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Entries in gomes (14)


In our defence

End of season review. An attempt at one. I have to be honest with you, I’m struggling a touch at the moment. I’m spending most of my available time online (when not working) musing on Twitter, slagging off the In The Know community simply because I default to this obvious caricature of hate because there is very little else to discuss at the moment.

I could perhaps talk about what’s-his-face and the delightful twitch his face displays when someone on Sky Sports mentions the Chelsea job. Then again, no.

A letter is due to the chairman, but I’ll wait another week or so before I drain blood and dip feather.

As for the ITK community, I’ve already spotted one Spurs fan on a forum make up some s*** about a player only for a supposed well known ITK to then post about it on the forum he frequents, giving the impression he heard about it from a club insider.

Even funnier is the fact that ESPN are obviously connected because they published a news article about Cristian Ceballos (even though they jumped the gun suggesting he had signed) without a single citation in the day(s) before from any of the esteemed ITK’ers. A Barca reject kid on trial at Spurs and none of the countless self-proclaimed messengers had anything to share other than providing updates post-ESPN exclusive.

Yes, yes. I hate it all with a passion and here I am talking about it, unable to turn away. But for the moment, I will.

So this is me skipping onwards with the end of season chit chat.

Before I do I just want to say goodbye and good luck to @drwinston001 who is ‘retiring’ from blogging and handing over his site ( to a couple of other top lads to continue its coverage of all things Spurs. His final article covered off an assessment of our squad, which is well worth a read. If you’re wondering, a baby is on it's way. Good luck Tom, look forward to your guest-blogging over at thfc1882 in the not so distant future.

So, player reviews up first. The defence.

To follow: Prem / The Cups / The Progression of Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham / Summertime High Jinxs.



From shot stopping genius to calamity clown. If Gomes was a centre forward he’d be of the ilk not too dissimilar to the ones we have at the moment. Very good when there is no time to think. Remember Robbie Keane during his better spells at the club? Stick Robbie in a one on one situation and his brain farts and the ball either goes wide or straight at the keeper. Gomes, when he has a similar pocket of time for his grey matter to rub up against each other, can only ever result with a haemorrhage of haplessness.  

He completely losses the ability to control his physicality, body going one direction with mind left behind between the woodwork, whilst we all witness the implosion in slow-mo.

What is Gomes? Is he a good keeper prone to mistakes and lapses of concentration? Or is he an average keeper, one that is always prone to errors, but masks the negatives with moments of unparalleled reflexes and super-saves? It’s a fallacy to suggest all keepers are loopy. By virtue of the fact they are the only ones wearing gloves to handle the ball with hands during the game, their mistakes will always stand-out more. Conceding a goal thanks to an avoidable mistake can change the whole course of a game and the psychology of the teams focus. Much like missing a sitter.

No doubting Gomes has given us moments of stupendous plot. Giving away a penalty in the last minute, then saving it (Chelsea at home) and saving a pen only to give one away and concede seconds later (Blackpool at home). We’ve been treated to a master-class of excellence too (AC Milan away) as well as insanity (Inter away). He was incredible at the back of last season. That wasn’t him over performing. That was him at the top of his concentration. Gomes strikes me as someone who is fragile with self belief and confidence and when one mistake or a moment or uncertainty plays out, like domino's, all layers of his mind collapse.

He makes wonderful saves but when he makes mistakes, they are epic (and at key moments). He can flap too and when mistakes don't lead to goals they lead to Keystone antics across the whole of the backline, infecting his team-mates with a dizzy virus and it's side-effect of momentary panic.

Personally, I don’t want to detach my faith from supporting him. People who prefer him to be replaced by someone with a more steady head might be forgetting that a keeper who retains concentration might not necessarily be capable of match winning performances and when they conceded, it might not be thanks to a lapse of concentration but simply lesser skill.

If there’s a keeper out there that’s capable of brilliance but has the cool composed calmness of a Cech, then the vast majority of us would not complain if he was signed and the Brazilian was sold on.

Sort your head out Gomes.



He’s ex-Chelsea, he’s ex-Arsenal. He’s a trouble-maker. He’s a melter. He’s too old. He’s too slow.

Wish someone has pre-warned me he would be an absolute gem, a steal...a stolen gem. With King and Woodgate hardly involved, having someone of Gallas experience in the side has played a major part in retaining strength and organisation at the back. It took a while for him to regain full match fitness and settle in with his new team mates, but his almost nonchalant ‘doesn’t give a **** other than just performing well’ attitude proved that sometimes there is nothing wrong with wheeling and dealing. I can remember feeling mixed emotions and displeasure when he was made captain. Kudos to Harry. Gallas has been imperative in the absence of King, if not a pound for pound replacement. Interestingly, he's yet to score for us.



Step up, step up. Everyone knows Daws excels when he has Ledley King by his side. He’s been equally impressive with Gallas playing next to him but Daws is best positioned to the right of King. Regardless, he gets on with it and defends with royal passion. Just that, what with his age and with Ledley missing for large chunks of the’s time this prince became a King.

Mixed season, inconsistent at times and brilliant on occasions. You love Daws because of his relentless desire to do well. He might not be the quickness and he might lack the assured presence a Gallas or King possesses  but you can’t question his work rate (and his distribution ain’t too shabby).

If he can replicate the form he is capable of when he plays alongside King, then he’ll have grown into the player that we all wish him to be. At the minute, we’re just wishing. Dawson needs to believe in himself, just a notch more and take each game by the scruff of the neck. Which he does already, just not in every game.



Not one of his better seasons. All over the shop early on, replaced by Alan Hutton whilst we all wondered what had happened to the always reliable Croat. His positioning, key to make up for his lack of pace, had deserted him completely. I like him. I like the way he works the flanks with Lennon. I think, on form he offers more than our other options. He’s intelligent on the ball and can play football rather than perhaps just knock the ball ahead of him and run onto it. Hopefully it was a blip. I doubt Hutton will be with us next season. Kyle Walker will. So you can’t help but feel content that competition at right-back will be tight.



Everyone huddles, except for BAE. I mean, he’s there. You can see him, but his back is straight and his head is facing upwards and looking away whilst all the other soft-hearted lads are bending down to listen to the rallying speech. Simply put, Ekotto is too cool for skool. A modern day footballing anomaly. He doesn’t follow the game as a spectactor. Although it’s slightly stretching the persona of coolness to perhaps suggests he doesn’t care. He’s a model professional without the superstar add-ons.

