The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Tears of a Clown at Tottenham.

At Spurs, laugh and the World laughs at you.
Cry and you are joined by thousands of others.
The JimmyG2 Column.
If it wasn't so funny we'd all be crying. Hadn't even had time to blow the froth off me beer let alone open a bag of scratchings before we were one down on Saturday. 25 seconds before Rose had had his boozle well and truly bammed by Amalfitano.

 Lloris was still stubbing out a Gauloise on the post when he palmed a soft ball out to Vydra who put it back into the net as if scoring against Spurs in the first minute was only to be expected. And the way we are starting games he's not far wrong.

Tim''s game plan this week scheme was to see how far behind we could fall and still win. Well Tim it looks as if giving the opposition a three goal advantage is a goal too far. Stick at two goals down, let's not push our luck. Although Adebayor did manage to under hit a penalty at 2-0.

Brunt returning from a 5 week lay off scored a second with just four minutes on the clock while Spurs were still sorting out their formation and tactics. I always thought that sort of thing was what the pre-match huddle was for.

Another centre half comedy routine between Kaboul and Chiriches let Sessingnon in for a third Fortunately West Brom. scored a fourth but in their own goal this time when Olsson deflected a Lennon cross. Otherwise it could all have been over by the 30 minute mark.

Four goals, a missed penalty, an own goal and still 15 minutes to go until half time. When it came I took the opportunity to practise  my Smokey Robinson  'Tears of a  Clown' karaoke routine for the pub music night later.

You know the one:
 Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my sadness hid
Smiling in the public eye
But in my lonely room cry
the tears of a clown
When there's no one around.

It veers between comedy and tragedy at the moment at Spurs.Though the first act veered between pure farce and tragedy. A manager hanging by a thread which many say should be a lot thicker: a club with Champions' League pretensions  scrabbling for a Europa spot which many don't want anyway.

Well friends laugh until you cry or cry until you see the funny side. It all ends up as another season wasted and probably another one to come whoever comes in. The LVG story will run and run. This week he's auditioning at Old Trafford. Perhaps we'll get David Moyes.

Not that he'd touch us with a barge-pole. Rogers and Martinez both apparently turned down the chance to come to Spurs because of the manager sacking antics of our Chairman, eight in 12 years under ENIC's stewardship.

So boys on with the motley whether our performances are comic or tragic, tragi-comedy or comi-tragedy is a matter of opinion. Mine is that we have made ourselves prime candidates for stand -up of the year this season.

The pity is that the margins are so slim at the top level that a couple of wins would have put us right in the mix for top four.Whatever you think of Tim personally and don't write in and tell me please, he hasn't done badly but appointing him was a script with fatal flaws.

 As they say the table doesn't lie and whichever way you play it we have not been good enough in performance although the cast were highly rated in the advance publicity notices.

Credit Tim and the lads particularly Kane and Eriksen once again on a terrific comeback but if we didn't throw ourselves down a deep hole in the first place we wouldn't have to dig ourselves out at the end now would we.

 Lennon had his positive moments too supplying the cross for Harry Kane's second goal in two appearances and inducing the Ollson own goal.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Smokey Robinson and yes the Miracles in 1970. And a miracle is what we need to turn this season into any sort of  success. 1970/71 a good season for Spurs too: League Cup winners over Aston Villa with two goals from Martin Chivers. I'm looking back at the moment as it's too painful to look forward. Great song and performance.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Good news: bad news at Spurs.

My second favorite export from Denmark.
The JimmyG2 Column.
The Good News is that we finally gave someone a beating: the Bad News is that it was bottom of the League Sunderland who look certain to go down and apart from a ten minute spell before Eriksen's deserved goal gave up well before the end.

Chiriches and Lloris conspired to give them a helping hand in our usual sloppy way gifting Cattermole the first goal. Once again the dreaded words rang out: 'that's his first goal for his club in over a hundred appearances. Charity thy name is Tottenham.

Last week three of our centre halves auditioned for the role of Fairy Godmother and Kaboul went forward to the regional finals. He was joined this week by the fourth central defender Chiriches. Do we even have a defence coach?

