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Entries in AVB (6)


Apparently we're playing this weekend

Lessons learnt from past misadventures will benefit us.

Andre Villas-Boas has already changed his approach with the media (shame he wants to speak only about football whilst they continue to poke questions about non-event sensationalism). He's more giving and less defensive. He also spoke of there being more warmth at Spurs than there was at Chelsea. I guess there are no stipulations and guidelines that have been outlined as imperative objectives. The more welcoming environment has allowed him to settle in far easier than his first attempt in England and his hunger remains rampant. AVB wants to win, he wants to achieve success and he is meticulous in his approach and preparation. He has a plan and he's being allowed to implement it, at his own pace.

So with all the story arcs this game possesses (the ones to be teased and taunted in the stands and exist as the spine of most of the pre and post match coverage) it's going to be a match that demands a fitting chapter if not a finale. Tottenham up against the team that robbed us of CL football and stuffed us in the cup. AVB up against his former club where he failed to impose himself and his ideals and was left humiliated, replaced by his number two, Roberto de Matteo. The only true defining story arcs exist with each club without influence of external influence. Chelsea, fluid but perhaps not as robust as previous sides are winning their games and Tottenham are progressing at a slow brooding rate, simmering not quite to the boil just yet. Both teams 'a work in progress'. But both with enough to be fairly confident of a sustained challenge at the top end of the league. Both far from being finished articles.

Chelsea have a wealth of creative talent (Hazard, Oscar, Mata) and will line-up not too dissimilar to us with holding midfielders. They've been fluid but not dominant but have been spectacular in moments. They can definitely be got at, but this will depend on how we defend and contain them, especially down Kyle Walker's flank. This match is all about the midfield battle and the tempo we attempt to impose on the game.

We're going to need to be disciplined defensively. We're going to need to dominate the centre of midfield. Close down players, win possession back, neat and tidy passing. Tempo has to be high and has to be pressured. Sandro needs to dominate Oscar. Dembele has to drive forward. The holding players might be defensive in their responsibility and positioning but they hold the key to offensive intent. Push up, push wide and push through the middle. Individual battles will influence who wins the war.

What is most telling of all is Villas-Boas in pre-match mode. Aside from some colourful descriptive work and business speak he can be simplistic eloquent and philosophical.

"The team and players are more important than me"

"This game is not going to decide the future of both teams in the Premier League - after this game there will be 30 more games to play, and both teams will have to have decisive matches in front of them. It counts as three points. It doesn’t win us a trophy"

"To a certain extent I feel this is much more about Tottenham in the sense that this is the team who took this club out of the Champions League, and this is the team who prevented this team from playing in FA Cup Final last year - so in the end we certainly have the ingredients for it to be a spectacular match”

“Taking it to an individual situation is not fair on me - first because it means absolutely nothing on the end of season and in which position you might finish, and because it is not a quest of an individual, it is a quest of a team, and where we want to finish at end of the season"

From the heart. No hyperbole or sensationalism. Just the way it is. I'm not nervous, I'm confident and I'm looking forward to it. I don't care for the statistics of the past, I care only for the next game.



What's going on?

I’m in one of those places at the moment. Much like Dexter Morgan (in the hit US tv show ‘Dexter’) has a dark passenger that lusts for blood (he’s a serial killer, but a good one, he only kills people that deserve it like...other serial killers) I also have dark thoughts. Mostly about ordering a kebab at 11pm or attempting to induce lucid dreams that consist of me scoring last minute winners away to the scum then diving into the stands to ‘sort ‘em out’. Although I could be more like Dexter. Kill other bloggers. Alas, never red, so lusting for blood is a step too far. Click whores, you're safe for now.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it’s international break time and I am suffering from a creative lull. There’s not that much going on to be fair. Here's some snippets of things that might muster up a discussion or two.



Might as well. I tuned in with 30 minutes gone, caught the goals, sort of half watch the second half. Was all very mediocre but that extra bit of quality allowing us to comfortably pick off San Marino. To be honest, I found myself watching more of the Wales v Scotland game. Football irony in your face with Gareth Bale’s winner, leaving Adams in his wake as he finished brilliantly to add to a dubious penalty which saw him win the spot kick by tripping himself up in the area. It was against the Scottish so allow it. Defoe sat on the bench (from what I saw) and Walker and Lennon didn't pick up injuries. Good enough for me. Elsewhere, three of the back four (Smith, Caulker, Rose) of the England U21 side were Spurs. Some of that.


