definition of optimism

20.8.2002

If the dictionary definition of optimism is the start of a new Premiership campaign, well, optimism is about all that we have.

After a summer of speculation and paper talk, we have yet to secure the services of a desperately needed Class striker.

This has been a problem for about three years now.  OK Gooner Graham and Sugar may have had good intentions in bringing in Sergei, but we are yet to see much return on what was a club transfer record 11 Million pounds.  He in my opinion needs a run in the squad with the full support of the management, at least he will be in the proverbial shop window and maybe just maybe someone will give us at least half what we paid for him and so, give us some much needed capital to put down for a new AVAILABLE striker (ROBBIE KEANE 9 million), as apparently Leeds United will settle on this price if we pay cash.

I feel that he would bring in so much to the squad, as we saw when he came on for twenty odd minutes against Manchester City, scored with a great lob after one touch and should have scored another after a fabulous run.  Robbie Keane is an exceptionally talented young man who, at the moment, is at the top of his short career after a great World Cup.  He seems to excrete confidence and score at will.

I've not been critical of the board as yet, but there are some disturbing things coming out of the Lane at the moment.  For instance, the blatant PR campaign that in my opinion has turned into a bit of a circus.  "WE NEARLY SIGNED RIVALDO.  THIS SHOWS THE AMBITION OF THE CLUB"  ... I'm sorry, but pull the other one the only way we were going to sign Rivaldo is if Levy & Co. asked the player for his autograph and hid a contract under transferable paper.

And then after that debacle Morientes same story!!

REALITY CHECK ... we are not in Europe, let alone the Champions League and unfortunately we are not a draw to players like this anymore.  It breaks my heart to say it, but it's true.  We are a second tier club and this dates back to the decline under Sugar after he sacked the now Leeds boss El Tel.

So, I understand the position that the board is in.  They inherited a mess and there trying to make the best out of it, but by saying these things we are quickly becoming the nearly boys of the Premiership.

I would like to say, however, at least the board are being sensible with the money that they want to spend and looking towards the European way of buying players, in which you can pay in instalments over the duration of a players contract, because, God forbid, we end up like our West London rivals £94 million in debt!! (How on earth did Bates get in on the Wembley's re-development ... it was destined to go over budget) as this would most defiantly be the wrong way for our beloved club to go.  A team full of mercenaries is not what Spurs need. 

We need to re-establish the pride in playing for us, but the dilemma is that without success it's not that likely to happen for a vast majority of our players, who in truth would rather be playing for Milan, Man Utd, or even the Scum (if they were good enough).

The club does have the frame work in place to progress though, despite underachieving for the last 10 years we are still lucky enough to have a great fan base, which with a little success would grow even more.  We are stable and if ENIC dip into there VAST pockets, Iím sure we could re-develop my beloved East Stand in a year or two (I know that the plans have already been drawn up).  The defence is looking good with the right blend of young and old(er) players if they can stay fit.  Chris Z is a asset to any side with his crossing ability, and lets hope that Stevie Carr can get fit quickly and martial the right, as I, and we, have all been waiting for over a year to see them blitzing the wings.  Tano to his credit is playing out of his boots and then there's the King, who looked more and more assured in each game he played last season along with the once Afro man Tony Gardner, who's imposing figure is deceptively quick and useful at set pieces.  Not forgetting Thatcher & Perry who put in their best performances in a Lilywhite shirt last season.  That leaves Deano who has not impressed me in pre-season or against the Toffeemen at the weekend Ö letís hope he can get it together soon as he is a useful player when on form.

The midfield is also looking good with Redknapp holding up well and getting on the scoresheet against Lazio and an assist at Goodison.  Milo looks like he could add to our creative possibilities and could be a handful for defenders.  Davies looks good with his searing runs and seemingly endless enthusiasm to chase the ball.  Etherington looks to have finally conquered his fear of running at top quality opposition and could create some real options for us in the final third, while Shaggy, if he's fit, is a great provider with a fabulous footballing brain who can unlock a defence with a 35 yard cross-field ball.   Gus in my opinion is the man.  His enthusiasm to play is a lesson to all professionals and having him back in October (hopefully) will be a fantastic bonus.

Then we have Steffen Freund, who should be back in full training soon and who had a great season up until he got injured last term.  And Sherwood who, when he commits himself, can be a great player.

Which leaves the attack, which, in all honesty, is our problem area due to its bluntness.  Teddy is a quality player, but needs to be used sparingly.  We cannot use him as we did last season or he will encounter burnout at Christmas time again.  Sir Les is a soldier, but needs rest also, maybe a bit less than Teddy, but that's because when he needs a break he just falls over or something and is out for a few weeks.  Ferdinand had his best season with us last year and let's hope he gets a few more lucky breaks, like on Saturday and less unlucky ones like he has suffered throughout his career.  These two in their heyday would have been absolutely tremendous for the club, but as they are knocking on the door of professional retirement, they need a bit more protection to get the best out of what's left in them.

Steffen Iversen is a tireless workhorse who will chase all day and gets a few goals, but has not developed into the 20 goals a season guy that we so desperately need.

Rebrov has been a disappointment, but you don't become a bad player overnight and hopefully he will get his chance to shine this season, but it seems that he has no confidence and has yet to get hold of the physical side of the game in England.

Kevin (Qu Bo) I don't know much about but looked good when I saw him in pre season, so I wish him well as we all do.

And that's about that.  I haven't profiled the whole squad I know, but I don't want to go on and on. The players featured should have the lionís share of appearances this season so that will do me.

Predictions for the Premiership, well that's just speculation, but I'm hoping of Europe via the league, but if we don't sign a new striker soon I'm not sure we will get it. 

But itís a new season and Iím a eternal optimist (well I am a Spurs fan) I will say 6th and a Cup final that will do me nicely ... for now!!!

T Minus 11 days to sign a new Striker.

Dean (Yid 4 Life) McGarry

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