His consistent, he’s drilled. He plays for the team and he does exactly what he’s expected to do at the back. More kudos to Harry for solving this conundrum as there was a time before his arrival when we were not quite sure he was the answer to our left-back headache.

Excellent player, excellent season...lets Bale rampage whilst he sits back and defends and never appears to lose focus. Hopefully Danny Rose will continue his impressive cameos into next season and give Ekotto a rest now and again (won't be too presumptuous and say 'competition' just yet).



Okay, so he’s offensive and he runs forward with intent and can impact the game but he can’t perform at the back as an individual or as part of a unit. He doesn’t fathom the concept of positioning and he has no astuteness in the art of defending. Had a period this season where some of us thought we’re be proven wrong, mainly down to the fact Charlie was so awful. Alas, we were not proved wrong in the end.



When Comolli signed him he stated he was ‘one for the future’. In true Tottenham fashion we threw him into the first team and ruined him. Well, we thought we had. Quite surreal that he was sold and then signed back. He’s grown and matured, he’s still raw in places but I can’t help but believe he has a strong future at our club. Development of his defensive abilities on the back foot need to match his awareness going forward with the ball. He possesses the right attributes to be a beast and hero status for the third goal to complete our famous win over at the swamp.



Who? Oh yeah. The forgotten man. Thought he was more than decent for us last season and yet this season he’s hardly figured. If Harry doesn’t fancy you, then you don’t get a look in. Shame because he is more than capable.



The discussion about whether it’s worth retaining him if he’s only going to appear in a handful (if not less) games per season will continue throughout the summer. He’s one in a million with the one knee, and yet he can do more than most are capable with two. Galvanises Dawson and improves our defence every time he plays. Statistically, we lose less games and concede fewer goals when he plays. If he had two knees, we’d still be where we are King would probably be playing for Barca or Madrid.

Might as well mention Woodgate. Depending on what you read he's either going to be let go or given a pay-as-play contract.

We certainly need to decide on our back-line in preparation for 2012. Fullback positions are fine, it's the centre pairing and the backup(s) that need attention. Preferably not the type that involves ice packs and cotton wool.


Overall, we've done well in defence. Just not scored enough goals down the other end to relieve them from pressure which has resulted in loss of shape and conceded goals. Confidence with the keeper/defender relationship another required fix. It's not just four at the back, it's five.

Across the season, as a unit (ignoring moments of madness in the CL and in the cups) I can't complain more than I have above, which isn't a lot.


Midfielders and attackers to follow...




Inside the head of Heurelho da Silva Gomes

'Penalty given, no problem I will save it. Come to me ball, I beckon you. Come to me. There we go. Saved. See you later. Job done. Justice. I am a good keeper, I believe in myself. I'm good, I know I am. I saved a penalty. I have no insecurities. I proved it there. In comes the ball again, should I stand my ground or should I attempt to...I wonder if cats dream? And if they did would they dream about eating and sleeping and licking themselves because they hardly do much else in waking life. Oh hold on. What the *** has happened here? It's another penalty. Or is this the penalty from before replayed and if it is why am I in the replay reliving the moment? It makes no sense to me. Has there been a disturbance in the space time continuum? Saved it the first time, I can save it again. I'll dive this way. Okay, then. That was the wrong way. Oh well. There's always next time'.


But I'm only joking. Let's not scapegoat. It's a huddle of hurt where blame needs to be shared by the team and management as one. Although there are pockets of pleasantries (i.e. Modric) that have endeavoured through the lapses of mediocrity. I'm not being overly dramatic here. Don't misunderstand. I'm proud of the way this team has performed over the past couple of season but disheartened that perhaps the reality is we still lack that extra spark and reinforced steel combination. It's not a bad place to be. It's just that the way football evolves from one season to the next, it's easy for a club to lose direction because of what happens at other clubs.

We should have had it wrapped up with ease. The fact we've given it away can't be ignored unless you wish to retain the whimsical comparisons to times when we sat in midtable. Can't be living in the past though, which is how most would counter that.

So, where are we exactly?

We've basically lost a top four place because of the lack of genuine fluidity across our domestic season dropping points like Martin Sheen drops teeth. Beating Blackpool would have got us back into it if anything just to make the last three games exciting, if still quite improbable (based on form). It's no surprise we ballsed it up and ended the dream once and for all. We've been rubbish for weeks.

The result is made worse because of the spirit we displayed this time last season. Euphoria replaced by limp shrugs of despondency. The complete lack of urgency and tempo until AFTER we went 1-0 down and began to play in injury time compounding the lacklustre effort of the full ninety. Not sure why there was such an abyss where desire and belief should have stood proudly.

I guess finishing 4th should not really be deemed a badge of honour anyway. However, finishing in the top four, preferable higher, has to continue to be the clubs ambition. We need to aspire to be the best we can be and if that makes us better than say two of the top four sides, that will be enough to get us into a position to then lay foundations for even bigger challenges. But one step at a time. Levy's prediction about the time share element of the Champions League appears to be coming true. But if he scratched his head hard enough I'm sure he'd agree with the majority that it was there for the THFC brace.

We've underplayed it. What a manager says publicly might not be the same thing he says behind closed doors, but the task of getting back into the CL was hardly a difficult one but yet was treated like one and thus laboured.

So where are we again exactly? On the highway, a few miles from our destination, out of gas. Arguably been running on empty for a while now.

In addition to the definitive disappoint there's also concern for young Bale. You almost understand his reluctance to pick himself up after being fouled in recent games. Goes down to easily, stays down too long. He's only protecting himself, as nobody else appears to be aiding him. Shame on 'he's not that type of player' Charlie Adam who (if you look at the pictures of the tackle or this gif) appears to have snapped Bales ankle in half, but hopefully it looks far worse than it does in image. Nice officiating there too. I guess Adam should have pulled out a semi-automatic rather than waste energy lunging in. Would probably have only got a yellow for firing it at Gareth's legs.

Broken ankle or severe ligament damage at time of writing. Breath of fresh air that, hey Harry? I guess having a go at the opposition isn't deemed too media friendly, might hurt the portfolio. We've always been way too soft in the aftermath of such matters. I'm not saying embrace the some embarrassing traits of a Jose or Fergie, but let's attempt to defend our honour once in a while. Emphasis on protection of all things Tottenham.

