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Entries in Comolli (36)



Damien Comolli was on the recent episode of The Football Manager podcast. They've added a DoF to the FM2013. If you've got no idea what I'm banging on about, FM is a football management game and for the first time ever you can appoint someone to handle the hiring and firing all members of staff, contracts, youth development, managing scouts, transfers etc. You can select the level of involvement for yourself (as manager) and the responsibility the DoF has at the club you're managing. If you have no interest in the game, you might still want to listen to the podcast as there's plenty said which retains massive interest in both Comolli's role at Spurs and what ultimately a DoF vision represents depending on what a football club seeks to get out of it.

We made a scapegoat of DC and in amongst all the name calling I think most of us know the system didn't work at Spurs because there seemed to be a lack of transparency on what the system actually was. An unnecessary cog in the wheel to most. The main complaint (from myself) was that it always appeared that our particular version of the DoF system was DoF > Coach. Consistency behind the scenes with the DoF selecting the coach/manager and supporting them in the transfer window. But as we all witnessed, when Comolli and others wanted to change things, they went ahead and did just that (removing Jol for Ramos). Comolli was given too much power and didn't compliment the system but rather consumed it in the end. Arnesen had a say in appointing Santini. Santini left, Jol was promoted. Jol and Arnesen worked well together. Arnesen left. Comolli was appointed. Jol was not the appointed one by Comolli and perhaps that's where the issue was birthed.

That's not to say that DC didn't have strengths. Again, we probably ignored the finer aspects of his job claiming that signing certain players wasn't such a big deal because they were hardly unknown transfer targets. He gives a couple of examples of the work his role entails on the podcast by telling a story about how Berbatov came to the Lane to watch us, only for Utd to win 1-0. After the game Berba told DC, "You're missing a striker like me". Took months of work, of talking, to get the player to decide it was for the best he signed with Spurs. Same with Gareth Bale. Sure, hardly unknown, but there was untold work (not just from DC but Levy got involved) to make sure Bale was ours in the end (the player was unsure about moving to Spurs with doubts on whether he would get any game time). All the grafting is something I guess we took for granted.

The crux of it is, the DoF (purely with transfers) is heavily involved in scouting, talking to players, agents, the players family and working with the chairman at the point of understanding and agreeing budget for wages/fee etc.

Comolli speaks about how it's impossible for a manager to cover all responsibilities without some assistance. Again, we probably get bogged down by titles. People reference Wenger and Ferguson as not working under a DoF system, but its not like they both do all the ground work for every deal. There are structures in place. There are structures at quite a few clubs and the 'system' has been around for several decades. It just didn't have a label that most of us scoff at.

The impression DC gives is that he works with the manager at all times and signs players the manager will agree to have (rather than the more continental and South American approach where coaches just work with the players given to them). So based on that, you expect that transfer wise - there was no issue with Martin Jol. On the surface. Politics of power ended that particular relationship.

"I never worked like this. I don't like. I work with the coach or the manager or the head coach (whatever you want to call it), I'm not working against him, I've always been saying 'what's the point in signing a player that the coach doesn't want because he won't play him - so it's money into the bin" - DC

There's some other interesting discussion points including how most successful youth development programs at football clubs have consistency by always retaining one person to oversee at academy level. The staffing outside of first team coaching is retained as this is a long term objective (and you only ever produce good youth players if the program is one that retains that consistency rather than losing it every time a new manager is appointed and restructuring occurs).

Since we scrapped the DoF at Spurs with the sacking of Comolli, we've witnessed how short term our transfer policy under Harry Redknapp and how the targeted players did not truly sit under any long term philosophy. Levy has worked as a General Manager for the club. Involved in signing players. Whether some players are proposed to the chairman outside of the remit of the coach, I don't know. I believe AVB accepted the new summer arrivals. There's no doubt Moutinho was one player he asked to have and we almost did before contract technicalities and last minute antics but that on hold for the time being. Levy is very proactive (say the 'relationship' with Real Madrid) but perhaps this role would be better occupied by someone that is truly a football man rather than a business one.

With the new training centre and the emphasis placed on youth development in recent years you can understand why we're rumoured to be looking for a director of football / technical director / call it what you want. To echo the sentiments of what was discussed on the FM podcast, as long as this position (one familiar to AVB from his time at Porto) was there to aid the coach in terms of the ilk of signings wanted along with personal preferences - then first team wise, AVB doesn't have to be heavily involved in the mundane parts of the process. Although, I really do think most managers are not heavily involved in that (aside from perhaps sometimes meeting players).

For me, having someone deal with the transfers will be better than having Levy deal with them. As long as the empowerment doesn't conflict with the coach - AVB is number one, the 'DoF' is number two. What matters more is the work that can be down with the academy and the scouting system (the latter especially needs refining). And a clear long term vision with the youth system with style of player and training along with players we seek to sign and add to the academy - this is what needs to be crafted and founded. Quite simply a DoF and the first team coach should be two separate positions both progressive and forward thinking and both complimenting each other and more importantly the ethos the club lays out (I'm not going to use the 'p' word here).

I'm all for Levy appointing someone. It's a long term assignment for certain. If things go wrong, if things don't work out at first team coaching level, then the chairman can appoint a new coach on advisement from the DoF. I guess that's how I would see it work, the problem last time out is that Comolli was the one that was truly doing the appointing and arguably his influence was too heavy handed and undermining.

It's about adapting a system that fits into your club and the clubs mantra. Have we learnt enough from the last attempt to make it work next time?

Interestingly, in the actual game FM2013 - you as a manager can hire and fire the DoF, rather than the other way round which tends to be the way it works at most clubs. But then, it is only a game.


You can listen to Comolli on the FM podcast on RSS here or via itunes here.


Time to doff our hat to the potential return of the DoF?

Last week we recorded an emergency episode of The Fighting Cock podcast to cover Harry Redknapp's departure and the managers being linked with replacing him. Tim Sherwood was mentioned, not as a replacement but in connection with the alleged potential return of the DoF at the Lane. Firstly, my issue with this is simple. What is the basis for the rumour? Is it because the back to basics approach that replaced Comolli with Harry has come to an end? Or is it because Sherwood survived the cull that saw Allen, Bond and Jordan leave the club? I don't see how such an appointment would work or for that matter be feasible because of his complete lack of experience at the very highest level. It's a non-starter for him. Is it a non-starter full stop? Or is it only a non-starter when assuming the role is similar to past ones we've seen at the club?

If Levy was considering restructuring the hierarchy and re-introducing it, what exactly would the DoF system work when compared to its past ? I've written this article for my own process of dismissing the system from being a relevant option for Spurs to re-introduce. It's not really as in-depth as I set out to craft. It's just me moaning and waffling. You know the drill. I say a bunch of stuff out loud and hopefully in the mess you lot can pull out sound-bites and argue and debate amongst yourselves.

I've been asking myself that question over and over again. What exactly would the DoF system be if re-introduced at Spurs? Would it match the previous under Comolli or the one where Pleat acted like a glorified scout knocking heads with Hoddle and giving us joyful sagas such as 'Rebrov' and 'Diego'? I don't care for the footballing dictionary definition because of the variety of incarnations we've witnessed under the same chairman. Add to it the fact that other clubs are of no significance thanks to the rather sensational reason that other clubs are not THFC.

Under Comolli, the quintessential Spurs DoF appoints the coach/manager and they work in unison, a collaboration, to sign players that fit whatever formation and club model they agree upon with the chairman. It's a system completely reliant on both men being one hundred percent on the same page. It's long term aim is to create stability with transfers and potentially with ideology of said transfers, so that if the manager/coach is replaced the DoF brings in a new man and the transition isn't too disruptive. It's what Levy was advised to look into and introduce when he was still a footballing virgin, turning to advisor's for support. It works on the continent. It works in the NFL. But neither are the English Premier League. It also works in the lower divisions in England but the ambitions and stature of the clubs there provides a different type of working template and very different pressures on all concerned. Again, that's just my own opinion.

