3 min read
AVB: Worth it in the End

A rush of blood, lacklustre defending and more than one passenger are just a few of the contributing factors to what were a dismal Saturday lunchtime, and a plummet to the nadir after a bad sequence of results. Cue hysteria. For the reactionaries among the faithful the 5-2 reverse was an overkill of hammering nails into the coffin of AVB’s tenure. So the question remains, is AVB the man for the job?

I’ll set my stall out from the onset; AVB is the man for the job. Sure, too many performances have been uninspiring, even insipid at times. And yes, losing by such a deficit to that lot is painful, not to mention the pitiful performance at home to Wigan. Now both the ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ camps can cite reasons as to why AVB should be having a Joe Strummer moment, the former providing what’s becoming a hackneyed adage: “not the Tottenham way” in reference to the style of play. It’s easy to agree with them, but then when has ever following Spurs been easy?

[authquote text=”I want nothing more than success, but that won’t happen until we can adapt to situations presented. We cannot play every team off the park”]

Though he was derided for it, Redknapp made a sound point when stating we’d “never had it so good.” Some of the football in the first- half of last season was not only some of the best we’ve played (certainly in my lifetime) but some of the best I’ve ever seen. Swashbuckling, as the red-tops called it, was pretty apt. Opposing teams were ripped apart with pace and swagger to the extent people started to talk up a title tilt! Now, it all fell apart in the end, for whatever reasons, and when Drogba rolled the ball into the goal in Munich, a season of promise was left in tatters.

But I digress, the point being that although we played with such style at times, we fell flat, and once the tempo from our play slowed there was no Plan B and all the promise unravelled. But the point remains, we’d not had it so good; frankly we’d be nowhere near the quality of a top four team up until the last four seasons. To make up for our lack of success we had a brand of attacking football to enjoy, however unsuccessful we were.

The incoming AVB will have taken a look at the team and looked at why a team with such talent and the ability to amazing football, continuously underachieves. Project commence. As in all workplaces, a good incoming manager will first address the problems, and Spurs problem has been an inability to see games out. Sure, when things are going well we’d just go and score on more than them, but when that doesn’t work results weren’t favourable. So with that in mind, Spurs apparent so-called overly defensive, negative football is perhaps a slow and at times painful learning curve. Now I cannot wait to see the return of Spurs tearing teams a new one, but what I want more is silverware, and in order to do that Spurs need to grow up. All the top teams grind out results by the odd goal; a mature approach all the elite teams know at times they have to resort to. A necessary evil, I’m afraid.

Now I won’t sit here and state AVB’s not made mistakes, he has and he will make further ones, and perhaps there are better times to opt to see out games rather than going for the kill. Sure, progress has been hampered by the loss of key players and unfortunate injuries, but that’s not me trying to make excuses. If we want long-term success we need to have more than one approach to the game. So those of you stating “play two up top” as if you’ve cracked the Enigma code of football, look a bit longer. I want nothing more than success, but that won’t happen until we can adapt to situations presented. We cannot play every team off the park; we need to know how to see games out. It might hurt for a while, but in the end, it might just be worth it.

[author name=”Oly Lister” twitter=”OlyLister” website=”” tag=”OlyLister”]


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Published on 20th November 2012

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23 Responses to AVB: Worth it in the End

  1. cookiebun 20/11/2012 at 3:07 pm #

    We cannot play every team off the park.
    We never have in AVB’s time. Not one.