Also, nice to see Rose back in the fold. Didn't do too badly. If the season wasn't drawing to a close, we'd probably send him out on loan again. Elsewhere, far too much anonymity. Some controversy over Lennon and the reason(s) why he sat on the bench (poor form or internal disputes?).

In conclusion? Lucky to get the point some might say. I say the draw, on performances, might have been the justified result. The ref was blind and our keeper a loon and our strikers fairly non-existent and our midfield unbalanced but there's no chance of ignoring the fact that this game practically summed up the reason why we're not in the Champions League next season.

No cutting edge, no drive, no focus. Attitude adjustment failure in games we should be bossing. Makes it doubly ironic that we've only lost seven league games this season (so far). The truth festers in the fourteen draws.

We have lost a scandalous amount of points because we've failed to show up and then made hard work of it. We've not improved on last season, we've stagnated. I'm going to have to admit to the fact that it wasn't meant to be and that at some point in the future we'll understand the reasons why. Philosophical musings is all I have left to make this journeys end more comfortable.

A world class forward in January might have made the difference. Personally, thought we still had enough to see ourselves through it. I was wrong. Emphatically wrong. Chairman got it wrong. Manager got it wrong. Some of our players got it wrong.

If you want to be critical and subjective, say if you were a neutral and looked upon Spurs and this season, you might question the fact we have a wealth of talent and we've somehow managed to not find a groove. It's that genuine lack of fluidity again that many have suffered from this season. If you want to be critical you might ask why we went through the motions and failed to take it all by the scruff of the neck. Because out of all the under-achievers, we had the depth to perhaps edge out the competition. Easier said then done and although you might read this article back and think me drowning in negativity - once more, this isn't about pin-pointing scapegoats. Just another gentle nod in the direction of the obvious. It was a collective failure. It's not just up front where we need to improve.

We've not been good enough in key areas in key moments. If you want sustained progression that equates to tangible success you need to hate losing and we have not quite tuned into that frequency yet.

It's still a good thing, a positive thing, to be this club in this position with the squad we have. If you look the past, we are abundantly in better health than we've been for twenty or so years. The problems we have in our workings are ones that if fixed, will propel us upwards once more. The crux is in how chairman and manager go about fixing it. Momentum has not been lost, just misplaced. We need to aim higher and be seen to be aiming higher because the clubs around us will be doing just that.

City are unlikely to waste their opportunity in the CL and will therefore use it as platform to consolidate beyond doubt when alternatively we might have further damaged their project by once more beating them into the top four. That would have allowed us to build on this season without taking a step back. Hope is with the advantage falling into our lap with the single focus of the league whilst they go on their European adventure. Everything is in transition, which is why I will continue to support and believe. It's all I can offer, the rest is out of my hands. Teams around us will get better but so will we.

Onwards, then.

We've learnt a harsh lesson this term. Don't take anything for granted. Wouldn't hurt to be a ruthless yet glorious basterds once in a while too.




Spurs drop two points and then gain one

Spurs 1 Chelsea 1

Should have won the game. Arguably could have lost it. The emotion that sits alongside me post-game is one of regret and frustration. Go on, hands up if you're gutted we didn’t collect the three points? Gutted, but hardly surprised at the final result. Yet another perfect illustration of just how small the margin is from pretenders to something a bit more than just pretenders.

Let's review.

Our opponents

For all their possession (especially in the second half) they still lacked any sustained cutting edge up front (sound familiar?). Passion wise, they rediscovered some much needed form, but then it was a derby so you expected them to play a lot better than they have in recent weeks. But even now looking back, if this is Chelsea trying to rediscover full pelt it was hardly punches to the back of our neck. When their missing and returning players return to full fitness they'll probably shift gear. Thought we contained them first half and they had pockets of pressure in the second half. Wasn't easy but I was hardly biting my nails either.

Their stand out player, was (pains me) John Terry. Made some point-saving interceptions.

I'm struggling to remember the last time they beat us at the Lane. Just in case you wanted another example of evidence of how we've dragged ourselves out of that horrific hoodoo that haunted us for so long.

Chelsea are as fragmented as we are.


It's simple really and it’s the same conclusion discussed at the end of most games these days. Forwards. It's not quite right up top, is it? But then it's not just about our lack of clinical pomp in the final third from our front two. It's the movement and decision making that is a few per cent off from resulting in two or three goals rather than the one - which on Sunday would have had the game wrapped up at half-time (although I prefer to theorise on prior games that we would have wrapped up - let's not forget that we were playing the Champions, poor form or not).

That final ball, that early ball, the required movement into space. It's not quite silky and instinctive.

There were a number of occasions when I felt Bale and Lennon could have played in a pass releasing Defoe/Pav. A top class forward would make an obvious and effective difference. Equally so if Modric did not have to spend too much time on chasing/defending he'd possess far more freedom to carve and craft. Then again - two DM's with Modric behind the front two and Bale on the left is hardly balanced on paper and with Hudd and vdV out it's about making the most of what we have. Which isn't half bad considering our recent unbeaten run of games.

Even with the slightly (ever so slight) off-key decision making, we'd probably have survived had we not made one or two errors at the back to allow Chelsea a share of the points.

1st half - could have punished them further. 2nd half - could still have punished them on the break and when we reclaimed some possession in offensive positions, but lucky not to lose in the end, amazingly, with our finger on the self-destruct button.

It was in our hands and we dropped it. Rather than being battered into submission.

The Goals

Brilliant touch and movement from Pav.

Ball in from JD in front of the practically static Chelsea back-line, Pav then touches the ball taking him away from Terry and co, creating time and space to thrash the ball in for the 1-0. Considering some of the Russians 'first touches' littering the game you might wonder if he actually meant the touch that set himself up for the goal. But that's harsh. Probably. It was a class finish. From the very top drawer.

Drogba's goal was altogether a different ilk of beast. Okay, so we all know Gomes is a loopy loon of a tune. Expert shot-stopper, instinctive reflexes when there is hardly time to think. So why exactly did that shot go through him with such ease? Much like I'd even expect Superman to be downed by a bullet made of Kryptonite, with Gomes it felt more like a pie to the face of a clown. And yet perhaps his only mistake was to think he could have saved it by allowing gravity to pull him downwards, rather than standing tall and taking the ball in his face.