Manager of the Month award

So Andre Villas-Boas had the better record than winner David Moyes? Who has the better beard and why isn’t a monthly award given out for that instead? Talking of which, I’m sporting hobo chic at the moment. I look rough and I like it. The fact I’m even talking about my irreverent fashion sense pretty much tells you everything you need to know about my opinion on the Manager of the Month award.



The Olympic Stadium and Tottenham. It’s like stepping in dog **** and no matter how hard you try to wash it out you swear you can still smell the stink. Britain, gold medals, glorious scenes aside...back in the real world if we had to play away from the Lane for even half a season, would rather Wembley than a structure not purpose built for the sport our team actually plays. Hopefully the original plan (of playing at the Lane with building work on-going) sees fruition. Unless the OS has purpose built caravans shifted onto the running track to double up as executive boxes for corporate hospitality. That’ll work.



Win against Villa. Noel Gallagher. Diving. Walker. How to get out of doing something with your missus and going to Tottenham instead. Midfield beasts. Cannibalism. And trikes. Click here for it.



Villas-Boas Opus: Beginnings


And so it begins. A new error. Sorry, era. Damn it. I forgot myself there for a moment. Thought I was sat behind a desk staring at a Sky Sports News camera reading an auto-cue. Or walking around N17 aimlessly searching for an armchair. Or perhaps even picking up the phone and calling into talk radio to complain. What was that famous line about idiots? I need to choose my media outlets more carefully in future, avoid the confusion. Okay, so let's try this again.

Welcome Andre Villas-Boas to the Lane.

Finally, the worst kept secret is out, done and dusted. Even though we knew it was coming it still managed to pack a punch by knocking out the server the official Tottenham Hotspur site sits on. Only Spurs could make an announcement but not physically share the statement. The traffic bulldozing its way through bandwidth like Harry Redknapp seeking a working microphone after a round of golf. Relentless, such was the anticipation of all the speculation. We've been expecting this news for a while so you can't blame us for foaming at the mouth just to hear it from the only source that matters. Having it finally confirmed by Daniel Levy allows us to get on with things, with pre-season training and working towards consolidating the current transfer sagas we're involved in and targeting new players for that new era.

Villas-Boas is now part of the family. Kitted out in a curious Under Armour training top (with the crest on the opposite side it usually sits proudly on) and shown around the Lodge in Chigwell - no doubt already getting involved in tactics, appointing a sweeper to clean up all the chalk pieces used up by the previous regime. Someone no doubt busy wiping that board clean. I'm thinking we don't have to worry about the Portuguese for ‘run around a bit and kick the ball’.

Pull up a chair. Thoughts in response to Levy’s statement on the OS:

> The Club is delighted to announce that Andre Villas-Boas has joined as our new Head Coach on a 3 year contract.

Standard contract. Probably a clause in there to renew. If he’s a success, he stays and continues to build or he packs up and moves on. Club wins. If he doesn’t go well and he’s 'let go', we don’t want to be forking out masses of compensation. Modern football is all about the short-termism with players, with managerial appoints and with expectations. There is no seasoned patience. You get a bedding in period and then you’re thrown to the dogs if you don’t produce the results. I don’t want to keep referring back to Harry Redknapp (here I go again) as I’ve covered practically everything there is to say on his tenure in previous articles. What we’ve been left with, his legacy, is consistency and stability and in some ways the potential to be better. Redknapp is already talking up how Villas-Boas and Tottenham (to be more specific) have the squad to challenge for the title.

Yes, it’s more Redknappology from the great man, applying the right measure of pressure on his replacement and allowing the media to build up their portfolio of disparaging evidence if we find ourselves in the midst of a transition. The fact is, Redknapp has left us with some very tasty looking stats. But no side dish to complement them, therefore the belly is left rambling with food for thought. He had us believing then adapted his ambitions based on where the team sat in the league. The squad was, in Redknapp’s own words, ‘good enough’ but yet fell short for a variety of reasons. Depth in key areas, lack of rotation, lack of shrewd calculated preparation and so forth. So although in relative terms, based on our Prem history, we have excelled we have also failed to maximise the resources in our possession – that’s based on the very same logic Redknapp preaches. But he contradicts to his heart content. Stripping him (perish the thought) and the rest of the ideology behind ‘this is as good as we’ve ever had it’ – the fact remains, it can be better. Harry lost the opportunity to have another go at it. Villas-Boas is now that man. So is he under pressure?

