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Entries in Gareth Bale (77)


The importance of being Gareth Bale

There are a variety of inherent traits that make up the stereotypical DNA of a football supporter. On occasions we can be fickle and impatient. We can also very carefully manoeuvre away from one opinion in order to present a differing perspective to suit a new argument. Ignoring or contradicting is also another characteristic that shines through depending on whatever climate we stand in (good form or bad form).

Gareth Bale joined Spurs as a promising youngster. He made an impact before picking up an injury and then we did what we were so good at during that particular period of time; mismanagement of youth. He returned and was almost ruined as we drained every last drop of confidence from the lad who struggled to settle (and finish on the winning side) in a spell of twenty four appearances thanks mostly due to the incompetency of his team mates (although he suffered also thanks to some personal howlers). No end in sight, at one point he was being lined up with a loan away from Spurs. Benny got injured and Bale got another chance. Yet we almost missed out on seeing it transpire this way because we had given up hope of him succeeding. From left back to left wing.

Bale's development was finally progressing and his confidence rejuvenated. The Champions League season cemented him as one of the leagues brightest stars, strong in body and technically gifted with power and drive along with pace. Seems its easy to forget the time he struggled for us, equally so, it appears quite easy for some to also ignore that he's still young and developing and is having to deal with hype and expectation. He's playing in a side that has also progressed through a learning curve (and continues to do so) with a far more stable set-up than his early days with us. He's surrounded by some genuine talent making his growth as a player and young man one of assurance.

He's wanted by a variety of clubs or at the very least, the interest is there. We know at some point within a year or two he might leave. That's not to say he has a free pass and therefore should be exempt from criticism but there is so much short-term nonsensical reaction to the player that I sometimes wonder if some of our support is drowning in fickleness and attempting to drag Bale down with them to the despairing depths.

Firstly, ego. How does a player believe his own hype exactly? Is this a way to describe someone that is confident in their own ability but when isn't playing well is subject to being tagged as negligent or complacent?

If he's instructed to play in certain positions or if he wishes to add new dimensions to his play then freedom should be given so that the player can continue to adapt and improve. From left back to left wing to a potential free-roamer. He has both the physicality and technical skills to play on the flank or behind the forward(s) although there's no doubt that in our current set-up (with all players available) he's better suited on the left to provide us with width and to drag players across to open up space in the middle for others to exploit.

Bale has spent his career adapting. Several years ago nobody was quite sure of his best position. It's because he has so much about him as an athlete, a winger with rampant pace and an eye for goal, that he can potentially cut inside and attack centrally. It's how, where and when this is applied that is pivotal to the teams shape throughout the season when breaking opposing sides down. Equally pivotal for him in retaining consistency.

All the rhetoric about him getting giddy with the Ronaldo comparisons and forgetting his responsibilities to the team is (IMO) an easy way to scapegoat a player that is high profile (young) and therefore susceptible as a target to blame for the teams deficiencies. The manager should be controlling the players with far more astuteness, picking when and where the 'inside forward' experiment should play out. Wasn't too long ago we all jumped on Redknapp for the right wing selection only for it to morph into a tactically in-game swap with Lennon that can be effective against some teams. The handling since has not been cohesive enough and that is down to management. Do we want Bale on the right attempting to cross with his left? Of course not. He's wasted there unless he' swapping wings to confuse the opposition (unlikely to reoccur until Lennon is back).

When free-roaming into the centre he needs to know understand when this will work and when it's detrimental.

The criticism aimed at him (Bale) is usually voiced when its not going well (that's the fickle trait kicking in partnered impatience). Even after the Inter hat-trick and his devastating performance in the return game at the Lane, it was gradually highlighted that he wasn't effective in domestic games with many preferring to completely bypass the fact he was being singled out/doubled up on. Equally so it was easy to box up his age and pretend he was meant to be able to cope with cracking the mainstream and playing like he did at the San Siro week in week out.

Bale had to adapt to be able to cope with the extra pressure on and off the pitch, especially on it where he would be accompanied with a variety of defenders and hatchet men. As fans, our expectation levels rise and our standards of what quantify a good solid performance is hiked up meaning we are far more critical when a quiet game is had.

This season he's had his most consistent one yet. Like any player there have been peaks and troughs. Hype and ego are continually thrown into the discussion that Bale has somehow come to the conclusion that he only needs to stick on the shirt to perform rather than work hard out on the pitch. That he can wander around with complete freedom, purely for his own selfish agenda. The caveat here being, if we win/he scores it works and its all good and if it doesn't then the 'who the hell does he think he is?' brigade start screaming with hair pulling and clenched fists waving. Once again, there is a responsibility with the coaches and the manager to make sure there is shape within the team and that the players (Gareth included) are aware of their instructions as part of a working unit.

As for the diving. He does go down easily. He's admitted to this. At times it does look bad, a touch embarrassing even. Mainly because we rarely have players in our ranks that do this. Remember Zokora? I can think of two occasions when he blatantly fell to the ground and everyone around me in the Park Lane (including yours truly) cringed. We don't accept this as part and parcel of our game.

Perhaps he is far too conscious of the fact that if he is knocked or about to be and doesn't go down he might do himself an injury. Not too long ago, he would stay down clutching his knee/thigh/leg when fouled. Precautionary. I don't blame him protecting himself as long as he doesn't start rolling around La Liga style. If he's clipped and the ref will award a foul regardless (due to it being obvious to all that witnessed it) he still goes down for good measure to make certain of it. That's not to be confused with play acting and falling over shadows. He's been guilty of perhaps doing this once or twice but I don't see any maliciousness or premeditated tactic to cheat. IMO, he's still over cautious and sometimes takes it a touch too far reacting too soon to what he expects might happen. Some players are far too aware and worry too much about the what ifs and try to avoid any potentiality that might end with long term injury. Bale only appears to be conflicted with this lingering thought rather than seeking to fall at every available opportunity.

Now, you might find yourself questioning my ethics and reasoning here suggesting that I am being overly bias and attempting to excuse his actions based on my opinion that I don't believe him to possess the mentality of a cheat. I know he's not a cheat because when compared to certain other players that have 'graced' the Prem who have dived/cheated time and time again, in comparison there is no comparison. And on that basis, as a Tottenham supporter, I'm going to side and support the player as opposed to some who appear to be very comfortable and very quick to jump on him and ram their accusations of complacency down his throat. Can we attempt to protect our own especially when the crimes they've alleged to have committed do not warrant the negativity aimed towards him? He's one of us. There are enough rival fans hating on him so why would I consider standing in-amongst their group to point and shake my head at Bale?

Not every player is humble to the bone or posses the low centre of gravity to graceful navigate their way around sliding tackles and bruising shoulder charges. Most players have egos and are in some shape or form arrogant, perhaps not arrogant in an ugly way but simply in terms of self belief, allowing them to excel on the pitch. Gareth Bale isn't stupid. He knows he hasn't conquered the world. He knows he has the potential to do that and he shouldn't be fearful and shy away from it. While we have him in Lilywhite shirt I'll continue to enjoy his football and hope his progression and impact is of a high standard, a responsibility he shares with everyone at Spurs. All in it together, right?

It's my perspective. You might disagree with it. It might conflict with your own opinions which you are also free to share.

Gareth Bale is a brilliant footballer. He's twenty-two years of age and by all accounts is very mature and level-headed for someone so young and famous, carrying the expectations of so many on his shoulders. Please feel free to remember that next time you slate him.


The Bale Conundrum

A fairly comprehensive article on the Bale conundrum can be read here (via James Maw and Four Four Two). Steals plenty of thunder so I'll just add my own personal take on it here. There is no conundrum, if I'm perfectly honest. There doesn't appear to be that much management either concerning Gareth and his marauding into central positions.

