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Entries in Villas-Boas (13)


André, keep whispering sweet nothings in my ear

We're reanimating Scott Parker.

"It's difficult for him as he still feels pain and is still disturbed in his recovery. It prevents him from being on the pitch but he has been evolving inside, in the gym, with the medical department. It is still within the limits of what we expected. He is making good progress and there has been less pain" - André Villas-Boas

It beats listening to half a dozen triffics.



"He's very approachable. If there is a problem, or something we feel is not right, his door is open. He wants us to work that way: together, the players and staff, and if there is a problem we can always share our ideas with him and he will take it on board. For example, if we feel we are working too hard in training, if we say that to him, then he'll ease it off. He's still learning as well as a manager but he does all the coaching and everything himself, which is great. Every manager is different and he has his own ways of working. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time." - Gareth Bale


It's mutiny. We all dislike him and don't agree with his methods. We're going to make sure he's sacked by not playing well.

"He's cool. He has a different way to work, so we learn different things from him. He's like the son of Mourinho because he used to work with him and he works in the same style. We do a little more tactics at training. If we work more about tactics we can win and we will enjoy (our football)." - Assou-Ekotto


I'm not happy. Villas-Boas thinks he's Mourinho but he's just a pretender.

“I think the chairman sees Tim working with the development squad.” - Andre Villas-Boas


I kill him. I kill Broomfield and now I kill Sherwood. He is frozen in ice. I'm the overload of the universe and eat babies for breakfast.


Harry Out!

Here's some more pro-Villas-Boas commentary (or should that be pro-Tottenham?) from other apologists, via my Twitter time-line, also taking the balanced approach. No agenda here. Just common sense.


AVB is going to need time. Fixing a "broken" squad, coping with life after King/Modric, introducing new methodology. Can't expect top 4.

The majority of Spurs fans (anyone vaguely level-headed) can see this. The rest expect too much, too soon. We will likely fall back this...

Those "fans" booing Jenas at the first home game, booing at half-time, and booing at full-time need to get a grip & get behind the team IMO.



I think its important to remember that we have won 3 league games since that demolition of newcastle in mid february

None of these players were performing before avb took over

And we have weakened the squad by selling 2 out of our 3 best players and arguably the 2 most creative players in our entire squad

"there are rich teams, there are poor teams and then there is us". No not something Daniel Levy said - it's a quote from Moneyball but v apt



When you look at the squad Redknapp left, he would have needed to majorly overhaul it for this season if he had stayed.

Only Walker, Kaboul, Daws, Caulker, BAE, Bale, Lennon, Parker, Bale, Sandro & Defoe realistically in his plans for next 2 seasons



I've gone into the season expecting a step back before we take 2 forward. The media will use the fans booing as signs of trouble.



Who was the last high profile big name player Spurs brought? Excluding the reasonably priced fluke of VdV

The likes of Rebrov and Bentley have probably burnt Levy. Truth is that we have never been a club to buy a player at their very peak

Without CL it is perhaps completely understandable that Levy remains tight with purse strings

As fans we perhaps expect too much to keep up with the city's and Utds... But in recent years we have always nurtured young talent...

... Or given a final chance to great players.

This is what saw us finish 5th twice under Jol, and 4th, 5th, 4th under Redknapp

If you were Levy with that success you would probably be rightly cagey to spend money.

However as fans we want the best and want that marquee player

Parker and Friedel. Now Dembele, Sigurdsson, Dempsey. All reasonably priced, all proven in Premiership

If players all had exotic Spanish sounding names or were from Brazil or Portugal and cost 2x as much, I think we would all be delighted

... But we get two players from Fulham and a guy from Iceland (no denying Lloris and Vertonghen are great though)

Maybe Harry had a point? "Never had it so good" - wasn't referring to 61/62, but the 90's - fan expectation high compared to recent success

Wanna play in Premier League or spank all our cash and end up deducted points, playing in League One, or worse, bankrupt?

Levy is tight, likes a bargain. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't. But we still have a club in the premiership. (Portsmouth Leeds)



Following tweeted (via TwitLonger) by @EwanRoberts. You'll find it's familar as I've been banging the same drum.

Wrote some stuff about Spurs' form in 2012, pre-AVB:

Many people have said that all AVB had to do to succeed was continue the good work done by Redknapp and build upon healthy foundations. But that’s just not the case. Totally ignoring the players we’ve lost for a moment, AVB’s having to repair rotten foundations, re-build the soul of the team, boost confidence and morale, get a losing team back to winning ways.

Our form now is a hangover from our form at the end of last season. AVB was given a team that was rock bottom in so many respects. We may have finished fourth, but that did not adequately represent just how truly awful we’d been in 2012.

