been a Spurs supporter for 30 years I am desperately unhappy with
the start of the season and more worryingly the clubís transfer
policy which seems to operate with no short or long term strategy to
strengthen the positions that need addressing.
start this by saying that I was one of the few who was very sorry
see Martin Jol dismissed last year. Jol had led us to two
successive 5th placed finishes. This was viewed as
not good enough by the management Ė who seem to think that if you
finish 5th one year then you should be at least 4th
the next year. As football people know, football is not quite
like business and does not always work out like we expect. How
we would all like a 5th placed finish this season.
Jol had a fantastic relationship with the clubs supporters and a
real affinity with the club. Letís not get into the
disgraceful scenes in the Directors Box with senior figures smirking
as word spread round the ground during the Getafe game that he had
lost his job as our club descended to a new low level.
will say, when accused of being a fickle Spurs fan, that I do
understand and accept the arguments against Jol. His choice of
tactics and use of subs was sometimes poor and obviously our lack of
victories against the Top Four was not acceptable. I will say
that, although I was disappointed with this, we did seem to beat the
rest of the 15 league sides at White Hart Lane Ė again something I
wouldnít mind right now.
However, when Juande Ramos joined the club we all got behind him and
everyone was thrilled by the performances against Arsenal and
Chelsea in the Carling Cup semi and final. After we won the
Cup the performances in the league were poor. Again, although
accused constantly by the media of being fickle, White Hart Lane was
sold out and Ramos was given the benefit of the doubt as we felt
that he was weeding out players and ready to make wholesale changes
to the playing staff in order to mount a challenge on the Top Four
or at least Top Seven next season. My wife and I are members
and we attended the Bolton and Liverpool home games where the
results were poor and the performances were below average.
have now played four games and only taken one point. However
what concerns me is the Transfer Policy which to me and thousands of
others looks like the right hand does not know what the left hand is
doing. Hereby let me enter our Director of Football into the
equation. Most supporters will tell you that what we have
needed for the last two or three seasons are:-
midfield enforcer to win the ball
is quite obvious that with all the skilful players we have, if we
cannot win the ball back then whatís the point of having them ? I
think Bill Nicholson said something very similar in 1961. For
every Blanchflower you need a Dave Mackay. For every Hoddle
read Graham Roberts or Steve Perryman. Paul Gascoigne read
left sided player - Although Gareth Bale is undoubtedly a
good buy, we need another left sider to play either behind him or in
front of him
3 Centre Back
Cover for our injured skipper Ledley King
Now these are the three positions
which I think most people who watch Spurs will tell you that we
lack. In the Summer of 2007 Martin Jol apparently asked for
three players to fit the above and was given Kaboul a young prospect
who struggled early on; Kevin Prince Boateng, a complete disaster
and no left sided player. Again in defence of the club I will say
that Steed Malbranque ably covered the left flank but his lack of a
left foot always brought the play in field and we had a lack of
balance that was always commented on. Kaboul has now gone to
Portsmouth and Boateng, we are, I understand, trying to offload to
Birmingham. Now according to Jol he was provided with these
players by Comolli. This is where my blood really begins to
boil. At this time we had finished 5th as stated
above twice, only missing out on the ChampionsLeague on the last day
at West Ham, surely Jol had worked up some kind of trust and was
allowed to succeed or fail with his own players.
Problem No 1 - Not only do we have
Mr. Comolli buying the players, but Problem No 2 is they are nowhere
near good enough for Tottenham Hotspur. Darren Bent was bought
for £16 or £17 Million depending which reports you believe.
"Why on earth ?", we all said at the time was he acquired. We
had probably the strongest strike force in the country in Berbatov,
Keane and Defoe. One of these three had to be on the bench regularly
as we played 4-4-2. This was normally Defoe. All the
purchase of Bent did was relegating Defoe to a position where he did
not even feature in the 16 man squad and therefore wanted to leave
the club and did. How we now wish for a Jermaine Defoe.
Why on earth was this £16 or £17 million not spent in areas which we
needed strengthening as our manager at the time wanted ?