Arnesen replaced Pleat. He appointed Santini and then Jol. He left for Chelsea and Comolli took the role and eventually replaced Jol with Ramos. Hardly plain sailing. The ethos and scouting of Arnesen and pattern of incoming players was different to the one introduced by Comolli. I always saw DC as a chief go-getter of potential signings. Levy would rubber-stamp the air travel and off goes DC to bag Berbatov or Zokora (can't always get it right). DC does all the face to face work, easing pressure away from Levy and the manager. But then that just sounds like a more slick productive version of David Pleat.

My discomfort has always been that the DoF, regardless of the fact he's there to support the man he appoints along with the chairman, has too much influence and power that can undermine the coach. Santini struggled. In some ways we hit good form with the unexpected promotion of Martin Jol (conspiracy theorists will suggest Levy felt obliged to appoint Santini, a 'big name' to appease fans and media and Arnesen always had a keen eye on Jol taking the job. Perhaps there is some truth in there that long term, that was the plan, but it came to fruition early). 

Jol was his own man but worked well with Frank and post-Arnesen to Chelsea continued to do a superb job before it all fell apart. Ramos was supposed to be the perfect coach for such a system, proving just how delicate and risky it is to implement. Highly rated, few doubted his abilities but we all doubted his lack of English speaking skills. More so the lack of apparent enthusiasm the players had for his tactics and match preparations. My main scratch of head here has been the fact that most successful managerial appointments do not work with someone looking down from above, packing as much punch as the man that selects the team. Ramos was the catalyst for the DoF system imploding at Spurs, never truly proving to be a genuine success. Even when Jol was leading us to top five finishes, the cracks still appeared and Comolli got itchy fingers (along with one or two others that sadly got ahead of themselves with our 'progress'). The only success was that some of the signings proved to be very good ones. But no different to any other prolonged period of time concerning players signed.

Levy scrapped it. Enter the wheeler dealer and the rest is very recent history.

Would most of the managers we've been linked with so far be comfortable working under a DoF or would they expect the chairman to trust their own judgement? Is it not more prudent to allow someone with ambitions that match the clubs to perhaps ask for changes to be made in scouting or youth development or for the club to offer this support to aid the new man at the helm?

I've always believed that a DoF can work as an administrator taking some of the more mundane responsibilities away from the manager. Mundane underplays it, what I mean is - if the manager wants to sign a striker he tells the 'DoF' what he requires and the DoF returns with the short list. Apparently, it's what Comolli did. But then Comolli did a lot more than that what with his dizzying offers to others. Technically speaking, he did what a DoF (dictionary describition) is meant to do, but that doesn't necessary make it the right thing to do at Spurs and in the English Premier League.

Also, the major bugbear I have with all of this concerns the fact that you could argue Daniel Levy is so hands on with transfers and building relationships with other clubs (i.e. Real Madrid and Internacional, two very different relationships) that in many ways he is a director of football. Or an acting General Manager at the very least. The assumptions made and usually confirmed by Redknapp via Sky Sports was that they would both 'discuss' potential targets. Levy famously telling Harry about van der Vaart's availability is one example. Another concerns the story that Pienaar was signed by the chairman and not wanted by the manager. Parker, another well documented disagreement between the two of them.

Their relationship degraded, we know that much. They didn't always see eye to eye to players. Whether it's true that Levy wanted to spend big but Redknapp only wanted the bargains and the cheap for the moment signings rather than players that can impact Spurs season positively over the next few years, that's something we won't quite know for sure (until the next man is appointed). Levy and Redknapp were not on the same page.

The chairman will always do the chasing but you could clearly tell which targets being linked to Spurs were Levy targets and which belonged to Harry. The conflict here is; if you trust the manager you back him you don't try to influence him into another direction because if you find yourself doing so then perhaps he's not the right man for the job you want him to do.

There is no need for a DoF at Spurs.

For a start, if you believe what you read in the press, we've gone after potential managers. We'd have to appoint a DoF first before we started interviewing anyone. There is no need for one I'm certain of it, but there is a necessity that Levy's vision is shared with the prospective manager and they both understand how best to improve and evolve Spurs together. A collaboration not based on job titles but one based on a clear understanding of the task ahead and how to achieve it (or die trying). The same page please.

I'd like to hope the plan is long term with the aim to sustain a challenge in the short term. I'd explain that hope with us signing the players we need to build on the side we have and avoid stagnation. No job in football is particularly easy but a job where the two most important people at the club fail to agree will be made impossible. Such a basic and obvious statement, and yet one that failed us not too long ago.

The director of system works on the continent because the culture is completely different there. Real Madrid is an example of a club signing players before appointing managers. But even they have gone through internal hardship with Jose Mourinho fighting for 'complete control'. I personally don't see the point in comparing football with any U.S. sport in terms of the DoF system. Mainly because their culture and structures are different to our own.

If you want to lighten the load on the manager that has to handle training, day to day business, match day preparation and transfer targets, assign him Tim Sherwood. Or define the role to be a more concrete long term position in the club to cater for youth development, say a technical director (as the suggested rumours). Not quite as interfering as a director of football. You'd think Sherwood must be doing something to impress behind the scenes. In fact, let the new manager ask the chairman for the personnel he requires to be able to comfortably do his job. Let the new man at the helm set up his boot room of soldiers so he can lead us into the battle as one unit with no politics holding us back from marching forwards. No Brutus for our Caesar. We do not need to complicate things and I doubt very much we will. So if Sherwood does end up with a position it will probably be one that will also benefit Levy, allowing him to concentrate on the stadium and other matters (like ENIC selling Spurs.../trollface).

As for the other slightly more important appointment we are all waiting on, I'm not going to guarantee we all agree on the man Levy does end up appointing. Just hope we can agree to back him.

Until Christmas at the very least.


If you're interested in more on this discussion including comparisons between the DoF system in the NFL, visit this thread for heated debate.



Is Comolli God?

Sorry, that's meant to be good. Typo in the title. Was he any good for us during his tenure at the Lane?

This discussion has been had more times than a cheap yet tasty East European whore at the local sauna. Not that all girls working in a sauna (brothel) happen to be from Eastern Europe, but if someone was to frequent such a place, I'd hazard a guess they'd select a Russian or Polish lady of the red light than any of the oh so bland alternatives. They tend to have fabulous looking legs. Allegedly. It's what I've been told. Best to move on before this turns into a punter report and goes widely off-topic.

My point is, we've discussed this thousands of times - mostly during and in the lead up to the beginning of the end of Comolli at Spurs, and then in the aftermath of his departure. And once again the last time he was interviewed and mentioned his transfer record at the Lane. And we've been blessed with yet another rendition of the 'I'm so f**king great' chorus from the Frenchman, this time thanks to the Bale hat-trick at some small ground over in Italy.

I guess every single time one of his signings performs majestically well we're going to be treated to various sound-bites from his delirious gob. He's quite obviously never going to tire telling us he's responsible for our good form and fortune. I'd suggest we put aside a plot of land to erect a statue in his name when the Northumberland redevelopment kick-starts but it's probably only right we just skip that and name the stadium after him.

So let's break this sh*t down. Does our former DoF own the exclusive rights to bang on about this to us and should we give him his due?

Much like most managers/coaches - Comolli made some very decent signings and several shabby ones. There is a clear argument to be had for and against in terms of the decent signings made and their already known talent (as opposed to perhaps plucking someone from obscurity). But still, he captured the signatures of the likes of Berbatov and Modric and of course Gareth Bale - their abilities known to many, if not all. Personally, wasn't sure of any of the three. Especially Modric who I had not really seen or heard much about at the time.

He also signed the likes of Zokora, Bent, Bentley, KPB, Taarabt, Bostock and dos Santos. Players that have either struggled, have yet to prove themselves or not turned out to be half as good as expected.

It's all subjective. Everyone knew Bent and Bentley. Comolli signed them. Zokora, I'll give him that one - but Christ, it's nothing to shout about. Taarabt had/has a massive ego. dos Santos hasn't been given a run of games in the side. Jury out. As for Bostock - we'll have to wait and see. But Bostock could have been scouted by myself or you - it's no claim to fame as he was making a decent name for himself down at Palace.

Not sure Lennon and Huddlestone can be claimed. I'm positive they were targeted before his appointment. The rest - some were squad players that worked (Rocha) some didn't (Rasiak).

