Despair! Like the lilywhite dove flattened in a spring-loaded cage by the plotting Alfred Borden, Spurs fell quarry to some old-fashioned magic this weekend- and they were not alone. With some of the biggest names from the Planet’s Bestest League (and Liverpool) all labouring to overcome significantly modest opponents, you’ll be happy to learn that the F.A Cup is not a complete stiff yet. Huzzah!
Leeds deserved their win. Yes, the pitch might’ve looked as if Time Team had been in residence for the afternoon, but a few divots here and there doesn’t excuse defending like prats. Colin’s United took the chances when they fell and were only a curmudgeonly premature whistle away from scoring a third. Europa League it is, then?
Talking of all things premature (steady) Lewis Holtby was handed over from Schalke this week- and a whole three days before the window closes, too. I was beginning to think Levy was rather pushing his luck with the parsimonious low-balling of the German club. But, as it was pitched by the esteemed Longwell last week:
“Either they take what Levy’s willing to offer in the next week or so, or Holtby comes in the summer and they get nothing and like it.
The question is how much is fourth months’ of Holtby’s services worth to Schalke?”
About £1.5 million it would appear. Anyway, here he is with AVB and the shirt- he’s been given the number 23. And, if you’re into that sort of thing, here’s Alan Hutton being unveiled at Mallorca. How odd.
Canaries away tomorrow.
Alex Ferguson routinely pours scorn over the idea of recruitment at this time of year, but he should know more than most that for every Jean-Alain Boumsong or Ricardo Rocha there’s a Nemanja Vidić or a Patrice Evra out there waiting to be snaffled up…
Read more at The Huffington Post
Good evening and greetings from the ice bunker. If you’re suffering from an acute case of frostbite of the derriére, why not let the latest guff and tommyrot from WFRF headquarters pump some much needed warmth into your breeches.
First up, a word or two on the United game. A draw is a result most would’ve taken before kick-off; indeed, Rio Ferdinand admitted that it was a scoreline the Manchester club themselves would’ve settled on. But a cursory glance at the lop-sided stats would suggest it’s the least we deserved.
Far from it being just a tale of skewed numbers, either; Spurs were the cannier beast going forward for much of the afternoon and had the absurd reflexes of half-goalkeeper-half-alpaca been a little less sharp, the eleventh-hour equalizer mightn’t have been so desperately welcome.
Of course Rooney was hoodwinked out of a penalty but it’s not like we don’t know how that goes. Geewizz.
Good to see Scotty Parker back in the fold. He looked rustier than an old toolbox at times but for his first start in ages he did remarkably well. A tireless shift punctuated by one ore two bone-shuddering challenges and a well-honed fondness of running the ball in a perfectly straight line. Business as usual. Welcome home, old boy.
Tip o’ the cap to Villas-Boas’, too, for a tactical jigger which saw BAE on for young Kyle Anti-Virus; giving us much more balance on the left. With little room for manoeuvre in the way of offensive options, it was nice to imagine a manager capable of thinking outside the box rather than just sit there under a blanker and wait for the answer to reveal itself. And it was Disco Benny’s cross which finally caused De Gea to drop a pudding for the leveller.
Quotes on a Scandal
“He’s not a real left-back and I don’t think he has the same left foot as me, so I’m not worried about that,”
“I’m not worried because obviously I can do stuff with my left foot that he can’t do”
Everyone’s favourite African funster, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, on his rivalry with Kyle Naughton. LOLZ. He says what we’re all thinking!
“They’ve got a great fan base, but this over-celebration of anything Andre Villas-Boas does smacks of desperation from a set of supporters who need something to cling on to.”
TalkSport’s Adrian Durham. Ballbag of the highest order.
“There is a request from Tottenham. The offer is not acceptable.
But the transfer window is still open. Lewis has not become cheaper today.”
Schalke’s general manager, Horst Heldt, obviously new to the concept of ‘Levymanship’
“It’s a difficult situation but that doesn’t mean that we won’t do anything in the transfer market. We are also aware of the risk that it entails though, so we’ll just have to be careful”
André on the prospect of recruiting another striker.
