Author Archives: Chris Waddams

Oh my god we just finished 3rd! Sack the manager!

First of all I want to say I haven’t posted on here for the majority of the season as I was stupidly busy before Christmas and didn’t have the time. And when I did think about posting we were doing so well I didn’t want to jinx it. I’m a superstitious fool really…

Now I’m putting this post out there to try and put our achievement this season into perspective:
We finish 3rd. Not 4th like what we all probably would have said our realistic target would have been back in August. 3rd: Our best finish in the Premier League. Yes AVB got more points and finished 5th, so what? We finished 3rd this season on our merit and ability. Seeing as no pundit gave us a chance of top 4 at the beginning of the season it’s pretty impressive. And we would have been the “fairy tale story” of the season if it hadn’t been for the brilliant performance from Leicester.

Arsenal finishing above us has seemingly taken the gloss off the season for the majority of Spurs fans. If you’d said to me at the beginning of the season that we’d finish 3rd but behind Arsenal in 2nd only a point ahead of us I’d have bitten your hand off for it! Too many of us Spurs fans allow what Arsenal are doing define our season. Yes it would be nice if we were to succeed and they were to fail but hand on heart there is only two times a season that their result truly matters to me and that’s when we’re playing them.

Don’t get me wrong, Spurs’ collapse after the Stoke game has been disheartening and I’m gutted at what could have been but we just achieved our highest finish ever in the Premier League! I’m certainly not going to complain about that! It’s better than the football I grew up watching at Spurs that’s for sure!

Let’s hope that the awful performance yesterday against Newcastle proves to Levy that our squad needs strengthening and Pochettino is allowed to go out and get the players he wants! We have a young squad and if we can keep them together we could be on the cusp of a brilliant time with our beloved Tottenham Hotspur!

caldowndear

Calm Down Dear, It’s Spurs…

So the transfer window slammed shut without us signing an out-and-out striker to cover for Kane/give him some competition. And while I’m disappointed that we didn’t get anyone in we have otherwise had a really good transfer window.

Yes it’s left us with only one striker (unless Adebayor somehow works his way back into the first team picture) but to play devil’s advocate, we played all of last season from November onwards with practically one striker.

Another point to “look on the bright side” is although N’Jie and Son are not “out-and-out” strikers; they do play in a forwards position, and can hopefully fill in if Kane needs resting/gets injured. And we saw that Chadli was being used there to some success in pre-season so he is another option. So if you count them three as forwards and put them with Kane we’ve got 4 attackers! (I am of course clutching at straws there)

On the other hand, why did we put all our eggs in the one basket? It seems that Levy had one target in Berahino and wasn’t going to look anywhere else. I find this shocking when we were having reported £25m offers rejected for a player who still has a lot to prove, when we could have gone across London and signed Charlie Austin for £10m less than that and have been in a better position. Granted Austin could have been a “one year wonder” and flopped but there’s nothing to say that Berahino would be a guaranteed success. Another option was possibly Javier Hernandez who signed for Bayer Leverkusen for reportedly only £7.3m! I know he would have wanted first team football but why didn’t we at least have a go at getting him?

But in my opinion, when you look at the players coming in compared to the players going out we’ve got a younger, hungrier squad than before. I’ll list them below and you can then make your own mind up as to whether it’s a marked improvement:

IN

Toby Alderweireld

Clinton N’Jie

Heung-Min Son

Kieran Trippier

Kevin Wimmer


OUT

Etienne Capoue

Cristian Ceballos

Vlad Chiriches

Younes Kaboul

Aaron Lennon

Paulinho

Roberto Soldado

Benjamin Stambouli

Lewis Holtby

 

When you look at the players we got rid of, we’ve got rid of mistake making/lazy players (apart from Aaron Lennon, Lewis Holtby, the unproven Ceballos so he doesn’t count, and Soldado who wasn’t lazy and didn’t make mistakes as it were, but missed his chances) and we’ve brought in what seems to be hungry players.

Yes we could have also done with an actual Defensive Midfielder but so far Dier is doing a decent job there and we’ve still got Bentaleb who can play that role as well.

