arrival of the postiga

26.6.2003

Yesterday's signing of Helder Postiga fulfilled the four major criteria of any successful close season signing ... 
EXCITING
YOUNG
MEDITERRANEAN
STRIKER

This morning's press conference filled me with all the pre-season optimism (which I'd been desperately searching for; turns out, it was down the back of the sofa all the time) that such signings fuel. It certainly had the desired effect on me, and I assume, just about every Spurs fan watching.

In a season where, on occasions, Glenn has got it so wrong. This time I think he's got it spectacularly right. 

If ever there was a "Spurs type of player" waiting to be signed, Helder Postiga seems to be it. Not only is he the type of player we've been crying out for, he also (apparently) supported Spurs as a boy. I'd like to think that our high profile UEFA Cup success in 1984 is still reaping dividends, even though he would've only been TWO, so that doesn't really work. One has to assume that the Klinsmann/Famous 5 era (although it doesn't seem THAT long ago, does it?) certainly had its lasting effect on a certain 12-year old Portuguese boy. 

Glenn says he has everything, and I suppose you have to believe him. Although Glenn also seems to think Perry is worthy of a place in the team, so where do you start to suspend belief?

Postiga certainly seems to be a "Solskjaer" type of player, apart from looking so young, erm 'cos he IS so young, he's prolific, and also looks like he's got a ruthless streak. Which you would obviously need to force your way into a Treble winning Porto team, and subsequent international side. Having said that, thankfully, he doesn't seem to carry that "Gooner arrogance" which could also be expected from one who has achieved so much, so young.

I think Glenn really has thought long and hard about not only the type of player he wants, but the type of personality he wants too. Let's be honest, the attitudes of players like Sherwood and Sheringham last season did little or nothing to ease the season merrily along, did it ? I feel the time was right to get rid of such negativity within the club. Incidentally, if Teddy does end up joining Sherwood on the South coast, they'll have a lovely little clique of anti-Hoddle going on down there, won't they ? I just hope Harry and Jamie Redknapp's relationship doesn't suffer as a result ! 

Glenn must now follow this up with two, maybe three other signings, and, almost as importantly, get rid of players we don't need. I don't really see the likes of Thatcher, Perry and Doherty aiding our inevitable(!) push for Europe next season, and I get the distinct impression that Glenn knows whom he should be looking to offload now.

Having said that, I might have been a little hasty about Doherty. His close season decision to concentrate on his defensive role at the club, was as much an admission of his obvious striking deficiencies. This honesty must be admired.

The bloke is NOT a striker. He's a decent squad player at best . A centre back who could be useful at set pieces and "last minute forays forward." I'm just glad he's admitted it to himself. So, maybe it would be worth keeping him around, after all. (Cue transfer to Cardiff)

Thatcher and Perry on the other hand can join their old mates up at Milton Keynes for all I care. Sullivan apart (just about), the ex-Wimbledon brigade (I include Leonhardsen in that too) we have dabbled with in recent years, have never convinced me (Ed - Don't forget Scales there Matthew). I hope that Glenn has learnt from this, and has now realised how ridiculous the concept of going for "injury prone" Carl Cort was.

I assume Steve Carr is so excited about the Postiga signing, that he at least gives it another season here, just to see what happens. Hopefully, that will put paid to any Carl Cort swapsie ideas too! (Cue Carr to Newcastle/Carl Cort swap deal!)

Spurs fans have suffered recently for maintaining their "ideal" about what it means to support Tottenham, the type of player we expect here, and the type of football we should play. Of course winning has always been the primary objective, but to win with style is surely what it has always meant to be "Spurs." This pursuit of perfection has of course put paid to any realistic hopes we've had of any sustained success. It's also made us a constant source of amusement among fans of other clubs, at our refusal to be "realistic" about the "Spurs we have now," and the "Spurs we had then." 

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean to say we can't dream. Now we have a true Tottenham player on whom we can pin those dreams. 

You don't have to think too long and hard about some of the "sigh-nings"(sic) we've made over recent years that just aren't Tottenham. We all know the types of player I mean. Thankfully, Glenn is starting to turn that around. HE knows exactly the type of player we crave for at the club, and is finally doing something about it. Incidentally, I fully expect Jonathan Blondel to come of age next season too. (Mind you, whether it's with us remains to be seen. But isn't that always the way with the "Spurs we have now?" Who says we suffer from delusions of grandeur? Realism is the watchword here!)

The twin strike force of Robbie Keane and Helder Postiga is something from which dreams are made. We never got to see what Clive Allen and Gary Lineker would've done in the same Spurs team; we might be about to find out what the early twenties, modern day equivalent might achieve. Is that too much expectation on such young shoulders ?

Of course, the other glaring omission I've made as to why this is such a perfect signing for Spurs, is that his name fits into the old "Jose Dominguez jazz standard"; get this.

