Tag: Tottenham Hotspur

Tim Sherwood And Daniel Levy’s Christmas Surprise

Imagine, for a moment, that I have built a time machine. It’s pretty limited – the technology is somewhat limited at the moment – in that it only has a range of four months, but it does at least allow me to go back to the start of the football season and make absurd-sounding predictions on these pages which turn out to come true. At the top of the list of predictions that I could conceivably make, a Nostradamus-like moment that would later see me burned at the stake as a confirmed heretic, would go something like this: “In December 2013, Andre Villa Boas departs as the manager of Tottenham Hotspur following a six-nil loss at Manchester City and a five-nil home defeat at the hands of Liverpool. In a surprise move, chairman Daniel Levy appoints former captain Tim Sherwood as his replacement on an eighteen month contract.” The removal of the previous incumbent probably couldn’t have come at a much worse time in terms of the managerial market. It’s not a time of year when the sort of manager that a club with the profile and – especially, considering the amount of money thrown around I’m the vicinity of the club during the summer and the lingering suspicion that the top end of the Premier League is as open as it has been for many years, which gives...

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All Aboard The Managerial Merry-Go-Round… Again

It has, dare we say it, been a tetchy two or three days for the managers of England’s football clubs. Even a breed of people that live their entire lives with a metaphorical axe suspended precariously over their heads will have offered an extra shudder at the events of last three days, which have resulted in the departure of three of their brethren from their positions, and such is the instability of the manager of any club these days that those that remain in work may well even find themselves unable to offer so much as a whispered, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ tonight. If the form book is anything to go by, there, regardless of the grace of God, they are most likely to go in something like the short to medium term. To begin, then, at the top of the football food chain. Tottenham Hotspur may not have been the champions of England since John F Kennedy was the president of the United States of America, but modern football pays little attention to long-term trends. Spurs spent their Gareth Bale transfer window before they’d even sold that player, and the sheer volume of new recruits at White Hart Lane meant that Andre Villa Boas was always likely to face an uphill struggle in order to placate both the directors and supporters of the...

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Villas-Boas vs The World. And Martin Samuel.

It was around the time that Man City rattled in their fifth goal last Sunday that a billion snarky armchair enthusiasts reached for their smartphones to riff on Erik Thorstvedt’s assertion that Spurs, in flogging Gareth Bale to Real Madrid’s marketing team, had ‘sold Elvis and bought The Beatles’. Hands a’tremblin’ with the excitement of injecting the internet with a hit of wit from a syringe marked ‘FUNNY’, and desperate to see Spurs’ title-chasing  pretensions unceremoniously bludgeoned to death, the smirking know-it-alls went for it. The Beatles! As if! Villas Boas, it was clear, had not bought John, Paul, George and that other twat. Nope, he’d landed himself with…. oooh, let’s see now… Steps. ZING! Or… S Club 7! The Monkees! BOSH! That that, David Baddiel! Take that, humour! Personally, I went for Little Mix. It was either that or Gay Dad, but, obviously, I got it wrong. The Twitter mob decided ages go that, since the fat one in Little Mix who wasn’t fat anyway isn’t fat any more even though she wasn’t fat in the first place, Little Mix are the total opposite of Spurs and awesomeballs after all. Gah! After the laughter had subsided to a rolling boil, the world awoke to news that, despite having been entrusted with job of rebuilding Spurs in the post-Bale era, Villas-Boas was, incredibly, TEETERING on the BRINK of the...

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Andre Villa Boas Reaches Deep Stall Speed

There is no disguising what happened to Tottenham Hotspur at The City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Spurs’ defeat at the hands of a Manchester City team that has otherwise blown hot and cold a little this season was as comprehensive as any in the Premier League this season, and it’s not impossible to see both the result and the performance as having something of a symbolic feel to it. From the very start of this season, Andre Villa Boas’ team has had the air of one riding its luck about it. Wins have had a tendency to be by a single goal, which hints at the thin margins between victory and defeat at the rarefied altitude at the top of the Premier League, whilst defeats have had a crushing feel to them. A narrow loss to Arsenal before it became apparent that Arsene Wenger’s fine tuning had built a team capable of seriously challenging for the league title. A three-nil defeat in the derby that isn’t a derby except it is a derby against West Ham United. Another home loss, this time against the sporadic basket cases of Newcastle United. And then, of course, there was last Sunday’s calamity. In an ideal world, perhaps, it might have been possible to write the Manchester City defeat off as a bad day at the office against an outstanding opposition...

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Back To The Eighties, 1980/81 Part Fifteen: The North London Derby

The start of the 1980s had brought differing fortunes for the two giants of North London, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Spurs had been largely concerned with rebuilding, both on and off the pitch. Having finished the 1979/80 season in a disappointing fourteenth place, the club had started the new season with a new attack, in the form of Steve Archibald, signed from Aberdeen, and Garth Crooks, brought in from Stoke City, whilst one side of the pitch at White Hart Lane remained a building site as the club spent a fortune building a new West Stand, a project which took fifteen months to complete and severely overran its budget. The club’s moderate improvement on the pitch meant that its biggest hope of success for this season would come in the cups. Arsenal, meanwhile, remained on the fringes of the championship chase in January 1981, though the prevailing opinion was that this was turning into a three-way battle between Liverpool, Aston Villa and Ipswich Town. Having won the FA Cup in 1979, there had been great things predicted for the team that Terry Neill – formerly the manager of Spurs, somewhat ironically – had built, but the team had finished the 1979/80 exhausted by a marathon season which saw it finish the season in fourth place in the First Division whilst losing in the finals of both the FA Cup...

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