Monday, 29 December 2008

Gently Bently

Just read that David Bentley was crowdsurfed at a Kings of Leon concert during Christmas week at the bands gig at Wembley Arena.
"Everybody was going mental at the gig, but nobody could quite believe it when we started passing David Bentley over our heads," said a witness.
"It's not unusual for people to crowd surf but I've never seen a Premier League footballer doing it.
"He could have injured himself easily, but didn't seemed to care. Everybody was cheering and spraying beer over him. He loved it.
"When the gig finished he was just standing in the road with his wet shirt in his hand. He didn't look like an England star - in his hat, shirt off, stinking of beer."
I've seen him a few times this year where he's looked nothing like an England footballer - but at lesast then he hasn't stunk of anything, least not, sweat.

I'm back

I'm back - like Michael Dawson.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Should have played your girls Cesc

Is it really almost a week since all the Tottenham jokes dried up - how time flies. It's been a whirlwind of activity that has seen our state of mind go from despair to optomism quicker than you can say "hurry up 'Arry". Fair play to Levy for biting the bullet and making the changes. Since ol 'Arry has come in the atmosphere has skyrocketed. A well deserved win against Bolton almost inevitable in the circumstances and then the draw against the Arse was just sensational. With a bit of momentum behind us and then Cesc Fibreglass stoking the fire with his claims that Arsenal Ladies could probably draw with us, we absolutely whollowed in the glory of Wednesday's great escape. Even when we were 4-2 down I felt okay about us - I didn't think we were going to score two goals but I was happy that we seemed to be a stronger unit now, with a bit of fight. Huddlestone made a couple of powder-poof attempts at a tackle late on, but even Jenas was running around getting stuck in. his goal was brilliant, only overshadowed by Bentley's wonder strike. Ah, happy days. Has there ever been a team bottom of the table enjoying themselves like us? The way we celebrated after the game was great, dancing with the fans and looking like a team that had turned a corner.

Friday, 24 October 2008

There's only one Keano

I know I’ve been posting recently that Ramos should stay and that he’ll straighten things out soon. After the last two games I’ve got to change my mind. He seems lost and doesn’t appear to have any answer for the predicament we’re in. We don’t look like we’re improving, so the excuses about new players, doesn’t wash. We don’t have any leadership on or off the pitch. Levy’s pride will no doubt stand in the way of getting rid of Ramos and there’s no chance that he’ll walk so my guess is we’re stuck and the only ones who can get us out of it are the players. But who of those Lillywhite Wonders is going to take the bull by the horns and rescue us? Answers on a postcard to J. Ramos at WHL, N17. If Ramos was to get the elbow, what about Roy Keane as his replacement? A Boyhood Spurs fan (and we know how Irish Keane’s love to join their favourite teams), Keane has all the fighting spirit we need at this time. He seems a class act and earned huge respect for his results as a manager and the way he has conducted himself.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Sitting Bulls are Standing

At last, something to smile about. The perennial underdogs, Hereford beat Carlisle last night and moved off the bottom of League One. As with Spurs, it all comes from confidence. Hereford got dicked by four at Oldham last week but have now kept two clean sheets at Brighton and at home to a Carlisle team who nearly made the Championship last term. Graham Turner said after last night’s game that he could see the confidence returning to the players. If Spurs could keep a clean sheet or two you only need to snatch the odd goal and things start to tick. Sounds easy, dunnit? I see that Dawson might get a couple of games added to his three game ban for the manner in which he questioned the refs decision – Newcastle didn’t exactly take Baye’s red card against City with the grace of God, but it looks like he might get his card rescinded. It’s a funny old game – how we could do with the inventor of that quote at the Lane. I watched Man U last night and Berbatov is starting to look like the player we used to love. However, he wouldn’t have scored them two goals last night for us, because they’d have been given offside!! And finally, no one seems to have mentioned the fact that Darren Bent has scored more league goals this season than Robbie Keane and Berbatov put together.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Going potty

Well there's no denying it now, we are officially in the shit. In the current financial climate they say that the height of optomism is a banker who irons five shirts on a Sunday. The same could be said of Spurs fans planning next years trip to Anfield and Old Trafford. At the moment, we look like we are doomed and that relegation is the only outcome. How do we turn things around though? Sacking Ramos can't be the answer. He looks lost at moment and although I don't see him as a "role your sleeves up" type, what could we gain from getting him on his bike. Commolli has to go whatever happens - can everyone see it except Levy. That's another thing, Levy has had 6 managers since he took over and the most successful of them was Jol who only got te job by default. Players for the rest of the season need to stand up and be counted. I thought Modric was better than most and Lennon did okay on occasions. When we were playing well in the first half (remember that?) Zakora and Jenas played okay but when we were up against it JJ was nowhere to be found. And why does he keep taking the free kicks? He scored at Old Trafford a few years ago but I can't remember another. Our problems in the back have intensified with the suspensions of Bale and Dawson and the injuries to Corluka and possibly Gomes. Will Ramos play Ledley at Udinese or save him for the must win game against Bolton. My guess is he'll need the passport and a pasta bowl. One thing that will be interesting is the Bale suspension. When John Terry wrestled his was to a red card he had it rescinded despite having no intention of playing the ball. Bale made a genuine attempt to get the ball, and will no doubt be punished fully for doing so. They say things go against you when you're down the bottom, I think we're already seeing that. Both reds couyld have been yellows or reds, it was sods law that they were the latter. I can't wait for the Bolton game now because every game is now vital. I think we need to put the seat belt on because we're just starting one hell of a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

