Monday, December 31, 2007

Preview for Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur

New Year's Day and Spurs have a late kick-off at Villa Park. The match is on live television but Spurs record for televised League games this season is poor - they still await their first win, achieving only two draws from eight matches.

Earlier in the season Aston Villa were invited guests to Spurs’ 125th Anniversary celebrations and they did their best to spoil the party. Spurs defence had obviously been enjoying the party before the game as they presented Villa with the goals to take a 4 – 1 second half lead. Only a magnificent comeback with Younis Kaboul scoring an added time equaliser lifted the gloom that had descended on White Hart Lane.

That game was one of the many as everyone awaited the outcome of the Jol leaving saga. He has now gone and Spurs are showing improvement under Juande Ramos, although the schoolboy defending returned on Saturday against Reading.

Aston Villa are currently 7th in the Premier League, nine points ahead of Spurs. Their home record is identical to that of Spurs, five wins, one draw and losing on four occasions which should give Spurs some hope.

Martin O’Neill, as always, has turned Villa into a hard-working team which will compete throughout the ninety minutes and never know when they’re beaten, as illustrated in their 4 – 4 draw at Chelsea on Boxing Day. Their strike force of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Joey Carew will give Spurs’ suspect defence problems but while Villa have an experienced defence they too can concede goals.

Carson, in goal, will be trying to show that he deserved his chance for England and Curtis Davies has replaced the suspended Zat Knight, while Melberg and Laursen (no goals for him this time) bring the experience. In midfield, Reo-Coker has settled well after his summer signing from West Ham, playing alongside Gareth Barry. On the left Young is proving very dangerous and Chimbonda will have to be alert defensively throughout the game.

Spurs’ recent record at Villa Park shows one win in the last six games. They won 1-0 in January, 2003 and the last two games have ended 1 – 1.

Last 6 games at Villa Park:
December, 2001: Draw 1 – 1 Ferdinand
January, 2003: Won 1 – 0 Sheringham
May, 2004: Lost 0 – 1
November, 2004: Lost 0 – 1
September, 2005: Draw 1 – 1 Defoe
October, 2006: Draw 1 – 1 Opp. o.g.

There has been a missed penalty in both of the last two games. In 2005 Defoe missed for Spurs and last year Davenport was sent off, Angel missed the penalty and then immediately scored the own goal for Spurs. It was Barry who retrieved the situation for Villa with a long range shot cutting in from the left on his weaker right foot.

At the moment, every match is a ‘must-win’ game for Spurs if they are to make up for the early season failings. It would be a good game for Spurs to win, maintaining their momentum and progress while denting Villa’s hopes.

Many will be calling for Defoe to start ahead of Keane but I would expect to see Keane taking his usual place alongside Berbatov. In defence, King’s presence, if fit, would bring some much needed composure to those around him and with the commitment and effort that Ramos demands, a win is a possibility, if Berbatov can show the application and goal-scoring ability displayed on Saturday.

A Spurs win would bring a very happy New Year to all Spurs’ fans around the world.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Ramos - Tactical Genius or Lucky Manager?


Finding his team a goal down early in the second half, Juande Ramos took off central defender Ledley King and replaced him with striker Jermain Defoe. For the next ten minutes Reading spurned numerous opportunities to add to Spurs’ grief as the home side’s makeshift three man defence struggled to come to terms with their manager’s new tactical plan. Many a manager would have seen his team go under but Spurs somehow survived the Reading onslaught and equalised with Berbatov’s second goal of the game.

More inept defending from a corner, that was three goals conceded from set-pieces, and Spurs were behind again. Almost immediately Berbatov completed his hat-trick to keep Spurs alive in the game, a lovely goal from a corner when he got between two defenders and turned and passed the ball into the net.

More mayhem in the Spurs defence as Reading counterattacked to take the lead for the third time. Surely, Spurs couldn’t make another comeback. This time Steed Malbranque provided the goal to the delight and amazement of every Spurs supporter.

Was it going to be another 4 – 4 draw like the Villa game? No – Defoe scored from the rebound after Robbie Keane, previously so composed and assured with penalties, missed his second penalty in a week.

Up steps the manager to remove Keane and replace him with Teemu Tainio and resort to a back four defensive formation again. Berbatov scored his fourth to make victory secure and Spurs moved ahead of Reading in the league table.

The players showed admirable fighting qualities and endeavour to come back in a game that at one point looked lost as the defence struggled with any Reading attack and especially their set piece play from free-kicks and corners.

Ledley King looked bemused when taken off and many fans were equally confused. It makes sense to treat King carefully as he returns from injury but taking off the club’s best defender when a goal down looked foolhardy and the next twenty minutes of defensive frailties only added to that opinion. However, Spurs striking qualities and Dimitar Berbatov kept Spurs going to eventually achieve victory.

Ramos has shown in earlier games that he is willing to make substitutions in an effort to turn a game around and it worked to admirable effect against Reading. In previous games it also had the desired result where a nervy Kaboul was replaced with a more attack minded player in order to take the game to the opposition.

Are such moves the ideas of a tactical genius or is he a lucky manager?

Whatever your views, Juande Ramos is a brave manager – he has been prepared to make changes in an effort to win games rather than settle for a draw. Such dramatic changes won’t be successful every week so Ramos and Gus Poyet will be only too aware that their first priority must be to strengthen and steady the defence. The transfer window will give them the opportunity to add to that area and from a sound defensive base Ramos will hope that Spurs’ attacking options will continue to flourish.

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'There's Only One Robbie Keane!'

Robbie Keane – Top Scorer in 2007

Six goals against Reading and the club’s leading scorer for the calendar year of 2007 doesn’t get on the score sheet, in fact, he misses a penalty at 4 – 4 but sees Jermain Defoe save his blushes as he heads in the rebound. He is then substituted as the team wins 6-4.

That sums up the enigma that is Robbie Keane. Love him or loathe him, as some Spurs fans do, you have to acknowledge that he has an instinct for goals and frequently goals of the spectacular variety.

Robbie Keane joined Tottenham in August, 2002 from Leeds United for £7 million as his former club slipped into financial ruin. Only turned 22 years of age, Keane had also played for Wolves, Coventry and Inter Milan. At the time there was newspaper talk that the signing was controversial due to a difference in view between the manager, Glenn Hoddle, and the Director of Football, David Pleat. Pleat was reported to be in favour of the signing while Hoddle was opposed to it, a view which could be supported as the manager left his new signing on the bench for the next game at Fulham which they lost from a winning position.

