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Entries in pre-season (16)


I see dread people

The heat is killing me. I'm zapped. Ironic, we complain when the weather is crappy then complain when it's not because it's far too hot to travel or sit in the sun for long periods. You feel sleepy, either because you're stuck in the office or indoors or drank too much booze (that last one is actually one of the good scenarios). Fact is, it's far easier to bitch and be vocal about it than to accept and nod approvingly.

It's the same for football.

Okay, so that was the worse link I've ever done and I blame the 30 degree temps.

So football...if you smile and proclaim confidence you might have a finger pointed at you accompanied with, "Look at him, he's crazy, he's covering up his ears and singing la la la". Much like with anything in life, the weather included, if you're not critical, you don't have an opinion. Says the old man on the hill. I need to squint my eyes as I can't tell if it's a drunk or a Tibetan monk.

We've got ourselves a new manager, but already there are some Spurs fans that do not perceive him as an upgrade whilst others are remaining pessimistic, a trait that I thought most of us had lost over the past few seasons. It would seem it still runs deep. Probably because it's easier to accept defeat and not be knocked side ways by it then to perhaps embrace positivity and get steam rolled. And yes, Spurs fans - as a tribe - we know never to fully trust positivity because of the so many nearly moments we've vanquished in. But I don't think it's deluded to wear our hearts on our sleeves, more so these days. Also, it's a far more complete experience if you simply believe and take on every game like it's your very last day of supporting the team. But sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion and because of what happened with his Chelsea tenure, some are reversing judgement. I can't argue with that logic, we don't want to be made to look like fools. However, there's a difference between being reserved and being depressive.

Such is the micro-analysis that everything, absolutely every single thing has to be commented on and broken down and dissected and discussed. Every single aspect of the club and the team. We talk about it because we can, thanks to social media and blogging and message boards. We do so in modern days because of the sheer amount of information we have available to us. Perhaps we read too much into things because we can and because of the obsession we have and the necessity to commentate. Much like I wish to ignore, say pre-season friendlies which only hint at certain aspects of team development/progress. Which is where all this rhetoric has been birthed from. It's disappointing to see some have already attempted to predict the future by suggesting the high line didn't work against LA Galaxy, therefore, Villas-Boas is somehow struggling/will struggle and it's looking pear-shaped. Because it didn't quite work with fluidity and confidence in a friendly in the USA.

Much like I randomly take photos of majestic meals and then upload said images (before and after I've cleared the plate) and share on Instagram, it seems 'we' like to indulge. Ego, vanity. It consumes us. Even this article isn't a necessity. I'm just bored. Working towards that sleepy state of intoxication. But then I'm reminded of the fact that we (I) love to complain. My thoughts on the thoughts of those that shouldn't be sharing their thoughts. Thoughtful? Thoughtless?

What do we know / have achieved thus far post-Redknapp?

We've got a manager in quickly, one that ties in with the opening of our state of the art training complex and the clubs long term vision. Tactics and training, a match made in heaven under a glorious new roof in Enfield.

We've got a manager that is straight to the point in interviews, answers the question without tripping over his tongue and is in-line with the club's stance, rather than contradicting it. He's our head coach (to give him his correct title) and he's behaving like one. Unlike Redknapp who seemed to be lost somewhere between coach and media starlet, constantly detached probably more because of his inability to articulate and shut the **** up.

King has retired but we've signed Vertonghen to play along side Kaboul/Dawson and the returning (from loan) Caulker. Sigurdsson has also signed, a player that (from VB's comments) will compete with vdV for the role behind the striker.

Saha has gone, Defoe might be going and we're not quite sure when (or if) the Adebayor signing will be completed.

Gomes is still with us. Lloris is still linked.

So, we need:

A right-back (to cover the departing Corluka)
Potentially (hopefully, God please) two new forward players

In addition, we could also do with a winger. We might need more, who knows, aside from the coach and chairman? We didn't bid the £25M for Oscar and we continue to chase down a 'replacement' for Modric. Which is another matter of urgency to resolve (his departure, if it's going to happen any time soon). We don't want this to once more dominate our first couple of games once the season proper kicks off.

Also (footnotes):

Players have been positive about training sessions
We've been practising set pieces
We appear to be looking for more players to sign
Rusty performance against LA Galaxy which is hardly indicative for anything other than fitness and VB note-taking


There is no conclusion. If this article was being blogged a few days before the start of the new season without any new additions then I would carefully stoke my chin in thought, pondering what last minute signings at the far end of deadline day will be made. Then burst into tears.