Kaboul is a perfect example of Comolli at his frustrating best. Rather than sign the finished article or a proven at top level player, he signed a highly rated youngster for a substantial amount of money where it was claimed he would not be thrown into the deep end and thus be developed. Question marks over the fact we paid the amount we did for someone who wasn't deemed a first-teamer. Classic Spurs, we throw him into the deep end thanks to injuries. Ironically, the lad (having been sold and re-bought) is showing signs of football intelligence and composure. Finally. But the journey he's under-taken has been nigh shambolic.

It's not exactly razor sharp stuff, is it?

But none of this is relevant.

Okay, it is actually if you want to strip away everything about the Director of Football system and discuss the individualism of each signing based on merit of the players form at the club. But without doing so, and looking at it as a complete entity of enterprise from top to bottom - Comolli followed Levy's lead (buy young English players with sell-on value) and also bought in foreign players to improve the first team. But the transfer ethos was never really decisive enough for me.

Mainly because we signed individuals (some of which have been a success as mentioned) but because of the lack of any clear true genuine balls deep strategy in terms of types of players required - it was all very mish mashed.

Our stance had at times been a mixture of the superfluous and the potentials. Unbalanced. And it's all good and well saying 'I signed BAE - look at him now', but if you're a DoF signing players for the current appointed manager, that player is meant to work for that manager. But then I guess Comolli will argue he signed the right players, but the manager didn't use them correctly - which again would bring you back to the whole what's the point then argument surrounding the DoF system.

It's all a bit like having two people trying to use any old jigsaw pieces to complete a puzzle, even though they're using pieces from different sets without discussing it first. The DoF felt like that, most of the time.

Again - you can look back at all our managers in the modern era and possibly argue at the amount of money wasted and lack of clear direction we've had during many transfer windows.

Comolli is managing to cloud over the fact that he might have had an eye but in terms of working as a support mechanism for  the manager? Nope. Just not good enough. You can't undermine the person you are meant to be supporting (Jol). Or make fundamental mistakes (the 2006 Xmas window).

Levy admitting the mistake, in the end, after the Ramos debacle that the DoF system had to be scrapped. When Comolli got to choose a new man for our dugout, he got it completely wrong with the Juande.

In conclusion, he signed some very good players. Some of which we are enjoying massively in our colours currently. And I guess we should politely nod in his direction for this. But considering the task at hand at the time, he failed to sign players for key positions when required, sometimes signing players completely out of synch with the squad and manipulated and altered the clubs direction to appoint his own man - which proved to be an unmitigated disaster in the end.

Director of football? More of a glorified scout who interfered a little too much, sometimes got it wrong, sometimes got it right but only on a few occasions got it bang on the money.

Fact is, the likes of Bale, BAE...the team as a unit, only came together AFTER he left the club. That should take precedence over his tiresome attention seeking quotes. Even though I'm sure DC will say, that's not the point - he saw the potential and that is enough for him to continue to pull a David Pleat and tell the world of his achievements in N17.



Spurs/Everton match report, it's been drafted but need to touch it up (ooh) and will post on Monday.



Boycott England


International break will be over after this evening and tomorrow we can all start to look forward to the weekend and Fulham away. Bread and butter will never taste so good. Don't know about you, but I've already got my gram and hooker at the ready. However, the clock still needs to tick tock into Wednesday before I ruin my nasal septum whilst having a twenty-one year old wrap her legs around my neck.

I've been positively brain dead with boredom. Placing aside daily routines consisting of travel and work and household stuff (did someone say baby?), I've had to find ways to amuse myself, keep myself entertained. It's not like there are no Tottenham stories doing the rounds out there. There are plenty. But you'll have read them. Countless times. I'm not inspired enough to write up commentary on said stories either. Again, mainly because there's not really that much to comment on, and there are plenty of media outlets and sites echoing the same bits and pieces of rumours and quotes.

I've said all I've wanted to say about Gollivan and Brady. But that hasn't stopped me from crashing my lolcopter whilst reading how West Ham have had a huge boost in their bid to claim the stadium from the grasp of Spurs. Three words. Northumberland Redevelopment Project. The Olympic stadium is a 'back up' a 'ploy'. How many times now? Move the f**k on.

Then, I think at the start of the break, there was Comolli trying to take credit for the players he signed during his tenure that are doing so well at Spurs currently. Cheers for that Damien. Do you also want to take responsibility retrospectively of the fact the club signed mis-matched individuals with different levels of application and varying styles of ability and technique that as a collective didn't quite gel and blend together until after you (director of football, right?) was sacked? What? No comment?

Oh look, I'm commentating. Stop it. Down boy.


Once the England game is done and dusted we can start talking tactics and formations with complete freedom and begin the padding up process of our knees to help deter the potential for jerks post-final whistle over at Craven Cottage this Saturday. Ah yes, back to reality.

So, how exactly have I amused myself other than writing up these journals, burning the midnight candle? I haven't, if I'm perfectly honest. Seems the England disease has infected my tolerance level and I have become susceptible to various ills and tragedy. I'm practically draining the soul out of my body. I've done nothing with my 'free time'. To elaborate:

Sleep paralysis
Peppa Pig
Eye-balling a fox that was rummaging through the rubbish bins
The only way is Essex

I've hit rock-bottom.

This is England, this is torture. I've even starved myself of James Richardson's puns, bless his brilliant bald head.


So, as I've not been paying any attention to football news or found the patience to, I'll comment on the above list rather than whatever the heck is going on in the England camp at the moment. Regular readers, I apologise for the off topic meltdown. Day trippers, it's how I roll.

X-Factor - The newspaper coverage is almost akin to some of the BS you get about our beloved football club when the reporting bends reality to suit the headline and the hype. It's all self-serving and keeps it in topic. Do people honestly believe the judges (other than Cowell) have the full responsibility of selecting their 'final three' for the live shows? Cheryl Cole is there because of her undisputable beauty. That's it. You'll probably asking (again) why I even bother. Well as previously stated, it feeds my cynicism. I need a fix, and I'm happy to tap my veins on a Saturday night to get it. The first of the live shows was particularly uncomfortable car-crash viewing, yet behold, according to the 'experts' it was magical/brilliant/amazing.

Close your eyes and you could have been listening to Jamie Redknapp and Richard Keys telling you that the bore-draw being played out on Sky Sports is an epic 'chess game'.

Are people fooled by all this or do they know, but just like to pretend they don't? Watching this show, angering the blood, at one point I was certain I could see red, but alas, I had just subconsciously stabbed my eyes out with a pen.

Sleep paralysis - You're awake in bed, but you're not. Unable to move a muscle, buried under overwhelming fear of the unknown. You can’t get up and you can't wake up. Stuck in the limbo that exists between sleep and awakening. It's just like being in the singing section at the Emirates.

Peppa Pig - Countless potatoes references. Pigs and various animals driving cars stuck in a traffic jam. Banging theme music. Childrens television is made for magic mushroom consumption.

Eye-balling a fox that was rummaging through the rubbish bins -
Next time, and there will be a next time, I will dismantle the sonofabitch piece of filth, bone by skinny bone.

The only way is Essex -
Buckhurst Hill is where they frequent. Oh the shame of these plastic superficial twats, twatting around with daddies money. There are plenty of characters in and around Essex, so what do we get? Clichéd stereotypes attempting to act out their lives in forced exaggerated stage set-pieces in a production that makes The Hills look like Citizen Kane. Head butting the tv has never felt so great.

That's it. Someone tweet me when Liverpool go into administration because I'm immensely looking forward to the follow-up to that hugely embarrassing video Mike Jerfferies made with fans and 'celebs'  where they all cry into the camera about how the Yanks have been raping the Anfield club and yadda yadda yadda. I might have sank low these past two weeks what with my ITV brain haemorrhaging session, but compared to the scousers, at least I've retained a degree (be it a little) of self-respect.

Peace. Out.

And for the love of God, COYMFS.


You've been reading the sixth and final part of Spooky's International Break diary journals.

Part one - International Heart break

Part two - Tottenham till I die

Part three - A spoon full of sugar makes the Venables go down

Part four - FAO Sullivan, Gold and Brady

Part five - In defence of Robbie Keane



Anyone missing Comolli?

