We are supposedly a fickle breed of supporter, us Tottenham fans. A win seems to be the making of a season, a defeat makes it fall apart, while a draw renders us stagnant, unlikely to progress beyond 11th.
With three games, two points and just two goals achieved so far this season, the feeling of discontent amongst some fans is in stark contrast to the almost universal optimism felt after Spurs whacked three past Fiorentina in pre-season (the same Fiorentina who drew 3-3 with a rock-bottom, goalless Leicester team, and the same Fiorentina who lost 0-2 at home to newly promoted Cheivo in week 1 of the Scudetto).
But Glenn Hoddle is escaping the wrath of most fans, with new majority shareholders, ENIC, accused of short-changing the Spurs hero in the shape of stingy transfer funds. So far the club have paid fees for just three players – Gus Poyet, Goran Bunjecevic and Christian Ziege – at a combined total of £6.8m. They have recouped £3m from the sale of Luke Young and £2.5 from the transfer of Ian Walker.
Unless things improve very quickly, the cries of ‘get your wallet out’ will be resonating around White Hart Lane like the chorus of ‘Wonderwall’ at an Oasis concert.
But leaving aside the lack of spending so far, should Hoddle have made a bigger impact with the team at his disposal thus far?
There are plenty of fans who have been heartened by what they have seen in the first three games, and who am I to argue with those who have attended the games. My opinions are based soley on the Everton performance which was live on Sky, and from what I am told, the effort in that game was representative of what has been seen in the other two. Frankly speaking, it was abysmal.
Outplayed, outworked and out-thought – and this by a really poor Everton team. Their early season position of 7 points from 9 should fool no one. George Graham’s mediocre Spurs team once topped the league after 3 games too.
With so many new players coming in, it is understandable that our midfield seemed like strangers. But when I heard some fans discussing the “neat passing football”, I had to double take. Poyet, Sheringham and Anderton struggled to string any convincing passing maneouvers together, and the movement off the ball was as poor as it was under Graham. It seemed like nothing had changed.
Leaving the lack of progression aside, there were new signings to ogle. Poyet was never in the game and he looked unfit and out of sorts. Sheringham played well in the second half and was half a yard ahead of everyone in terms of his thought patterns. On opposite ends of the scale, Yugoslavian central defender Bunjevcevic looked like a real talent. He was confident on the ball, had the ability to carry the ball out and lay it off, and even if defensively he is no Sol Campbell, he adds another dimension to the back line.
However, German wing-back Christian Ziege was nothing short of disgraceful. It took two sendings off to coax him into making any telling contribution. His first was to get booked for arguing about Gary Doherty’s ridiculous red card, the second was to escape a red himself with a crazy sliding lunge only minutes after Poyet’s dismissal.
It is early days for Hoddle, but so far I’m hugely unimpressed. I have no doubt it will improve but I already expected the former England manager to have instilled a neat passing game and hard work ethic that would have netted us 7 points from our three games. The loss of Carr, continued poor form of Rebrov and slow start of Poyet and Ziege have not helped, but I look at the quality of football played by Fulham, and the capability of teams like Bolton and Charlton to get results, and it makes me wonder where we go wrong every time.
Being a Spurs fan is meant to be hard. I think it is the unwritten rule of life, but it shouldn’t be so hard as to make it a chore to believe any more.
Please Goddle, it’ll all change.
I got into work the other morning and decided it was time for a few home truths to be delivered.
“Mark, you are a moany twat”, I said to him. “I’ve never liked you”.
“You know Pamela, your fashion sense is up your arse. Really.”
“Hey boss, I heard you been skimming a bit off the top. Is it true??”
Needless to say I had a pink slip taped to my ass twenty minutes later.
Alex Ferguson took the only step he could when he sent Jaap Stam packing this weekend. The £10.75m defender generated a lot of criticism inside Old Trafford when he used his autobiography to be openly criticial of team mates and revealed that Fergie had been involved in ‘tapping’ him up, amongst other accusations, that made one of the worlds most successful manager vulnerable.
Stam is a decent player and without doubt United’s best defender, but he’s not world class as has been shown time and time again when the big man has been left scurrying in the wake of Europe’s best defenders. He is also not much of a leader and the defence he is supposed to marshal is uncharateristically all at sea far too often.
To get £16m for Stam is a great return for United, but you have to ask if he was not worth more to them than that. For all his faults, he helped prop up the mediocre talents of the Nevilles and Silvestre, the ageing Denis Irwin and developing Wes Brown. Without a quality replacement it could all go wrong for them in the first phase of the Champions League, and therefore cost them a lot more than the 6m profit they made on the Dutchman.
Stam put his manager in a difficult situation and the only thing Ferguson could do was sell him in an attempt to stamp his authority. It might backfire for United but I remember how the sale of Kanchelskis, Ince and Hughes was seen as the nail in United’s coffin half a decade ago