We need a leader

So the old horse cart called Tottenham keeps rolling uncontrollably down hill with a big shitty pond waiting at the bottom. We need someone to jump on and grab hold of the reins, but at the moment I can't see anyone trying to. In the scheme of things, the performance against Hull was a lot better, but however you look at it, we're bottom and have just been beaten by Hull. They're only the third biggest sports team in Hull, yet they've raided London for the second time in a week with a swag bag of six points. Their win against Arsenal was a bolt out of the blue which surprised everyone, but sadly, the win against Spurs was on the cards. We do a prediction league in work and apart from one girl, everyone had Hull down for an away win - including me. I know we're not supposed to quote Gary Glitter nowadays but how I would love one of the Spurs players to stand up and shout, "I'm the leader of the gang, I am". We know that guy isn't Jenas and Ledley is too far removed at the moment. It's enough for him to concentrate on fitness without the added burden of carrying a team back from the brink of hell. I'm a bit surprised that Woodgate hasn't stepped up to the plate in that respect. I rate him highly but I'm a bit concerned buy his new trick of holding back the opponent's goalie when he's tacking a kick - picking up cheap bookings which might rule him out of some big games down the line. It's not all doom and gloom though - I heard today that the last time we had this bad a start, 96 years ago, Arsenal got relegated.

Friday, 3 October 2008

C'Mon Eddie Cochran

Rock 'n roll legend Eddie Cochran would have been 70 today. The problem is the poor sod was killed in a car crash at the age of 21. The orginator of C'Mon Everybody, Somethin' Else and Summertime Blues to name just three, he was years ahead of his time and will never be forgotten. If Eddie would have been a Tottenham player, he'd have been Jimmy Greaves.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Worse than our socks

When the camera focused on Wendy and Gus at the dying stages of the Pompey game today, I was reminded of Dads Army’s Corporal Jones giving it the “don’t panic, don’t panic”. At what stage do we start to panic though? What I find the most worrying is that after about a dozen league and cup games, Ramos seems to have no idea what his preferred line-up is. After watching the last couple of games I know what my preferred line-up is, but I don’t think Hoddle, Ardiles and Chivers are eligible.

Can anyone tell me why Lennon is on the left and Dos Santos is on the right. The worst thing that could have happened to us is Lennon creating a goal from the left in mid-week. He’ll be playing out of position there for months now. With Zakora having one of his better games why the hell did he get taken off when Jenas was having one of his many shitters. If poor passes and lost tackles were air miles, JJ would have more frequent flyer miles than Biggles. When goals are required should we really be replacing Pavlyuchenko with Bent, not trying them in tandom? What does Esso-Ekoko give us, apart from palpitations. The only positives I can think of are that Woodgate, Corluka and Dawson played well and the weather in Bont was overcast so it didn’t seem a waste sitting in the house watching tv. The Spurs crowd were fantastic, out-singing the Pompey faithful from start to finish. I thought it was funny when they were singing love songs to Defoe as he lined up for the penalty, and the stick they give Campbell is relentless. The next two league games bring us Hull and Stoke, both of whom will get amongst us and see what we’re made of. Is Spurs v Hull in the beginning of October really a six-pointer? If we lose those two games we will be up shit creek without a paddle, or a boat, and I don't want to alarm folks but I don't think anyone's bought a map. But, football being football, if we win them both – we’ll forget we ever had this conversation and we’ll start thinking about how to break into the big four.

Sky Sports are bigging it up how Ramos is under fire. Sure he’s making mistakes but for the club to truly move forward they have to get rid of Comolli. He’s the muppet who buys and sells. He’s the guy who sold Berbatov, Keane, Defoe and Malbranque, and he’s also the guy who saw something in Taraabt, Tanio and Kaboul.

With the risk our underestimating our problems, could it just be the socks? Has there ever been a good side who played in hooped socks?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Shocker Soccer

Having just endured the Newcastle game, all i could think was, thank god I haven't got Satanta. I know I'd have watched the Krakow and Villa games and wasted another four hours of my free time. The first half of tonight's game was probably the worst game I've ever seen, and I've seen Dolgellau play Tregaron! Tottenham were so padestrian I thought for a spell the Newcastle shirts were zebra crossings. Poor old Pavlyuchenko made so many runs to no avail he must wonder what the hell he's done by signing for us. I was so happy for him to get the goal. We looked much better when Dos Santos came on and injected a bit of pace and directness. Do you watch Strictly Come Dancing when the pros are on and make it look so easy and then the celebs have a go and they look like piss-heads on the floor at a wedding - well watchuing those two teams tonight was the latter. We are miles behind Arsenal and Chelsea. They're the Anton Dubeck and we're the John Sargeant. Surely the time is right to ditch Zakora who just isn't up to it. It's great to be joyous after a victory, hey. After conceding 10 in two games I'll bet Harry Redknapp can't believe his luck he's got us next. 0-0 anyone?

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Things can only get better....surely.

