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.
Moving on to the start of a 2013/14 season that started well stats and points-wise but something about the performances were off-key…
Thurs 22 August
I have a bad feeling about this transfer. He seems to have been taking a medical for the last two days. Now he has passed it, his representatives say he is considering his options. I’d give him until close of play today to sign the contract or we should withdraw the offer and send him on his way. It wouldn’t surprise me if Arsenal or Chelsea slide him out from under our nose with their Champions League bait. We need at least a glimmer of an indication that it’s not just the filthy lucre he is coming for, otherwise they’ll only be tears at bedtime. I don’t think it’s a good indication of his character that he chased the money to a previously unheard of club that is being used as the plaything of another Russian billionaire and is now jumping ship as the finance has been pulled. He should be grateful for the opportunity to rescue his career and that we have stayed in for him after being rejected previously.
Mon 26 August
Top of the league Ma! What I call equal first (6 points from 6) but officially 3rd on goal difference. I’ll take that next May, thanks very much.Tues 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 last internationals 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 Erik Lamela, we are also after Eriksen from Ajax and Vlad Chiriches the Steaua Bucharest central defender. Didn’t get the Hulk after all, that’s not so Incredible then.
…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. 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. Johann Cruyff has expressed his approval of Tottenham’s style of play. In discussing the transfer of Eriksen in an interview broadcast on Sky yesterday he said,
It is very important that he comes to a club where he can show his qualities. It is more important to choose the right club than the money. I think he is talented enough to see these two different things.
Jan Vertonghen has described Eriksen as technically the most gifted player he has ever played with. Lamela has been described as the Argentinian Christian Ronaldo. He scored 15 goals in Serie A last season.
Sky Sports News announces that of one magazine’s top 100 rated players to look out for in the transfer window 7 have already moved to White Hart Lane this season.
AVB has been provided with the resources. Let’s hope he can forge a successful team out of this attractive looking squad.
Good Bye Gareth
Well that’s it then. The worst kept secret is finally out there and it’s all over. On Sun 28 July I promised not to write another word about the transfer rumours until the situation resolved itself. Now it has. Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player after all, despite being only part way into his lucrative contract at Tottenham and saying clearly as he posed in our new kit on 9 July that he was looking forward to playing for us next (now this) season. We are all so sorry to see him go but let’s let him go with our best wishes. No trolling, no nastiness on the web please.[I wrote a song called "Daniel", a reworking of the Elton John classic. It was about the Bale transfer saga.]
[I wrote the following before the thrashings when we were flying high]
[AVB] may feel he has repaid his debt to Tottenham. What I sincerely hope is that in doing so, he will have led us to winning a trophy and re-entry into the Champions League. I hope that means he will want to stay and we can achieve long term success with him leading us into our new stadium as one of the top clubs in Europe. However, an example of the sort of forward planning I am talking about is that Levy should be planning now for what to do if and when AVB goes.
[No evidence of him having followed my advice on that one]
This need for long term plans goes even higher than the manager and the best players. Is there, I wonder, a succession plan at ownership level? I hope and choose to believe that Joe Lewis would like to see Spurs develop into national institution, like Real Madrid in Spain and Bayern Munich in Germany. We are not far off. We have a long, glorious history and a dedicated community fan base.
Mr. Lewis could go a long way to ensuring that. Whatever his achievements in business, it would secure his place in history. It would really be giving something major back to the community. It would probably involve having a massive, well designed trust fund that genuinely protects the clubs assets and funds in perpetuity.
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.
We lose 1-0 to Arsenal. They just about deserve it. Eboue carried off, sucking on oxygen with what looks like an ankle injury.I hate to say it but there is no real flair apparent in this Tottenham performance. We look solid but not much else. I am missing Bale. I hope Eriksen might supply the sprightly Modric/Mata style flair
AVB conceded that Wenger was right when he said in a pre-match press conference that it takes time to get new signings to gel into a team. Wenger final delivered on his promise of a World Class signing for Arsenal, splashing the cash in a way he has never done before on Ozil. We sold a world class player to Real Madrid. Arsenal bought one from them.
Wow, Greg Dyke has just made the sports speech of the century about England. Fantastic, just what was needed. Very courageous.
I see Andy Carol is injured again. I seem to remember predicting this when they signed him. They say this time it could be 4 months. I bet they wish they had him on a pay as you go deal, instead of a contract. He obviously must have passed a medical but my gut feeling was that he was injury prone, based on the previous year’s evidence. I am surprised Sam Allardyce and Karen Brady didn’t come to the same conclusion.
[Part 5 coming soon to a screen near you…]