There's still over three weeks before the season starts and five or so before the window shuts. Are we really sacrificing patience this early? It's abundantly clear we need to reinforce the squad so my trust is with the two men leading us to do just that, with the tactical evolution left for when the season pushes on.






Oh God! Who am I kidding? We're currently 17th in the league! Doomed I tells ya, doooomed! Talksport were right, were heading towards relegation...



Against a Galaxy far far away (well, not that far, across the Atlantic)

Morning. A quick flirt before breakfast.

A 1-1 draw with an MLS side with us displaying a slow moving awkward high line leaving wide open spaces for comfortable exploiting and a general lack of fluidity going forward. What is Villas-Boas doing?  Has he not learnt a thing from his calamitous Chelsea tenure? End of days. Mid-table mediocrity awaits.

Two things. The first thing is a collection of things bunched together:

- Not all our (key) players are currently available for selection

- Some of the ones that are might not be available to us once the season actually starts

- New players bedding in

- High line movement and understanding hardly something to be achieved over night

- We've not finished our transfer activity (striker(s), Luka replacement etc required)

- The heat + Galaxy fitness at mid-season stage

- Our fitness levels still being built up

- Some of our players more keen to impress than others

The second thing?

It's pre-season, which accounts for all of the above. Who cares, save injuries. Talking of which Walker and van der Vaart picked up knocks. Nothing serious, couple of days out at best. We looked good in parts, couple of very decent chances to add to the one we got.

Most interesting thing to note is the reminder that Gareth Bale (who scored) pulled out of the GB Olympic team due to injury. Works for me.


Retire the 'retire the number 26'

Evening. Some stuff. Below.


Retire the number 26. No.

Ledley King is a club legend. I'd argue that based on the fact he's not only one of the finest defenders of his and my generation but also because he's one of the finest based on playing football without having to train and with one fully functional knee. He could have quit the game years ago. Having to endure injections and swelling and pain, before during and post-match makes the bloke a little crazy to have persevered. But he did. He wanted to. He kept on playing. When he took the field he was a colossus. A freak of nature. I've already blogged all the plaudits. The point is, he gave everything to wearing the shirt. He loves football and loves Tottenham. Almost to the point of cripplingly himself in future life. That is more than enough for him to go down as one of our great players. Sure, he didn't win the silverware his talent deserved. Wasn't capped as often as he could been. But if you're struggling from one season to the next you're not going to have your dream path played out before you. This is what makes it all the better. He was the one reliable constant in his fourteen years in the first team and he led by example, with dominant performances. He was proud to wear Lilywhite.

But retiring a shirt number? Ledley King is more than just a shirt number. He's Ledley King. How about letting someone else fill it and do it justice. A testimonial and his name sang forever will do just fine.


Not fussed about these games aside from enjoying any goals scored by us and that Villas-Boas is content with the players fitness and preparations. The performances and results mean next to nothing (as long as players remain fit and no serious injuries are picked up). Allow me to remind you the season we stormed through pre-season, demolishing Roma on the way, and then ending up with two points from eight games. You remember that right? Got a few soundbites I could play you if you need your memory jogged. I'm actually far more hyped up for the players when they finally get to move from the Lodge to Enfield. Comprehensive set of photos leaked (since removed) of the new training centre looked knock-out. Stunning state of the art equipment and facilities, right down to details such as the walls displaying the likes of Blanchflower, Hoddle, Gascoigne and even King.


It's gone a bit quiet. The speculation between the media and the supporters continues. No one is quite sure what is going on so people are guessing. Luka to Madrid, Adebayor to Spurs, the on-off saga concerning Lloris. US tour not that far off so expectancy is high. The collective suggestion is that it would be good to have all our deals done by then but that isn't likely and it's not a necessity. Your guess is as good as mine. Plenty of people looking to attach themselves to time-stamps of info shared as this will somehow give them credence. Particularly delicious are the people that slate others and their desperation to share information about 'certain done and dusted' signings and then share info themselves with similar authority. It's a dick waving competition in desperate need of a magnifying glass.




Did you catch the Athletic Bilbao game? If so, you probably caught more of the game than I did. Making this is a platform for you to 'do it yourself' and write up your own thoughts on the game and let me know if I missed anything of consquence.

Uninspiring first half from the sounds of it, spent mostly in the kitchen, I managed to time my return into the living room to see us go a goal down. What I did witness looked lacklustre and without cohesion. I did however catch the second half (lucky me) which was a far more composed and controlled performance with plenty of direction and intent. Lennon and Bale flying down the flanks. Modric dictating. Two forwards scoring a goal a piece. Hedonistic.