When is the best time to get a toothache - when you've just broken your leg. The pain doesn't hurt because you've got bigger things on your mind. That's probably why I wasn't that bothered last night, after another casual performance giving an almost inevitable defeat. My mates been taken into hospital and seeing him lying there sort of reminded my of Spurs at the moment. They look pitiful and you can't do anything to help them. At least my mates on a drip that keeps popping little bits of help into him, Spurs are just dying a slow, gradual process. It's our worst start for over thirty years when we managed to avoid relegation by one point at the expense of Luton!! Serriously though, I can't see us staying in the bottom half once we start to get some shape, but you wonder if Leeds fans told themselves this a few years ago. Headline of the week so far has to be the Sun who referred to the carrying on's at Newcastle as "Sid James' Park". Mind you, they're not bottom.

Monday, 15 September 2008

So long, farewell....

This week was supposed to be all about saying goodbye to heroes. Thursday 11th was the Stray Cats in Manchester. The Stray Cats were my heroes in school and my love for them has never diminished. I've supported all their solo projects and seen them live a couple of times before. This tour though is billed as their final tour and was therefore something I couldn't miss. The reviews have been great from shows acroos Europe and anticipation was high. My neice was even going, she's only 14 and loves the Cats, the future generation if you want. Then, disaster strikes, as Slim Jim falls off the stage at the end of the London show and breaks his arm in three places, causing the remainder of the tour to be cancelled. Next comes the final one-day game of my favourite cricketer of all time, Graeme Hick. I've watched him hundreds of times and he is outstanding, absolutely brialliant to watch. I've seen him punish bowlers to the point where you almost feel sorry for them - almost. Anyway, before the big day comes, Worcester is under 9 foot of water and the game gets moved to Kidderminster, which isn’t beig wnough for the members never mind the general public. I'm just glad Elvis Presley isn't alive to play Pele in a farewell game of head-tennis. I could imagine I've got front row seats and then the world ends. The pathetic old line, ah well, there's always tomorrow doesn't work with farewell shows and games. All you got left are the memories - thank God they're precious.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Kicking off again

A Chelsea supporter who work's with me said this morning "Christ, your man Modric looked shit last night". Who gives a dman I said, he'll have a better game than Essien this weekend. Because really, as a fan, all you want during international breaks is for your players to come back unscathed. So Corluka gets roasted by England, so what, I'd rather that than he gets skinned by Villa on Monday. For what it's worth, I saw the two Wales games against Azerbizhan and Russia and we have got two quality players in Gunter and Bale. It's been obvious to everyone that Gareth Bale is going to be world-clas, but I've been so impressed by Gunter as well. On Saturday he was up and down the flank and he puts in a good cross as well. Unfortunately for Wales, ole Pav did the biz as well. I can't wait to see him behind Modric and Bentley.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Shut that window

So after all the hoopla, the transfer window is shut for a few months and teams have to make do with what they’ve got. Along with the shock transfer of Robinho to Man City, the two biggest transfers of the window were Keane and Berbatov going from Spurs to Liverpool and Man U respectively. We got good money for both, I was especially pleased to see us hold our nerve with Utd and get over £30million. Assessing it in the cold light of day I would say where probably stronger than we were when last season finished. Goalkeeper wise, we are looking good. Gomes looks a great capture, he’s got a great presence and looks like he’s commanding his box. Defensively we lost Kaboul, Gardner, Lee and Chimbonda which although not everyone’s cup of tea, they were certainly good cover. In place we signed Corluka and the early signs are that Gunter is stepping up to the plate. We now have more quality but a rash of injuries could put us in the shit a bit. In the midfield we are definitely looking strong. It was a shame to see Malbranque go but the introduction of Modric, Bentley and Dos Santos has more than softened the blow. Up front we lost a couple of quality strikers but signed the Russian Pavlyuchenko and got Frazier Campbell from United. I really liked what I saw of Pavlyuchenko in Euro 2008, and thought he was a better signing for us than Arshavin would have been. Arshavin is more like Modric or Dos Santos, Pav is a proper centre forward. I don’t know much about Campbell but my mate is a big Utd fan and he reckons he’s quality. So we’ll see what happens, it’s just a shame that the international break is here.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Cock-a-doodle doo

This weekend was a strange one. At various stages of Saturday both Tottenham and Hereford were bottom of their respective leagues, yet the overriding feeling is one of success. Hereford put their terrible start behind them with a much needed three points at home to Crewe. Two well taken goals have given the Bulls a welcome confidence boost that lifted them two places but still in the relegation zone. Spurs also got off the mark with a hard fought point at Stamford Bridge. The Spurs showed great resolve and we seem to have put the Chelsea hoodoo behind us. I liked the way we closed out the game with authority – composed on the ball and never really in danger of losing it. From a Welsh point of view it was great to see Bale and Gunter starting. I also loved Gomes, after Robbo it’s great to have a keeper who comes for crosses and his tip over from Lampards chip would have been a a goal last season. I don’t want to tempt fate but the days of panic and self-destruction against the big boys seems to be a thing of the past. Ramos’ cool disposition is rubbing off on the squad. Just watching Villa against Liverpool, there’s nothing there to be scared of but with Spurs, you never know.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Back In The USSR

Finally some good news. It looks like the we are actually going to buy a centre forward after Spartak Moscow have confirmed that striker Roman Pavlyuchenko is poised to join Tottenham. According to a club spokesman, "A deal has been agreed between the clubs and the transfer may be concluded by Thursday". The 26-year-old is still in Moscow awaiting a visa that will allow him to travel to London to complete the move. The bit I love is the sentence, "Everything has happened very quickly so I could not even say goodbye to my team-mates". Can you see Berbatov giving a shit about saying see-ya to Dawson and Boetang.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Things can only get better - hopefully!