This transfer window for me would get a mark of 7.5/10. It would have been higher if we’d signed that elusive “out-and-out” Striker and Defensive Midfielder, and if we’d got rid of all the deadwood (I’m looking at Adebayor and Fazio… and possibly Lamela).

The problem comes for me is IF we had signed the managers original targets when he wanted them, we wouldn’t have ended up with as much deadwood. When you look at who we wanted the past few years (Joao Moutinho & Morgan Schneiderlin) and who we got in their place (Etienne Capoue and Benjamin Stambouli) is there any wonder why we’ve struggled to get to where we want to be? The blame for that has to go to Levy and Baldini, not the manager(s).

Let’s hope that we have a squad who can work and gel together, and get us where we want to be. OR we can just wait until next summer, when Levy/Baldini can let us down again and we’ll be having this same conversation, again!

 

RASKIAKSTRIKER

We need a striker

I watched the Audi Cup 3rd place game and was a little shocked that Chadli played as our main striker. Now don’t get me wrong Chadli can play in that position IF we need him to, but we shouldn’t have to rely on him to.

What it did tell us is that Adebayor and Soldado are all but gone from the team (for the right deal of course) and Pochettino doesn’t trust any of our young strikers from the developmental squad to be good enough (yet) to play as deputy to Harry Kane. This means we will have to buy a striker or two. I’ve come up with my own list of players I would like to see us at least try to sign. I’ve gone for Premier League experience over reputation as we don’t need to blow another £26m on a striker who should have been brilliant but ended up being a let-down.

 

Charlie Austin (QPR)

The second highest scoring Englishman last season in the Premier League (behind you know who) should be an obvious choice for us, and surprisingly I’ve only heard us linked with him today! Austin scored 18 goals for QPR last season… 18 goals for the Premier League’s worst team. Just imagine the potential he would have with a better team around him! Another reason why I think we should go for Austin is because both he and Kane would help each other out by taking pressure off the other in both their second seasons in the Premier League. The reported £15m price tag isn’t too bad when you look at what English talent is going for in today’s market.

Saido Berahino (West Brom)

Young, tricky and pacey, Berahino is everything Harry Kane isn’t in his style of play. Both are undeniably talented and would both complement each other. One thing that goes against Berahino is the apparent, media reported attitude problems. But if he’s happy scoring goals I don’t see that being a problem unless he doesn’t want to play second fiddle to the HurriKane.

Javier Hernández (Manchester United)

He wants out, we need a striker. He knows where the goal is and (apart from Kane) our strikers don’t. Match made in heaven? Biggest problem to this is again he would not want to sit on the bench at Spurs playing no2 to Kane. As a professional footballer he’ll get more out of sitting on Manchester United’s bench with them in the Champions League than he would sat on our bench and probably only getting started in the Europa League

Dimitar Berbatov (free agent)

Yes it looks as though he is about to sign for Villa but he could be lured into “coming home”? We’ve seen it happen before (Teddy, Keane, Defoe) so why can’t Berba be added to that list? Give him a one year deal with the option of another if he scores say 15 goals and we’ll have go good number 2 for Kane to mentor…

 

Like I said I’ve only picked a few options that have Premier League experience. If you can think of anyone like this who I have missed out please leave a comment at let me know!

harry-kane

The New Season is here! YAAY!

So we’ve had our summer break, and the season starts this weekend against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We could have had easier starts but it also could be a lot worse.

This isn’t a match preview post so I’ll get on with my actual point of how I feel we will do this season and what my take on our transfer activity is.

Let’s start with the transfers:

We’ve seen a few players leave and only a handful come in (so far) and it’s got many people on different forums worried that we’re leaving ourselves short changed. As much as we do need to bolster our squad I don’t think the situation is a bad as some think. Out of the players who have left, how many of them were regularly getting into our match day squads last season? The only one that I can think of is Paulinhio. None of the others were getting a look in. Whether that was the right or wrong thing is neither here nor there as it was Pochettino’s decision to not use those players. Yes we’ve seen 3 Central Midfielders leave but it’s not like we’re scraping the barrel for replacements. And we all know how much Levy likes signing CM’s so there’s every possibility that there will be at least one like-for-like replacement before the end of the window.
Both Kaboul and Chiricheș have left but have been replaced by Alderweireld and Wimmer. We’ve also brought in Trippier so our defence is in a better condition that it was last season.
My main worry is that we only have on reliable striker. Kane will need competition and also someone to take some of the pressure off his young shoulders. With Adebayor almost out the door (although I did just read that the Villa deal is off…) and Soldado not looking much more secure in his place at Spurs, we will need to see a striker brought in before the end of the window. We all remember how much fun it was last time we had only one recognised/trusted striker in the first team…

