Reflections On Tottenham v Hull, Andre Villas-Boas and Andros Townsend


Andros Townsend falls over the hoardings. [Photo: Alan Hill]Tottenham Hotspur 1 Hull 0

Spurs beat Hull 1-0 with another Soldado penalty for a handball that only the ref thought was deliberate. Someone tweeted “at least we get penalties now Bale has gone”. I wasn’t at the game, so had to watch the highlights on Match of the Day. Having said that I got regular texts from my spy in his West Stand season ticket seat. When asked for a summary, he said,

"We can’t break down teams who park the bus and but for a generous penalty we were lucky."

We were unlucky not to score with good shots from Walker, Townsend and Soldado but our attacks were generally like waves breaking up on a stony beach. As time went by it looked more and more likely that Hull might sneak it and they had the perfect chance in the 93rd minute with a Tom Huddlestone free kick on the edge of the area. True to form, he blasted it wide, thank goodness.
I’m glad I didn’t trek up for that game. Looking on the bright side, if we keep getting results like this it could be that we win the league although we are clearly not the best team in it…yet.

Tom Huddlestone has developed exceptional powers. [Photo: Alan Hill]Huddlestone had a good game for Hull but his shots were wayward.  A screenshot from MOTD2 shows that he has developed some incredible powers since his transfer, including heat ray vision that he deliberately used on Paulinho.

I always knew he was a bit special but I didn’t know he came from Krypton. I think the FA is going to have to introduce an emergency change in the rules to ban the use of super powers, although Sepp Blatter probably won’t agree.

“Get your hair cut” [Photo: Alan Hill]Poor Andros Townsend got so scared he hurt himself diving for cover behind the advertising boards. Having said that, Huddlestone’s hair has become a bad joke now. It’s starting to block out the sun.

Perhaps the truth is that earth scissors can’t cut it. On the other hand, it’s like his red Kryptonite. It was amusing at first but now it is just a way of drawing attention to a glaring weakness. If you want to know why a team like Spurs let an England midfielder go to Hull, just ask him why his hair is so long. Despite all his qualities it is a serious failure to have not scored since April 2011. The hair reminds everyone of that fact every day it gets closer to his knees.

How to make friends and influence people

AVB critical of the negativity inside WLH [Photo: Alan Hill]Logan has already produced an excellent piece about AVB’s criticism of the atmosphere at White Hart Lane. He did well to remind us how Harry Redknapp really went off on one in similar circumstances.

I always endeavour to be positive in anything I write about Spurs. I have had overnight to think about this though and have come to the conclusion it was a mistake for AVB to say all that  he did in a public press conference. It was honest and heartfelt but it was ill-judged because it has exposed a weakness to our opponents. He has admitted to the whole world that our group of players is uncomfortable playing at home in front of our own fans. Now everybody knows it, so he has weakened our position by telling everyone.

Opposing managers who may have suspected it about Spurs now know for sure. They will be telling their players to get even more stuck in from the outset because our players are uncomfortable at home and the crowd make them nervous. They will be saying not to give up if we go ahead because we are fragile mentally at home. The opposing fans will be using the information to take the p*ss. They could have a field day about being scared, especially around Halloween.

AVB could have got the same message across in a much more succinct and positive way but it’s too late now. Something like, “Our fans have been great helping us to a record of away wins. I understand their frustration at the time it has taken us to shine in recent games at home and our reliance on penalties to secure results recently but they can create an incredible atmosphere here and with their noisy support throughout these sort of games where the opposition comes to park the bus. That extra push can make all the difference to our group as we are improving and finding our best form as a team and I am looking forward to hearing them sing up for Tottenham more and more as we aim for the top 3 and to match our performance to results”.

Andros Townsend’s Fall

Townsend in the pit [Photo: Alan Hill]There is also a serious side to Andros Townsend falling over the advertising hoardings into the photographer’s pit. We see this happening on a regular basis at various grounds. Under the laws that apply to accidents in the work place anywhere else, this sort of incident would require a risk assessment and a report to the Health and Safety Executive, with changes made to avoid a repeat or something worse. Is this not required in football?

How seriously does someone have to be hurt before common sense applies and safer provisions are made to protect players and audience? AVB says Townsend was out cold for minutes. A photographer was left bleeding from the head. All totally unnecessary and could be avoided if the hoardings weren’t so close to the touchline  or if there was a shock absorbing protective barrier. It is a classic example of a cynical desire to maximise revenue compromising safety.  It is the sort of example that led to the first H&S legislation being introduced to help prevent accidents in the coal mines in the last century.

Where are you from?

Just to finish on a lighter note, Christian Eriksen has said he expects some stick when fans realise the name of his home town. “There is no Upperfart or Lowerfart – just Middlefart”.