thirteen years of hurt

18.08.2004

As a Tottenham supporter, I feel there is a lot to look forward to next season.

I am an optimist by nature but believe me my optimism has been challenged by string of poor boardroom decisions that have tarnished the great name of Tottenham Hotspur and at times turned us into a laughing stock.  I believe the rot began back in the summer of 1991, we were making steady progress under Terry Venables at the time.  We finished a credible sixth in 1989, an excellent third in 1990 and won the FA Cup in 1991.  The club’s financial difficulties were very real but at least we were winning more games than we were losing.  Off the field, a dream ticket of Venables & Alan Sugar take control of the club, thus clearing the outstanding debts.  We’re back on business and proudly hold the FA Cup, on the face of it, a great summer’s work.  The first backward step was the re-appointment of Peter Shreeves as manager, this was of course a decision that allowed Venables to “move up stairs” and become Director of Football.  In his place we get lumbered with a complete non-talent to manage the players.  Venables never should have left his managerial position, we had been progressing well and had got into Europe.  We struggled badly in the season that followed (91/92) with Gazza out injured and Lineker missing tons of games due to his son’s illness.  We surrendered our FA Cup in the 3rd round, lost at the semi-final stage of the League Cup and bowed out of Europe in the quarter final against a poor Feyenoord side.  New signing Gordon Durie couldn’t hit a cows arse with a banjo and we ended up in a relegation battle with the likes of Notts County and Luton Town.  The future wasn’t too bright either with Gazza and Lineker already committed to moving on to Italy and Japan respectively.  For me the only positive thing was the way Paul Stewart grew as a player and became a terrific 'bosser' of the mid-field.  In all other areas we failed to improve as a side.  Still, as always, me managed to stay up to fight another day and I looked forward to a summer reshuffle that would put right all the wrongs of the previous campaign.  To my delight Shreeves was shown the door to be replaced by the coaching partnership of Clemence and Livermore ??  I was scratching my head again, this coaching system had been tried and failed the season before and still Venables didn’t seem interested in getting the tracksuit on.  The new signings were less than inspirational, Cundy from Chelsea and Gray from Palace.  Neil Ruddock was re-signed from Southampton along with a young right-winger from Portsmouth called Darren Anderton.  To offset the above, Paul Stewart was sold to the Scousers for silly money.  He became a shadow of his former self at Anfield and his career nose-dived following the move.

 

Not surprisingly, we started the 92/93 poorly.  We opened with a draw at the Dell then lost at home to Coventry and were thumped 5-0 away to Leeds.  Sheringham was signed from Forest and we slowly started to pick up points. Spurs were still quite inconsistent before Christmas that year, (winning at Blackburn before loosing at QPR), but we enjoyed great wins over Liverpool and the Gooners up the road.  After Christmas we really got things going and played some lovely stuff.  We also had a great Cup run and got to the semi-finals, where we were cheated out of a penalty just before half time.  Sheringham and a new kid Nick Barmby were a great partnership and although we missed out on the Cup Final, we had a good, hungry, young squad and I was looking forward to season 03/04 eagerly.  Things were too good to be true, how right I was.  Venables got involved in areas he shouldn’t have and ended up falling out with the Alan Sugar ... the result was a Tottenham civil in which there could be no real winners.  Our great club’s name was dragged through the courts and the pages of the tabloid press on a daily basis.  Supporters were picking sides, mostly with Venables.  Looking back Sugar was never going to lose that war; he had been a winner in everything he had done up to this point and he was the boss.  The Venables sacking drove a wedge between Sugar and the supporters, a wedge that was never to be removed.  To appease us supporters, Sugar turned to Ossie Ardiles, who had just got West Brom promoted from Div 1.  The understandable lure of Tottenham was too much for Ossie to turn down and Alan Sugar yet again got his way.  After the dust had settled, a sulking Ruddock left for Liverpool.  Razor had become a colossus and the back during the previous season and had formed an excellent partnership with Mabbutt.  I knew he would be difficult to replace and I was gutted to hear that our new centre half would be none other than Colin Calderwood from Swindon.  Calderwood was brought in along with Jason Dozzell from Ipswich and ex-spur Micky Hazard.  It must to be said three very ordinary signings indeed.

