Tag: Tottenham Hotspur

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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The Antisemitism Genie Has Long Out Of The Bottle At White Hart Lane… And Elsewhere

You kind of knew that here was an accident waiting to happen as soon as David Cameron got involved in it all. Asked by the Jewish Chronicle what he thought of the FA’s statement last week, which reiterated its belief that the word “Yid” should not be used in any context at a football ground and warning that its use could amount to a criminal offence that would leave fans at risk of being banned and prosecuted, the Prime Minister responded by saying, “You have to think of the mens rea [a principle of law which suggests that “an act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty”]. There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as ‘Yids’ and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult. You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted – but only when it’s motivated by hate.” Spurs supporters have long self-identified as ‘Yids’, in no small part on account of the antisemitism that the club’s support has faced for many years. Anybody who has attended a match between Spurs and, say, Arsenal, Chelsea or West Ham United will be fully aware of how poisonous the atmosphere can become at these matches, and there is a long history of fairly appalling behaviour by rival supporters – the explicitly antisemitic attacks on Spurs supporters in Rome last year, for example...

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The 200% Premier League Pre-Season: Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale, it would appear, casts a long shadow. Sitting in his bedroom pouting over the apparent “injury” – or, to put it another way, a lack of match fitness which means that he probably won’t be starting the new season for Spurs – that will last until conveniently after the transfer window closes, it would appear that this player has burned his bridges with the club, and the manner of his apparently impending departure means that it may be difficult for many of the club’s supporters to look back upon his time at the club with a great deal of affection. But Spurs supporters, who have seen their team plundered for its choicest assets with wearying regularity over recent years, are probably more used to this sensation than most. One man, however, does not make a team and, whilst the loss of Bale is clearly a blow to a club for whom the end of the rainbow that is perpetual Champions League qualification and making a serious bid for the Premier League title remains tantalisingly out of reach, this particular smear shouldn’t be allowed to completely mask what has otherwise been a very successful summer in the transfer market for the club. For a club that has previously been a little dithersome in the transfer market, the arrival at White Hart Lane over the last couple of months...

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Spurs Supporters Have A Right To Protection In Europe

After the infamous riot at the FA Cup quarter-final match between Luton Town and Millwall, senior representatives of the Football Association were summoned to Downing Street to discuss the matter with the Prime Minister. ‘What are you going to do about your hooliganism?’, asked Margaret Thatcher, perhaps mindful of the extent to which divide and rule can be a useful tool for a politician. Ted Croker, the secretary and chief executive of the Football Association, replied, ‘We don’t want this made public, but these people are society’s problems and we don’t want your hooligans in our sport, prime minister.’ It was a risky policy to say this to a politician who may have been at the point of banning professional football altogether – it is perhaps instructive that Croker was subsequently the first person leaving such a senior position within the FA not to receive a knighthood – and it might also be argued that, at that particular time, it might have been unwise of somebody from the FA to be trying to fight back in the way Croker did, but he did, in his comment, touch on a fundamental truth about the relationship between football and society in a broader sense. To a point, football is merely a reflection of the society within which it exists, though politicians, for whom this is an obviously uncomfortable truth, will usually...

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