How I think we will do this season:

We’re in the process of streamlining the team, cutting off the fat so to say but it’s not taking away from the quality that was already there. I don’t see any reason as to why we won’t be challenging for the top 4 again this year. Pochettino is getting rid of the dead wood and making a fresh bright team who want to push on. We’ve got some brilliant young talent just waiting to be let loose and IF it goes well for them we could be in for a very good season.
With bringing in 3 defenders it shows that Pochettino knows where our biggest weakness was last year and he’s going about to rectify it. If the Alderweireld Vertonghen partnership works we could be looking at one of the best in the league. Coupled with Walker now having some real competition at Right Back in Tripper and Yeddlin and Rose being kept on his toes by Davies, we could have a Spurs back 4 that is actually quite reliable (I can’t remember the last time I could say that without my tongue firmly in my cheek…)
My first team line up (with a fully fit squad) would be this:

15-16 lineup

To round up I think our best possible achievement this season would obviously be to qualify for the Champions League. But I’ve got a feeling it’ll be another case of “so near yet so far” for Champions League football. I am hoping that we will win a domestic cup (the F.A Cup if I’m being picky) and finish 5th (or higher…)
Let’s get behind the team regardless and let them know they are playing for the mighty Spurs!

THFC1882.com Tottenham Hotspur season Review 2014/15

So the season is up, the final whistle has been blown, the last ball has been kicked. But how did our beloved Lilywhites do? Well here is my review of the season:

Highlight of the Season

Beating the champions elect 5-3. This just pipped beating Arsenal at the Lane for me because we’ve beaten Arsenal on a semi regular basis the last few years, where as beating Chelsea hasn’t come as regularly as we’d have liked. But beating them by 5 goals to 3? That never bloody happens!

Low point of the season

There was a few “meh” moments this season but the most disappointing for me was the 3-0 loss to Stoke a few weeks back (although their thumping of Liverpool made our result seem better than it was). A team that is apparently pushing for Champions League football should be doing better against Stoke. That’s no disrespect to Stoke, who have come on leaps and bounds under Mark Hughes. But IF we are to be where we want to be we should be doing better in these games.

Player of the Season

There’s only one choice here isn’t there? Not really. I AM going to give it to Harry Kane but a massive honourable mention goes to Danny Rose, who has been outstanding this season!
So it does go to Harry Kane. 31 goals in all competitions with 21 in the league, It’s nuts to think his first start in the league didn’t come until November. I’m looking forward to seeing him play from the off next year, but I’m not expecting him to hit the ground running as he’s playing in the summers u21 championships and will probably be a bit tired already.

Disappointment of the Season

Bloody hell I’m making this hard for myself. Soldado? Capoue? Kaboul? Paulinho? Adebayor? I’m sure I’ve missed a few but you get the picture. My disappointment of the season is Roberto Soldado. How someone who was only out scored by Messi and Ronaldo in La Liga has gone to a goal shy goalscorer is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong Soldado does try and you can make an argument for him being unlucky as well, but overall he has been a massive disappointment. The biggest thing we have to thank him for is the fact that IF he was scoring goals Harry Kane wouldn’t have been given his chance.

How did the manager do?

Pochettino has done a good job in his first season. We got to a cup final and played some good football once he had worked out which players fitted into his plan and which didn’t. Our form dipped towards the end of the season, but whether that was down to Pochettino’s tactics or the fact our players where shattered due to him not trusting half of our squad will only be proved one way of another once he is given a full season with a squad that he is 100% happy with.