Alas, this pie had a brick in it, and the power of the shot was just too damn powerful for his girlie wrists. Did he have time to work his positioning before the shot flew towards him? No matter, he should have done far better than he did.

Sure, Drogba hand-balled it, quite blatantly, and Dawson was a second or two slow to react (because of that second spent looking across for the flag). Defensive errors cost us dearly here. It was a soft goal to concede. But for all their possession, they scored a goal from almost nothing. Not quite gift wrapped. Drogba still had to take his voucher to the shop and select his prize.

The Penalty

Madness. Why goalkeepers go charging out then hold their hands up proclaiming innocence…dear oh dear. But like some demented twist and turn of a screenplay, fate would have him give the penalty away so that he could save it and reclaim some lost dignity, even though this was a mess he created. Because of how it played out, during the time it took for the ball to be placed on the spot and be taken - it felt like we had lost the game. So the save made it feel like we had won a point. Crazy. Poor penalty helped matters. Lovely irony what with Fwank on the pitch.

In Defence of Gomes

Yes. He's fruit-loop. He's also an outstanding keeper and let's not forget the amount of times he has saved us playing with a forever changing back four in front of him. Does need a good slap in the face every now and again (gentle slap, don't want him crying) but he showed character. He guessed which way to go with the dive for the pen, going opposite to where Drogba tends to place them. Homework or luck, what does it matter. He redeemed himself for this particular last gasp dramatics.

Who is this Wilson?

Not that Chelsea were formidable in the centre of the park, but let's still stand and applaud Wilson Palacios for a performance which had bite and some much missed intensity returning from a long sabbatical. And in addition, a refreshing lack of misplaced passes. He did his job perfectly, got himself involved, closing down players and laying it off with a simple ball to feet. Not quite the destroyer of his early Spurs form, but one game at a time, right?

The Redknapp Substitution

Defoe is taken off. On comes Peter Crouch. Why?

Well that all depends on a couple of things. If it was about JD, he might have been subbed to preserve some juice as he's only recently returned from his injury. Don't think he picked up a knock. If it wasn't that then it has to be tactical. Knowing Redknapp, I'd hazard a guess he wanted Crouchie to lend a hand (head) at the back to defend set-pieces. But it didn't quite work, at least that's the ranting going on in Harry's direction over this tactical reshuffle.

Defoe and Pav worked well. JD's work-rate was very decent. There was a partner-ship there, be it one that still requires a few more games to click. But if we suddenly need to change it because of the opposition asking questions deep in our half, do we do so to the detriment of our forward play?

Would it have been more apt to sub Pav (no pace, not great in the air) and bring on Crouch to knock the ball down to JD? Crouch did very little, did get his head on the ball a few times but nothing more. Was okay but with Defoe off the pitch, we lacked an outlet of pace. Crouch and Pav is hardly the most dynamic combo. Then again, for all of Defoe's work-rate, he didn't have enough about him to get in behind the Chelsea defence. So perhaps this was a fitness issue after all.

Not sure what the point of bringing Keane was other than hope he could produce something from that long lost forgotten locker. Needs to find the keys first.

Dawson's Return

Great to have him back. Superb, got caught out for the goal, but for him to play in this game as a return to the side game do so with some comfort wearing the captains armband - that makes me smile.

Player Ratings Score-Card

Gomes - 6 - The good, the bad and the ugly.
Hutton - 7 - Far more disciplined than usual defensively and didn’t nullify Lennon. Still think he's positional sense and intelligence is not great.
Dawson - 8 - Early Christmas present. We might finally see our back four settle down now.
Bassong - 7 - Reliable and focused. Made some telling contributions.
BAE - 8- Cracking performance.
Lennon - 8 - Continues his rehabilitation, proving what a little confidence can do. 2/3 games from his best if he continues this form.
Palacios - 8 - Still on the subject of confidence, perhaps it was the responsibility bestowed due to the occasion. Can hardly fault him.
Modric - 8.4 - Really beginning to tick. Shame he can't shoot for toffee.
Bale - 7.2 - Quiet but still had opportunity to create with a few marauding runs down the flank, probably should have released the ball early once or twice, got cluttered and marked out by Chelsea. It's a transitional stage for him this, learning to adapt to the adaption our opponents are having to adopt.
Defoe - 7 - Worked hard, assisted for the goal. Still not 100% but he'll get there.
Pav - 7 - Brilliant finish. When he starts he scores. Was detached from play second half.

Crouch - Header here, knock down there. Not much of an impact but then the subs came late in the day to truly influence proceedings.
Keane - Spent a lot of time in the middle. Not sure I can remember much else.
Sandro - Hardly enough time to make an impact.

The ref - 5 - Made plenty of mistakes, let one or two obvious fouls go without yellows. Neither side will be best pleased. But at least he didn't ruin the game like some.

Forward Conundrum

World class forward up front and we'd be laughing right about now, yeah? The lack of guile at times and the obvious lack of testing their goalkeeper is what births the pressure on our back four the longer the game goes on. Ground-drog day. Perhaps with a vdV in the side and a Huddlestone we'd have created one or two more chances that could have left us in a far more comfortable position. When either or both return, we're back to Harry and his tweaks. It's going to define our season this. A new forward won't work out if our midfield isn't set up to maximise opportunities. I'm talking about decision making with the final ball and movement from all concerned.

Very obvious stuff this.

Our Form

Think it's just four wins out of nine so far this season at the Lane. Which on the face of it is not great. But then when you delve deeper it's one Premier League loss at home during the last year (1-0 to Wigan).

It's also six defeats in all competitions in twenty-six games played. Shame we were so abjectly bad away to West Ham and allowed Wigan to win at the Lane.

Race for 4th, 3rd, go on then why not…race for top spot

Another stat-attack for you - we are three points behind our total from the 2010 season, if you wish to compare.

09/10 - 17 games, 30 points
10/11 - 17 games, 27 points

Not the perfect benchmark I know (different season altogether, can't really compare game to game) but the more telling total is how far off the top we are. Because that's more relevant. Five, at the time of writing.

That's not shabby.

Harry, Levy - take note of the niggling repetitive quirks to our play that need fixing. January - it's imperative. But more so are the games from now until then.

Onwards. As ever, onwards.



Caption time

             King: "Hey?? Did someone just poke me in the back?"


The Tweets of Heurelho Gomes 

(translated into English)

Made toast. Dropped it. Butter side up. Made more toast. Dropped it. Butter side up. Made another round of toast. Dropped. Butter side up.