If you take the second half of our season – the second set of 19 games – we won just seven matches. A win percentage of just 36%...and three of those wins (none of which were convincing) came in our final four games. If the league existed just over that period of time we’d have been in 9th position, behind Wigan, Fulham, Everton and the usual suspects.

Those figures include an additional game for us compared to all the other sides (the postponed Everton match @ WHL, because of the riots). If those three points are discounted, we drop to 11th place.

There’s been lots of people saying “mid-table here we come” and such, well mid-table’s been beckoning for a while. We’ve had the form of a mid-table side for 5 months prior to AVB’s arrival. This isn’t his fault, our poor early season form isn’t exclusively of his doing.

If you look at the nine game run from the 5-2 loss at the Emirates in February until the 1-0 loss to QPR in April – a period that represents almost a quarter of the season – we were 19th in the form guide. Played 9, won 1, drew 3, lost 5. 6 points from a possible 27. Goals scored = 9, goals conceded = 14. 0.67 ppg. Only Wolves were worse off. Only two sides (Wolves and Norwich) conceded more goals.

Five teams conceded five goals twice or more in a single game in the league last year, and we were one of them. Norwich, QPR, Bolton and ourselves conceded five goals twice, Wolves conceded five goals three times. Two of the five teams are now in the Championship.

We’ve been crap for a while. Not only is AVB having to prepare for life after King, Modric and van der Vaart, he’s also having to turn around the fortunes of a club that has been in a six month slump. Frankly, given the form of the side it’s easy to see why AVB is happy to undertake wholesale changes to the squad. And it’s also clear that it will take time for AVB to mend a broken team. And that's what AVB inherited: a broken team, not a title-challenger.

Want more of that brooding drum?

From The Fighting Cock forum, via @vadimivich:

On 08/02/12 Harry Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion charges. On 12/02/12 Tottenham absolutely smashed Newcastle 5-0 in front of a delerious crowd at White Hart Lane

Since that night...Spurs have won only 4 of 16 Premier League matches:

That's 18 points from the last 16 league matches, which is barely above the relegation mark. And we're talking about almost half a seasons worth of matches now. The frustration setting in with the crowd isn't just for a few matches under AVB, the entire club has been in a very long, deep funk for quite a while now - and under 2 different managers.

We know there's quality out there on the pitch, but it's been a long time since it showed itself. The club is mired playing relegation level football and something needs to happen to snap everyone out of it. I'm not sure what that needs to be, but this isn't just a few games under a new manager kind of's set in deep at this point.

I think the point is that it's not really all on the manager - there's a group of talented players that for whatever reason haven't been playing to their talent level for some time now.

Frankly, it looks like a confidence thing ... the players on the pitch look tentative and lost, not just attacking but also defending. There's not the assertiveness and aggression we saw when this group was playing at their best. I'm sure the nervous home fans aren't helping, I'm sure the negative press isn't helping, but what this teams needs more than anything else is to just go out and smash someone and get that confidence back.


Notice the trend? It's in there. I promise if you look deep enough you'll see it.

It's the international break now, so this civil war is going to drag on for a little while longer. With any luck I'll find something else to blog about by the time the weekend arrives. If you want the flip side of the argument, then please read the comments section on the last few articles published on this blog.


Follow @Spooky23 on Twitter.


Things I want to see from Spurs this season (#2)


Fortress White Hart Lane


We've got more than a decent home record. Have done for a fair few years. Sure, Utd always turn up and dick us. City will never be easy. But it's far more disappointing losing games we expect to be victorious in, except it's these very games we fear and end up tripping over ourselves in limp displays of effort. Bottom half of the table, relegation dog-fighters. They turn up, they park the bus, they defend deep, they suck up the attacks then counter and score with their only chance. It's what makes Fortress WHL penetrable for those plucky enough to believe their discipline can ensure a successful invasion. We too need to retain discipline to counter their plan. Arguably we've struggled to break these teams down. Not enough guile, just plenty of kitchen sink throwing. We've had to rely on some magic, occasionally last minute, to save us blushes but it's always felt like we've made it difficult when it shouldn't be. Hence the lack of gob-smacking shock at the final whistle. You can sometimes see these types of games play out ominously as the minutes tick away. You just know in your gut it's not going to happen.

Villas-Boas is much touted as being tactically astute. Redknapp was much maligned for his reliance on players individuality creating something out of nothing rather than formational and tactical switches to force the issue and force the opposition to perhaps react in a way that would allow us to take advantage. We're going to need that guile and aggression to find a way through when it's not made easy for us. Discipline accompanied by patience and the most important weapon of defence - ruthless finishing in front of goal. Nothing more frustrating than drawing at home when the game is there for the taking. Aside from defeat. Both should warrant the same air of unacceptability.