Keane made his debut in a 3-2 home win over West Ham United and scored his first goal for the club in an away win at Blackburn three weeks later. He has now scored 98 goals for Spurs in all competitions and his second goal against Fulham on Boxing Day was his 100th Premier League goal, making him the thirteenth player to achieve that milestone.

Keane has developed his game to become creator as well as goal scorer and has developed a great understanding with Dimitar Berbatov as shown by the cross that led to the Bulgarian scoring the first goal against Reading. He also won the penalty which led to Spurs going ahead. Until the past week Keane had been so reliable and shown such composure when taking penalties, able to focus on the task and exclude all distractions from the opposition. He had previously only missed one penalty for Spurs, saved by Spurs now reserve keeper, Ben Alnwick, when he was playing for Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

Keane has shown great commitment to Spurs and has been the leading scorer for a number of seasons and even when omitted from the team, he has battled back into contention. Able to play a variety of roles he has also combined well with other strike partners, Teddy Sheringham, Fredi Kanoute and Defoe.

For the early part of last season, manager Martin Jol rotated Keane and Defoe with Berbatov but eventually sided with Keane who could provide greater support to midfield as he often came to collect the ball before moving forward in attack. On occasions this was a fault in his play as when Spurs were under pressure Keane came further and further back leaving Berbatov isolated and Spurs brought more pressure on themselves.

Keane has many memorable goals – hat-tricks against Wolves and Everton, his juggling goal against Blackburn Rovers and the super strikes against Fulham in the Cup and in Europe. One other memorable moment was his dribbling and bamboozling of the Chelsea full back, leaving him on the ground, as he tricked his way up the line to eventually set up Aaron Lennon for the winner at White Hart Lane in November, 2006.

Martin Jol showed great faith in Keane, making him vice-captain, and he has accepted the responsibility as he did when appointed captain for the Ireland team. He is now their leading international goal scorer.

This past year, 2007, has seen Robbie Keane score 31 goals in all competitions, 19 of which were in the Premier League from 32 appearances, keeping him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (18 goals from 31 appearances) and other strikers including Benni McCarthy, Carlos Tevez, Yukubu, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

Last year started slowly for Keane who didn’t start a game in January and his first League goals didn’t come until late February when he scored two against Bolton Wanderers but was then sent off before half-time for handling the ball on the line following a corner. In his final seven League games of the season he scored nine goals and after a slow start to this season he scored another ten, bringing his total to nineteen.

To date, fourteen players have scored one hundred or more goals for Spurs, Robbie Keane is about to join that elite group headed by Jimmy Greaves. Given his age and continued good form and avoiding injury, Keane could very quickly move well up that list.

Hopefully, Robbie Keane will continue to head Spurs’ goal scoring lists as the club move forward to claim some long awaited silverware.





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Sunday, December 30, 2007

‘All Hail King Berbatov!’

Dimitar Berbatov reminded Spurs’ fans of why they so loved him last season. In the enthralling encounter with Reading at White Hart Lane he scored four goals to ensure Spurs took the three points in a 6 – 4 victory that took them ahead of Reading and in to twelfth place in the Premier League table.

The match had started so well for Spurs with Berbatov’s first goal giving them a sixth minute lead as he scored from Keane’s well placed cross.

Spurs’ defensive frailties then came into play as Reading equalised following a free-kick after a quarter of an hour. Level at half-time, no-one realised the late Christmas cracker that was to be served up after the interval.

Further defensive woes saw Reading go ahead from a corner and have chances to increase their lead. Berbatov kept Spurs alive when he levelled the score with a powerful shot when a cross from the right fell to him, only for Reading to regain the lead from another corner. Berbatov responded again with his hat-trick scoring a lovely goal from a corner as he got between two defenders and carefully stroked the ball into the net.

Spurs fell behind again as Reading scored on the break. This time it was Steed Malbranque who rifled in a shot to bring the score to 4 – 4. So much excitement as every attack seemed to bring a goal.

Spurs weren’t satisfied and when awarded a penalty for a foul on Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe headed the rebound home after Keane missed his second penalty in a week.

To make the victory safe, Dimitar Berbatov powered past a Reading defender to smash home his fourth and Spurs’s sixth for a win that had seemed improbable less than thirty minutes earlier.

Berbatov the enigma showed all his goal scoring prowess and was a constant threat to the Reading defence. Over the past months as Spurs’ season has struggled along, many have criticised Berbatov for his seeming disinterest and lethargic approach, convinced that he was wanting away to Manchester United or some other big club. However, against Reading, he responded in the most positive of ways and reminded Spurs of why they need him to stay and be part of the team that Juande Ramos is building at Tottenham.


‘All Hail King Berbatov!’


For the Record:


Spurs last Premier League hat-trick:
Jermain Defoe – 18th December, 2004 v Southampton Won 5 - 1

Last Player to score 4 League goals:
Jurgen Klinsmann – 2nd May, 1998 v Wimbledon Won 6 - 2

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ramos’ Early Shoots of Recovery

In the Express of Saturday, 15th December, Harry Harris’s assessment of Juande Ramos’s first weeks at Tottenham read,

‘There looks to be little difference since Ramos took over from Jol.
Tottenham still cannot defend, especially from set-pieces. They are still missing inspirational skipper Ledley King, Dimitar Berbatov remains an enigma, hankering for Manchester United, and I don’t buy his denials.
There is no sign, yet, of Ramos sorting out his four strikers or that troublesome defence.
Tottenham might have won a couple more matches, but they are marginally worse under Ramos than when Dutchman Jol was in charge!’

Now many of you will decry such comments and heap abuse on their author but for my part on that Saturday morning, I would have said that they were a fairly accurate and fair analysis of the past six weeks – Ramos still had a lot to prove.

However, by Saturday afternoon that view was starting to change. In the game against Portsmouth there was a clear indication that Ramos and Gus Poyet were beginning to have an influence on the team. Where previously they would have gone back into their shell in an attempt to hold what they had, now they were much more positive. There was a greater composure about their game and they looked more comfortable, even in defence and with a makeshift defence at that.

Such composure carried itself into the Carling Cup game where they started confidently and positively. The early goal from Defoe helped to build that confidence but even when faced with adversity through the loss of Zokora, they didn’t panic but worked together, competed and frustrated Manchester City who had ten straight home wins to their credit. For seventy minutes they battled to ensure qualification for the semi-finals.

Individual players are showing greater confidence - Robinson, Jenas, Malbranque and Lennon, but all are working for the team and in a positive way.

