retrofootballclub:

White Hart Lane, 1969

retrofootballclub:

White Hart Lane, 1969

Reblogged from Retro Football Club

Pray There Ain’t No Hell

The only shock I felt after the 0-3 thrashing we received from West Ham came from listening to those who didn’t see this coming.  If you’ve watched Tottenham at all over the last decade then today looked all too familiar. Sure, the faces are prettier now, but the tendency to be dictated by negative teams and punished in the second half of matches is a Spurs hallmark.

It wouldn’t be a loss without a forest of excuses to plod through. Injuries: Kaboul, Lennon, Capoue, Sandro, Rose were all absent. Tactics: Paulinho’s positivity in the second half came too late and, perhaps, opened us up for the goals.  From my seat, the problem today was Walker’s fitness—we underestimate his contribution often.  Also, Kyle Naught-on the pitch, please. The manager: “Harry would never have let this happen.” God willing, at SpursRoost you will never hear an ill word spoken about Henry James Redknapp.  That said, he is currently managing a second tier operation and simply can no longer be allowed in the Tottenham consciousness. Harry would have absolutely let this happen.

This is the issue. What has happened? Once again that impossible gap between Tottenham and the teams that finish above us year in and year out has been highlighted. While we went one down and instantly buckled our neighbors fought back and, via the machinations of a boy not fit to shine Dembele’s boots, earned the point necessary to stay atop the table.

Is the gap a real thing? Watching Spurs today it certainly felt real. But optimism is our mission. There’s not much use in the injury excuse. Every side will face injuries and with the depth we’ve conjured up this summer we can’t sit and wait for Azza to get his pedicure. However, adding like we did, an adjustment period is necessary. The important thing is moving positively ahead with weekly improvement; also never leaving Soldado on the bench. Defoe can break all the European scoring records that he likes but, for example, the goal he scored last week at Anzhi would simply never occur in the Premier League. While Soldado has disappointed in goals, he’s certainly proved what he can do in little or no space, exactly what Spurs had today. 

I’m always hesitant to question AVB’s lineup. He’s the one who has to watch these clowns all week in training so I try to trust his judgment. Yet, eventually, we’ll have to see Lamela. Already, I’d have him over Gylfi.

As the sun and my blood pressure begin to lower, this is just another game. We have many, many more. Here’s hoping next week brings more smiles. 

Fooled Around and Fell in Love

To begin turning over the heavy page that is Gareth Bale’s departure The Roost has been doing some heavy meditating on Tottenham’s newest acquisitions. AVB and Levy have already brought in four important signings. While it’s easy to buy players destined for the substitute column, AVB has brought in his men it seems as Soldado, Paulinho, Chadli, and Capoue have all featured in league games so far.

I was optimistic about the signings as they came in but since watching them in three games I think we are beginning to see how this Spurs side is shaping up.  After the victory over Swansea, AVB was asked if this year’s side was more “powerful” than his previous. It is an odd thing to speak about factually so Andre kind of dodged the question. But I believe the reporter was alluding to our newfound stature in midfield. With Dembele, Sandro, Capoue, and Paulinho we surely have one of the most resolute midfields in Europe. Compare those figures with Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Holtby and it becomes obvious what kind of team AVB is trying to field. The strategy is working, it appears. Swansea, normally so fluid, couldn’t get off the ground this weekend because they couldn’t operate in midfield. We weren’t always perfect but Capoue in particular minimized the effects of our mistakes and made it impossible for Swansea to nurture any kind of attack.

The problem, if you can call it a problem, is finding space for our talent. With Lamela due any moment and rumors swirling about other names coming in before the transfer window slams shut AVB will be facing a challenge.

If memory serves me well then Sandro, fit, is incredible and simply must play. But this makes things difficult for Capoue/Dembele. One expects Lamela to start off the bat but that could compromise the promising Chadli and the very impressive Townsend. This is to say nothing of Sigurdsson, Holtby, and Lennon who suddenly find themselves on the outside looking. 

But, as said, this is the best kind of problem. It has been fantastic to see the passion of our new signings. We are looking for a new hero. Injuries and fixtures will give plenty of opportunities to impress.  Spurs fans may be feeling vulnerable right now but remember tis better to have loved and lost.

