Look Back At Tottenham And England In 2013 – Back At The Lane


Torres claws at Jav Vertonghen’s face [Photo: Alan Hill]Alan’s 2013 Blog Year Summary – Part 5

Excerpts from the year’s articles

I’ve been looking back over my articles for Hotspur HQ 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

Wednesday 11 September

Stuart Pearce has held forth with some home truths about the attitude of some of the young players  getting above themselves once they have had a bit of success and a place in the senior national squad. Well done for having the courage to speak up mate. If they all had your commitment to their country, we wouldn’t have half the problems we do.

At the Lane [Photo: Logan Holmes]Saturday 14 September      What a day! My first back at White Hart Lane in ages. Read more

Yids – you know sweet FA

The FA have got it totally wrong in threatening Spurs fans with prosecution and expulsion over their use of the term Yids. This is one step too far on the political front. The FA should step back from it now and direct their anti-racism efforts elsewhere, like taking serious action in the face of the abuse that black players get on England duty.

Tuesday 17 September  I am delighted to see that David Cameron has come out in favour of my stance on the Yids issue and told the FA to back off.

Wednesday 18 September

Man in court for trying to have sex with sheep at Tottenham training ground    This is a genuine extract from Today’s London Evening Standard. The truth will always out. Is this why he had to go?

Wednesday 19 September   

Heart on his sleeve – Ian Holloway about his reaction to England’s draw in the Ukraine in last week’s diary. I think it is the football quote of the century so far.

"How much my country means to me I just can’t put it in words. It’s just unbelievable. The passion I’ve got. The game that we play and what it means to me. I was dying to wear an England shirt but I just wasn’t good enough. I tried and I kept trying but I wasn’t selected. I wasn’t good enough. I thought I was but I wasn’t and I know when I’m looking at them here I couldn’t have tried any harder so I haven’t let myself down and that is how I was brought up. Us winning as a country means everything to me and it is not just winning. It is the way you do it."

Sunday 22 September

Paulo di Can’tio.

“You can’t treat players like that in this day and age.” Sunderland owners and shakers plumbing Venky-like depths in their understanding of football and people. We all knew what Paulo Di Canio was like before they made him the shock replacement for Martin O’Neill. He has behaved in every way exactly as we all expected, why sack him now?  What does the decision to appoint him tell you about the people running the club?

Tuesday 24 September – Spurs beat Aston Villa 4-0. Only conceded 1 goal in nine games now. Soldado keeping first choice in the league but is going to have to start hitting the back of the net from open play to justify keeping Defoe out.

Mata may well see sense and come and join us in the January window.

[2 Jan 2014 update: Sky Sports News announces that Jose says he can go – if he wants to.]

Saturday 28 September

As I type this sentence at 5pm we are top of the Premier League. One point clear of Arsenal who are about to play Swansea. I am sure we would have all taken that if offered at the start of the season. Gareth who?

I thought a draw was a fair result against Chelsea. We had patches of brilliance in the first half and I think we would have won it if we had got a second goal before half time.

Fulham  A couple of great goals in this game. This time Cardiff were on the right side of a last minute winner. Given the rumblings that have been coming out of Craven Cottage recently, I fear Martin Jol will be out of a job by Monday.

Mourinho, “I’m off!” [Photo: Alan Hill]There are banner headlines of Mourinho calling Vertonghen’s reaction to Torres’ challenge a “disgrace” and saying it’s what happens when a foreigner brings his habits to the English game. That’s rich, a Portuguese talking about how a Belgian reacts to a heavy challenge when he has already had his face clawed by a Spaniard to the extent that red welts swelled up on his face. What has any of that got to do with which country any of them come from?

Mourinho blew it big time, seeming to crack under the pressure. He said good-bye and ran away out, leaving Frank Lampard to face the music as he made an undignified exit.

Saturday 5 October 

Sepp Blatter I have just seen him make his latest responsibility-ducking statement on the Qatar fiasco/scandal. It gave me an idea for a Hotspur HQ competition of the day. No prizes, just play for fun. Here we go. Rearrange he following words into a recognisable phrase; “and tosser Blatt utter complete a Sepp is”.

Throwing it all away 

It’s so sad to see it happening all over again with the youngest of the new crop of potential stars. Displays of thuggish, slovenly, unhealthy, pig ignorant, uncaring behaviour. No sooner does a young man seem to hold out a beacon of hope as an example to our children than they screw it up and it ends up in the full glare of publicity. To be fair some managers have had the moral courage to speak up in the past week. Well done to Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers.

Professional footballers have a special talent. That attracts a special wage and privileged lifestyle. It also carries a responsibility to behave in a professional and exemplary fashion. You have to make sacrifices if you want all that. If you don’t like the restriction, don’t sign the contract, don’t take the money – and understand that if you continue to behave like a dick, it will all be taken away from you. You can spend the rest of your youth getting lumps kicked out of you in your local pub side.

