Spyin' Spurs Kop.

Posted by Hinesy on February 25, 2013, 04:05:50 PM

Spurs... Spurs eh. Although they are team with a proper history, they never really entered on my radar - they were a cockney team we played occasionally and Ray Clemence went there. Apart from that, I wasn't really bothered about them. Largely because they were a team we used to beat. But then they started beating us. And signing players we wanted to sign. Then they got better and now beat Arsenal for fun. They have a new manager Aston Villa Boeing, and are one of those teams that believe they should be playing in a certain way since the late 60's even though they didn't always manage it.

Speaking of managers, they have had a lot of success with managers who's name involve the letter A: Ossy Ardiles, Andres Villas-Boas, Clive Allen (one game in charge, lost 2-1 to Blackburn), and of course big 'Arry who was sacked by the club after waiting for the England job to appear.

There are similarities between us and Spurs in so much that both clubs have a long held belief in a playing style, previous success, fighting for top 4/European places each season and both teams have, in the eyes of the press, an enfant terrible playing for them: Gareth Bale, and Suarez. Both players capable of dividing defences in a moment as they are in dividing opinion. Both players accused of simulation and capable of stimulation. Both clubs have new managers, young'uns eager to move their respective clubs forward in their style and vision.

A good pal of mine, Paul, dug me out a couple of other pals to answer some questions for this Spyin' Kop and I'd like to express my appreciation to Julia and Toby for taking the time out to answer. Enjoy.

1. We've both had new managers stepping into the shoes of big name characters. What was your initial thoughts on the hiring of André Villas-Boas and how do you see him now?

Paul: I've always liked André - he did well when he was working undercover for us at Chelsea. If only he'd been allowed to complete the great job he was doing of making them rubbish then Spurs might be in the Champions League this season! Seriously, he's intelligent and honest and I'm happier with him than I was with 'Arry at the end. He has to take some credit for making Bale an even better player

Julia: I was really upset about Harry leaving but knew that clubs under Harry had a tendency to fade at some point during a season and that he really hadn't won anything much as a manager. But apart from that I liked him as our manager. So when we got Villas-Boas I had my doubts because of what had happened at Chelsea. But I really don't like Chelsea and their senior players such as Terry and Lampard and thought that they'd probably given him an unfair hard time. He had a dodgy start but I thought, give him a chance it's not going to happen over night. I bloody love him now, I think he's a better manager than Harry, I think he's taken Bale to another level. The test is next season and see what happens then.

Toby: When Spurs let Harry go I thought it was a mistake as he'd done a great job for us right up until the England Manager fiasco around Xmas time 2011. Having a 10 point lead over Arsenal post Xmas 2011 was the foundation for a Champions League spot but that evaporated with wobbly performances that started with the England job rumours & ended with Chelsea's unlikely wining of the Champions League. Once I got over the Harry exit shock I thought  Villas-Boas was a potentially a good shout & he's not doing too bad! I'd say he's more tactically astute than Harry was & more recently he's showing a great relationship with the players which was Harry's strongest skill.

2. Similarly what's your opinion, if you have one, of Brendan Rodgers and what he's doing at Liverpool?

Paul: Unproven, isn't he?  The test will be how he rebuilds the team. It's tough for Liverpool managers.  You fans have such high hopes - I suspect you'd take 4th this season but really you want to beat Man Utd don't you?

Julia: I think Brendan Rodgers has had a similar start as Luís André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas, but he's not as good. I don't think that documentary on channel 5 did him any favours. Lots of money with expensive bad taste.

Toby: I believe Brendan Rodgers is good for Liverpool. He has a plan to create a passing team & to that end he made some brave shouts early on...Andy Carroll being let go was testament to the mentality he expects in the squad & the passing play that is the Rodgers way. I like him & if Spurs had taken him post Harry I would've not minded that either.

3. Gareth Bale/Luis Suarez: Both divide opinion, often in the same mind: amazingly beautiful to watch, but accused of diving and simulation. We feel Suarez gets a bad press compared to some of the things Bale's been accused of, yet admire his undoubted prowess and ability. Do you have any sympathy for the 'other' player? Or is it a case of "Nah, he's ours we love him, he's a Liverpool player don't care?"

Paul: Well, obviously the difference is that Suarez cheats and Bale doesn't!  In the last three incidents where Bale was booked for 'diving' replays have shown there was no contact. Suarez is a great player and who wouldn't want him in the team they support.  However, I think the Mansfield handball was very unfortunate.  A huge big club like Liverpool relying on a goal that dodgy to beat a team like Mansfield?  It just felt wrong. Football supporting isn't a logical thing - we see things through blinkers.  I don't think Bale is a cheat.

Julia: Obviously Suarez is a great player with amazing skill but I think he has bad side to him like stamping on players, whereas Bale doesn't have a nasty side to his game and overall is more likeable and of course we love him.

Toby: Bale & Suarez see more of the ball in dangerous areas than most players & the tackles they take can mean a choice to get out of the way or stay up. In the first half of the season both of them chose the get out of the way option & some of those were definitive dives so I can't argue against that criticism. Now I think they are both riding those tackles where they can & Bale has certainly scored 1 by staying up so hopefully they've learnt from it.