Please, someone point me in the direction of a football manager that isn’t under pressure? There is no easy job in football. Equally so, managing Spurs is hardly the easiest of tasks. Mainly due to a combination of entitlement, ambition, delusion, heart on sleeves, fickleness, impatience and traditions and ethics of football we expect to see played out. We’re not an easy lot to cater for. In the past it was a poison chalice. Mid-table and struggling for consistency we aimed upwards via yet another rebirth only to spiral back down once more. Then from Jol to Ramos to Redknapp we’ve found prolonged form. The club now has the players and the fortitude to be contenders, as proven. We’re just not quite experienced enough. For all the swashbuckle and swagger we still get kneed in the balls too often.

Villas-Boas is no different from the Redknapp appointment in terms of risk. Harry came in to steady the ship. Did we expect or hope for more? With so many failed experiments, back to basics was the winning formula all along. But it’s not robust. It’s not perfect. Does a club and its fans accept it all because it’s a vast improvement on a decade of disappointment or does it look to progress, evolve further in order to truly consolidate its new founded stature and work towards the next level? Why should we tag ourselves with being the perpetual pretenders and just embrace stability at the risk of it going stale? You take risks all the time. Audere est Facere. Is that not at the very core of our footballing DNA? For years we’ve endeavoured but we’ve simply not been good enough. Now we are, we should continue to aim higher. Daring is achieving.

In my footballing fantasy I wanted Villas-Boas at Spurs when he was at Porto and was gutted he went to Chelsea. The guidance undertaken with Robson and Mourinho, can’t be ignored. His achievements at Porto were amazing. I bet we all fall in love with the Europa League this season because we take it seriously and attempt to win it. Don’t underestimate the power a manager can have on the supporters and how the team approaches the challenges ahead of us. The simplest things can be reinvented, the meaningless become meaningful.

He made mistakes at the Stamford Bridge club and appeared to drown in all the dressing room conspiracies and tabloid backlash. He was waterboarded out of a job. So the hottest thing in football management is what, suddenly not that very good? Chelsea is hardly the most comfortable chair to sit in. There was a feeling he tried to do too much too quickly with the wrong set of players and ideas that simply did not fit his template. Look at some of their previous appointments and how they suffered at the hands of player power and boardroom baying. Some of his selections and tactics appeared erratic but even with best intentions they won’t play out if the players hearts are not in it (Ramos and Spurs the perfect illustration).


Lessons learnt? We hope. But let’s not patronise the man for being thirty-four years of age. He’s no idiot and he’ll have taken his hellish baptism and had a quiet word with himself, hopefully exorcising any lingering demons. It was a rush, botched up job by all concerned because of the ill-fated variables festering at that club. It’s a different challenge at Spurs altogether. Chelsea are expected (by Roman) to dominate every season. Even managers that win trophies are shown the door. Even the special one was made to feel not so special.

Fact is, he has the balls to come back to the Prem, to a London rival and be up against the same people that loved to watch him fail. He's back even with the added bonus of all the Redknapp-worshippers already piecing together their obituaries which they probably won’t be able to hold back from previewing come the first defeat we suffer. With any luck Villas-Boas has worked on his deliver a little in prep for future post-match interviews. No point making a difficult job even harder. Humility can be a vital characteristic. Not just in public, but also on the training pitch.

We have not a clue how things will pan out. All we can be is positive. All we can do is back him. And more importantly, the chairman – the key to unlocking the preverbal door to that next level – has to back him unequivocally. The players also have a duty to the shirt and the supporters. Massive difference between Redknapp and Villas-Boas. They need to also be unequivocal in their trust of their new coach.

> Andre was previously at Porto and led them to an undefeated season in the league, winning four trophies and becoming the youngest manager ever to win a European title in the process, before joining Chelsea and extending his run to 39 games undefeated.