  2. try 20/11/2012 at 3:42 pm #

    i dont want mights if buts or maybes

    we need to win


  3. Seaside Spur 20/11/2012 at 3:47 pm #

    OK, firstly let’s dispel the myth that Spurs need to play with two up front. I remember, like yesterday, David Pleat’s Spurs of ’86/’87 when a certain Mr. Allen played up top all on his lonesome and scored a respectable 49 goals that season. System is determined by personnel and I’m afraid that the personnel that we have is left over from Mr. Redschnapps tenure, when he too played one up top usually Adebayor supported by VDV. The system has been ingrained for a while now but defensive duties were sadly lacking.
    In steps AVB, he looks at the squad and suspects that the best way to go, since wholesale transfers isn’t an option, is play two defensive minded midfielders to sure up what was, and still is, a leaky defence. The downside to that, of course, is the team becomes weighted towards the defensive end of the pitch and lighter up top (or not as swashbuckling, if you prefer). This will remain the case until: a) some of the injured return to first team action, not least Benny who we really have missed (exploited down the left against City and the Scum especially) and, b) AVB is allowed to make personnel changes that allow him to play in his preferred 4-3-3 system.
    Patience is a hard word for football fans to accept, but we are all just going to have to be patient. AVB will make Spurs successful and entertaining to watch but he has so far overseen a whopping 12 league matches and a succession of key injuries. Where would ManU be now if their board had given in to media hounding and fan pressure during the first 5 lean and trophyless years of SAF’s tenure at the club?
    I’d also like to pick you up on a point in your article… as recently as lasagne-gate we were on the verge of CL football under Big MJ. It wasn’t HR that laid the groundwork of our recent successes it was the genial Dutchman.
    Football is a cyclical phenomenon and Spurs will achieve the heights that we fans dream of, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and you’ll remember it for the rest of your life! (Apologies to the scriptwriters for Casablanca for bastardising your impeccable work… ;-) )

  4. Jay 20/11/2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Great article. In fact, I thought AVB’s decision to revert to the 4-4-2 system against both Maribor and Arsenal showed that he was able to adapt, utilizing the players that were available to him. In essence, a Plan B. I am very curious what Redknapp would have done within the same circumstances. It probably would have been much, much worse.

  5. koko61 20/11/2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Its not about whether we play 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3.
    Its his mismanagement of playing players that should not be on the pitch.
    Also the main one, is this bloody high line he keeps on playing.
    Its boring and too risky for the squad we have. Surely he should play to the teams strenghth, not just sticking to this high line,which is obvious the players are not good at it.

  6. Cheshuntboy 20/11/2012 at 4:42 pm #

    The answer to the question is ‘no’ – if it’s broke (and it certainly is, except to the AVB/Levy happy-clappers) fix it. And then fix yourself, Daniel.

    • Seaside Spur 20/11/2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Get real! We lost our most influential player, who was irreplaceable. We’ve had crucial injuries this season in key positions. The lack of quality in the squad is there for all to see (I refer you back to the Feb-May period of last season as an example). Yet still, fickle fans like you, post inane comments on a subject very close to all our hearts, without engaging a single brain cell in the process.
      What is it that you actually hope to achieve with your negativity? Because it certainly isn’t helping.

      • Cheshuntboy 20/11/2012 at 5:24 pm #

        ‘Fickle’? What have I changed my mind about? AVB was a joke at Chelsea and he’s a joke at WHL. Levy appointed him because he didn’t have to pay compensation, and talks about a ‘project’ because it suggests some sort of long-term plan for success, but there’s no such thing in modern football – Wenger and Mourinho were winning titles at Arsenal and Chelsea in their first couple of seasons, and we’re not even going for the League Cup this year, thanks to AVB’s strategic brilliance. All I’m bothered about is truth, not the rose-tinted fantasy that the ILWT brigade can’t live without.

      • anti-Portuguese tactician 20/11/2012 at 11:06 pm #

        Our most influential player is now warming a bench in Spain, thats how influential he is.

        • Seaside Spur 20/11/2012 at 11:38 pm #

          When did Ledley King go to Spain????

  7. Guido 20/11/2012 at 5:07 pm #

    I am told that after the first 12 games last season under “Arry compared to AVB this year there is NO difference in points!! It doesn’t feel like it and I can’t be bothered to check if that stat is correct, but if it is, then I am keeping my confidence, as AVB has done this without Modric, Rafa, King, Benny, Kaboul, Moose, Parker you could also add in Ade (I think he has only played twice??). It can also be argued that AVB inherited a team that was shit out of form (only won 3 games in 12), plus he was new, plus new players, new backroom staff who all need to settle etc. ect….blah, blah, blah.