A quick round up

5th place and a cup final. We never seemed to get out of 3rd gear in the league but we had some massive results to savour (5-3 vs Chelsea and 2-1 against Arsenal spring to mind). The cup final was a nice peak but to fall at the final hurdle was heartbreaking. It was a season of “what if” but ultimately a season of standing still. There’s plenty to keep us looking forward rather than back (young homegrown talent flooding the first team is brilliant in my books). Hopefully Pochettino gets the backing he needs in the transfer market to get the players he wants rather than cheap knockoffs, and maybe we might be onto something exciting in the next few years.

Time to Sack the Manager?

In a word: No.

When Pochettino was appointed in the summer there was the silly jokes and comments from the Media and fans alike saying “How long will this one last?” but it’s time that Levy actually stands up to his side of the bargain and backs a young talented manager. Getting rid of Pochettino will only take up back two steps from where we want to be, not anywhere closer to it.
We all know Levy has a trigger finger when it comes to losing his patience with his managers (if he was to get rid of Pochettino now that will be our 3rd manager shown the door in 12 months – who are we? Fulham?) But now is the time to put his faith in his appointment and give him the time to succeed.

Levy can’t expect the manager to make the tough targets that he sets out for them if he is not willing to back them and put the extra money out there for them to get the players they wanted. The last time he pushed the boat out we signed a string of players that included Modric, Bale, Van Der Vaart, Berbatov just to name a few. And apart from Van Der Vaart and Berbatov who both hit the floor running, the others didn’t find their best form until one and maybe even two managers later because Levy hadn’t given his man any time to create a team.
I believe that if Levy was the Chairman of Liverpool he would have got rid of Brendan Rogers after his first season, when they finished 7th, only one place higher than the previous season and without any silverware (they won the League Cup the season before). But then look how close he got to creating history last season with them? Rogers was given the chance and (putting a completely neutral hat on here) was so unlucky not to win the League. Sticking with Liverpool, it’ll be interesting to see whether Rogers is given the time to “rebuild” after losing a player of Suarez’ talent (unlike AVB when Bale was sold).

Yes we are 11th after the weekend’s results and yes the last two seasons at the same point we were 4th. What we seem to forget is that Pochettino took over a team who seem very low on confidence and he was going to have to rebuild a lot of the confidence in each player, not just in one or two. He’s also not been given the targets he wanted. For example he wanted Morgan Schneiderlin but got Benjamin Stambouli (who is a very good player, but not the player the manager wanted).
Pochettino has to be given time, we are still playing some good football with what I see as possibly our worse squad in 8/9 years. We have players who are not living up to their potential, and others who are just not good enough. This was never going to be fixed in one transfer window. Give the manager time and maybe the patience will be rewarded with more than a League Cup win once a decade or a brief flirtation with the top 4.

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

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Worst Premier League XI

I decided to do this after putting up my greatest PL XI, so here is my worst Premiership/Premier League XI. I’ve given a little explanation as to why I’ve picked them and I’d like to see what you guys think. Please agree/disagree in the comments below and leave your worst XI.

A few rules:

1. They can’t play for us now.
2. They have to have played for us in the Premiership/Premier League.

Goalkeeper: Ben Alnwick

He made his only Premier League appearance in our colours against an already relegated Burnley, and he shipped 4 goals to add to the 3 he had conceded against them in the league cup semi-final the season before. Thankfully he never made another appearance for us.

Full Back: Gilberto

Just a Spurs career that should never have happened, he was terrible. Made a mistake for a goal on his debut and never really recovered from it…

Full Back: Ben Thatcher

What he lacked in talent he made up for in aggression (and no, that is not a good thing). Very limited in his ability and quite a liability at times, there was just point to him playing for us.

Centre Back: Ricardo Rocha

He was awful wasn’t he? Was brought in as cover for Ledley King but we would have been better off not bothering at all. In his final season he didn’t make a single appearance and was release soon after, thankfully.

Centre Back: Callum Davenport

He was supposed to be brilliant. It was supposed to be him, Dawson and King as our three top centre backs. But Davenport was clumsy and not very good.

Centre Midfield: Hossam Ghaly

Had such an ego that even the best player in the world would get a bad rep from it, but no talent to back it up. He apparently refused to do a basic training routine during his medical at Birmingham which saw the transfer collapse (“what was the basic routine?” I hear you ask. It was running… I shit you not). Throwing the shirt on the floor in anger after being subbed was the straw that broke the camel’s back and he never appeared for us again. Redknapp tried bringing him on once as a sub but everyone booed so loud that he was told to sit down!