Don't you just love football. All summer longing for the season to start and then when it does you wish it hadn't bothered. Between them, Spurs and Hereford have played 6 and lost all of them. For Spurs is just the usual frustration of not being at the races early enough but for Hereford it's a bit more serious. 6-1 to Bristol Rovers is worrying. That shows a lack of defensive quality and a weakness in mental strength and belief. No team should concede six to a team in their division. Graham Turner is looking for some new signings or loan deals during the next week and Spurs hope to get a replacement for the pathetic Berbatov. Surely he won't claim his wages for last week.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Snap, Crackle and Pop

I was watching the Wales Under 21 team last night against Romania and although we lost we played some great football. At the forefront of the display was Gareth Bale who was immense. He's got a wand of a left foot, he's fast and he gets up and down the flank all day long. It just amazes me that he was on the bench on Saturday. Surely he's got to start against Sunderland. He might be the wierdest looking footballer since Luke Chadwick, but fack me, that can't be why Ramos left him out. Thinking about it, Bale looks like one of the kids on the Rice Krispies packets from years ago. I was pretty impressed by Gunter who looked strong and quick and could be a good buy for us in years to come. He might be a work in progress but Bale is boxed up and ready to go - so pick him Juande, that left foot is like Phil Mickelson's lob wedge.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Wenger's eyes let him down again

You gotta love, sorry, loathe Arseole Venger. He was apparantly quoted in the Times yesterday saying he is surprised by Great Britain's achievements at the Olympic Games. "I didn't know the English were good at swimming," said the skinny guy with the turtle's face. "I have been in this country for 12 years and I haven't seen a swimming pool." I got news for you Arse, we've got thousands of British footballers as well, but you don't seem to see many of them either. Then again he's become a standard joke for not seeing things. I'll tell you something he hasn't seen for over three years - silverware! And I reckon iof he'd of pushed Martin Jol any further a couple of years ago he definitely would have seen a swinging right hook from Big Mart.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Tell me why, I don't like Saturday's

Looking on the bright side, I see we moved up two places on Sunday! It was on the cards that we'd lose to Boro, we're always shit away from home. Why can't we ever start a season off with a cushy home game against Fulham or Wigan? What really cheeses me off about Saturday was the bench - I don't care that it was made of plastic not a more environmentally friendly wood, it was the people sat on it. If Berbatov is sub because of his attitude, just sell him and let's get on with it. Then there's Ledley King, if we're resting him at this stage of the season, God help us. We're not playing for a week, surely he could recover in that time. Sat next to Ledders is Gareth Bale. He probably would have been our player of the year last season if he hadn't picked up an injury, but now he can't get in in place of Esso-Ekotu or whatever he's called, who had a mare. Come on Oneday, get your best players on the park and let's win a few games before another season falls away before October. On top of the Tottenham debacle, there's Hereford who have played two and are yet to get a point. I knew this was going to be a struggle, I just wish we could have kept Wayne Brown - we would have picked up three points at Orient with him between the sticks. A bit early to panic but the alarm bells are being tested and the batteries are fine.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Let's Get Ready To Rumble

It's almost here, the season that has taken forever to come around, has finally come around - well, in a few days. Like the shop down the road doing a neat line in Betamax video players, we haven't sold anyone for ages - well since Kaboul went to Pompey two days ago. Do you think they should play the Pompey/Sunderland game at White Hart Lane, it'd make a tidy reunion for about a dozen players.

Personally I'm just waiting for the moody Bugger, sorry, Bulgarian, to join Fergie so we can have a bit of time to line up a replacement. Arshavin seems to have gone quite and Roman Pavlyuchenko could be deep in Georgia for all the news that move now generates. You know when you're Christmas shopping on the 24th and it's 5:25, you'll basically buy anything to tick the "it's the thought that counts" box? Well I just hope we don't go into that desperate mode and buy bloody Emile Heskey or Dirk Kuyyt. Anyway, three days to go and if we can continue the pre-season form we can bury the Boro, sign the next Gilzean and take it from there.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Back down memory Lane

When I was growing up, my dad used to take me to Tottenham at least once a season and we used to go to away games in the Midlands which were only an hour or two away. As I got older I was playing football every weekend so didn’t go to the Lane for about twenty years, except for a Screen Sport Washing-Up Liquid Data Matrix Super Duper Cup semi-final 1st Leg against Everton in 1986. Then on the 13th March, 2004 I went back. I was banging on about it for weeks before hand and was like a dog with two dicks the day of the game. I went with the Jones Boys, Bill and Phil and my cousins husband Glynn from Presteigne. It’s about a six hour journey one way from my house but boy is it worth it. Walking from the car to the ground has a wonderful feeling – you’re full of anticipation, excitement and you end up giggling at just about anything, the way guys do that women just don’t get. I can remember seeing the cockerel on the High Road and the turtle heading starting. After a couple of hours shopping in the numerous club shops and a few beers it was game time. Walking into the ground and seeing the field of dreams takes your breath away. It looks so perfect. The stadium looks brilliant and the pitch is like the proverbial bowling green – "if you can’t play on that boys you can’t play on anything." How many times I heard that over the years – the thing is, it’s bloody perfect for the opposition as well. The most notable change over the years is the big screen presentations before the game which are handy for showing the team news but on the downside they stop the build-up of the crowd. The announcer only shuts up ten seconds before kick-off. so there’s no time for the crowd to get singing and getting all hyped up. Anyway, we won 1-0 thanks to a Liam O'Brien own goal, in off his nose probably. But the best thing was that Phil and Glynn got to meet their idol – Chirpy. Ah, happy days.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Say Cheese No.3 - League Cup Final 1971