Ramos was fortunate that his early games were a comfortable introduction into the Premier League. They provided him with a sequence of fairly winnable games, that the team would probably have reaped reward from whoever was manager but two away wins at teams sitting in fourth and seventh places in the Premier League is an early glimmer of the progress that is being sought under Ramos.

Now, he couldn't fashion three points at the Emirates last Saturday, that was too much to expect and we really would have thought he was a miracle worker. However, he saw his team produce a performance worthy of the three points and if Robbie Keane hadn't unexpectedly missed from the penalty spot, it could have been so different.

On Boxing Day, Spurs over ran a poor Fulham team, scoring five, with Keane and Tom Huddlestone both scoring two. Jermain Defoe scored a late fifth. With Ledley King's return and the new manager having an increasing influence, Spurs' fortunes are looking up.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ramos Proves Jol’s Case


Ramos Proves Jol's Case
[first posted on Topspurs.com]

The final weeks of Martin Jol’s tenure as manager of Spurs brought much vitriolic criticism of him and the team as messageboard fanatics came alive as a consequence of the team’s failure to add to their August success over Derby County.

The fanatics’ unreasonable criticism, apart from calling for Jol’s dismissal, poured blame on Paul Robinson for every goal that was conceded and called him the worst Spurs’ goalkeeper ever, called as usual for the removal of another of Jol’s ‘favourites’, Robbie Keane to be replaced by Jermain Defoe, called Dimitar Berbatov moody and lazy and a hundred and one other names, never wanted to see Jemaine Jenas pull on the Spurs’ shirt again and so it went on. Also the ‘experts’ wanted to see the Adel Taarabt and Kevin Prince-Boateng selected and despite their lack of experience these young players were seen as the ‘saviours’ of the team.

Such over the top criticism was unnecessary and way off beam.

To regard Robinson as Spurs’ worst ever goalkeeper – you either haven’t supported the club very long or you have a very short memory when in the past we have had to endure such goalkeepers as Mark Kendall and Bobby Mimms. The calls for Cerny to replace him were based on adequate performances in pre-season friendlies and early Cup games. However, when he met with the high pressure games at Newcastle and against Getafe, he was less impressive and failed to suggest he was the answer to the ‘supposed’ goalkeeping crisis. Such was an indication as to why Jol persevered with Robinson who was low on confidence behind a defence lacking an experienced leader.

On his arrival Ramos tried out a few players and then for the game against Wigan, a must win match, he selected his strongest available team.

How disappointed the Jol critics must have been – he selected the exact same team that Martin Jol would have selected – the team that Jol regarded as his best formation for most of last season (Kaboul apart) – Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Kaboul, Lee, Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque, Berbatov and Keane.

Perhaps Martin Jol actually knew what he was doing and what his best team was. I’m sure Jol felt vindicated when he saw that team selection – ‘his’ team was going out to play Wigan at White Hart Lane.

Then, of course, Jenas received plaudits for his two goal performance – ‘Ramos has got him playing well’ was the general opinion. Jenas has always been capable of performances like that in games when Spurs have been given plenty of space and time to display their skills – remember his Cup performance against Southend last season, his goal against Derby in August and many others. When Jenas puts in performances like that on a regular basis and against Arsenal, Chelsea or United, then will be the time to praise Ramos and Poyet for the influence they have had on the player.

Berbatov finally managed to show some interest and produce a performance akin to last season. Perhaps Ramos got through to him or perhaps it was his agent who had a word in his ear about trying to impress possible suitors.

Why did Ramos persist with Robbie Keane instead of Defoe – perhaps he saw, as Jol had done, that the team needed him to be creator as well as scorer and put in the extra work supporting the midfield.

Having watched the 125th Anniversary match against Aston Villa again, the performance against Wigan was similar to that earlier game but Wigan were unable to punish the defensive mistakes that Spurs made while Villa took advantage of every one of them.

In time Ramos will have a great influence on the team to get them playing in his way but for the present while the players will be putting in that extra effort to impress the new manager, Martin Jol can take some satisfaction that it was ‘his’ team that beat Wigan at White Hart Lane to bring Spurs three vital points.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jimmy Robertson - Unique at Tottenham Hotspur

Jimmy Robertson
This arose as a question on the COYS message board earlier today.


Which player who has played for both Spurs and Arsenal in a North London derby has scored for both clubs? - only one player has achieved this feat!

An update: (26th February, 2012) On this day, Jimmy Robertson lost his unique position in Tottenham history as Emmanuel Adebayor scored for Tottenham against Arsenal to add to his many goals scored against Spurs. (Read more)

Over Spurs' 125 years history there are only a small number of players who have played for both clubs and transfers between the two North London clubs are rare.

However, only one player has managed to score for both clubs in a North London derby and it was Jimmy Robertson.

He joined Spurs from St Mirren in 1963 and was a member of Spurs FA Cup winning team in 1967, scoring in the Final against Chelsea.

His goal for Spurs against Arsenal was in the 3-1 home win in October, 1964, the other goals scored by Jimmy Greaves and Frank Saul.

He was transferred to Arsenal in October, 1968, in exchange for David Jenkins - not one of manager Bill Nicholson's best transfer deals. Jenkins made only a few appearances for Spurs while Robertson played for Arsenal for two seasons before moving on to Ipswich Town and Stoke City.

His goal for Arsenal against Spurs was at Highbury in September, 1969 when Spurs won 3-2 with goals from Alan Gilzean, John Pratt and Martin Chivers.

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From Hero to Zero in 50 Weeks


[first posted on Topspurs.com]

Martin Jol took charge of Spurs on 5th November, 2004 following the unexpected departure of Jacques Santini and two years later on 5th November, 2006 his team recorded the most impressive victory of his time as manager and raised expectations around White Hart Lane.

In his first full season in charge Martin Jol’s Spurs had finished fifth and only missed out on fourth place and the Champions League on the final day of the season when ‘Lasagnegate’ struck down many of the players before their game against West Ham at Upton Park. In reality, if Spurs had managed to resolve a persistent problem through the season of conceding injury time goals they would have been comfortable in the Champions League spot, ahead of Arsenal, well before the final game of the season.

However, throughout Jol’s time at White Hart Lane while his team had made steady progress they were unable to make an impression on the ‘top 4’ sides. Their best efforts had always fallen short – a draw or undeserving single goal defeat being the best they could achieve for all their endeavours.