Centre Midfield: Jason Dozzell

I personally don’t remember too much about Dozzell as I was quite young when he played for us, but I do remember my Nan and Uncle referred to him as “Donkey Dozzel” (the “Donkey” nickname only came out for one other player – Tony Adams, which goes to show what kind of company he kept in their eyes…). He said he was going to be our new Glenn Hoddle but he was clumsy and didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded him when he signed.

Left Midfield: Stéphane Dalmat

He had the ability and scored a couple of goals for us, but he was injury prone during his brief time with us and was apparently a bit of a nutter off the pitch. Never lived up to the hype and we didn’t make his loan move permanent.

Right Midfield: David Bentley

He should have been brilliant (that’s becoming the tag line for this article). He will be remembered for two things which are both at either end of the scale: That goal against Arsenal and his penalty miss in the League Cup final (unless you want to add his ability to kick a ball into a skip from a balcony…)

Striker: Sergi Rebrov

Depending on whether you believe the gossip Rebrov was signed to try and convince his international teammate Andriy Shevchenko to follow him to the Lane. Rebrov wasn’t the worst ever but with a (at the time) record transfer fee paid on him he should have done better.

Striker: Grzegorz Rasiak

He was described as “a tall target man, a hardworking, honest player with a good goalscoring record” when he signed – he only made 8 league appearances for us, netting 0 goals.

I’m not going to go in depth about these “near misses” but here are some un-honourable mentions:

Justin Edinburgh, Paolo Tramezzani, Gary Doherty, Heurelho Gomes, Jose Dominguez, Paul Konchesky, Hélder Postiga, Goran Bunjevčević, Ramon Vega,

So that’s my Worst Premiership/Premier League Spurs XI. Let me know yours in the comments below.

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Time to shut them up?

So we are a day away from the Premier League kick off and we start with a tricky game against West Ham, who we all know beat us three times last season (let’s not get started on their “treble” t-shirts… it puts Levy’s DVDs to shame)

With it being quite a big rivalry to start the season, we can’t expect anything other than an all-out attack from West Ham, who will be hoping to put the boot in on us before Pochettino can even get his feet under the desk. Like we did last summer, West Ham (at the time of writing) have made 7 new signings in the off season, and being in the position of knowing a few West Ham fans, they are excited by them.
Spurs being Spurs haven’t exactly been quiet in the transfer market, but what was refreshing was the signing of 3 young promising defenders, two who can make an impact this season (DeAndre Yedlin is staying at Seattle until the end of the MLS season and then getting a nice long break after a full MLS season and World Cup before joining us for the start of next season). We’ve also signed a brilliant goalkeeper in Michel Vorm, who will keep Lloris on his toes and make a brilliant deputy.

Our pre-season went very well, but as we all know pre-season can be very wrong for what happens once the League gets underway (anyone remember thrashing Roma 5-1? Yeah exactly), but it is still very promising, with the likes of Kaboul finding some form once again, Lamela looking good and Soldado actually scoring from open play. I believe that we will see a lot more from Lamela this season, with Pochettino being a fellow Argentinian it may help the young wonder kid settle better and find his feet after an injury plagued first season in North London. Soldado has to get better, a player with his scoring record doesn’t go bad overnight (unless their name is Torres… it might be a Spanish thing…) and as much as I don’t think we’ll see the volume of goals he got in Spain, I do expect him to be a lot more free scoring, as long as he gets the chance.
Lewis Holtby has played very well in pre-season, so I’d expect him to get the nod over Dembele and Paulinho to start the season, both who played in the World Cup anyway and could probably use a little longer rest time. I’m also going to go with Capoue starting ahead of Sandro, just as the Beast hasn’t played much of the pre-season and his apparent lack of fitness could hinder him against a rival team.
I would like to see Soldado start, as it would do his confidence the world of good and it would give Adebayor a little bit of a rest having not long recovered from a bout of malaria. But I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Adebayor starts ahead of Soldado

On the injury front, we have a couple missing. According to physioroom.com, we have Dawson, Walker and Chiriches missing for the trip to Upton Park.