    Arry’s Tottenham could only play 4-4-2 and when teams studied us it became all to easy to stop us. Under AVB we are far more inteligent side, I feel that we are at the beginings of having a side that can play different formations.

    • Albert Einstein 23/11/2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Last season after 12 games we had 28 points this season we have 17, you do the maths….

  8. Ramos36 20/11/2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Nice article, although I find it difficult to completely agree! Firstly, some members of the so-called Spurs ‘faithful’ will find reason to complain about anything. Feeling that by continually voicing their disenchantment at performances/results/new signings, this somehow gives them that sense of knowing (and comfort) that comes IF things all go wrong. So instead of doing what they claim they do, and support the club, they spend the time, when the club NEEDS them the most, pointing the finger and criticsing as they brace themselves for the worst (possible outcomes).

    I was intrigued, however not surprised, by the amount of (the anti-AVB) members of the Spurs ‘faithful’ that suddenly professed their love for the man following our historic victory up at Old Trafford, only to revert back to their misguided ways once results became a little more difficult to deal with……After all, fans are nothing, if not fickle!

    The point about Spurs style of play changing, is a valid one, but I am of the belief that departures of key personnel, alongside injuries to the current playing staff have played more of a part, than AVB’s ‘negative’ approach, when it comes to understanding why.
    Another contributing factor has been the form (or lack of form) of Gyfil Siggurdson and more recently Clint Dempsey. Siggurdson at his best is a quality player who possess awareness, vision, excellent technical abilities and an eye for a goal. Earmarked initially by some as a replacement for Modric, Gyfils role was always going to be to fill the boots of Van Der Vaart in an advanced playmaking position, and after showing SOME glimpses of his obvious talent in Pre-season, unfortunately for AVB and Spurs he has been unable to replicate any sort of form for the team in the EPL.

    So from being the younger, more mobile version of VDV we all hoped he would be, he has ended up looking desperately short of any confidence and being confined to the bench. The signing of Dempsey meant that Spurs were always going to have to change their style of play as he is NOT a playmaker at all. A man renowned for his ability to score goals, Clints plays more of a ‘get it-give it’ and take up a dangerous position type game, and while the American is no slouch technically, he is not the type who is going to thread balls through the eye of a needle or dictate the pace of a game.
    Despite their apparent given time and support, I feel that both will have a significant role to play in a Spurs shirt and prove themselves to be valuable additions.

    The prolonged injuries to Parker and Kaboul have left Spurs short of leadership, and an commanding presence. While the absence of Ekotto, Adebayor and maybe even more notably Dembele has reduced the teams level of creativity, pace, quality and depth.

    AVB has yet to field what he probably considers his best team and as a result he has been limited in terms of what he has to bring on from the bench.

    Has AVB made ‘mistakes’? Yes. The most notable being his refusal to play two out and out strikers against opposition we should be steamrollering over (especially at home). And (to a lesser degree, some might say) his reluctance to install the ‘world class’ Lloris as the clubs first choice goalkeeper.

    Has AVB Learnt from these ‘mistakes’, or showed any signs of doing so? Well, apparently so. The starting line-ups against Maribor and more recently Arsenal suggest that our new manager IS flexible in his approach, and IS willing to consider different alternatives as he aims to bring success to the club. Regarding the Goalkeeping situation, AVB was doomed if he did and doomed if he didn’t. Whilst the vast majority of us will be of the opinion that Lloris should have been installed as the no1 from day one, it is easy (up to a point) to see why this has not been the case. However, AVBs reluctance to show his faith in a keeper many will see as the long-term future of the club, over another who is in the twilight of his career has to be readdressed quickly in order to install confidence to a player ,who at the moment, is not playing with his managers complete trust, and as a result, may be guilty of trying too hard to impress.

