It was recently suggested in a comment on this blog that I might have written a review of a game before it took place. If only I could. Unfortunately I never quite know which Tottenham will turn up.
But sometimes you don’t have to watch a game to know what happened. 1-1 at Birmingham, you say? Ok. Disappointment has to come into the mix – I reckon we must have scored first and conceded a sloppy late goal? We probably had a few chances that we didn’t take. Controlled the game for long spells, should have killed them off and then paid the price when they came back into it? Let me know if I’ve got it wrong.
What this game undoubtedly demonstrates to those that didn’t see it – and if you don’t like controversy look away now – is that we need a new striker. Our failure to buy in the summer may yet be seen as equivalent to Arsenal’s failure to sign a goalkeeper – a blind spot that only the club itself is unaware of.
One crucial difference though. I’m sure ‘Arry wants a signing. Is this a failure of the board’s courage rather than the manager’s judgment? Will this be the ultimate failure of Levy’s impressive stewardship of the club? Leading us so far down the line only to put the brakes on just short of where we want to be? A higher grade version of the Randy Lerner project? Perhaps not. Whatever else you think of the stadium plans, they demonstrate that the board is still thinking about future progression. But this team needs a jolt in the arm now.
If there’s no-one available, I can live with that – I have my doubts. If we won’t break our wage structure I can even live with that, although as a short sighted fan I’m tempted to say sod it. But if our decision not to splash the cash on, say, Luis Fabiano is because he’s 30 and has no sell on value – then I’d be concerned. Let’s not lose out on 4th because we’re too rigidly sensible. That’s not the Tottenham way! The long term is important, but the long term is just a series of short terms and they all matter. Especially this one.
Of course Luis Fabiano is not necessarily the answer. He’s good and Brazilian so there’s a fair chance he might like a party. If so, shut down Guanabara’s. Keep stum about Rudolph’s. Don’t let Ledley take him to Faces. But even if he isn’t the solution, I can’t believe there isn’t one. In January we can get quality in. It might not be so easy if we are only in the Europa Cup come season end.
One thing we are all sure of, and have been for some time – Robbie Keane is not the long term answer, short term answer, or any kind of answer at all. Unless the question is: name one player in the squad who can take a penalty. But even that is not reason enough to keep him and Harry has confirmed he’ll be on his way in January to the highest bidder. If we can’t even name a price, he’s clearly damaged goods. He’s being linked with Vancouver Whitechaps. I’m trying to get a five a side team together – I might offer 50p and a Wham Bar.
This makes me sad. I like Keano. At his best he reminded me of one of those silkily skilled lower-league players who generally get found out at the top level. A touch player who you expected wouldn’t be able to fit into a top team. A better Robbie Blake or, for Scottish readers of a certain age (34), a Chic Charnley. For a while it looked like that’s what he’d be, before he found a home at the Lane and showed his top level quality. A bit of a throwback. I’ll miss him. I’m talking in the past tense, but I hope he gets ten more minutes in a Spurs shirt and a fitting reception. Unfortunately recent years may have devalued his yiddo chips (or, if you prefer, loyalty points). He may struggle in the future for a half time walk on a la Ricky Villa or Daveeed.
Bit of a mish mash today. Let’s quickly ‘do’ FIFA. No really, here’s a stick and a gun… I’ll be honest I was hoping for a nice holiday in Spain and Portugal so I am as upset as anyone. I even had floor space agreed in San Sebastian. But I doubt I’ll be going to Russia and I am certainly not going to Qatar, which means I will be at least 50 before I get to go to a world cup.
The ire of many upstanding citizens has been provoked over this issue. Assumptions of corruption are inevitable, and whilst I also make assumptions, I freely admit to doing so from a position of ignorance. I tend to glaze over when it comes to sports politics. Somehow getting worked up about corruption in the governing body of football seems like wasted energy when there’s enough of the stuff in actual government. You know, politics wot actually matters.
However. Corruption is bad, full stop. Yeah – I said it. Fat cattery is bad, unless there’s free beer and a ticket to a sporting event. And whether or not corruption or fat cattery exists in FIFA(!), I can’t think of a method of choosing a world cup host more open to appearing corrupt than to have a closed vote of 22 middle aged men who are open to being bought nice lunches. I should know, I like a nice lunch and I plan on being a middle aged man myself one day. All too soon.
What I don’t like, though, is the snap judgment some have jumped to – ‘it should have been England, it’s all corrupt’. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t – you will have your own view on that and it is almost certainly right and I almost certainly share it! But when I’m doing my Clark Kent (to Oog’s superman, of course), I sometimes have to think about matters of corruption and which territories are of concern. Qatar ranks as less corrupt than many countries that have hosted the world cup. South Korea. South Africa. Italy. France. USA. Oh – and the United Kingdom. So yes, our sense of fair play has been affronted, and there are many social concerns about Qatar for sure. But lets not pretend its England v the world here. If we’d had a level playing field, England still might not have won. And if you were awarding it on grounds of who is least corrupt (world cup final performance aside), it would have been Holland. It stinks, but so does a lot of the reaction. Such as WestHamLegend Tony Gale who pointed out that Russia’s legacy wouldn’t involve creating a league as good as the EPL – so what! – and that Russia was “freezing”. Russia has seasons too, Tony…
What is absolutely certain, though, is that “Motty” calling David Cameron, David Beckham and Prince William “our three lions” on Football Focus is unforgivable. Nothing against Becks but some posh chap who gets power handed to him without a mandate is not a lion in my book – and nor is Prince William. A-Fank-yow, I’m here all week, try the fish. Never mind Panorama, the BBC has a lot to answer for.
Dead rubber tomorrow in the Champions League. I’ll be watching the game on my sofa and writing the report up beforehand – buy me a beer and I’ll make sure it’s a Spurs win.