 

The season actually started surprisingly well with good wins at Newcastle and Liverpool.  Sheringham was scoring well, and we were in the top five or six in October.  Deep down I knew we weren’t as good as our results, so, when Sheringham knackered his knee and Mabbutt got his head smashed in, we lost our two best players.  From January 1994 to the end of the season it was a nightmare following Spurs.  We were destroyed at Ipswich in the 4th round of the FA Cup.  We had no leadership on the field, poor management and quite simply some of the worst players to ever wear a Tottenham shirt in my opinion ... like Kevin Scott, David Kerslake, Stuart Nethercott, Justin Edinburgh, Jason Dozzell and bless him Ronnie Rosenthal to name but a few.  We stayed up by the skin of our teeth, winning at Boundary Park on our second last game of the season.  This was simply not good enough.  We wanted action and, following the World Cup that summer, the manager went on a big shopping spree to bring in Klinsmann and  Dumitrescu, with Gica Popescu being added in September.  These signings were Ossie’s last stand as he attempted to plug the alarming gaps in the squad that had appeared the previous season.  Like most Spurs fans I wanted to know where the Roy Keanes and Paul Inces were.  They were the kind of players we so badly needed, not more attacking power.  How can normal football supporters see it, but not the management.  Looking at the squad going into the 94/95 season, I was excited and the prospect of the famous five going forward, but still very concerned that none of the previously mentioned dubious players had been kicked out of White Hart Lane during the summer.

 

The first game of the season would confirm my deep concerns.  Okay, so we won 4-3 at Hillsborough, but I knew we couldn’t do that every week.  In truth, if Wednesday had have been any way decent they would have won that game.  We threw away a two goal lead, scored a terrible own goal and still won ??  We also had the pain of being deducted six points (originally 12) and banned from the FA Cup.  We went on to beat Everton at home and won again at Ipswich.  Ossie appeared to be working his magic, but it proved to be false dawn.  By November we were on another losing streak and just couldn’t stop conceding goals.  We entered into the bottom three.  Ossie was sacked and Gerry Francis got the nod.  Francis had a back to basics approach, although you wouldn’t have thought so after his first game in charge; a 4-3 home defeat to Villa.  But within a matter of weeks he turned things around.  Francis worked on the players’ fitness, he gave David Howells a holding mid-field role in which he excelled.  He loaned out Dumitrescu and re-organised the defence, all of a sudden we stopped conceding, we battled for every ball and were very hard to beat.  Francis also got the best out of Anderton, Sheringham and Barmby.  We looked like a new side, but again missed out on Wembley at the semi-final stage after the FA Cup ban was lifted.  In the end we finished a credible seventh, not bad considering our bottom three placing in November.  It was a very exciting season, for me the high point was a marvellous FA Cup quarter-final victory at Anfield.  There was a lot to look forward to for season 95/96, as I had faith in the manager and we had a well-balanced squad of flamboyant attackers and hard grafters.  Then 3 bombshells ... Klinsmann was off to Bayern Munich, Popescu was off to Barcelona and Barmby was off to Teesside.  In response to the exodus an unproven Chris Armstrong was signed to replace Klinsmann and Andy Sinton was signed later in the year to replace Barmby.  It was like replacing a Ferrari with a 1976 Ford Cortina (in relation to the Klinsmann/Armstrong situation anyway).

