regaining our glory

17.5.2003

So, another season over and the promise of a 'rebuilding job' over the summer. If THFC were a building and needed such continual renovation, they'd pull it down!

Two years into Glenn's reign and we are no nearer catching up with the big boys of the Premiership and still tales of in-fighting, hesitant boards and disgruntled players dominate the news about the club. Haven't we been in exactly this position for about 12 years now? When will the directors/managers stop repeating the mistakes of the recent past?

And that is half the problem - is our seemingly-terminal mediocrity down to the board, the manager, the players or the entire way the club operates ? The likelihood is that it is a little of both.

Glenn does not seem to have been given the financial support he/we were led to believe he would receive on taking the job, a point substantiated by the recent comments of Dean Richards. Robbie Keane's purchase aside (and I am sorry but one £7 million swallow a summer does not make), we have dealt at the bottom end of the market, bringing in unproven Eastern Europeans or Kazuyuki T-shirt. The purchase of golden oldies like Sheringham, Poyet and Ziege was a sensible move, but surely only as a way of adding experience to a youthful team, not making them the backbone of the side. Hoddle's blind loyalty to these players, especially over the final few games when we were clearly never going to make Europe, only proved his obduracy and inflexibility as a manager.

With all this said, I still believe Hoddle is the man to take us forward. Or rather, is there anyone better who we could realistically lure and who could achieve any more under such restraining circumstances. But what Hoddle must now do is stand up to the board and make them see that serious investment, and indeed correct investment, must now be made, or else we risk falling behind Arsenal, United et al for good. I happen to believe we are there and are now in the same bracket as the Middlesbroughs and Evertons of the league, but I'd love to be proved wrong.

But Hoddle must also face up the total failure of his previous buys. Bunjevcevic and Acimovic have been unmitigated disasters, Toda will only prove worse and it is now time for Poyet to join Sheringham in waving a not-so-fond farewell to White Hart Lane. Buying bad players is one thing, sticking with them to prove a point quite another. It is screamingly obvious to anyone who has watched Spurs this season that Stephen Carr's heart has been set on a move to team up with Sol again, and who can blame him? Continual mid-table obscurity, cup humiliation at the hands of Burnley and others, training alongside players not deemed good enough for Sunderland (sorry, Toda, but until you prove otherwise, cynicism is likely to reign over your purchase) and nothing but the possibility of a UEFA Cup place to play for. And given the UEFA Cup means little or nothing any more, even to those who play in it, what would you do if you were Carr? Those who lambast Sol are petty, snide hypocrites who would jump at the chance of a career move as successful as the one he has made to Arsenal.

So Carr, good defender as he is, should be sold and perhaps Marney, about whom we hear rave reports, should take his place. Keep King, keep Richards and keep Gardner and make them the solid last line that the team so badly needs. To concede more goals than any team bar West Brom and Sunderland is pitiful. And we also need a better goalie than the two we have to play behind them, no matter how good a season Keller has had.

In midfield, would we really miss anyone other than Davies and Redknapp, a far better player than Anderton (remember him?) who unfortunately has just the same injury problem. Up front, Keane has been what we have been crying out for for years, a creative forward, but he has been so isolated this season that we are still to see the best of him. Suggestions of an approach for Viduka are welcome. A tough, experienced front man for Keane to play off is ideal, but this must be complemented by another, younger striker, because we can't endure another season of relying on Iversen as cover for the front two. I don't know enough about Zamora to say if he is right or not, but surely a club our size monitors carefully the exciting young talent in this country. Pity we can't afford Defoe.

In midfield, our most problematic area, we desperately need a combative midfielder, and this should be our number one priority over the summer. Freund, Sherwood, Toda, Bunjy have never been solutions - Hoddle must find one now. And if we could recruit Scott Parker as well, we might start to look like a useful unit.

But whoever we buy, Glenn must have an idea of the team he wants to use and buy the players who will serve those purposes. We need to remove all the dead wood at the club (Anderton, Thatcher, Perry, Doherty, etc) and start giving a chance to all the youngsters that we hear our youth system is churning out.

We need unity. We need players who are happy at the club, a manager not at loggerheads with his director of football, who can compromise with the chairman on how much we can spend and then maximise the talent at his disposal, as David Moyes has so well this season at Everton. And we need to see some progress, else the Spurs faithful may truly worry that the glory, glory days will forever remain a thing of the past.

DAVID BLOOM

 

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18.5.2003

David Bloom’s article on our current predicament summed it all up beautifully.  I see this summer as being like the one before the 92-93 season (sorry for sounding like an old git), when we bought promising young players Anderton, Ruddock, Austin etc and went on to have an exciting season with players committed to the cause.  Of course, typical Spurs style we ballsed it up when Alan and Tel had handbags at dawn.

Of course being a Spurs fan, I must moan and disagree with something David said - likening Steve Carr’s situation to the Judas.  Our club captain repeatedly said that he was staying at Spurs and then turned round and joined our hated rivals.  If Carr goes to Arsenal this summer at least we wouldn’t have to stomach any connivance from him about whether he’s staying or going - his silence on the subject tells us that he is being advised more cannily.  

Carr will go, hopefully not to the Scum.
 
David Harris

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