I can think of a number of examples
of this and you may think it is opinion and everyone has a different
one. I will not list them all, but there are plenty of Comolli
signings that are just not up to it. Zokora was bought as a
replacement for Carrick. Please do not get me started on this,
as Zokora, although blessed with energy and pace, cannot pass and
certainly cannot tackle. It is hoped that Tom Huddlestone will
develop into the holding midfielder, but if we have Top Four
aspirations, then he is not the answer now and possibly never will
Some good players have been
purchased - Bale, Bentley, Modric and Woodgate - but to me there
seems to be no strategy or plan in place to make a balanced team.
We do not seem to identify where the team is weak and buy a player
to fit this position. It seems to me to be an approach of such
and such is available, let's go out and buy him even though we are
already covered in that position.
This brings me back to the position
of midfield ball winner. Now, no player splits the Spurs fans
like Jenas, however it is clear to me that he needs a strong tackler
alongside him to fulfil his potential. You only have to look at the
amount of goals we concede from long range to know that we do not
have an enforcer to close down shots on the edge of the area.
I believe this, amongst other things, contributed to the demise of
Paul Robinson. We then buy Modric. Now ,undoubtedly
Modric is an excellent passer of the ball, but if he plays in the
centre of midfield with our vice captain Jenas, then we look very
lightweight. If Modric is pushed onto the left he is then a la
Malbranque always coming inside on his stronger right foot and gives
us no width. Therefore, Ramos is left with all these attacking
players and it becomes square pegs in round holes as he tries to
accommodate all the attacking midfielders in the same team.
Please do not tell me that good players can all play together, as a
balance to bring out the best in others is vital in a successful
David Bentley was bought as the
best if not one of the best right footed crossers of the ball in the
Premier League and then is played on the left or central midfield to
accommodate Aaron Lennon whose crossing is at best woeful. I
was delighted we bought Bentley, but he must be played on the right
and letís fill that left sided position with a good left footed
option please. I was encouraged when Dos Santos signed, but he
is young and I think is one for the future rather than now.
It is becoming more and more
clearer that our skipper Ledley King is not going to play many
games, therefore why have we not signed top class centre back cover.
Michael Dawson, who back in 2006 was excellent, looks to be really
struggling for the last year and itís clear he is not in the class
of King or Woodgate. Corluka to me does not look the answer
although his versatility may help in the short term.
After Jol was denied these players,
it really is becoming worrying for us Spurs fans that as respected
as Ramos is, is he going to be able to work with players thrust upon
him ? Please do not tell me that all parties are involved when
signing a player, as if Ramos wants player A, a committee featuring
Comolli may come back with player B and C and this is not the best
way to progress a football team.
The last nail in the coffin for me
was how we have now been left with very little cover in attack.
As I said above, under a year ago we had four (well three) top class
strikers. After the fiasco this August we now have Bent (third
or fourth choice last season) leading with Pavlyuchenko no Premier
League experience (hopefully will prove to be good) and the young
Fraizer Campbell. Now nothing against Campbell, who has scored
and done well in the Championship for Hull City last season,
however, I really do believe that this was desperation when we were
in advanced negotiationsí with Man Utd. minutes before the window
shut and only had two recognised strikers on the clubs books.
How on earth does one of Englandís most famous and biggest clubs let
themselves be in that position ? It was no surprise that
Berbatov was leaving as there had been talk of him leaving for well
over a year. Fair enough the Keane transfer caught us short
and I accept that these things can happen, but we all knew that we
needed to identify Berbatovís replacement and line up targets during
the past year. Surely the role of Comolli is to do exactly
this and be working on targets all year round and set the wheels in
motion for the club to the tie up loose ends and complete the
signature of players during the twice a year deadlines.
Who in England has had success with
a Director of Football Structure ? West Ham, Newcastle and
Spurs are in a mess and Chelsea had Avram Grant, but this only led
to the departure of Mourinho. Chelsea has not for the time
being filled this position. I really cannot understand the
role and do not for the life of me see how someone with the distinct
lack of experience of Comolli has found himself in a role where he
provides for Juande Ramos one of Europeís most respected coaches.
Please please give the power back
to the manager.
Come on Spurs
North Yorkshire Spurs