In the end it was disappointment for a lot of fans except for a minor miracle via the fair play Lottery for the coming Sunday.
But you would have took this from the start of this season, after last year 9th looks very palatable as well as quarter finals in both domestic cups.
As for the Simon Davies departure I think four million is a good price, when you put in the players injuries and form for most of the season personally I am happy, he had two really good games with the Pompey and Villa home games, but so did other players in those aforementioned games.
At the end of the day the season just gone was about the side gelling, we needed this campaign out of the way whatever we achieved or rather not.
Next year will I feel will be different, a stronger team with a few additions and some going the other way, i will be disappointed with the Keane departure as it looks a stonewall certainty that he's definitely moving, in a playing sense how can you put a forward on the bench if he's scoring, especially if Defoe's goal tally has dried up it is obviously more than that though, Club politics come to mind.
So next season with the first full campaign for Jol a 6th place final position, a more solid looking defence and pacier midfield with goals coming from the middle of the park.
The gel is now set, go and get 'em !
I'm afraid I think it's my fault. I mean, it has to be someone's fault. There is no effect without cause, and the fact is that I'm doomed, and everything I touch is doomed. This season has been one of the most painful - perhaps the most painful - since Tel's last season, when a very poor Scum side beat us in the FA Cup Semi at Wembley, and possibly the last time before this season that a Spurs side showed so much promise and ended up with nothing.
What an odd season, though. England's summer in Portugal set the tone. So much promise. So much disappointment. Our capitulation to France in the last few minutes. A certain central defender having a late winner disallowed against Portugal. (Now, the last time that happened to him in a major tournament, he was a Spurs player, and I was doubly gutted. This time, I was gutted for England, but glad that it happened to him. Hurts, doesn't it, Sol, when you feel that you've been cheated ?) Postiga scoring. What was that all about? The mystery of penalties. Another drunken walk back home thinking what could have been, starving hungry, all the takeaways shut except for the drive-thru at McDonalds. The wife and I probably got some odd looks as we stood patiently in line between a Honda Civic and a Mini, but we were too drunk and hungry to care.
Like most close seasons at Spurs, the disappointment of the previous season gave way to hope. A new manager. A team-full of new signings. This could be the year. I doubted it, but I wondered...
I don't get up to the Lane much, coming from the swamp-lands that separate Southampton from Portsmouth, but me and a couple of mates got tickets to the opening game against Liverpool. Ten minutes before kick off we looked down on the pitch, looked at each other, and it was like, where did last season's team go ? Can you imagine how confused someone who hadn't seen a paper all summer would have been. Where's Keller, where's Carr, where's Gardner, oh thank **** for that, Taricco's not playing ... A well earned draw in the sunshine, a cracking atmosphere, a great goal from Defoe, and if you'd said to me, one of those teams will go on to be champions of Europe this season (well, I wouldn't have believed you, being honest, but we looked as good as they did, easily).
Sadly, that being a twelve o-clock kick off, and it being a nice hot day, I don't remember much about it. At one a.m. the next morning the guard woke us up at Poole, the last stop on the line. As if football isn't expensive enough already, the taxi back to the swamp-lands cost us sixty quid. And my wife left me.
Under Santini, things got steadily worse. A home draw against Norwich. A narrow defeat to Pompey. My wife came back. Arsenal looked like they might win the league yet again. I got to see the narrow defeat against Man U. The atmosphere seemed a bit muted. The performance was dull but steady. Would you swap a close 0-1 defeat by a dodgy penalty for being three up at half time and losing by two goals ? It doesn't matter, really. A defeat's a defeat. But for the money that day cost me, Spurs didn't do much to entertain me. And another twelve o'clock kick off. This time we woke up in Fareham. The taxi back was only a tenner.
The death of Sir Bill. Pouring down with rain. Defeat at home to Bolton. Sometimes it's like Spurs are an old dog and someone's just kicking it over and over. I didn't go to the game, but I sat in front of my computer listening to the web link like the sad useless moron I am, and thought of everyone at the game having to file out into the downpour, taking nothing but frustration with them. Why do we do it to ourselves ? I have no idea.
The arrival of Martin Jol Jol Jol. We got up to see the reverse against the Scum. What a strange game. What abysmal defending from us. What great attacking by us. Why do Scum fans only sing when they've got a two goal lead ? Each time we got within a goal of them, they all went graveyard quiet. Why did we gift them so many goals ? Why wasn't Henry flagged offside for the first goal ? We should have had a free kick on the edge of our area moments before that as well, after Reyes pulled one of our players back or dived to try and get a penalty but got away without being booked (it was one of the two, I can't remember now), but oh no, the ref played advantage (to us, on the edge of our area, nice one, ta) our move broke up, they equalised. One one at half time. It was going from bad to worse: Robinson's throw out that hit King and led to the penalty. Twenty five missed tackles on Vieira for the third. That's why we're the champions, sang the Scum. Why ? Because everyone gifts you stupid goals after they've outplayed you ? Defoe's screamer. So many memories. So much Stella Artois. So depressed. So hopeful. And we woke up at the right station. I finished the night with a kebab and a big slobbery kiss for the missus. She said she wished I'd woke up in Poole.