You'll have probably seen Kevin Prince Boateng bemoan his time at Spurs having been signed by Comolli then apparently told by Martin Jol that he never wanted him. A perfect illustration of why the director of football and the big jolly Dutchman didn't work as a partnership. But then we always knew that Comolli seemed to sign the players he believed would work with Jol rather than signing the players Jol wanted. In essence (according to Levy) that's how it was meant to work. DoF is responsible for the coach. Which is why the Ramos apppointment ended the Frenchman's time at the Lane. If Jol really told KPB that he 'had no time for him', then it's a shame. Waste of our money, waste of our time and has done nothing but stagnate the young lads career. He might be an average player regardless (time will tell) but from his perspective, it sounds like Jol was using (or not using) Boateng just to prove his point to Comolli.

The DoF should have been there for support for the manager/coach. Rather than Comolli deluding himself that he was the big boss and Jol was nothing more than the bloke who trained his signings.

Refreshing to have Harry pick and choose who he wants.


What does Darren Bent do exactly?

It’s a question that’s divided Tottenham fans and one that’s been posed ever since he joined Spurs. Thanks to Darren's recent public ultimatum via the red tops where he has suggested he needs to be playing more otherwise he’ll move on, I have to ask myself (much like you might be doing) is he worth keeping? Would we miss him if he’s gone?

Ignoring the £15M price tag (that’s not his fault) you could argue Darren has not had a fair chance, a prolonged run of games, to prove his worth as a first choice striker. Statistically, he has a very decent goal to appearance ratio and has slotted quite a few of them away from home. So based on whether he can put the ball into the back of the net, you’ll find some Spurs fans defending him on the basis that he’s a striker and strikers are there to score goals.

But is football really that simplistic? Can we (or any club) afford the luxury of a player that simply knocks them in without bringing much else to the field of play?

We bought the player on the strength of his consistent performances and goal scoring record when he played for Charlton. A confident finisher who would run onto the ball. Worked a treat there because Charlton played defensive counter attacking football. Bent is far from being creative or inventive and isn’t the type of player you’d expect to see getting involved in build up play or perhaps crossing the ball in for others to feed off. Bent’s success there was down to the style of play Curbishley fashioned. He suited Charlton. So does he suit Tottenham?

If the opposition defend deep and don’t allow the space for Darren to run into, then is he ruled ineffective? You’ll find one or two people answering yes to that. But still, he scores goals, which means he must be doing something right, no?

Which finds us back to the question as to whether scoring goals is enough to warrant a first team place. Pav, Defoe, Keane and Berbatov (bless him) have more than just goal-scoring boots in their locker. All have their particular weakness/faults but arguably all of them have far more in the way of ability to get involved in games rather than become invisible until a goal scoring opportunity becomes available.

Was invisible too harsh of a word to describe him? Does he participate with good movement and solid hold up play? Is he a nuisance to defenders, digging at their heels, taking players away for others to take advantage of the opening spaces ahead?

Bent is more suited for a 4-5-1 formation and (as mentioned earlier) playing away from home where we can counter-attack when the home team are pressing. Logic here is there is more space for him to run into, bit like when he played for Charlton.

So regardless of the fact that he still has a knack of getting in amongst the goals, there are no other tricks in his locker. And even though he has never had the chance to play week in and week out as a first choice striker, even when he’s been scoring, other players have been preferred simply because they are far more involved in the game which means they bring others into it.

'I score, therefore, I am'

So is Bent is a goal-hanger? Feeding off rebounds and goal keeping mistakes. The odd scrap here or there. That’s probably not statistically fair to him, but he isn’t showing us much in the way of developing his overall play. Creating goals from nothing.

Complaining in the press isn’t going to help improve his level of performance. But he obviously believes he is doing enough.

Pavlyuchenko has put him to shame with regards to effort, considering the Russian was not fit when he signed for us, suffering from fatigue and completely alien to the English game and the country. He might not hold the ball up like a Teddy Sheringham, but he is far more convincing a team player than Darren Bent is. And he’ll get better once we get through this season and start afresh (again) next season.

Bent's whinging to the press sums it all up. Pushing aside the stats and the analysis of his all-round game, Darren Bent believes he has done enough to prove his value to the club. He has done his bit therefore believes he is immune to criticism. As far as he is concerned he has done more than enough to prove himself and there’s no need for him to do anything else.

I spoke about the culture of failure at Spurs in a previous blog entry, how losing is OK at White Hart Lane. Michael Carrick famously touched upon this when he joined Manchester United. Players – team-mates –should be competing against each other at the highest possible level they can muster up, because the better they are the better the team is:

“When you do “your bit” you are immune to criticism. A sort of collectively projected performance-socialism, where people are not only encouraged to do nothing more than “his bit” but are in fact discouraged from doing more because it makes team-mates look even worse” – Danish White (Glory

Where is the zest to be a better player, Mr Bent? Why are you the better option out of the group of forwards we have?

Shut up and play up or wave your goodbye.

Of course, the ultimate way to answer the question 'What does Darren Bent do exactly?' is with another question:

Why did we buy him in the first place?


Karma Karma Comollion

£170M spent in 3 years at the club whilst director of football. Instrumental in the sacking of Martin Jol and the appointment of Juande Ramos. Signed Younes Kaboul for £8M.

Damien Comolli, the quintessential director of football who apparently didn't realise how difficult it would be to break Spurs into the Top 4. An undiscovered tribesman in the depths of the Amazon would even know that dislodging the Cartel of Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal is a nigh impossible task for any club especially one that has never been a 'league' contender (two decent seasons at both ends of the 80's and that team from the 60's doesn't qualify as pedigree).

So, what has our dear departed friend been telling Sky Sports News?

Comolli on Berbatov

He stated what we knew already. Berbatov went on strike and was disruptive, affecting team moral. What Damien fails to answer is the underlying fact that Berbatov was itching for a Utd move after just one season at WHL. This has been well documented already and explains his (Berbatov) fall out with Jol. Fact is, everyone at Spurs knew he was going to go. Rather than just go out and sign someone or at the very least target a replacement months beforehand, we wait until the final seconds to hand him over to Utd. What Damien is suggesting is that Levy stuttered till the very last second.

I (in a moment of weakness) actually agreed with Levy's stance but his delivery wasn't clever at all. As a DoF what Comolli should have done is explain to Daniel 'I know nothing about football' Levy that the sooner we get rid of him the better. What part Ramos had to play in all this depends on what side of the bed he got out of as he has contradicted himself half a dozen times with his viewpoint on that particular saga. Telling us that Berbatov staying until the final day of the transfer window was a mistake is like watching your slice of bread burn in the toaster and then point at it and exclaim: Its burning! It's burnt!

Levy has stated that the reason there was a DoF was so that someone can take responsibility for the footballing matters. Levy's stance made it difficult for the Frenchman to do his job on this occasion. But what kind of club dithers in such a manner and thinks they'll get away with it?

Comolli on Zokora/Redknapp

This is a good one. Damien tells us that Pompey (and Harry) didn't rate and thus sign Zokora when he had a trial at the club and that now, Zokora is selected for practically every game under Harry at Spurs. It's a question of timing apparently. Whatever that is meant to mean. I guess he is trying to justify the signing and that its proving to be a good one. All it proves is that neither Comolli or Redknapp have a clue what they're doing when it comes to the midfield anti-general that is Didier.

Comolli on Nugent and Redknapp again

He has a go at Harry for signing a player for £6M and not playing him. Well Damien, how about signing several players for several million and having to play all of them because we don't have any f*cking decent players in the squad (you built) to come in and replace them?

Comolli on AC Milan

The DoF works well in Milan and has done for years. This is basically Comolli's pro-DoF argument. Comparing Spurs to Milan is ridiculous. We have not been run properly as a club from top to bottom with any type of style and cohesion for 30 or so years. I'm not referring to the money side of things. Add to the mix that England and the Premier League is not exactly a hotbed for DoF systems. Ask Fergie and Wenger to show you their trophy cabinet.

I don't have a clue how Comolli is getting on at his new club, St Etienne. We'll have to keep an eye out for the type of quality he signs and how they fair in the next couple of seasons. I'm sure he'll be keeping an eye out for us and how a traditional chairman-manager set-up works out for us.

I won't make any smart remarks until after the transfer window shuts.


The Two-Face Perspective

The Two-Face Perspective

Issue #4
What do we think of Harry?