"MYYYYYY NAAAAAAME I S HELDER POSTIGA
I AM PORTUGEUSE-A
AND PLAY FOR THE BEST TEAM AROUND (TOTT-ENHAM) 
WHEN I WALK DOWN THE STREET, ALL THE PEOPLE I MEET, THEY SAY
"HEL-DER; WHAT'S YER NAME?"
MYYYYYY NAAAAAAME IS ..." 
Feel free to start without me!

The growing swell of optimism starts here; ole!

MAY THE SPURS BE WITH YOU.

Matthew Lyons

 

27.6.2003

Funnily enough, on Wednesday 26th June, I had to travel into London and so decided to do the trip partly by car and partly by train.  By doing so, I would be able to pick up my season tickets on the way home.

Little did I realise that it would coincide with the club's signing of Helder Postiga and that the press conference would be held the very morning of my journey.

As I drove past the Paxton Road, I saw the BT satellite van ready to broadcast the news from the pres conference to the waiting world.  As I walked back from the Park Lane, I was in two minds whether to try and blag my way in rather than attend a boring meeting in town.  My dedication to work (!!) got the better of me and I was off to White Hart Lane station to catch the Liverpool Street train, but looked longingly back at the metal structure of the roof and wondered what would be going on below it in White's a half an hour later.

Would there be the usual stuff about young, promising player; real coup for the club to bring him to White Hart Lane; he will make a real difference to the team, etc, etc ?  Well, yes there was all that, but there was some sensible reasoning behind his transfer.

Firstly, Hoddle had been on his trail for 14 months and obviously believes that he can link up with Robbie Keane, who has not had a true striking partner up until now.  He seems to think Helder will take over Teddy's role, but hopefully a bit further up the pitch than the Pompey bound ex-Spur.  His attributes will need to complement those of Keane and from all that was said, it appears he fits the bill exactly.  A hot tempered striker ... when was the last time we had one of those ??  Archibald I would suggest.  Lineker and Allen both too nice.  Klinsmann - as brave as they come, but not a really nasty edge to his game.  Anyone who can get amongst Premiership defenders and wind them up just by how he plays will be interesting to watch.

Secondly, the way the deal is structured.  6.25 million is a lot of money in the current climate, but by paying the bulk of it up front, with the rest over four more years and with more to come if we are successful, it appears that the financial side suited Porto as much as it did us.  At 20, a five year contract leaves him plenty of time to move around if he doesn't get the success he wants at Tottenham.  For Spurs, it works out at about 1.85 million per year ... not bad in this day and age for a player who is used to winning things and has broken into the national side at such a young age.  Hoddle's comparison with Rooney was not ill-judged, as Postiga has more experience than Rooney, but how much would the young Scouser cost if he was on the market ??

Thirdly, there is the fact that the deal was done in private, with the club living up to their claim that the first and only place to receive information on club transfers is the official website.  While we all wan to believe some of the rumours flying around (and ignore others), it is heartening that the club can pull off a transfer like this without the media getting much of a sniff of what was going on.  They should be congratulated on this and we will bear the suspense if they carry on in this manner.

Fourthly, it was Hoddle's intention at this stage in his Spurs managerial career to bring in younger, talented players.  He recognises that there are some already at the club and hinted at the press conference that they might get more of an opportunity this season.  With Helder being one of the most talented players Brazilian World Cup winning coach Big Phil Scolari has seen, he must be the top of the list of such players Glenn wanted.  With Qu Bo in the offing and the news that Spurs are after a 19 year old Celtic striker Craig Beattie, it proves that this is the way he wants to go.  You don't win anything with kids, so Alan Hansen said, but it might mean a bit more effervescence about the team, leading to a more sustained campaign than the last two seasons.  It also means that there has been some quality scouting going on and praise should be due to the club for that.

Finally, there is the fact that Helder is a Spurs fan.  One who chose them for no better reason than he liked the colour of the shirt, but he comes from a Porto mad family, so would have seen the Cup Winners Cup ties with them in 1991-92, when Lineker scored a great goal at the Lane in a 3-0 win, with a 0-0 draw in Portugal seeing us through to the next round.  His allegiance to the club will not be as strong as some who have pulled on the Lilywhite shirt, but then these days, what does that matter.  No player stays anywhere very long, but at least he wanted to come here in the first place.

Whatever the merits of the signing, and we won't be able to assess that for a few years yet, it is a bold one and a well-executed one.  It is not fair to say that the future of the club hinges on one player, but I would posit that the fact that he wanted to be in a Spurs shirt might persuade some others to join him ... especially if we achieve what we have failed to do since 1999-2000 and qualify for Europe.  That might be more important in the modern game than a whole host of other things.

Wyart Lane

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