Then came a disgraceful display against Aston Villa. I watched it on the TV around my mate's house. Utterly woeful. Were we going down ? Where would the next win come from ? Er, I can't remember who we beat next, but other than the criminal loss to a very young Liverpool side in the Worthington (is it still called that ?), we went on a good run that, I think, ended the next time I got to the Lane to see us get beat by Chelsea. My mate bought his brother a ticket as an Xmas present and we both got tickets as well. Another twelve o'clock kick off. A close game, they probably didn't deserve to win it, it wasn't a penalty, but a great atmosphere, we had a real go at them, and, as we were in the bit just below where the old shelf used to be, we got to stand the whole game. Brilliant day. Not for my mate, though. He'd paid for two tickets. Then he put quite a big bet on Spurs to win. He was quite a lot of money down. He tried to win it back by betting quite a lot more on Scum to beat Bolton away. Bolton won. The day had cost him hundreds. And just to top his day off, we got so drunk in London Town he forgot his last train left at ten and had to sleep at the station, after having a massive row with his other half on his mobile and then falling out with his brother. I sat watching all this unfold and wondered what we'd done in a previous life to deserve this. Not just me and my mate and his brother. All Spurs fans. Everywhere. Life stinks.
Was it before or after this that Mendes scored from the halfway line ? So much Stella. So many disappointments. So hard to remember. I was proud of the way the players and the manager reacted to that. Can you imagine if Man U had "scored" that goal. Or the Scum ? The world would have come to an end. It was nice to see us just shrug and admit we were happy with the draw. As for Fergie's insistence that his side were denied a penalty straight after, well, do you think that had our "goal" been allowed we'd have let them get in that position straight from the restart, with just under a minute to go ? Well, probably. In fact, knowing Spurs, we'd have most likely lost the game by conceding two or three goals in a matter of seconds.
And no, I never thought those two points would cost us a place in Europe. What cost us a place in Europe was this: home draws against Norwich and Palace and West Brom (six points dropped); away defeats to Southampton, Palace and Fulham (nine points dropped). Had Spurs won these massively winnable games, we'd have had sixty seven points, and would have finished the season in fourth, two points clear of Everton, who we beat at Goodison and thrashed when they came to the Lane.
The rest of the season stuttered after the Chelsea game. Some close wins against teams we should have stuffed in the FA Cup, a stupid loss at St Mary's, and then a great performance at St James' Park where we should have had a draw at least. I knew we were going to lose. I'd got back that day from a week's skiing in Italy, and the slopes that were open had been an ice rink. It was just the way my life was going at the time. I sat stone cold sober all alone in front of the widescreen and listened to commentators talk the usual garbage about what a great pro Shearer was and how he deserved to win the Cup for Newcastle's great fans (who our fans, from the sounds of the telly, sang off the park). (There should be a button you can press that allows you to turn the commentators off and just listen to the crowd, or maybe have one bloke talking and he's only allowed to say the name of the player who's on the ball. Wouldn't that be better than the utter crap most of them talk ?)
The Newcastle game was sad for two reasons. We were out. And whatever happened to Stephen Carr ? I was sorry to hear him booed. I'm not sure I would have booed had I been there. He was a good servant to us, but his heart seemed to leave the club when a certain player went glory hunting with the Scum on a self serving Bosman. Injury or motivation, he never seemed the same player as the one who was one of the few shining lights of the Gunner Graham era. When I saw him make a mistake to concede a late goal in Newcastle's UEFA Cup final defeat, I thought, well Steve, you got the stab at European glory you left us for, and you weren't quite up to the job, mate, were you ? Harsh ? I don't know. He was a very good player once, but too much finger jabbing and shrugging over the past couple of years makes me feel glad we finished above Newcastle. There have been too many players at Spurs over the years who have tried to move on to better things without seeming to question the part they've played in Spurs not being good enough to provide them with the stage they think they deserve. Carr epitomised that for me. A sad parting of the ways.
A hollow league victory over Newcastle. A flirt with qualifying for Europe that culminated with the great win over Villa at the Lane. Now this utterly sums up my life. It's on pay-per-view. I pay to watch it. I sit down to watch it. About a minute in, the picture goes from a sunny, buzzing White Hart Lane, to the entrance of some community centre. There are a couple of old biddies standing outside it as if they're waiting to greet someone. They're mumbling and there's a few coughs and I can hear bird-song. What the **** is going on ? I switch over. I switch back on. Still the community centre. Minutes pass. I think about kicking the telly, but it cost a grand, and the wife would kick me if she saw me abuse a material object. I resort to standing in my living room hitting my head with the remote control and screaming at the general insanity of my life when the picture goes back to White Hart Lane as Keane jumped on Kanoute's back after maybe the most interesting sixty seconds of our season - a possible penalty against us not awarded (and how often does that happen ?) with a lightning break up-field for a Kanoute goal (and how often does that happen ?). Typical.