I don't disagree that Gareth should not be looking towards developing his game and to be able to do that he has to have freedom of expression and more importantly the confidence and drive (not dive) to mix and match his play by not just being stuck out on the left flank. Except there is very little wrong with being stuck out on the left flank (unless he's man-marked by three defenders). If that's the case, he can swap wings with Lennon (if Aaron is playing on the opposite wing) or he can roam into central positions to pull defenders his way and free up room for someone else to attack the flank. It's basic tactics that a coach on the touchline would have his grey matter sparking with analysis to think of how best to work Bale into a game to be as effective as possible. Different opponents and varying class and quality of opponents will define how it plays out exactly. One game to the next, it will differ. It's obvious stuff. At least, from the comfort of this blog it is.

Much like one game to the next Bale should be managed accordingly. If remaining disciplined for the most part, then that's what he has to be told to do as part of the match preparation. I get the distinct feeling that his roaming is turning into a free pass for him to just play that way without any caveat other than 'keep doing it' regardless of what might work best against the back four he's facing.

Against Arsenal, width was one of the many qualities missing from our play. There is no doubt Bale is hungry and ambitious and wants to be the best player he can be. There is little argument he has the strength and skills to be that player. His focus though? It's a little foggy at this point in time. It's up to Redknapp and the coaches to make sure that he doesn't lose himself in the quest to become a complete attacking midfielder. Perhaps my mind is foggy, but I'm sure not that long ago (pre-Inter games) that Harry said his best position was left-back and his future would be there. That might be going back a fair while. But it's important to remember this is a young lad, a kid, that needs to be fathered as much as he need to be unleashed. He's evolved, there is no doubting that. But we all know hype can sometimes consume a player much like confidence can make or break one.

Spurs, as a collective and as individuals need to reclaim some of that back to basics work ethic. Stretch opponents with width and pace. Swap flank players to confuse and hassle the opposition further. Roam into the middle if the opportunity arises but remain disciplined that the role is one of a left-winger. Against lesser teams, weaker teams, experiment with that license to roam free.

Just think at the moment we're in need of a re-boot and a re-load. Best to start with our most prominent weapon.



Spurs 3 Wigan 1 Transfer Window 0

So we got what we wanted in the end.


I’m talking about the three points rather than the transfer market. More on that later. Firstly Wigan and it’s great to be able to look back at my preview of the game and bask in the fact that Spurs delivered with both professionalism and focus to brush the bottom club aside comfortable. Dominated possession, had a plenty of chances. Okay, so there were moments in the second half where we displayed questionable defending, going through the motions without much intent, but all things considered the result was never in doubt. Even if we switched off a little in the second forty five.

Wigan didn’t park the bus although they attempted to defend deep with emphasis on their back-line, waiting and building a sponge wall of protection to soak up the pressure. The opening goal the perfect illustration of them attempting to do so with every man behind the ball. But alas, Xavi found Messi with an absolute gem of a pass, so perfect it split an atom on its way through. Lio expected, wanted the pass and took it with confidence for the 1-0. A thing of beauty.

Second goal was also tasty. Fortunate how the ball came to be with Luka but his turn and shot was decisive and clinical. The third was majestic. Bale again into his favourite corner giving the keeper no chance. This was routine stuff, never really shifting out of third gear. Although I prefer not to concern myself with results elsewhere, results elsewhere proved to be kind to us. 13 points off 6th spot and 11 points away from 5th. Happy days. How to improve? Perhaps next time shift out of third gear and into first and torment and destroy.

A few highlights. Bale (the beast), could have, should have had a hat-trick. Loved some of his mazy runs. Modric was sexual. Harry getting love from the crowd. Lancaster on for his début. Kaboul enjoying the evening. Some downers include Rafa and Walker going off injured and Benny (very fortunate) not to be red-carded. Norty.

Now the supposedly tricky fixtures begin. Most of the games, IMO, are winnable. That’s if we line up with our strongest side. Which links this post-match musing into the transfer market review and the distortion the January window brings leaving many of us confused and bewildered when perhaps it’s not necessary to feel this way. But then maybe confusion is the only reaction to it.

The problem with Tottenham is that we are very finely tuned. We’re a top side when we field our very best line up. Such is the quality of the first team that if we lose a key player or two the entire shape of the side is affected, sometimes with ill-effect. Meaning we have to readjust our style and some fluidity is lost as a consequence. We don’t quite have like-for-like players when looking to replace. Lesser teams, they can chop and change and appear to be more comfortable in doing so without a massively detrimental knock-on to the way they approach every game. If we lose Bale and Lennon, we have no pace and no width. If Adebayor is out, then our movement up front and the way we attack has to change to work. We don’t have convincing depth in squad. It’s looked that way but only on paper and not when applied practically.

I’ve been an advocator for consolidation. Remember 2006? We didn’t make any major changes in the Jan window and that might have been costly. Okay, so losing points in the final minutes of games cost us, but still...we could have strengthened. Make an outlay, speculate to accumulate. Take a risk but one that shortens the odds substantially meaning the risk equates to ‘guaranteeing’ the target (say top four). Nothing is guaranteed, but if you make powerful changes to personnel then positives should shine through with very few negatives interfering. So, my thinking was that looking at the our team...and taking into account that an injury or two would seriously impede us then the logical thing would be to sign quality long term players rather than spend less on short term solutions. We did neither in this window. Why?

I guess we never learn. Take away the opportunistic signing (a van der Vaart) we are left with the mundane but required exercise of balancing the books. We have unhappy players, players that aren’t even fringe or backup as they are hardly called upon. Now this might be an irritant of lack of squad rotation or the fact that they are simply not required at all. The other factor is, the players in question want to play first team football on a regular basis. Hence the unhappiness. Hence the necessity to move them on (unless your name is dos Santos).

So we have:

Pav – He’s never quite fitted in. Supremely lazy and at times lacking any on-field intelligence, he stuttered too often and could never quite claim a first team place. Not his fault. We should never have signed him in the first place. If it was ever going to work he would have had to be first choice from the start. He wasn’t. At times he displayed technical brilliance. A scorer of great goals. In 2010 (when we finished 4th) he scored important goals for us. But he’s always been distant, always a misfit. Always apologetic. Please don’t disagree and suggest we were not expecting him to move on. It’s taken how many windows for this to finally happen? £11M isn’t too bad either.

Bassong – Another player simply not fancied. A shame because he wasn’t that bad at all when he first arrived here. Confidence and lack of game time can knock you. He’s also too far down the pecking order so it makes sense to shift him on so he can get some game time in.

Pienaar – I did my best to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a fairly non-descript type of player. Can deputise in a couple of positions but isn’t truly a direct replacement for anyone we have. It’s now easy for me to question the ethics behind signing him in the first place when again he was not used often enough (injuries aside). If you’re going to play the squad game, then you have to look at resting/protecting players effectively and allowing the likes of Pienaar game time. Harry doesn’t tinker unless injuries force him too. This signing has proven to be a redundant one.

Corluka – Walker (from what I know at the time of writing) is fine. But if he gets injured – we have no genuine right-back cover as our ‘kids’ are out on loan. Now if it was me, I’d keep Charlie. Even if there was the potential of him playing only twice between now and the end of the season. The player though, he probably would not find that acceptable. Which is why he’s been loaned out.

Have we weakened the squad? Yes, but we’ve not weakened the first team and all the players that have left in this window are neither key or overly called upon to wear the shirt. These are players that had to move on.

The fundamental problem with January is that this is not the month where you traditionally sign super-star players (keep ignoring the opportunistic signings). End of season, the summer...that’s when players/agents/clubs begin to play ball because it’s easier to sell and buy and build your squad for the next season. This is where it gets distorted and contradictory. We don’t know and can only guess what Levy is planning for. Whether it has something to do with Harry and the court case/England job and waiting for the summer to finance big money deals, it’s tricky to work out without being a fly on the wall.