Even before it was called the Carling Cup we knew how to win it. Joe Kinnear, Bill Nick and Alan Mullery enjoy a lap of honour.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

It's All Forlan Apart

We’ve all been encouraged to chase our dreams and to go for the top. Set out with great ambitions and you never know – you might reach them, but even if you don’t you can look yourself square in the mirror knowing you gave it a shot. Well, that’s probably what Daniel levy is telling himself as another summer of world-class centre-forward chasing bites the dust. It’s involved two classy Russians and even yesterday there was talk of Spanish sensation David Villa coming to White Hart Lane. Today’s papers are reporting the harsh reality that we might have to settle for the former Man Utd striker who moved to Spain - yeah, Ruud van Nostrelhair I hear you scream, no sorry, Diego Forlan. We need to just hope Darren Bent can somehow transform his pre-season form into the Premiership. Pause for a slight cough.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sepp Blatter for the LPGA

Less than a minute ago Annika Sörenstam played her last shot a professional golfer. You could have guessed it was going to be a birdie, as inevitable as the last one Jack Nicklaus made. Legends have this knack of doind sometime special at the right time. Neither of them were going to retire on a bogey. I always find it sad when legends retire, they leave a void which doesn't always get filled. Annika's probably got out at the right time because the scene is getting overrun by a bunch of Asian girls that are hungrier than 37 years old Annika possible could be at this time in her life. The sad thing is, all the Asian players look so boring, none f them have that long, elegant swing of Sörenstam. Mind you, in their defence, none of the men have got a swing quite like Annika. Off the courseshe has been the model pro and she was summed up nicely by some guy behind the green who shook her hand and said, "you've been a credit to the game" - amen to that, fella.

From a sexist view point, I'd like to see more of Paula Creamer (how aptly named she is). FIFA President Sepp Blatter once made the wonderful comment that women footballers should play in more revealing kits and be encouraged to pett heavily after scoring a goal. He was slated across the world. Unfairly I thought, because whilst it was the wrong thing for a man in his position to say, he was only saying what 99% of the male population was thinking. Well, I think he should get more involved in golf and start making some changes to the apparel of the LPGA. Miss Creamer looks divine in her little pink number, but have you seen the new gun, Ji Yai Shin - minger. I would hazard a guess that any money she makes will be through winnings not endoresments. See the photo above - that's not her! That is the way Sepp sees golfers - he's not all bad.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

As pretty to watch as any Arse.

After watching our friendly against Celtic yesterday and then seeing the Woolwich Wonderers lose to Juventus today I feel good about the coming season. I know you can't judge too much from friendlies, they lack all the drive and purpose of the real thing, but we look like we're starting to keep the ball. We've got ball players all over the park who all seem comfortable in possession and can beat a man. The one thing I admire about Ceth Fibreglass is that he hardly ever gives the ball away. With possession being nine tenths of the law, it's a good trait to have. I think we've got players like that now with Modric and Bale looking particuarly good. The situation with Berbatov is obviously key to how we progress this year. Bent looks lively and whilst he banged a shed load in against Orient and Norwich, we surely need a world class replacement for the sulking Bulgarian if he moves on. Arsenal don't look that much different to us, so why can't we have a crack at the top 4? Anyway, the annual smell of pre-season optimism has filled my lungs again - only two weeks to go until the cold shower of realism and a 1-0 away defeat to Boro.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Keano, there’s only 0 Keano’s

So Robbie Keane has kissed the badge of Spurs for the last time. A crowd favourite for six years, Keane has up and gone to a mass of cat-calls from the Tottenham faithful. Our fox-in-the-box has shot off like a rat-up-a-drainpipe. Personally I’m not sure you can blame him. If your boyhood team wants to sign you what would you do? I know that if I was playing for Liverpool and Spurs bid for me I’d be off like a shot. They’re in the Champions League as well and offered him more money but I honestly don’t think that had much to do with it. He should make a dream pairing with Torres and personally I wish him all the best. From the Spurs point of view it’s a good deal. We bought him for £7 million, had his six best years and then flogged him, aged 28, for £20m. So long as we sign the new Pele we’ll be okay. For what it’s worth, I’ve gotta say, Keane looks shit in red.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Saddle Sore

Well I did it - I made it all the way through my first Tour de France, which is more than you can say for Mark Cavandish. While he shit out half way over the Alps, I carried on, beer in hand and sofa cushions puffed up ready for each new stage. Cavandish was great to watch actually, one hell of a sprinter. I also enjoyed Andy Schleck, the young gun from Luxembourg who rode out of his skin for his teammates. Sylvian Chavanel was a good attacking rider who seemed to adpot a "sod-it-why, not give it a go" mentality. I was less impressed by pre-race favourite Cadel Evans who came over as anything but Australian with his winny voice, temper-tantrums when things wren't going his way and this odd obsession with a cuddly toy. On top of that he was a boring rider as well, just lurking in the pack.