This alone excites me. He hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to manage successfully at the top level. The players at Porto adore him. Okay, managing a club in your home country is going to be more agreeable with all concerned than managing one abroad. Blanc was the only other preferable choice out there in terms of experience. Rodgers would have been a risk as big as any other appointment. We have tried all sorts of coaches and systems and it feels right that this appointment ties in with the clubs future. We need to be progressive. Villas-Boas is a modern manager and rather than say allowing him to use Tottenham as a blank canvas to create a vision, we have given him a chance to share our own. The training ground, youth development, the quality of our first team. This has been ongoing for some time – it simply needs a football philosophy to bring it altogether. Our last manager worked wonders for the team. The new one might work wonders for the club.

> Commenting on the appointment, Chairman, Daniel Levy said: “I am delighted that Andre has agreed to become our new Head Coach.  He has an outstanding reputation for his technical knowledge of the game and for creating well-organised teams capable of playing football in an attractive and attacking style.  Andre shares our long-term ambitions and ethos of developing players and nurturing young talent, and he will be able to do so now at a new world class Training Centre.”

One or two of you (discussed on social media) have found concerns with that last sentence in the above quote. You’ve seen it as some formal acceptance that we’ve unofficially returned to the ‘director of football’ science of running a club. Firstly, earlier in the quote Levy refers to Villas-Boas as ‘head coach’. Not manager. It’s all the same thing. Wasn’t Martin Jol head coach? VB will have agreed the setup and vision outlined by Levy so he’s hardly going to accept a job where he feels he will be undermined. I’m not going to entertain the suggestion that Levy’s ego can’t take being second best to the person running the football team. His relationship with Redknapp was not working. Hopefully what we’ll have here is Levy acting like a general manager (as he has been doing since the DoF system was discarded). VB will want to sign his own players, Levy will handle that. Support the coach. I don’t see an issue with this unless Levy and VB do not agree on transfer targets. Which is how the previous relationship suffered. The fact we have players ‘in talks’ might even be a gentle nod towards VB’s approval during talks between club and coach before a contract was agreed upon.

In terms of short-termism, it’s still relevant. We have to sustain a top four challenge. But already you can imagine VB being ambitious in wanting to win every competition he’s involved in. This should be about tweaking and improving the side, making sure that the best players fit the best formation and tactics to lead the club forward. Redknapp was brilliant at getting the players playing in their best positions but there has to be another dimension to how you approach games. You only have to look at the truly successful clubs in football to understand that you can't always just go out there and attempt to out play the opposition.

In terms of the long term vision, why should we not want to make the most of our new Enfield training ground and make sure that in the years to come we actually have a youth academy that is producing first team players. Another bugbear of modern football, one that we’ve been guilty of ignoring for years and just splashing out on big money signings all the time. Although when we have produced a good player, they’ve been world class (Campbell, King). Our current development squad and youth teams are also impressive (at their level) but time will tell if they are good enough to break into first team football.

Not suggesting we are in any position to recreate La Masia in North London, but do you think Manchester City aren’t thinking of something similar when they build their £50M state of the art training facility? Having the facilities is great but there’s a mindset and a sense of pride, ethos and identity that also needs to be instilled. That might still remain a function of Tim Sherwood’s and I’m probably getting way ahead of myself. Mainly because this won’t be the priority, but I already sense there’s a master-plan behind this particular part of the clubs vision. We have to be ambitious at every level. We have a tradition at Spurs. If the academy are worked towards adhering to it and players are signed based on a style of football...perhaps I'm over-dramatising this, but grass-roots is criminal to ignore.

> Speaking as the new Head Coach, Andre Villas-Boas said, “Tottenham Hotspur is a great club with a strong tradition and fantastic support, both at home and throughout the world.  I feel privileged to be its coach.  For me, this is one of the most exciting coaching positions in the Premier League. I have had several discussions with the Chairman and the Board and I share their vision for the future progress of the Club. This is a squad any coach would love to work with and together I believe we can bring success in the seasons ahead."

It’s what you want to hear from the new man. Back of the net. We’ve got ourselves a hungry football manager that has a massive point to prove. As long as he keeps that determination contained and channelled, getting the very best out of Spurs then we’re going to enjoy seeing a very good side mature into a beast.