Now you could cite the fact we bid around £20M (or so) for Remy and had it rejected and that its proof that we:

a)     Have the money to spend and the inclination to do so

b)     We are thinking long term regardless of potential managerial upheaval

c)     We are aware of the type of quality we need and we are looking to bring it in

Now c) might require a caveat that outlines we have very specific targets we wish to splash the money on and will not sign lesser targets (for less money, say £6M-£10M) as a stop-gap/panic buys simply for the sake of consolidation. Money is tight, the NDP is on the horizon. It looks like we have it to spend but we’re not going to repeat mistakes of old.

It’s frustrating when you consider we haven’t actually bought a striker out-right for a while. In the summer, Defoe is the only player we’ll have (unless Adebayor is signed permanently). So there’s no doubt we need a massive signing in that department, regardless of Ade remaining here beyond the summer. Could we do with that signing now? Yes, we could have done with him before the window closed. Because we’re 3rd and because mathematically, 1st is still not beyond us (humour me). We also cannot afford to drop out of the top four. I don’t believe we will, and I guess that’s the crux of it. Levy and Harry believe this to be the case also because faith is being placed in the risk that consolidation of our position is not imperative. We were not expected to be in this position at the start of the season and have done so off the back of signing a 40 year old keeper and the much maligned (and now loved) Scott Parker.

We should still be aiming higher for sure. Strengthening our current stature. But there you go. We tried. And cheaper less quality driven alternatives do not appear to be options when looking to splash the cash.

Krasic, according to reports, was more than an option. We wanted him on loan. Juventus agreed to it. The player didn’t, preferring a more permanent role. He would have covered off the flank, another one of those consolidation question marks. Players in the Prem that we considered viable alternatives might have been too pricey to follow through on. How many times have we been burnt in the past? Too many.

So, all I have left is the fact that we must be aiming high. It’s frustrating. It’s a harsh reality. But if clubs won’t let the players leave then you’re going to be hitting that brick wall over and over again. In the summer just past, I was told a story about Gervinho, the Arsenal striker. We were interested. He didn’t fancy us. That turned out rather well. I think the lesson to be learnt is we have to be decisive and certain. Unequivocally. I think the club know the players we want and won’t look elsewhere and we’ll have to go back in for them again. What we have to hope for is that we have enough about us (and luck) to see the season through to be in a position to attract. And when we do attract we attract the very best.

Saha and Ryan Nelsen are nothing more than replacements for back-ups. They are not there to strengthen the first team but rather make sure we have cover if cover is called upon. Saha is on a short term contract. He can hold the ball up, protect it and fit into the style of football we play presumably as an impact sub at best. Nelsen is a curious one. Free-agent, nothing more than an experienced footballer that fits into the role Bassong had on the sidelines. Samba might have been the first choice target but if Blackburn wish to hold onto their player and price him out of a move, well, we of all clubs can’t complain about that stance. Also Caulker will be with us next season. We can’t over spend for the sake of the short term. One thing of note here worth mentioning. All this ridicules the signing of Khumalo.

I know. Its underwhelming because the window distorts expectancy and everyone feels disappointed when a big signing isn’t made. Again, I’m going to refer back to consolidation. We haven’t achieved this. It’s the way it’s played out. The players will need to dig deep and we’ll have to cope with injuries. I felt underwhelmed during the summer and the start of the season, but this run and our form has proven that faith in both manager and chairman has to be respected. Benefit of the doubt. I can’t spend time wasting it on complaining when the team need me to support them. Regrets, they only come into play after the fact if we’ve failed. Something I do not wish to entertain.

Simply put. If we claim Champions League, then this summer there will be no margin for error or indecisiveness. We’ll need top drawer, dare I say, world class signings. Not for consolidation but for stepping up to the next level and to be able to retain the new founded stature.

Until then, the window is shut. No draft, and the temperature is about to rise.

We are Tottenham. We're third, five points off the top of the table. Believe.

Daring is achieving. Love the shirt.



Things I wanted to see (did they happen?)

A look back at the Norwich away match preview. I hoped for many things.


Three points. Absolutely no room for complacency and excuses. Look at the table. A win (and another against Swansea) going into the WBA home game sets up January to be the pivotal month of the season before the hard slog kicks in. Psychologically, this is big. Not Godzilla big. Dinosaur big. We simply cannot freeze, extinction is out of the question. Resilience please.

We won. 2-0. Resilience? Sure, yeah, why not. But you might have struggled to spot it what with all the oozing class getting right up in your face. My word.


Ruthlessly clinical up front. None of this Andy Cole ‘its takes five chances to score one’ teaser football. Either pass the ball into the back of the net or smash it in. There’s no room left for pretenders now, only contenders. Otherwise, we'll left anchored, cannonball away from sinking.


Okay, so hardly ruthless in the first half. But there was something ominous about the possession % stats through-out the game. We'd make it count, you believed that when watching. Nice feeling not to be biting the nails and swearing. Second half, we did just that (made it count - no biting or bad language). Finding that next level might will be the difference between winning 2-0 and winning 5-0 in future. If greed is your vice. Or if you simply prefer to have stronger goal difference.

Luka Modric. In the middle.


What a middle it was. If Modric was a waist he'd be Kate Upton's waist. I'm going to be biased here. Best midfielder in the country. Absolutely essential to the way we play and completely irreplaceable so the Daily Mail and friends...jog on. The irony of how things have turned out has not been lost on me. Although cue 'Luka to Utd' rumours doing the rounds in the next few weeks regardless of what Luka (via agent) tells us in the Croatian press. If you prefer to stay clear of all the ITK...just Google Kate Upton. Should keep you busy for a month.

Unequivocal focus and professionalism. We have stunning quality. On paper we should be trouncing the likes of Norwich. Paper won’t fly unless you make an aeroplane out of it. So fly Tottenham, fly. The last thing I want is an origami canary, smug smile, staring at my despairing face.


No nervous moments and dodgy displays. Spurs turned up, turned it on and turned away with all three points in back pocket. It's something we should sit back and lap up. We don't half win games these days. Our away form might be the difference between 4th and 3rd as long as we continue to retain the consistency at the Lane.

Rafa van der Vaart to be effective for at least 80 minutes. What? It's still sort of Christmas, so let me wish for a miracle.


Quality display. Such is the man's vision and ability he seems wasted when stuck out on the flank (not that he ever seems to stay there). Worked for the team as part of the 'forward three' against Norwich with effect. Perhaps he slept on the sofa rather than his wife leading up to this game. No apparent hamstring concerns. When he plays with such freedom, you can see why we are better suited to having him rather than a more out and out striker. Although against more stern opposition, he might need to work twice as hard. But then, that's a given.

Defending. Good old fashion defending without any lapses of concentration. Strength down the spin and at the heart of the back line. Unity. No Ledley today doesn’t mean we have to revert to displays with odd moments of calamity – i.e. losing spatial awareness. We're not kids, we're men. So get a grip and smack down any bullish behaviour from the hosts.


Thought pre-match Norwich might bully our centre-backs, but don't remember too many heart in mouth moments. No Ledley, but almost felt like he was playing as we appeared assured at the back. Swansea might be a little more tricky coming forward in the next game.

Benny's afro. Just because.


Braided has the better statistical record. BAE got a little rest with Rose replacing him. Still think he looks a touch jaded compared to the standard he generally plays at.

Width. Work the flank. Even if it means Bale swapping sides and having Sandro covering and full backs holding back to protect when he’s rampant in forward positions. Pace will destroy Norwich. Patience and possession the probable fuel to make it happen in pockets of play.


Not just with the width, Bale was devastating through the middle. We've heard so much in the past about how Gareth has been worked out and his league form has never matched his CL form, but the kid is developing and progressing with freighting pace (literally). The right wing experiement which then led to swapping flanks with Lennon (in prior games) has now shifted from left to right to the middle. Bale coming at you from all angles...scary stuff. He's scoring more goals and is making the type of impact we know he's capable of. We'll see how other sides manage to cope with him when he's allowed to free roam.

That bloody stupid dance.

We got a dance with added shouty stuff and the traditional heart celebration for good measure. I refuse to complain based on the more important thing that happens moments before said celebration(s).