There is a trend developing here. Perhaps I should not butter my toast.


Cruz, my pet cat brushed my leg and I collapsed in agony. I cried.


At training. Penalty practice has began. No one has scored. Yet to take up my position.


Still training, jogging. Saw birds nest blow in wind, egg falling. About 20 feet away.


Run towards falling egg, impossible to reach, dived, one arm out-reached, caught egg with finger tips.


Gave egg to Spurs fan in tree with binoculars and asked him to return it to the nest.


Brushed up against some stinging nettle. The pain was intense. I collapsed in agony. And cried.


Left car keys in changing room. Daws throws them at me. I place my hands up to catch. I miss. Don't understand, my positioning was good.


Back home. Knock on door. Spurs fan with his wife. Fourth one this week I'm allowed to sleep with. The wife. Not him.


Alan Hansen on Match of the Day. I collapsed in agony. And cried.


Heroes and Villains - Part I

Was going to write up an award-style blog looking back at 2009 and it's highlights but thanks to some inspiration I'm opting to go instead with a heroes/villains piece. A sort of player-by-player review and accompanying aspirations for each individual for the year ahead.

Gomes - Hero

All gone a little quiet hasn't it? We usually have to listen to plenty of 'ooh look he's flapping' sound bites when commentators knee-jerk as per their contractual mantra on being overly critical of our Brazilian import and his keeping abilities. Okay, so he was a bit shaky for a time and struggled with the odd injury and brought it on himself, but he's not only dug deep, he's fought hard to reclaim some pride and done so with some breathtaking saves and some consistency with decision making. He has personality, and unlike Robinson before him, he has belief and it's a true testament to his character that he has rebuilt himself in this fashion. He has captured the types of headlines that made him a transfer target in the first place. On form, he wins us points. And he's on form. We do not need David James.

Do more in 2010: Instinctive out of this world shot-stopping, and the simple things.
Do less of in 2010: Crying, using brain in scenarios where there is too much time to think.

Bentley - Villain

I have nothing personal against David Bentley. I don't know him. I know of him only by what he does on the pitch and how he presents himself as a Tottenham player in the public eye. So at the moment it's fair to say he's coming across as a bit of an apologetic prick. We've been here so many times with David, trying to figure out what's going on in that head of his. Dealing with facts, pure footballing facts, he's been the ultimate flop. Claims to be a Spurs fan, dream move, la la la, and apart from that goal he's struggled to find an ounce of self belief that would help elevate his confidence to a passable level.

He has attempted to showboat himself out of trouble and it's been one face palm on top of another. But then it's not all his fault. Yes, that's right, let's pin it on the DoF system and Comolli simply because everything is the fault of the Frenchman. Making a 'big money name player of the moment' signing in the wake of Robbie Keane leaving for Liverpool. A player who can only play right-wing and but is hardly a wing-wizard. There is no doubt he has ability. And you'd think, Bentley cross + Crouch head = Goal goal goals. But alas, he's either injured or on the bench and rarely showing any signs of life.

Even with Azza out, I'd much prefer to see Niko and Modric in the starting line-up rather only one of the two Croatians and Bentley slotting in on the right.

Time to end this. Reserve team football to Sunderland perhaps. Not sure I see the point in loaning him out to anyone. Get something back for our troubles. Anything. Let’s face it, it won’t be £15M.

Do more in 2010: Play football rather than play football from memory.
Do less of in 2010: Star jumps, lurking on rooftops, living in skips.

Jenas - Dysfunctional side-kick

The definitive poster-boy is still in Lilywhite. You know what, I can never imagine him wearing another shirt. Honestly, don't mean to scare you, but he's become synonymous with Tottenham. He's like the physical representation of the club. Promises much, delivers little. And with the club showing (dare I say it) signs of changing, perhaps its time for us to firm-handshake and man-hug a goodbye to JJ - who bless him, remains in a state of flux. Apparently, he's a good player. So say all managers who have managed him. I guess he must be something akin to Pele out on the training pitch. But when he was once upon a time a first team starter, he's seen himself relegated and lost in the mighty big shadow of Tom Huddlestone.

So, what does Jenas do exactly? Splits fans, as ever. And it's been discussed to death. He was meant to be the complete midfield. Box to box, defend, attack, score. He's got the lungs. But he lacks the heart. What we get instead is plenty of potential and little end product. But that term, 'potential', is very much an easy way out, forgiving his inconsistency. Fact is, if he doesn't fulfil expectations perhaps its because those expectations are beyond him. When JJ 'turns it on' he's immense. And the mistake made is expecting or believing that particular version of JJ is the one he should be producing week in and week out. The reality is different. Jenas may well be an average player who once in a while excels to giddy heights. Or maybe, just maybe, he's a good player - not good enough for the Top 4, but good enough for teams outside of the cartel and one that won't be plucked away from us, in the same fashion as Carrick was. This can't be as good as it gets, can it?

Every summer we say 'this is the year for him'. I've been saying it for 4 years now. And still we wait. I like him. I wish he was arrogant, I wish he was a piece of shit personality wise. Driven by the desire to be the very best. Look at Lampard of Gerrard. In comparison, there is no comparison.

At the moment, Hudd offers more than JJ does.

Do more in 2010: Tackle boy, don't be afraid, you're not going to hurt it. It feels no pain. It's a football. It loves to be treated rough.
Do less of in 2010: Playing hide and seek out on the pitch. WE CAN SEE YOU, THERE'S NOWHERE TO HIDE.

Palacios - Hero

Here's to a better 2010 for Wilson. Last year was not a good one for the lad and his performances since very early season have been a mix bag. Maybe not as disciplined or sharp with his passing as he can be when completely on top of his game. He's been off-key. But he still brings something to the side that we have lacked for an age. He's a beast. A brick wall. The defensive enforcer we have desperately wanted for. Even a Wilson at 60% is better than a Zokora at 80% (although if we are talking pure comedy and dancing then obviously Wilson is rubbish in comparison). Harry has to get him playing with discipline again. The second part of the season needs us to be completely on top of our game and with Modric back and Niko looking to play a part in the same line-up, we have to be strong in the centre. Is another DM on the way? Sandro? I'd go with that if whomever arrives is an understudy for Palacios. He needs a time out every now and again. He is vital to our midfield and our progression. But he is one man. And no, bringing back Jamie O'Hara is not the answer to the understudy question.

