mehstg's thfc a-z of 2002

This article originally appeared in MEHSTG Vol. 2. Issue 30 (December 2002)

A is for Anderton. Absent for injury since the start of the new season, he is just coming back Ö but is it just in time to go? Rumours suggest he might be heading north to Leeds, but he is one of Hodís favourites and might be retained unless we need to trade him in a swap deal.
A is also for Acimovic. Milenko has been drip fed some time on the pitch to get him used to the English game. He looks skillful, has a delightful touch and takes a tackle as well as any Arsenal number 3 !!

A is also for Academy and Abridge. Not perhaps as straightforward as it might seem, with locals kicking up about the development, but it has been sensitively designed, although the postcard campaign for fans to write to the local council was another example of the club using the fans to suit their own purposes without any concession the other way.

B   is for Blondel. A talent in the making, but will the way Spurs are handling him mean that we see the benefits of his skills ?? Some time on the pitch would help and sending him to Bradford on loan will only add to his sense of isolation. I donít want to heap pressure on the young boyís shoulders, but Jonathan can prove to be our new Gazza. Of course, he needs bringing on slowly, but he needs to know that he has a future at Spurs.

is for Cash. Where is it ?? Is there enough in January for replenishing the team ?? Will any be recouped by any outgoings ??

C   is also for Cardiff. Wet, cold, indoors and ultimately depressing.

D is for Deano. Having paid big bucks for the big man, he had a lot to live up to. Defensive injuries caused a regular change in personnel last season, but has shown the reason Glenn was so keen to bring Richards to White Hart Lane in his performances this season.

E   is for Etherington. He moaned that he wasnít getting a look in, then did and showed he can produce performances that trouble opponents, but has been sidelined as players out-muscle him. Needs to beef up and make it more difficult for markers to get the ball off him. Also, the accuracy of his crossing needs to be more spot on.

F is for Freund. Cult hero and non-goal scorer, his time spent missing from action cost Spurs dear after Christmas. Getting knocked out of the team in the Worthington Cup Semi Final first leg, it was probably the reason we didnít go on to win that trophy. He is a cornerstone of the midfield as we lack another player like him in the squad.

G   is for ground. Will it be a new one at a different site or an expanded White Hart Lane ?? The rumours have been circulating since the Picketts Lock National Athletics stadium fiasco bit the dust, but the planning permission is still in place for that site and it is the nearest available location for a ground to the current site. With new statements from Levy about the lack of urgency from government, perhaps a move away is nearer than we think.

G   is also for Gardner. Let's hope that this will be his last big injury and that he can settle into a slot that will see him bloom into the player we know he can become.

H   is for Hoddle. Some good decisions have been countered by some bizarre ones. He still delights in playing players out of position rather than bring in a specialist in that slot and his use of substitutes has got better, but could still improve. He is instilling the necessity to hold on to the ball, which often costs the team and the desire to play good football is there, even if it is not in evidence every time out. The need to make sure that the players are aware that they have to fight for the right to play their own game is one that needs to be drummed home.

I is for Iversen. We are all still waiting for Steffen to fulfil his potential. He is mobile, can score goals, although probably not as regularly as we would like and has a lot of energy. On the flipside, he gets injured too much, misses chances for fun and looks uncoordinated. Many of his problems stem from being played, in his early Spurs career, when he was carrying injuries. Should Spurs take the opportunity to cash in on him before itís too late ??

I  is also for Injuries that still plague the club. Some are healing nicely, but some players seem to be hit by one injury after another.

J is for Johnnie Jackson. Our young defender/midfielder has been shipped out to get experience with lowly Swindon Town, hopefully to get him match hardened for the Premiership. Anyone who has seen him in the reserves will tell you that the boy has great potential, which we hope he will realise in our first team.

K is for Keano. £7 million well spent. Not the whole answer to our scoring problems, but a player who has the ability and confidence to try that something different and change a game. Hereís to a long residence at White Hart Lane and many fine performances to come.