I forgot to write up a 10,000 word preview of the game. So, I guess I should say something poignant in it's place. I don't have anything poignant to share. So I'll just think of something ad-hoc and hope it brightens up your bandwidth, although you're probably better spent clicking on a more enticing headline selling you the latest ITK.

Did Villas-Boas say 'aggressive' in his post-match interviews on Friday relating to the 433 morphing into a more balanced 4231? I love that world. Aggressive. I love seeing teams play with aggression. Bullying and slapping the opposition with an essence of suitably humiliation. Hey, if it works for the American porn industry then why should football be any different? Let them get choked up. Too much right?

We are still without a truly creative playmaker but we have Sigurdsson and we have van der Vaart and sacrificing one of our holding midfielders (that's you Jake) to accommodate the both of them might just give us enough spark to carve open WBA. We're at home. Adebayor is back. Ledley is making an appearance at half time. Villas-Boas home début. Sing up, sing up. Love the shirt and the swashbuckle.

Get it done, then with any luck we'll be welcoming three new players before the window closes giving us that extra shine of quality to push on.

That's it. I'll be a little more creative and detailed in the match report.




It's the calm before the storm. The perfect storm. Our manager denying transfer talk, suggesting we're not in for another striker. I scratch my chin then laugh out loud. Surely misdirection, mind games? Deflect attention away from us then BANG official announcement to reveal our new forward? Although all the conjecture only serves to attract more attention, mostly of the knee-jerk variety. We all have a lust to know something before it happens, something we have no control over yet simply can't wait to see it play out. One or two of our tribe appear to be rather fragile at the moment. Which in turn is then echoed and exaggerated by the media and other fans. Levy placing business ahead of football, sacrificing early points. Villas-Boas wanting to move on stench Lilywhite players. Sentimentally blinding most. Why anyone gives a sh*t about the bullsh*t being stirred by non-Spurs I don't know. Haters will hate no matter what. No reason to lose our swagger. No reason to panic.

Squad depth is being highlighted as an issue. Sorry, is this season 2012 again? We had squad issues last season. Same supporters, same complaints. We all have our own perceptions of how the club and the team should be managed. That lack of depth cost us not only thanks to lack of rotation but also because the players we did have in reserve were not called upon often enough. Benched players have now been sold off. Players that have spent a couple of seasons injured and will not figure in the first team this season are being shifted out also, on loan and permanently. This is the job of the coach, it's why we pay him. It's why he's been employed. He has to be left to fix things and he's not answerable to me or you, not yet, not this early in his tenure. It's ridiculous to even talk about it, yet here I am talking about it.

He respects our traditions and the ambitions we have at the club. He's been very respectful in how he's carried himself since becoming our head coach. He's been respectful to us. Can we just sit back and trust the bloke to do his job instead of swimming neck high in pessimisms after one sodding game? Is football  so highly strung these days that people fear the very idea of failure so assume it's happening when it isn't? Bit melodramatic for you? Not for some.

I guess the brilliance of all the nervous dispositions is when you compare us to last season, the fact that chairman and coach did not see eye to eye on transfer strategy and selection was based on players rather than formation and tactics. And mistakes made on the pitch were not magnified thanks to agendas. Not that playing your best players in their best positions isn't a decent starting point, but it's limited if alternative preparation and planning is never truly considered.

Fact is, we're shaping up to being far more professional without the circus of sound-bites anchored to us. But it doesn't help if the benefit of the doubt given to Redknapp isn't awarded in the shape of patience to Villas-Boas. If Spurs was a boxer, we'd be a little raw, flash and dancing away with fancy footwork but running out of steam in the latter rounds, TKO'ed. We need to fight, we need to box, we need to know when to defend and when to attack and most of all we need to take each opponent and compete with intelligence and craft, as well as graft. Full distance and the odd KO in our favour the outlook we should be embracing.

The less time spent trying to validate how not getting our business done earlier is costing us points the better. You'd need to believe in the assumption that we're half arsed about signing players and if that was true then best we lower our expectations. That's not really a good place to be is it?

When Redknapp arrived at Spurs did you consider him the right man for the job? Probably not. I didn't. So settle down people please. Let's reserve our frustrations and theories post-deadline day if we fail to cement key areas in the build up to deadline day. Watch negativity turn to positivity off the back of a couple of transfers. Then hear the cries of 'fickle' echo through social media like a Kraken baying for blood. For now, sing, sing for the shirt.

If I'm wrong, I'll dust off the effigy and you can take it down the Lane.


And so it begins...