 

We started slowly at the beginning of the 95/96 season, in particular losing 3-1 at home to Liverpool.  Results, however, did start to pick up winning on the road at QPR and Hillsborough.  We had the best away record in the league, a great home win against the Scum in late autumn gave us the confidence to kick on and put together a solid string of results.  We needed to beat Bolton at White Hart Lane just before Christmas to go top of the table, when a two nil lead ended up in a draw.  After a fabulous 4-1 thrashing of Man Utd on New Year’s Day our form faded away dramatically.  We lost our consistency and we ended up in the top half of the table after the final day’s fixtures.  If results had have gone our way on that final day we could have finished as high as sixth.  The season had promised much but again had delivered nothing.  For this first time, supporters started questioning Gerry Francis’s management skills.  It is my view that he was the man to sort out Ossie’s shambles.  It was when we needed to kick on and challenge for top honours that he appeared to be out of his depth.  His handling of world-class players (i.e. previously mentioned exits of Klinsmann & Popescu) came into question.  Francis seemed happier dealing with less established, younger players like Armstrong and Fox.  Class footballers need to be replaced with class footballers and Francis went for potential.  To be fair, I did like the work ethic of the team and Sheringham and Armstrong did bag close to 50 goals between them.  The emergence of Sol Campbell was another plus.  For me Gerry Francis deserved another crack of the whip in season 96/97, but it was with reserved confidence that I entered the following season.

 

The season of 1996/97 proved to be the dullest season I can remember in my 22 years supporting Tottenham, okay so we were never in trouble, but we were also at no point higher then seventh or eighth.  This is when we started to allow our standards slip.  I reckon we must have won a third of our games, drawn a third of our games and lost a third of our games.  The goals dried up for Armstrong so Gerry Francis brought in Steffen Iversen from Norway to add a bit of competition to the from line.  A couple of duffers were also added in the shape of John Scales and Ramon Vega, both of whom joined for big money (supposedly from under the noses of other clubs also keen to sign them) to add steel to the team.  As it worked out none of the new signings made much of a difference on the field and we fell lethargically over the finishing line, ending up somewhere in mid table no-mans land.  Serious questions began to be raised about Gerry Francis and what he had achieved or more to the point not achieved in nearly three years at Tottenham.  In the summer of 1997, Sheringham was sold to Man Utd.  The cheque book was out to bring Ferdinand and Ginola to White Hart Lane.  I got the feeling that these signings were going to be Gerry Francis’s final throw of the dice.  And so it proved to be.

 

I started speaking about poor decisions and one particular mess up that springs to mind was the Les Ferdinand situation.  In the summer of 1995, Tottenham were looking for a striker to replace Klinsmann.  Ferdinand seemed to be the perfect choice ... a London lad, 28 years old, worked well with Gerry Francis at QPR, had a couple of great high scoring seasons there, supposedly a Spurs fan as a boy and QPR needed to sell him.  You would think a quick phone call would have sorted everything out, but you’d be wrong.  We went for Chris Armstrong instead with Francis insisting that at £6.5 million, Ferdinand was overpriced and that he could turn Armstrong into the next Les Ferdinand for £4 milllion.  This of course did not happen (the Ferrari and the 1976 Cortina springs to mind again).  So Ferdinand ends up going to Newcastle where he finishes the 95/96 season as the league’s top scorer and wins the PFA Player of the Year.  We sign him two years later, when he is two years older and two years slower for how much ??  That's right £6.5million !!  The same price we refused to pay in 1995 for a younger, hungrier Les Ferdinand.  This situation shows what a shambles the transfer policy of Tottenham Hotspur had become at this point.

 

Anyway after a predictable poor start to the season, the writing was on the wall for Gerry Francis and in late October he was shown the door.  Who will get the job was the question on every ones lips ?  Would it be Cryuff, Klinsmann, Bobby Robson, Gullit, Venables again maybe ??  I was in Australia when I heard the news that our new manager would be Christian Gross !!  2Who is this man ??  Where is he from ??"  I wondered.  Nevertheless, as I have stated ... I am an optimist, so I thought he deserved a chance.  A good away win at Everton was a false dawn, it was followed by the truth, a pathetic 6-1 home defeat by those scumbags from Stamford Bridge.  Our season imploded after that, with a string of terrible results and news of senior players falling out with the management.  We were so lucky to survive that season and if it is wasn’t for Klinsmann returning and scoring some very important goals (four against the Dons) I reckon we would really could have sunk into Division 1 very easily.  We escaped again and Alan Sugar supported Gross, why I don’t know and so he kept him on and gave him money to spend.  Another serious bad decision to add to the long list.  Speaking of lists, it is at this point that Italian full back Paulo Tramezzani gets added to the all time muppets hall of fame.