K is for Kasey Keller. A revelation since replacing Sullivan and a keeper who you can have faith in. Once appeared dodgy with free-kicks, but has grown in confidence since he has been the number one for Spurs.

is for Ledley. Missed at the beginning of this season, he has slipped back into the side quickly and looks the part in the middle of defence. May be moved up the pitch if Freund gets injured (or retires looking further ahead) and would probably be a success there too.
is also for Les, who might be on the way out after missing a number of games and with a younger partner needed for Robbie Keane to build an understanding with over the next few years.

M  is for Morientes. He was the one that Glenn seemed to want in the summer, but didnít get. Will he be the subject of another attempt in January ?? Or has Hoddle moved on to other targets ??

N   is for next season. Which is what we have constantly been waiting for. The transitional seasons we have gone through for the last decade or more should be behind us, as the team moves forward. Of course that will need money (see C).

O    is for Opportunities. Which Tottenham must take if they are to maintain a serious challenge near the top of the table. Our goals to shots ratio is probably not one of the highest and therefore, another forward Ė this time a goal-poacher Ė is needed to finish off the flowing moves that Glenn tries to get the team to produce.

  is for Portsmouth, who might help us out by taking Sherwood and Ferdinand off our hands.

Q    is for Queue. Especially a telephone one for the ticket office. While some things appear to have improved, getting through on the phone lines for tickets when they go on sale has not. People will not go through this procedure time after time, so the need for an improved ticketing sales service and the need for more seats to satisfy demand should be uppermost in the club's thinking about off field activities.

R   is for Redknapp. The doubts about his fitness have been partially assuaged, but he does miss games here and there, which I think we all accepted when he signed. He brings something different to our midfield and on a good day, can pass like Hoddle. His availability will be limited, but he does give value to the side when he plays. And heís got a gorgeous wife.

R   is also for Rebrov. Surely he must be one of the highest profile players in the Premier Reserve League (although probably not the highest paid, as Winston Bogarde manages a few appearances for Chelsea reserves, but Bosnich doesn't).

S    is for Sheringham. Coming to the end of his career, Ted appears to be unable to maintain the previous high standard of performance he produced, but on his day, he can still be a distinct advantage to the team. Has got a few goals and will need to mentor Keano until a more youthful partner is recruited.

  is also for Sherwood. He has had the wrath of Hod unleashed on him for his pre-season comments about the manager. His performances are now a shadow of what they were and the new breed (Ricketts and Blondel) are ready to take over.

T    is for Tottenham. Have we got them back ?? Well, not quite, but we are getting there. Hopefully, Glenn will have the time and money to get Spurs back to the top of the game, but the fans will have to be patient as there will still be ups and downs on the route to success.

U is for the unexpected. Losing in the Worthington Cup Final. Losing in the Worthington Cup to Burnley. Wanting to sign Rivaldo. Signing Robbie Keane when Hoddle didn't want him (allegedly). Being so near the top of the Premier League without playing that well. Whatever next ????

is for value. Is it what we are getting from our season tickets ?? The usual big name transfer rumours were put in position just before renewal time to make us think we would be seeing Rivaldo and Morientes at the Lane (did they really think we would believe that ?) and then we were given two "free" Cup vouchers !! Which if you didn't use, wouldn't be refunded !! But the season ticket price did not increase Ö you just got less for your money. Not Value For Money is it ??

W is for Worthington Cup. Blackburn won it. We didnít. If we had turned up, we would have !! It meant another year (at least) before European football returns to the Lane.

is for excitement, which we hope there will be a lot of in 2003 !! Even some of the pre-Christmas Spurs of 2001 would do.

is also for ex-players, which we hope a few of the large wage-earners who no longer contribute to the first team will soon be.

is for Yes !! Signing a forward after all these years. All we need for Christmas is another one !!

is also for youth. Maybe they will get a chance in the first team one day. There are some talented young players in the reserves and Under-19s, but their path to the first team is being clogged by those who play no part in the first team squad and those who are getting on in years. The next generation need to be integrated to get the benefit of the experience of the older players and to put some fresh legs into the side to help continue the good start we have made to the season.

is for Ziege. Christian has been hit by injury and often looks like he would rather be strolling around the Renaissance squares of Milan. However, on his day, he is a great provider and a very good attacking force. If only he could be bothered to defend a bit more often !!

Burton Coggles

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