But apart from this generous start we were better, quicker, and keener than of late. Playing for the new manager perhaps or celebrating the much publicised departure of the current one. Tim has refused to return to his old post or act as No 2 to a more experienced man.

Pride cometh before a fall as we know but in this case pride cometh after the fall. A couple of years under Van Gaal or whoever could accelerate his career greatly but even that is a step down too far from the heights of fall guy manager of Spurs for Tim.

Eriksen ran the show again aided (geddit?) by a top class performance by Adebayor. Christian is fast becoming my favourite Danish product beating  pastries and bacon into second and third place. He assisted the first two with whipped crosses and scored the third to give Sunderland little hope of a comeback.

Harry Kane starting his first Premiership game deserves a mention. With a little more sharpness in the box he might have had three but had to settle for a single but important goal that put us ahead.

Chadli started in midfield with  Paulinho and impressed in patches. An unlikely pairing which might not work against better teams or any other teams for that matter. Paulinho has some obvious class but again failed to make any serious impact..

Chiriches is from the 'Give the other team a chance' school but he shows initiative and skill and I can't help but like the boy. Kaboul is never going to be the player we thought he might be I'm afraid.

Lennon continues to disappoint and in the main his legs are too quick for his brain. Townsend who replaced him suffers from the same faults but more so. Siggurdson  came on as a late substitute and demonstrated his happy knack of scoring goals.

But football is a team game and as a team we were greater than the sum of our parts. This is always referred to as the mark of a top manager. Just a little too late I'm afraid Tim.

What Levy will do in the unlikely event of us winning all of our remaining games and qualifying for Champions' League remains to be seen. At least Man.Utd went out tonight so the dreaded finish fourth/Chelsea scenario can't happen.

The next manager stakes are hotting up. No more bets are being taken on Louis Van Gaal but Rafael Benitez has broken from the pack today and there are firm rumours around of his appointment. Not that we ever comment on rumour and speculation.

We can do our own rumination and speculation thank you. We are not quite in the 'Anyone but Tim' camp but have pitched our tent in a nearby field and are watching events carefully through our binoculars.

Million almost up.
 Finally we would like to thank all our readers and subscribers as we approach our millionth visitor. If there were any way of identifying the lucky millionth we would deluge them with goodwill and freebies.

As we can't, Greg and I will celebrate quietly on our own with a precocious Pinot Grigio and a tube of onion and sour cream Pringles. A special cheer to all those that take the trouble to comment. It's nice to know that there are real people out there in Webland.

And as we like to boast; we are not always wrong. Here's to the next million.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
My money is on the abrasive Dutchman with the fearsome reputation. He has walked out of more interviews than anyone in the game. A reputation for strong words opinions and actions seen here conducting training with the Dutch national squad. It probably sounds a lot worse in Dutch.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Beginning of the End.

Looking forward to next season already.
The JimmyG2 Column.
 I've just moved house and it has taken me all week to find the box where the Musings Archives had been packed. Mrs JimmyG2 shrewdly labelled it 'Keep from JimmyG2 until he's in a better mood'. She seems to think that I take all this football stuff seriously.

Anyway I'm better now and had time to reflect on matters Liverpool and after. We're not ones for kneejerk reactions on Musings, our knees wouldn't take it for a start. We don't do 'ENIC' or even  'Levy' out.  We didn't think that AVB should have been sacked and events are increasingly on our side.

We haven't even indulged ourselves with 'Sherwood out' until now. Tim's behaviour as manager is verging on the bizarre and his comments recently on Hoddle not having managed recently reveal an interesting lack of  awareness of his own situation.

His decision to stay in the stands last Sunday because he felt that he couldn't have influenced the game makes us wonder how he justifies drawing his weekly stipend. But of course he didn't appoint himself and we can't hold him personally responsible  for the imminent collapse of our season.

He started well, the much vaunted new manager bounce, but statistics show that sacking the manager rarely works in the medium and long term. The attendant disruption to every aspect of the club and the team usually undermines any possible positive results from the change.