Match report here.




Norwich 0 Spurs 2

Sensational dominance away from home. Okay, so it was only the Canaries but the manner in which we styled our attacking intentions deserves applause. It was an emphatic display of confident football. The only negative? We scored (just) the two goals. If you want to nit-pick further, Friedel was uncertain on occasions when reaching for the ball and we lacked composure at times with the final pass/shot in the final third. Which is probably why it was only the two goals scored. But it’s Christmas and its best to retain a festive spirit.

First half, Norwich got the ball forward, but hardly threatened. We looked more than comfortable with Parker and Modric dictating the games tempo and Walker having plenty of the ball on the right-hand side, offensively and otherwise. The football, our brand of football was superb. Up until the point where you’re meant to stick it in the net. Cutting edge not evident, but then we’ve had a habit of creating a dozen chances before slotting one home in a few games this season.

An argument you’ll keep on hearing put forward is that surely against the likes of Norwich (no offence to them) we should start with two forwards. Not convinced that a more basic formational structure will make much of a difference when we have Pavlyuchenko as the only available option to partner Adebayor – because asking van der Vaart to play further forward is unlikely to be successful (it’s not in his nature to remain locked into a position without the license to drop deep and free role).

With Sandro also in the mix both Rafa and Bale were apparently told to free roam to their hearts content. Enough to give tacticians heart palpitations, but this is what Harry does so well. Give a player the freedom to express themselves knowing that the midfielders with more disciplined responsibilities can take care of defensive duties. You could hardly scoff at the movement of the front three as a result. Pulsating to watch, just a little untidy with the execution.

Defensively all good too. We still look vulnerable from set pieces and we still lack imagination and drilled in training offensive set-pieces (perhaps Harry is telling the players to just kick the ball and see what happens). I’d go as far as suggesting that if we were savvy from dead balls we’d score one or two every few games which would obviously bolster that winning margin. Think we’re quite wasteful at the moment where that’s concerned.

Second half we made the possession and our quality count. The opener was just a brilliant goal. Rafa’s pass to Adebayor (back to goal) who danced with the ball at his feet, mesmerising the collection of defenders watching as he protected the ball and then having the coolness and awareness to play it into Bale who shot under John Ruddy in goal.


The second was a showcase of brutal power and pace. Bale asking for the ball in central midfield then bursting forward through the middle all the way to the opposition’s pen area before complementing the savage speed with a cute controlled chip over Ruddy for his brace.


It was akin to Spurs slapping Norwich down with two outstanding moments of ruthlessness, a reminder also to themselves that there is no hype in belief.

This was a very decent away performance – one that outlines again that we’re a proper fully fledged side rather than another ill devised pretender. It’s not just about this one game, it’s the momentum built across this season. The reaction to the defeat at Stoke. We have far greater challenges in terms of the fixture list in the near future. Challenges that will also test the mental strength of the side and perhaps the depth of the squad which will no doubt once more take up hours of coverage on Sky Sports News in January.

Defence was solid. Walker a stand-out and Kaboul very comfortable and dominant. The midfield a powerhouse. Rafa at times sublime with his movement and his range of passing. Parker, perhaps disguised a little in terms of performance level, as you tend to focus on the more flamboyant – but he remains imperative as the heart of the side with Luka providing the beat. Re-watch the game and concentrate on his (Luka) work ethic and touch and the manner in which he seems to be involved in everything.

Sandro is getting game time and with Lennon out I would not complain to see him keep up appearances. Intelligent, completley focused yet beastly, you half expect him to disappear mid-match and travel back in time to kill Sarah Connor. Then there’s Bale, the free-roaming version. Two fantastic goals and most definitely turning it up a notch – which is what we need all our players to do. Adebayor also proving that footwork is as vital as clinical finishing, what with it being a team game.

Our midfield has been magnificent this season. I love the fact you can look at the Spurs side and just think "that aint too shabby at all".

You can tell this is a unit of players, one that loves playing football with such exuberance. Loved that eleven pass move with Bale almost giving it the finish it deserved. We have organically grown into this team over the past few seasons. I can remember so many times in the past twenty years where we would shift from one transition to another knowing the foundations had to be rebuilt.

Let's not kid ourselves, there's a lot of pressure on this team. They don't appear to be showing any strains. Long may that continue.

Wonderful Xmas then. All the other results seemed to go in our favour which is always a bonus. Swansea next then we stay home for three home games (including that game in hand) before travelling up to City. January – it’s season defining.

Title contenders? I'd rather us focus on continuing to be the best footballing side in the country. If we pick up a CL spot and a cup along the way, I'll make sure to smile in approval.


Love the shirt.



Just a few thoughts from the Spurs/Chelsea game (following up from the match review here).



Beast. The more game time he gets the better. Has adjusted to the Prem's tempo and will improve (for us, with us) over the next season or two as he continues to tally up on appearances. He sees the ball, does not care for much else when looking to reclaim it. He'll protect it and win it and brush off whatever player had it momentarily before him. But he's not just a brick wall. He can play too. An absolute superstar in the making. Okay, so he's naive and makes mistakes and lacks composure at times. His passing needs to improve, but then that's a given considering his age. Has everything and more to surpass Parker and claim the role of defensive king-pin. In time. Sandro is The Future.


Hungry. I rate him. Can't be alone in thinking that. Things would be different if Torres was worth his weight in gold. Would be more so different if City didn't feel the need to splash out several tens of millions of pounds on marquee names.

John Terry

His footballing credentials were never in doubt. So can idiots in the media please stop using sound bites alluding to 'hero' and 'proving a point'. There is something surreal seeing him being applauded by the away support almost in defiance of the accusations made against him. Surreal that is until you remember its Chelsea fans applauding him. Then it all makes perfect sense.




It's like Giacomo Casanova not bothering to go out on the pull and sitting indoors browsing porn because he knows he could pull he just can't be bothered with all the chit chat he has to do when seducing.

Gareth Bale

We don't tend to accept diving or play acting at the Lane. I've cringed at the antics of Zokora in seasons gone by. It's not becoming of us. Bale has a habit of staying down when fouled. I've at times allowed this to not irk me mainly as a means for the kid to protect himself. Why not make certain all is okay before jumping back up? Hardly the ethos of a Dave Mackay, but these modern footballers...they're a delicate bunch. However, adjusting body mid-air to allow for an extra bounce or twist when kicked - unacceptable. This is not La Liga. Equally so, we're not Chelsea. Let them retain the dramatics and time wasting. Keep the moves for the goal celebrations.


In the middle. Play three at the back with wing-backs if necessary in a five man midfield - just retain Luka in the middle. Once upon a time he dinked in from the left with much acclaim but he's masterful in a central role. The side has to be built around him (from one game to the next). Seems like we hand the opposition an advantage when he's pushed wide because we're unable to sustain a cohesive pattern to our play. Easier said than done I'm sure, what with our reliance on pace down the wings to compliment the Croatian's deep play making.



Want it

Writing a match preview can be a tricky most of the time because you simply look to share an opinion on team selection and tactics and then dress it all up with statistics about recent form in the league and history against the opposition then wrap it up with a concluding expectancy of how the game will (hopefully) pan out. I prefer to delve into the analysis mostly in the match review post-result and stick to a battle cry in the lead up to it. Today is no different.

We are currently uncertain of the staring first eleven that will take to the pitch against Chelsea.

No Lennon, Defoe, King, Bale, Adebayor = bare bones, backs to wall, mission improbable. Any team would struggle if you remove that many key players.

Lennon is a non-starter for certain. Defoe, rumoured to be missing too. Then we have the usual kidology and ambiguity concerning King, Bale and Adebayor. We all know it takes several days for Ledley’s knee to return to normal (as normal gets) but can’t imagine us playing him against Sunderland and thus risking him for tonight’s game. Adebayor will also play. Mainly because I refuse to believe the footballing Gods would be so cruel as to unbalance what should be a good solid tight game by depleting us and handing over advantage before the whistle is blown. As for Bale. It’s just a hunch, but I think he’ll start too.