No mention of Gary Hooper but I’m sure it’s implied.
Spurs haven’t beaten Manchester United since…oh wait, hang on. I’m reading last year’s notes. Zing-a-ding-ding. To be honest I’d given up putting any thought into previewing these fixtures a long time ago; some would argue that’s not necessarily exclusive to games involving United and, you know, perhaps they’re on to something.
How many times can one beat the MAYBE THIS TIME! drum before you break through the goatskin and do your hand a mischief. After years of disappointment after tragic, often hilarious disappointment, the sentiment had become a reflex; a defence mechanism. A cry for the hopeless.
I’m aware they dickbag us every year but maybe this time it’ll be different? Pa-thetic.
Anyway it’s all change since André Villas-Boas masterminded a barnstorming victory at Old Trafford in late-September. After a big dinner and several gin and tonics I could’ve cried the evening we finally toppled Sir Alex’s men. Getting dragged through the ringer as a Spurs fan is almost habitual, but this game more than most got the old soul stirring. Boy howdy. Vertonghen’s early goal: oh, god- we’ve scored too early. Bale gets the second: good, but I’ll still take a draw. They score: it’s all over. Dempsey scores immediately after: we’re only prolonging the inevitable. They score again: told you, all over. And, then *deep breath*
Pretty much forty minutes of bracing against a perpetual red tide: plugging holes with underpants, sellotaping the cracks with desperate enthusiasm: whatever it took to hold on. Heroic stuff. A famous victory.
Tomorrow’s game at the Lane is marred by the confirmation that Sandro will miss the rest of the season. Anyone but him, appears to be the general mood on the internet superhighway since hearing the news. Bale’s a game-changer and Adebayor’s international duties by proxy make Defoe indispensible. But the Brazilian’s been our heartbeat for some time now and we shan’t function the same without him. As replacements go, however, Scotty Parker comes highly recommended. In fact, put your house* on him to score the winner.
He’d do that just to show you.
Oh bottoms. The Beast previously known as Sandro has had the most delicate parts of his knee diddled with by the planet’s finest professional knee-diddlers and it would be easy to conclude that it’s a total disaster.
Such is the Brazilian’s importance to this new look Spurs side, the thought of losing him to the frosty advances of a treatment table for just one game, leaves me wondering whether I shouldn’t just seal my head in a carrier bag and just call the whole thing off.
My surgery went well, he told us on Twitter yesterday, which at least implies he’s still alive.
But where does that leave us? Don’t you understand? WE’RE DOOMED!
Oh look there’s Scotty Parker. He’s good.
Jeez, you guys are being way too panicky about this.
All eyes on self-anointed fackin’ football manager, Henry James Redknapp this weekend, as his oft abysmal QPR side are tasked with the responsibility of avenging their boss’s summer dismissal against the club who did a good deal of the dismissing. Well, all of the dismissing if we’re being honest.
There’s almost certainly some people who’d like to see karmic justice dished out in this meeting of minds- dirty great platters of the stuff if preferable. Those who believed Redknapp was just innocent collateral damage in a mad chairman’s scheme to run a football club into the ground. Why else would Levy fire the People’s Choice other than if he was a wibbling nutcase hell-bent of carnage?
True enough, the sun shone brightly on Tottenham during ‘Arry’s four-and-a-half year reign. Rock-bottom to Champions League quarter finals in one-and-a-half seasons is quite an achievement to put it mildly. There was heart-stopping stuff along the way, too. Redknapp’s now legendary vague tactical approach clearly lent itself well to a free-flowing laissez-faire brand of attacking football and it was one heck of a ride at times. But it was perhaps the England Manager-elect’s vision of the future where the troubles lay. In that, he didn’t seem to have one.
The old cliché that he’d taken Spurs as far as they could go is a tired one, but you can’t look beyond the fact that his last five major signings of his tenure at White Hart Lane were Adebayor (loan) Scott Parker (fairly injury-prone 31-year old) Friedel (mad old) Nelsen (?) and Louis Saha (busted up). Not exactly the foundations of a New World Order.