Harvey Dent: Redknapp, the miracle worker. He’ll save Spurs. He’s the right man for the wrong circumstance the club finds its self in.

Two-Face: But is he the right man to take Spurs forward?

Harvey Dent: If by forward you mean avoid relegation, then yes.

Two-Face: And beyond that? Then what?

Harvey Dent: How about avoiding relegation before realigning club ambitions. This is damage limitation. It’s the afterbirth of the fabled Director of Football system and it can’t just be swept under the carpet. There’s no quick and easy impromptu kick-start that will propel the club back to where the fans and chairman want it to be. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen easily.

Two-Face: I get it. This isn’t Harry’s fault. He’s come in to do a job and clean up the mess. But this is Tottenham, not Portsmouth.

Harvey Dent: And your point is?

Two-Face: We need not forget who we are and the traditions we have so being linked to the likes of Bellamy and Bullard and even Zamora, make me taste my own puke. And with my face, that’s saying something if I can taste vomit.

Harvey Dent: Forget who we are? Would that be a club that aspires to heights we hardly ever reach? Martin Jol’s 5th placed side has long been dismantled. Take away those two seasons, and we are nothing more than under-achievers, based on those aspirations and the transfer money spent on new acquisitions. Massive underachievers. Pompey were almost relegated, and Harry pulled them from the depths and within touching distance of Champions League football. Surely you’ll take that?

Two-Face: But at what expense? Redknapp is no master tactician or managerial genius. He isn’t known for taking the raw materials he has at his disposal and moulding them into a winning mentality. That old more than the sum of their parts trick isn’t in his repertoire.

Harvey Dent: What?

Two-Face: For Harry to succeed he has to gut the squad he has and then bring in players of his own liking, until the right balance is in place for the side to achieve its goal. In this case, mid-table.

Harvey Dent: Hate to point out the obvious, but he has the same players Ramos had at his disposal and has managed to notch up 18 points compared to Juandes 2. I’d say that’s pretty decent managerial skill right there.

Two-Face: So, we are settling for avoiding relegation, and that’s all? A team built to finish above the bottom three. Then what? What happens after that? We settle for a mediocre side who probably won’t punch above 8th or 7th place?

Harvey Dent: Mediocre? Like the one we have at the minute?

Two-Face: I think we both agree that the current side is bare bones. A skeleton crew with a handful of players that should not have been purchased in the first place. Rather than build a team we've bough players who only function in different roles and formations and never in the same one together as a single unit.

Harvey Dent: Which makes it commendable that Harry turned it around so quickly. Seems the knee-jerk thing to do is wheel out the wheelbarrow of despair because we dropped points against Newcastle, Fulham and WBA. Don’t forget, we are in the position we are in because of the start we had. So when we do drop points, it’s magnified tenfold because we can’t afford to do so based on the clubs around us being on similar totals. But that isn’t Harry’s fault, now is it?

Two-Face: Are you saying he is immune to criticism just because of his initial impact?

Harvey Dent: No, of course not.

Two-Face: Then?

Harvey Dent: People’s perception of events can have drastic reactions, from good to bad, when things go for or against us. Look, he had a wonderful start to life at Spurs. We rode our luck, but that was more than can be said for when Ramos was at t he helm. But in no way were we playing brilliantly. Certain individuals improved, others haven’t. There are still problems with our strike force (or lack of) and the balance through the midfield is still fragile and not up to the long haul task of climbing the table. So the moment we drop two points or more, why should Harry get the blame?

Two-Face: Because the tactics, the formation and selection is his responsibility. If we’ve stagnated, which we have, and the players are failing to give their all, then the manager should be aiming to get a reaction from them. I expected one at WBA after the Fulham game. We didn’t get it, regardless of the referee and sending off, the display was inept. Something all too often tagged with Spurs teams – regardless of the manager or players present at the time.

Harvey Dent: There’s a good chance Harry has done as much as he can do with the players he has.

Two-Face: Do you really believe that?

Harvey Dent: We need an injection, in the form of a new forward and definitely a left-winger. Don’t underestimate what a couple of new players will do for the side. Yes, we have our fair share of prima donnas and players with their heads firmly in the clouds. This has been a deep routed problem at Spurs for years and years. Far too many individuals who believe their own hype and the hype that has surrounded the club for far too long. It’s a comfort zone that some take advantage of, and almost wait for someone else to do the deep digging for them. Seems at Spurs it’s ok to be half a defensive midfielder, but still play in every game, or be a player with huge potential but with each passing season come nowhere near to fulfilling it.

Two-Face: You haven’t answered my question.

Harvey Dent: Patience. Harry cited the necessity, the requirement of having proper players in the team. Players not engulfed in vanity or bogged down with self-importance based on their haircuts. Players who will get stuck in and understand that sitting on 20 points just above the bottom three is a relegation battle, one that requires men with balls of steel and not fluffy scared kittens more interested licking their balls.

Two-Face: Do kittens lick their balls? I thought that was dogs?

Harvey Dent: It’s just a metaphor.

Two-Face: Bit of a mess that. Like your argument. If Harry requires proper players, then why is David Bentley playing every week? By your definition, Bentley is a player who is constantly licking his balls. And the only product you can associate with him is what he puts on his hair. He rarely beats the first man with a set-piece. Doesn’t track back, doesn’t do much in fact that helps the team. He’s like a good looking version of Andy Reid. Slim, a little taller with highlights in his hair. In fact, arguably, he isn’t even as good as Andy Reid. At least Reid can play in more than one position.

Harvey Dent: Let’s not scapegoat.

Two-Face: No, no. Let’s not. This isn’t about scape-goating. This is based on performances and fact. David Bentley? What does he do exactly? Not much at the moment. Is Harry’s genius man-management skills based on playing David every game because he’s bound to regain form at some point? Did the club not try that with Robinson last season? Granted, it’s worked with Gomes, but keepers are funny creatures. Outfield players can easily be replaced. What type of message does it send out if Bentley is undroppable to the likes of O’Hara and anyone else for that matter who sits on the bench or worse? Bentley is the personification of all that’s average about Spurs at the moment. I’m sure there is a good player in there somewhere. But it doesn’t help matters that the player himself believes he is great when he is merely just good.

Harvey Dent: In defence of Bentley, he has little support and nobody to pass too, but sure, form wise regardless of reasons, I agree. But maybe Boateng or whoever genuinely isn’t the right answer for us and Harry knows.

Two-Face: Why? How do you know that? Is he really that unimpressive in training and for the reserves? Surely he should be given a start, if anything, to allow Bentley the time for some much needed soul-searching. Because at the moment, the Penguin would do a better job out there.

Harvey Dent: So what’s your answer?

Two-Face: Well for a start, it’s not Bellamy. Our stature, even though we have been nothing more than over-glamorised pretenders to the 4th spot, was a lot higher than it is now. We attracted Juande Ramos, one of the most highly rated coaches in Europe. Few in England could have done that.

Harvey Dent: Money. Money can do anything you want it do. And Spurs, fans and club alike, do a mighty fine job of hyping the club beyond its reality. Look, there is no doubt Levy runs the club financially spot on. We are rich. We can always compete in the transfer market, and we always buy quality players, amongst all the duffs. But look at what signing Ramos achieved. Cup aside, it didn’t work out and the DoF pulled the club down from the giddy heights achieved under Jol to the brink of utter disaster. So if you consider the amount of times we’ve gone out and signed the ‘right’ manager and ‘right’ players, and yet ended up with zero in the way of progress and success – I can’t see how an old fashion reality check will hurt us.

Two-Face: So going from Modric to Corluka to Bellamy and Downing is fine with you? Do you honestly believe that aiming for a lower-tier in the Premiership just to survive is the way forward? Why not aim higher, survive, and then be able to push on?

Harvey Dent: Here we go again. Isn’t this the fickleness of fans coming into play now? Just above the bottom three, yet you want to consider what we can aim for AFTER we get ourselves out of this relegation dogfight. How about getting out of the dogfight first? And Modric and Corluka were signed in the summer, so Spurs – with or without Redknapp – will always attract this type of quality. Keane and Berbatov have not been replaced effectively at this time, but we probably don’t need to aim that high because it’s not required. A good decent goal scorer is what’s required, and there is no need for it to be a superstar or a sexy signing. Just one that will do the flipping job and do it well. You know, if you add Berbatov and Keane into the current side, we wouldn’t be worried about relegation. As I said earlier, don’t underestimate what an injection of new blood can do. We are missing vital organs, and the transplants are just days away.