To me sport is about the spectacle as much as the participation and this is where the Tour comes into its own. Despite years of kicking the fans in the teeth with drug cheating, they still come tumbling out of their villages to see their heroes and give their support. It seems to be the purist of sports, with man and nature as one. The cows in the sun-drenched fields are almost as relevant as the sprint finishes. Whereas most sports have the empty feel of a money-circus, rolling in to town to rid the locals of their hard earned (well perhaps not with the French), the Tour has the charm of a carnival that fleets through little villages asking a sprinkle of occasion before moving serenely on to the next hamlet. Alasdair Fotheringham (not British by any chance?) described such a scene in the Independent, with a 90 strong fan-club for rider Cyril Dessel having a barbecue in the hills, joined by a passing couple from Belguim who happened to be from a Flanders village called Dessel and some guys from Normandy who fancied a social. It has the air of the American Football tailgate parties, much missed in the coldron of European football. So, twelve months to wait for my sophomore Tour de France. I'll be back next July ready to go head to head with Cav.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

From Russia With Love

It's seems a bit ironic that for a team who hate the reds so much, Spurs are bidding for two Russians, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin. With Berbatov and Keane dead certs to go, Spurs are in danger of having their worst strike force since the golden (make that goalless) days of Colin Lee and Ian Moores. So while the chance of us landing the Ruskies is remote, we've got to have some false hopes to keep us going. Both would be around the £20 million mark, about the same as the two scabby turncoats from Sophia and Cork. Almost inevitably for a summer whose main event was held in Switzerland, these transfers revolve on timing. Teams can't buy until they sell, and can't sell unless they're guaranteed to buy, the vicious summer circle. Heard a funny thing the other day, whereby someone was saying about if surnames are named after jobs (eg. Shoemaker, Farmer, Blacksmith, etc), what the hell was Arshavin's dad doing.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Say Cheese No.1 - Pat Jennings

Spurs drew 1-1 at Anfield in March 1973 thanks to two penalty saves by Pat Jennings. The photo above comes immediately after the second. Look at the despair in the Liverpool players and the joy on the faces of Phil Beal and Steve Perryman. Then check on the joy of the ref!! If it was for the fact that he'd given Liverpool two penalties you'd think he was a Spurs fan.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Tour de France – “like a chicken with its head off”

It’s been quite a week for sports and drug cheats, what with the Dwayne Chambers court case and the usual shenanigans of the Tour de France. This is the first year I’ve followed a Tour compulsively and I had a preconception that there would be evictions more regularly than on Big Brother. For the first few days there was nothing and there was a feeling that the big campaign to kick out the drug-cheats had won the day. Since then there’s been a handful of disgraced riders caught out and the smug air has been replaced by an air of resignation. The papers across the Channel are reading the last-rites, with the French national, Liberation declaring “As a sport, cycling is dead. As a spectacle it is still running - like a chicken with its head off”. A wonderful analogy, but surely over the top. The news of each disqualification has left me totally unaffected, partly it’s what I was expecting. I suppose my lack of concern is the fact that I haven’t followed it until this year. I haven’t spent my time building up any feelings for any of the riders, I haven't invested my soul into their worship, and therefore haven’t felt cheated when they’ve been caught. Who knows! Anyway, on a positive note – what a guy Mark Cavendish is. Not lacking in confidence he’s stressed for weeks that he’s the fastest guy in the world, and after winning a record breaking four sprint finishes already, who can argue with him. He must be getting tired of kissing those tall, leggy babes on the winners podium. Life can be such a bitch!

Was it all in vain Payne?

I was watching the Open yesterday and noticed Paul Casey wearing an unusual sweater. No big deal, but it struck me then that so many golfers look the same nowadays, and the sad thing is it's not that good a look. What happened to flat caps and plus fours? It's all baseball caps with Titleist or Nike splashed across the front. Some guys in the wet on Thursday were even wearing bobble hats on top of their baseball cap but perched back just enough for the caps advertising to be seen. No wonder some of them shot such shit scores, they were too worried their Nike emblem was showing properly. Wouldn't it be heartening to see a player wearing an "I Love New York" cap or a little "Kiss Me Quick" number. It's refreshing that Ian Poulter tries to look different but unfortunately he's chosen the ill-fated look of the 70's for his wardrobe recreation. The premature loss of Payne Stewart was sad in many ways, not least because he was the last bastian of the golf look of a forgotten era. He returned to the wonderful look of Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan. I seem to remember him adapting that old look with the colours of the local gridiron teams - I'm sure he did this for Miami Dolphins and Pittsburg Steelers. When I play on my Tiger Woods Xbox game I always dress myself in the Golden Age garb and I must say, I look a lot smarter than those scruffy oiks in their standard trousers, polo shirt, baseball cap (Nike or Titleist!) and raybans. Here's to Payne - rest in peace brother.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

What heartaches lie in store? - 2008

There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a new season. Everyone starts from scratch and for the last time you’re level on points with Man United. The long summer months have dragged along with never ending transfer sagas that usually end in disappointment. I quite like the fact that the teams I support are never expected to win anything – okay Spurs think they should but they very rarely realise that expectancy. I’m the eternal pessimist when it comes to my teams, I always assume they’re going to lose which should soften the blow when it happens, but it doesn’t quite work like that. Anyway, here’s what I’m looking at for the coming season.