I never place too much emphasis on pre-season friendly games for obvious reasons, but it was still enjoyable to see the team react positively. Talking of positive reactions, Luka got a very healthy mix of cheer and applause. If I was there, as previously cited, I'd have supported him because of the shirt he had on his back and the team he was playing for. Not sure I would have clapped my hands together and most definitely would not have been vocal about it. It's up to him to perform out of his skin once the season starts and claw back some of that genuine love we lost during this agonisingly boring summer of nothingness, punctured by his ungentlemanly quotes.

Still, it was okay that he got some cheers and applause by others more willing to sacrifice a little for the good of the club and the team. First step in moving on for everyone. Not literally moving on Luka. Don't get excited, West London you'll visit but only in Lilywhite colours.

Other footnotes from the game:

Pienaar injured.

Niko looking like a man holding his still beating broken heart, ripped out of his chest by fate. The look on him as he stood to take the penalty was touching on the tragic.

Lennon diving, poor show.

The Mexican wave. I'd take that over 'stand up if you hate <insert other North London club name here>' any day of the week.

Llorente's 'alright' performance. Disappointed that Levy didn't race on at the final whistle with a contract between his teeth, holding hands with Adebayor and Samba whilst watched on by Diarra in the stands, wolf-whistling his approval.

442 is better than 4411.

Harry Redknapp laughing in an interview before kick-off re: lack of transfer activity. Personally think for once he was covering up the fact that Spurs are probably balls deep in negotiations. Yes, I'm still banging that drum of hope.


Knock yourselves out with your write-ups.




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Where is our apology?

I'm playing catch-up what with being 'off-line' for the vast majority of yesterday due to travel commitments. Sounds like I missed out on a fair bit. I'm hearing rumours that Chirpy attempted to foam pie Harry Redknapp in the face but Joe Jordan intervened. That pesky attention seeking chicken.


Elsewhere, Sky Sports published an article covering an interview with John Terry. Then issued an apology and altered the article in a couple of places. I've had a look at their website. If I've got the wrong end of the stick, then beat me with it. I've seen the video footage of John Terry being interviewed (which is what the written article was based on). Terry (around a minute or so into it) uses the word 'disrespectful' whilst referring to the Spurs and Luka Modric situation. It's muddled, I'd admit that. But my gut reaction is that he's simply citing the fact that talking about Modric is probably not the best thing to be doing in any grand old way because it will start to touch upon the art of tapping up. So he throws in the word disrespectful to appease us and protect himself. Which is fine. It's understandable.

Sky, oh so giddy Sky, run the written text version (along with video) to the tune of 'Terry - Modric 'disrespectful'. Pretty much sums up their tabloid bloodline. They've taken nothing and made something out of it. The tone of the entire interview did not have an agenda to it from Terry's perspective (can't believe I'm painting him as an innocent party in all this). The only apparent agenda(s) was to try and get Terry to talk up Luka (in a Chelsea shirt) and to thus gain the most sensationalist headline out of it. Terry does call Modric 'world class'. But that's ignored (surely better to have run with that if Sky are so desperate for the player to join the West London club?)

Don't know how long it took, but the title was later altered to 'Terry - Modric is world class' (there we go, second time lucky). So what we have here is simply a case of Sky running an out of context headline for what Terry said. He cited 'disrespectful' - Sky run with it. They change it. Then they apologise. But then what they do next is laughable - they remove the disrespectful comment from the written text article altogether. Too much to get their heads around I guess. Perhaps struggling to work out the ambiguity of the quote.

Far far easier to ignore it altogether than perhaps appreciate that Terry didn't want to be too forward in his appraisal of Luka's talent. I actually still don't get quite grasp the point of the original headline as it's hardly the type of headline that follows on from previous pro-Chelsea ones. The 'world class' amendment is more in tune with their Luka to Chelsea push.

I'm still patiently waiting for Sky to issue an apology relating to the Modric transfer request that apparently was never (according to Spurs) handed in.

One critisism of John Terry re: Luka?

"He's very agile, very quick and a great finisher like we've seen over many years."

You what?

Souleymane Coulibaly

Looks a talent. 16 years of age. Superb vision and touch. An eye for goal. Suggestions from some that he's on a promise for first team football (hence why he signed for us). Back on planet earth, it's obvious the kid has the moves but he's just that. A kid. We've been here before. Many many times. We never actually sign teenagers good enough to be blooded into the rough and tumble of the Premier League without disappearing in the youth sides and loaned out to Championship clubs first. I'm hoping he is different (much like I thought Bostock would be different). I'm also hoping we take our time to work on his raw ability and develop him with the onus on Souleymane being a valid project for first team football in the next year or two. It's about time we signed someone of this ilk and followed it through to fruition and witness an impact at an early age rather than a full début at 25 then a transfer to Ipswich.