If I’m wrong on Gareth, then the second half against Sunderland is the reminder we need to look back on as to avoid playing so narrow and allow both Luka and Rafa to drift into central positions to be effective. We need to be astute tactically with covering space left open by such marauding and push from full backs to wings. Goes without say that the industry we have to display in the middle of the park, in the war zone, has to be relentless. Parker hasn’t been completely on top form recently but then his level of performance was bound to dip ever so slightly. Sandro might have a role to play.

I wouldn’t scoff at a more traditional 442, knowing full well that this will mean van der Vaart playing alongside Adebayor which means he’ll play behind him, which then means he’ll drop deep and wander meaning it will turn back to a 4411. Discipline is what will take precedence, or at least it’s what should take precedence. Discipline and focus. We need to get at them and retain concentration at the back (Sturridge for me is key to them having any success in advanced positions).

Fact is simply this. We can’t play our trademark game if we don’t have the pace down the flanks. So we have to adapt and do so with minimal sacrifice in terms of style and more importantly ambition. We have to look to win this game. Go for their jugular.

It’s vital we get it right through the middle and overlap to mix it up a little. Width is how we damage, how we counter. If Bale plays, we retain some of that style. If he doesn’t, we have to up the work ethic and aim for fluidity as a unit (players playing for each other).

Chelsea, unbelievably, are probably the ones tagged with the underdog label. Plucky and resourceful, they’ve pulled a few results out of the bag when one or two were expecting more implosions. They still slip up (as seen at Wigan). But they have more than enough quality to hurt anyone. This being the game that it is – a derby and one that comes with a possible festive divide within the top four, there is no way of ignoring that it’s going to be defined with more than just team selection and formations.

This game is worth several points in the mental strength stakes. The three points are what matter but equally so does the statement made when acquiring them.

All eyes on Terry (if he starts). He doesn't mind this ilk of game, he tends to thrive on it such is his self-importance and arrogance. All eyes on Luka too. A chance to dictate tempo and control the game, a gentle nod towards the opposition. You can look but you can't touch. I'll only consider the irony of a Spurs win post-game and what opinion his agent might have of it.

Our record against them lot at the Lane remains impressive in recent years. Our home support is more than capable of being the 12th man (as long as Howard Webb doesn’t take that mantle at any given moment in the game).

That buzz you’re feeling, tingling in your bones. It’s the type of buzz I want to be feeling week in week out from now until the end of the season. Points ratio suggests we’ll be in amongst it and if we keep up our strong home record then we’re going to be anchored to the very top tier. This game gives us another opportunity to show that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Upright blue ones included.

Guile, tenacity and decisive quality please Tottenham. This won’t be easy. Sing your hearts out. As ever, aim high.

Love the shirt.


What does Scott Parker do exactly?

Spurs 3 QPR 1

There was talk pre-match that newly promoted QPR could be a potential headache what with past experience that has involved a no-show in such occasions and thus allowed frustration to plunge us into the abyss of disappointment.

I was hoping for something emphatic and convincing. In the first half that’s exactly what we got. Go on then, I’ll use my two favourite words in the English language; Swagger and swashbuckle. It was joyful to watch the passing and movement. Wide or narrow. Interchanging of wingers. A hard working forward that took up the right positions and held the ball up to allow others to attack the penalty area. A midfield that included an absolute peach of a box to box performance and another that illustrated the majesty of a winners mentality. The only downside at half time was that the game wasn’t being transferred to Blu-ray for the club shop to make available the next day. 2-0, should have been 4-0 or more.

This being Tottenham, the players failed to continue in the same vain (perhaps a little credit for QPR here) and the visitors had us under pressure resulting in a poorly defended goal. I say poorly because leading up to it we could have been far stronger as a defensive unit to clear it and push out. They hardly cut us open with slick football. It was untidy stuff.

But our reaction was not to capitulate. Why should we? We have the capacity these days to recover rather than switch off completely. We did react. Scored a third, could still have had more. Apart another moment of madness in injury time, overall, the performance was solid. Bread and butter games, the ones we lost/dropped points in last season are the very ones that cost us in the end.

So far so good this season. I know, I know...the smiling, the constant can hurt a little. But it's acceptable pain.

What we got in this game that is worth highlighting are examples of the character traits this team has when it simmers along at boiling point. There is no doubt we could still look to retain ambition in the transfer market and sign competition for the flanks. Talk about a more long term replacement (for the irreplaceable) Ledley King another talking point. But in terms of our form since the two Manchester defeats and our Goslingesque penetration when attacking the opposition on Sunday, we in fact do possess that much maligned balance. Be it one that still requires a little fine tuning.

Having a forward like Adebayor equates to a work ethic that will compliment the attacking midfielder that roams a few steps behind him, and vice versa. Ade spears the attack, the team work the ball into the box be it via the flanks, cutting in or through the middle. Options are interchangeable. Ade might not quite have that final touch in front of goal at this moment in time but you can’t fault him for much else. It’s impossible to do so because the unit works as a unit (rather than being dependent on one player). If he doesn't score. Someone else will.

van der Vaart is irrepressible, celebrating any goal scored like it’s against Arsenal. A midfielder with the instincts of a striker. Positioning and finishing a cut above. On paper he might as well be noted as the ‘1’ behind the ‘1’ in a 4411 formation but he’s more than a number. He’s a free man! A deep lying forward, call him what you want but labels aside – it works. It just works. He loves playing, he loves scoring and he loves winning. Wasn’t that long ago that we had to rely on lesser footballers to heighten expectancy and make consistency a reality. Heart broken so many times. He's not just about the goals either. Applause for his passing and intent.

Lennon is still searching for consistency, with confidence remaining the key. The two assists will have done him good, even if many appear to be split on how much impact he had in the game. He did look isolated at times.

Was that because he didn’t drop deeper to make himself available? Was distribution out to his flank not that great? Was his positioning the reason distribution was not forthcoming? Why does he not attempt to knock the ball forward past the defender and fizz past them? Has he lost the pace to his game? Is he simply not as effective because of the attacking qualities of Walker? Therefore, do we need to look for a different ilk of player for the right or do we keep the faith?

Questions that won’t be answered for a few more games. Competition required for that wing will tell us if this particular conundrum has to do with attitude or not. Fact remains, when it mattered, he produced it. Nice work to set Bale up for the first. The second goal was ridiculously good. From the tippy-tappy footwork and close touch passing to the utterly sublime caress with power the ball travelled with when beating their keeper in goal. Goal of the month right there.

It’s also worth citing that Azza defended quite well. His awareness of when to drop deeper to cover a marauding Kaboul, for example should not be ignored. But then he's always been quite good at tracking back. Equally so the fact that his partnership down that wing with Walker is still fledgling. We still need him at his best (think of the counter attack and Lennon racing towards goal dinking right and left making the opposition defenders dizzy). We need that back.

In midfield, Luka again worked his socks off but by the standards he has set himself many expect a more obvious creative outlet rather than recycling possession (which is also vital to the mechanics of the team). But if you re-watch the first half and just make sure your eyes are constantly focused on him, you’ll see his worth to the side. Link up play and involvement in forward positions more than evident. Had he perhaps wrapped his foot around the ball rather than toe-poke it that would have been all the ‘in your face’ creative outlet required. Does look like he’ll get on the end of a few this season. Seems to drive into the pen area a lot more these days.

Bale was on form, not at full destroyer pelt by any means but he scored and got himself into positions to add more. Unlucky on two occasions not to do so. Again the opposition wasn't the best but this is all about confidence (when isn't it?) and he looked comfortable on and off the ball and flank-swapping. A busy Bale performance, one that he needs to carry into the next game and the one after that to recapture more of that lost spark.

