Spyin' Kop: Tottenham Away

Posted by Olly on September 8, 2005, 09:19:02 PM

Wah-hey! The international week has ended, and a big congratulations to Ing-er-lund. Now on to the serious matches. The Mighty Red Men travel to London to face Tottenham Hotspur. At the time of writing we have a few injury concerns, particularly upfront with Cisse and Morientes struggling with injuries picked up on international duty – selling Baros looks like …. well alright, I won’t go there again! But with any luck we can welcome back the lad who’s feet stick out the bed to lead the line.

Tottenham have made an encouraging start to their campaign, and I think most of us would agree that they will push most teams to the limit this season. They’ve bought a lot of players in the summer, with a lot of promising British youngsters now playing in North London. Buying 37 midfielders seems a little odd, but Martin Jol seems to have got his team playing the way he wants now.

Personally I think this is going to be a fairly tough game for us and having had our last two games postponed due to our European commitments we could start with getting a few points on the board.

Below are a load of questions put to some Tottenham supporters via the Glory Glory forum. Thanks must got to Scaramanga (I don’t know his real name unfortunately, unless of course he is Al Pacino) who helped out by posting the questions in the forum and asking for sensible answers. There were loads of responses, and so I’ve tried to pick a variety. Thanks to all those who contributed.

And so to the questions....

First off, I’ve got to ask - £43 for an away ticket!! What’s all that about? How do you feel about the year on year inflated increase in ticket prices?

1. Disgusting, but as a season ticket holder they know I’ll turn up for every game regardless.

2. I think they are high, but understandable. Seeing as we have a medium sized stadium, and loads of fans, it would be bad economically to set the prices lower. Some people (like myself) cannot attend every game, but I do not blame the club for these prices until we only get 30,000 attendances.

3. Living outside England, I feel the prices over there are nothing short of outrageous. Without having a lengthy debate on the reasons behind this inflation, you can't look away from the fact that it's cutting football from its "real" fanbase. If/when football is no longer fashionable in England, I suspect that this could be a huge problem. As a matter of comparison a ticket for a Hajduk game costs about 2£. Hardly more than an icecream.

4. It’s not good for the game, but it’s in line with most things in London.

How has the season been shaping up for you so far?

1. I think we've made the start that everyone expected of us...2 good wins, one draw at Blackburn (where we rested players) and a 10 man loss against Chelsea. The positives for me is that we are playing with confidence again and hopefully, despite a few injuries this will continue.

2. We haven’t been playing as well as we know we can, but have still got 7 points from 4 tricky games. Disappointed about the Chelsea-result, because I think we were the best side until Mido got sent off! With that said, comfortable wins away against Pompey and home against Boro are good results and before the season I would have been happy with 7 points at this stage.

3. Fairly decently, I would say. We won a couple of games without playing outstanding football so we can hardly complain. I suppose that given all the signings we've made over the summer, the team will need some time to gel before we can expect better performances from that lot.

4. Jol has installed this team ethic that has not been there for some time, which bodes well for the mindset of our many youngsters as they continue there career.

What are your expectations for this season? Any chance a Tottenham team could one day be playing in Europe?

1. Well hopefully there's every chance. I think for years now Spurs fans have been hoping a Spurs team will break into Europe, but now we can actually see it happening and if the pundits are right we should be in the top 6!

2. 57-60 points. I expect us to come in the top 6 and get a place in the UEFA Cup.

3. This time around, we definitely have the squad to cope with any injury crisis so we have to aim higher than last season. Any improvement over last season, should be considered as a decent achievement. Playing in Europe next season would be a nice bonus but as far as I'm concerned, playing good football is the top priority.

4. Tottenham WILL be playing in Europe next year.

Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

1. Personally I think this is the season where Jermaine Defoe has to shine. He's always looked like a top scorer, but now hopefully he'll be given the match time to make it happen! For once I'd say the whole team consists of important players and perhaps now the most important thing is Jol's ability to get the squad working together.

2. Defoe is the only one that is indispensable IMO. We have good coverage on every position except from on the wings, so we can handle a lot of injuries.

3. At the moment, Defoe is the obvious answer as he remains our main attacking threat. Robinson also makes half a dozen world class saves a game so he certainly deserves a mention too.

4. There are many. When King comes back he will bring leadership and even more confidence to the back line, although arguably it’s not a player but our coach that is the most important part of the jigsaw - he has transformed the club from 18 months back.

Your worst player(s)?