No names, no pack drill. You know who you are. You have a fantastic chance to really make something of yourself for the rest of your life – and make a positive difference to others – or blow it all for a few years of fun and F**king about. Think on.

[Favourite lookey-likey of the year, Jose Mourinho and Captain Black of the Mysterons.]

Jose Mourinho?

Captain Black of the Mysterons

In the late kick off Man. U go 1-0 down to the bottom club Sunderland and look all at sea as De Gea pulls of a world class save to keep them in it. In the second half a kid that most of us have never heard of but gambled on by Moyes from the outset scores two classy goals to give United the points and Moyes some breathing space. His name looks like someone dropped the counters from a box of scrabble; Adnan Januzaj.  I think we’d better get used to it quick because we’re going to be seeing a lot more of him.

[We certainly did at Old Trafford on Wednesday]

Karen Brady put a praiseworthy plea in the Sun yesterday to West Ham fans to behave, especially on the issue of chants. I echo that. Let’s have plenty of atmosphere and singing, nothing nasty and a cracking game.

Monday 7 October

International break time. I’m sad to see Harry Redknapp slagging off the FA in the Mail, which is serialising his autobiography. Not the most helpful thing to do for his country in the run up to the crucial qualifiers. He is making the same mistake as others before him. In lashing out at the FA at this time to maximise personal gain, the organisation that hurt him, he is risking hurting his country too.

Jack Wilshere quoted in the Press as saying only English players should play for England. Never a truer word spoken.

Wednesday 9 October  Greg Dyke confirms the Premier League would not join the commission to improve the England football team . No surprise there then.

Commission news

Glenn Hoddle [Photo: Logan Holmes]The initial members of the Greg Dyke commission have been announced. Great to see Glenn Hoddle back in the fold officially. As I wrote some time ago, I would have him back as England or Spurs manager any time. I always thought he was tactically astute. There will certainly be a contrast between his approach to the issues and Howard Wilkinson’s. I expect to see sparks there.

Friday 11 October  England vs. Montenegro

England lively for the first 20 minutes but don’t really trouble Montenegro, a country with a total population about the size of Oxford. Andros Townsend a surprise pick in an attacking line up and he does just that running past defenders down the right for fun. No goals at half time though.

Second half England get an early breakthrough thanks to another run and cross from Townsend. He then tops off his man of the match performance with a goal from 25 yards with his weaker foot. Final score 4-1.

Commission gossip

Apparently Sol Campbell has come out and complained about the fact that there are no black people on the FA Commission. Surely it’s early days yet.  Of course there should be and I am sure there will be. We need intelligent Englishmen with constructive opinions. There are plenty to choose from. How about Garth Crooks, John Barnes, Chris Powell and Ledley King for starters? It should be a natural decision to offer some of these guys a place, not because they are black but because of their qualities and what they have brought to the national team, regardless of colour or race.

Tuesday 15 October

Moldova: Such respect for Roy Hodgson and the way he has conducted himself under growing pressure. You can tell how much he cares. Then again, so did Graham Taylor and Steve McLaren. If this one result goes wrong it will haunt him for the rest of his life, despite his considerable achievements. I really think he had done the most anyone could expect with the squad he took over after the dismal failings in South Africa.

Poland: Whilst the game was of the nail-biting variety for England fans, we went for it and to be fair, so did Poland. It was an exciting first half. Wayne Rooney had the best game I can remember in an England shirt. Leyton Baines for me was the man of the match. I felt a huge rush of relief as clearly did Roy Hodgson. He said in the post-match interview he thought it had added 10 years to his life. From the look of his face compared to before the game, I can believe it.

I am so pleased England will be in Brazil next year. Let’s face it; it can’t possibly be worse than South Africa.

Andros Townsend

At my age I have seen enough to think I recognise patterns and behaviours repeating themselves over the years.

The emergence of Andros Townsend following the departure of Gareth Bale brings back memories of Ledley King emerging to replace Sol Campbell. He turned out to be an even better player, truly understood loyalty and what it meant to the Tottenham community. He will for ever be a towering respected figure at the club.

‘A Storm in a Teacup’

Saturday 19 October

Clark Carlisle, the former PFA chairman. It described the situation perfectly.

“This was a humorous anecdote where the merits of the issue are where someone who thinks they are skilled and not should be giving it to someone who is adequate to do the job, so if anyone should be offended it’s Chris Smalling. What people are also not aligning with this is the fact that Roy Hodgson was talking to two BME players. So it’s not like he was talking to a Caucasian player and saying “you’re an astronaut” and a black player “you’re a monkey”. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE OR CULTURE it is to do with perceived responsibility and ability. I feel very proud, I would say, of the way Andros Townsend has dealt with this. Having said that players should stand up and say what they believe in, he has immediately done that and he has not shirked any of the responsibility for his accidental involvement in this issue.”

Andros Townsend himself said,

"I don’t know what all the fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken. It is not even news worthy. I think everyone should be focusing on us qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next year and not negative silly news really."