Here is The Roost XI against Arsenal (including Lamela)

Loris

Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson, Rose

Sandro, Dembele, Paulinho, Townsend, Lamela

Saldado

 

Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye

He’s really gone… I think. Today at a press conference before our Europa League clash with Dinamo Tbilisi Andre Villas Boas gave the closest thing we’ve heard all summer to a confirmation of Gareth Bale’s exit.

Spurs fans are used to a glut of emotions. Today we find ourselves gripped by disappointment, anger, fear, excitement, and feelings we continue to parse out on Twitter. Personally, I identify with the disappointed crowd. I don’t fault Gareth for his desire to leave. Another year without Champions League football paired with Real Madrid’s constant pursuit is enough to prompt his move. What rubbed many fans the wrong way was how the summer played out. We may never know who was responsible for dragging out the transfer saga. Likely every party played their part but, for me, the whole situation would have been easier to swallow with a declaration of intent from the player. 

At the end of the day we are going to get a lot of money for a player who has given us memories that are difficult to quantify. No one can complain about what we have done to prepare for life after Gareth but only time will tell if these men can captivate us the way the young Welshman has over the years.  No one is bigger than the club; Bale may not have reached the status of “legend,” but what he did for Tottenham will not soon be forgotten. 

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

From a nuts and bolts standpoint Steven Caulker to Cardiff (9 million) is good business.  But the news carries a personal weight as well. Caulker joined Tottenham as a 15 year old and, despite looking overwhelmed a few times last year, has become one of the best young defenders in the EPL. Through and through an athlete, I have no doubt the young defender will be one of those we’ll mourn the loss of as he shines for Cardiff and other sides down the line. While Spurs have more young talent in the stable it is still uncomfortable to see Caulker go. God willing, his departure signals new defensive blood on its way in. With Jan out for at least three weeks it’s no time to trim defensive fat.

 Today, in the heart of the dog days could be remembered as a pivotal one for Tottenham Hotspur. Caulker has moved on. Saldado should arrive in London within the next 24 hours. And the tenor of the Bale transfer adventure took a decidedly grim turn. All reports label a move to Madrid as imminent. I had myself convinced that we could survive without the boy, that 85 million (and the additions it could buy) would more than make up for his presence. But now, now that the scenario is so plausible, I can’t assure myself that 85 million will field a better squad than one that features Gareth Bale. Time will tell.

On Bale and Big Clubs

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For the last month, every summer morning has commenced the same way. Rubbing my eyes to life I root around for my laptop, grimace at the screens’ brightness, then load the Telegraph to see if Gareth Bale is still a Tottenham player.

On a few occasions, I thought this ritual was at an end. It seemed he was staying. It seemed Real Madrid had acquiesced.  But, millions of Euros at a time, the price continued to rise. At each stage it seemed impossible that Levy, or any man, could resist. Yet here we are. The transfer fee has plateaued at £85million. No one is willing to speak unequivocally on the Welshman’s future. The press is talking, countless front pages in an assortment of languages can’t wait to speculate on the issue.

Briefly, it was delight to see Spurs in the headlines. There is a certain pride in being the big transfer saga of the summer. Sadly, for many, the Bale chronicle has become an emblem of the horror of modern football journalism, inflated transfer fees, the death of football on the continent, etc.

Forgotten for the Bale talk are the strides taken by AVB and staff already this off-season. We’ve made several shrewd additions in key positions. Tomorrow promises the sealing of the Saldado deal. The striker that would never arrive. Part of me won’t believe we’ve signed a forward until he tucks his first goal away.

I am through speculating how the Bale drama will resolve itself. This morning, a Liverpool friend couldn’t understand why Levy would even hesitate at the world record fee. Part of me agrees, Bale’s stock will never be higher. Tottenham always speaks of becoming a “big club.” Big clubs make big moves. Undoubtedly, we could strengthen the squad with what we’d reap through his sale. However, big clubs also have players that just aren’t for sale. The romantic in me, and many Spurs supporters, remembers that the boy was born to play for Spurs.

Paulinho, Carroll, and Depth

Allan Jiang wrote an insightful piece for BleacherReport today focusing on Paulinho’s path to England as well as the effect it could have on other members of the Spurs midfield, particularly young Tom Carroll.  

You’ll find no greater Carroll proponents than us at SpursRoost, and I agree with Jiang that Paulinho’s presence will limit Carroll’s minutes. However, as becomes evident each year, extra bodies never hurt. AVB has proven much more competent at sharing playing time among players than Harry ever was. If we mean to make a league run and go deep into the cups then Carroll and other “fringe” players will have more than enough opportunity. 