Here we go then. Season 2013 is upon us. You ready?

Modric is still with us. Just about. Should be gone any day now if you believe the latest 'news' suggesting Madrid upped their bid (a day after we supposedly accepted a far lower one) and that Spurs are asking for some time to confirm a replacement. Which sounds ridiculous. None of it matters really, aside from the official club statements which will tell all. I'm still confident Luka will be gone, Adebayor will arrive and another player or two. But for now, we look forwards with what we definitely know to have in Lilywhite.

Couple of things here to discuss then.

Firstly, patience. Without it we're doomed (I'm being over-dramatic because we don't do things by half measures). It's going to be bad enough to have Redknapp's soundbites and the media's agenda on our back - let's not meltdown early doors. A lot being discussed about how we've massively cocked-up by not getting all our business done before the first game of the season and how we could lose several points like we did against the Manc sides. Except this season is not in any way comparable to the last. We have a new coach, therefore all the prep work and training ethics will take time (hopefully not too much time) to bed in. There's so much you can get out of pre-season. It's also not comparable because Villas-Boas is unlikely to start a player equivalents to Niko in the middle of the park and leave us beyond light-weight in a key position.

Positivity is the key on and off the pitch. VB will hopefully not fully commit to the high-line set-up (mainly because we still don't have a keeper that can play it). I think the main difference I'm hoping to see is the player instructions and how the team push up, pressure and pass the ball. What type of tempo we'll be playing with and how we counter attack. For example, will Bale stay on the left, swap wings, roam? How will Sig or vdV fit into the hole behind the lone forward? How will that lone forward link in with the midfield? No Adebayor (not yet, any day now), who was superb at dropping deep and holding the ball up. We've got Defoe, altogether a different type of forward, not as complete and robust as Adebayor and for some arguably not a long term first team choice (has he ever been that?). Still he's one with confidence after his England goal. Kane will be on the bench. That more or less illustrates the work required for the next couple of weeks.

Plenty of questions then, although it is only the first game and it is away at a place where we traditionally don't get too much from. It's going to make great viewing. That goes without say. It's Spurs.

So how should we shape up for it?

Defence selects itself with Brad, Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen and Benny. Sandro (or Livermore) as holding midfielder alongside either Livermore or Tom Huddlestone (as a replacement of sorts for Modric). He's not a like for like replacement obviously but he's got a range of passing that will add an offensive touch to our player in what would otherwise be a pedestrian central midfield. No Luka to recycle possession so Tom will give us another type of dimension to our play. Alternatives? Jenas? I won't go there. Of course, there's a chance Sandro won't play as his pre-season consisted of a silver medal and not much training field work with the gaffer. But his quality should be enough to allow him to 'get stuck in' for the shirt. Livermore can stake a claim off the back of last season's mature performances (on occasions) and his England call up. Would still opt for Sandro.

The three players sitting behind the forward will be Lennon and Bale on the wings and either van der Vaart or Sig spearheading the threesome. Perhaps for continuation of familiarity, he'll opt for Rafa. Will have plenty of work to do, supporting Defoe. The good thing here is, both Rafa and Sig are not goal shy players and are sweet at positioning and finishing.

The rest, the flow and pace of the side, the movement...that's for us to sit back and be entertained with. Either way or draw, I'll be getting smashed afterwards.

Enjoy your Saturday.





Follow me on Twitter @Spooky23



What makes Tottenham the club we are is personified by our style of play. There were moments even when we were abject (Gross), ordinary (Graham) or just plain ridiculous (Ardiles) where you could still see our traditions shine through the dark brooding thundery clouds. We like to play football. ‘Attractive and entertaining’ is how it’s usually labelled. Arthur Rowe, innovator, redefining the game and giving football push and run. Bill Nicholson with a side that won the title in black and white with elegance and flair and power and yet will probably still be revered long after other Technicolor and HD teams are long forgotten. We've witnessed a dip or two but we’ve still managed to add our ribbons to silverware in each decade since the 1950s. Jack Jones and wife of Morton Cadman would be proud. But more importantly, we’ve held onto our ethos, even if at times we’ve done so with the tips of our fingers, in the absence of a hearty grip. We are Tottenham because we like to do things in style and with a flourish.

What we’ve lacked on so many occasions in the past is a spine. A backbone. A growl of tenacity. It’s been a culture of comfort, with pillow fights and daydreams rather than looking into the eyes of a Balrog in the Mines of Moria muttering 'come at me bro'. We’ve had our echoes of glory but the harsh reality is that for a long time competing to become one of the elite was beyond our reach. The intent to play was there but the execution has mostly resembled a guillotine with feathers instead of a razor sharp blade. Flattered to deceive, delusions of grandeur, misplaced expectations and confused entitlement has left us with the unwanted pretenders tag. A tag that’s sometimes been undeserving because pretenders don’t sit in mid-table mediocrity. But times have changed.