Scored on his 'Spurs' début. Read more here.


The second game in SA and the second pre-season game I've not watched. As previously preached, all I care about is the team getting fit, getting back into a rhythm and avoiding injury. Would be nice to read about us performing with spark, style and swagger. We either always look disjointed or amazing. Never in-between. We all now that 'amazing' usually equates to world class underachieving when the season proper starts.

Don't think Modric should have been handed the captains armband. Are we trying to get him 'on side'? There's no reason to be doing this just to send out a message to anyone watching, because as chairman has stated a couple of times - it's a closed matter. Luka is hardly captain material. Even in a pre-season friendly wearing the armband should be an honour rather than part of a reconditioning process.

Nice free-kick from Rafa. More of this in the Prem please.




One night, two wins

Been travelling. Missed tonight's game(s) although caught the final 15 of the Benfica win. I'll try and find footage of the dos Santos magic that started the move for the Bale goal. If you happen across it before I do, please share (and I'll update the article). Elsewhere a Spurs eleven beat Ipswich. Whoo-hoo. Two wins in one night. The Tottenham XI side included King, Kaboul and Pav (scoring the only goal via a deflection). So a pretty decent work-out for all squad players this evening.

Back to the Benfica game, by all accounts, dos Santos impressing. At least one of our much maligned 'kids' is showing quality. Although we have been here before with the Mexican. Hopefully he's training well and Harry keeps and eye on him. I don't believe for a second we are short of money and won't be spending and blah blah blah. We'll be signing 2-3 players for certain, so IMO, ignore the dramatic sound-bites. However, that's not to say we should once more look to marginalise the players we have. And although dos Santos is (has been) infuriating (off the pitch which is therefore detrimental to his chances on it) we might finally be getting somewhere with this one. The other (Adel) is on his way to QPR apparently. More on that at a later date. Anyways, official match report here.

Statto king THFC6061 had the following to say over at GG:

The first half was rather shakey from a Spurs point of view, but we defended well and Gomes was very good indeed.

We got more into our stride in the second half and produced some good football at times.

Cudicini was the busier of our two keepers and gave an excellent performance.

Jenas played a blinder.

Dos Santos had a moment of magic to set-up Bale's goal.

Both right backs did well, although I preferred Walker to Naughton.

Dawson and Corluka were solid in the centre.

Benfica are a top quality side and for Spurs to go to their patch and grab a result, keeping a clean sheet in the process, wasn't a bad night's work at all.

Opinions and knee-jerks as ever, welcomed. Especially on the performance of JJ. And I'll leave you with what should be an imminent DVD box-set from the club, entitled 'Pre-Season Glory Glory Days and Nights', which chronicles the following Cup dominance:

Peace Cup Winners 2005
Vodacom Challenge Cup  Winners 2007
Feyenoord Centenary Tournament Winners 2008
Barclays Premier League Asia Trophy Winners 2009
Eusebio Cup Winners 2010 Winners

Trophy cabinet is desperate for some reinforcement before it buckles.


For a full run-down of our pre-season thus far - and the all important player stats - check out THFC's stat website here.



Spurs knocked out of Europe

No chance for the second leg. It's too much of an ask IMO. I knew Champions League was too good to be true.


Europea League chumps. No wonder Cole chose Liverpool.


Back in the real world, I detached myself from pre-season friendlies after being psychologically shagged up by the thrashing we dished out to Roma, to be proceeded with two measly points from eight games when the proper games kicked-off. So rather than commit suicide after the dismantling of our beloved club this evening, read this quick-sharp review of the game, settle down, and forget about it.

Review by apotccc from

Just got back. 

First half was terrible. Boring. We were outclassed completely. But it was a complete mish-mash of a team. For someone that forged a reputation on keeping the game simple, we had a lot of players out of position from Harry in the first half. But it doesn't really matter. Hutton - crap. Just so, so bad. How was he ever seriously linked with Man United? Naughton's not yet good enough to be our 3rd choice right back so he was never going to do anything at left back. We just couldn't keep the ball.

Second half was a lot better. BAE was good I thought. Few times he tried to keep the ball in dangerous positions but it shows he's about retaining possession, hardly renders him shit. Bale a bit dangerous. Walker surprisingly for me good attacking although got beaten a few times at the back. Rose looked tidy in the middle although I doubt he'll ever be serious option, it was more surprising that he wasn't completely outclassed. Gio lively. Crouch confident. Liked the look of Parrett when he came on, and Adel didn't have much time to make an impact although one flick I thought was very clever. 