Two-Face: You need to work on your analogies and metaphors. As much as Harry and Levy need to work on their signings. Bellamy for £8M? Downing for £15M?

Harvey Dent: Downing gets linked to Spurs for £15M every single season, so I don’t get your problem with this.

Two-Face: So, these are the proper players Redknapp wants? Sounds like another Bentley signing. Superflous.

Harvey Dent: Then what do we go for? Another Pav or Modric? We can’t afford to do that. We need players who will fit in from the off and Redknapp knows that. We’ll know for sure once the transfer window opens. Everything until then is nothing more than hearsay and gossip.

Two-Face: And Harry gets us out of trouble with these signings, then what?

Harvey Dent: Again, why does everything have to fall into a 3-4 year plan? At the moment, there is no plan other than getting ourselves into a stable position. Once we are stable, then we can go about signing what we consider better quality players. But we are not in the position or have the luxury to do so at the moment. Once we are in a healthy state, then we will. And remember, Harry’s stay at Spurs might well be short term. He will only take us so far, and it’s probably a given that Harry and Levy both know this. The next man in, will hopefully inherit a good side, top end of the table, consistent and going places (again).

Two-Face: So, we sacked Ramos because he couldn’t get the best out of the team he had, which is the same team Harry has. So arguably, you could say the players react better to Harry than they did with Ramos, but as a group are still not good enough. Which is possibly down to Levy and Comolli. And thus are beginning to struggle again because Harry can do so much with so little.

Harvey Dent: You’re obviously leading up to something with this.

Two-Face: If Ramos had the right players then it might have worked.

Harvey Dent: It didn’t work. Whatever the reasons, whether it was communication or he disliked living in England or if it was purely footballing matters, it did not work out. We got what we thought were the right players although everyone will always blame the departures of Keane and Berbatov as being the downfall. Which is not something most would disagree with.

Two-Face: Ok, so we sign yet more strikers. But surely we needed to bring in a manager who is tactically astute to the level Ramos was?

Harvey Dent: He wasn’t tactically astute for us.

Two-Face: You know what I mean. Harry praises Zamora in the press. Admits to telling Pav to ‘run around a lot’. To go from Top 4 pretenders/contenders to hiring and firing Ramos which might not have happened had Comolli and Levy replaced Keane and Berbatov properly, and end up fighting relegation with Redknapp at the helm and being linked to the type of players we would never be linked with. It’s just not right.

Harvey Dent: Are we covering old ground again?

Two-Face: We might buy journeymen or stop-gap players but this isn’t the same ethos the club has had in recent years and it won’t place us anywhere near Villa’s consistency or City’s financial clout.

Harvey Dent: You make no sense. City will outbid anyone they choose. Villa, without the hype, have slowly and gradually built their way to their current position. No big name superstars in their team by the way.

Two-Face: So Levy has also scrapped the sell-on value ethos, by looking to bring in the likes of Bellamy that won’t have any value after a season or two.

Harvey Dent: Ok, we are definitely going over old ground now. Fact of the matter is, under the previous ethos and system, we were heading downwards. It simply wasn’t working. We’ve played well under Harry. Reclaimed some form and pride. We were unlucky against Newcastle. The Fulham game simply illustrated what we need to acquire in January. And the same can be said about the WBA game, which we probably would not have lost on another day. All this talk about Ramos and what if he had two decent strikers is bullshit, because Harry is in the same position. Compare the two.

You notice the difference? Redknapp had the far more difficult games to get through. So lay the ghost of Ramos to bed once and for all. All that we should be concerned about is being a Prem League side cometh the summer. Then, with the guiding help of Levy, Redknapp knowing he is at a far bigger club (with no disrespect meant) to his previous clubs, will be able to aim much higher in the way of transfer targets, with the luxury of time on his side for any bedding in of foreign acquisitions. At the moment, we needed fighters and we need experience. We don’t fight relegation often, so there is no pussy-footing around the matter. No room for mistakes. The current lot don't look fit for it.

Two-Face: Ok. But do we agree that in the long term, Redknapp is not the answer?

Harvey Dent: Harry is known for one or two things. He makes smaller clubs ‘bigger’. He spends a lot of money on a lot of players. Nobody knows what he will be able to achieve at a bigger than small club like Spurs. We are about to find out. And if you look at the players he signed for Pompey (Defoe, Diarra, Johnson, Campbell, James, Crouch) it’s not all Bellamys and Zamoras, is it?

Two-Face: So, he leaves in a few seasons with us in mid-table with an ageing squad with no sell-on value and a new stadium about to be built. Cost of surviving relegation I guess?

Harvey Dent: Let’s wait and see who he signs in January. He’ll make some shrewd signings for sure, but he won’t just make them for the sake of it. They will fix the problems at hand, and surely that’s all that matters.

Two-Face: So he isn’t the long term answer then?

Harvey Dent: He’s a wheeler dealer cockney cheeky chappy. Not a tactical genius. He’s been brought in for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to steady a sinking ship whilst Levy evaluates his position, club structure (no more DoF) and the development of the new ground. Then, with or without Levy and Redknapp, the club will once more aspire for greater things.

Two-Face: Maybe we should aspire to be more like Everton and Villa. Consistent without the constant demand for precision attack minded football. Win ugly more often than not. Sacrifice glory football for bread and butter results.

Harvey Dent: That’s not Tottenham. And it never will be.

Two-Face: Guess not.

Inspired by the boys over at Glory


The Smoking Gun

Kevin Prince-Boateng and a smoking gun. He's told the media that he has no future with us and that - brace yourselves - he was a Comolli signing. Martin Jol apparently told him he did not want to sign him, which makes it the type of evidence that proves what a shambles the DoF system was. Of course, pinch of salt, is always recommended when a player speaks out against the club they he wants to leave. Although Boateng probably regrets the comments (get ready for a 'I was mis-quoted' follow up story) now that Jenas is out for a while. First team football isn't an impossible task for him if he shuts up and tries to prove the self-hype be believes so much in.

As for Damien, he's been active in the press in recent days telling everyone how bloody great he was at Tottenham (as if listening to Ramos tell everyone that nobody at Spurs was intelligent enough to understand his advanced coaching methods hence the terrible terrible relegation league form, although he'd still be manager I guess had he learnt to say 'Just f*cking run around' in clear English). Damien told the Telegraph he was not surprised that the players he has signed are all playing so well and that there is more to come thanks to the world-class academy he has left behind.

Players he signed playing well? You mean Zokora? Bought as a DM, and playing a blinder in the right-back position? And as for a world class academy, its obviously not that great if Wenger hasn't attempt to steal any of our players. Let's quote the great man:

“I’m pleased when I see Woodgate doing fantastically, Assou-Ekotto playing well; I thought Zokora was outstanding last week [against West Ham]. And Corluka, Modric, all of them. I’m very pleased. When I made mistakes I knew it quite quickly. I don’t think I made many mistakes. The players who are still there and playing, I knew they had the quality. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound arrogant by saying that, but that’s the way I felt. I’m pleased the players are doing well, but not surprised. I’m not surprised that Darren Bent has scored 12 goals this seasons. I knew he would score goals.

Overall, in terms of trading, it worked well. As far as I’m concerned I probably made about three or four mistakes out of 25 first-team deals during my time. Some of those I consider mistakes now, could turn out to be a success in the future. You never know – that’s the beauty with players, especially young ones".

He goes on to claim how he bagged Berbatov from Leverkusen and that he beat Barcelona for the signature of Bostock. What a guy!

The academy, well, if he was responsible for the scouting and coaching then fair play. We do have a tasty youth team so this is something that might come back and bite any anti-Comolli person (including me) on the arse. And its a bite I would gladly bend over and take if we see 3-5 of these kids make it into the first team.

As for 3 to 4 mistakes (transfers) out of 25? Its more like 3 or 4 successes out of 25. And as for 'could turn out to be a success in the future' - you don't spend millions on players who might just make it after making no initial impact. That's a bullshit ego-get-out-clause.