It's not merely a tactic at Spurs it's more of a  belief system. If Tim is Sacked we will be on our 18th Manager in 30 years with an average stay of around 18 months months. Barely time for the tea lady to discover their favourite biscuits let alone develop a style and philosophy.

That's the new manager not the tea lady you understand. Daniel Levy, he of the Sphinx-like composure even at moments of high drama on the pitch has degree level qualifications in Manager Sacking. His 'nothing to do with me guv' shrug when they don't do enough, quickly enough was his final year special option.

Liverpool marked the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end for Tim and our fading hope of salvaging something from the season. I didn't think we would qualify for the Champions' League but felt we could secure 5th and Europa football next season.

Now we will  most likely to end up in 7th which is where AVB left us. Tim will sacked, which was the cynical plan all along and Louis Van Gaal appointed as agreed. Let the fireworks begin, let the clear-out commence and hold on to your hats. And that includes you Mr. Levy.

At Liverpool everything that could go wrong did go wrong and very early on. All three centre halves conspired in various combinations to gift the game to the current top of the league team. Vertonghen went off injured having set up Kaboul for an early own goal.

He didn't seem to mind much and was replaced by Dawson who put Suarez away with virtually his first touch. Kaboul might have bailed him out but was careless to put it kindly once again. Liverpool have some good players but they didn't have to work too hard to give us a walloping.

You might argue that we did well to keep it down to four. Eriksen was our only bright spark apart from Lloris as usual but even he should not have been beaten along the ground from that distance by Coutinho. Chadli looked vaguely interested from time to time but the rest are best forgotten.

This was a dispirited and largely incompetent performance by an increasingly dispirited team. Several hearts have gone missing and it says something when Adebayor is proving to be one of our keenest performers. Credit Tim for that at least.

So after initial success which threatened to undermine Levy's dastardly plan, Timothy is floundering. The appointment of a serious candidate Ancellotti, Van Gaal, Benitez, De Boer or whoever may prevent an exodus of our better players though I fear some are gone already and not just in their heads.

But the deal needs to be announced quickly. An average stay of less than 2yrs per manager,continually selling your best players and not getting the new stadium built in good time has damaged our reputation and hopes for the future.

Keeping the club from bankruptcy, not doing a Leeds as some fans would have it, is the absolutely barest minimum requirement for any management surely. We deserve more and better. Even a benign looking run in won't save us this season I'm afraid.

The club is in a mess largely resulting from the sacking of AVB, blowing the Bale money on too many foreign players new to the League and the country and appointing a rookie manager for the interim. The cockerels are coming home to roost Mr. Levy.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
 Dead Man Walking and talking in chastened and honest mode or giving the impression of a chastened and honest man. Or perhaps he really does not have clue what he's doing and is making it up as he goes along off the pitch as well as on it.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Lamela's Replacement

 If you've got it flaunt it.