Pretty bad game but we had a fair few chances second half and so did they. Don't think any conclusions team-wise can be drawn from it. 


Feel free to share your despair here, if that's what takes your fancy. The rest of you, browse porn or summit. The night is still young.



Triffic Spurs Round-up

Good weekend? Just a week away now, and it all kicks off again. Another season of Tottenham. How many times will Harry say 'Triffic'? Will we tally up more than two points from the opening eight games? With all the hype on Man City and with people expecting Villa and Everton to continue their good form from last season, can we quietly sustain a challenge for a top 6 place without the usual over-hyped nonsense that drowns us by Christmas? Exciting times.

Before we look forward, here's a round-up of the latest bits and pieces:

Gareth Bale

So basically, AC Milan are interested in signing our jinxed left-back. His agent appears to be the only one doing the talking because I've seen nothing to suggest the player wants a move and I've yet to see a single quote from anyone involved with the Milan giants concerning a bid for our monkey-faced star. Just his agent, spouting out contradictory rubbish. On the one hand he states that no transfer has been talked about and then goes on to say that the figures circulating are correct. Right, so basically, nobody is or has discussed a transfer which means the figures being referred to are either the ones in his head or the ones that tabloids have estimated when covering this complete non-event of a story. Isn't Bale currently recovering from an op? Next.

Ashley Young

We are no longer interested in signing Young, so says Harry, who has given up because Villa simply won't sell and he'll cost a fair amount of wedge. Two good reasons I guess. Still, I can never quite trust our gaffer because it always seems like he's playing mind games, and not the subtle type either. The very fact he said what he said might be his way of deflecting attention back onto a possible transfer by suggesting it won't happen when his intentions is to try and force it back out into the open. Especially if you are inclined to believe Young wants to return to London.

Do we need a left-winger? I reckon it would be nice to have one and be able to mix it up a little with Modric pairing up with Palacios in the middle. Give us options and allows us to be a little less predictable depending on the opposition and how we plan to line-up offensively. £21M is apparently the price fee. Inexplicably, Real Madrid would part with Wesley Sneijder for a measly £16M.


I guess if the £21M is a genuine estimation Villa have tagged Young with, its only because they think (hope) City would pay it. Sneijder has been linked with Villa, which has me scratching my head that if all of this was true, shouldn't we be the ones linked with the Dutch star? And how the English winger can be valued higher than the brilliant Wesley, leaves me dizzy with confusion. Back to reality, I doubt he'd ever consider a non-Champions League club. Such is modern day football.

Moussa Sissoko

Believe the hype or not to believe the hype? This kid is meant to be pretty bloody good. A player in the mould of Desailly, according to some. Strong, decent tackle (ooh) and has the type of drive and determination that would suit us perfectly - because we need players who lead by example. His passing isn't quite there yet, but he's young and he'll improve. Now, I've not seen that much of him and like most fans, when it comes to being linked with a player outside the Prem or in a league that you don't follow on a regular occurrence, you have to rely on others to give you the low-down. We tend to fall in love with some players when having little knowledge about them and then start to believe we need them more than the air we breathe and then feel completely empty if they don't sign (anyone remember the dramatics of the Diego transfer saga and the ITK's obsession with Dirk Kuyt?).

I'd like us to sign Sissoko because if Palacios is out injured or suspended, we can do with a player of almost equal standing (sorry Jamie). An understudy who can also give us extra steel in midfield. The main gripe, if you want to have a gripe, is that the above description of Sissoko is not too dis-similar to one you would use to describe General Wilson. So is he really the type of player we need as an answer to the 'we need one more CM to complete our squad depth' conundrum? Or should we be looking at his more Carrickesque team-mate Etienne Capoure? Looking at our current set of players, I'd say Sissoko is the better option, simply because he is similar to Palacios. Harry fancies Tommy Huddlestone and our quarterback looks like he will be getting a chance to prove his worth to the side - as an offensive CM. Along with the returning Kevin Prince Boateng who has a second chance to impress. And although I tend to believe that all the Patrick Vieira stories spouted by our manager are nothing more than distractions and disinformation, I do believe Harry wants to bring in a CM. Just as much as a LW. But from the looks of it, we'll only be getting one or the other.

Although considering Bentley and his latest tunnel sulk, there might be time to go back and test Martin O'Neill with a cheeky swap deal.