> Andre brings with him two members of his coaching staff - First Team fitness coach Jose Mario Rocha and Daniel Sousa, head of opposition scouting.

Already, I’m smiling. ‘Head of opposition scouting’. Fitness coaches. I’ll take a guess that our set-pieces and pre-match preparation will be unrecognisable to what we’ve been used to in the past several years. Redknapp gave us entertaining football, the style of which we come to expect at Spurs, but he also gave us substance and backbone. We had heart and grit to go with the free flowing football. But there was still an apparent lack of cutting edge, on the pitch and from the bench. There was no acceptance that we actually under-achieved – not compared to the past (it’s hardly a difficult task to better it when you improve tenfold) but compared with the untapped potential it's arguably wasted in the present. Unless the harsh reality is the reason we lost that ten point gap was because we are not good enough on all levels required to retain such a gap. In other words, as good as we can be its not quite good enough if 3rd or 2nd place is the target you wish to embrace.

A truly focused manager would demand more from himself to be able to inspire. What Villas-Boas has to do is introduce the mind-set but also retain the togetherness and avoid trying to mix things up too quickly. Our squad is far more adaptable to his tactics than his previous one. More youth, more pace.

By mind-set, I'd point towards our failings last season. Say the lack of coverage in the box when attacking leading to loss of clinical finishing in front of goal. Misuse of certain players. If you fine-tune the side and we continue to create but also score and improve on performances from last season - then we're going to win more games. It's logic you can scribble on the back of a handkerchief. Far more difficult to deploy from training to dressing room to the pitch - but then that's why we've upgraded our manager.

Redknapp’s strongest ability was man-management of players he favoured. If VB can retain the unity - we are onto a winner. It’s the area he was scrutinised for at Chelsea. Failure of managing the players (although one or two did not appear to want to be managed). It will be very interesting to see which of our players find themselves in favour with VB in terms of being allowed a chance to prove themselves again. Equally so how much other players will improve with more disciplined responsibilities.

> Daniel Levy continued: "We are constantly looking to move the Club forward.  It is important that we now look to develop the potential within the squads at all levels, whilst strengthening the First Team in the summer in key positions with players who will become part of the future success of the Club.”

Levy has his hands full with the stadium. There are rumours of investments, naming rights. We’re also about to find out how much money we have in the War Chest. Which might tell us plenty more about the Levy/Redknapp transfer relationship. If we suddenly spend big, was it because Redknapp wasn’t interested in the big money signings Levy wanted or did Levy simply not make the funds available to him?

Modric will be sold if we fail to trick him into staying (won’t sell to an English club so La Liga beckons). So expect a major signing to replace him. VB might look towards his former club, Porto and Moutinho (or the Brazilian Oscar). We've got the new boy Sigurdsson, an attacking midfielder who plays further up the pitch rather than sitting deep. At some point we might even see Vertonghen in a Spurs shirt. VB will possibly look to mould us into a dashing 433 with over-lapping fullbacks, high intensity inside forwards, high line. Bale on the left, cutting in with effect rather than roaming aimlessly. Where does van der Vaart fit into it if at all? One (Parker) holding midfielder or two (+ Sandro)? Is Defoe good enough to lead the line? Are we planning on going back in for Adebayor on a permanent basis or look for a blockbuster striker elsewhere? We’re also going to need another winger for the right-hand side to assist Lennon over the course of the season. That's if we play 433 and if Lennon can fit into the forward three. All rather wonderful questions that need to be answered in time for Newcastle away. These are good problems to have.

Levy understands we need to improve the squad. Not only because of Villas-Boas requirements but because we were left wanting last season by not rotating. Possibly because Redknapp did not trust or did not manage the players on the bench with enough astuteness. The league – no matter the arguments over what truly matters in football (i.e. winning silverware) is where VB will be judged because of the prioritising of Champions League qualification. We need to be Trojans, we need to last a long time. The whole course of the season.

This will be a monumental summer. It can’t be anything else. It's started well. Bale contract, Villas-Boas, Sig. Levy knows we are 5 years or so away from having the revenue to compete at the same level as the other clubs in the top tier of the Prem, financially. That’s when the Northumberland Development Project finally gets under way. Balancing everything – it’s no walk in the park. We have to compete in Europe every season until the NDP is complete. Ideally it would be the Champions League we're competing in. Which is why short-term and long-term has to become one and the same thing. Regardless of ENIC’s end game (to sell the club to keep their shareholders happy), to get there they know the club has to be successful on the pitch as well as continuing to bolster the bank account.