In terms of upholding traditions and aspiring to play the game in the way the likes of Rowe and Nicholson would love to see it played, we've always aspired to such glory but to be truly glorious you have to be more than just a pretty footballing team. You need fortitude and belief. Even hard boiled grit and intent, the type that is befitting a true contender, is still not enough if you can’t see out the execution and chop the heads off the opposition without an ounce of remorse.

We've had plenty of mediocre days where our hearts were bigger than our brains and we dreamt of impossible dreams but came nowhere near fulfilling them. We’re not that football club any more. Sorry, we are. We still dream, but they're far more lucid. Our awakening is upon us. Times have changed. We’re most definitely not comparable to any of the sides that languished during long spells in the 90s and early 00s. Those particular sides from the past, they have no actual relevance to us carving out a sparkling new future. They were teams that were mismatched, broken. We've outgrown that particular anchor. Their problems, their issues, they belong in the past. They're not comparable to any of the new challenges ahead of us so we shouldn't concern ourselves with inheriting them.

However, the immediate past, of this current side, is important. We're working our way through a learning curve, evolving the current squad. The days of Rowe, Nicholson, Burkinshaw, Pleat (87) along with Jol's side are simply examples of us upholding our traditions with substance. Something Redknapp picked up and Villas-Boas will seek to continue.

We know we have intent and the ability but we under-performed last season when considering the projected potential of the current side. We failed because we’ve not quite mastered that last level of the playing field. The one that when reached sees you move onto the next tier where experience of success allows you to grow stronger. You win a title, you understand what it means to win a title so next time you’re prepared for it because you’ve already fought through the fight. If you missed out that first time you’ll still be prepared for the next battle because the mistakes made will make you stronger. In our case, titles are not in our sight just yet. But if we wish to push on we can look to the immediate past to improve the immediate future. Titles are not in our sight and yet for one brief moment last season, if it wasn't for an inch or two...

We still need to jump from that last level onto that next tier. We didn’t attempt the jump last time of asking, we bottled out of it, lucked out too, in the run up.

Belief and desire, it’s an absolute given at this level. For us, it's no longer about attaining that because without it we won’t be where we are today. In a solid position. One that Villas-Boas understands and one that is appreciated with the work achieved by our previous coach. Our football will hopefully become a more robust beast under VB. Shrewd, measured and disciplined. Players will need to raise their game so that the team can rise to the occasion and execute the opposition. Leaving us with a clear run up to make that jump.

Intensity. Relentless intensity.

We have to be bullish and kill teams off. We also have to be assassins, last men standing, when least expected. This is something we've seen in recent times, mugging teams. Not playing very well but coming away with all three points. But what is missing is that drive and committed focus to keep that instinct going from the first game to the last. It's not an easy task and last season was a harsh lesson, a reminder that we have to improve. A winning mentality is one thing, but one that is aggressive and progressive and punishing is the difference between fourth spot and first place. That's where the coach truly earns his keep, with guidance and balance.

All the basic foundation work is done. Our away record is decent, one key thing you can compare to those darker days because we are performing with consistency and confidence on our travels. Our home form also retains strength. But it comes back to that extra edge, that extra something, to really push us onwards...we still need more.

Tottenham have rarely been cut-throat killers. We’ve turned it on and brushed teams aside but we can still choke up with indecisiveness. That cutting edge, tactically (to change a game) via the bench and projected onto the players on the pitch is an area that we have displayed evolution that compliments the squad at our disposal. But it's not perfect. And at times it's suffered, it's been stale and unimaginative. That extra edge can only be birthed from the failed attempts that come before it. Our mistakes, our shortcomings from last season are sacrifices that have to make us stronger. Otherwise our evolution stagnates.

Villas-Boas will only be as good as the players are in translating his instructions. With better players alongside our best players improving further, we'll find that extra edge. We were very good under Harry Redknapp but when we were found wanting it was because we had no answers to some of the questions being posed. We lacked depth, physically and mentally.

If we’re going to improve and impose ourselves on the league, more so than last term and in a more sustained style we’ll have to want it more than the next team, at all times, training pitch and on field. We're going to have to get it right off the pitch, with transfers, before we can really shape up for the battle on it. That much maligned conundrum, the search for a striker or two, will be most telling once the season starts. It's a defining moment that will play out between now and the end of the transfer window.

A lack of focus and astuteness cost us dearly but equally so did the simple fact that as good as our team was on its day and as good as we looked on paper, from one man to the next in our starting eleven we didn’t pack enough punch and fizzled out when it mattered most.