The Greg Meyer Column.
Friday 28 March ... Parky and Lady Ga Ga Share a Birthday.
 Lamela's Replacement.
   " And if you no longer go for a gap that exists,you are no longer a racing driver, because we are competing, we are competing to win."
  1990 Australian Grand Prix.
 Ayrton Senna had it. Incidentally Ayrton has a circuitous Spurs connection. His football love was S. C. Corinthians, the club where Paulinho was signed from.
 Liverpool collectively have it.
 Aaron Lennon used to have lots of it. Still has it in bursts perhaps but signs of it fading are becoming increasingly obvious. Sad really.
 Erik Lamela has it. I mean we've seen it on You Tube and less so live at The Lane. More on that replacement issue shortly.
 Aaron Lennon has been known for his electrifying pace. Pace that has meant he has been a productive and long standing Spurs starter. Not a prolific goal scorer and blighted by injury fairly regularly. To most Spurs fans fond memories. Arsenal anyone.That famous4-4 draw away for instance.
 So it was with increasing sadness that our pub watched on last Sunday against Southampton. Where were the bursts of speed taking him outside the opponent ahead. Replaced by the dreaded inverted runs. Okay nothing always wrong with inversion.
 However on most if not all of those incursions forward Aaron kept running down blind alleys. The end product that Aaron has been criticised for has become more glaringly lacking. Good enough to start for a top five club. Our pub sadly think not. Destination Stoke or likewise, Hull say, perhaps.
 Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling all have it. Glen Johnson is no slouch either. So what of Spurs chances on Sunday and what of that replacement.
 The Beating of Liverpool.
 I dunno what the discussion has been at your pub but there are some very definite views here in Kent.
 Ban that AVB high line. Remember the carnage at the Lane. Dawson and Vertoghen were shredded. Perhaps the pace of Kaboul, a more focused Belgian and a more conservative line might be the Sherwood call.
 Perhaps pressure in the midfield, Sandro anyone, and more compactness might negative the Liverpool class and pace.
 Spurs if they can contain are capable of a dangerous counter attacking away game. The question remains who can support Adebayor. A pacy winger would help.
 Harking back to those earlier thoughts ... who replaces Lennon. Townsend. Sorry not from our pubs corner.
 What about someone blessed with pace, control, class and still only 22 years old. An Argentinian International.
  Yes Erik Lamela fits the bill.
 If only he could make it onto the pitch.
 Pace . A quality that Ayrton Senna had in boundless abundance. Ayrton also had another ingredient that champions have. A fierce competitive will to win. To paraphrase from a Spurs perspective and thinking ahead to that Sunday encounter against Liverpool ..

  "And if you no longer go for a gap that exists,you are no longer a footballer, because we are competing, we are competing to win."
 Cheers .. Sunday is when Spurs Senna quality needs to be on show ... Greg Meyer.         coys.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Well he certainly had it as recently as last season. Like the Royal Mail, speed and delivery. Been with us for 8yrs and still only 26. Due for replacement perhaps but let's not forget.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Uncertainties at Spurs.

Well Christian certainly saved ours.
The JimmyG2 Column.
So there I was at about 2 pm last Sunday starting to run through in my head the many potential successors to Tim. 2-0 down to Southampton after barely half an hour it looked all up for Timothy. I was quite resigned to losing and not expecting anything much in the second half.

Our man was up in the stands  ( now and again), suited and collared and tied, without even a gilet to throw down in anger and surprisingly clean shaven. All this presumably on Levy's orders to preserve the dignity of his office even as he was being sacked. There are proper ways of doing things.

 I mentally crossed Pochettino off the list for being beaten twice by Tim himself in his brief reign. All over bar the shouting  which was to presumably occur at half time. Why doesn't he shout before the game instead of half way through if it's so effective.

Anyway two careless errors by Naughton, who undid all our good support work for him on Musings in the space of ten minutes. He gifted Rodriguez and then Llalana via Lambert opportunities which they took well. Credit to the lad though he kept his head up for the remainder of the game.

Fortunately Eriksen was to take matters in hand and scored quickly after another right back error beating Klyne and Boruc to a loose ball. This was the shape of things to come though I paid little attention at the time being occupied by thoughts of new managerial appointments.

At this point Lloris made his only telling contribution with a good block from a powerful shot  to at least keep us in the game. Not that I was expecting anything positive to happen. Southampton were sharper and better organised than us and we looked to be starting the final countdown not with a bang but a whimper.

But Eriksen had not completed his days work. He was set up for a tap in after some good work by Soldado on the right. He gave his marker Lovren a subtle Spanish nudge and sped away along the by line holding his cross along the six yard box until Eriksen had made his run.

Dembele, clearly not match fit, had been subbed for Sigurdsson at half time and deep into injury time Gylfi buried a shot from the edge of the area to win the game from a lay off by, you guessed it, that man Christian. He was outstanding followed closely by Soldado who clearly also enjoyed the match.

I ripped my mental list of Tim replacements to shreds and began to ponder once again life under Mr. Timothy Sherwood. Team recover from a poor start again and substitute scores the winner in extra time in a not quite ;five goal thriller'. What's not to admire.

This was the first time we had recovered from 2-0 down to win at home for over 20yrs. Of course we should not be 2-0 down  in the first place bu tit's reassuring to know that we can recover if we have to.