    That being said, IF BLAME IS TO BE ISSUED, then some so-called ‘supporters’ should look no further than the 11 men on the field.
    The fact that we have taken the lead in 3 of the last 4 league games and looked relatively comfortable in doing so suggests that tactics, nor motivation are primary causes for the slump we currently find ourselves in. At the end of the day, it is the 11 men on the pitch that play the game, not the manager. The problems the team are currently experiencing are NOT new issues, so instead of moaning, how about we try backing the new man at the helm as he attempts to build a team capable of challenging for the title

    Keep the faith and Hold your nerve!

    • Jay 20/11/2012 at 9:56 pm #

      The best response and observation to the squad so far. I truly applaud this evaluation. If only all of us could view the situation in this light.

  9. Trevor Jones 20/11/2012 at 5:51 pm #

    The problem with the All Very Boring approach is he fails to learn from his mistakes. It was very evident from the West Brom and Norwich games that Vertonghen and Gallas should not be paired together in the centre as neither is dominant enough in the air. Furthermore, Vertonghen has been a revelation at left back with the opposing player hardly ever getting a sniff. Fast forward to Arsenal and Caulker is out injured…….do you bring in Dawson to deal with any aerial threat and leave Jan to put Walcott in his pocket as well as feeding Bale or do you play with two “sweepers” and name a young right back as left back? Yet another wrong call although we nearly got away with it as AVB finally named an attacking formation. The next decision was what to do when Ade walked. In the preceding 11 games, All Very Boring has tried to close out every game but in 9, yes 9, of them we have ended up conceding the final goal of the game so he should have grasped the fact that we are not very good at doing so let alone with 10 men and 70 minutes remaining. Imagine, if instead of looking for his notebook he had jumped up from his seat and brought on Dawson and Dempsey, yes at 1-0 up! Alas, he did nothing of the sort and we all sat there knowing the goals would, sooner or later, start to go in our net. So, it’s not “hysteria” Oly it’s the realisation that the man is clueless. As Danny Blanchflower famously said “the game is about glory” whereas as AVB is more like to utter “the game is about containment”. I’m sorry, the sooner he goes the better.

    • Clarky 21/11/2012 at 2:23 pm #

      I imagine the reason for waiting out until half time was so he could actually explain the system to the players. I would be pretty impressed if he managed to reorganise the team’s formation as well as explaining the way in which he wanted each player to play in said new formation in the time it takes to make one sub, in an incredibly vocal 60,000 seater stadium?

      People like you just like to moan and be miserable! He went for the game in the second half and tried to win, not many managers would have done the same yet you still find cause to lambast him for not changing the system immediately. I imagine you would have a similar view if he had changed immediately and the defensive gaps left by such a formation led to us conceded 2 or 3 goals.

      You talk of his mistakes of playing Vertonghen and Gallas as they do not have any aerial dominance, I don’t recall Arsenal ever being the most dangerous team in the air and the goal that Mertesacker scored was because Hudds had let him drift away. Also Vertonghen has far from closed down attacks from the left. Nani was running circles round him as have other pacey wingers he was far from impecable defensively at LB (granted he was very dangerous going forward).

      I would say AVB is far from clueless as he actual puts some thought into his decisions as apposed to just playing his best 11 players like some of our previous managers. The irony of people like you calling AVB “clueless” is hilarious as if you can’t see that losing the creative hub of your team whilst not replacing him and missing both your best defender and our midfield general from last year would lead to some poor performances then you are the one that is clueless. You sound like a bloody scouse fan for christ’s sake!

      • Trevor Jones 21/11/2012 at 7:07 pm #

        Keep crossing them in Clarky and I’ll head ’em in son! Thank you for reminding me Hudds was at fault for the first goal (I never said he wasn’t by the way, I just made the point that Vertonghen and Gallas is a poor combinsation) as this was yet another AVB mistake as he shouldn’t have been playing in the first place, give me Carroll every time. As for not being able to make changes unless he has 15 mintues and complete quietness to explain to each player the new system, do me a favour. Daws for Naughton with Jan moving to LB (the Jan/ Bale combo is a pleasure to watch) would have done if his methods really are that complicated. If he had been bold and it hadn’t worked out fair enough but to sit there and ask for his notebook was classic All Very Boring.