Tottenham Hotspur – As the time of writing, Berbatov and Keane are still with the club but both are heavily linked with moves to Man U and Liverpool respectively. We all expected Berba to be gone as soon as the final whistle went last year but to lose both of them could cause us some major difficulties up front, especially with Defoe gone and Bent likely to head to Sunderland. There’s talk of Santa Cruz and Bentley coming from Blackburn, but that could just be talk. We’ve nearly signed some brilliant players over the years!! Luka Modric looks a good signing if he can stay healthy but I know nothing about Dos Santos. Keeping Ledley King fit is vital – a back four of Hutton, King, Woodgate and Bale with Gomes in goal would be very competitive. As usual we’ll probably have a poor start with the autumn and winter spent trying to get back into the top half. Prediction – 6th.

Hereford United – Watching Hereford live is so much more rewarding than most of the Premiership games I’ve been to. There’s a realness to it - it seems to matter more to the players and the fans. It harks back to the days of hot bovril and a pie at half time. You stand behind the goal at Edgar Street and there isn’t the sanitised feel you get at the big games where you get reminded every five minutes to sit down by some headmaster – yeah, come on, sit down, where do you think you are, a football match? Last year I was convinced we were going to get relegated when Graham Turner could only register four players in preseason. But we kept going, always staying in the top four. With every win I was thinking that its all good to have the points in the bag before the inevitable slump. The last thing we needed was to go back to the Conference - consolidation was everything. Come the end of the season we just kept going, winning promotion with a week to spare. If we were punching above our weight last year, this coming season we’ll be like Alexander Hleb going against Gazza in a pie eating contest. You never know though, Graham Turner has an amazing knack of bringing in young talent and producing almost a new team each season. My heart says we’ll survive but my head says we’ll struggle. We drew and beat Leeds last year but it’s different in the cups, and they'll probably finish fifty points above us. Prediction – Relegation.

Tennessee Titans – Last season the Titans made the play-offs after a heavy loss of players preseason. They’ve got a quarterback in Vince Young who has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL but last term the Titans were exactly an offensive outfit. To make the most of his talent the offensive co-ordinator needs to up his game and get some points on the board. Defensively they were sound but there looks to be uncertainty about Albert Haynesworth which would be a bit blow if he left. Prediction – Play-offs via a Wildcard.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Football Heroes No. 3 - Dixie McNeil

Dixie McNeil was one of those rare breed that became a cult hero at every club he played for. Born in Molton Mowbray in 1944 he'd played for Exeter, Corby Town, Northampton and Lincoln before he joined Hereford in 1974. The transfer fee of £20,000 was a record for the Bulls at the time (still is almost!!) and although it might have seemed a lot for a thirty year old Dixie soon started paying it back. He was prolific that first year scoring 31 goals in 44 matches. He was top scorer for the three years he spent at Edgar Street and was the club's Player of the Year in 1975. Hereford were relatively new to the Football League in these days and we were punching above our weight. Survival was tough and chances for our strikers were hard to come by, but despite this, Dixie was the top goalscorer of the top four divisions of English football that season. Even the year Hereford were relegated from the old Second Division Dixie still managed to score virtually a goal every other game. Me and dad used to go to most home games at this time and I fell in love with Dixie. He had hair like James Hunt, but I dion't think that was what did it for me. It was the way he would always convert a half chance into a goal. During his time at Hereford he spent those long summers (do you remember those?) playing cricket and often used to play against Presteigne. But it's in the white with the Bull on the badge that I remember him for.

In August 1977 Elvis Presley died and the world seemed to end - the King was off the throne and there was doom and gloom all around. A month later, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Dixie McNeil left Hereford to join Wrexham for £60,000 - much needed dosh at the time. For Wrexham he set a record for scoring in ten consecutive FA Cup games. He returned help the Bulls in 1982, aged 38, scoring three goals in 12 appearances. His League career record was 239 goals in 522 games. A true legend of the lower leagues, Dixie McNeil was a goal machine who will always be remembered at Edgar Street.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Football Heroes No. 2 - Alfie Conn

Alfie Conn, the long-haired, dribbling, crowd pleaser, was Bill Nicholson's last ever signing in 1975 when Tottenham captured him from Glasgow Rangers. Despite being a Scottish international and one hell of a player he was only on £180 per week at Spurs. In the week when Christiano Ronaldo bemoans his £120,000 a week as "slavery" it's worth thinking of players like Conn who earned less in a week than Ronaldo does in the time it takes to do a stepover. Today Alfie Conn is a warehouseman and courier in Livingston, near Edinburgh.