My team to play West Ham would be:

lineupVsSpammers

Subs: Vorm, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Paulinho, Adebayor, Kane

I’m going for a 2-0 win with Soldado scoring both (we can dream about them both being from open play eh?)

I’ve also set up a fantasy football league for the blog on fantasy.premierleague.com. The league name is THFC1882.com and the code is 1246752-475148. Come join in the fun!

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Greatest Premier League XI

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I want to put MY best Premiership/Premier League XI on here, give a little explanation as to why I’ve picked them and then see what you guys think. Please agree/disagree in the comments below and leave your best XI.

A few rules:

1. They don’t have to have been the best players, just have made a connection with you.
2. They can’t play for us now.
3. They have to have played for us in the Premiership/Premier League.

I’m also not thinking of the XI as a team dynamic, so if I have 6 all out attacking players from midfield up don’t slate me for not having anyone defensive.

Goalkeeper: Paul Robinson

Some may think this is an easy choice but (don’t laugh) I was tempted to put Ian Walker in his place (I just LOVED his curtain hair style back in the mid 90s – probably why I would have put him in…). “Englands Number 1” got that title for real while playing for us and for the better part of two seasons was brilliant. I also met him when he signed for us, which gave him extra points in this case.

Left Back: Christian Ziege

For me he came to Spurs when we were in transition. We were signing good players who were a bit older but still had quite a lot to offer and mixing it with some nice young talent. Ziege scored some nice goals for us (YouTube them) and in my eyes was our best left back in the PL era.

Right Back: Stephen Carr

I remember Stephen Carr mainly for his goal against Man Utd (again, YouTube it) but I also remember him being a very reliable Right Back. He was quick and put his foot in when needed. When we had him he could have easily played for one of the “bigger” teams in the League and in some ways he got that with his move to Newcastle (who at the time were a bigger club then us).

Centre Back: Ledley King

I don’t think anyone’s “Spurs Best PL XI” would miss this man out. The King of White Hart Lane gave his whole career to Tottenham and when fit was arguably the best Centre Back in the country. In my opinion if he had stayed fully fit it would have been a question of who would partner him for England out of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand rather than those two being England’s first choices. He also our Captain when we won the League Cup, our only piece of silverware through the 00’s.

Centre Back: Gary Mabbutt

Our last Captain to win the FA Cup (before the Premier League started I know) and was in the team when we last won the UEFA cup, Mabbutt captained the side until he retired in 1998 after breaking his leg. A no nonsense player and he was also the first Tottenham Captain I can remember.

Centre Midfield: Luka Modric

We all know how good this guy was, and still is. He was brilliant in a Spurs shirt and even though he pretty much forced a transfer from us, he never let it stop what he was doing on the pitch and when he crossed the white line he was a top professional (WHEN he crossed the white line).

Centre Midfield: Rafael Van Der Vaart

When we signed Van Der Vaart I was beside myself with excitement! He was one of those players we only ever signed on Football Manager! Yet here he was in a Spurs Shirt! I loved his time at Spurs and was disappointed when we sold him as I think he still had much to offer. Added bonus for his place here was his love of scoring against Arsenal (4 goals in 4 NLD in the PL)

Left Midfield: David Ginola

I absolutely LOVED Ginola when he was at Spurs. He was so skilful and elegant on the ball. When he had control of the ball you expected something special was going to happen – a feeling I didn’t have for a player again until Berbatov and then Bale played for us. I was gutted when we sold him as I thought he still had a lot to offer us and our Left Midfield never looked the same until the previously mentioned Bale started shining there.

Right Midfield: Darren Anderton

Anderton (when fit) was a brilliant player. An England regular until the emergence of David Beckham he could have actually stumped Beckham’s progression if he had signed for United when they came knocking. He didn’t and stayed at Spurs, something that makes me like him even more. Another player (like King) who could have been remembered by other fans much more fondly if it wasn’t for their injury problems

Attacking Midfield/Support Striker: Gareth Bale

I couldn’t leave him out and I could have put him in several different positions, but I’ve gone for the role he played under AVB in his unbelievable season where he racked up 21 Premier League goals – our first player since Jürgen Klinsmann to score 20+ goals in the league. I wish he had stayed longer but you can’t deny him a move to Real Madrid when they offered us such silly money and he went on to help them win the Champions League in his first season, which just goes to show what kind of player he was/is.