This is the time of year when we shout about all the midfielders coming to the Lane. While the dearth strikers is painful (if only for its familiarity) I like the option to shuffle the center of the pitch. Last year the rotation of Dembele, Siggurdson, Dempsey, and company proved fairly successful.

 

New Kit New Hope

Monday Spurs unveiled their strips for the upcoming campaign. For me, Under Armour hit it on the head with their second attempt. The collar is a bit of a departure for Tottenham and the sponsor is rather glaring but overall I find the home kit straightforward, lovely. 

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Personally the return of Hewlett Packard to the shirt makes me feel a bit fuzzy, bringing me back to Spurs’ Pony days.image

How can that not make you smile? Perhaps the 2013/14 kits would be more cohesive with the dark blue sponsor but we’ll wait to see how it looks on the field. However, Under Armour would have to try rather hard to go amiss with the home whites. It’s the away effort that generally raises eyebrows. 

They went with a blue easily likened to “highlighter,” which many have condemned as an eyesore. 

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While the away piece is, to say the least, bright, it boasts a fantastic collar, sharp accents and a clean inclusion of the HP logo. The heightened visibility could also help the likes of Scott Parker when it comes to directing passes towards teammates. 

Overall, I give the new strips a 8/10. I’ve always been ready to dislike what Under Armour is producing but they continue to churn out genuine efforts.

With new kits come new hopes.  Not lost on anyone at all was the man chosen to model the new kit at the unveiling in London. Mr. Gareth Bale would have made any new shirt beautiful in the eyes of Spurs fans. This, paired with Real Madrid’s apparent surrender (until next summer, at least) has me cautiously optimistic about the Welshman’s presence next year. 

ONE MILLION PERCENT

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Tim Sherwood is “one million percent” sure that Gareth Bale will be kicking about White Heart Lane come summer’s end. I can’t be quite as confident as Tottenham’s technical co-ordinator, but the original piece, at Goal.com, makes a lot of good points about Gareth Bale’s good relationship with Spurs. 

Bale’s transfer status has dominated Spur’s headlines in the days following our fifth place finish. However, talk of the clubs structure and ambitions over the summer have also risen to the surface. Here’s the latest round of Tottenham clippings.

  • TottenhamBlog issues its axe list for the summer tottenhamblog.com 
  • Daily Mail reporting in usual subdued style on the girth of Bale’s forthcoming contract dailymail.co.uk
  • Musical chairs as several top managerial spots around Europe are vacant. SkyBet has AVB at 40/1 to make a move to Real Madrid (he’s 33/1 to PSG) but I think there’s no serious doubt over our man’s future. SkyBet.com
  • Siting AVB’s preference for the structure, Telegraph is reporting that Spurs could bring in Franco Baldini in the role of Director of Football. Baldini sat next to Capello on the England bench. telegraph.co.uk

Transfer talk begins in earnest

Tottenham made headlines for their interest in Croatian, Ante Rebic. I can’t overstate our lack of current Croation class. I miss the days of having three, in my opinion, world class operators in Corluka, Kranjcar, and Mr. Luka Modric. 

Rebic seems to pass the eye test. He’s scored in Croatia, he’s young, he’s something to be interested in. Can he do it on a cold snowy night in Osijek?

But the article is  more interesting in that it mentions the big name targets for this summer.  

Spurs are hoping to bring in another two strikers this summer with Barcelona’s David Villa, Internacional’s Leandro Damiao and Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke among their targets. Their spending, however, may depend on finding a suitable buyer for Emmanuel Adebayor.” 

The question that will define this transfer season is “What is Gareth Bale worth?” His value in currency will not matter as much as what we could do with that currency. Would you trade Bale for Benteke, Moutinho, plus a defender? 

Conventional wisdom cries out for us to keep our best player, but if that becomes impossible we must look on. 

6 Reasons to Smile

Spurs need a miracle. Going into the final afternoon of the season they will be lucky to finish fourth and unlucky to finish fifth. You could look to many fixtures where we’ve dropped points or any number of Scott Parker performances that have led us here, but here we are. Blame who you like, blame injuries, but the truth is that Spurs didn’t do enough to maintain their place in the top four.

It’s not over. Sunday could yield, what I would consider, a deserved miracle. Regardless, when you’re a Spurs man, there’s always a reason (or six) to smile. Here are mine.

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