We have to retain faith. Levy has to retain faith. We have to have faith in Andre Villas-Boas. It’s a team game. With traits of redemption.

In terms of us, the supporters, it’s worth noting that even with the success we’ve had in recent years (aside from the Carling Cup) we haven’t actually won anything. 4th, 5th and 4th have simply given us a foundation to build on. For me, the team I watch has to be a Spurs team. You know what I mean by that so I won’t explain it. We’ve got ourselves a new architect now. One that we might all find ourselves enjoying his work more so as a collective than the previous builder who at times didn't bother to plaster over the cracks in the wall preferring to stand outside enjoying the sunshine.

The future is always bright because it’s no way to follow your team worrying about negatives that have not played out and might never play out. Being Spurs means you are in the eye of the storm of the greatest footballing soap opera there is. We’re made of stern stuff, suffering all the dramatics, year after year. Hopefully with this appointment the team will be made of equally stern stuff with a plethora of sexy coated on.




Hot Spurts

Quick run-down of today's 'news'.


1st of July. Not so Super Sunday. The main Tottenham related highlight was Under Armour releasing the launch date of the new Spurs shirt. So basically the big news was an announcement being announced. The 2012-2013 kits will be unveiled on Thursday 12th and available to order to purchase from Spurs shops the next day. Yep, that's right, on Friday 13th. You just can't make this ilk of PR up.

The new era is still waiting to make its grand entrance. Pick any day this up and coming week and you might strike lucky. We all know it's going to happen, we all know what's going to happen so there's very little to say until after it's happened. But to reiterate, I'm positively beaming with encouragement and excitement.

Khumalo is set for PAOK in Greece. A season long loan. It's signings like this that make me question some of Levy's ethics in the transfer market. What was the point of him joining Spurs in the first place only to be sent out to the Championship? When Harry spoke about the lad was he just doing so to raise the profile of the player and if so why? Just so Reading can sign him? This smells of raising another type of profile in South Africa. That's football. Anyone know where Toda is these days? Then again, you could argue what was the point in signing the likes of dos Santos and Bentley. That's also football. Mistakes happen regularly.

The Times were the first to break the story linking us to Brazilian starlet Oscar who plays for our buddy club Internacional. I don't know much about him (do any of us unless you follow South American football?) but do remember similar stories about our interests in him from last year. Mainly because I signed him in Football Manager soon after reading about it. Tasty attacking midfield pixels that might translate well in the real world. Although if this is something that pans out to be true, along with Sigurdsson and our current central mids, we have a plethora of talent to visually taste cometh the new season. AVB was in Brazil scouting recently, so this one might be a possibility. Leandro Damiao (for now) does not look like one based on recent speculation and price tags.

Cracking teasing, flirting quote from Moutinho (FC Porto) saying, "I'd work with him again tomorrow" - re: AVB. Obviously meant as compliment of how highly regarded a coach Villas-Boas is. But pretty much more meat to sink our teeth in to what will be a feast of targets that will be cited post-press conference (tune in on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, maybe Thursday or Friday). We'll be looking for a Luka replacement. Oscar or Moutinho?

From one question to another. Theo Walcott to Spurs? Yeah sure, why not. For £4M he'll do well to come off the bench for the final 15 minutes of games. Give Lennon a rest.

Redknapp was in the press a couple of days back talking to Sky Sports wasn't he? Who cares.

Ledley King retirement imminent? We know something will soon be announced as we've already been told King is considering his options. The man is so much part of the club that there is little chance of him being potentially discarded when the new manager arrives, in terms of a coaching position. Unless King is looking for a more ambassadorial role at Spurs. Ledley retiring is possibly for the best, for his own health and future. A brilliant and majestic footballer, a legend. Whatever his decision he'll remain Tottenham forever and if he wants to be involved the club have a duty to make sure he is.

