Updated: May 10
While I’ve been swamped with work, events have been unfolding at Spurs. The bloguverse – to coin an even more ugly word than blogosphere – is awash with far better and more considered posts than mine, but here’s a few thoughts just to keep in touch.
Going out of the League Cup at the first hurdle is never to be welcomed, but before the game I thought the line-up was both strong and the right option considering the big picture. I’ve never gone along with the idea that it’s ‘bad’ to play a second choice team. If you have strength in depth, it’s a sign of that strength, and if you are the opponents playing a first string then you should fancy your chances. What’s not to like?
I didn’t see the game, and the demands of the South East London and Kent under-11s league training session meant I snatched bits of the commentary. So I didn’t get much of a sense of the game, but we seem to have been OK. Going out on pens is, cliché alert, always a lottery – but if you want to see the glass as half full we scored more penalties in one night that we probably have for about three years. Just a shame Stoke scored more.
There’s been a bit of comment about Gomes going the wrong way for every pen, and while it certainly won’t have helped his prospects I can’t really believe a professional would be sulking and not do his job to the best of his ability. It’s all a long way from a rainy night in Eindhoven – after a rather hairy couple of hours pre-game – when his penalty-saving prowess thwarted us.
Harry has publicly bombed Gomes out now anyway. I didn’t think that was wise, and it certainly gave the Harry critics more ammo. It seems clear to me that there’s a battle going on between Harry and Levy and much of that is conducted via press conferences. Spurs have always been pretty political and this is more of the same, all we can hope is that it doesn’t distract from performances on the pitch.
On the subject of which, the Liverpool game was a great one to watch – especially for Spurs fans of a certain age who still bear the scars of the Liverpool dominance in the 1980s. Spurs played beautiful football, and it was great to hear Modric being talked about for all the right reasons. Him and Parker in midfield were superb. As always with Spurs – or is it me? – there’s a but. I was left wondering whether Parker would have made a difference against City or United, and just why it was we didn’t sign him when he was available at the end of last season rather than a few games into this season?
I daresay there’s more to it than a mug punter like me can hope to understand, but there’s a recurring theme of Spurs buying at the last minute, starting the season late and then rueing those lost early points that does nag a little.
All in all though, it’s a good unit, playing good football and motivated by a manager who is taking the heat and leaving the players to get on with their jobs. If you look at our squad against any outside City, United and Chelski I’d argue you’d be hard pressed to really want to swap any of ours. I’d take Suarez every day though.
Off the pitch there are encouraging signs too. It’s good to see my boyhood hero Steve Perryman and the club resolve their differences. That Hall of Fame dinner should be a great night – even though those events aren’t really my cup of Rosie, and certainly not at those prices. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time time with Steve on The Boys from White Hart Lane book and he is a genuinely top bloke as well as being a proper club legend. Good to see an outbreak of harmony.
Good news too regarding the stadium. It looks as if the redevelopment of White Hart Lane is to go ahead – and that’s vital not just for the team but for an area I care a lot about, having been born in the borough as well as spending far too many hours of my life there. Some of the work I’ve been doing has been connected with the Supporting Our Future initiative, and I’m hopeful that there could be some more positive news to come soon.
It’s all disturbingly positive, but I’m sure there’ll be another crisis along soon. I’m doing the Spurs Show podcast next week, and I wouldn’t be proper Spurs if I went in entirely confident previewing the derby game. But those sessions in Mike Leigh’s basement are always something to look forward to, although he did ask me not to go public about that.
Finally, another plug for the Danny Blanchflower e-book, which you can buy by clicking the links top right of this blog. There’s been some great feedback and it’s always good to hear positive comment. It would be even better if some of that materialised in the shape of online reviews, as that’s what drives rankings and profile. (I’ve never been backwards in coming forward!) Look out too for Adam Powley’s superb profile of Glenn Hoddle, which is the second in the series and on the verge of appearing online.