Comolli, seems to think he can walk on water, and would even have you believe that he was responsible for signing Adam and Eve to the Garden of Eden, but don't you dare go blaming him for the forbidden fruit debacle. That was down to God because, like, why stick forbidden fruit in an easy to get place and what the fuck is up with the security if a snake can wiggle its way in causing biblical havoc? But speak to God and he'll tell you that the DoE (Director of Evolution) system works fine and that the Garden is the responsibility of the landscaper and Adam and Eve were imperative signings if progress was to be achieved.

All went pear-shaped with the snake and fruit incident, so God decided to get rid of the DoE and went for a more traditional set-up, which proceeded a transitional period involving the dismantling of the garden and replacing it with dinosaurs. Which worked a treat for many many ages until he realised you can't win anything with Kritosauruses.


Modric's first match-day visit to the Lane

"See that way up there? That's the Champions League. You can get to it via Manchester. But don't worry yourself about that until the summer of 2010."


Comolli again

So our mate Comolli thinks he did an exceptional job at the Lane.

Spurs rated 11th biggest club in the world.
3 times European qualification.
Carling Cup winners.

All down to him according to himself. He doesn't say that directly of course, but implies it.

"I had a lot of success. I did a lot of good for the team and left a club in great shape"

No you didn't. The club was a complete and utter mess thanks to the DoF system and your ability to avoid the most vital of signings at key moments.

"The current results are showing what I did for Tottenham. The team is great and young"

The current results are a consequence of Ramos and you being sacked. We were rock bottom, disharmony in the dressing did what for Spurs?

"I am still asking myself what happened in the end. I don't understand it. I advised the club to take a coach (Ramos) and it went well at first. But when he had problems the club turned on me. I am leaving a club with a lot of assets, many, many players"

Obviously someone needs to take Damien aside and explain what constitutes success. In Ramos, he bought in the wrong person for the job. If the rumours that Juande stopped learning English 2 months ago are true, then you do the maths. As shown in a previous blog posts, yes, Mr Comolli you did bring in some decent players but you never addressed the main issues that's left us with an unbalanced team.

Buying players isn't a difficult job. Bringing in the likes of Corluka and Pav (who I hope go from strength to strength) and having them both cup-tied for the UEFA Cup isn't what you would call world-class scouting and acquisition. Zokora, Kaboul etc.....let's not cover ground covered yesterday.

There's no doubt the quality of players we've had at Spurs recently has been fantastic compared to maybe 5/6 years ago. But signing Bentley/Modric and the likes is something I could do with a wad of money and a private jet. He was meant to be a prodigy. A true scout who would uncover gems for little money. Compare us to Arsenal in that respect and Comolli has hardly done a thing for us. But then, you didn't really do much at Arsenal so not sure why I even mentioned this this aspect of your role. Maybe to highlight what a mistake it was to employ you in the first place?

Fact is, a true scout would sign the likes of Corluka BEFORE he signs for the likes of City. Plucking players from other Premiership games when every man and his dog can 'scout' him via tv coverage is not deserving of exceptional credit.

Players of an unknown quality you have drafted in (Ghaly, BAE etc) have been resounding flops.

My final point on this (I promise) is that overall there is no complain of the quality brought in, but for what you are meant to be you haven't done a thing that could be considered exceptional.


DML Editorial: Complaining about Comolli

Damien Comolli has fallen on his feet. The much maligned easy-to-blame target for the Spurs boo-boys, the media and for the right honourable Daniel Levy - who made sure that after Ramos was acquired as manager that everyone knew he was brought in on the say so and recommendation of Comolli (thus by default, responsibility for his failure was tagged). But, fallen on his feet has Damien. At Saint-Etienne. Again.

I was never a fan of his (you'd never have guessed that, right?) but more so was never a fan of the director of football structure. Chief scout working as a bitch to the manager, closing deals the manager has requested is how it should have worked rather than taking responsibility of transfers away from the coach. We all know it was an overly simplistic system when noted on paper but in reality it created confusion and chaos in-house and on the terraces with nobody ever knowing who was directly responsible for the internal politics that undermined the likes of Jol. Obviously Levy, but see, he sits on the side of 'I'm dumb with the football thing and entrust my DoF to make sure all things go as planned', so as this paragraph descends into literal suicide, it serves its purpose to prove that Comolli leaving and Levy finally admitting defeat is a great day for traditionalists.

Will it be great for Saint-Etienne? Possibly. Possibly not. Don't care. So what of Damien's reign as top cockerel at WHL? Was he really THAT bad? Was he simply an easy target, with us only selecting examples of transfers that didn't quite work out (no different to a manager with no technical director influence buying the wrong player - and how many times has that happened?) and not giving him credit when he did bring in someone decent?

"No seriously dude, I don't like you or your English cup of tea"

The fickleness is strong amongst us. He was celebrated for a period of time, believe it or not. When things were going well on the pitch. When we signed Zokora (and he was photographed with the player by a Spurs fan abroad) many of us saw this as a major coup. A real proper DM, proven African Nations class. And he also signed Berbatov (his first signing in fact). Or did Jol tell him to scout Berbatov and sign him? And was Berbatov really a good signing considering the mess its left us in? Harsh I know - because there's no way of knowing who or when a player will act in such a disloyal way. The point is, was Comolli actually 'ok' at his job?

Bent (initially slated by all), Corluka, Woodgate, Bale, Hutton, Modric, Bentley - all arguably very very decent players (Bale and Hutton still trying to reclaim some form after returning from injury and Bentley and Modric finding their level after a slow start). Most Prem teams outside the 'Top Four' would be happy to take these players off our hands (by most I mean Aston Villa). Modric is arguably good enough for a Top 4 club. And might well be playing for one in a season or two. Hmm. Anyways, all good good players. Maybe purchased for a little bit too much, but that's up the bank and not, I would expect the DoF.

Some managers spend millions on players of their own choosing, who flop and get sold on - so if Comolli was discussing targets at all times with the 'coach' and only going out to sign a player the coach wanted 100%, then was he doing anything wrong? Was he not just doing his job? Following orders? Players who we apparently missed out on due to chairman interference ('he is too old' - 'he wants too much in wages') is surely down to Levy and Levy alone. Up to the bank, right?

But isn't it Comolli who advises Levy who should be manager? Surely someone with that much responsibility and power wouldn't then become a lap dog for someone he appointed? Would he?

But what of Ghaly or Kevin Prince 'everyone thinks I was German Young Player of the Year when actually I wasn't' Boateng? Or Rocha? Or Taraabt? Or Gilberto? Or BAE? Kaboul? And Zokora obviously. Or Zokora. And Zokora. That Zokora. Oh Christ, Zokora.

We have spent millions on players that don't appear to be signings the coach might have wanted or singled out as targets. Millions of pounds playing reserve team football without a squad number. Yet where are the player we so desperately require? The cheap and cheerful engine-rooms and grafters? Not every player has to be box-office.

And when we need a replacement for Berbatov along with a defensive midfielder we got nothing. He never got on with Jol and along with his pal Kemsley got Ramos to walk out of Sevilla for us, which turned out to be an epic failure too far. So surely an inability to work with someone like Jol and Ramos out-weighs any successful signing? But if he's empowered by the chairman, the buck should stop with Levy. But it doesn't. And gone is Comolli.

Daniel and Damien thought it rude to stare at the blind floating head ghost

Apart from the nitty gritty of transfers, arguably, you could say his other main directive is to avoid mass upheaval and sign players the next manager can work with - all of course within the DoF structure. So basically, Comolli is responsible for the vision and progression of the club, and no matter who we sign, the 'next' coach can ease in and continue the training of the first team.

But now, this ethos, no longer exists, so players like Modric and Bentley - bought by Comolli for Ramos and were not used properly are now finding their way under Redknapp who HAS used them properly. But then any manager probably would have done so. In fact, if the players are good enough, it doesn't really matter who the coach is as long as he can man-manage.

What pro-Comolli supporters will tell you, as I've hinted earlier, is that he hasn't done that bad compared to other managers (DoF free) with signings. But again (repeat mode) him being there as a buffer between chairman and coach, protecting the chairman serves no purpose to the fans or the club in the long term.