This is as good as we’ve had it for a long time, no argument there, but that is no accolade. It's no historic page in the next edition of The Opus. It’s no badge of honour. It's not a piece of silverware. It's just a factual statement based on league performance and statistics. It’s just an obstacle we’ve found our way through. It's not tangible history defining success. It's simply a pin in a wall chart chronicling our progress. Stop for the acclaim and you’ll stop yourself moving onto the next challenge.

So onto the next one we march. And we don't look back.



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...





"Tottenham last year played magnificent attacking football," Villas-Boas said. "We want to keep that exactly as it stands, to take it into the pitch, but training in a different way. We would like to be a team that has speed in possession and different combinations, a team that looks to the counterattack in a very aggressive way. We'll have to make sure we continue to do exactly that like we have in the past."

"We're trying to continue with the same system that Tottenham played most of the time last year. It's a system that benefits Rafa and [new signing Gylfi] Sigurdsson as the two players competing for that role behind the striker."

No major tactical reshuffle in terms of set formation. 4411 with added shine for the short term with a long term ambition to perhaps mould the team into a more traditional 433 that Villas-Boas has a preference for, shifting to a combative 4231 (two holding midfielders). Adaptive formations is something we're about to become accustomed to. The way the team shapes up when not in possession is equally pivotal for strengthening the basics, such as winning the ball back and organised defending when placed under pressure. In our case, hopefully plenty of hassle, pressure and quick feet to work it from box to box.

Really looking forward to see how quickly we mature. Our players will adapt comfortably I'm sure. We've got the confidence, we just need the intelligence to drive us forward, to know when to change gear and run over our opponents. More Death Race than Herbie goes bananas. We've displayed enough refined grit in the past couple of seasons to allow for further evolution.

I love the line: counterattack in a very aggressive way

Love the word 'aggressive'. Aggressive hints at 'ruthless' and 'punishing' football to complement the flair and fancy stuff. Have we been aggressive in recent years? On occasions sure, and in terms of individualistic mannerisms (i.e. Bale), yes (when not lost roaming through the middle) but aggressive can hardly be used as a signature to our weekly performances and it's not been evident when we've failed to penetrate deep defending from the opposition (although guile is the prefered choice when breaking down a team that parks the bus - you can hardly counter attack a wall that doesn't move). We are definitely more bullish than we've ever been. We just need an edge to our game, that extra dimension which has yet to be fully tapped. Always felt our counter-attacking style specifically is better described (by myself with ample dramatics) as fast fluid elegance that can pack a punch rather than sheer brutality in finish. We need to be aggressive in tempo as well as the counter.

Brings me nicely onto the next blog article about intensity.



More Hot Spurts


This is the best team you’ve ever played for

This is how things have panned out so far this summer. A player is linked. We’re then told by an assortment of sources that he’s about to sign, there’s a deafening silence whilst the same news sources repeat the same story but with different headlines, followed by another silent moment before he does actually sign . We then have to wait an extra few days for his medical meaning it’s still not actually official. Then an additional two days for Spurs to catch up and officially declare it’s done and dusted. Looks like we’re about to dance the same jig, to the tune that saw Sig and Vert skip into N17 gleefully...this time a not so old friend returning on a more permanent basis. Adebayor is set to sign. I think.  £5M / £6M fee and apparently a wage-structure busting pay packet (or perhaps a lump sum signing on fee), who knows? Levy does, whilst the rest of us continue to scratch chins waiting to find out how we’ve managed to pay him 100k + per week. Because even though we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes we’re still going to base our analysis on rumours.

I’ll stop dancing that jig if it turns out we’ve got a bottomless pit and can now afford to pay the tax on behalf of the players we pick out for preferential treatment. For now, I’m hoping the player can return and improve on his performances from last season which were more than decent. He scored a fair few, assisted marvellously and fitted into the style of play – a team player not an individual dependent on everyone else to carry him around. Okay, so he did mis-fire, was unlucky with disallowed goals and did not get half the support in the pen box he should have got. But all these tactical deficiencies we hope to see corrected in the next year. Now he’s on a permanent contract for us, he’ll have to excel. I don’t buy into the lazy dysfunctional version of Adebayor and I’m certain neither has our chairman. There’s no culture of comfort at Spurs these days. That counts for something and should not be undervalued.

