smoking and guns. There is no official word on whether Michel Vorm was a smoker. Probably not given his status as an elite athlete. Still it doesn’t worry Jack Wiltshire.

 What is certain is that after the “smoking gun “ moment against Leicester he gave up . The dangers of guns, smoking and a combination of both is well documented.

Back to that moment against the Foxes. The shooter, Jeff Schlupp, prodded the ball in a gentle lob, arcing innocently towards Michel. Arriving in the “safe “ hands of our Dutch number two the watching throng then witnessed a Shane Warne nightmare.

 It may as well have been a hand grenade. Whatever the ball, hitherto harmless, squirmed slowly and horribly from the keeper’s gloves and unbelievably across the goal line. A googly. Never! They wouldn’t know how to spell cricket in the Netherlands.

Our group were devastated. It was a difficult tube ride back into London surrounded by happy Leicester fans. Consolation beckoned with a great meal at Richoux’s in Picadilly followed by the “The 39 Steps” at the nearby Criterion. But  that smoking gun moment still hurts. Out of the FA Cup.

Revenge, apparently a dish best eaten cold, looms on Saturday. New smoking regulations however won’t eradicate the prospect of another smoking gun moment at the Lane. Hugo Lloris should help there though.


The shooting star that is Harry Edward Kane of Chingford continues in the ascendancy. Our pub have run a gamut of emotions with Harry over the past  twelve months.

Early scepticism, guarded optimism, awakening belief, emerging disbelief, mounting joy and ecstacy against Arsenal. We are almost true believers. Perhaps we have become superstitious, greedy for more. I mean with no other striker on the go then the pressure on our man is enormous.

 Of course he will now score his first England goal. Just after a brace against Leicester. And won’t they believe then …

At A Kent Pub.

There was no smoking gun at Old Trafford. More like a damp squib. Our touted young guns showed some weakness. Youth is not always all. The inconsistency of form and the  inability to perform on the big stage week in week out are all part of the youthful learning curve.

Leicester at the Lane is not as big a stage. Especially when fourth spot hopes have been severely dented. Still the optimism of youth keep emerging. Nabil Bentaleb opining this week we are still in for it.

So on the day that Sir Walter was released from The Tower of London let's hope the shackles are off Spurs tomorrow.

Cheers … mind he died 2 years later .. not from smoking but the small matter of execution by beheading … Greg Meyer.     coys. 

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Bob Newhart: The tobacco sketch.
Big in the sixties and still going strong. Remind you of anything?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Spurs trying something different.

Spurs face an uphill struggle to finish
 out of the Europa places.
The JimmyG2 Column.

I well remember one of our first managers, Albert Sisyphus as I recall, who set the pattern for Spurs. Albert was an unorthodox coach who cut his teeth in the Athenian amateur league. Probably before your time.

One of his training techniques  was to get the lads to roll a giant ball up a steep incline and just as they approached the top he sounded a klaxon and they let the ball roll back down again to the bottom and started again.

Spurs still use it today. Harry showed a fondness for it the year we got robbed of the Champions' League place by Chelsea.  Mauricio seems to have adopted it too.

 It's a variation of the two steps forward, three steps back routine which Spurs have made their own over the years.

My grandfather remembers the Albert Sisyphus ball logo on the shirts in the early years before Spurs moved to the site of a chicken farm on the High Road when the cockerel logo was adopted.

We went into the Manchester Utd. game approaching the lower heights and hoped to make it three away wins in a row at Old Trafford. But the klaxon sounded at kick off  and the ball rolled back down towards the lower depths.

They out-thought us and out-fought us and in truth we were thumped. They eased up at 3-0 and we drew the second half  0-0. The game passed all our players by and once again Danny Rose was the pick of a poor bunch.

Rooney had a laugh at his own and our expense; Fellaini and Carrick ran riot almost unopposed, Fazio's ability in the air might have helped and Dier's inexperience was cruelly exposed. Dembele might usefully have started

 Lloris should not have been beaten from that angle. By this time the milk was well and truly spilled and it's no good crying now. Hugo was slow to confront Rooney neatly set up by Bentaleb for the third though Dier probably confused them both.

We sold Carrick to Utd. over 8 years ago but could still use his calm control. Kyle Walker who was wild beyond comprehension needs to take a leaf out of Carrick's autobiography 'My life as a Zen Buddhist'.

The lift that a win would have given us might have been decisive but with all our immediate rivals gaining points it looks as if the ball is firmly stuck in a Europa slot. With an 8 point gap between us and Stoke in 8th the Europa place is ours to lose.

With a full weeks rest after our last game we certainly can't blame fatigue after a midweek European game. In fact it was just like old times where we were beaten in our heads before we took the field. Still work to do Mauricio on and off the pitch.