Let's take a look at his signings:

Berbatov £10.9M - For the money spent and low-key status of the Bulgarian (not everyone had heard of him) this was a great signing. The first made by DC, and ironically the one that would prove (partly) pivotal in his downfall, thanks to Levy's dithering.

Assou-Ekotto £3.5M - Why, why, why? He has one move. You know the one. It's the one where he moves to go one way and goes the other instead.

Zokora £6M - After the first season, everyone hoped to see the real Zokora - the one that played a handful of games in the African Nations - in his second year at the Lane. What we got in year two was first season Zokora, slightly degraded, but with additional dance moves. An engine he has, but its not enough. Footballing brain is a standard requirement. Doesn't score goals, likes to play act and is pretty much the definition of not what to spend £6M + on.

Dervitte undisclosed - Not seen much of him, but I'll put this type of signing down to the quintessential 'we've signed a captain of his country (be it at youth U-21 level)' Spurs signing that we never see break into the first team because they never turn out to be good.

Malbranque £3.5M - Great player to have in the squad and team, and our most consistent performer last season. Would flourish under Redknapp. Why was he sold to Sunderland? Did we need the extra few million, perhaps for investment in the hopefully re-designing of Chirpy's head?

Chimbonda £4M - Infuriating player. Mercenary who had a few decent games, because he can play, but has shown himself up (Cup Final anyone?) and since joining Sunderland has continued to prove this point.

Mido £4.5M - Really helped us when he first signed up, influential up front, giving us somethign different. The weight/injury problems means he will probably never consistently perform for any one club.

Rocha £3.5M - Why?

Alnwich undisclosed - Is he still on loan? Another 'highly rated youth player' who we've seen nothing from. Apart from his dick in a mobile phone sex video.

Bale £5M - Great talent, but is possessed by evil spirits. Why was this not uncovered during scouting missions? Has never won a Prem game for Spurs, and never will till he is exorcised

"What do you think? Can he play left-wing?"
"Damien, that's a tree"

Berchiche undisclosed - Another one for the future, but he has a few years before we can chalk this off as a faded dream.

Taarabt undisclosed - Zidane on LSD. Has had some tasty games for the reserves, that are made up of 10-30 second bursts of genius, followed by playground football. A kid with immense ball skills, but suffering from Zokorapsy. If he doesn't learn to do the simple things, he'll never make it.

Bent £16.5M - Masses of money spent on him. The ones who didn't want to take the abuse that Bent was a waste of money will tell you he was bought for that much at the time because we needed someone to take the helm from Berbatov. Except, Berba was still with us for a season - along with Keane and Defoe, so Bent's form and confidence suffered as he sat it out on the bench. Still, over-inflated price (thanks to West Ham for matching Charlton's estimation). We were still the mugs that paid it. £9M would have been fine based on modern day wastefulness. Still, at least he is now starting to repay us. But why he was bought originally when we did not require a forward, especially when the money could have been spent elsewhere is.....Comolli's guess.

Kaboul £8.2M - Stupid. Another 'captain', another average player. Struggled thanks largely to the poor start to the season we had, but showed glimpses of something. That something then turned to nothing, confirming he was shit. Now at Pompey (bought by Redknapp, which is something that I'll worry about depending on how Harry does in the Jan window). Complete and utter waste of money. You do not spend £8.2M on a 'potentially great player'. Potential is another word for 'maybe'.

Rose undisclosed - Decent young Lennoneque player, without the bling baggage. One to watch and maybe a gem. As long as he stays away from Buckhurst Hill.

Boateng £5.2M - Much hyped because he has 'Prince' in his name and has tattoos. Looked well over his head when he did play for us, but he just might come good. Has 'grown up' since he got relegated to the reserves (basically, he realised he was being a dick and has got back to proving his worth as an up and coming prospect by concentrating on his football, because Christ, he ain't no superstar). Harry has brought him back into 1st team affairs, so a second chance is on the cards. Did we sign him because Sevilla were looking at him when Ramos was still there? Doubtful you think, as Ramos never went anywhere near him selection wise.

Gunter £2M - Decent player. Another gem, we hope.

Woodgate £7.5M - Doesn't take a DoF to look towards bringing Woody to Spurs, does it? Any manager at Spurs (considering our CB issues) would have looked to bring him in. Am I side-stepping a compliment for Comolli? Yes. Yes, I am.

Hutton £8M - Probably a bit too much for a Scottish player. Looked superb getting forward before injury. Bit of a crock performance wise since coming back. Comolli bought him on the strength of one of his scouts (Alex Ferguson).

Gilberto £1.9M - Brazilian? If he's Brazilian, so are my nuts.

Modric £15.8M - Brilliant little player. Gem for sure. Diamond in fact. But what does it say about the working relationship of Ramos and Comolli when Modric is stuck in awkward formation positions and struggles to impress? Harry comes in and does what everyone would do - let him play as a classic free-roaming number 10. Spurs did well to sign him. He's a typical flair Spurs type of signing and one we needed after losing the vision of Berbatov. I'll give Comolli props for getting the signature, but what did Ramos actually ask for? A left-winger?

dos Santos £4.7M - Either he is an extreme talent (if so, why did Barcelona let him go?) or he's a one-trick pony. IMO, was thrown into the deep end in a shit team. When he returns from injury, hope to see him settle and play. Might not be good enough for Bojans Barca, but he'll do fine in the Premiership. But Spurs should not have pushed this as a major coup with additonal 'he'll be a fully fledged first team player' soundbites. We needed something a little more complete. dos Santos is for the future. He's got a while to go before we can claim to have the best young Mexican player.

Gomes £9M - He plays brilliantly against us (for PSV) in one game and that's enough to value him at a hefty £9M and also pencil him in as a steady, reliable replacement for Paul 'I once had a HUGE long term contract at Spurs' Robinson. Instead we got a very good shot-stopper who is prone to amazing lapses in concentration and experiences yo-yo confidence. In other words, we spent almost ten million to bring back Paul Robinson.

Bostock £700k - Gem, gem, gem. Whether we have the development lined up for him is something I can only pray for. This kid can plaaaay. So credit here.

Bentley £15M - A typical superfluous luxury Tottenham type of player. Not really needed, when you consider what was needed pre-season. We lose Robbie Keane, so quick-sharp, we get a new poster boy. Not that Robbie was ever a poster boy. However, confidence makes people forget the past and look to the future, and Bentley is showing some quality now that he and the team are playing with swagger. Still not worth £15M, and might yet still go missing in games, depending on whether the gel keeps his hair in place.

Sanchez undisclosed - Backup keeper. Fairly impossible to be critical of this signing. Until he plays and concedes three.

Pavlyuchenko £14M - He might have the fashion sense of a blind chav let loose in Primark, but he seems honest, but not in a soppy way Rebrov was. Might have no pace but once he settles in England, he might be very decent for us. A snip at £14M. I'm trying not to be critical of the player, so I wont. I'll be critical of Comolli however who saw fit to spend this staggering amount of money on a player who had just done 5 months of Russian football. Arshavin would cost us £20M tops. We don't ever spot a bargain do we?

Corluka £8.5M - Can cover three or so positions. Has looked good and has looked average, but with Mordic at Spurs, bringing him in was inspired. I don't want to sound like a broken record and criticise the fee, and when you compare the amount spent and see it matches up with the money spent on Kaboul, this transfer still manages to make me feel a lot better, even though it shouldn't. But I wonder what kind of defender we could have got for £16M.

Campbell loan - Manchester United laughing at us.

So, the list more or less has as many hits and misses as you'd expect from most clubs who go with a more traditional manager-with-no-director-of-football-system. The lack of transparency means we simply can't be certain how much influence Jol and Ramos had during their time there and how involved Levy truly was. So, be it Comolli the glorified scout/contract man or be it Comolli the would be architect of glory - the only thing certain is he was one cook too many around the broth.

Comolli, having inherited a team built by Frank Arnesen's and Martin Jol - who finished 5th - he got Jol sacked and left us wanting a DM and a LW even after spunking £150M. He simply never bought the right players for the right (or left) positions when most required.

This system doesn't, didn't work.

The comedy Comolli complaints have now ceased. Forever.