|Andre Villas-Boas hit out at the Tottenham crowd
after the Premier League game on Sunday against Hull City for making
it seem like Spurs were playing away. He said that "the group" felt
that there was a negative atmosphere and that the anxiety in the
stadium made it harder to play their football in.
Well, why did he think that was ?
There are a few valid reasons why the crowd were subdued.
Coming off the back of a 0-3 beating at home to West Ham, perhaps some fans thought the team had something to prove. Some fans still have doubts about AVB’s abilities, but even some of those who don’t were bemused by the loss to the Irons.
How, when the team had been so solid at the back, they managed to concede three to the Upton Park side. Not scoring was perhaps a little more understandable, with no recognised forward, the Irons set up to make it more than difficult to break down. And we are seeing lots of teams set up like this against us, with it being a good few years that Spurs have had problems trying to get through packed defences.
Without the aid of an early goal, thus bringing teams out to play a bit, Tottenham struggle and while patience is a virtue in these situations, you want to see the team getting at the opposition, otherwise, the hope (which is always what kills you) isn’t there.
Spurs fans are demanding, not only in results, but also in the way the game is played. The way that Tottenham are set up at the moment does not necessarily play to the strength of pace on the break, as we had done last season. This might change is Aaron Lennon gets fit and in form again, so that AVB has the option of playing him on one flank and Andros Townsend on the other. The slow tempo means that teams have the opportunity to get players back behind the ball and the element of surprise is lost. So, there is a tendency to over-pass the ball trying to work a way around the eight men behind the ball, which appears to some fans to be too much faffing around.
Sometimes it is not that easy to beat teams, but to come out and have a go at the fans is not the way to explain it away. Nor is the suggestion that the pitch at White Hart Lane is too small. We qualified for the Champions League on it before and the chances of making it any bigger before we get to the new WHL are not great.
It wasn't the greatest game against Hull City and there wasn't a lot to get excited about. In fact, the Tigers had the better chances in the first half and the reason for the ‘anxiety’ around the ground was not hard to see. After their spell attacking Spurs, Hull then sat back to defend their position in the second half, but the urgency to get at them with sharp passing and good movement seemed to be lacking, as a lot of the play was directed into the heart of the Hull defence, where they were crowded out.
Another aspect of that Sunday afternoon was that it was cold. It was the first game after the clocks went back and the yellow ball was out signalling winter had arrived. In the second half, in particular, the temperature dropped noticeably. Therefore, something was needed to warm the crowd and to get them going. It is not only the crowd’s responsibility to get behind the team, but also, it is necessary for the players to give them something to shout about. There was singing at the start of the game, but as it broke down into a tedious attack against defence exercise, the passion went out of the crowd too.
The prospect of a large part of the crowd having to suffer Hull again on Wednesday was also a potential reason for the lack of enthusiasm in the Spurs support. I, among many others, are getting fed up with teams coming to the Lane just to try to suffocate the life out of a game. It is understandable, with teams not being willing to roll over for Spurs, but then again, it will only pay off in certain circumstances. And Hull failed to gain anything from the game. Some teams will and it is down to AVB to mastermind Tottenham’s play to find a way past such tactics.
The whole thing about the Y word hanging over the club and the fans being monitored for what they sing has had an impact. The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust have made this point in their response to the Head Coach's comments. But the need for a repertoire that avoids using the Y word needn’t mean that we don’t “sing what we want”, but that we change the approach and be the bigger person about this. We can revert to some of our old non Y-word songs or make new ones or even approach the subject in a more oblique way. How about singing “Tottenham, Oh, Tottenham ! Tottenham, Oh, Tottenham ! Tottenham, Oh, Tottenham ! Tottenham Hot-spur !!” to the tune of “Hava Nagila” ?
Stub Hubbers seem to be having a negative impact on the crowd too. Not only do they appear to arrive late, sometime a long time after kick off, leading to fans having to stand to let them in and then others having to stand to see what is going on in the game, but also, it seems that genuine fans who have regular seats have been asked to show their tickets, just because someone turns up with an e-mail printed out saying that those seats are theirs. Some of the Stub Hubbers are tourists (bringing all sorts of prawn sandwich brigade issues), but their presence does not tend to add to the atmospehere generated by the crowd, as they are too interested in having their photo taken with the pitch behind them, while they are holding up a bit of cardboard with some message that is meaningful only to them on it. The sooner we move to our new ground and the stadium isn't sold out, the better.
The atmosphere for the League Cup tie against the Hull City Tigers will be worse, if AVB thought that was bad. A nothing game in a tournament that is fourth on the list, there will be a large number of fans who do not regularly come to games at the Lane and these matches invariably see these supporters almost expect Tottenham to win in front of them.
I didn't hear any booing, which has been the case in the recent past. So some progress is being made, but I am also not sure that banners (along the lines of 'Arsene Nose') and a big flag will make the chanting better. Perhaps some good old fashioned passion on the field will translate to some passion from the supporters.
|Just seen this article and had a few ideas for
some chants to show that we are multi-faith in these things.
With the furore over the Y word, now we have a
predominantly young side, why don't we refer to the team as "Kids"
?? This would surely be acceptable in this day and age ... or
would it in fact be ageist ??
Benny The Ball
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