1. I believe Pamarot and Johnnie Jackson are still lurking around somewhere.

2. Jackson springs to mind, but he won’t be playing anyway. We have a lot of new players, so it still remains to be seen who are the worst. Gardner can sometimes have an off-game, but he has been very good up until this stage of the season.

3. Gardner will probably play if King isn't back and despite his recent performances, we're still guaranteed one major blunder a game when he plays. Apart from him, the squad is pretty well balanced. We no longer have the same kind of deadwood as we used to.

4. Goran Bunjevcevic is meant to be a footballer?!

Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs?

1. Lots over the years. The 2-1 cup in 95 when Klinsmann and Sheringham turned the game was grand for us. Eric Edmans wonder goal last season was fantastic. Alonso's masterclass of passing in the same game was also a joy to watch. He bossed that game and his range of quality passing that game for me proved he is the best passer in the premiership at the moment.

2. Tottenham-Liverpool a cold December day 1995 was my first visit to WHL and live Spurs game. You won 2-0, we scored late but the goal was disallowed. McManaman had a great game. Can't remember who scored though, but it's a fair bet that Fowler got one of them. Oh, and from where I sat it sounded like your 2,000 or so fans in the corner next to me were louder than the entire Spurs contingency. A great experience none the less.

3. Last years League Cup game and Kanoute’s ridiculous handball. Tragic.

4. Lots of memories of exciting games. From the Lane there was a thrilling 3-3 draw when Souness was in charge and a young Robbie Fowler scored two goals. The season before and a 2-0 win with Nayim scoring a screamer. McManaman scoring with the ball hiiting a divot and bobbling over a hapless Ian Walker. All those wins in the Houllier period (3/4 in a row) and the 3-3 draw when Gross was in charge and Ginola scored a brilliant goal after a mazy run. At Anfield, obviously the 95 cup win but also a strangely fascinating scoreless draw in 96 where Chris Armstrong played extremely well, terrorising Wright, Babb and Scales..

Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

1. Has to be Tom Huddlestone for me, the boy looks world class already and was our best signing of the summer IMO. There's Tainio as well which a lot of teams could under estimate.

2. I think most of our players should be known to many people. We have Huddlestone, who we haven’t seen much of in a Spurs-shirt, but he was immense in the Toulon-tourney this summer. Lennon is also someone who I expect to become very good. The only player that is very unknown to most, that have a fair chance of being a bench-player this year is Mark Yeates, but I can’t see him breaking through at any point, at least not this year.

3. Stephen Kelly has done surprisingly well last season at right back. He offered a lot of support to the midfield and, despite a few defensive lapses, he showed a lot of promise.

4. I think the International U-21's is a good place to start Huddlestone, Dawson, Davenport, Ifill, Routledge and Arron Lennon. Match that to the Irish flavour of Stephen Kelly and it equates to a lot of talent coming through...Ziegler though in my opinion has shown a lot of ability at such a young age - his year loan to Hamburg will bring him a lot of experience. A player yet to hit the first team that will be good is a striker called El Hamdaoui - great ability having seen him play twice for the reserves and cannot wait to see him in the starting XI.

We’ve heard a lot of Tottenham fans in the recent past complain about not playing the “Tottenham way”. What is this “Tottenham way”?

1. I think primarily it's 'confident football'. Tottenham has a history of playing attractive but not always efficient football, now I think we need to see a belief in the team and under Jol, that is definitely what's happening.

2. Free-flowing passing game, and attacking football. Lineker scored a goal in the Cup-winners cup against Porto in 92. That is a goal that sums it up, me thinks.

3. Although I'm a bit young to answer this one, I'd say that it's an entertaining brand of fast, attacking, short-passing football. Having said that, I have come to believe that it's as much a frame of mind as a playing style. So long as the team keeps attacking and the players are aware that they are here to entertain the crowd with their skills and trickery, I suppose that anything from "total football" to Cruyff's Barcelona could be considered as the "Tottenham way".

4. The Tottenham way came from the famous title winning side (1951) and further adapted ten years later when the team was the first side in the 20th century to win the double. Essentially, it’s winning with style – fast flowing football, with ball to feet - push and run. Rather like `Pass and move (the Liverpool groove).

With your recent purchase of Edna (sorry Edgar) Davids, how many of your fans do you expect to turn up to games wearing a long haired wig and swimming goggles?

1. I think in his debut against Porto I saw one, but with stalls outside WHL catching on I think you can expect this to at least double.

2. About 60%. A lower number would be shocking and bad for the club.

3. Hopefully zero.

4. No more people have wigs than I see Liverpool fans with white goaties! 

What sort of line-up will you put out against us?