Do more in 2010: Bite. Bite them. Bite all of them.
Do less of in 2010: Air miles. Any chance we can move all Honduran international games to London?

Crouch, Defoe, Kranjcar, Hutton, Huddlestone, Pavlychenko, Bassong, Corluka, King, Assou-Ekotto, Woodgate, Bale, Lennon, Keane, Modric, Giovani and Dawson to follow...


Spurs loving the away day pints...I mean points


Delightful weekend. Nothing more pleasant that the depressive yet heart warming sight of Sam Allardyce complaining in the aftermath of defeat. Okay, so we won ugly. It wasn't exactly a convincing victory for total football over anti-football but we managed (once more) to ride out the bumps and accept gleefully any slice of luck that presented itself with open arms. It was a hard working day at the office, no room for slacking. And unlike last season, no sleeping on the job.

We soaked up the tackles and the physicality, showed some strength - mental type too - and won the day. Huddlestone's superb disguised pass to Niko out on the wing (he meant it yeah?) who sent the ball back in for Crouch to climb all over the hapless defender and head the ball in for 1-0 just before the break. I loved this simply for the Blackburn fans behind the goal laughing at Tommy's shot almost (almost but not quite) going out for a goal kick. The second goal (Crouch again) was well taken, Peter beating any chance of an offside flag being raised and smacking it in to guarantee the three points. In between all that there was plenty of low key action. A day for defenders rather than offensive beauty. However, everyone put in a shift. For all the tabloid scandal about the unauthorised Dublin trip, it was great to see Spurs churn out the pints…points.

The game began to go in our favour when Harry made the substitutions. Yes, doubters, Harry made tactical subs that had a positive effect on the game for us. In our favour. Keane and Jenas both impressing when called into action. A Crouchie brace was also something to smile about. Add to it the stern and strong defensive display by the back four and the aforementioned slice of luck (McCarthy's effort hitting the post) and we can tag this one under the 'Spurs have backbone' category. We are not a bad team away from home these days.

Couple of things of note. First up, Gomes and that McCarthy shot. Unlucky? Er, no. Okay, so I keep banging on about slice of luck, but if you take a look at the incident again either the Rovers forward was guilty of a terrible miss or the victim of a more than decent save. The latter. It's the latter. Why can't it be the latter? Seems Gomes is immune to credit even thought he saved the shot (that then came back off the woodwork). So when does a ball hitting the keeper get to be considered a save? When the goalkeeper is English perhaps? Ooh racist.

I jest.

Also, Match of the Day 2. Gary Speed (talking about Wolves):

"They've had a couple of great results recently with wins against both Spurs and Tottenham...."

The anti-Tottenham agenda goes from strength to strength. If the indignity of losing the once to Wolverhampton was not bad enough, they've now been credited with defeating us twice. The propaganda is never ending.

Anyway, if I was to dish out marks out of ten (I don't own the copyrights for that) I'd split the team into 8's and 7s with perhaps a 6 for Defoe because he was fairly quiet. But no complaints, not really. These types of games are games that can prove to be more than tricky especially with historical expectations people have for us when we travel. We seem to be adapting and evolving. And as this ridiculous season continues to remain so, a Top 4 finish will simply come down to us finding that extra oomph from stepping up a gear. We just need to make sure we don't free-fall or drop too many silly points as we've done already. You can it see now, can't you? End of season, just one or two points in it. Best to avoid another such finale. Have it wrapped up weeks before.

So four points off Utd at Christmas? You'd have taken that at the start of the season. Don't torment yourself by adding the points lost (Stoke, Villa, Everton, Wolves) to our current tally. You'll shit bricks.

Conclusion for Saturday? Flying colours for me.

More blogs on the way (before I disappear for the Christmas weekend).


Wilson Palacios is a legend

DML Awards

With a couple of months to go before pre-season kicks off, I thought it best to spread the season review and 'awards' across several blog articles. Keep things short and snappy (for a change).

So first up the first batch of player awards.

Best Summer Signing

Lickle Luka Modric. The impish looking lad that was written off before he even kicked a ball in the EPL. Not strong enough cited old man Wenger from the depths of his swamp. He'd be blown away like a crisp packet in a storm if you cared to believe some of the punditry dished out early season. And there were moments when we almost believed it to be true as we held our heads in our hands watching Spurs slump from one game to the next. Luka, looking lost and struggling. And then in came saviour Harry and with each passing game the Croatian began to find his feet and dink about with confidence. All thanks to a little bit of balance and team structure. From the left, cutting in with purpose, there was plenty of crafting and clever balls and the odd goal too. There is absolutely no doubting this blokes ability and he has conducted play from midfield with freedom and much glee giving us a spark that most thought had gone with Berbatov's departure to United. He took time to settle, as expected, and has proven he has a touch of the world class about him. Lovely player, proper Tottenham sort, who will no doubt improve further next season and grab a few more goals. Luka Moddle indeed.

Worst Player

Difficult one this. Should the accolade be awarded to someone who has played few games based on the fact they are woeful or someone who has been selected time and time again regardless of the fact they are woeful? Or perhaps it should be given to the player who played several games whilst being woeful and then hardly figured after that. Such was the woefulness.

Step forward, Mr David Bentley. Personal problems have been cited along with the pressures of a massive transfer fee as the main excuses for his non-existent form. Others would suggest being played out on the left-hand side destroyed him. So what exactly happened to Beckham MkII? Where did it all go wrong?

Much like most of the side in those opening eight games, there was no cohesion or belief. But where others clawed their way back up from mediocrity, Bentley was left behind with his head buried in the sand. He was devoid of all the basics. Simple passes and crosses were an impossible tasks for the lad. Everything had to be Hollywood and came off looking a ITV. That Goal against Arsenal could have been and should have been the opportunity to reclaim some of the hype, but alas, it wasn’t to be. He got worse with each game. The worst of them, a depressingly bad display against Burnley in the home leg of the semi-final.

For the money spent on a player that was not a necessity in the first place who then found himself pushed out of the right side to make way for a blistering Aaron Lennon, you feel his dream move turning into a nightmare was possibly the reason his fragile ego collapsed with no apparent sign of recovery. It's looking highly likely that Bentley will be sold on - for a loss - in the summer, allowing Harry to sign another right-back (probably).

It's been shambloic.