So we're in the driving seat for Europe. For a week. I knew that we'd lose to Boro. And I knew the last day would end in disappointment. Typically, the wife had planned a weekend away for us that carried a three line whip, and I was marooned with non football watching relatives on the final Sunday. I avoided the scores and watched MOTD "blind" to see Saints relegated and Spurs fall flat. I did watch Fowler line up for the penalty against Boro with my head in my hands thinking, City are going to win, and we're going to fall a couple of goals short of Europe because we couldn't beat Blackburn at home. I was almost relieved when he missed it, but what if this happens ? Liverpool go into the Champions League, City take their place in the UEFA, Spurs miss out on Europe not by a point, but a couple of goals, but win through in the Fair Play draw, only to be told that England's place in the Fair Play draw has been withdrawn to compensate some other country for the loss of their Champions League place to Liverpool. Remember you heard it hear first.
So there goes another season. Good and bad and indifferent all rolled into one. Goodbye to Sir Bill. Good riddance to Santini. Farewell Simon Davies. Not sure what I feel about that one. He frustrated me when he was on the ball, but he could be exciting and he will get better than he has been for us. He seemed happy at the club. He seemed to like Spurs. He didn't cause any trouble (that I know of). He was a very good pro. Now he plays for one of our rivals for a place in Europe. It looks like Keano's on his way as well. Again, I feel very mixed. Had he scored quite easy headers against Chelsea at the Bridge and the Scum at the Library, we'd be in Europe now, four points better off, but you can't score them all and I remember his goal against Brighton in the FA Cup, and there were plenty of times when Robbie made the difference. If he goes, I hope it's to Celtic, and I hope he wins a shed-load up there. He's a very skilful player and he's been great for us, but he's one of those who scores hard ones and misses easy ones, and too often his goals come in bunches and then dry up. I'd still like to see him stay, though. If I could sell on anyone, it would be Kanoute. The bloke has so much natural talent, and if he applied it, he could be up there with Henry. For some reason, he just doesn't seem to want it. Who would I want to see in his place ? I have no idea. I'm a drunkard football fan, not a Premiership manager. It's up to Jol to decide what I want. Whatever happens, whoever leaves and whoever goes, this time next season, I'll be a year closer to the coffin (or in it, nothing's certain) and Spurs will still be Spurs. Whether that's a successful Spurs or a disappointing Spurs remains to be seen, but if you know your history, it's not enough to make your heart go ... , it's enough to tell you that all of our managers since Venables have followed up promising first seasons with disappointing second ones. That's the way Spurs are. (Venables on the other hand, was crap from day one - I still remember standing in the rain at Port Vale, wondering how last years FA Cup finalists had been turned into this years third round mugs - and didn't start to look like he could get it right for Spurs until the second half of the 93 season, just before we sacked him).
Whatever happens, I'll be kissing the wife goodbye and making my way up from the swamplands three or four times, drinking too much, caring too much, and waking up in the wrong station.
Keep the faith? Keep taking the tablets.
Fellow Spurs Fans
After another exciting, embarrassing and eventful season, at least we still had meaningful games to play in the month of May, rather than our season being all over in February.
Highlights for me were Mido's debut (although he is a candidate for "ex Spurs players - "Where are they now ?"), the 0-0 at Chelscum and Mourin-who's subsequent rant at London transport, the 4-3 at Bolton in the Carling Cup after three defeats in the last four, spanking Everton 5-2 and Villa 5-1 and last, but by no means least, Edman's screamer at Liverpool.
Low points were the 4-5 reverse against the Scum (we so nearly had them) and if Davies hadn't screwed that last minute shot wide, it would have been the best game at the Lane for years; throwing away silly points against WBA - twice; Palarse going into overdrive for 20 minutes and doing us 3-0; Selhurst Park for the worst away fans section in the Prem and losing at Boro when we all thought we were off on a European tour ... we still out-sung them though!
Next season: UEFA Cup through the Fair Play league. Robbie Keane playing in Div 1 where he belongs. Robinson still at the Lane. We win games against teams below us in the league. Martin Jol Jol Jol leaves the bong at home on Saturday's so it doesn't take the team 45 minutes to clear their heads. And finally, that we keep improving as a squad of players and we get back to where we were in the 80's, and before anyone says anything, the 60's were before my time.
I'd just like to say
thanks and good luck to Simon Davies. He has been a tireless work horse
for spurs over the last 4 or 5 years and he deserves the best of luck in
all his endeavours.
Back to homepage