Playing for a mid-table place

by James Baker

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
 

I’ve often considered Tottenham to be one of the most pointless teams in the land and now they, quite literally are. 10 games in, 1 win.

The last two seasons at White Hart Lane has seen a change in the fortunes and ambitions of Tottenham Hotspur. For so long, they were massive underachievers. The Premiership began in 1992-93 and Tottenham are one of a handful of teams that have contested the Premier league every year since its inception. However, Tottenham failed to finish in the top six or bottom six of the Premiership every year until finally they finished fifth the season before last. That is 13 seasons of Tottenham fans watching mediocre, mid-table football.

For many years, I regarded Tottenham as one of the worst run clubs in the Premiership. They threw good money after bad on some very mediocre players and changed managers as often as their socks. Since the great Bill Nicholson departed Spurs in 1974, the club have had 15 managers. The average term for a Spurs manager is just 2.2 years. In fact, the club have had 9 managers since the start of the Premiership. A 1.6 year average term for the managers since the 92-93 season. In this time the club have managed to win one trophy, the 1999 Carling Cup. This was a club that was stuck in the past and
had no direction.

Finally, there was a change in fortune. Martin Jol the Crazzeee Dutch man was appointed manager by the new owners, ENIC and suddenly there seemed to be stability. The funds to purchase players were there as ever but the policy of signing young British players was a good move. They were extremely unlucky to finish 5th in the 2005-06 season as they lost to West Ham on the final day of the season and their loathed local rivals, Arsenal pipped them for 4th place and Champions League qualification. Last season they finished fifth again. The squad has been growing stronger and they added the brilliant Dimitar Berbatov who lit up the Premier League.

Everyone was expecting big things from Tottenham and lots of good judges believe they have a big chance of finishing in the top four. They have spent big this summer bringing in the likes of Bent, Boateng, Kaboul and Bale.

But once again, the whole balance of the team looked wrong against Newcastle. Where┬╣s the flair? Bertatov looks uninterested. Another 3 goals conceeded, 3 more defensive blunders. How can he keep all his strikers happy without disrupting the balance? Bent is lacking conifendence, Bertatov is a ‘Sing when your winning’ player quoted Tim Sherwood. These are worrying times indeed.

I am sure Tottenham will turn it around, but their objective this year was 4th place. Jol is under pressure after the money he has spent. I fear Tottenham will be playing for a mid table place, and once again will be looking up the table to their North London rivals green with envy!

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