What we have learnt, as we come to the close of this season, is that we are not good enough for a top 4 position. We’ve been beaten by all the top 4 clubs (even though a draw against Chelsea at the Lane being the one odd result; but they did thrash us at their ground) and so we are where we should be (granted we’ve got Liverpool at Anfield; but do we realistically expect to beat them there?). But that doesn’t mean we are now safe for 5th place. Yes, we’ve beaten United (a draw at the Lane) and Everton (with a draw at Goodison Park), but they are still breathing down our necks. If Everton win their two games in hand they then go above us. If United win their one game in hand then they will be 2 points behind us. So we still have to be vigilant.
It is not impossible either that Southampton or Newcastle United couldn’t catch us up (Southampton are only 8 points behind us, a win for them on Sunday will reduce that to 5 points). With the way we are playing this season nothing would surprise me.
With £1001 million being spent we were on a high. We were thinking (naïvely I would say), not of a top 4 spot, but something a lot higher. Then it all went sadly wrong (nothing new here, I hear you saying; as it has become part of Spurs folklore). But why did it go wrong? First we keep selling our best players (Modric and Bale recently). We didn’t have to sell them. We could have stuck to our guns (they were still under contract). Then we bought 8 players for £1001 million and expected to embed them in within a season. An impossible task. This season should have been written off (in the sense of a top 4 spot). Most of the new players were running around like headless chickens. With Lamela crying off with all sorts of pains (I would imagine more psychological than physical).
Another mistake was sacking AVB. He shouldn’t have been held responsible (entirely) for their performance as he was given an impossible task of entrenching 8 new players in, and at the same time trying to get Spurs into the top 4. The criticism laid against him for not playing Adebayor was unfair. Adebayor’s performance, at the time, wasn’t what it should have been. He admitted himself that his family had criticised him for not giving his best. As for using one or two players up front that conundrum is now haunting Sherwood; he has tried both, with inadequate results (i.e. we are still not scoring the goals we should be). In my mind Levy should have stuck with AVB until the end of the season. When he was sacked we were 5th (as we are now), but in all the competitions. Once he was removed we were swiftly removed from those competitions. So, yes we should have stuck with AVB until the end of the season and then assessed the situation.
Now to Sherwood: If you are going to replace somebody then you should replace that person with somebody more qualified. In this case I am not blaming Sherwood as he was thrown in the deep end, and apart from that he had no managerial experience at this high altitude (or any bloody altitude). He was on a loser right from the beginning. Under him we’ve been knocked out of all competitions and if we are very lucky we might just scrape 5th. He still has the same problems as AVB had. Players like Soldado (not scoring) and whether to have one or two strikers up front. His inexperienced showed when he criticised his players in public. So another potential good season written off by sill mistakes, boardroom shenanigans and posturing’s to achieve one step forward and high velocity backwardness.
So where to now? Replace Sherwood or bring in a more seasoned and experienced manager? It does seem unfair to Sherwood as he was thrown into the deep end and was confronted with the same problems as AVB. He was given a year and a half contract (which covers the 2014/15 season). A lot of the fans are shouting for his head (but not all though). So what does Levy do? I don’t envy him his task, but to be fair it is of his making. I think he panicked after our 5-0 defeat against Liverpool and put AVB in an impossible position (demanding he use Adebayor: Levy wasn’t the manager, AVB was and it should have been left to him).
I have no doubt that new players will be bought in at the end of the season and probably a new manager and the same situation will confront that manager (or Sherwood); to embed all players into a fighting machine within months. We should take a leaf out of Liverpool’s books and give the manager a chance to build. Brendon Rogers has done a magnificent job with Liverpool (they are currently in second position). Rogers started at the same time as AVB. While we sacked him, Liverpool allowed their manager to build and prosper. We put impossible obstacles in front of our manager and then sacked him because he couldn’t do the impossible; for that both clubs reaped their own rewards. For Liverpool a possible top 4 placing and they kept their best player Suarez. For us; we allowed our best player to leave and then confronted our manager with problems, conundrums and the eventual sack; and a possible 5th spot. Now spot the difference; which club has thrived on their intelligent thinking and patience and which one has floundered on their stupidity? All replies to the Raving Monster looney party with a possible tickle to ones privates for the winning entry.
I also must add in AVB’s defence. When he took over Spurs he informed the board that it would take time to build a robust machine that is capable of chasing honours. Both Chelsea and Spurs sacked him because he didn’t achieve instant success. It is nonsensical. It is not that Levy and co didn’t know the route he was going to take. I believe Brendon Rogers mapped out a similar building structure. Funny that, but it is not for the humble fan to reason why, just do and die (and cough up their dough and follow their chosen club obediently and without rancour). We must let the Gods, in their wisdom, decide for us. And we do!
I must also add my thoughts to the Arsenal game. Even though we had lost I thought it was the best we’ve played (at least I’ve seen) under Sherwood (that may not be saying much though!). If that defeat was at the beginning of the season it would give me hope. Sadly it wasn’t. Of course Arsenal, in my mind, is probably the least efficient and capable of the top 4 teams. But good enough to beat us three times this season and probably will get the top 4 position.
Now we move on to Southampton, which won’t be an easy game. A defeat by them will push us further back. In fact we can’t contemplate a defeat or we will really be in the dog house. Yes, we beat them on their ground, but that doesn’t really count for much in the Premier league. So let us think positive and cheer our team on to, not only a victory on Sunday, but a desperately needed 3 points. And then the battle for 5th spot (if we get the 3 points) will continue with a trip to Liverpool at Anfield. A mouth-watering – possibly – repetition of a Shakespearian tragedy or as the optimists amongst you might say a well-deserved draw. It is never dull when you follow Spurs in the modern era. But shit happens, as the Ukrainians say.
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