King was in his throne as per usual. Kaboul wore the jesters hat when in possession at times. Perhaps with a more tentative approach he can still be the long term solution when Ledley abdicates his crown. Walker and BAE impressive (the latter more so). Kyle made to work by SWP once or twice. Benny and the free-kick was a personal favourite moment. He'll score one of them some day (if Rafa ever lets him get near a dead ball again).

As for Parker (saving the best for last), excuse me for a moment whilst I finish off my lightly salted hat with side salad and a glass of smooth and youthful Catena Alta Malbec.

I didn't quite rate Scott or think he was the player we needed at Spurs. On reflection, I must have allowed myself to be corrupted with contempt based on the players former rejections to join Spurs. That and the fact he was surrounded by abject woefulness at West Ham that even Chirpy with ball at feet would look good in their midfield. He always struck me as a player with an engine but nothing spectacular or special. Under-used at Chelsea. Can’t say I took much notice when he was at Newcastle. But at Spurs? Harry 1 Doubters 0.

He might well be a short term solution in that the boy Sandro will be a beast of a player and is the future but it sets the standard of performance level required in the middle of the park from a player that has the sole duty of allowing our more creative stars to shine. Parker is something we’ve been missing for an age. Dynamic, box to box and always involved. Jenas, bless him, had the lungs but not the direction or implementation to own the responsibility he was given and graft non-stop with such comfort and confidence.

Parker is not a leader of men in the same finger to lips shut your mouth type of way van der Vaart possess. Parkers influence is to win back possession and push us forward with players around him having to be alert to match his intensity with or without the ball so that we work efficiently and effectively as a defence into attack unit. He’s a constant irritation to the opposition. Be it one of physical elegance (even if he does look akward in movement, that hair style still wins me over every time).

Technically, in terms of getting stuck in with the tackle, he’s very very good. Much like Sandro is when he cameos. The difference is Parker is at his peak and is therefore the perfect role model for our Brazilian to fully appreciate the expectations Premier League football asks for a midfielder who has to defend, win the ball back and get drive towards goal.

Dave Mackay was the comparison made. Easy there fella.

Obviously Harry had to squeeze in a mention that he was after Parker all summer long (we get it mate, you rated him before we did). The Mackay comment was score-pointing for the masses, but I can guess at what he was attempting to convey with it.

Mackay was instrumental in so many ways for Spurs in both the tackle and creatively. Work ethic and ability legendary as was his leadership qualities. Broken legs, Bremner by the scruff of the neck, doubles and titles. He was a born winner, a born leader. Not just at Spurs either. The comparison is probably one aimed at how important and effective both player were/are to Tottenham’s midfield. There is no comparison really, Mackay is Top 2 material re: best Spurs player(s) ever. He was far more skilful too (dust off your old VHS copy of Terry Venables presenting a best ever Spurs eleven – there’s a wonderful story about Mackay in training that illustrates his genius) and his presence on the pitch more assertive.

They’re not alike at all if we’re honest about it, but if you take the game and the performance level that Scott produced you can appreciate Harry citing Mackay. Both players work(ed) their socks off for the good of the team. Both made impact. Both essential.

Parker was tremendous, but then he’s been so since he made his début. He functions to facilitate players that do have better ability when attacking. Where the ball goes in midfield, Scott goes and Scott only has eyes for the ball and said ball being at feet of a Lilywhite player and Scott does everything he can possibly do to make sure that's what happens.

What does Scott Parker do exactly? Everything we need him to do without complaint. What does Harry Redknapp do exactly? Quite a bit of you ignore his disassociations and soundbites and not so loveable personality. Box all that up, don't watch Sky Sports or listen to Talksport and you might just find yourself giving him a knowing nod of approval. Subtle nod though, let's not go overboard with it.

You want to talk about balance, look at the spine of the side. No need for a tap. We’ve left behind the taste of defeat inflicted on us by Manchester and we haven’t looked back since. We still await a more dominant display that sees no goal conceded and one or two more scored in our favour. Moon on a stick football is fine and dandy if you can get it at a premium but I’ll happily take the odd heart in mouth moment.

You simply feel far more alive when you get a slap in the face from reality but then dust off to knock it the f*** out.



Rafa refuses to dance to Samba beat

Rovers 1 Tottenham 2

I keep waiting for us to explode into rampant action with devastating consequences. The sort of performance that has our players swinging from the chandeliers holding bottles of champagne whilst the opposition sit in the corner, shaking, slowly moving backward and forwards foaming at mouth whispering to themselves...make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

In my pre-match comments I eluded to the fact we are rather good. At least we should be rather good when up against a side like Blackburn that are struggling. We were good in patches and had enough quality to see the game through. Our luck will run out at some point if we don't resolve the centre-back injury crisis (by resolve, I guess all we can do is muddle through) and other key players don't re-discover their mojo. What is most definitely good is the fact that we continue to be capable of playing average football away from home and still come away with all the points. Luck or basic survival instincts, either way, we're 5th and our excellent run since the Manc spankings continues.

Due to the manner of the victory and the once more fragmented tempo to our game its tricky to delve too deep into whether we have learnt anything new from this performance. Have we? Go on then, you pushed me into it. Although I still don't think we've learnt anything new. Just echos of old. Taking observations made solely on Blackburn away I'd probably go with:

van der Vaart. Four opening goals in four games. Love him. The finish for the first goal was classy stuff and his second equally majestic and impossible to stop. You might sit there and debate what else he does on the pitch and how his wandering is detrimental to the side and whatever, shut your mouth and just look at the facts. He's a born winner and no matter the opposition he gets the job done. After years of complaining that we lacked true fighters, men who know how to win and have the desire to, now we finally have such a player we should just sit back light up a Cuban and enjoy. Top drawer. It's just dandy to have a player that can sometimes not play out of his skin and still score a brace and win us the three points.

Was it just me or did Friedel look a little unconvincing at times? Even so, if this was an off day for the big man, then I'm happy. Didn't cost us but could have. But didn't. Just seemed to notice a lot more in this game that he does love to stay on his line more often than not, which means the onus is on the centre-backs to attack the ball. Have a word Harry please. With the physios. Bassong struggled here (high balls) because that's a weakness to his game. Still, some very decent saves from Brad when called upon.

The problem with not having King available is that we don't have King in the side and can therefore spend large portions of the game looking like we've got the Queen playing at the heart of our defence with a corgi by her side. Was no surprise that Rovers pressured us with high balls and physicality. Samba was a handful. A brute (and given the freedom of the pen area) which led to their equaliser. We don't look convincing at the back but then what team would if they had three seasoned centre-backs 'watching' from the sidelines? Samba does love to make us dance around at the back.

Kaboul was vocal. I like that in a player. But much like Bassong he struggled with the aerial assaults Blackburn bombarded us with. You almost felt like Rovers could have scored more because we slacked way too much. The pressure we were sometimes placed under mostly down to the lack of a telling partnership with Bassong and Kaboul (who seemed to struggle when in possession).

If Sandro is not fully fit, then I look forward to when he is because (as cited pre-match) a midfield with Sandro and Parker in the middle would allow the South American to dominate and boss, cleaning up and chasing down whilst Parker can slot back into his more accustomed role of box to box football. Scott is hardly built like a Brazilian Bane and can be out-fought in the middle of the park. No amount of 1950s hair flicking is going to scare the opposition. It's difficult to lead on the pitch if you're being consumed by a couple of heavy duty responsibilities. He needed more help in the middle. He can handle himself, he can get stuck in but he needs a partner in the thick of it.

Don't be too harsh on Lennon. He needs game time and he needs more of it. Tracked back okay on occasions.

Love Walker. There was me thinking he'd be providing cover for Corluka this season. His effort and determination going forward is an inspiration. If he was a boxer he'd bring it to you, punching relentlessly, always looking for the haymaker. Brilliant run for the opener which deserved the goal.

Adebayor still looks like he's playing with that hamstring worry. Subdued. Did drop deep a lot, fairly frustrated I would imagine. Still, he was involved rather than disinterested. I hope.