If we beat Southampton we might make sixth but we are unlikely to finish any higher. Our moment seems to have gone for this season. Henderson's fluked rebound goal to give Liverpool victory over Swansea was an indication of the operation of the fickle finger of fate.

Can one game make this much difference? Well yes if you take account of who it was and most importantly the way we played. This was a tired performance lacking spirit from the players and imagination from the coach.

The sight of Adebayor in place of the 'injured' Soldado gives an indication of our level of  desperation. The last chance saloon banned him months ago but there he is still was propping up the bar.

With Leicester Burnley and Villa  next up things might look different in three weeks time but I somehow doubt it.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
For the first goal Carrick moves quietly into the wide open spaces of our midfield and sets up Fellaini unmarked  with a measured pass.

For the second we fail once again to clear the ball from a set piece and Carrick scores with a well placed header from the penalty spot though Dier was almost certainly fouled by Fellaini the build up.

For the third Bentaleb kindly squares the ball to Rooney; Dier mixes his feet up and Rooney makes no mistake from 6yds. Cue knockout blow.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

All change at Spurs.

Sit down; fasten your seatbelts; hold tight and keep your hands inside the car.
The JimmyG2 Column.
That's what I'm talking about. Two must win games and we won them both. Not something that Spurs can always be relied upon to do. The memory of the previous two games almost expunged.

Against both Swansea and QPR, we won by the odd goal again and gave ourselves a fright with late concessions but neither game was as close as the scorelines (3-2 and 2-1) suggest.

Against Swansea we won with goals by Chadli Mason and Townsend which meant that neither Eriksen nor Harry Kane scored which is in itself a rarity these days.

 In our last ten Premiership games one or other  have  been on the scoresheet in eight of them scoring some 14 goals  between them.

 But it was normal service resumed at QPR where Harry scored both to put himself amongst the leading Premiership marksman  ahead of his alleged rival for the England squad Charlie Austin who hit the bar when scoring might have been the simpler option.

Were you watching Roy? Actually he was and duly impressed licked his pencil and underlined our boy's name.

Let's hope though that this is not the usual Tottenham striptease act for the run in. Swansea: bra strap off the shoulder. QPR two bra straps off the shoulder. Man Utd, both straps back on, cardie and raincoat too.

We've tried the full blood transfusion approach with the Magnificent Seven. Now we're on the Pochettino Exercise and Fitness regime with small but regular infusions of young blood. It's early days but it seems to be working.

The late concessions are a worry but straight out of the Ardiles Coaching Manual. You score three we score four. It has an element of the Tottenham way about it but is not good for the supporters' nerves.

Currently only three teams have scored more than us but only five teams have conceded more. Nine of our last twelve wins were by 2-1. So it's a fine balance that Mauricio needs to address. And all in front of a world class keeper.

We have the worst goal difference of the top seven by some margin and it might be a crucial factor in the final analysis. After Man Utd at the weekend we have  a benign sequence of fixtures. Although that doesn't always work to our advantage.

Against Swansea we played pretty well with Mason and Bentaleb strong in midfield. Chadli returned to the scorers with a well taken opener  from a Danny Rose cross. Townsend used his pace to good effect to score our third with a 50yd run.

In the meantime Mason made a determined surge to score after good work by Eriksen and was amongst two or three contenders for MOM.

Old boy Gylfi inevitably scored against us to make it a nervy last ten minutes as did Sandro for QPR. You couldn't make it up.

At QPR Lloris and Kane were exceptional; Walker's brain went missing for one mad moment; Dier continues to improve; Townsend doesn't but set up Harry for a brave header for the opener.

QPR might have had a couple early on but we would still have won because that's the Spurs way these days and I'm getting used to it even if I don't enjoy it. However I'm slowly coming round to living on the edge.

Kane's second from a fine through ball chip by Mason was interesting. Against Fiorentina Chadli set off with Soldado and between them they cocked it up completely. This time Chadli looked offside and was waved away by Kane who was not.

Did Harry realise this? Did he remember the Soldado incident? Or was this a supremely confident striker saying 'It's all right Chadders : I've got this? Anyway he rounded Green and scored unaided.

Roberto please note. If you want a job doing well: do it yourself. If he ever gets another opportunity of course. This time though Chadli supplied enough width to put Green in two minds.

Can we make top four? Of course we can. Will we make top four? Who knows? Teams fighting for their lives can be difficult opponents and most of our remaining fixtures come into that category.

Leicester (H) Burnley (A) Villa (H) Hull (H) Everton (A) with Newcastle (A) and Stoke (A)with nothing much to play for. That leaves two vital clashes with rivals for top four: Man Utd (A) and Southampton ((A) and Man.City (H).