Best Comeback Player

According to Alan Hansen, Gomes was the worst Premier League goal keeper he had ever seen. This coming from a man who played in a side with Bruce Grobelaar in goal. There is no doubting the fact that our Brazilian lank was the very definition of calamity during the period of time that we took backwards steps away from the upper regions of the table. He likes punching the ball. And he likes running out, jumping, and claiming it. In a winning side that defends well, you can do this sort of clean-up work with that extra buzz of confidence instilled by the fact that all is well and you're protected. When the team is crap and you make a mistake or two then the mistakes keep on rolling, especially when you start thinking too much instead of reacting instinctively.

It gets even worse when you try even harder to do your job - all eyes on you, the slightest normal run of the mill error suddenly becomes yet another joke piece of goalkeeping. The media are relentless with the jokes and comedy commentary. But rather apologetically implode like Paul Robinson did, Gomes knowing and believing he is a player of quality, dug deep. And even when the media ignored his improvement and concentrated on any little thing ('oh look he came for the ball and didn't quite make contact no other keeper ever does that') he continued to work hard until it was impossible for anyone to ignore his assured confidence and superb smart saves. With several clean sheets and a big smile, Gomes has been outstanding for us.

His spirit should be commended.

Best Winter Signing

When Wilson Palacios was signed, various sound bites did the rounds.

"£14M? It's madness!"
"He looked great at Wigan because he's a good player in an average team"

The usual 'OMG what have we gone and done?' reactions followed thanks to the countless inflated transfer fees spent on players not worth even a quarter of the price.

Yet it wasn't long before Wilson marshalled the midfield like a general. He displayed qualities that we had only ever seen in those rare blink and you'll miss 'em moments. But now we were being spoilt by the bite and tenacity on show. With all the money that has been at our disposal over the years and the incriminating evidence in the way of weak performances proving our backbone was softer than a teddy bear sleeping on a sea of feathers, why had it taken so long to sign a player of his ilk? Palacios has brought composure and discipline allowing others to blossom offensively while he bosses the park, crunching tackle here and block there and clever professional foul over there. Staggering that we have failed to fill this gap time and time again. It was a risk to spend the money that we did on The Panther, but then having spent an abundance on players in the past the risk was only ever going to be more egg on an already egg covered face.

Palacios has been undoubtedly one of the signings of the season. You wonder how the likes of Arsenal, desperate for a defensive/holding midfielder, didn't smart their way to his signature. Spurs finally have a tough hard working warrior who constantly puts himself about for the team. Selfless and proud. A proper player that has given us an air of authenticity in the way of fight and that we can now handle ourselves against teams that would usually brush us aside. Bring in another player with this type of winning mentality and slot him by the side of Wilson and our midfield might just explode with challenging class.

Next up - Player of the Year, Goal of the Season and more.


Kenwyne Jones: Is he a Cole or a Drogba?

Palacios has completed his medical, all down to personal terms being agreed now. Would be nice that some day Spurs will have a scouting network that allows them to pick up these players BEFORE they become flavour of the month with other clubs who got there first. An obvious change in mentality is needed. Just because we are a rich club that can attract players to London life doesn’t mean we need to be lazy with our approach and wait for other clubs to pluck players from obscurity, and then wait for us to come in with an over-inflated bid. Well done to Wigan for purchasing a reserve player for less than a million and selling him for fourteen. Now that's sell-on value that Levy would appreciate.

Still no confirmation on Appiah, but the forum and message board 'In The Know' peeps are suggesting it's still going to happen. We shall see.

We have also apparently signed Chelsea keeper Cudicini for a million. Great if he is at the club to give Gomes competition and play as number 2. Not so great if ‘arry has decided to sell Gomes. My money is on Carlo being a replacement for Sanchez. If this is confirmed later on, then good work on getting experienced Premiership cover for this position.

Our interest in Kenwyne Jones seems to have gone quiet due to Sunderland’s insistence that he will not be sold under any circumstances. Two schools of thought about this player, so if you are either Spurs or Sunderland I wouldn’t mind hearing your opinions on him. To be honest, I’ve not seen enough of the guy in action. And Match of the Day highlights when he does play well is not a good basis for making a true educated opinion on his value.

School of Thought #1 ‘He’s a Carlton Cole’

Not that Cole is a bad player to have at the minute (evident by his recent form for the Hammers). Cole’s got rid of the dj’ing and other distractions (and his knees seems to be ok nowadays) and also has the comfort of no competition at West Ham which has actually worked positively in his favour. So is Jones just a clone of Carlton? Jones is not prolific. He is not a natural goal-scorer and arguably has a poor touch and finishing ability compared to other Prem forwards (let alone players actually worth '£15M'). He’s also a bit lazy and apart from being a bit of a lump the only quality he does have is he’s good in the air.

School of Thought #2 ‘He’s a young Drogba’

I’m sure this has stuck from the time Roy Keane said he was the best forward in the country and he wouldn’t sell him for £20M. It was Keane who compared him to Drogba, and others also believe he will develop into the same type of player and that currently he is simply a young version of the Chelsea striker (without the diving). Simply needs to mature as a player before the class shines through. Can you see it? I can’t. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

The only question that should be asked (if this deal was to get back on track)? Is he what we need? I’d say what we need at the moment is a foil for Defoe. I don’t have faith in Bent and I think Pav would also probably benefit from a foilesque type of player.

Both JD and Pav are potentially 15-20 goals per season players, if partnered up well (whether that’s together is something Harry needs to work out). So, Jones – or whoever we look at as an alternative – is going to be our 3rd option. And that would have to be a bit of a lump with a touch of pace. Would also be a bonus if he had a good touch and finishing abilities.

Jones is big and can put himself about. And he has pace. And he also fits the Redknapp seal of approval. He’s the type of player he goes for. Obviously, considering we have enquired/bid for him. We also need someone who is strong in the air, and there’s no doubting this particular trait of Jones.

So is he the right forward to help complete the required trinity for survival and progression? Goals have dried up at the Lane since Berba and Keano moved on.

Regardless of whether he is closer to Cole than he is to Drogba (I still don't see it) or somewhere in the middle of the two.

Would you swap him for Bent? Would Sunderland be silly enough to take Bent?

With us being far from safe in our Prem League standing, does Jones fit the bill with the task at hand? If he doesn’t, who does?