Striker: Jürgen Klinsmann

He was one of the best strikers in the world when he first signed for us, and his partnership with Sheringham was arguably the best in the league at the time (and the best we would see until Berbatov and Keane). But I remember him more for his second spell with us, where he pretty much kept us up by himself. He didn’t have to come back, but he did and he was still just as brilliant second time around. His 4 goals against Wimbledon kept us up and for that he will always be one of my favourites.

Some of the picks were hard to make and some players were hard to leave out. I’m not going to go in depth about these “near misses” but here are some honourable mentions:

Ian Walker, Steffen Freund, Teddy Sheringham, Simon Davies, Michael Carrick, Jonathan Woodgate, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov

So that’s my Greatest Premiership/Premier League Spurs XI. Let me know yours in the comments below.

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What’s so “special” about our special relationship with Real Madrid?

August 2012: Luka Modric signed for Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for £30m and both teams confirmed that they had entered into a “special relationship”. The special relationship was said to involve players, coaching ideas, friendlies and commercial aspects. The majority of fans thought that it was just a way for Madrid to ensure that they signed Bale this summer and we all know what happened there…

Fast forward a year and we haven’t seen any coaching ideas shared, apart from the obvious there’s been no player interaction, no friendlies and nothing done on a commercial aspect, unless you count the constant tapping up of Bale for a few months as commercial advertising. So what is this relationship?

As I said, apart from the constant tapping up that happened with Bale, there has been no obvious proof of any kind of relationship between the two clubs. In fact you can’t even say that demonstrates a relationship between the two clubs. At the end of last season representatives of Spurs kept insisting that Bale was not for sale, that he had a good few years left on his contract and as far as they were concerned he was a part of the plans of AVB. But it didn’t stop Madrid, their representatives and others to keep insisting that Bale was on his way to Madrid. Even Zinedine Zidane (the advisor to Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid President) was in the papers saying that Bale should sign for them. Madrid also had the Spanish newspaper Marca making up stories about Bale being upset and getting Madrid tops made up with “Bale 11” on the back. Their constant “tapping up” of Bale would have resulted in a FIFA fine had it been anyone else.

Anyway, Madrid got their man, Spurs got A LOT of money and everyone was happy right? Well not really. This “Special Relationship” seems to only be working in one teams favour. Madrid could have put any of their squad players into the transfer, to help keep their output of money down and help us strengthen our own squad. There was heavy talk of Fabio Coentrao being involved in the deal but if paper talk is to be believed he almost signed for Manchester United on deadline day, and not us. There was talk of other players but Coentrao seemed the most likely and that never worked out.

And then there is Muzit Ozil: Sold to the enemy down the road after Madrid had signed our star man. Weakening us and strengthening them. This transfer was the proverbial icing on the cake for most fans: Madrid had mugged us off and done the dirty with the enemy.
But did we have first dibs on Ozil? Had he been muted as part of the Bale deal at an earlier date and refused to come to us as we didn’t have Champions League football? Could this be why we signed Christian Eriksen and Eric Lamela so late in the transfer window compared to our other signings? These facts we will never know but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the case. Ozil is one of the best players in the world and going to a team not in the Champions League would have been a step back for him, especially in a World Cup year.
As much as we would like to think that Madrid wouldn’t do business with our most local and fierce rivals as we are affiliated with them, I doubt there was ever anything written in a contract saying that they couldn’t do business with them.

Of course, all the aspects of our “special relationship” could be done behind closed doors, without us knowing about it. We may have had coaches and representatives of Madrid may have already been over to our training ground to exchange ideas, and our coaches and representatives could have already been across to Madrid to learn how they run things. Unless the clubs make anything public knowledge we will never know whether or not anything like this has ever happened.

So should we allow our “special relationship” carry on? Has there been enough done in both directions to warrant it or have Madrid seen us just as a feeder club? I’ll leave that up to you.

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