 

We opened our 98/99 season with heavy defeats at Wimbledon and at home to Sheffield Wednesday, so Gross was a dead man walking.  He was sacked before September and how I was relieved.  Sugar said he was tired of appointing poor managers and that this time he was going to bring in the best around, hollow promises again.  When you know who was announced as the new man I was numb.  Sugar proved he was so completely out of touch with the supporters by turning to that man to try and make Tottenham successful again.  Did he have any idea what that man represents to us ?  Alan Sugar never understood the soul of Tottenham Hotspur.  He could have the words “chairman” on his office door, have the power to hire and fire as much as he wanted, but he could never be the master of the soul of Tottenham Hotspur.  That is owned by you and me and all the other unwavering supporters of the worlds greatest football club.  The club of Nicholson, Tommy Harmer, Danny Blanchflower, John White, Bobby Smith, Jimmy Greaves. Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, Steve Perryman, Arthur Roe, Graham Roberts, Mike England, Martin Chivers, Pat Jennings, Alan Mullery, Terry Dyson, Maurice Norman, Glenn Hoddle, Gary Mabbutt, Cyril Knowles and Alan Gilzean, to name but a few.  I won’t be so pig headed to suggest I didn’t enjoy our Wembley win in March 1999 or our FA Cup run, with a terrific 2-0 win over Leeds the stand out result.  The new boss was given funds and decided to bring in midfield spoilers like Tim Sherwood and Steffen Freund.  Argentine full back Mauricio Taricco was signed from Ipswich to put Justin Edinburgh under deserved pressure.  But the shine was taken off the glory by seeing that man in the dugout.  I’m sure he’s not a bad person, but he had been responsible for some of my worst memories, with the 1987 League Cup semi-final replay being the worst of all.  To have him earning a Tottenham wage was disgusting.  The one shining beacon of that season was David Ginola, who, at times, was simply unplayable.  He seemed to get better and stronger in spite of the ludicrous criticism and substitutions he suffered nearly every week from the manager.  All in all, a season that had started as a joke, ended positively, even if our beloved club was being steered by the enemy.  It seemed the manager spent the summer of 1999 in Wimbledon.  He brought in Chris Perry and went back the following year for Sullivan and Thatcher.  He also added the “versatile” Liverpool mid-fielder, but more importantly ex-Wimbledon player, Leonhardsen.  Thank God ex-Scum striker Hartson failed a medical or we would have been lumbered with five of those useless lumps.  All of the above mentioned turned out to be rubbish, with the exception of Sullivan in his first season.

 

At the start of 99/00 we were looking to kick on from our top half finish.  We were top of the table in September, back in Europe and all seemed rosy in the Tottenham garden.  I had a feeling it wouldn’t last, because we didn’t have the players to mount a serious challenge.  Sure enough we didn’t see European football after Christmas and we’re out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round.  The only highlight was beating the Goons up the road in November.  The season, like so many before petered out into nothing more than an eleventh or twelfth place finish.  And still Sugar backed his man to the tune of £11milion when Sergei Rebrov, the Champion’s League top scorer was signed in June 2000.  It was a good sign of intent, but this purchase was to be offset by the sale of Ginola to Villa.  In hindsight it was a good move for us, Ginola was never the same dynamic player again, but at the time I could have strangled the manager.  Wimbledon’s finest (Thatcher & Sullivan) also joined the ranks.  Along with Rebrov these were the only transfers in a very quiet pre-season. 

