second choice

01.06.2004

For the 15 years or so I have been a Tottenham fan I have seen some seriously great players pull on the shirt.  From the God given greatness of Gascoigne, Waddle, Hoddle and Ginola to the goal scoring genius' that were Lineker, Klinsmann and Sheringham.  Of course these names remain in the memory but it is those who have slipped from mind or perhaps never got the credit they deserved.  The Tottenham team of 91 were littered with hard working grafters who allowed the likes of Gascoigne and Allen to do their thing - David Howells and Steve Sedgley were just as important to that side and it seems to me we haven't had players like it since. The names of Freund, Toda, Bunjevcevic and Mabizela are names I recall for the simple reason they are not good enough. The last one who was good enough was Alan Nielsen - a great player, dependable and reliable - how often have I said that about the Tottenham midfield - dependably inconsistent perhaps.

The question is why aren't we buying players in the mould of a David Howells and I think the answer is simple - we fancy ourselves a little bit too much.  When Matty Holland was up for sale why weren't we in there busting a gut to bring him to the lane - the guy cost 750,000 and has been superb at both club and international level.  Add to Holland the names of Savage, Butt, Effenberg and Petit and you have five players, any of which would have been cheap to buy and I honestly think would make the world of difference to a team that for too long has been undone in the central midfield area.  But no, not Tottenham, we would rather dip our toes into the unattainable waters of Davids, Van Bommel and at the time Rivaldo.  I speak with fellow Spurs fans regularly and I haven't met one who thinks we don't need a brand new central midfielder (or possibly two).  I am a fan of Redknapp but just cant see the poor man staying fit.  Michael Brown has done a reasonable job but he isn't a name I would ever imagine a potential European place chasing team batting an eye lid at.  Under both Pleat and Hoddle we have signed big reputations with small balls.  The team has been crying out for a ball winner but nothing has arrived.  There isn't a successful team in the world I can think of who survive without one, look no further than Real Madrid's decline with the loss of Makelele.  Arsenal have had two tough centre midfielders in Vieira and Gilberto, Man U have two in Keane and Butt, Liverpool have two in Gerrard and Hamman, Chelsea have Makelele - Tottenham ... we just sign strikers.

Is it all bad news at the Lane ?  With the end of every season since those early 90s, I have forgiven the team in the hope of a better season.  I consider myself a decent judge of a football squad and a reasonable man - and I can see some hope. It wouldn't have been unreasonable for Tottenham to have had three players in the England squad this summer and I am appalled that Defoe has not travelled - I mean, what are Carragher and Phil Neville offering ?  Looking through our strongest team we have youth, pace and promise - Defoe has the world at his feet; Keane, Davies, King, Robinson and Gardener are raw and Arnesen has a reputation for developing youth so the signs are good.  If I was in charge, and thank goodness I am not, I would off load either Kanoute or Postiga ASAP and bulk up this midfield of ours.

So who is out there ?  Fernando Redondo is a marvelous footballers who has all the attributes to be a success in England ... sure he is ageing but for a year or two he could make a massive difference.  Van Bommel is a funny one, if we could get him we should, maybe any revenue from the sale of Kanoute or Postiga to fund any move, however, I think he is holding out for something better and who can blame him.  Nicky Butt should be a no brainer - a class act and loyal as the day is long, nobody would argue if he was organising our midfield for the next 4 or 5 seasons.  If Martin O'Neill leaves Celtic, there is Petrov or Lennon who may be tempted South.  Barcelona have just released Cocu - snap him up.  Jason Koumas was a very capable premiership player and good luck to West Brom for hanging onto him.  Edgar Davids is without doubt a world class performer but I just cant see it happening.  And then have a look at Chelsea - a clear out is surely on the cards - the likes of Geremi wont want a further year on the bench - let the auctions begin.  There are options out there that are within the catchment area of White Hart Lane - but would we rather spend our budget on a light weight player like Diego the same way we did with Rebrov and Postiga ?  I couldn't say, and in many ways that's the glory of a Tottenham fan - they always find a way to make the easy seem hard.

As for the new manager its shambles following shambles - and you just know we are going to end up with a second choice - and this is my point, we are a second tier team so our second choices should actually be our first.  I would love to see Ranieri, but even more I would love to see a hard case midfielder in the mixer next season.  I wonder what Francis Begbie does at the weekend.

There is light at the end of a tunnel, its just a frustrating tunnel.

"Stand up if you hate Arsenal"

Andrew Gill

 

04.06.04

I am still in shock from the outstanding announcement yesterday!

I just wanted to say that the article called Second Choice is a top piece of writing!

Following on from that, with a top coach now in place that should attract top players, stand by for the arrival of Mr. Davids, etc !

Steve White

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