Perhaps Southampton aren't all that good; perhaps Pochettino really can't speak English after all; perhaps Tim is learning at a fast enough rate of knots to save his job; perhaps Liverpool will be so exhausted by their mid week exertions that we will come flying out and be well ahead before Suarez even notices.

As the old 50's hit has it 'Quizás, Quizás, Quizás'. Made famous by Doris Day as 'Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps' in 1964  just  before The Beatles took over the world and just after Spurs had already done so. Funny how  Doris always had her finger on the pulse of things.

So the uncertainty about the set-up for next season continues. Just when you thought that Tim and Spurs were down and out they bounce back. My money now is on Tim to stay. Why would Daniel be so keen to make him look the part if not.

Not necessarily because he has done enough to earn it but because he's done enough to make keeping him  less destructive than sacking him and starting all over again.

But there are no certainties at Spurs. But at least there are signs that three of our new signings, Eriksen, Soldado and Chadli seem to be making the grade and if any of the remaining four ever get a period of sustained fitness they might make it too. Though probably not this season.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Much as I  love and admire Doris here is a version of  'Perhaps' closer to the Cuban original. Make a good Spurs theme song with the crowd joining in to emphasis the refrain.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Calling all true supporters.

Seasons over. Might as well make an early start down the allotment.
Never did like football much anyway.
The JimmyG2 Column
Apparently we've nothing to play for now; the season's over according to many fans and supporters. Apart from pride and reputation and the entertainment of the fans that are left of course.

 Then there's the extra money that each additional place secures. And the automatic entry into the Champions' League that the Europa winners get next season. And about time too. When are they going to stop Champions' League failures dropping down into the Europa too.

 So with nothing left to play for performance and effort are everything. Silly me but I still get the match day buzz whatever the competition and whatever our position after all these years. Sad I know.

Two spirited performances in a row. Mr. Manager you are surely spoiling us. Benfica, in anticipation of an easy victory, engaged cruise control when they went 4-1 up just after the half hour. But when the moment came for a surge up through the gears after Chadli's first they got stuck in neutral and couldn't respond.

When Chadli scored again to put us within striking distance of taking the tie into extra time they were rattled and the engine choked. Siggy and Harry Kane both had chances with headers to surprise and delight the most jaded Tottenham fan. Of course we left it too late but failed in some style.

If only Eriksen had started the game or come on earlier. If only Soldado had put away that early chance. If only the ref and his army of assistants had gone to Specsavers. I think Tim's analysis that nobody in Europe would want to play us now was a stretch too far but I applaud the sentiment.

So we are free now to concentrate on qualifying for the Champions league which has been a stretch too far for a while now. Injuries have certainly disrupted our season and we went to Benfica without a recognised centre half in the squad.

In the event Sandro and Fryers did well until Sandro who likes to live on the edge went headlong over and gave away a silly penalty to enable them to foil our win in the dying seconds. The back four did ok especially the much maligned Naughton who has performed creditably for several games.

Timothy favourite Bentalib justified his manager's trust once again and was the pick of the team apart from Chadli. Two goals in quick succession is always going to catch the eye. Late sub Eriksen showed what we had been missing and Harry Kane ran about a bit to good effect.

 Anyone planting their earlies down the allotment missed a treat. And serve them right. It was only fifteen minutes but it was worth the entry fee. Of course if it's prizes that are your main focus there's always the cup for the biggest onion or prize turnip.

I'm looking forward to next season already as Soldado must be too. He let his head drop for the first time after his early miss and he might have been impressed and worried by 20 year old Kane's cameo. Two assists and header on target in the 20 minutes available to him.

The team that started had an average age of 24 and the bench would need identity cards to join in even the subdued celebrations in the Lisbon night spots after the game. 'The Future's Bright' as they say. Oh and that's another reason to follow the boys to the very end of the season and beyond.

Southampton up next at the Lane. An attractive team who include Lallana and Shaw who we might do well to have a look at before they move beyond our reach if they haven't already. Another good performance required and a win would be nice to maintain fifth place.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
For those who missed it, double digging or sorting out last years leftover seed packets here's the comeback. The cameraman obiously thought that Siggy had scored but we know better. Unfortunately Bentaleb set up the equaliser and Sandro wasn't going to stop for anyone. Eriksen asks about the penalty at the other end which they diplomatically didn't show.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Tim not to be sacked.