 

I looked ahead to another dire nine months supporting an underachieving Tottenham Hotspur side of humpers and headless chickens.  Things stayed in the same vein until I was put out of my misery in March 2001 when Sugar stood down.  Within days the new owners gave the enemy the boot.  Into the hot-seat sat Mr. Glenn Hoddle, Spurs legend and darling of White Hart Lane.  At the press conference he enthused about how the club was in his heart and described a five year plan to put us back among Europe’s elite.  At long, long last we had the man I wanted in charge.  Another FA Cup semi-final defeat and another meaningless mid-table finish followed, but it didn’t seem as bad as before as I genuinely felt I had it all to look forward to for many more seasons to come.  I had my Tottenham back and I felt very happy about that indeed.  We were a united club once again and after so many kicks in the scrotum, there seemed to be a genuine light at the end of the tunnel.  Hoddle bought well in the pre-season opting for experience over youth.  He brought in established performers in Gus Poyet and Christian Ziege.  Prodigal son Teddy Sheringham rejoined following four successful seasons at Old Trafford.  Finally Hoddle added Red Star Belgrade captain Goran Bunjevcevic, who was heralded as the Franz Beckenbauer of the Balkans.  The above additions to the squad were well received and belief was that they could help establish a winning attitude in the dressing room.  So far I haven’t mentioned the biggest story of the 2001 pre-season.  The person involved does not warrant a mention in any shape or form.  All I can say is, if there is a good God in Heaven, we will have our justice and he will pay for what he did to us.

 

We opened at home against Villa in a dire 0-0 draw, for me the highlight was the burning of dummy in a number 23 shirt from a lamp post outside the Northumberland Arms, without doubt got the biggest cheer of the day.  It wasn’t until early September until we notched our first win at home to the Saints.  A particularly painful home defeat to those glory-hunters from Stamford Bridge springs to mind.  A game where we completely out played and out fought them, they won a disgraceful penalty decision and ended up winning 2-3.  That injustice was fresh in all our players’ minds later on in January when we were to meet again.   Following the famous "3-0 up 5-3 down" collapse to Man Utd in late September we went on an unbeaten run which lasted well into December.  By now we were playing some lovely football and really tearing teams apart.  As we entered the Christmas programme, there was a feeling that we could be on the verge something really big, but uncertainty returned with a run of bad results over Christmas which in particular included two awful defeats to a soon to be relegated Ipswich Town.  By January all we had to play for were the cups.  We walloped those Stamford Bridge no-hopers in the semi-finals of the League Cup (in what was for me the most satisfying performance and result I can remember since April 1991), only to lose out to Blackburn in a final in which we never turned up for.  The defeat in Cardiff burst our bubble, we stumbled out of the FA in the quarter-finals and finished the season in usual mid-table obscurity.  It was a total anti-climax.  By now questions were being raised about the age of the side and our ability to keep the older players going for a full season.  There was no doubt that Sheringham / Ferdinand / Poyet / Anderton / Sherwood / Freund & Co could no longer perform for a full season.  The summer brought with it the opportunity to strengthen the squad and do away with some of the above mentioned deadwood.  All we had to rub our hands together about was Jamie Redknapp (who we were assured was injury free) and a bloke from Slovenia called Acimovic who was described to us as the Balkan version of a young Trevor Broking ... notice the trend here, the previous year we had the honour to welcome the previously mentioned Franz Beckenbaur of the Balkans, who by the way ended up as a very ordinary Johnny Foreigner type player.  I feared the same fate for Acimovic, but because it was Hoddle doing the buying and I wanted him to succeed so badly, I was prepared to have the wool pulled over my eyes.  On deadline day, and pretty much on the deadline itself we acquired the talents of Robbie Keane from cash strapped Leeds.  Keane was to be our only big name signing.  The eventual signing of Keane followed a string of embarrassing pursuits, which we were told almost lead to the signings Rivaldo and Morientes.  We had become the nearly men of the transfer market and everyone in the media seemed to know our business.  I hated the board for allowing this to happen.  Finally our record £11million signing Sergei Rebrov was loaned out to Turkey and was never to don the lilywhite shirt again.  In the season and a half in which Rebrov was in favour, I never thought he was out of his depth, as there were flashes of brilliance, in particular a FA Cup tie at West Ham in 2001 and a superb lob at home to Newcastle in the same season.  Why he was shown the door while other less talented players like Doherty, Bunjevcevic, Poyet and Acimovic continued to bleed us dry I will never understand.  