So, their victory over Chelsea at White Hart Lane on 5th November, 2006 was so satisfying and a worthy reward for all the effort and the previous missed opportunities. It was taken as an indication that they had finally broken the Chelsea and ‘top 4’ hoodoo and would be a challenge to the top sides in the major competitions. Coming from a goal down, the win had been achieved with Spurs young ‘for the future’ players playing a prominent part – Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon scoring the important goals. The tension throughout the final minutes was unbearable as Spurs held on to record victory and ‘Martin Jol’s Blue and White Army’ reverberated from all sides of the ground. The players and manager were being lauded as heroes and optimism was high among many supporters that finally Spurs had found a manager who could take the club on to greater things and follow in the footsteps of Bill Nicholson and Keith Burkinshaw.

It was looking good for Jol and Spurs – he had a good array of international players and the team were starting to play more attractive football with Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane developing an understanding as strikers while the English strength in the team was prominent – Robinson, King, Dawson, Jenas, Lennon and Defoe. Following on from that win the team put together an impressive run of results through to the end of the year in League, Carling Cup and UEFA competition.

The climax of the season saw Spurs again claim fifth place in the League and a second season in the UEFA Cup. Martin Jol had achieved Spurs’ best back to back League finishes for twenty four years.

However, in the months from November to May questions had arisen about Martin Jol’s ability to take Spurs on to the next level which was seen as gaining a Champions League place and again it centred on his team’s performances and ability to take on and beat the top sides.

The first query arose when Spurs faced Liverpool at home in the final game of 2006. Having made White Hart Lane almost fortress-like with a good run of results and only one home defeat all season, Spurs succumbed rather timidly to a Liverpool side who showed greater determination and endeavour – it was a disappointing way to end 2006, a year which had seen Spurs make so much progress.

The next two months saw a downward turn in Spurs’ form – no League wins and only Cup success to keep the spirits up but defeat to Arsenal in the semi-final of the Carling Cup was another bitter disappointment. The ‘young’ Arsenal side had been two down in the first leg at White Hart Lane and Spurs seemed in a strong position but two second half goals for the visitors turned the tie and greatly increased Spurs’ difficulties for the second leg. Injury to Berbatov during the game had affected Spurs’ play and his unavailability for the second leg along with Lennon increased their problems. Eventual defeat in extra time left Spurs looking to the other Cups in hope of success.

A defeat at home in the League to Manchester United by four goals again raised doubts and rumours suggested that if Spurs lost their FA Cup tie at Fulham, then Spurs could be looking for a new manager. However, somewhat unexpectedly Spurs turned on an exciting display of football to win 4-0 and the manager was reprieved for the meantime.

The next meeting with a ‘top 4’ team saw Spurs visit Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup. At half-time Spurs were leading by two goals (3-1) and a semi-final place seemed a possibility. However, a determined Chelsea fight back saw them equalise and take the tie to White Hart Lane where they brought more heartache to the Spurs’ faithful.

The final disappointment came in the UEFA Cup where Spurs were undone in Sevilla by the award of an unwarranted penalty which gifted the home team an equaliser, enabling them to bring a one goal advantage to the second leg. However, within seven minutes the tie was effectively over as Juande Ramos’ side scored twice and although Spurs mounted a second half comeback to earn a draw, they had once again fallen short against a top side in a critical game.

Having qualified for Europe for a second season, any doubts about the manager seemed to be have been set aside during the summer as £40 million was spent on strengthening the team and many commentators were predicting a season which would see Spurs challenging for a top for place and even ousting Arsenal from that top group.

However, after opening the season with two uninspiring defeats, the concerns about the manager were brought into the public domain when directors of the club were seen in a hotel in Sevilla courting the manager of the UEFA Cup winners. Denials and statements were issued, Martin Jol was assured there was nothing sinister in the meeting and that his position was safe but the matter was never resolved and wouldn’t go away.

From that time in August Martin Jol knew that his days as Spurs’ manager were numbered. The players knew it, the supporters knew and with continuing media speculation on the back of poor results it was only a matter of time.

That time came fifty weeks after Jol was being hailed a hero following his side’s first success against a ‘top 4’ side and the first League victory over Chelsea since 1990. The match against Getafe in the UEFA Cup which had brought such exciting football to White Hart Lane last season, was the background to the manager’s departure. Rumours had circulated on the internet before the game that this was going to happen and during the match the spectators became aware of the situation and responded with a constant roar of support and appreciation for Martin Jol.

The deed has been done and it could have been handled so much better but while Juande Ramos has been installed as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Martin Jol deserves credit for what he achieved at the club. He brought the club a respect that had long been missing from Tottenham Hotspur and he achieved more than any of his immediate predecessors and qualification for two successive UEFA Cup campaigns.

However, nothing is assured in football. Last year on the strength of that win over Chelsea it appeared that Martin Jol would be in post for a considerable period of time but in fact for Jol it went from ‘hero to zero’ and the dole in only fifty weeks.





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The Undermining of Martin Jol at Spurs

[first posted on Topspurs.com]

Martin Jol started out with the ambition of emulating the success achieved by the great Bill Nicholson but ended up joining the long line of managers who have failed to bring success to White Hart Lane. His final match against Getafe in the UEFA Cup ended in defeat but in spite of everything Martin Jol left Tottenham Hotspur with dignity and honour.

It was a sad and disappointing way for the manager to leave the club after he had done so much to lift Spurs from the mediocrity that had preceded his almost three years in charge. To finish fifth for two consecutive seasons was way beyond anything that his immediate predecessors had achieved but it wasn’t enough for the Board or some of the more demanding supporters. His target for the season had been to break into the top four and the Champions League positions with his ‘card’ had been clearly marked by the Chairman, Daniel Levy. However, with the poor start to the season that was looking a forlorn hope and with the players’ confidence so obviously at a low ebb, there was no indication of an immediate improvement in the position.

Defeat at Liverpool before the break for international games would probably have brought a close to Jol’s managerial reign but a spirited performance from the players took them to within seconds of a historic victory. Another difficult away game at Newcastle last Monday saw a terrible defensive display contributing to their defeat and was probably the last straw for the Board.

Having taken the decision to remove Jol and his assistant, Chris Hughton, before the Getafe match, the subsequent defeat would have justified the decision in the minds of the Chairman and directors.

However, Martin Jol had been in an untenable position from the end of August when the initial approach was made to Juande Ramos at Seville. From then on everyone knew it was only a matter of time before he would be leaving White Hart Lane and as the weeks dragged on the situation only deteriorated with the manager looking more forlorn on every occasion.

Through those difficult weeks and the period last season when a poor sequence of results in the early weeks of 2007 had put his position under threat, Jol conducted himself quietly and with dignity, never speaking out or criticising those in charge at the club. Last season, the Cup victory at Fulham brought a stay of execution and a series of results that lifted the club to fifth but there was to be no reprieve this time.

