Excerpts from the year’s articles
I’ve been looking back over my articles for HotspurHQ and found it interesting to review what I said as events unfolded. I hope you will enjoy doing the same. Up to date comments are in italics in square brackets.
[The 2012/13 season was coming to a disappointing end…]
In my early years, I thought of Chelsea as strong but friendly rivals. I admired the team of Baldwin, Osgood, Cooke, Hollins and Hudson. Not boring like Arsenal. They didn’t seem like the real Chelsea anymore once the Russian scattered money like confetti for any half decent player that caught the eye. So it surprised me when we beat Manchester City recently, that an old friend and Chelsea fan sent me a Facebook message to congratulate us and say it showed City that “money can’t buy you love”.Well, we are about to find out. It finally bought Chelsea the European Cup last year. Now with all of Abramovitch’s billions they have two first class teams, a multi-million pound squad and are on a roll. As I type this, they have just scored the winner against a lacklustre Manchester United in the 87th minute. Spurs, just like in 1982 are carrying crucial injuries, sending out a patched up team and staggering towards the finish line. Even if we win on Wednesday night, we will still be way behind on goal difference and will be relying on them or Arsenal to drop points in the last 2 games.
We can do it though. Our history against Chelsea shows that we have won the most important games. The 1967 FA Cup Final. The 2007-08 League Cup Final. For that game, Chelsea had been all conquering and had an even stronger squad but we still won. So, Spurs players, believe you can do it against the odds once more.
Maximum effort, maximum points, just 3 more times. Please give me my 2nd best birthday present ever. 7 May; beat Chelsea, 12 May; beat Stoke, 14 May; my birthday, (remember 1981), 19 May; beat Sunderland and enter Champions League again. Come on You Spurs.
[Looking back, I was trying to remain positive but in my heart of hearts I knew we had blown it again, even with Gareth Bale in the side.]
10 May 2013
At the end of the day, the point against Chelsea felt like a bit of a triumph, even though only three points would have kept our destiny this season in our own hands. I couldn’t believe how often we gave the ball away in midfield for much of the match but yet again Villas-Boas wrought changes which transformed our performance in the last 20 minutes. All credit to him for more in-game active management and to the players for applying themselves again to the end. Still hanging in there, we now need Chelsea and Arsenal to drop points in their last two games.
Next up on Sunday, live on Sky at lunchtime is Stoke City. As is our usual luck, we fall to play Stoke on a day which has special meaning to them. Apparently the game marks their 150th anniversary and they will be looking for a reason to celebrate. Also, Wigan’s defeat to Swansea on Tuesday and Stoke’s vastly superior goal difference means that they can celebrate safety and another year in the Premiership. Our team of walking wounded plus the double Footballer of the year need a win. We need to be as sharp as the parting in Gareth Bale’s barnet against Chelsea.
He has done fantastically well on limited resources since he took over the reins a second time in 2006 after Peter Coates replaced the Icelanders. He has a reputation for playing direct, no nonsense football and there is an element of truth in that. Having said that, he has worked out how to get a little team to survive in the big time on minimum resources.
[…and look at the thanks he got for it. Spurs “in transition” yet again have just beaten Mark Hughes Stoke 3-0 easily and should have had 6. Pullis is already turning Palace’s season around.]
Spurs are going to need guts and style if we are going to come through the last two games with maximum points. Come on lads, don’t let them roll you over on their celebration day
Sunderland [see the original blog for a potted history] Read more
12 May 2013
Martin O’Neill has been a very good manager and sadly in recent years has had to cope with considerable strain in his personal life on top of the pressures of Premier League management. Not long ago, he would have been high on the list of possible replacements for Alex Ferguson. However, after his initial positive impact last season, the spark seemed to go out of the team and they were struggling this season, much as their Geordie rivals have done. His sacking didn’t come as a total surprise in the cut-throat world of football but Paulo Di Canio’s appointment has been controversial. Two wins on the trot seemed to have had the desired effect but a thrashing by Aston Villa and a draw against Southampton has put them back in trouble. It really is on a knife edge for us now.
What a predicament!
Thank you to Tottenham Hotspur for the fun and the drama again this season. Whatever happens next weekend, the future is sure to continue to be a roller coaster of excitement. Football only a game? Nonsense. It raises our lives out of the humdrum and for brief moments can banish all your cares and worries..That’s why I will remain Spurs and England forever.
[My review of the year’s blogs continues next with the summer diaries…]