I'd take a draw in all three of these top table clashes but nothing less than a win will do in the others.The more you ponder it the better or worse it looks depending on your state of mind.

A majority of fixtures are away. It's certainly do-able but will it be done. I can certainly see 19/20 points in that lot but we might need to surprise ourselves.

10 games at two points a game would give us 70 points which might just be enough. Anything less and it's touch and go. Sit down; fasten your seat-belts; hold tight and keep your hands inside the car. Oh; and enjoy!

Jimmy's Video Spot. Goals and Highlights v QPR.
 Is Harry just supremely confident. Whatever it is he deserves his opportunity. Say what you like Emmanuel you gave him his chance and he took it.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Tottenham clear the decks.

Sinking not drowning. 
The JimmyG2 Column.
I remember Cambridge sinking in the boat race in 1978. They were still rowing even as they went under. Bit like Spurs this week. We shipped some water but like the band on the Titanic carried on playing.

We were certainly sunk but we but didn't drown. Now out of the Europa and losing in the League Cup final to Chelsea by the same score: 2-0. But Mauricio will certainly find plenty of positives to bolster his young squad.

Since his return from the Africa Cup Bentaleb has been high on most people's ratings and I made him MOM on Sunday for his strong contribution. Not bad for a 20yr. old. Thanks for something Tim.

 Ryan Mason is somewhat in his shadow at the moment having been substituted in all of his recent games. Perhaps his full bloodied tackling is taking its toll, he has a history of injuries; or just a matter of stamina. Probably just tactical.

A catalogue of avoidable errors and farcical misses did for us on Thursday although Fiorentina were better than we perhaps anticipated. We didn't just inadvertently lose the game, we gift wrapped it, put 'Fiorentina' on the tag and delivered it by hand.

Fazio and Verts. who should know better were the culprits in defence. 'Sloppy' doesn't even get close.

Soldado was hampered more than helped by Chadli's run and they contrived to miss a golden opportunity to go ahead. An in form striker wouldn't even have considered passing and Chadli's run was too narrow to give him a clear passing option.

Chelsea snuffed out our two main threats, Eriksen and Kane and though both were busy neither made much headway. Chelsea got lucky with two deflected goals but they played conservatively. If  our crew continue to pull togethe there are better days are ahead.

 Arsenal, Liverpool and Man.Utd. all winning looks to have confirmed that our bid for top four is over but the Uefa gig is ours to lose. With twelve games to go we can now concentrate on the league as they say.

It might have been different against Chelsea if Christian's free kick special had gone in but we couldn't impose ourselves in the final third and Chelsea probably had another gear. But in both games we could have gone ahead.

There's usually only one winner when youth takes on experience although as we know it's not  nailed on. Mourinho was magnanimous in victory or patronising depending on your viewpoint. Nice words about Mauricio and our young team.

It's hard to tell with Jose but we can all have our suspicions. Tactically as usual he was spot on. Identify the threats and nullify them: then hit them on the counter.

 Pochettino needs to be a little more flexible with his tactics and substitutions. He needs to respond to the situation not follow the plan.

There is no help for Harry on the horizon with Adebayor out unless he takes a wage cut and apologizes in writing, in his own blood, on that lovely creamy Basildon Bond notepaper. Do they still make it?
 Roberto is still curled up in the corner with his thumb in his mouth after his Fiorentina miss. Eriksen is playing well within himself as they say. Chadli has not recovered from his recent bereavement. Lamela still flatters to deceive and Andros just simply deceives.

Our next game tomorrow at Swansea is eminently winnable and we are approaching 'must win' territory. Gylfi has a point to prove but he couldn't could he? Go Harry go. And please don't get injured. Please.

Dave Mackay.
Died this week at 80. Fine man and wonderful player. We always seem to be looking for his like and judging our midfielders by his template.

 He was worshiped in the Derby area where Mrs.JimmyG2 comes from and I will never forget the adulation for him in the local village pub when he was a successful Derby manager in the 70's. The Burton ale flowed on a tribute night.

That Picture.

Sorry Dave I know you would have preferred to stress your more creative side but Billy Bremner certainly had it coming and could take it. Dave said he wouldn't have minded if he had kicked the other leg but not the one he had just recovered from breaking. Twice. Happy Days.

Jimmy's Video spot.
He wouldn''t like this either but it's a fitting tribute. Some say the game has lost a lot of its excitement and pine for the 'Hard Men' days. Personally I prefer the modern game despite growing up in the 60's and 70's. (All worth watching but Dave comes in around 7 minutes)

How did Chopper Harris make a career at Chelsea? Actually sounds pleased with himself. Nothing changes I suppose. I'd rather our traditions than theirs.