1. I think we'll be likely to stick with a 4-4-2 formation, however with the signing of Jenas and the injuries to Routledge and King, it could end up resembling a diamond formation to accomodate our more central midfielders.

2. My guess would be Robbo, Lee - Dawson - Gardner - Stalteri, Reid - Carrick - Davids - Tainio/Jenas, Rasiak - Defoe. King will play instead of Gardner if he is fit.

3. I doubt Jol will change anything for this game so we will probably end up playing 4-4-2 like we've done since the beginning of the season. We might look somewhat narrower if he tries to accommodate more central midfielders.

4. ________________________ Robinson _________________________

Stalteri ___________ King ___________ Dawson ___________ Lee

Jenas __________ Carrick ___________Davids __________ Reid

_________________ Defoe ____________ Rasiak _______________

We could go 4-5-1, if Jol thinks new signing Rasiak is not ready. Therefore Tainio will play on the right and Jenas will move inside.

Do you have any songs that are the sole property of Tottenham fans? What are they, and please explain their significance?

1. Can’t smile without you – a song about remembering the good times and the bad times as a Spurs fan.

2. We've got Ledley at the back.

3. Glory Glory - obviously - and any Chas and Dave Anthem.

4. Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur.

What’s your worst chant?
 
1. Stand up if you hate Arsenal when we’re playing Bolton or Villa etc.

2. Stand up if you hate Arsenal - Boring

3. Stand up if you hate Arsenal - rather forget about them altogether + concentrate on supporting our own team.

4. Stand up if you hate Arsenal.

Apart from Istanbul, one of the best moments of last season for me was our League Cup win at your place. What was your favourite moment?

1. Beating Everton 5-2 - best performance of the season and beating Southampton and Villa 5-1 were not far behind.

2. Getting up with a hangover, watching us pound Everton at home on New Years Day.

3. It's difficult to pick one as, despite our decent league position, we didn't achieve anything of note last season. We were painful to watch at times and we only rarely played the level of football we can expect from that team. Oddly enough, I'd pick our home defeat to Charlton (3-4) as it marked the end of Santini's reign and, despite the result, it gave us a glimpse of what we could do.

4. Best moment for me actually was when Garcia scored the goal that knocked out Chelsea (smug ba*tards).

Do you enjoy your trips to Anfield?

1. Yes. The history of the stadium is appealing for neutral and unbiased fans as is Old Trafford.

2. Yes. The atmosphere is always special and both teams try to play good football..

3. I only go to Goodison, sorry!

4. Been twice, and not overly fussed if I don't go back again.

Where do you expect Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

1. Although it pains me to say it, I like what Benitez is doing at Liverpool (except for the Crouch deal!) and I think you'll be close with Arsenal for 3rd & 4th behind Chelsea and Man Utd.

2. 4th at best. Sorry. We are, IMO, the only team who could challenge you for that position.

3. 4th unless United or Arsenal have a nightmare season.

4. You will be battling for 3rd and 4th with Arsenal

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

1. Has to be Gerrard...pure quality.

2. I think the decisive factors could be whether Alonso and Garcia have their day. Alonso, in particular had a great game against us last season, and must be carefully watched. Hopefully Davids will chase him for 90 mins. I think that if we could keep these two quiet, we could win it, even though I know you still have Gerrard in your side.

3. I liked Xabi Alonso when he was at Real Sociedad and he's looked pretty good this season.

4. Gerrard is world class, but have to say my favourite Liverpool player is Alonso, his passing from midfield is sublime.

What has been the most boring football story of the summer for you?

1. The Essien deal...seems all that money is causing Chelsea some problems in the transfer market as clubs up their demands ridiculously.

2. Man United fans vs. the club.

3. The Essien saga. That's why I never go the circus: clowns don't make me laugh.

4. Michael Essien without a doubt. Sky have made the transfer market a bigger circus than it was already - Michael Owen’s unveiling yesterday is prime example.

And lastly, care to predict the score? Go on!

1. 1-0 to the Spurs, but if I was at Ladbrokes I'd go for a score draw!

2. 1-1. Hard to predict, mainly because of those things I said in the "feared players"-part. If Alonso have a game like he did last season we will struggle, but we have the quality to win, even at Anfield, if we play our game, and convert our chances.

3. 2-2

4. 1-1

Thanks once again to everyone at Glory Glory for all their help.

© Olly 2005

View Comments | Post Comment

More