Tuesday 27 August
Congratulations to Andros Townsend. After his debut Balesque performance against Swansea he has been selected for the England squad, having been suspended for the Under-21 internationals in the summer after falling foul of the betting regulations. I wonder what odds you could have got on that?
Wednesday 28 August
The transfer news keeps rolling on in. Roma agree a fee with Spurs for Lamela, we are also after Eriksen from Ajax and Vlad Chiriches the Steaua Bucharest central defender. [Ed. All 3 now at Spurs!] Didn’t get the Hulk after all, that’s not so Incredible then.
We have all recognised the efforts of Daniel Levy in the transfer market this summer but it seems to me we should be sending a big vote of thanks to someone else too. The man who has been in the background at White Hart Lane for many years now. Joe Lewis. He is clearly a very rich man. He has wide ranging business interests and through ENIC basically owns Spurs. I don’t know the guy but he doesn’t seem to me to be like so many other football club owners and investors who only involve themselves in football to make a fast buck out of the club, often breaking them up selling off assets, leaving them in debt, often to themselves and then moving on.
I may well be wrong but these blogs are all about opinions and this is mine.
Until now he has been there in the background, supporting the directors and management through what have turned out to be a series of false starts in an attempt to move Tottenham back into the elite. So often so near but so far, the Holy Grail of major success just out of reach. Many Spurs supporters say that has often been down to bad luck rather than bad judgement. Witness the successive situations that have prevented us from qualifying for the Champions League. He has until now quite rightly refrained from splashing the cash in an obscene way like we have witnessed at Man City and Chelsea, although if you believe what it says about his resources on the internet, he could afford to.
It feels to me like he really cares about Spurs. I am guessing he is a fan/supporter rather than just an owner. Having said that, I have read he was born in Bow, so you would think his natural geographical alliance might be to West Ham. Then again, I was born in West London but have been a Spurs supporter all my life. I have had the feeling when things have not been going well on the pitch that he would step in if absolutely necessary with sufficient funds to prevent relegation, to give management another chance to see us through. I have also wished that just occasionally he would take that extra gamble, like in the last transfer window, buy a top class striker or two to try and guarantee qualification for the Champions League. If we had done so, we may already be in it now and not facing up to the imminent departure of Gareth Bale.
And yet, every cloud has a silver lining. This time Spurs, Levy and by inference Lewis have spent a real fortune on several quality players and by all accounts have not finished yet. We have spent more than Man City but it is not a Man City situation. The spending is 99% likely to be funded by the fee for Gareth Bale but that was not guaranteed when the expenditure was sanctioned. The gamble has been taken to finally move us into the top echelon. In previous years we would have waited for the transfer fee to come in before spending. It would have left us with a pot load of money and either a panic spend on the last day of the window, or struggling through to the January window. This time, we already have a better squad without Bale than we had last season with him. The bottom line is that has to be down to Joe Lewis.
So what has changed? I am guessing here. Amateur psychoanalysis. I have always tried to portray a tough exterior but I am a romantic at heart. I think Spurs mean as much to Joe Lewis as they do to me. If his personal details on Wikipedia are correct, he is 20 years older than me. That makes him 76 now. I hope he lives to be 100 but there comes a point when you can see the finishing line and you reappraise your life. It happened to me early two years ago.
That crystallisation of awareness of your own mortality gives you an opportunity to put extra effort into getting what you really want out of life. Hopefully, it helps you focus on leaving something to benefit others too. The more resources you have, the more you can achieve. It can mean taking a gamble or two and my guess is that is what Joe Lewis is doing with Spurs now. I certainly hope so and sincerely wish he gets to see the dream fulfilled. Not least because, selfishly, it will help fulfil mine too.
Thank you Joe Lewis. We salute you.
Meanwhile, Spurs put in a confident and encouraging performance against Dinamo Tblisi, running out 3-0 and 8-0 on aggregate. A great debut goal for Holtby, who celebrated his first goal with a “Klinsmann”. Two for Defoe who is starting to hit form, just as we are filling up the squad with strikers.
This term is becoming fashionable and overused in interviews. Neil Lennon; just because the manager of his latest opponents says that they will score a couple of goals against Celtic, says they are being disrespectful. Other managers have called clubs disrespectful for making an opening offer to buy their players in the transfer window. Come on. When else are they supposed to buy them? It’s not the buying club’s fault the window crosses into the start of the season. It’s just business. Can’t we leave the respect thing out of it? They are coming across like drama queens. It’s the interview equivalent of a touchline tantrum, or a player doing a swan dive and several rolls when their ankle is clipped on a run.
Thursday post scriptCeltic have scraped through the tie, winning 3-0 but only getting the clincher in Fergie time. Congratulations to Neil Lennon. His “disrespectful” jibe clearly helped to get his players going after all, which is what it was all about. Their reward in the draw is 3 plum ties, or the Group of Death, depending on which way you look at it. Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax. Wow.
To finish off for this diary, a couple of pictures from Cardiff’s brilliant victory against moneybags Man City last weekend. Malky Mackay obviously spent a lot of time out in the sun this summer. Here he is sporting a decent Tan. Also a fan with an impromptu banner which sums what it’s all about.North London Derby
See you after the North London derby. My take on that is whatever Theo Walcott says, we do now have a better squad than Arsenal. Our problem for Sunday is that they do not know each other as a team yet, whereas Arsenal know each other inside out. That more than levels the playing field. Of course, knowing each other inside out includes knowing in their hearts that under achieving Theo and his chums have proved they have not been good enough to actually win anything whatsoever for over 8 years. It’s been too long now to put it down to bad luck.