As manager of Tottenham Jol did much to restore respect for the club which had suffered so many ignominies in the recent past. His style may have been over-cautious on occasions but when the team played well they could produce the attractive, exciting football associated with the club. Where he failed was in the inability to win the critical ‘big’ games against the top four or in the latter stages of the Cup competitions. When drawn to play a top side there was an inevitability about the result.

It was probably this last difficulty that influenced the decision of the Board who thought that Martin Jol was unable to take the club any further.

But was the manager helped by the policies of the club?
· the restrictive salary scales which prevented them signing top quality, experienced players
· the preference for signing young players with an improved sell on price
· the insistence on a Director of Football with a say in the players who were signed
· the refusal to sign a left-sided midfield player
· the prevarication on transfer deals which usually floundered after weeks of negotiations
· the sale of Michael Carrick, around whom Jol had built his team.

All of these issues contributed in making the manager’s job more difficult and undermined his position but through it all Martin Jol kept his countenance and his thoughts to himself, striving to make a team and produce results from the players with whom he had been provided.

Martin Jol was a gentleman – he had a feeling for Tottenham Hotspur and its historical success and he had a desire to bring success to the club and to the supporters who appreciated his endeavours.

Martin Jol didn’t deserve to be treated as he was by the Board and he didn’t deserve the harsh criticism that was dished out on some of the supporters’ internet message boards.

He has left now and rightly been well rewarded for the remaining period of his contract.

Thank you Martin Jol for your efforts on behalf of Spurs, you brought us great hope and perhaps it was that that lifted our expectations to a new level and brought about your own demise.

Best wishes for the future – you will be remembered at White Hart Lane as a gentleman but one who ultimately failed to achieve the success we all desired.





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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spurs in History - 29th August

29th August, 1974

‘The end of an era’

Following four defeats in the opening games of the season, Bill Nicholson announced his resignation as manager of Spurs, bringing to an end his association with the club that stretched back to 1936, as player, coach and manager.

Although the Board, players and fans tried to persuade him to stay he was not for turning. The club’s greatest manager was leaving, citing the need for a rest from football. He had found the circumstances of the UEFA Cup Final defeat the previous May difficult to accept and was finding it more difficult to relate to ‘modern’ players. He remained in charge until a replacement was appointed but it was a great shock to everyone connected with the club.

Bill Nicholson’s name was synonymous with Tottenham Hotspur and he had known success as a player being a member of the ‘push and run’ team that won the 1st and 2nd Division Championships in successive seasons and as manager.

He managed the successful ‘Double’ team, F.A.Cup and League Cup winning teams as well as successful teams in Europe. He set the standards for THFC and the club has been striving to achieve them ever since.

Many managers and teams have found him a hard act to follow. It was a sad end to a glorious managerial career and unfortunately the Board chose to ignore his suggestions regarding his successor.






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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spurs in History - 28th August

28th August, 1950

Spurs 4 Bolton Wanderers 2 (1st Division)

After winning promotion Spurs made a difficult start to life in the 1st Division. They lost their first game at home to Blackpool by 4-1 but then won at Bolton (4-1) and drew at Arsenal (2-2). They completed the ‘double’ over Bolton with goals from Len Duquemin(2), Eddie Baily and an own goal.

The results for the next few games were unconvincing until the ‘push and run’ team found its feet at the end of September when they commenced a run of eight successive victories.






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Monday, August 27, 2007

Spurs in History - 27th August

27th August, 1988

‘Game Off!’

While the rest of the football world got their season under way, Spurs had to call off their home game against Coventry City because they could not get a safety certificate. Work on the redevelopment of the East Stand had been going on through the summer and although the work was not complete, they had been assured that they would pass the necessary safety regulations. However, six hours before kick-off the safety authorities refused to issue the certificate. The fans were very upset as they had been awaiting the home debut of the new summer signing, Paul Gascoigne.






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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spurs in History - 26th August

26th August, 1961

Spurs 4 Arsenal 3 (First Division)

Terry Dyson Hat-trick Hero

Spurs defence of the League Championship started with a win at Blackpool and a home draw against West Ham. For the second consecutive game they were without Dave Mackay and John White both injured.

The unexpected hero on this day was Terry Dyson who scored a hat-trick and remains the only Spurs player to score three against Arsenal. Spurs took an early two goal lead through Les Allen and Dyson but then Arsenal struck back and were 3-2 ahead with about fifteen minutes remaining. However, with seven minutes left Dyson scored twice inside two minutes for Spurs win and to put himself in the history records.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Spurs in History - 25th August

25th August, 1990

Spurs 3 Manchester City 1

The World Cup in Italy during the summer brought Paul Gascoigne to the attention of the world in general and the nation in particular. His play had inspired the nation and he came home a hero. The phenomenon known as Gazza had been born and so there was incredible media attention for this game as Gary Lineker and Gascoigne appeared in the opening game of the season.

Both played a major part in this victory as Gazza opened the scoring and Lineker scored the other two.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Spurs in History - 24th August

24th August, 1994

Spurs 2 Everton 1

Jurgen Klinsmann's Home Debut

The atmosphere was electric as 24,553 spectators packed into WHL for Jurgen Klinsmann’s home debut. The reduced capacity was due to the ground redevelopment and Spurs could have filled the stadium twice over such was the demand for tickets.

Jurgen, as in his debut didn’t fail to deliver. The crowd had come to see him and within twenty two minutes he had put Spurs ahead with a spectacular volley. Thirteen minutes later he had added a second.

On half time Spurs won a penalty and everyone in the ground was willing Klinsmann to take it. Everyone, except Teddy Sheringham who elected to take it and ballooned it over the bar.

In the second half Everton scored and Spurs had to hang on to the end to achieve the win their play deserved.

Klinsmann showed what he was capable of in his first two games but the difficulty of achieving a balance between defence and attack was to bring about Ossie Ardiles’ departure from White Hart Lane.






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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spurs in History - 23rd August

23rd August, 1978

‘Party Poopers!’

Spurs 1 Aston Villa 4

An Argentinean style World Cup ticker tape welcome was prepared for the home debuts of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.

The ground was throbbing with excitement and anticipation but the wrong Villa made the headlines.

Aston Villa came to spoil the party and ruined Spurs and the Argentineans’ big night. Spurs goal was scored by Glenn Hoddle from the penalty spot but it was inconsequential.