Now we’ve got ourselves one them contemporary football managers we’ve heard so much about, with everything geared towards safeguarding far beyond merely the next trading window. A young, dynamic coach to go with our sparkly new training ground and defined transfer policy. It’s Captain Buck Rogers in 25th Century. It’s the way forward.
In practically every way, Villas-Boas is Redknapp’s direct antithesis; his antipode; his polar opposite. Where one might tell a player to circumnavigate themselves along the apex of the centre-circle at a rate of 13.4km an hour, straight-talking ‘Arry would tell ‘em to round around a bit and stop asking so many questions. One’s the darling of the media, old china plates with the boys in the studio, always good for a quote; the other appears as an impassable smokescreen of Venn diagrams and convoluted business-talk. One is all about tactics and preparation, the other is, according to Rafael van der Vaart, er, not so much.
In the quest to tie together some neat narrative strands, the tabloids might be hoping for a QPR win tomorrow. They’ll use the headline Rope-a-Dope with the word ‘Dope’ in big red letters and everyone will nod their heads knowingly. Even if this is the case, and we do stumble against the League’s worst, I’m still mighty confident that we made the right choice and that our future is in secure hands. Indeed, even Mr. Redknapp himself is impressed with his predecessor’s work so far:
“He’s doing a fantastic job there and long may that continue for him. He got a job but it wasn’t my job. When he got the job I was out of work. I’ve got no problem with him. He seems like a nice guy.”
‘I don’t spend my nights worrying about what he’s doing. I will shake his hand and invite him for a drink whatever the result.”
Nice touch, Harold.
Quotes from the Daily Mail.
A weekend which sees progress into the 4th round of the Cup, a legitimate German Wünderkid join for next to zip and- much to the fnar-fnar-quacking of Spurs fans- a public dressing down by Alex Ferguson which can be summarised as The Nasty Chairman Stole My Pudding- I’d wager was a rather good one. Not bad at all, in fact.
And the piping hot German talent in question is one Lewis Holtby. A classic number 10 (9 ½ 8 ¾) swamped with absurd amounts of technical ability and potential. He’s been one of Shalke’s star performers this year and it’s widely viewed that the 22-year old single-handedly dragged Germany to the U21 Euros. So far, so groovy.
But now there’s more.
Being an impatient sort, it did seem a bit of a shame that we’d have to wait until July to see the kid in home colours and later still to the time he actually put his welly through the old latex bag. Now it appears the day could come much sooner. Here’s what noise Schalke’s managing director, Horst Heldt, made with his mouth hole:
“If Tottenham ask for Holtby in the January window, we will talk to them about it. Nothing has happened yet, but, from our point of view, we are prepared to speak to them.”
“It would have to be done quickly, because we would have to find a replacement for him.”
The snag in that particular plan, of course, is the idea that Daniel Levy could hammer out a deal quickly. Somehow I doubt Mr. Heldt’s idea of haste is twelve seconds before the window closes. But we’ll see.
We’re having a few technical issues in the WFRF bunker at the moment and it appears to be a little more complicated than the usual someone’s-spilled-Merlot-on-the-router type scenario that your average work-a-day blogger is confronted with from time to time. Terms such as severely compromised and no, seriously you’ve broken it keep appearing with rather more regularity than I’d hope for.
Still, enough about my problems- we’ll muddle through.
Tottenham Hotspur, now there’s the horse to back. A festive period of immense dimensions. And points, too. Ten of them from twelve, if you want details. Seven wins from the last nine and third spot preserved until at least after the F.A Cup weekend following Harry Redknapp’s improbable triumph over Chelsea at The Bridge on Wednesday. It’s nice to know he still cares, eh? Add to that the return of Scott Parker- with his reliable haircut and unusually exotic red footwear- and we start the year in none too bad a shape. Andre Villas-Bonus.
As the year gets into full swing, then, so does our old demented friend, The January Transfer Window. With only a month to saturate the airwaves with as much gossip, rumour and downright non-truths as possible, the going can often get weird in the condensed Winter market. The hokum comes thick and fast. Sneijder, Villa and Ken Barlow have already been linked with Spurs, all with their own challenges. Wages, age, not being a real person etc..