Pie in the sky

So Everton are supposedly on the verge of resigning Stephen Pienaar. Told you so. Yeah, that’s right, I’m coming across all smug because the one time I decide to share some info it pans out exactly how I told it. What? What? Come at me bro, I can do ITK. Yeah, what? In fact anyone can. Especially black cab drivers in London who might say pick up a chairman of a football club and end up being told the dramatic story of how a player left a club for the riches on offer, desperate to do so only to then find himself wanting to escape from the hellish reality and return back to his former club. Bill Kenwright painted this exact picture months back, explaining that money rules the brains of footballers and there is simply no competition when it comes to the top four or five clubs signing the best the rest have. The irony with Pienaar, and it’s common knowledge based on just following Spurs last season, is that Harry didn’t want him and didn’t really know what to do with him. A Levy signing, and yet apparently we’re about to make a profit on him if we do sell him back (probably not really when you consider wages spent) but still...only Tottenham can make a mountain out of a mole hill and then build a rabbit hutch in it's place (that isn't meant to make any sense much like this transfer saga).

Midfield Merry-go-round

We’re still waiting to see which club wins the race for Luka. After Villas-Boas revealed its down to which the one that meets our valuation of the player, we can only wait and see if that club is Real Madrid and the fee is £35M - £40M. Because let’s face it, that’s the best possible scenario. Luka goes abroad, we get a massive wedge of cash to go loopy with. The suggestions continue to persist that he’s definitely on the way to La Liga so the questions are:

a)     Do Madrid have the money?

b)     Do they need to lighten their squad first to make room for him?

Yes and probably.

Once it’s done then we sign Joao Moutinho. Easy right?

Armada strikes

We are (according to the press over in Spain) interested and willing to meet the buyout clause for Atlético Madrid’s  Adrián López Álvarez whilst the ITK community persist with the dream of being rocked by Falcao. The latter is brilliant and prolific and possibly out of our league (in the kindest way possible, he will fancy himself as Champions League pedigree and will cost an absolute bomb to the tune of £40M). Adrián is a couple of years younger and will be considerable cheaper (at just under half the price). I think someone has gotten wind of our inclination to spend and are trying to drum up some business and hype for their clients. Those pesky footie agents. When Villas-Boas left Porto he was instantly linked with returning to his former club to steal Falcao away for an alleged £26M (release clause). Then the player was cited at £80M. An obvious reconnection the world of fantasy. I'm assuming he's got a new contract and a new release clause thesedays. So...Strurridge anyone?

Rafa isn’t going to take a bite out of the Hamburg

He’s leaving. He’s not. It’s because of his wife. Wife denies it on Twitter. Back and forth, it won’t go away. But yesterday the player said he is happy at Spurs and doesn’t want to leave. That’s not to say it’s completely his decision but I’m hoping we do keep him. If anything because he loves it against the Woolwich. VB wants to challenge on all fronts? If he’s serious we need depth and we need quality and Rafa is an outstanding player. He might suffer from bouts of inconsistency, fitness issues but the words ‘galvanise’ and ‘talismanic’ were made for him. Belief is such an important commodity and he has it in abundance.  

Fryers is hot property

Apparently he's left Man Utd and left Fergie fuming and is on his way to Spurs. Utd wanted £6M for him (supporters I've spoken to don't rate him at that price) and we'll end up paying considerably less. Hence the fuming. Although the fuming is more likely related to the mini-exodus of Utd yoof that have recently moved on from the club. Fryers is nineteen, plays left back and centre-back. Did I mention Fergie is fuming? Probably worth signing him just for that.

Walking tall

Loved Kyle Walker’s attitude, talking about the changes at Spurs and the ambition to improve as an individual and as a collective. Again I ask, where is the player revolt? Also loving Jan Vertonghen's comments on the 'perfect fit' in relation to Villas-Boas pressure and possession football and being at Tottenham. Nice feeling that, players wanting to play for the shirt.That's something that at times is undervalued by us. May as well enjoy it when we've got it.



Welcome to the brave new world

How utterly refreshing. After four years of The Harry Redknapp Show it almost feels surreal that we have someone that is humble and concise with their answers. Some that is representative of the club (‘we’) and not a brand name. Villas-Boas might have had a voice that could grate cheese (thank you British summer time), but he said all the right things. Nothing overly dramatic, just to the point, every time. Loved his ‘much more emotional warmth in this club’ comment. A dig at Chelsea, but equally so a reassuring nod of approval towards us. Okay, so he’s hardly going to say anything negative during his first couple of interviews (one with Tottenham for the website the other with the press) but it’s a comfort to hear honesty without the constraints of cheap soundbites, translators and that travelcard.