Spurs had come back down to earth with an almighty crash – they had discovered that life back in the First Division was going to be very difficult.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jol, Ramos and Tottenham Hotspur

Jol, Ramos and Tottenham Hotspur – What Really Happened!

International week – it should have been a quiet week at White Hart Lane.

The story after Saturday’s win over Derby should have been about Steed Malbranque’s two goals. The headlines should have been about Spurs scoring three goals inside fifteen minutes. The media should have been crediting Jermaine Jenas for an improved showing and individual goal after disappointing performances in the first two games. They might even have suggested that the result had lifted the pressure from Martin Jol’s shoulders after the poor start to the season.

But no – we’ve had three days of leaks, speculation and reports of Martin Jol’s pending departure and the imminent arrival of Juande Ramos from Seville, arriving on a white charger to take over at White Hart Lane.

The news broke prior to the Derby game when betting was suspended on the possibility of Jol being this season’s first managerial casualty. Then Spurs officials had been spotted speaking to Ramos in Spain and while the Tottenham board remained silent, the media and message boards filled the vacuum in a wild frenzy of speculation.

Now, finally the Board have issued a statement saying that Martin Jol and his coaching staff have been made aware of the Board’s expectations for the season and that the manager is going nowhere.

Not a ringing endorsement or vote of confidence for the coach and his staff.

How did all this come about?

It has been alleged that all has not well within the club between some board members and the coach for some time. Last season, Spurs’ FA Cup win at Fulham came at a critical time for the coach and was a turning point for Jol who it was thought was in danger of losing his position. However, tensions remained, on both sides, and through a difficult summer of transfer negotiations there would have been many discussions, agreements and disagreements, over suitable players. The Board thought they had done well by spending £40 million on new players but the question remained, where they the players the manager needed or wanted?

Into the new season and the injury hit team played poorly in both commitment and style at Sunderland and against Everton. The team which was being widely tipped to break into the top four was now languishing at the bottom of the league, not what had been expected.

The Board, looking at the immediate fixtures, could see difficult times ahead - a home win against Derby was expected but then Manchester United at Old Trafford, Fulham away, the North London derby at White Hart Lane with a trip to Anfield a few weeks later. Going on past experience, the return from those games could be minimal and so the Board thought it was an opportune moment to take action to replace the manager.

Arrangements were made to speak to the manager of Seville but they were spotted and so the story broke across the media fuelling the speculation that Martin Jol was on his way out of Tottenham. Spurs said nothing, hoping to wrap up the matter quickly, especially when it was reported that Ramos was wanting to come to the club and was wanting to start before the commencement of the Spanish season at the weekend. It all sounded good from the Spurs’ Board’s point of view.

However, as the matter dragged on, Sevilla started to flex their muscles – Ramos was going nowhere, they stated, he would see out the final year of his contract. It was getting tricky and now instead of wanting to be in place by Saturday, it was being reported that Ramos wanted to think about it for a couple of weeks. Perhaps he looked at Spurs’ up-coming matches and thought United and Arsenal in the first three games was a rather poisoned chalice that was better not accepted, hence the delay. The most recent statements indicate that Ramos will be remaining with Sevilla, his improved salary for the final year of his contract agreed - Tottenham Hotspur are so useful as a bargaining tool!

Spurs hadn’t been thinking on that timescale so how could they turn around a situation that had been suggesting that Jol would be on his way in a matter of hours, without losing total face. They couldn’t sack the manager as there was no-one to replace him and they couldn’t deny that they had met Ramos as there was photographic evidence to prove it.

A face to face meeting with the coach and his assistant to lay down their expectations for the coming season, to make it clear what was expected and ensure everyone that Martin Jol was going nowhere while they were within their rights to look at ways of ensuring the best for the club in the future.

For the moment, Martin Jol is still in charge – wounded but perhaps like the wild animal which has been shot and injured, he’ll come out fighting more determined than ever to show the Board and the doubting supporters that he is capable of taking Tottenham into the Champions League and future success.

I am not an ITK (In The Know) and this is total supposition and speculation on my part about what has happened at Spurs over the past few days.

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Spurs in History - 22nd August

22nd August, 1981

Aston Villa 2 Spurs 2 F.A.Charity Shield at Wembley.

Spurs gave a debut in goal to Ray Clemence in place of FA Cup winner Milija Aleksic. Clemence had been signed from Liverpool for £300,000 to help strengthen the defence. However, he had a poor debut with handling errors and his mistake brought about Villa’s first goal to give them the lead after thirty minutes.

Clemence eventually went on to establish himself and prove his value to the club. Spurs' goals were scored by Mark Falco who was playing in place of the injured Garth Crooks. The goals came either side of half time but Spurs only held the lead for a few minutes before Villa levelled the scores. This was a game that Spurs could have won but both teams shared the trophy.






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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Jurgen! Not the Man for Tottenham Hotspur

Jurgen Klinsmann as Spurs boss?


Jurgen Klinsmann is one of the names being put forward to replace Martin Jol at White Hart Lane but the club has already been down that road. Ossie Ardiles and Glenn Hoddle, former star players returned to the club as manager but with little success.

White Hart Lane is NOT the place for Jurgen Klinsmann. Spurs have tried that before and with disastrous results. They've brought in former players to manage the club to please the fans and it hasn't worked. Indeed, it all ended in tears.


Alan Sugar brought Ossie Ardiles from West Bromwich Albion in the aftermath of his fall-out with Terry Venables. He knew that he had to find someone whom the fans would accept and Ardiles fitted the bill. Ardiles' first season was a disaster with the club only avoiding relegation with a game to spare.


The following summer was a great time for Spurs as Ardiles signed Jurgen Klinsmann, Ilie Dumitrescu and Gica Popescu and the season started with a flourish of exciting, attacking football. However, as autumn turned to winter, the attacking flair envisaged by Ardiles couldn't outscore the deficiencies of the defence, so club and manager parted company after 18 months. Ardiles as a player was a hero to all Spurs supporters, but as a manager he failed in the Premiership.


Move forward six years and the club’s new owners are looking to impress the supporters and get them on their side. They remove the unpopular George Graham and replace him with every Spurs fans' favourite - Glenn Hoddle. An encouraging start is followed by twelve months of misery before the Board admit their mistake and remove Hoddle - it simply hasn't worked.


Everyone at Tottenham Hotspur wanted Hoddle to succeed as manager but he failed to take the club forward. Similarly to Ardiles, he had little more than 18 months as manager. Both Ardiles and Hoddle were worshipped by the supporters and such was their standing as players that the fans still remember them favourably, overlooking their management shortcomings.


