Alas! We’ve come to the end of another turbulent season down Hotspur way, one that will live long in the memory, sadly- for all the wrong reasons. For many the end of a season is a time of mixed feelings, however this season it feels like we’ve urged the close in with more desperation than ever, and rightly so. Frankly, our season ended post-Benfica- in glorious defeat and since then we’ve been playing for nothing but pride; of which, by the way, all was lost after our dismal third defeat of the season to West Ham.
Believe it or not though the season started rather positively, if unspectacularly. The ‘Magnificent Seven’ new signings were bedding in, a solid start involving several one-nil wins wetted the appetite for more, and hope was turning into expectation of greater things as we reached November with only two losses in all competitions; albeit to Arsenal and West Ham. It seems all the more strange that just 45 days later, the club found itself in turmoil; parting company with André Villas Bóas, and after much delay and behind the scenes negotiation, appointing Tim Sherwood. Yet, with the season developing into one of identical performances, and results (with the anomaly of a 3-0 loss to West Ham) leeway was beginning to narrow somewhat. The fans and the board expected more style, more entertainment and greater results but only thrashings at the hands of Liverpool and Man City beforehand were to come and so sealed AVB’s fate.
Without divulging too far into the AVB situation, I think even the most anti-AVB fans can accept in hindsight, with no replacement lined up and a superb record as manager, he should not have gone. Yes, there were issues no doubt, but we had a plan and a leader, and that was more than we had for the latter six months of the season. After all, this was the man who presided over a record points tally the previous season, the joint best away record in the league in the current season and the highest win percentage coupled with the second lowest losing percentage of our Premier League era managers. The sacking was born off two very poor results, with no long term vision or contingency plan in place- not good enough Mr. Levy.
Anyway, after a brief resurgence under Sherwood things were looking up but we were again brought back down to earth by a thrashing against City, before a draw at Hull and a wholly disgraceful loss at Norwich signalled the end of our Champions League hopes, realistically. Further embarrassment at the hands of Chelsea and Liverpool were the final nails in the seasons coffin, with a lesson in football at home to Benfica sandwiched in between. There were more mediocre performances but it wasn’t all bad; resilient performances in Lisbon and against Southampton warmed the cockles, as did a sound beating of Sunderland.
All in all a season to forget though, for many reasons. There have been too many poor, characterless performances and defeats, as a result, the underachievement continues.
But there were some positives:
- The emergence of some youngsters, at long last, was good to see. We should produce even more now with our state of the art training ground. Bentaleb probably made the greatest impression; whilst Kane rose late but is not the future, we’ll probably now get a good £5million for him now though.
- Christian Eriksen is one of the magnificent seven whom has come out of this season with some credibility. In fact more than that, he was our best outfield player and won Player of the Season thanks to contributing 10 goals and 10 assists. The only other man that challenged him for that award was probably keeper, Hugo Lloris.
- The re-emergence of Adebayor was key in the second half of the season, although he went off the boil, as usual, he’s shown that at least if nobody else wants him, he can still contribute.
So what of next season?
Well, the magnificent seven will be on their last chance, assuming nobody wishes to take them off our hands. Not only these but many of our other squad players too have probably come to the end of their Tottenham careers should someone make a bid. With the exception of Lloris, Vertonghen and Eriksen, I don’t think there is anyone in our team who we wouldn’t accept a bid for. As for Hugo and Jan, well its touch and go as to whether we’ll keep them anyway- much depends on the new manager.
On that subject, if you follow me on twitter you’ll know ive made my feelings clear that although bookies favourite Maurico Pochettino has done a wonderful job at Southampton with a very attractive philosophy, I don’t think he is the man for us. We need a winner; someone who will bring the players together, can be trusted with funds but also bring through youth, whilst having the ability to continue to move forwards despite players leaving. A developed, attractive and consistent footballing philosophy is a must as well as a loyalty and leadership. This man is Frank de Boer. However, should we not be able to secure the Dutchman, proven winners like Roberto Mancini and Rafa Benitez (dare I say), should not be passed over lightly.
With a star coach appointed, two or three astute signings and a streamlined squad anything is possible next season. Expectations will, come August, be as high as ever, at this point though it doesn’t seem that way. The understated misery that was our season may just play into our hands next year. Perhaps we can drift somewhat under the radar, go quietly about our business and have a rejuvenated punt at the top 4?
Who am I kidding, this is Tottenham Hotspur, and anything could happen!
Have something to tell us about this article?