‘An ‘Apology to ‘Arry


A settled or established opinion, belief, or principle.

I had a dogmatic belief that Harry Redknapp was bad news for Tottenham.  I told you in October 2008, January 2009 and had a good go him and our flops after the embarrassment of a 2-3 League Cup defeat to Burnley.  By April 2009 I offered him a smidgen of credit but it was begrudging and typed through gritted keys.

But it’s time to lay down my arms and say “thank you” to the manager who has secured Champions League football (albeit a potentially difficult preliminary round qualifier) and will see Spurs compete in the European Cup for the first time since 1961/62.

It would be a shame not to get through the preliminary round where a host of quality teams (and Celtic) await.  But for me the thrill has been in doing what most people gave the club no hope of achieving – breaking up the Champions League quadopoly.

I’m not a meathead football fan who takes every barb personally or thinks that blind loyalty to a manager or player is some sort of virtue.  I’ll happily call out anyone involved with the club who I don’t think is doing their bit and will take criticism on the chin if it’s fair and balanced.  For example, Tottenham were fairly rubbish against Manchester United and not great against Bolton last weekend.  In fact they were probably a little fortunate to get the three points in the latter game.  If someone made that point to me then I would heartily agree.

But when I see or hear deluded nonsense it really does bug me.  This is taken from the comments section of The Times report on the game.

I don’t know the affiliation of the author of this piece but it’s a laughable slice of analysis.  It’s not untrue to say that Lennon, Defoe and Bale were not at their best but it’s completely untrue to say that “only one side played attacking football”.  Tottenham were away to Manchester City a team full of internationals who had smashed five and six goals past opponents in recent games and beaten Aston Villa 3-1 a few days ago.

But yet it was the home team who played with two defensive midfielders and two full backs who rarely came forward.  Tottenham lined up with two attacking wingers and no conventional anchor man in midfield.  If the author’s point is that Manchester City had more possession then he is right.  But in the circumstances that should have been expected.  The difference is that when Tottenham absorbed the pressure (which came in the early stages of both halves) they had the attacking ability to cause problems and they frequently did.  City hardly mustered a decent effort in the second half.

There can be few impartial observers who would say Tottenham were not the better team and did not deserve the win. And I say that as someone who would happily concede if Spurs did not deserve it.

The Football365 letters page always has some good stuff.  Here is some ranting and raving:

This comes from a Southampton fan – probably one of the ones who took great joy at finishing above Glenn Hoddle’s Spurs (no, didn’t like him either) in 2001 and 2003.  Some might have termed their behaviour at the time to be rather smug, perhaps even arrogant (that’s third division Southampton by the way).  But the point is that all clubs have the same cross-section of fans – some arrogant, some deluded, some pessimistic, some even-tempered and realistic.  For “Spurs” you can substitute the name of pretty much every club in the world except maybe Fulham (unless they win that Europa thing – they will be unbearable after that).

Here’s Oliver’s opinion:

This is a strange point.  It’s accurate yet kind of irrelevant.  If Tottenham beat Burnley on Sunday then only twice in the history of the Premier League has a club finishing fourth finished with more points (Liverpool both times in 1995 (74) and 2008 (76)).  To break through (what seemed) a glass ceiling with such a points total within 18 months of being bottom of the league is a hell of an achievement.

And if you’re one of only a number of competitors speculating to accumulate (Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa belong in this group) then to finish as first in that ‘mini-league’ is a further achievement – it’s not like competition for the fourth place slot was non-existent.  On a side note, although no one ever truly knows how much a transfer has cost a club, a fair value to put on Spurs starting XI last night is about £70m.  This isn’t far above what Tevez, Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz alone cost Manchester City.

Spending money is not the key to success – it’s spending money wisely.  Spurs have ponied up huge sums in the past for players like Sergei Rebrov, Les Ferdinand and Ruel Fox that they might as well have flushed down the toilet.  These days they’re paying £1m for Aaron Lennon, £3.5m for Michael Dawson, £3m for Tom Huddlestone and, when they do spend big, it seems calculated that most if not all can be recouped (Darren Bent, Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane, Younes Kaboul are evidence of that – even if they did buy three of them back).  And of course they made big money from the sales of Berbatov and Carrick (that turned out well didn’t it Alex?).

It sounds like Oliver (whose first point above was that Spurs have not qualified for the group stages even though – as he says – everyone who has written is clearly aware of this) is happy enough that City didn’t qualify but at the same time still feels the need to rain on Tottenham’s parade with fairly erroneous statements.  Just a smidgen of acidity there, Oliver.  Not sure why…I’m not sure why.


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