On Reflection.
The JimmyG2 Column.
We lost the NLD as many feared but not in quite the manner that many expected. We actually went down fighting. To be honest it was more shadow boxing against a team that were content to sit back than hard edged hand to hand combat.

In fact we could and perhaps should have won. Tim at least won the battle of hearts with his own squad if not the battle of footballing minds.

We went one down in under two minutes to a wonder goal by Rosicky who was only only in the starting line-up due to injuries. It was just  his second Premiership goal of the season. Were we down-hearted? We were not. Amazingly we dominated play from then on.

 However it was another showing of that movie we have seen many times before. More shots, more crosses, more corners, more of everything except goals. Arsenal sat on their lead and with the help of our own creative shortcomings saw the game out.

Adebayor put himself about as he always does against Arsenal; Chadli had a golden opportunity to equalise but hit Koscielny on the line; Lloris swept up effectively and made a good stop from Mertesacker; Naughton and Eriksen had decent games.

But Ade was too isolated and Soldado brought on far too late. Eriksen who was our main if not our only hope was inexplicably subbed. Arsenal landed the first punch and then backpedalled for the remaining 14 rounds as we failed to land land a telling blow.

Tim's faith in Bentaleb is touching but his patience with Lennon seems to have been exhausted; Sandro picked up another yellow; Vertonghen's mind is elsewhere; Townsend was more controlled though equally ineffective.

Dan Levy watched on with his usual expressionless poker face and if he is a passionate supporter as alleged he hides it well. I doubt whether this more spirited display will help Tim's future managerial prospects at Spurs. We still lost and for the third game in a row against Arsenal failed to score.

His 'Don't sack me' plea to Levy thinly disguised as a petition for patience was more naked than a Playboy Centre fold or so they tell me. It will ring hollow in the ears of Hoddle and AVB for whom Tim at least sharpened the knife for the stab in the back.

'For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Matthew 26:52). Settle for second in command to Louis Van Gaal Tim and learn the trade: or drop down a league or two and do it the hard way.

 For all his many faults though on reflection I don't think he should be sacked. Sacking a manager is so last century. If contracts were more enforceable perhaps greater due dilgence would be applied when appointments are made. Perhaps Tim should never have appointed. But he was.

As Tony Benn, another magnificent lost cause once said '  Making mistakes is how you learn'. However Spurs fans might have prefered Tim to  had done it in his own time rather than in ours.

But we are no worse off now than when Andres Villas Boas was awarded the Order of the Hessian Bag and he might be right that with his six month apprenticeship completed, a  full pre-season and a settled squad including Lamela and an acclimatised Soldado we might push on.

He knows the club and particularly the youngsters and his introduction of Bentaleb has on the whole been a success if a little overdone. There may be more to follow and Kane might start with Bobby tomorrow

The alternative is a punt on a new manager and yet another season of turmoil and transition.Two steps forward three steps back once again. The man who appoints all these failures might want to have a good look at himself though his face will give very little away as usual.

'Mirror mirror on the wall
I can't see anything there at all'

We might hit overdrive and Arsenal and Liverpool might overheat and be stranded on the hard shoulder of the Europa League but it's not the likeliest outcome now is it. We love Spurs on Musings but have followed them for too long to waste too much time on hope.

We have solid achievements and  fine traditions to build on although the foundations might be in need of some reinforcement after all this time. It might be the Architect and the plans that are at fault and not the site foreman and the building contractors.

Tomorrow we go to Benfica trailing 3-1. An early goal, a clean sheet and a Soldado or Harry Kane hat-trick is my hopeful recipe for putting the season back together but we all know what hope does. I'm looking forward to next season already..

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Our moment of hope by our player of hope in the first leg. It's that word again. Live in hope: die in despair.
Cunning diversionary run by Paulinho; cue general jubilation and expectation in the crowd. But not for long.