Olympiakos Friendly

No reason to read too much into this, much like any other pre-season friendly, other than to probably say our players look fit and sharp (and hopefully in mind as well as body) and the Greeks looked rather poor. All eyes on Bassong, who did well and will no doubt grow in stature when partnered alongside King of Woodgate. Heavy touch on occasion and a moment or two of stalling on the ball that could well be costly, but reading too much into his performance would be a knee-jerk too far. Bentley disappearing down the tunnel the other talking point. More on that in a moment.

No Woody, Daws, Bale or Jenas available for the game on Sunday. All out injured. Palacios and Hutton were both away on international duty. Hopefully Luka going off (with a foot knock) was more precautionary than anything.

Defoe looks to be up for it and impressively, so does Pav who displayed some neat touches and finished with confidence for his goal. All smiles on the Russians face, let's hope he takes the swagger into the season proper and proves the doubters wrong. Moddle and Lennon are obviously key to our attack, providing the type of swashbuckling that we love to see dazzle in Lilywhite.

Huddlestone was a little on the quiet side and Crouch was at the end of far too much of the route one. When Harry said he gives us another options, I hope this isn't the only other option. KPB looks to be back in with first team contention. Or maybe it was option rather than options, which might prove to be an issue months from now (fingers crossed it isn't). Keane, the kid Danny Rose and O'Hara were all OK, nothing special.

King was the King in his 45 mins cameo appearance and should be fit for 90 minutes against Liverpool, but a no-show in the following game against Hull in mid-week.

The one blip was David Bentley who looks to now be the quintessential outcast. The jigsaw piece that doesn't quite fit, presumably because it belongs to another set. It's a shame that most think he's over-rated and is a victim of his own ego, thanks to all the 'Next Beckham' hype that followed him from Blackburn to Spurs. The main problem (much like the Darren Bent) is - where does he actually fit into the Spurs team? Not the right-wing, because that belongs to Lennon. So can he play in CM? Doubtful as I don't think he has the combative skills to survive there and as he constantly attempts to do too much, he'll probably be steamrolled by any half-decent opposition. Behind the front two? Possibly, but it's not his natural position is it?

I don't mind Bentley and regardless of whatever personal issues he had last season, the fact is he has to start showing some grit and determination when selected for Spurs. One thing lacking is confidence. Still lacking. Which is frustrating for the player (hence the substitution and moody response to it) and frustrating for the fans. Because of expectations, it's easy to be fickle. But let's try not to be. It's unlikely he'll be sold on (unless something last minute involving Young occurs) so Bentley needs to dig deep and sort out his crossing and set-pieces and show some of the Becks spirit of never say die, rather than apologetically go out on whimper. I want him to succeed and I want him to do so at Spurs. But it's a paradox, because his best chance of doing so would be with him patrolling the right-wing. Lickle Aaron probably won't let him come anywhere near it.


Livermore has gone to Derby (which was expected after he posted about it on his Facebook). Talking of which, the club have apparently asked all the player to disclose all the online social networks they frequent and that a representative at Spurs has access to all accounts to make sure that nothing embarrassing (club related) is shared in the public domain. Bit of ITK I got over the weekend, but not sure how true this is and the fact that Woody's Twitter account disappeared soon after the Bent farce I get the impression Spurs have actually gone for a more zero tolerant attitude.

Newcastle are meant to be in discussions with us over a couple of loan deals for 'our kids'. dos Santos? Dervitte? Rose? Obika? Naughton? Hopefully it's not the latter because he looks good enough to mix it up in the top-flight. The rest can do with a loan spell and dos Santos (with his apparent disciplinary issue) can do with proving everyone wrong and save himself from a permanent transfer or sealing one. With Livermore gone, I'm hoping Bostock isn't a player we are looking at loaning out. Kid's got talent and he should be slowly introduced to first team action, in the Prem. With Adel already out at QPR, we need to have a least one 'kid with talent' eyeing the first eleven.


Wembley to Shanghai to Hong Kong

5th game in 10 days, this pre-season lark leaves me miffed. Money-spinning aside, hopefully its served its purpose with improving the fitness levels of the players and building team morale, not so much with results but just having all the lads together. Tactics and training field is where it matters at this stage in preparation for when it all kicks off at home to Liverpool. Playing make-shift teams will never give us an indication of much. I’m actually pleased. More than pleased. Two defeats = no over the top over-hyping from fans and no indulgent self-confidence based on thumping wins over sides who are behind us in pre-season fitness (yes, I'm talking about that game against Roma). It’s all been very low key IMO, with the draw against the Barca kids, the Celtic defeat and now this. Absolutely perfect for us.