So, a great player who played a massive part in keeping Spurs alive in '75, but what was his defining moment. It's April 1975, the last game of the season and Spurs are need to win to stay in the First Division. Up against them is the mighty Leeds United who are the best team in the land. They are dirty and ruthless with loads of skill matched by loads of underhand tactics. Basically they're not the sort of team to roll over to fancy-dan, southern softies like Spurs. Tottenham go 3-1 up with a couple from Cyril Knowles and one from Martin Chivers but those Yorkshire terriers are full of pride and keep battling away. Alfie Conn, eccentric wing-wizzard (on his day) goes on a mazy and beats three men before scoring, only to get the ball and sit on it taunting the fiery Scot Billy Bremner. What a man. The story goes that Bremner goes over to Steve Perryman and says, "Tell him, you're going to win the game, but he's not going to finish it." Alfie Conn - legend.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

My Spurs XI

Sod the holding midfielder, I'm going on the flat out attack, the type of gungho football we've failed so miserably at for all my life. This is based on players I've seen in the flesh. I know my dad would have Greavsie and Dave Mackay, but I didn't see them so I can't really comment.

  1. Pat Jennings (GK) - what can you say. The greatest keeper ever.

  2. Steve Perryman (RB) - Beautiful face, great servant to Spurs and a great overlapping fullback. Converted from central midfielder he also had a spell as sweeper.

  3. Cyril Knowles (LB) - Brazilian quality of attacking down the flanks and throwing dummies and hip-swivels in his own box. Nice one Cyril.

  4. Graham Roberts (CB) - Tenacious G. Hard man who held Spurs together during the early 80's. Who can forget that run into the box for the penalty against QPR in '82.

  5. Ledley King (CB) - If he could stay fit (or even get fit!) John Terry would be getting piles on the Wembley bench.

  6. Ossie Ardiles (MID) - I fell in love with this guy in 1978. In crowded midfields with hatchet men like Graeme Souness and Kenny Hibbett trying to kick seven bells out of him, Ossie would glide along, toe-tapping the ball away from lunging tackles into his next stride.

  7. Glenn Hoddle (MID) - Just go to youTube and check out his goals - then there was the pinpoint passing, where he'd split a defence at will. They didn't call him GOD for nothing.

  8. David Ginola (MID) - Silky and flowing, and that's just his hair. What a dribbler - a wonderful entertainer that mesmerised defenders and crowds alike.

  9. Jurgen Klinsmann (CF) - a breath of fresh air to WHL. I used to hate him before he came to us but his professional attitude and truly world class play soon changed my mind.

  10. Dimitar Berbatov (CF) - He might be moody, but you can't deny his sublime touch.

  11. Martin Chivers (CF) - I had a goal fish called Chivers.

Graham Roberts is going to have to do a lot of ball winning there, but when we have got it, what a team. I could see this team having a few 5-5 draws (provided Jennings was on top form!). That might be the starting line-up but I'd have a big squad waiting in the wings. Ricky Villa, Alfie Conn, Gary Mabbutt, John Duncan, Mike England, Teddy Sherringham, Chris Waddle, Steve Archibald, Alan Gilzean, Robbie Keane, Darren Anderton, Gazza.....

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Football Heroes No. 1 - Pat Jennings

What a goalie. I used to hate it when people argued about who was the best between Shilton and Clemence - who cares, Pat Jennings was better than both of them. When I was a kid my dad played cricket for Presteigne and one of the players, Billy Toot, used to called me Jennings - he still does. I still love the association. I had many Tottenham heroes in those days, Chivers, Perryman and Jennings being the top three, and every time I hear their name or catch a glimpse of them on tele or in a book I get a lump in my throat - sad I know, but what can you do?

Jennings was so 70's with his long hair and those massive sideburns, and amazingly he's still got it all today. As he keeper he was legendary for having huge hands but made the art of saving with his legs an art form. Can you remember the car parts advert he did in the 70's, ah, happy days. He saved two penalties in a game at Anfield and scored froma long goal kick against Man Utd in the Charity Shield. As well as being a legend on the field, he was a quiet, kind man off it. Despite that last sentence, I saw him kick a fan once. I went to see Spurs and Chelsea in April 1975 with my dad, Gerald Brown and my cousin Dale Tomkins. Both sides needed a win to help stave off relegation and thanks to Alfie Conn and Steve Perryman we got it. Before the game crowd trouble had kicked off big style with the game delayed for nearly an hour and even when the players finally came out there was still a few fans on the pitch. One Chelsea fan, complete with flowing locks and scarf around the wrist decided to have a kick at Jennings who chased after him and volleyed him straight up the Arsenal. The fan lay there for ages, trying to remove one of PJ's size 12 Gola's.
Hunter Davies interviewed a Leeds Utd scout for his brilliant book, Glory Game, and the guy had compiled a dossier of all the Spurs players weaknesses. About Jennings all the scout could say was, "I take my bloody hat off to him. Every time I've seen him he's been magnificent". Mind you the Leeds scout was probably comparing him to Gary Sprake.

I've got Big Pat's autograph here on the wall and there's a bit of a bizarre story behind it. In the 70's I read in Shoot magazine that Jennings was one of the best footballers for answering fan mail, so I wrote to him at Spurs to get his autograph. Over the coming months my hounding of the postman subsided as it became obvious that Big Pat had better things to do, like trying to keep Spurs in the First Division. Anyway, about twenty years later there was an article in one of the tabloids about a postman in London who'd been sacked after the Post Office had discovered that for years he'd been stashing undelivered post in his house. About a week later a letter from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club arrives at my mum and dad's house with a signed photo from Pat Jennings!