Being stuck here on the Emerald Isle, I rely strongly on Sky TV to bring me a half dozen Spurs games a season. On September 11th I made my way down to my local to see how the maligned Lilywhites would perform in a London battle with struggling West Ham. A chance to see this new passing game, an opportunity to enjoy the world class skills of Sergei Rebrov, the ability to review the tactical nous of George Graham.
What a bunch of crap it turned out to be.
Now I considered myself to be pretty much a pro-Grahamite. I wasn’t entirely enamoured by the performances last season, the sale of Ginola or the mediocre start to the season, but seeing as how George had steadied the ship, I was keen to give him a chance.
But what I saw on September 11th was a horror show that would have turned the milk in even Wes Craven’s tea sour.
In case you missed it…lucky you…Spurs won thanks to a Sol Campbell header midway through the first half and despite my fairly dire view of the game, it was a deserved victory.
The most appalling aspect of the experience was how painful it was to watch. If I had shelled out twenty five quid to watch that garbage, I would not be a happy camper. The team seemed incapable of stringing two passes together save for the odd purple patch which seemed to invariably come through Steven Carr on the right hand side.
It was shocking to see how poor Tim Sherwood and Steffen Iversen were performing. Sherwood, a Premiership winning captain, was pedestrian throughout and consistently losing the ball. Iversen was consistent also – that makes over three seasons at Tottenham where he has been consistently incapable of controlling a piece of leather with any sort of confidence.
So is this the blueprint for Tottenham’s future? It won’t be on a number of levels.
Firstly, the fans will not tolerate this incompetence despite the shallow victories it will invariably bring every two or three games. Secondly, the best players will not stick around to see Spurs cement their future as a third tier club in the Premiership. Carr, Campbell, Rebrov and Anderton are better than this – not sure about any of the others!
Thirdly, and as a direct result of the first two points, Alan Sugar will not endure this level of performance, and will either sack George Graham and/or look to move on himself. There’s only one place Spurs look like their going at the moment, and that’s sideways.
Look, those of you who are very much behind the manager may think I’m throwing a bit of a tantrum, so let me clarify. Firstly, I do support George Graham right now. I do realise that he has done a fair bit to stabilise the club and he deserves this season to try and move Spurs into the top six.
I personally don’t think he will do it, but I’m not going to be a hypocrite and suggest his sacking – I think that would be a desperately bad move right now.
However, I don’t have the confidence in his team that I had twelve months ago. Last October I really believed that we were going to be challenging for a place in the top five, if not top three. For some reason it went all pear-shaped and hasn’t looked right for over 10 months now.
There is still time, but it’s fair to say it is running out. Graham seems to be out of contract at the end of this season and if that is the case it looks like both parties are happy to let things go until then. George may choose retirement, or perhaps international management up in Scotland. Sugar has his eyes set on Hoddle, but the former midfield maestro has just binned the script by signing a new two year deal at Southampton.
The future is very uncertain for Tottenham at management and player level. I think the time to grab the bull by the horns is gone now. The signing of Rebrov, which was the most positive step the club have made since the purchase of Klinsmann in 1994, may turn out to be a waste of time if the club do not progress this season. Rebrov may join Anderton and Campbell out of the club this summer.
If this happens, then Spurs will officially become an “also-ran” in the eyes of just about everybody.
Alex Ferguson, nice man as he apparently is outside of his professional career, is a tosser. Sorry, that’s SIR Alex Ferguson is a tosser.
He’s also a man who has little appetite – certainly judging by the way he refuses to swallow his pride (note: that was a bit too “tabloid” wasn’t it?). Anyway, pray tell, on what level, is Raimond Van Der Gouw a better keeper than Mark Bosnich? Honest and decent player that Van Der Gouw is, he’s not even slightly approaching world class. At all.
Bosnich has had his problems. He had a weight problem. He had some discipline problems. Apparently he is getting divorced at the moment. But even with all this in mind, Bosnich is a far better keeper than the Belgian. He played regularly enough last season, and played well. Now he gets treated like some sort of squatter in the squad.
Why? It seems it’s because Ferguson doesn’t like him and harbours a grudge (nothing new to Sir Alex – read his book) that would make Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow look like Blood Brothers. Maybe if Ferguson stopped being such a pig-headed, arrogant twit, he wouldn’t be dropping points at home to Chelsea or conceding defeat so easily in Holland.
But when you’re top of the league, sitting on a billion pound empire, and the media kiss your ass, you can do as you please. And that’s a shame.