I didn’t see the game against South China, and from the sounds of it, didn’t miss too much. Little summary of the 90 minutes from Glory Glory’s ‘Enter the Pitbull’. Hope you don’t mind the copy and paste job, guv:

I was there.

No excuses, Hong Kong football is about League Two standard at best so we should have caned them. Lest we forget, last time we played a HK league side it ended up 7-2. As I said, do not confuse Hong Kong football with the China League, which is of a higher standard.

Main problem was twitchy started with a very underpowered side. He obviously thought the youths were technically good enough to perform but South China had a lot of big expat players from South America, meaning they were outmuscled often.

Of the youths, Obika was poor, Rose was not as impressive as his reputation suggested he would be. Bostock was full of tricks but seemed a bit tentative in terms of progressing the play.

The senior players looked disinterested when they came on but I suppose some of them never even expected to feature at all.

With a 30k crowd this was a good chance to build some goodwill but Tottenham didn't play well, hot conditions or not. Poor decision for their second goal but they were already leading at that point and we only have ourselves to blame for not really giving two shits.


Rose appeared on the wing for a period in the second half and I was astonished by his relative lack of pace (having been hyped as a pacy type). This was certainly even more apparent when Lennon came onto the pitch. I'm sure regular watchers of the reserves will tell me if this is the exception rather than the norm. Maybe he just wilted in the heat.

We were very poor. JJ was awful and O'Hara had an off day. Livermore at centre-back is not really something I'd like to see again, he looked pretty clumsy. They played just the one up top and even that seemed to bamboozle us.

Naughton was anonymous, Hutton was one of the few who looked like he fancied it, getting stuck into some challenges. Pav had a few long shots which went on target but just stood around mainly. Keane came on and pointed and shouted a lot.

Click here for the hightlights.


UPDATE: Also, according to people out there that followed Spurs, Harry allegedly mentioned that dos Santos has no future at Spurs. ITK from the horses mouth via a Tottenham rep.

The lad always seems to show up late for training and has quite the attitude problem. We'll see how this one pans out, but doesn't look promising.


Glory in China

3-0 win in the Asia Trophy final. DVD release set for next week. Open bus parade set for this Sunday. So, what did we learn? Well, for starters, can someone have a word with the organisers of these pre-season competitions (ha!) that having a Cup presentation followed by a photo-opportunity celebration with champagne simply does nothing but embarrass the players, who cringed more times than I do when watching David Brent swan around the office.

Robbie Keane (scorer of a brace – Lennon notching the third late on) attempting to get rid of the Cup, shrugging, with a look of a man who was probably saying, “What exactly am I meant to do with this?” No Irish jig here. It’s not exactly the Carling Cup now, is it?

I laughed even harder as the champagne was apologetically fizzed around as the players dispersed backwards, all looking for any reminisce of a worm-hole to save them with Keano still trying to rid himself of the trophy while his team-mates smiled nervously and continued to ignore him.

As for the game. Easy peasy. Some lovely football, Modric pulling the strings and everyone continuing to look fitter and sharper. Off to Hong Kong next for the squad.

Last time we won one of these (remember the Peace Cup?) we had a decent season. That's all I'm going to take out of this.

Anyways, back to The Ashes I go...


'1-0 in your Cup (semi) final'

I know I said we should not read too much into pre-season friendlies, and we should definitely not get too excited about reaching the final of the Asia Cup (cough) but there are still plenty of positives to be taken from the uber-comfortable 1-0 win against a very inept West Ham United. Compared to the way we played against Celtic, it was nice to see some sustained effort from all players present.

O'Hara was industrious. Palacios commanding, which is nothing less than expected from him. Jamie might just have a place in the squad as decent cover. The pair of them in central midfield actually allowed for more creative freedom from other areas of the side, although I'd much prefer a slightly more creative partner for Wilson in the middle. Jenas, absent due to injury. We'll have to wait a little longer to see the return of a Palacios-JJ combo.

Pav looked sharp, far better movement and touch than for long periods last season and should have scored if it wasn't for the pesky post getting in the way. And he worked well alongside Defoe, who should have scored a brace.

Having Keane on in the second half alongside JD sort of proved that the reason these two struggle to play well together is because they appear to bring out the greed in each other, shooting when passing is the better option.

Naughton continues to impress. Has some great qualities about him (calm and versatile and very quick).

Modric was Modric. The usual class act. He will be VITAL for us this season.

