Having been knocked around like a woozy sot in a very one-sided bar fight- stumbling over chairs and smashing into the wall-mounted jukebox- Spurs have somehow made it into a Europa League quarter-final with FC Basel. How about that? The saloon doors are still swinging; trousers still bloodied and torn at the knee- and Tottenham are just about there.
It’s a shame to think of the waste we made of this competition under the old regime. Of course ‘Arry took us to the Big Show in his time but for a manager who’d won a single major honour in thirty years, it’s odd to suppose that he treated an imminently winnable trophy with such disdain. Not having a pop, although someone clearly was. The teams he rolled out for the Group Stages last season were a joke and if we’d have snuck into the knock-outs as a consequence, UEFA might as well have unplugged the life-support and called time on the whole damn charade.
By contrast, this campaign has been ludicrously enjoyable for Spurs. From Lazio to Lyon we’ve been spelling fun with a capital F.U.N. The whole tie with Internazionale was mental. Once the blood-pressure had dipped to an acceptable level, you’d struggle to remember a two-legged tie which was so polarised. As good as Tottenham were at White Hart Lane- and they were excellent- it was a steaming pile of holy bobbins at the San Siro. If Inter’s ineptitude flattered us last week, then boy, boy did we make their task easier this.
But, at the end of the night, when you count your chips and you’re in the business end of a European competition and you’ve a major hoodang along the way, you wonder why we didn’t think of it earlier.
Bring on the Swiss, I say.
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.
First up, I suppose it’s only fair we dive head first, straight into the day’s big talking point; news, I think it’s fair to say, that has shaken the online community to its very core. I talk, of course, about rumours of one Jack Wilshere pulling the virtual plug on his Twitter account (why, Jack, why?!) after reports circulated that the young midfielder had tested positive for the world’s favourite brand of nose candy.
Advice detailing exactly how we’re all expected to cope with such a literary loss, hasn’t yet been made available, or, indeed, suggestions as to what we’re supposed to do with all the hilarious jokes we all had primed, ready for when (if) the news was made official. Maybe I’ll just send that hand-drawn picture of some c*ck and balls to Piers Morgan instead. Yeah, that should do it.
Talking of nasty, horrible, definitely-not-made-up rumours. Harry Redknapp was certainly quick to pour cold water over the idea of him vamoosing from the Lane this summer. Emphasis on the word ‘quit’. This was his rebuttal issued to ESPN last night, then detailed later on ITV:
“No, I haven’t resigned, and I have no idea why it is being suggested that I have resigned.
‘This is an outrage; an absolute liberty for people to be putting around this kind of rumour on the internet.
‘It is not true, there is not a chance I will resign. Why should I? I have a year left on my contract.”
Seems fairly emphatic. I know there’s been a lot of heated discussion about this online, and much of it favouring the idea of parting company with Master Harold- to varying degrees of, shall we say, enthusiasm. My view is that I will continue to support Redknapp- in spite of the pig’s t*t he made of the end of last season and his exhausting tendency to omit verbal sewage on any given subject or at any opportunity (usually when there’s a microphone around). He’s, on the whole, done a good job for us, I would say. Two fourth place finishes, Champions League quarter-finals, two F.A Cup semis, playing lovely football and all the jazzy stuff.
All things considered, however, if another option became available- a tangibly better option, not just flavour of the week or a dearly loved ex-player (you know the general view of Jurgen Klinsmann in Germany is that he’s tactically incompetent?) then I’d be onside with Levy and his man-in-waiting. Right now, though, any mention of David Moyes or Roberto Martinez leaves me feeling rather cold and decidedly uninspired. But what do you, dear reader, think is to be done? Have we outgrown each other or does the old boy deserve another season?
I’m also to be found on the Twitter.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I trust you’ve fastened your seatbelts and your tray-tables are in their upright and locked position. If you need me, I’ll be the one hammering on the door of the cock-pit demanding to speak to the pilot. Come on, open up, you peasant! I know you’ve got a parachute in there somewhere..
A bit late to get off now, perhaps. Marshmallow clouds whiz past the window and the landing strip is in plain view. The only question that remains, after a season of navigating ourselves through an assortment of clear skies and prolonged zones of turbulence, just where exactly are Tottenham going to put this bird down. And what state is she going to be in once grounded.
I have a recurring nightmare that Captain Redknapp’s last act will be a spectacular fiery belly-flop into a dust field two miles short of the airport; the wreckage of which will be picked apart and sold by rag-and-bone men.
But, you know, other than that I’m fairly upbeat.
Fulham at home, then. The last hurrah. I’m sure you’re all aware of the possible incarnations the final table can assume. We’re looking at anywhere between 5th and 3rd. And everything (that’s to say, 4th) in between. All to play for, as our venerable leader reasoned earlier.
Word from the front desk is that professional Rhyme-noceros, Clint Dempsey, is out of action for the trip. Too busy dropping thunder in the studio, no doubt. This, it’s fair to say, is good news for Spurs. Twenty-three goals in all competitions for Dempsey this season and I’m happy for it to stop there. We’ll have enough to keep us occupied with Dembélé and Progrebnyak in residence, of that I’m certain.
Aside from keeping Saturday night’s dinner down- as apose to having it line the inside of their shorts like frothy Bisto- Tottenham’s only real dilemma is at left-back; where an injured Disco Benny and a suspended Danny Rose leave us in a rather tight spot. Gareth Bale springs to mind, but whether he can be relied upon to not go wandering up front/right-wing/ or, indeed, in goal, when the urge arises, it’s difficult to say. Personally I’d take a punt on Gallas and be done with it.
Right, here we go, folks Your thoughts, as ever, are welcomed. Let’s have a happy and prosperous end to the season. Like we know we should. COYS!
I’ll be on Twitter. Praying.
Morning, campers. Before certain corners of the internet are caught in seismic blasts of despair/joy/uncertainty- and before our collective brains deep-fry themselves in the unending catalogue of complicated algorithms and permutations that could unfold this Sunday- I thought I’d look back on the week’s most eye-catching snippets of news and ask the simple question: wasitallabaat?
In plain-speak, then, I’m going to recycle some old quotes like the council recycles my cardboard and you’re going to sit there and bloody well like it.
First up, Disco Benny has pished on a few tabloid bonfires this week, after several of the redtops had picked up the on the remarkable story of him not rating the Europa League and, even more remarkably, not being clairvoyant enough to predict his own future. The dumbo. Here’s the afro’d avenger in his own words:
“I am fully committed to Tottenham Hotspur and proud to represent the club in any match, whatever the competition.
I am very much enjoying my time here. It is a wonderful club with great support and I am looking forward to recovering from my injury in time for next season.”
Now that’s obviously what he meant the first time around.
Meanwhile Jan Vertonghen looks to be awfully close to joining our illustrious ranks. According to Goal.com, the deal is as good as eggs. Having watched at least twenty minutes of the Belgian in action this season- thus qualifying me as ‘expert’- and by proxy of Kompany and Vermaelen both being a bit tasty, I can safely say this is a fine idea. Around ten million Euros is the price being ballyhooed around. Here’s the man himself, brazenly whoring himself, like the salacious harlot he is:
“Tottenham is a fantastic traditional club who play football in a way I like.
Ajax was the perfect club for me, but Spurs will be very close in nearing that already. They buy young, eager and offensive-minded players.”
Right that’s me out of steam. And much earlier than usual.
Here we are on Twitter.