You oaf Aaargh Cup

Well that was almost an unmitigated disaster. Thanks to the magic of Gilberto. Brazilian, in case you've forgotten. And a defender, allegedly. 6 games since joining about a year ago and he will be best remembered for being half-time substituted thanks largely due to his ridiculously bad impacts on the game.

One ball, two players, neither go for the ball, the Russian squeezes in and makes it a threesome, and oops, there it goes under Gomes body for 0-1. Total football. Totally laughable football, and this time you can hardly blame Gomes, although you'd think one of them would say 'ITS MINE'. In Brazilian you'd think.

The second goal (scored again by Dzjuba, a lively tricky little player) is worth mentioning for the way he ghosted pass Zokora to slot after rounding Gomes. 0-2. Goodbye Europe. But along comes half-time. Good old trustworthy half-time. And off goes Gilberto after his not so Braziliant cameo. And from Harry's post-match comments I doubt we'll ever see him again in a Spurs shirt. Maybe we can box him up and send him first class to Monaco. I'll pay the sodding postage if you want.

Second half was about 100% better, in our favour. Enter Lennon and his accompanying Mazy Run™ resulting with a cut-back and Modric (finally) scoring for Spurs. Dzjuba should have got a hattrick from a wonderful Zokora pass, but didn't. Enter Bale and a more than decent cross and a stunning Huddlestone header. 2-2. With NEC scoring a couple, this was a lucky escape, as defeat would have meant the end. We finished up second in the table and now face Shakhtar Donetsk, which is no easy task. And if we somehow manage to fluke past that we've got to contend with either CSKA Moscow or Aston Villa. Tasty. Shakhtar have six Brazilians in their squad. Maybe if we re-direct that package from Monaco to the Ukarine......

Anyway, lowest attendance of the season at the Lane for this wont-be-appearing-on-dvd Cup game. Shame on us. We'll be mistaken for Newcastle next. 28,000 or so in a 55,000 stadium (looking ahead) is Sunderlandesque. I guess to get the glory hunters on board we need to get into the Champions League. And the chances of that with this paper-thin squad is 0%.


Yet another caption competition

"Gomes prepared to catch anything to prove his worth"


Challenge Spurs™ - I really really love Sky Sports, I really do

We won. 1-0. Pav with another goal (that's 6 in 9 now). Great first half performance, but couldn't score that second which would have made it just a little bit less of a 'Oh God please no last minute equaliser' type of afternoon.

Second half, with Rovers down to 10 men was still fairly comfortable thanks to their inability to push forward and apply any type of pressure. Lennon, was in cracking form. Hasn't just put in pacey performances here and there this season, he's actually playing decently week in week out. Another reason to pat Harry Redknapp on the back.

Out of the bottom three, for the second time, and up to the giddy heights of 14th. Nosebleeds all round.

Now the match review is out of the way, let's get down to the business of ironic cheering and Sky Sports who pride themselves on hype and bullshit. See, a game of football is never enough for them. They have to take something and turn it into something else and do their best to make sure it builds a nice bit of momentum so that Sky Sports News have something to talk about every 30 minutes. Although (ironically) we have ourselves to blame for cheering in this manner in the first place, thus given them opportunity to run with it.

Spurs fans cheered with smiles on their faces every time Gomes got hold of the ball without a fumble or flap in sight. Now usually, ironic cheers like these are kept for the visit of David James. These type of cheers are blatantly tongue-in-cheek piss-takes. Because for all of James ability to drop a clanger, he can pull a mighty fine world-class save out of the bag. And we know it. Much like he knows it. There's no argument that these type of cheers are of an ironic nature. And YES, its not the cleverest thing for Spurs fans to do the same thing for their own keeper, because of the way it will be misconstrued.

However, to suggest Spurs fans this afternoon were cynical or negative to Gomes is mountain out of a mole hill ridiculous. That includes you Harry (who mentioned it in a post-match interview). Abusive language and booing is far worse than ironic cheering. And I'll prove it to you.

Back to the suggestion that this form of pisstaking is moral draining is it of the same level as the the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday panel do when they laugh and giggle and make jokes at Gomes expense? If Spurs fans 'hated' Gomes or did not want him in the side they would boo and shout abuse whenever he got the ball, not cheer or sing his name or applaud him - all things that Sky prefer not to mention because if they do, there's no story to be told.

People who publish photos on the back pages of the papers with clever and witty headlines, ridiculing a man for millions of people to read about is something I'd wager more likely to hit his confidence than a few hundred people cheering at a game.

Touched upon it a moment ago, but no mention of the same Spurs fans singing 'We love you Gomes, we do'. Why? Was this an editorial decision to make Spurs fans look bad? How about a news item on the constant booing the Arsenal home fans dish out to their own players. Or are they being ironic?

[ repeating myself ] Ironically cheering an opposition keeper for simple ball handling is what it is - a piss take. [ / repeating myself ]. When you do it to your own, its not the brightest of ideas even when meant in good-humour. But its far from being devastating. Much like Spurs fans singing 'England's Number One' to Robbo last year when he was complete shit. Surely that could be deemed ironic too? No? Robinson appreciated it, much like the positive applause he got from us today (he throw his gloves into the Spurs crowd......on purpose, they didn't slip off his hands).

For every Gomes fuck-up, he's made 3 or 4 great great saves. Doesn't excuse his fuck-ups, but one or two media hacks should concentrate on the facts rather than soap opera sub-plots. That includes Match of the Day 2 this evening.


We sang his name.
He acknowledged us at the start of both the first and second halves of the game, during the game and after it when he APPLAUDED THE FANS.
The fans behind both goals stood up and applauded him.
He even managed a 'thank you' in our direction and was the last Spurs player off the field at the end of the game, having celebrated the three points with the home faithful.

This is Spurs AND Gomes sticking a middle finger up to the armchair pretty-boys and shaved-gorilla(s). I'd say its best next time to leave out the irony, but it was clear to anyone with their eyes and ears open that Gomes was just fine, got over his early mishap missing the ball completely and grow stronger in confidence as the game progressed.

So, fuck you Sky Sports.

And now back to Challenge Spurs™.

13 points in the bag now, halfway through the Dirty Dozen. Still part of the yo-yo that is 20th - 11th, and currently sitting in at 15th spot. Home win next weekend is once again imperative. But can't argue with our current form, even if we are still way way off playing at full capacity. And talk of Europe is still not acceptable.

Everton at the Lane next.