 

The season started well and we were top of the pile after four games. In our fifth match, away to Fulham, we were 2-0 up at half time, but completely choked and lost 3-2.  For some bizarre reason known only to Hoddle, Robbie Keane was denied a debut in favour of Sheringham/Ferdinand strike force.  From then until Christmas we were pretty mediocre, the age of the squad started to become alarmingly suspect, our mid-field was non-existent and we were leaking a lot of goals at the back.  Our 3rd round FA Cup exit at Southampton highlighted the extent of our problems.  It was well accepted that we were only saved from relegation because of the points we had managed to pick up in the early months of the season.  The final insult was a 4-0 home defeat on the last day of a season that simply could not end quickly enough for all concerned with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.  For Hoddle the honeymoon was well and truly over.

 

During the summer of 2003, Glenn Hoddle decided to scrap the first half of his five year plan which was to bring experience players who “had done it all” in the game.  This vision had resulted is a squad that looked more like extras from Dad’s Army than professional footballers.  So we were advised that it was time to develop a younger, hungrier, more mobile squad of players.  Hoddle went about this by bringing in a 21 year old Portuguese striker called Helder Postiga.  We were told that Postiga was one of the top young talents in Europe and had bagged himself over 20 goals for Porto the previous season.  Next on the list was Fredi Kanoute from our relegated “friends” at Upton Park.  A good talent, but injury prone and you got the sense he was one of these foreign career players.  Scum reserve mid-fielder Rohan Ricketts crossed the great divide and arrived with something to prove.  Finally Bobby Zamora, a prolific nationwide goal-scorer, who we seemed to be scouting for years put pen to paper.  So now we had three new strikers and an attacking mid-fielder.  Where were the ball winners and battlers we so badly craved (answers on a postcard).

 

Predictably, It was an uphill struggle all season long.  In late September, following back-to-back home defeats to Fulham and Southampton, Glenn Hoddle was sacked.  This was a very sad ending for a match that I believed was made in heaven.  I felt he was destined to succeed where others had failed ... how wrong I was.  There are no sure things in football, that's one lesson I’ve learnt the hard way (Hoddle, Coventry ‘87, Blackburn ‘02).  But life goes and Glenn Hoddle today still is Tottenham, he will always be Tottenham, much more than me.  Looking back now I just wish he stayed away from the poisonous chalice that is the Spurs job.  That way he could only be remembered for his vision, touch and prowess on the field and not his shortcomings in the dug out.  It was very painful to see Glenn sacked from the club he was born to represent.  However I feel it was a decision that had to be made for the overall good of Tottenham Hotspur.  I just hope that one year on he doesn’t harbour any bitterness towards his experience.  The uninspiring David Pleat took charge of the first team while the board looked for a replacement for Hoddle.  The search ended up lasting nine months, during which time we worryingly flirted with relegation.  Following our home defeat to Charlton on December 28th we were in the bottom three, I hoped and prayed that we could just finish seventeenth come May.  In the meantime, the managerial selection process was thrown into farce with every Tom, Dick and Harry being linked with the top job.  In the middle of this crisis, Kanoute decided to turn out for Mali in the African Cup of Nations for four weeks.  If we had of been relegated, I reckon fans would have set fire to Kanoute’s house for running away when we need him most.  But it wasn’t all bad news, because Michael Brown was signed from Sheffield United to add a bit of bite to our very lightweight mid-field.  Out of the blue we found some form and posted wins against Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool.  The icing on the cake was the signing of Jermain Defoe from the unhappy Hammers.  He is plain and simply a class act.  I can’t remember a better prospect joining Spurs in recent times.  Predictably he scored on his debut and went on to notch some very important goals in the run in.  I think he could go on to break all the goal-scoring records if he gets the service he needs.  Anyway, we finished fourteenth and avoided relegation with two games to go.  None of the relegated clubs were able to put a run of results together and sank into Div 1 without a fight.  Just as well as we only won three matches between mid February and May, but Premiership football was assured for another year and that was all that mattered.