Modric looks like he's worked out how to shoot at goal with menace. Decent game, bit more bounce in his play this week but not the best circumstances to dictate.

Bale. His form continues to bubble along at luke warm temperatures. He's a left-winger, pulsating at best when released down the flanks...but something, that edge that spark, it's not quite there. Harry has to take some responsibility here to get Bale back to his best. Man management is fine, but tactically out on the pitch Harry has to perhaps focus on how best we utilise him to get him back up to boiling point. A bit of freedom perhaps? Instructions to cut inside (ala Modric back in the days when he stood out on the left)? He's not exactly been woeful. The standards he has set himself is what magnifies his lack of impact. He'll get back to it, no doubt. I guess Harry has to ask himself, how best to galvanise Bale? At the moment its all very bog standard.

Overall, its time this 'luck', this scraping through a game and surviving to hold on is brushed off and we start to brush off our opponents with more pomp and splendour. Not just Bale that needs galvanising.



Three points. Clean sheet. Mid-table. Come on you Spurs.

Wolves 0 Spurs 2

Okay, so this was hardly vintage. You scratched your head when Bale started on the right then knowingly screamed out at Redknapp when he was swapped back into his traditional left-sided position allowing for more balance and (not so) coincidently a far better second half team performance, which included two solid debuts from new boys Parker and Adebayor.

Seems in the wake of a victory some of us are still not that content about proceedings. I can’t really fathom why anyone would even contemplate complaint and mark down player’s performances. It’s obvious we are in need for rediscovery. The groove and confidence of a side that’s bursting with pomp and perfection is still lost out in the wild, but the search party is not that far off. Got to dig deep to find it rather than waste time looking for it at the end of a rainbow. Hard graft and no misconceptions or fantasy.

Look, put it this way, if this was the opening game of the season and we played like that and won 2-0 at Wolves, we’d all be ‘ooh, we got the job done’. But it wasn’t the first game, it was the third, and the opening two were in some ways devastating (when you look at the score line on paper). They were not anomalies, but rather harsh reminders that our form (went missing back end of last season) is still AWOL. Shovels at the ready. Time to find that treasure otherwise it’s a shallow grave for our own funeral.

The point I’m making (placing aside the messy metaphor) is that both the Manc defeats looked and therefore felt a lot worse than they actually were. United punished us for being limp and City ruined us for being defensively lapse. This isn’t just about a lack of midfield in the opening two games and injuries and the apparent inability to muster up fire in the belly from manager and players alike. It’s obvious we need a reboot and one or two players need to wake up from their slumber. We need focus too but more importantly, we needed to win and claim our first points for the season. Which we did.

Winning 2-0 away at Wolves? Both result AND performance was above the level of basic acceptance. It was warranted and deserved. First half was well below par. The unbalance of Bale on the right-wing (let’s be done with this please) and our general manner in defending and bringing the ball forward – it felt wrong, it lacked a meaningful cohesive pattern.

Perhaps the fact that its new blood in with misfiring players and emergency selections? Sounds like too much of an excuse that.

This meant that players like Modric, Bale and Kranjcar struggled to find fluidity in the middle which is why people are pointing at the likes of Luka and saying the word ‘ineffectual’. Yes, but no. If you’re not set up accordingly, it’s not going to be easy marking the game with your presence. So perhaps there is an excuse hidden behind all the shrugs.

In addition, the wantaway Croatian has plenty of work in front of him and his own personal journey of self-discovery to get a grip of himself and reclaim the type of industry and spark we all know he is more than capable of achieving. It will come in time. He's got no choice.

Defensively, we were sound with Ledley King back in there (you almost forget he’s still knocking around The Lodge). Parker gave us that workman like dimension we have craved for – so even though we spent the best part of an hour struggling for that fluidity, he made sure we ticked in a game that lacked that creative edge. He broke up play and got into forward positions. Bit of get up and go about him, just a subtle hint towards leadership.

When Bale swapped back to left-wing and the game opened up in our favour, we started to own possession. Midfield worked better and from defence to attack to defending, we looked and worked like a unit, rather than the fragmented and frustrating opening 45 mins we endured.

Adebayor proving what a quality forward can bring to a side. Although I refuse to believe the Bale flank swap was tactical astuteness (it was a mistake put right) I do think we won because we simply had more quality and the longer the game went on the more evident this was. Wolves had very little to offer in return. So again, I can't be dishing out pats on back for astute tactical stuff. We'll need the clever stuff against better opposition (and redeem the mistakes of the first two games played).

Ade gave us that missing cutting edge. He’s robust, strong and can work the turf intelligently. Cool calm finish for the 1-0. Defoe equally clinical for the second. Props to Niko, even if he isn’t too comfortable in the side (positionally not always prominent) he stuck in a good shift and assisted for a goal. Parker had a superb debut. Also assisted, worth ethic etc etc. An on-form Parker with an on-form on-it Modric – that would be something to see. Although equally, so would Sandro + Modric. We’ll be spoilt for choice once our wounded ‘nine’ are back.

Big Bad Ade teamed up well with all concerned, giving players options and galvanising JD (I did predict this). He looks the player we needed to sign. I'm sure he'll be elevated against the scum when we play them. Nothing to prove he says, but I'm guessing he might have a slide or two in store.

Bale has to get his head down and just do the simple things again. We keep saying this, we keep waiting for it. Gaffer - earn your wage.

Was impressed by King, not because he played particularly brilliant. He was more than decent, but any player that starts in Lilywhite that has not trained, got one knee and yet still command a presence of  supreme authority and inspiration – credit to him. Players around him, other defenders, they seem to anchor into Ledley and not lose their head as they would commonly do when he's not in the team. We do need to grow up a little here as we can’t rely on the great man to always play. We don’t know how long left we have him for. At some point, the club and the player will need to make a decision. For the good of both the club and the player.

Also, applause for Freidel and his saves. Looks like I got my pre-season prediction here wrong. Saw Brad walking out of my local Tescos on Sunday. Nice tracksuit. Gomes appears to have disappeared. More soundbiting from Redknapp today about the player not being happy/potentially moving. Shame.

Next two games in the league (at home), Liverpool then Arsenal – these will be defining (as early as this season still is). If we win both, watch how the media’s perception will change. Witness the growth in belief and desire from our fragile-minded players morphing back into monsters. And see the positive knee-jerk from fans online and in the stands.

This is Tottenham. Nothing ever changes. But for now...

Three games. Three points.




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Love the shirt.


Tottenham's Got Talent and the Daniel Levy connection

For reasons which will become obvious, I can't reveal my full identity.  But let me just say that, I am involved with Tottenham Hotspur and have many years experience within the football industry, at clubs and for sporting agencies.   My work involves close liaison with Daniel Levy’s ENIC (that’s the English National Investment Company) and, as a result, I have seen what goes on from the inside and this has left me increasingly uncomfortable about the integrity of Tottenham and particularly the workings of their chairman.

It's long been known that there is quite a degree of "wheeling and dealing" at White Hart Lane (You Tube )  But press reports on "wheeling and dealing" are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to  ENIC’s manipulation of, not only potential transfer targets and the fans expectations, but also the media and hopefully, in this email, I can shine some light on the smoke and mirrors trickery of Levy.

Take the last transfer window as an example. Shambolic you’d think? No. It was expertly planned right down to the finest detail, nothing was opportunistic or desperate, everything was staged. Spurs purposely waited until the last hour to bid for Charlie Adam because they knew it would fail but at least the endeavour would gain press coverage, allowing Redknapp to perpetuate a ‘hard nights work’.

In the previous one, they were always going to sign van der Vaart. The player did not become available last second. Levy know a forward would propel Spurs into the top four, so avoided this and signed a midfielder which would generate excitement but also limit the team and confuse tactics.