Investment on the cards? According to Graham Roberts on the radio. According to the ITK news from the past few weeks. Although this seems to be mostly guess work (i.e. I know someone who knows something), from directors supposedly told to remain in the country and not go on holiday to rumours about funds being made available to aid in breaking the wage structure or perhaps naming rights for the new stadium. Surely any investment would go towards the latter?

Bale out of the GB team. Meh. Pre-season is upon us. Don't care for much else other than my club. The whole Stratford affair has burnt me out and I have little interest in the Olympics.

Thoughts on that Daily Express article here.

In other news: Euro Final. In summary, Spain play possession football to ease into the final, get called boring, up their game by a notch, destroy Italy.



Andre Villas-Intheknowas

Amazing how much you can do with one quote, slightly out of context with emphasis on the answer itself rather than the question posed and no further commentary other than to craft out an inciting headline.

Andre Villas-Boas, according to various news sources, has 'rejected Spurs lies'. All very dramatic. There is nothing, it is all lies, he stated in a Portuguese interview. Apparently the question was directly referring to whether he had put pen to paper and had accepted the offer to manager Spurs. But I can't confirm that for certain as I have not seen the original interview and tradition deems that football journalism is the leading innovator in subjective reporting where ambiguity reigns supreme. Sensationalist soundbites generate click-throughs, so why bother investigating deeper.

The Telegraph have reported another quote (this taken from their article here):

Yesterday Villas-Boas denied he had been offered the Spurs job and he is anxious not to be seen to be pushing the club. He said: “There have been contacts with various clubs but it’s important for me to meet people, know their ideas, share mine and see if a common idea can be agreed.”

Slightly more encouraging, but there's no stand-out head turner in there. It's far less chaotic and doesn't fit into the more comfortably category of calamity that allows people to vent their anger and confusion. Good news isn't great news, bad news is better news. Which is why we've not seen this shared anywhere (at the time of writing).

In addition to all this, something I've yet to see reported on (so I can't substantiate it in any way, which possibly places me on par with the hacks) is that AVB is purposely distancing himself due a contractual obligation he has (had) with Chelsea. It's already been shared on Twitter publicly that the 1st of July is the date that any official agreement can be shared by club and prospective new Spurs boss if such a deal is in the making.

The reality is, there's nothing we can influence. We have no idea of the work going on behind the scenes. We don't know whether Levy is working through a short-list or not. None of that information will be known at any point, until the club make their statement and announce a press conference. All fairly simple and obvious. Yet complicated to **** because we're all so desperate to know something before it's about to happen. Hence the guess work and rumours and people taking every single thing as a literal transparent describition of what is transpiring.

Although most want this sorted as soon as possible and many believed Levy would only have sacked Redknapp if he had a full proof contingency outlined in preparation, that doesn't mean the decision should be rushed. It has to work both ways. We might need to attract someone or perhaps we need to choose from a selection of managers that want to take the hot seat. Levy might have made his mind up and then found himself curious to listen to another candidate that has express interest.

Have I covered off a fair few scenarios there?

Do they pose further shrugs and question marks? If I worked for a newspaper I could quote 'an inside source' and run with an exclusive about how our chairman is dithering and uncertain. Or perhaps not and instead talk about how he waited for the right time to make sure Redknapp wasn't in the running to take over at another 'top' Premier League club when let go by Spurs. Shrewd and calculated and in control.

I could go on.

My point? I know about us much as you do and about us much as anyone in the press knows. Nothing. What will be will be, which means if you remained awake between now and when we appoint someone or slept all the way up the announcement, it won't make a blind bit of difference either way.



AVB and the Spurs striker

AVB: Okay, this is what I want you to do. I want you to go out there and ghost into the channels and pressure their full-back, when you see our attacking player-maker shift towards the penalty area, swap with the left sided midfielder and attack the space directly in front of the attacking midfielder but look at the movement of the left sided midfielder if he attacks the same space as you, cut across the pen area and move at an angle towards the space just outside the six yard box. But not if the right-winger is occupying the same space. If he is, hold back on the edge of the box then move parallel to where the ball is travelling into the box from. Okay?

Spurs striker: <silence>

AVB: Okay?

Spurs striker: Whaaa?

AVB: F*****g run around a bit and kick the ball.

Spurs striker: Yes boss. Gotcha. The ball is the round thing that moves yeah?