Klinsmann falls into the same category. He was a great favourite as a player, although he was only at White Hart Lane for a short time in comparison to either Ardiles or Hoddle. But he could so easily fall short as a manager. His reputation in management is high following his handling of the German team in the World Cup. However, he has no experience as a manager or coach at club level which demands day on day involvement with the players and officials. Would Klinsmann give the long-term commitment needed for such a position?


Klinsmann seems to enjoy the American lifestyle of California - would he be tempted to return to the grey skies of Tottenham? It would appear to be unlikely and a tremendous gamble to put all your faith in someone untried at this level.
In the World Cup, Klinsmann was working with the best players Germany had available to him. Would he have the patience and temperament to work with lesser players? Would he have the desire to cope with all the demands of the players on a daily basis? His man-management skills would be sorely tested.


Klinsmann achieved a great deal with Germany and was rightly praised for his innovation and the style with which his country played throughout the tournament. However, that was for a short period. Would he be able to continually motivate players through a long season and would his natural enthusiasm extend to a wet November night at Grimsby for a Cup game?


As a player, Klinsmann enjoyed new challenges - he played in different countries and then moved on in search of something new. As coach to the German team he has shown the same ideology, resigning at the end of the tournament and looking for a fresh challenge. As manager or coach of a club side, there has to be that longer-term commitment and it’s uncertain whether Klinsmann would be prepared to make it.


His reputation at White Hart Lane is based on 18 months as a player. As a manager, he mightn't even last that long. In the short-term, it would be a tremendous coup to recruit Jurgen as manager/coach. The move would be surrounded with fantastic media hype but it is uncertain that he would be a long-term solution to the club's managerial problems.


Many international managers complain that they they miss the day-to-day involvement with the players that is part of club management. Klinsmann, on the other hand, seems ideally suited to that international management role as it allows him greater freedom to be involved in other projects. Spurs’ supporters wouldn't want to see Klinsmann come to Tottenham and suffer as both Ardiles and Hoddle did before him. Spurs supporters want to remember him as the player he was and not as a manager who has failed to achieve what he and the fans have been hoping for.



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Spurs in History - 21st August

21st August, 1982

Liverpool 1 Spurs 0 F.A.Charity Shield at Wembley.

Newly signed from Bristol Rovers, Gary Mabbutt made his debut in Spurs midfield. Spurs were without influential players like Steve Perryman and Graham Roberts with Paul Price also unavailable through injury.

The game was a robust affair and many competitive tackles came in from both sides – this may have been something left over from the previous season’s Milk Cup Final when Liverpool set about unsettling Spurs early on in the game which left Tony Galvin to play most of the game bearing the pains of some hefty tackles which greatly reduced his effectiveness.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Spurs in History - 20th August

20th August, 1994

Sheffield Wednesday 3 Spurs 4

What a debut for Jurgen Klinsmann! Ille Dumitrescu also made his debut and just like sixteen years previously, the demand to see Spurs was incredible. Ardiles selected a team with with five attacking players, Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, Nicky Barmby, Darren Anderton and Dumitrescu, suggesting excitement and no-one was disappointed.

Spurs went two ahead in the first half through Sheringham and Anderton. Early in the second half Wednesday equalised before Spurs went ahead again with goals from Barmby and Klinsmann. All Spurs fans had been waiting for Klinsmann to score and he celebrated in style with a beautiful ‘dive’, noting the comments that had been made about him being a ‘diver’ in trying to win penalties.

Wednesday scored again and before the end Klinsmann was carried off the pitch on a stretcher suffering from a facial injury.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spurs in History - 19th August

19th August, 1978

Nottingham Forest 1 Spurs 1

Newly promoted Spurs had to play Champions Forest on the opening day.

The game marked the start of a new era, the League debuts of the Argentinean Internationals, Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa. Demand for tickets was immense; Spurs had created an excitement that was unbelievable and the kick off had to be delayed to allow everyone into the ground.

Many people were waiting for them to fail, ‘they wouldn’t be able to adapt to English football’ being a familiar comment. However, while it took time for them to establish themselves, Ricky Villa had the perfect start scoring late in the first half to equalise for Spurs and earn a deserved point.


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Spurs in History - 18th August

18th August, 1971

Spurs 0 Newcastle United 0


This match marks my first visit to White Hat Lane for a first team game. Spurs had opened the season with a 2-2 draw at Wolves, coming from two down to earn a late point.

This game had little to commend it and the main point in the papers the next day was the crowd trouble behind the goals at the Park Lane end of the ground. The match had to be stopped for several minutes while the trouble was sorted out. The Newcastle goalkeeper was hit with a staple fired from a catapult, the referee appealed to the crowd to identify the culprits.

Spurs closed off this section of the ground for the next games.



18th August, 2007

Spurs 4 Derby County 0


I revisited White Hart Lane on the 36th anniversary of my first visit to see an under pressure Spurs take on newly promoted Derby.

Newspaper reports of manager Martin Jol under pressure and a rift among the players were answered within a minute as Steed Malbranque scored Spurs first goal. Within a quarter of an hour the result was assured with further goals from Malbranque and Jermaine Jenas.

A second half goal from Darren Bent completed Spurs' victory.

Derby County were poor and gave Spurs too much room. The return of Lee at left back gave some balance to that side of the team rather than having to play Stalteri out of position. Malbranque's goals were a reward for his hard work. he will never be the best player in the side but he worked tirelessly last week at Sunderland and also against Everton. Jenas showed his quality again but must reproduce it against the top teams, like Manchester United at Old Trafford next weekend.

A well-deserved win but the rumours of Jol's departure still linger on in the newsparers and on supporters' message boards.


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Friday, August 17, 2007

Spurs in History - 17th August

17th August, 1996

Blackburn Rovers 0 Spurs 2

A good opening to the Premiership season but at a high cost.

The good result and three points were overshadowed by the injury to Captain and inspiration, Gary Mabbutt. After twenty minutes of the first half he broke his leg and was to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

At the time of the injury the game was scoreless. However, thirteen minutes later Chris Armstrong gave Spurs the lead and then doubled the score mid-way through the second half. In spite of Mabbutt’s injury and the injury of his replacement within nine minutes, Spurs managed to re-organise themselves and deservedly won the three points.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spurs in History - 16th August

16th August, 1980

Spurs 2 Nottingham Forest 0 (1st Division)

The opening day of the season with the usual high expectations. For the previous two seasons Spurs were short of a goal scorer but during the summer Keith Burkinshaw signed two players in an attempt to resolve this problem.

