Look Back At 2013 – Tottenham, England And Football News


Gareth Bale [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]Alan’s 2013 Blog Year Summary – Part 1

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.

January 2013

Cricket scores

To build a successful team, you would get the spine right first – a decent goalkeeper, a decent centre half, a decent centre forward, a solid defence and build from there. For decades, that attitude led to a lot of solid but sometimes boring football. Now the message seems to be “bring me goals”. Score more than your opponents and everything else will be forgiven.

[It’s still happening. Even Hull score 6 last week against Fulham]

As I type this, I think I am beginning to understand what is troubling me. What we are being left with is half a game. I don’t mean 45 minutes instead of 90. I mean it’s turning into the football equivalent of touch rugby. At the risk of seeming sexist, has it become what my rugby playing mates always used to say it was when trying to wind me up, in their sexist way, “a game for girls”?

Transfer Window January 2013 – first thoughts. Happy New Year.

I love transfer window gossip and the build up to the deadline.  As I start this blog on 1 January, First rumours are that Tottenham are in for Wilfred Zaha, the young wing wizard from Crystal Palace. We are not the only ones though. Great forward planning against the eventual departure of Gareth Bale. Just please don’t let him go for less than £50 million and at any rate, not to an English club. If he has to go, despite his long term contract, he will still be a bargain for whoever pays such a fee.

Another rumour according to Sky is Wesley Schneider from Inter Milan? Like so many of the best, would he come to another team not in the Champions League? Will we continue to pay for slipping to 4th and Chelsea winning the Champions League last May?

[Yes, look at the failure to get our first choices in the summer transfer window, Willian the classic example]

Manager of the Month: Congratulations to Andre Villas-Boas on winning the December Manager of the month award.

Emmanuel Adebayor [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]African Cup of Nations:  What I do remember is that public declarations had been made on Adebayor’s behalf that he would not be playing for Togo. His decision but surely that would have affected whether we signed him permanently in the summer and who else we let go… Now he has changed his mind and is going to disappear after all, leaving us with only Jermaine Defoe and Clint Dempsey as recognised established strikers. On the face of it, this is unfair and shows disrespect for the club.

[Now AVB has gone and over the Christmas period Adebayor has been returned to the team by Tim Sherwood. He has scored in a few games and looks the part again. It’s worth reading the above to remember how he ended up in the doghouse in the first place]

Wed 17.1.2013: Andre Villas-Boas was on Sky this morning saying that our objective for the end of the season is to finish 4th. Surely after what happened last year that should not be the case? We are in 4th now with a 3 point cushion.  The league objective has to be 3rd; guaranteed Champions League qualification. 4th again, with Arsenal or Manchester United winning the Champions League would be a financial and emotional disaster. Was he really set that as an objective on signing? It would be a significant achievement, as it was for Harry, given where we started but an objective? No way.

Sat 19.1. 2013: The sad news is that Sandro’s knee injury is serious and he will be out for the rest of the season. If it wasn’t obvious why I wrote in my first blog about the transfer window that we needed two quality midfield players as squad cover, I hope it is now.

Leeds defeat Tottenham in the FA Cup. Brendan Rogers, according to Adrian Chiles is looking “a little haunted”. That’s how I feel. I’ll be miserable all week. Even a victory against Norwich on Tuesday won’t help much. I wonder, do the Tottenham players feel it as bad as I do? I feel sorry for the young striker we played in Adebayor’s place. He scored for Togo this morning after going back on his word and leaving us in the lurch. I wouldn’t be so angry if it had been a defeat to a top premiership side and we had gone down fighting but the team didn’t play like it was in a sudden death cup game that they really cared about.

I was surprised by Andre Villas-Boas comments in the immediate post-match interview. He said something like everybody knows that we struggle when we have to chase a game, as if that’s OK then. Well it’s not. If that’s true then he needs to do something about it quick because it is not OK to be the team that even championship sides know struggles as soon as we go a goal down. It can be accepted as a one-off but not as an understood characteristic of the side. And he said the squad doesn’t need strengthening. Hmm. I’ll put it down to the difficulty of choosing the right words in the immediate aftermath of such a defeat and hope it’s not what he really thinks on either point.

Chickens coming home to roost and a plea to the players from the heart

When Chelsea won the European Cup in 2012, I immediately sat down and wrote a long piece saying it was a disaster for Spurs and predicted long term ramifications. Unfortunately, the predictions are now starting to come true. We posted results showing a $4million loss recently. If we invest too much and don’t qualify, we will be in even more trouble next year. If we don’t invest now for fear of going into debt, as it appears we are not going to, then we are less likely to qualify for the Champions League this year and will be in even more trouble next season. The evidence of the Cup result against Leeds suggests that they have been flattering to deceive and do not have the commitment and depth of character needed.