It's no big secret amongst the fans that Spurs have been looking for a centre forward who could crack the top four push again, particularly in and around the penalty box.  At least that’s the illusion Levy has created to appease the hungry Tottenham faithful. The reality is, there were no true targets, just frivolous bidding and political statements where everyone pretended Spurs were busy trailblazing across La Liga bidding for anyone with two legs and an eye for goal when in reality Spanish club presidents gained kudos for rejecting bids for their star players. It was all pre-planned and agreed. A gentleman’s agreement.

So far in the history of Levy and Harry Redknapp, no one has ever signed who has not been a "buy then sell at profit" signing, and it does sadden me that, all those thousands of linked players, lining up via message board ITK threads, often behind a members only error message, are basically wasting their time. 

The directors at Spurs are not looking for the talented players, they already have those. The reality is that the producers are hunting out oddities, freaks and, I'm ashamed to say, mentally ill people, to act as amusing fillers on News Now. They are nothing more than made up transfer targets and they don't even qualify for medicals and work permits! 

It's quite disgusting and shameful really, how the board and Levy operate.  People come from all over the country, often at great personal expense, standing outside the Lodge waiting to see a major signing because they think Tottenham is a talented team missing one or two key signings that would stand them a chance of realising their dreams. 

I can tell you from the inside that Spurs is no more a "contender", than I am an astronaut.  Nothing is left to chance at Spurs, everything is micro-managed, choreographed, manipulated and planned down to the last detail including, the chaotic deadline day transfer madness and average obvious signings that can sometimes prove disruptive or warrant scratching of the head. Recent South African signings for example are simply there to aid the clubs promotion and awareness in Africa.

The ability to manipulate Sky Sports News opinion is vital if you are to control fees and indeed get the required transfer value for a player and an agreeable donation to the Tottenham Foundation. Levy sees this as essential to the success of the club and are very open about fact; signing and selling players of quality is impossible for an investment company if it purely looks to retain them and not sell them on for profit the moment their value doubles. if it was purely left to the fans, as Harry recently said  "They’re idiots".  Everything at Spurs is geared towards telling you who you we should be signing with misinformation and planted sound-bites with the media and sports writers, particularly via Harry Redknapp who acts as the protagonist for the chess game Levy is playing.  It's an art really, which they have honed to perfection and Spurs are now world leaders at.

The micro-management of Dimitar Berbatov’s transfer was incredible.  I was really quite shocked at how the club let him go up to talk to City when he was always going to be picked up at the airport by Utd.  From a starting point of wanting Berba sold, Levy had totally screwed Fergie in the process to the tune of £30M. But it looked like it was Utd and Berba controlling the destiny of the Bulgarian. Levy looks like he put up a gallant fight and looks better for it when he lets us know the money the club have received for the player. But what did we get in return? Frazier Campbell. Levy hardly interested in plugging the hole that was left. Money earned, job done.

In the present, as a footballer on the flanks, Gareth Bale has a relatively short shelf-life.   Levy knew he was going to have to hit the ground running to maximise Bale’s transfer potential, particularly if they go ahead with a planned sale to La Liga or Italy.

If you think Bale was bad during that run of games when Spurs failed to win with him in the side, you haven't got a clue.  With an "anything goes" attitude all morals have long since gone out of the window.  There  was no allowance for Bale’s age and he was expected to perform before he got injured which he did, rising hopes for his return. When he did, they then strategically played him in games that Spurs would possibly fail to win in order to generate negative hype around the player being jinxed, building up a body of disgruntlement. Then they pretended to offer him out on loan to other clubs, waiting patiently for BAE to get injured and then start Bale, first at left-back then left-wing. They always knew he would be a star, and this way it was rags to riches with an impact that has left the Welshman with a £30M+ valuation. The story its self, worth its weight in gold.

And if he gets exhausted, there's always some other youthful player in the Championship to pluck from a team right under their nose. I've seen it a million times.

Of course, once Bale’s pace goes, it's game-over and he will be commercially redundant for a few years until he re-signs for Spurs as a player in his mid-30s.  By the time he gets through that, the world will have moved on and his  fan-base will have moved onto the next big thing.  Will he make a successful comeback?  In my experience I'd say probably not. Because before Bale’s pace goes, he’ll have been sold to Man Utd or City. His return to Spurs will be nothing more than a sham, a player on his last legs earning a few more dollars.

I've also met Luka Modric privately a few times over the past couple of years.  He's a really nice bloke with a generous, warm personality and the most wonderfully cute, girlie-giggle.  There's nothing to not like about Luka.  He's a really sensitive soul and this comes across as him being a bit effeminate.  But in a world of thuggish chavs, Luka’s a real breath of fresh air really and a real delight to chat to.  Do I think Luka is gay?  No, is the short answer to that. Levy and Redknapp have got a lot to answer for in their initial styling and image for Luka

Like many Spurs midfielders,  Luka may have issues in coming to terms with sometimes having to play alongside Jermaine Jenas but in a year or so he’ll also be sold to Man Utd.  But right now, he's just a great midfielder...a bit different, I admit with the hair and the dainty baby elf type frame ...but a great lad just the same.

I hope Luka and Bale are not damaged by Redknapp’s tactical and formational shuffles geared to keep Spurs from a permanent spot in the top four, fortunately, history warns otherwise...but whatever, the genie is already out of the bottle and come this summer or next, their lives will change  forever.  Whether it's a good or bad experience being a superb player at Spurs in this day and age, only time will tell.  But as an football insider I have serious reservations about what is  about to happen at White Hart Lane and I doubt the home fans are ready for what's coming.

Thanks to my friends on Twitter and Facebook for getting this email out.  Without you my voice would be silent.

** If you want to help expose the lie which is Tottenham Hotspur FC and ENIC, please feel free to republish this article or post a link to it**





Spurs are not willing to sell Modric AND Bale

Tottenham will not be entertaining any bids for their key players this summer, news that will disappoint the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea along with dozens of journalists and sports writers across the country.

Luka Modric and Gareth Bale - both on long term contracts will remain at White Hart Lane as the North London club look to reignite their push for a Champions League spot next season. understands that chairman Daniel Levy will only sell players considered to be surplus to requirements. The likes of Alan Hutton and Jamie O'Hara, more viable transfer targets for any one looking to spend some cash in N17.

The main focus for the chairman and manager, Henry James 'Harry' Redknapp, is to pin point new recruits with a centre-forward the main goal for the club. Daniel Levy has already reiterated they will not be selling any of their key players and are in a strong position to once more battle for a top four place if they strengthen their squad accordingly.

A source within the walls of White Hart Lane revealed, "I think people are using their hands to count up numbers in the dark rather than a trusted calculator in the light of day. £20M-£25M for a player Spurs paid £16.5M for is laughable considering his form and quality and even more so that Levy would be willing to entertain offers from a Champions League club as though we're sat 10th in the table with no hope of further progression".

The source also stated ' wouldn't sell someone a twenty pound note for a quid'.

Luka Modric himself recently spoke about his desire to stay, "The fans are amazing, the club is amazing. There are Croatians here. I really do enjoy it here. I’m not missing anything. I think this club can achieve a lot of great things. I think we can challenge for the Premier League and the cups".

Welsh wizard Gareth Bale also pledged his loyalty to the Lilywhites in an Interview with Sky Sports News. But there are suggestions from some quarters that perhaps CGI and audio manipulation were used in both instances by Tottenham to hide the reality that both players are desperate for a move away.

Elsewhere, tabloid newspapers will wait another three days before rehashing the same quotes with additional ambiguity and citing Modric and Bale as £18M targets (value will drop with each exclusive) as they continue to unofficially broker a deal for any Champions League side that might be theoretically interested. Along with Juventus.

Potential replacements for Modric will only cost around £8M because it's the right amount of money to spend when replacing a player that is worth anywhere between £30M - £40M in todays inflated market.

In other news, if Manchester United or Chelsea or Manchester City for that matter do not sign Modric or Bale this summer, they most definitely will the following because Tottenham can't possibly finish back in the top four and retain their key players a second successive summer if they return to Europe's elite competition. That is simply not a viable scenario and we shall not speak of it again.