Steve Archibald was signed from Aberdeen and Garth Crooks came from Stoke City and a very successful partnership it was to prove, setting Spurs on the way to further success. Both made their debuts in this game and Crooks scored the second goal, Hoddle having given Spurs the lead with a penalty.

Archibald scored in the next game, Crooks scored twice and another in his third game. The team then hit a difficult spell not scoring for the next four games but they had shown their worth.


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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spurs in History - 15th August

15th August, 1965

As part of their pre-season preparations in 1965 and 1966, Spurs took part in the Costa del Sol Trophy in Malaga. On both occasions they were victorious and the final game in both years was played on this date.

In 1965, they defeated Valencia 2-1 (Eddie Clayton & Cliff Jones scored) to reach the Final against Standard Liege which was won 1-0 with a goal from Alan Mullery.

15th August, 1966

The following year they defeated Benfica 2-1 in the Final. The goals were scored by Jimmy Robertson and Jimmy Greaves. To reach the Final they had beaten Malaga CD 2-1 with Alan Mullery and Alan Gilzean the goal scorers.

The Costa del Sol Trophy was over four feet tall and valued then at £1,200 and on being asked to receive the trophy, Jimmy Greaves, as Captain, summoned up all the decorum his position had afforded him and retorted, ‘I’m not picking that ***** thing up – I’ll kill myself.’

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Early Reality Check for Spurs

Early Reality Check for Spurs
[from Topspurs.com]
The reality check came early for all to do with Spurs. The usual pre-season optimism on the back of winning all the pre-season games has taken a dent and Spurs must now realise that there’s a lot of work to be done if they are to improve on last season’s finishing position.

So much for the early season statement of intent from Spurs that some of us were hoping for. The performance against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light shed more light on Spurs’ deficiencies which haven’t been resolved by signing a fourth striker.

All of us need to take a look at ourselves. We, the fans need to be more realistic in our expectations. The players need to show greater application and the manager and staff need to realise that they have no plan ‘B’ when things aren’t working out and they appear to have done nothing to resolve last year’s problems.

Comments in the newspapers over the weekend were interesting and shed some insight into Spurs.

Martin Jol said, “The game was boring…. lacking creativity….. and a draw would have been disappointing.”

From the Daily Express: ‘For Spurs, this was a worrying result as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but did next to nothing with it.’

A very accurate assessment by the manager and all the fans would agree especially those who travelled to Sunderland. However, my point is, it was he, the manager, who selected that team and with that selection in midfield, there was never going to be any creativity – they didn’t display any last season and with Aaron Lennon injured there was no pace or width in the team. Spurs selected a team, hoping to score a goal and hold out for the three points. When the goal didn’t come there was no alternative plan and with two strikers on the bench, there was no place for Routledge or Taarabt to bring variety to Spurs’ play.

The manager and the players should have been aware that Sunderland would close them down and give them little time or room to play and been prepared for it but they weren’t.

From the match report in the Daily Mail on Dimitar Berbatov : ‘….when the referee failed to give a first half penalty….the Bulgarian lost interest after that, frustrated by the excellent defending from Nosworthy and McShane along with woeful service.’

Spurs made it easy for the Sunderland defenders who were able to stand and head the ball clear, there was no movement from Spurs to take them out of position and no-one with pace to run at them to cause them problems and put them under pressure. Robbie Keane had one of those games where he went deeper and deeper to collect the ball and Spurs’ forward movement came to a stop, giving Sunderland time to regroup, and the ball made its way back to Robinson.

The comment of disinterest can also be applied to Jermaine Jenas. He disappeared in the second half, frustrated at the unceremonious treatment he received from the Sunderland midfield and defence. Both Berbatov and Jenas should have been prepared for that – it’s the way Sunderland play and is reminiscent of last season’s opening game at Bolton.

Some newspapers selected Michael Chopra as ‘Man of the Match.’ That just about sums up how poor the game was. A substitute who played for less than twenty minutes who scored the only goal – it doesn’t say much for the performances of the other players.

Roy Keane commented on Sunderland that ‘it was a different club.’ That, on Saturday’s performance could not be said for Spurs – the same old problems were there for all to see.

The comment in the News of the World sums up Spurs’ current situation very accurately, ‘Spurs must look at themselves if they want Champions League football.’

On that performance, that is a long way off. Spurs have believed their own pre-season hype and while other clubs were prepared to go out and play with total commitment – Reading at United, Birmingham at Chelsea – Spurs weren’t and didn’t. They have now increased the pressure on themselves for the next two games at White Hart Lane. If there are any further slip-ups, the idea of four international strikers may have to be reviewed. One may have to be sacrificed, if only to enable the manager to bring in someone to add creativity to the side.

To end on a more positive note, the report in the Sunday Times, noted, ‘Tottenham’s only encouragement was the eye-catching contribution made by Younes Kaboul, their new centre-half from Auxerre. The young Frenchman would not have been playing had King and Dawson been fit, but he will take some shifting on this form. Not only is he a tall, commanding presence in central defence, he is also given to charging upfield to augment the attack.’

With King and Dawson’s continued absence, Kaboul may get more Premier League experience than he had expected so early in his time at Tottenham and hopefully he will be able to develop a partnership with Gardner that will improve the record noted in the Daily Mail: ‘Spurs have kept only two clean sheets in their past twenty nine Premier League games.’

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Spurs in History - 14th August

14th August, 1993

Newcastle United 0 Spurs 1

Ossie Ardiles’ first game in control took him back to the newly promoted club where he had been manager for twelve months before being sacked.

Ardiles had the last laugh as Spurs won with a first half goal scored by Teddy Sheringham.

After the problems of the summer, with the dismissal of Venables, the departure of Neil Ruddock and newspaper stories featuring the club, many fans were disillusioned so Ardiles needed to make a good start to the season. New signings, Colin Calderwood and Jason Dozzell made their debuts and the team responded with a good performance.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Spurs in History - 13th August

13th August, 1969

Spurs 4 Burnley 0

After the opening day defeat at Leeds, Spurs gave a better performance in the Wednesday evening game at White Hart Lane against Burnley.

The goals were scored by Peter Collins, Jimmy Pearce, Jimmy Greaves and Martin Chivers. The following Saturday they lost at home to Liverpool but the next Tuesday, in the return fixture at Turf Moor, defeated Burnley 2 – 0 with Collins and Pearce scoring again.

At that time Burnley were a hard working mid-table team with a talent for producing young players whom they later sold. Spurs were to sign Ralph Coates in May, 1971 when Burnley’s time in the top division drew to a close with relegation to the 2nd Division.

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