We have seen some furtive movement in the waters, of course. Zeki Fryers was announced as very much on-board yesterday afternoon. You’d be pardoned for encountering a boding sense of déjà-vu about this one but I can assure you he isn’t Frazier Campbell. Despite the United connections and dubious ‘Z’ in his handle. He can play at left-back and centre-back it says here. Also his full name is an anagram of Refreeze Silky and you can’t say fairer than that.
Merry everyone! I trust the festive period has handled you well? Upon hearing the rumours on Christmas Day that contract rebel Wesley Sneijder was about to join Spurs, the thought occurred to me that someone may have spiked the bread sauce with anti-freeze. Then the sobering but inevitable quotes from Camp Wesley immerged yesterday and the dream cough, spluttered and finally met its maker. There is nothing, absolutely nothing true about that, said one of his representatives, with what sounded like genuine contempt for the very idea. Ho-hum.
It was with flawless timing, then, that Gareth Bale and chums made us forget about Rivaldo/Kaka/Moutinho MK2/3/4 and be thankful for that which we already have- as is customary this time of year. A walloping fine win on Boxing Day was both the ticket and just what the doctor ordered.
The first half at Villa Park was an exercise in sterile domination; gluttonous amounts of possession and corners- lots and lots of corners- but very little in the way of actual chances fashioned. The set-pieces and minutes racked up and still Brad Guzan looked reasonably comfortable with what we were hurling at him. Defoe had a decent one-on-one scuppered, Bale pop-shotted on occasion but the breakthrough didnae come and every man, woman and child could see where this might be headed. As long as it remains 0-0, the dangerous watchwords of the hopeless.
And the Midlanders were hopeless for the most part. A spirited flurry just after the break was the best it got for them before JD and Gareth began sending out invites to the goal banquet. Naughton’s lip-smacking assist started things off; when Spurs were yelling out for a bit of final-ball smarts from the midfield, it was from a rather unexpected source that the lock was finally jimmied. It’s a bloody Christmas miracle!
Then it was all about Bale. His second hat-trick for Tottenham, first in the League. Pace, power, composure and precise finishing. The boy is no more a one-trick winger than I am an astronaut. So numerous are the components to his game that it would be no surprise to learn that he can do a nine dart check-out on demand and has a formidable badminton serve. Multi-talented, multi-layered and genuinely world class. Let’s not take him for granted, shall we?
Sunderland up next.
Ho, ho and indeed ho. Tottenham are up against footballing Renaissance men Stoke this afternoon; a team who if they were represented by the medium of architectural design, would be a pile of breeze blocks thrown into a dirty skip.
Tony Pulis. Man’s man; man’s manager; manager’s manager. Man. Great worth does the Newportian place in safeguarding the values of the game we call soccerball. Doing things, in a manner of speaking, the right way. Which approximately translates as: them perfume PONCE foreigners go down too easily and there’s no amount of stamping, shirt pulling or wallops about the brainbox that a firm handshake couldn’t resolve between men.
To recap: bone-shuddering two-footed challenge followed by a dusting off and a sturdy meeting of paws= good. Unhindered tumbles (unless performed by Charlie Adam) = very much bad.
Meanwhile for Spurs, that injury list which threatened to run longer than Methuselah’s beard is beginning to recoil. Parker last week, Disco Benjamin with every chance of making a return this. A lad name Gareth Bale, still riding high on the buzz of reaching 200k Twitter followers this week, is also in contention for a start. Which’ll go down well with the locals.
Hamstring pending, this is could be a game for Michael Dawson to savour, like a hog frolicking in his own swill. Call it team selection of the putting tab B into slot B variety (Stoke like twonking into the mixer, Dawson is adept at propelling it out) but you can’t help but feel this would be just his kind of afternoon. I’d also fancy bunging Parker AND Sandro in midfield today, if only to see how the Brazilian operates when his defensive chores are reduced. There’s more to his game than grinding adversaries to bone-marrow: he’s a joy to watch going forward, too. As for the rest of ‘em…