4. As lifelong Spurs' fans, what's your view on the whole Yid chanting? Do you think you should be claiming it as your own, thereby in someway removing the power of other fans chanting it? Or is it an outdated notion based on an offensive term and would you encourage the supporters to drop it?

Paul: Blimey - I don't think I can answer that in a couple of sentences.
In Lyon, Spurs fans were targeted by racists for their Jewish connections.  Obviously not all Spurs fans are Jewish.  You could argue that the 'Yiddo' chant is a version of 'I am Spartacus'.  Essentially saying that we are all as one and that if you pick on our fellow fans for being Jewish, you pick on us. There are other fights I would fight before the one to get Spurs fans to stop chanting 'Yiddo'.

Julia: I don't see anything wrong with the Yid chanting when the Spurs fans do it (Yid army). It probably is outdated, I don't have any strong feelings about it. My Dad was jewish and all of that side of my family are Spurs fans.

Toby: I don't mind it but I can see why others are offended & against the backdrop of trying to stamp out racism I can see why there's a push to eliminate it.

5. Who apart from Arsenal do you hate most in other teams and why? Is it West Ham? They seem to delight in taking the piss a lot. Or is there any warmth to other London clubs?

Paul: I really don't like Chelsea.  They seem to delight in making stupid decisions.  The way they have treated Lampard is shocking. Apparently it cost them (or Abramavich) 25 million quid to hire and fire Luís André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas. I enjoy our (admittedly rare) victories over Chelsea more than those over Arsenal

Julia: Apart from Arsenal it's Chelsea, can't stand them. Any warmth...? I'm trying to think... maybe Charlton... or are they considered a Kent side.

Toby: I hate Stokes style of play, too physical & set up 11 behind the ball for away games. West Ham fans do have some wicked chants that do take the piss a lot but I like that, especially when they chanted Bale looks like a chimp & he then scored his wonder winner. I also remember them chanting "sign on" to Liverpool fans & then the Liverpool team promptly scored so they really are motivational chants, thanks Hammers fans.

6. What's your thoughts about your matches against us? You've done pretty well over the last few seasons. Are we still a game to be aware of or are you kind of thinking "We can beat these, this isn't a tough match"?

Paul: I can remember Garth Crooks scoring to end the run of not beating Liverpool at Anfield for seventy odd years.  I still never expect Spurs to beat Liverpool and enjoy it when we do. A few seasons ago we were bottom of the league and the laughing stock of the football world.  Liverpool friends of mine seemed to be particularly enjoying it.  We beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield and it's been pretty good ever since.

Julia: I'm thinking that we can beat you but it's going to be tough. You're definitely on the rise and it's going to be billed as a Suarez v's Bale match. Can't wait.

Toby: It's true we've had a few good results against Liverpool lately but I expect a tougher game under Rodgers. The passing style that Rodgers has added & the meteoric rise of Suarez swings more in your favour & now with Sturridge added you are a different proposition compared to the first half of the season.

7. Who's your favourite player in your team and also ours and why?

Paul: Bale aside - I really like Holtby - he seems to be shaping up very well.  Lennon has had a great season. I do like watching Suarez.  Reina has been a great keeper - good distribution

Julia: Bale of course, it's obvious why. I've always loved Gerrard because he's a fantastic player. He's a great England player and captain too.

Toby: Bale as he's fast, direct & exciting to watch plus humble with it. For Liverpool I can't look past Suarez for his commitment & finishing, he must be one of the most clinical finishers in the league.

8. Spurs have had a long tradition of decent goalies. According to your official website, Gomes is still on the books, what's the latest with him - still capable of howlers and yet amazing saves, you've got Lloris now and yet you've still got  Brad 138 yrs old Friedel. Who would you have in goal and why?

Paul: I liked Gomes but he's long gone now. lloris is a great keeper and Friedel an excellent back-up

Julia: So glad we got Lloris, he's a truly great goalkeeper. Friedel good too, but as you said he's 138 years old and Lloris is better, and couldn't care less about Gomes, is he sold or on loan, don't know.

Toby: Brad is a solid keeper but you need at least 2 good keepers in the squad. Loris looks top drawer to me since joining us for £13M from Lyon & I'd like to see him stay first choice but I'm reassured that if he's injured then Brad can be slipped a couple of Bob Martins & be sent out to do a good job.

9. What do you think the score will be between us?

Paul: 2-2

Julia: Blimey... tough... I'm thinking it will probably be a draw but hoping a 2-1 win to us.

Toby: It's at Anfield on a Sunday 4pm kick-off so its all set for a classic game. I'm going for a 4-4 draw.

10. Finally, Spurs have a lot of traditions, just as Liverpool do. If you're a regular match-goer, do those traditions (at ours, or yours) mean anything anymore to you or not?

Paul: I'm not a regular match goer anymore but it is important to me that Spurs play 'the Spurs way'.  I was at Anfield fairly recently - it was great to hear 'You'll Never Walk Alone' sung by the crowd.

Julia: Can't answer this one as unfortunately I'm not a regular match goer these days. But I like traditions

Toby: I love Liverpools "This is Anfield" sign, that should be kept going forever. Liverpools "you'll never walk alone" & Spurs "glory glory" songs also are great traditions & should be kept going.

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