 

The longest managerial search in football history was finally concluded when French national coach Jacques Santini was announced as the new man in charge.  He was one link in the chain of a new managerial structure.  PSV director of football Frank Arnesen was appointed Spurs Sporting Director and Martin Jol was brought in to as Santini’s assistant.  Chairman Daniel Levy announced that this European structure was the way forward and that is was only a matter of time until the good times rolled again.  Since the above appointments, Santini’s France were a huge disappointment at Euro 2004 and our pre-season results were nothing short of abysmal.  I couldn’t help but wonder if Santini was the right man.  I really hoped we would get Martin O’Neill.

All of that aside we are in a better situation now then we were at any stage over the past two years.  I have been very impressed with Frank Arnesen, he appears to be very professional and focused.  He has a vision for the future and a plan to put everything in place to achieve our common goal.  I certainly have faith in him to turn things around.  Patience needs to be observed as it is impossible to undo 13 years of mismanagement and poor decision-making.  Since the end of last season we have lightened the wage bill and the average age of the squad by releasing Anderton, Ziege and Poyet.  I was sorry to see Postiga pack his bags, but I suppose it was best for all concerned.  In their place we have bought well, in particular the introduction of Sean Davis will give us some serious quality in mid-field.  I think this guy could be a revelation next season.  I was also delighted with the signing of Paul Robinson, it’s time for Kasey Keller to step down as has he has no presence and is far too inconsistent for the first team.  Joining the above we have unknown quantities in Portuguese mid-fielder Mendes and left sided internationals Edman and Atouba.  Poor Robbie Keane is going to miss the first month of the season with injury, this was the very same situation with Robbie last year.  It looks like it’s Defoe and Kanoute up front for the season opener.  We sure have come a long way, let’s not forget that only 16 months ago our front line consisted of Doherty & Sheringham !!  So, Stephen Carr is on his way to Newcastle for £2 million.  Good luck to Carr.  |His career had gone stale and to be fair to him, with 12 years service and one medal I can understand his decision.  I also don't see him reproducing the form of 99/00 & 00/01 again, not for us anyway.

And £2 million is a very good price for a man who is out of contract in May.  He could have been a real git and done a Sol next summer, which would have made him an even wealthier man than he is already.  I also think we needed a fresher look on our right side.  We have young Stephen Kelly ready to take the challenge and make the right-back spot his own and although it may be too soon for Phil Ifil, but he certainly looks like one for the future and a good candidate as cover for Kelly next season.  A note on the Danny Murphy situation, I've always been an admirer of Murphy, but he left Spurs with no option but to withdraw their offer.  Demanding a guaranteed first team place is a joke.  I think Murphy has made a big mistake.  Spurs would have been the perfect place for him to display his talents and stake a claim for an England place.  Danny, you missed the boat son.

By now I’m sure you can gather that for the most part, my negative and bitter rantings apply to times gone-by and although nothing is assured, I really do feel we could be on the verge of something big, relatively speaking.  Top six finish and a good run in one of the Cups would do nicely and give us something solid to build on for phase two of the rejuvenation of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. 
I will leave it there before I start looking too far ahead. 
After all you’re only as good as your last game. 
Finally, below is my ideal first team assuming everyone is fit. 

C’MON U SPURS!!!!!!!

 

GK      -  Robinson

RB       -  Kelly

CB       -  King

CB       -  Gardner

LB       -  Edman

RM      -  Davies

CM      -  Redknapp

CM      -  Davis

LM      -  Ricketts

ST        -  Defoe

ST        -  Keane

Shane O'Sullivan

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