In 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. He reached heights that no one thought were possible. He saw things that were only previously documented in fiction. Since then the Glenn experience has helped shape future visions of those who dream of space colonies on the Moon and trips to Mars.
Nearly forty years on, another Glenn is faced with a similar challenge. Glenn Hoddle takes over at White Hart Lane as Spurs languish in their biggest depression since relegation in the mid-70s. Despite capturing the 1999 Worthington Cup and some good cup runs in previous manager George Graham’s tenure, the fans were always split on the former Arsenal man’s involvement with the club as well as his dubious record in charge.
While Hoddle takes over a decent squad who will revel in the contrary approach to team affairs that he is likely to take, there is no doubt that if Spurs are to challenge for the top six he will have to attract a better quality of player than Graham did.
His most immediate challenge is to hold on to Sol Campbell. The club’s prize asset can walk away on a free transfer in under two months and Hoddle must convince the club captain that he means business. The only way he can do that is to replace the team’s weak links with high quality players.
So who are the weak links? Well the midfield is the area most in need of rejuvenating. Players like Stephen Clemence, Steffen Freund, Tim Sherwood, Oyvind Leonhardsen and even Darren Anderton are not good enough for regular starting places. With youngsters like Simon Davies, Ledley King and Matty Etherington on the peripheral of the first-team, a few experienced heads would be just what the fans and the club need.
Davids and Davies
Edgar Davids would be a great midfield combatant. The 28 year old Juventus star has stated his desire to play in the Premiership and furthermore, has admitted to being a Tottenham fan. He is of course most likely to join one of the Champions Leagues teams, but you never know what ENIC have up their sleeve. If they really mean business, then this is the quality of player they need to lure.
Simon Davies has displayed enough ability this season to put himself in the frame for a central midfield slot next season. The 20 year old is unlikely to be affected by the spotlight, but he still deserves to have some competition for the slot. The best way for the club to go is try to sign a top quality player on a short-term basis who will help Davies develop before he becomes ready for playing week in-week out.
Assuming that we use conventional wide-players in a 4-4-2 (although a 3-5-2 formation is likely to be used just as much by Hoddle), then you might say that we have enough potential at the club to cover this already. On the left, Matty Etherington and Willem Korsten are likely to battle it out for the position. Korsten just put in his best performance for the club in the 3-2 win at Sunderland, and if Hoddle gets the best out of him the club may have their natural successor to David Ginola.
Simon Davies can operate on the right, as can the out-of-contract Anderton. Youngster John Piercey has also been in the first team frame too in the last twelve months and his development next season will be interesting to watch. Between the three of them, Spurs might be able to save some money.
Up front and personal
Sergei Rebrov is undoubtedly a player of huge ability, and the only question you have to ask is, who will play alongside him. Spurs need to recruit a top striker along the lines of his Ukranian team-mate, Andriy Shevchenko. Links with Dwight Yorke and Tore Andre Flo are not completely unwanted but considering that both men would cost upwards of 10m, you start to wonder about value for money.
Again, if Spurs want to proceed then they need a better quality player than the above-mentioned. Am I dreaming? Maybe, but dreaming is something we should be allowed to do now.
So if Hoddle and ENIC meet the expectations of Spurs fans, we will lure players like Shevchenko and Davids. There is little point bringing the likes of Nicky Butt or Hassan Kachloul in as they are just not that huge an improvement over what we have already.
So just like John Glenn, all those years ago, Hoddle has a chance to bring Spurs fans a future they never thought possible. He can shape the future at the club that he loves. And please, no references to the rumour that Glenn is perhaps a bit of a ‘spacer’.
Another tragic death in the football world. Referee Mike North collapsed during the Southend/Mansfield game in division three on Bank Holiday Monday and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Following on from the tragic events in South Africa recently as well as the sad death of David Rocastle, it is once again a wake-up call for those of us who get so riled up over football.
We all lose perspective sometimes. Some people never have it. To me football is a game, a hobby, and it will never mean more to me than that. Maybe that makes me less of a fan than others? Maybe. Maybe it just means I have perspective.