        You also mention that we lost Modric and didn’t replace him, which is true, so why sell VDV? Unbelievable. Yes, AVB puts thought into his decisions alright, the problem being his thoughts and approach to the game are, I hate to say it again, clueless.

        No danger of me being a scouse fan my friend just calling it like it is.

        • Clarky 22/11/2012 at 9:47 am #

          When referring to the change in roles I was more pointing towards how differently the midfield would have to operate as clearly he would be able to tell the subs what he wanted from them but then getting the message out to the rest of the players is a different story. Having managed (much much lower league) teams I can tell you it’s hard enough getting players to do what you want when there is a capacity crowd of 20!

          I don’t really think you can say he made a mistake by playing Huddlestone instead of Carroll, unless of course this is a different Carroll from the one who, prior to the game had a whopping 11 minutes of premiership football under his belt. The defence was not the problem once Adebayor got sent off, it was the fact that we had noone up the pitch to hold up the ball which allowed Arsenal to push incredibly high up the pitch and just apply constant pressure to our back four which will always result in goals when you are playing against a team like Arsenal. In my mind Adebyaor was the key player in the formation we lined up in and losing him just killed us off. I do however agree with you that Gallas should not be anywhere near a football pitch in a spurs shirt and Dawson should be starting ahead of him however, this isn’t something new we have not experienced before, all managers have favoured players that they will play despite what others might think is right. Look at Redknapp last year when he persisted on player VDV or Modric out wide when we have Pienaar just and Dos Santos wasting away on the bench!

          I also think it is incredibly harsh to put the sale of VDV on him. We all know that Levy does his own thing when it comes to transfers and in my mind he is the one who has let AVB down by not signing the one person the team needed to replace our biggest loss of the transfer window.

          All of our managers have made terrible, terrible decision in the past, everyone just seems to highlight AVB’s more as he was made a fool by the media. I honestly don’t know you so have no idea if you have been as critical about our previous managers but I just don’t get all this crazy anti-AVB agenda a lot of our fans seems to have. We played very well at the start of last season so perhaps expectations went up but then, in the closing stages of the season we played incredibly poorly. I would argue that the football then was worse than what we are seeing now. The fact we are only a few points worse off than last year with a remarkably weaker squad is nothing to grumble about!

          I do agree he has made some bad decision but I think these are all being blown out of proportion. Last year Spurs had a top 4 team and squad and we nearly blew it! This year we have a starting 11 which has a chance of breaking into the top 4 however the squad is far too weak in my opinion and for that we have Mr Redknapp to thank for alienating everyone outside of the 15 players that he liked at the club. Most importantly, we are not Chelsea and we are not going to ditch our manager for a slow start so you may as well just get behind the team and show your support! I’m not saying you are one but I’m fed up of all those boo boys at the lane. Are they that retarded that they don’t realise it is the most counter-productive thing you can do?

          • Trevor Jones 22/11/2012 at 3:16 pm #

            Still not convinced changes to formation need to be that difficult and in Saturday’s case the 4 in midfield were unaffected, we went 3 at the back to get a forward on, all fairly simple stuff. Look at Mourinho last night, has a player sent off and he immediately reacts by bringing a sub on (no waiting around or explaining to do). Class. The bottom line on Huddlestone is he is not good enough so nothing to lose by playing Carroll.

            You are correct that with Defoe up-front on his own we had no one to hold up the ball so presumably you can see the folly of choosing to play Defoe on his own for so many of the preceding games? However, my main criticism of All Very Boring is his obsession of trying to hold on in games, many of which we had been well on top in, instead of being more positive. Time and time again we have been caught out (it’s now 10 out of 12 that we have conceded the final goal of the game in) and yet he persists with it.

            I do blame AVB for VDV leaving the club as he made it perfectly clear he wasn’t going to play him. Now that is clueless.

