where next ? ... disillusionment central



Before anyone criticises me as a fairweather fan, let's get some credentials on the table.

I'm 44 this year and have been watching Spurs since I was eight.  I've stood in the East Stand Shelf and seen all of the games, finals, second division, fantastic players and those that you don't want to even remember.
I've been to away games - the most recent being in the Stretford end at Man U (never a penalty !) last season.
Those who know me, know I am Tottenham mad.  My twin boys at age three wore identical Spurs kits.

However, I have given up my season ticket.  I have cancelled my Sky subscription and I never even considered getting a Setanta subscription (thank God).

Why ?

Because I have become disillusioned with football as a whole.   Not necessarily with Spurs - but just football generally.

Why ?

Well consider this. 

My season ticket was over £800 for the year.  In order to see the European games I had to shell out for Gold 
membership, for which I reckon in the last three seasons I have had to pay at least another £250 per year.  I have to pay my travel to and from Chelmsford.  Plus the parking fee to park in the car park since Haringey decided to make it impossible to park anywhere on the road on a match day.   I have to pay for my programme, which is really re-constituted out of date news I can get for free on the internet.  Add a pie and a pint on match day.   Add another £400 a year for Sky Sport subscription.  Add a new shirt every year around the £30 mark on average.

Add it all up, and for me, as what I would call a typical fan, I was splashing out about £2000 a year on my favourite pastime.  Thank God I never bought an Opus.   For this privilege, I get an uncomfortable seat with a restricted view (thanks again to Haringey council for not allowing the East Stand to be pillar-less), to park my car in a place I don't want to take my wife and kids, hoping it will still be in one piece when I get back.  That is of course not forgetting the hour it takes to get away from the ground because of the stupid road system that means everything ends up on the High Street or North Circular.   Surely soak-away traffic is better than down two pipes for getting it all away ?   As for the toilet facilities, just ask yourself the question if you spent £55 on a ticket to the West End to see a show, would you stand for that sort of toilet?

Now look at the players.  Players like Bellamy on £70K a week.  Jermaine Jenas and Robbie Keane as captain of Spurs.  Captain.  Can you really compare them to Dave Mackay, Mike England, Steve Perryman, Gary Mabbutt ?  Really ?  Do you really think in years to come when my kids ask me of the great Spurs captains I will even remember they WERE captain ?

Now look at the number of people you know being made redundant, losing their jobs, struggling to pay the mortgage.  It just doesn't add up.  

We are being exploited.

You think maybe I am over-reacting ?  

Well after giving up my season ticket after all these years, I was duped into buying a ticket for the Wembley Cup game against Barcelona.  Three weeks earlier, I was coerced into going to a Take That concert at the very same stadium.  
It cost me £45 for my Take That ticket - and whilst I don't profess to be a fan - I had a great time, saw the support band and a fantastic show extravaganza.  
Compare that with the expectation against seeing my beloved Spurs v The European Champions - and probably the best team in the world right now. 

Surely I could make an exception for this ?  

Yes I did.  £65 for the ticket (including booking fee), parking fees on top at Wembley (£25) and by the time you throw in petrol around £100 - but surely it's worth it to see such a great team ?  
Let's be honest, we'll never play them in the Champions league. 

What happened ? 

They sent their B team, and for the second half their C team.  Compare and contrast this with the Take That concert - imagine spending £65 on a ticket to see them, and they send either just the support band or a tribute band.  You'd ask for your money back  wouldn't you ?

Lads - we are being ripped off.  I actually can afford to spend all this money, but I object to being ripped off.  I object to the falseness of it all.  If they had said 'Barcelona will not put out a full team' then maybe I wouldn't have gone.   Maybe I should have been streetwise enough to know that is what would happen, but what other event that you would spend this kind of money on, would you have to be 'streetwise enough' to ensure you don't get ripped off.  Now have a think about where Chelsea, Man City, QPR, Arsenal, Man U etc. will all be when the Ogliarchs, Sheiks and bankrupted businessmen have got bored.  The clubs will make Southampton look like a well-run club.

I hate to say it, but I have lost my love for football. 
Not the game itself.   Not wanting Spurs to win, but the whole circus act has got too expensive for too little product.   I have friends who pay LESS, yes LESS for a season ticket at Man U or the lot up the road.  Now even though I wouldn't pay a penny to watch either, you have to ask, Champions League football, some of the best players in the world (apart from Berbs - Man U haven't attempted to steal anyone else - and apart from Teddy can you remember a single player signing from Man U to Spurs?) and you have to ask whether we get value for money.

The Setanta/England thing has meant most people don't give a stuff about England any more - because they can't see it on terrestrial and  the cost of going to the game or Setanta just means they would rather not.

I always have, and always will love Spurs, but I have come to the same conclusion.

ray h


I have been a true Yid since 1960 and each year the new season brings with it renewed hope that we may just do something as special as those boys did when I was a kid in the packed stands at WHL in the early 1960ís.  This year was no exception until I just read that we seem to be three central defenders short already and a ball hasnít been kicked in anger. 

Seriously we have known for sometime now that Ledders and Woody cannot stand up to a full season not even one of 38 league games only !! Daws is supposed to be on several clubsí shopping list so could go at any time although if he is out for 4 weeks as ĎArry says then he will probably stay till at least January.  

Despite this problem (and it has not simply just occurred) with central defenders here we are buying 2 full backs to join the other dozens already at WHL and continued talk of buying strikers like Huntelaar and Kenwynne-Jones that in all honesty have not proved their worth recently or in the EPL.  

Here is my take on what we need to be competitive in the EPL this year on the basis ĎArry says money is tight and players are demanding levels of wages we cannot or will not match. 

Goal keeping seems to be OK as Gomes finally came right, Carlo is a steady back up and Alnwick is getting there. We have full backs galore, admittedly Hutton was out for most of last season injured as was Bale but unbelievably Assou stood up and played exceptionally well (for him anyway) last season. Gunter left after we were originally told he and Bale would be the Welsh defence for the next 20 years. Gilberto, well say no more and Chimp is still there.  

So in reality we have good cover at full back and with no Reserve League team this year surely a couple of the younger guys could also be used as back up for Cup games as necessary. 

In midfield we have several good players, never quite got the continued support of Jenas  though but there must be something in the way he moves!! With players like Hudd, Wilson, Jamie, Aaron etc and some of the younger guys like Bostok, Rose etc getting rave reviews so possibly midfield is covered. And Bale can still play on the left if Luka gets crocked!! And surely Boathook must be a better player than he showed fleetingly last year ?  

Up front we have four goal scorers that have proven experience at EPL and/or international level. Even Pav who didnít have the best first season scored 14 goals overall and Bent got 17 including 12 in the EPL. Thatís more than Berbatov, Adebayor and Crouch got ! Keano and Defoe are proven so we have forwards who can score and back up plus some good youngsters as well. 

That just leaves the central defence that for some reason until now has not been under scrutiny and suddenly it looks as if Vedran, young Dervite and maybe Hudd will be starting there this weekend at Wembley (please God Barca bring a B side) and maybe the season opener against Liverpool.  

As long as ĎArry doesnít panic buy a big defender (please not a Dunne or Distin or Senderos type) and looks for and gets at least one established big boy who isnít injury prone like the ones we have (sorry Ledders and Woody) things will look brighter again. 

Letís give this year a really big push for CL footie in 2010/11 then next summer we can hopefully get a few more in that will give us a decent crack at that level of footie. But please sort out the bloody central defence first !!!

john freeman

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