All this hype about player revolts and lack of respect, just b*llsh*t based on assumptions of what happened in West London and the obsession with the former man at the helm. Interestingly, Villas-Boas did claim some credit and did cite their players as ‘magnificent’. I’m wondering how much of that was perhaps PR to avoid anything too controversial – although the media have latched onto the fact that he stated he wasn’t allowed to complete the work he started there. Maybe a dash of ego and not PR. Although a good point was made that Villas-Boas can sometimes come across as a little arrogant but this might be more to do with English not being his first language. I’m sure he wasn’t claiming the FA Cup and Champions League, although if anyone is going to claim the latter it will be the Gods.

In comparison to the emotional warmth at Spurs, all this probably alludes to the fact at Chelsea it was nothing but ego and alpha-males thumping their chests and claiming territory. That’s not to say everyone in Lilywhite will adjust with ease to a new era of football methodology in terms of training, preparation and tactics. But those hungry to achieve more will up their game to match the ambitions of our new head coach.

It’s no secret that although Redknapp did display on occasions some shrewdness on the pitch, it wasn’t consistent. And on the training pitch, as famously suggested by van der Vaart, we didn’t spend too much time with the chalkboards.

Villas-Boas also said something that I’ve been echoing since before he joined and that was, in terms of the team, aside from having to make one or two key signings, there isn’t too much to tweak or change. Not drastically. There is no chairman agenda to dismantle and rebuild. VB stated it would be wrong to undo the work Redknapp achieved. We need to progress it.

Player instructions and formation will go through an evolution but this will be gradual and dependent on how our players adapt. If there’s belief it shouldn’t be too much of a task. We’ve got very capable footballers that will be able to improve on their form because of how Villas-Boas approaches the game. He’s a tactician, he’ll organise from training to diet to on field positioning. He’ll innovate. Redknapp’s style was about man-management and inspiring. We’ll still need some of those basics to bring it altogether. Under Harry our away form was birthed (non-existent for so many years). Possibly his greatest achievement at Spurs was to get us working hard, grafting as a unit away from the Lane. It’s key we continue this as our home form has been strong for several years now. An area where VB will look at improving is the struggles we had when sides parked the bus against us.

Talking of inspiring and hard work, we’ve got Steffen Freund on-board. Assistant head coach. If you take previous into account, as a player, Freund was hardly the most polished. But his cult status at Spurs (he’s a hall of famer) remains legendary. Passionate, relentless – so much so synonymous with the club he’s made a few appearances in the stands wearing our colours. He’s a character with character. I guess it’s easy to assume that as a coach, this is what he’ll offer. When Villas-Boas is squatting, thinking on the touchline Freund will be screaming and shouting at the players – pumping them up. I’m sure that is a given but he’s credentials as a coach should probably not be ignored. In other words, I don’t think we’re getting a one-dimensional addition to the coaching staff. He’s not going to be a gimmick.

Assistant head coach of the Germany U-20 team, assistant to Berti Vogts (Nigeria), assistant to Frank Engel (U-20 Germany), manager U-16 Germany, manager U-17 Germany (with impressive finishes in Euro and World Cups)  then back with the U-16 squad. Youth football is not comparable to the Premier League but he’s experienced and considering it’s Germany they’re hardly going to show commitment and confidence in anyone other than a coach they rate and trust. Freund might just be a masterstroke.

Other footnotes.

Luka Modric. Villa-Boas confirming what we all knew but with fine clarity. The club, from the sounds of it, have one or two interested parties and if the right offer is made then the player will be allowed to leave. Modric, apparently, understands the clubs stance on valuation. Also, the fact he’s in a long term contract means anything silly (transfer request) is unlikely. We’ll see if Levy is playing games here with perhaps another masterful move to retain Luka’s services (again). But I don’t think that will happen. He’ll price him out of a move to another English club. That’s as good as we can hope for.

As for talk on title challenges. Easy to misquote or take out of context. I took this to simply be a continuation of last season when, at one point in the season many (outside of Spurs too) admitted we were in the race. Okay, so only momentarily in the race, but still in it. Just need that gentle push of belief and strength and there’s no reason why we can’t get involved again. This time, sustaining it. This is not my expectation, but this is the exact ilk of speak I want to hear from our coach. No ambiguity. Just aim high. What’s the point of  aiming any lower?

Also impressive is the new training centre in Enfield. Looks absolutely brilliant. Again, would have been completely wasted on Harry Redknapp and his old skool thinking. Brad Fridel should also get a mention for his attitude. Very upfront about Spurs and the appointment of Villas-Boas (whilst speaking on radio) and also the fact that he understands and is prepared to perhaps sit on the bench to make way for a more youthful long term goalkeeper. Hugo Lloris is still in talks with Spurs (although it’s being downplayed). His club have to sell this summer and Tottenham remain the most likely destination. I guess, considering Brad’s age, it’s not that difficult to admit you might have to play second fiddle but it was good to hear a player speak with such grace and honesty.