Huddlestone wasn't too shabby either, although he's no centre-back. Talking of which, we need to sign one between now and the start of the season as Dawson and Woodgate look set to miss the big kick-off and Ledley is, well, he's we can't assume he'll be 100% for the Liverpool game.

As for Livermore, I like the cut of his job. Very confident on the ball. We might see quite a bit of this lad this season. More so than Bostock and Rose. Finally might be able to celebrate a break-through player from the academy. Rejoice!

As for lickle West Ham, they looked a mess. Unfit and disorganised and lacking any bite up front. Flattered them the final score really. Still, 1-0 (a little credit shared by Rob Green) does once more suggest that we don't take our chances during periods of dominance. Bit more composure and luck in front of goal required.

Still, let's not read too much into it, right?


How do you solve a problem like Keano?

Why do people persist in reading so much into pre-season games? Ok, so we lost 2-0 to Celtic who fielded a team of reserves. We didn’t pass particularly well or finish chances with any ruthless killer instinct. We defended poorly and played with little confidence. We still spent most of the game with possession and had far more chances on goal than they did. So as disappointing as it might appear, it wasn’t as bad as it seems the morning after. For a start, the team that lined up isn’t exactly our first eleven is it? Especially the centre-back pairing. Dear God, that centre-back pairing...

Analysing individual performances in this type of game is also a redundant exercise. Much like salivating over the 5-0 thrashing of Roma this time last year. Remember the hype that followed? There were plenty of people leaving White Hart Lane that day believing the swashbuckling style of play was a preview of the season ahead. And what did we get instead? Two points from eight games. Could be worse I guess. We could be losing 6-1 to Orient with our strongest eleven.

The mentality of the players is vital and yes, it would be nice if they comfortably asserted themselves in these type of games to prove they are heading for the opening game with a bit of a swagger - but as long as they play well when it matters I couldn’t give a toss about a nothing game(s) at Wembley that cost around £70 to witness. Harsh on the wallet that.

I’m pretty sure this was our first pre-season defeat for a few years which proves how it counts for very little.  And as for individual performances (like I said, I’m not going to read too much into them) I’ve been impressed with Livermore, Naughton and Bostock. Not so much Dervite. Livermore could be involved for us this season. Bostock has a while to go, but roll him out for the Carling Cup. As for Naughton. Let's hope we take care of the lad and he doesn't end up doing a Gunter. And elsewhere (away from Wembley), should we even bother to lick our lips at the prospect of welcoming back wildcard Giovani dos Santos who picked up the ‘player of the tournament’ award for Mexico, brushing aside a USA b-team 5-0 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final? Adel has gone out on loan. Something tells me Harry will do the same with Gio.

There is still no clear indication of anything yet. Hence the weary sluggish impatience.

But there is one player who has looked decisively average for a rather prolonged period of time, so long that you wonder if he can recover from his hibernation. This particular concern stretches back across the summer months and all the way to the last Jan window. So we can read far more into it than 90 minutes against Scotlands second best team.

I’m obviously talking about our Irish Windmill, Robbie Keane. He doesn’t even point and wag his finger with the same accomplished moan that endeared us for so very long. Liverpool, it would seem, destroyed his confidence. Can’t be easy knowing you are not good enough for a Top 4 side. Even worse when you find yourself wondering what if the gaffer had played me in position rather than out of it? We only signed him because Defoe got injured. It's all very apologetic.

No whispers of anyone wanting a punt on him and considering how difficult we are making it for anyone to sign Darren Bent, I doubt Keane will be sold off – at least not until January if he’s left warming the bench with Defoe banging them in alongside Crouch.

I guess this is where our frustrations sit at the minute. We can’t really take a guess on how we’ll start without knowing who exactly will line-up as Harry’s first-team eleven. And if Crouch does sign (looking likely) then Robbie’s depression might take him into a state of coma.

A major priority has to be to kick-start Robbie Keane back to his pre-Anfield form. We need all our players buzzing for the new season. How we manage to get Keano back to his best remains the biggest challenge for Harry. Unless there is no way back and the lad is in unrecoverable decline. His failings are far more evident since his return due to the decimation experienced under Rafa. The impatience of Spurs fans is a given thanks mainly to the fact that we turn on players pretty quickly (in this case, it’s more to do with the fact that Robbie left us in the first place and returned with his tail between his legs).

How do we rejuvenate him? Or is this tainted love?

All we can do is wait and hope. Personally, I don’t have a clue other than taking him aside and slapping him across the face, shaking him vigorously and telling him to get a grip and start believing again.

I’m available if Harry needs me to have a word. For a reasonable fee of course. Happy to slap Pascal around for free.