            I have been watching Spurs home and away and in Europe since 1973 (I was very young!) and I have played the game and I have managed teams and I can tell you we are going nowhere until this clown walks. The best way to “support” the club is to accept the facts and hope that Levy acts before it’s too late.

      • Spurs 21/11/2012 at 10:07 pm #

        You mention the incredibly vocal 60,000 seater stadium, surely your not talking about the Emirates? Point is he needed to make the subs he made at HT as soon as Adebayor got sent off so we didnt go in 3-1 down. I’m sure Dawson & Dempsey could hear the instructions from next to him on the bench or did he need to wait until HT to draw a picture on a flipchart to tell 2 Internationals what to do? In case you dont know the stats, we have won 7 out of 18 games this season, Bottom 4 of the PL, Carlisle, Maribor and Man U after he changed it at HT sat back and we held on for a win. You say hes not clueless but why would you start a RB at LB Vs an in form Walcott? Why did Adebayor not start against Wigan at home if he was going to go with 2 up front the following week at Arsenal? I’m not excusing Adebayor for a stupid tackle, but that’s what you get from a player with a lack of game time and guess what that was AVB’s doing. I could continue but as a Spurs fan its painful to highlight the constant poor decisions he makes, please let me know where his thought process has led to a good decision?
        Its just a matter of time before Levy gets rid of him, lets hope when he does All Very Boring remembers to take Steffan Freund with him.

        • Clarky 22/11/2012 at 10:00 am #

          Well if you consider the games we have not won in the premier league are away to Newcastle – to a penalty – in a game that we dominated for long periods, drawing to an in form West Brom – conceding a goal in the dying minutes after dominating the game and failing to put away our chances – drawing with Norwich – again conceding in the last minute but bearing in mind they have now seen off Arsenal and Man U at home doesn’t look so bad – a loss to Chelsea whose 130m of attacking talent put us to the sword – a loss to Wigan which was a truly disappointing result, a loss to the league leaders from a goal in the last minutes from their 25m substitute and a loss to Arsenal after dominating the game before Adebayor was sent off. All in all I would say that is hasn’t been too bad.

          Conceding goals in the dying minutes of games that drops points is not something that has come with AVB but is something that Spurs have been guilty of for years, along with the ability to lose to teams at the bottom end of the table. Criticising him for “holding on to a win” away to Old Trafford is just nonsense and sums up how poor Spurs fans are generally looking these days with regards to their negativity. Do you see many Chelsea fans crying that they played the most anti-football tactics to win the champions league? No they sing about how they are champions of Europe every game as ultimately they know that the most important thing at the end of the day is the result. I don’t care if 99/100 we wouldn’t have won that game because we had never won the fixture in the premier league before! I just care that it was the first time we won it and it made my weekend!

          • coys 22/11/2012 at 9:33 pm #

            West brom were the better team, from memory their GK didnt make a save, along with Norwich. You have forgotten QPR who have not won a game yet and should have been in front by a few at HT and we all know what the performance was like against Wigan. You have to look beyond the results, its the performances that have been awful and the players look unhappy.
            I’m not criticising him for holding on for a win at Man U, they were there for the taking that day but at HT he sent them out to defend and nearly cost us, I like you couldn’t care less how we win at Utd but I do look beyond the result and without that win our league position would be totally unacceptable.
            I would of course love to win the CL, but real Spurs fans expect a certain way of playing and under All Very Boring we will not achieve the results or the performances that are expected of a Spurs team.
            Its just a matter of time before he’s sacked and he will end up at a 2nd rate Portuguese club where they will accept his notebook, constant ridiculous dog whistle and utter rubbish that he talks.

  10. J Spurs 20/11/2012 at 7:12 pm #

    What annoys me about the All Very Boring approach is the seeming necessity to pass the ball backwards from an attacking position. I would rather the ‘Arry ‘Ave-a-go approach than working the ball, skillfully, back to the feet of Vertonghen at left back, to make life difficult for ourselves. From a fan’s point of view, it is really frustrating. Especially at home.

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