Revealed: A Secrets of Tottenham’s Away Match Preparations

I bumped into Andre Villas-Boas the other day. He was kind enough to give me an insight into the detailed arrangements made for the Spurs squad if they have to stay away from home in a hotel before a game. They always send Gareth Bale down to breakfast first. “Why Gareth?” I asked. “Because he’s the one who always saves our bacon”. Boom-Boom. He did it again last night at Norwich. Thanks Gareth for another fantastic goal.

Make the punishment fit the crime – and the pocket

Given the salaries involved, punishing transgressions with fines which are limited to specific sums of money is pretty much a waste of time. With the amount of money players and managers are paid, a fine of £10,000 or even £50,000 is no deterrent.

Top players earn in a month what many of us only earn in a lifetime. Fines should therefore be set and expressed in terms of a period relating to earnings for them to have any relative value or effect. For example, one week’s salary for a minor transgression, 1-3 months for a medium level one and 3-12 months for repeated or major transgressions such as assault.

Respect for Officials:

Talking of being brow-beaten brings us back to the respect for the referee.  That is not shown when players approach the referee and argue about a decision. It is even less acceptable when the player who does it was not involved in the original incident in the first place. The ref should only have to give one warning, if it continues he should produce a yellow card and if they still don’t zip it and back off, a red.

P.S.  I see AVB’s no longer secret away day strategy paid off at West Brom as Gareth Bale saved our bacon again. See previous blog.

14 Feb 2012:  Arsene Wenger’s ubiquitous sleeping bag coat can currently be obtained from the ladies’ department of Lands End reduced from £150.00 to £100.00. It is the Chalet Down Maxi Coat, catalogue no. 4178346K4.

Paul Gascoigne

I wish I could help Paul Gascoigne in return for all the enjoyment he has given us down the years. I guess we will never meet but I don’t live far from where he goes for rehab in Bournemouth. If we did meet, or if he ever got to read this, I would try and convince him that you can still survive and enjoy life without alcohol, no matter how long you have been on the sauce. In the meantime, I would just like to say, thanks for all the joy Paul and please come back, get well and stay well. You still have a whole wonderful life ahead of you. There is so much to live for. You are held dearly in the hearts of people you have never met.

West Ham United

I wish we could get back to a friendly rivalry with West Ham like the old days, without any grudges or vindictiveness. I believe the two clubs have more in common than what keeps us apart. We both have a tradition of flowing, attacking football. We have both been through periods when we have fallen below those standards and been unsuccessful to boot. We also have recovered from falls from grace, even if we have not reached the heights we once occupied.

[I still feel the same, despite the two recent defeats by a flagging West Ham side]

Feb 2013: Arsenal. The agonies of a Spurs supporter who really cares. I can’t enjoy these games until they are over. I know it’s selfish and trivialises the big things in life but I actually sent up a little prayer for a third goal at half time. We got one – but at the wrong end! 59 mins, Gareth misses open goal. 69 mins, so does Sigurdsson 70mins so does Defoe. Tears of joy again (as in win over United). Well done for holding your nerve lads. Job half done. A really tough month to come still.  Keep focussed. I would like to thank Arsene Wenger for not making any special arrangements to deal with Gareth Bale. Really? That must have been a coincidence watching Rosicky plus A.N. Other sitting on him in the corner for the last 10 minutes.

The day after the night before.

Reflections on the Inter game Let’s not allow last night’s result through rose-tinted spectacles.  We were thrashed by Inter Milan 4-1 and we were lucky to get 1. Let’s not pretend that the game plan worked. It didn’t. We would be out of the competition if not for an administrative quirk; the away goals rule and we really struggled to get one of those. We did miss Gareth Bale “something chronic”.

Andre Villas-Boas [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]AVB:  Andre Villas-Boas is still young and learning and he knows that.  He handled the pre and post-match interviews well and clearly applies his lessons well too.

I know I keep saying it but this season continues to remind me of our tilt at everything back in 1982. Let’s hope we come out the other end with a trophy and qualify for Europe like we did back then. [No such luck]

Now, as then fixtures pile up, exhaustion and crucial matches against some of the best teams at home and in Europe are the greatest dangers.

Inter’s Racist Loser Fans Inspire Adebayor And Spurs To Victory – Again.

Message for Greg Dyke – A ‘To Do’ List:

[When Greg Dyke was appointed FA Chairman, I wrote a “To Do List” for him. Days later he came up with something similar..]

Discover what was on it: Read more

Part 2 to of the blog review follows soon…