Next 1882 game: Tottenham v Asteras Tripoli – Block 35
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11 games in, over a quarter of the season gone & probably about time to have a serious review of where we are now, whilst also considering the much maligned “mitigating circumstances”…although this is not an apology piece
To make my own position crystal clear, I was delighted we dispensed with the previous manager and I felt the appointment of AVB was courageous, brave, bold and potentially inspired. It most certainly wasn’t a safe, comfy or obvious decision. And it was never going to be a smooth, seamless or invisible transition

“This was a Top four team last year!”

No, no it wasn’t. We were a top four club and last year’s team did of course finish in fourth (after the longest, most sustained and humiliating capitulation, collapse and choke in my Spurs supporting life of 35 years.) We started the season without two of the most creative, influential players of recent years – players that would be a loss to any team and whose replacements (in person and perhaps an adaptation of style) would naturally be expected to have more than five minutes to bed in.

In VDV we also lost a charismatic, inspirational winner who could elevate those around him (for 60 minutes…). Modric was the glue, link and lock picker who often joined the dots up – without him we have a gaping hole in the centre and a stuttering, incomplete flow from back through the middle to the front – we lost the bridge.
Of course we also started this campaign without our finest ever home grown defender – a player that even in the last fading splendour of his majesty, by simply stepping onto the pitch usually meant we’d lose far less often
Modric, VDV and King – critical and vital components of the “Top 4 Years”. This is effectively a spine transplant – if you also add in the absent Adebayor (and Kaboul) and jockeying over the No1 jersey. That’s major surgery that requires sensible recuperation and realistic expectation.

His Own Men

Who are they and did he get them? In Siggi and Dempsey as I wrote elsewhere back in September are confusing, perplexing and uncertain signings in my opinion. Neither seemed strategic purchases – both looked knee jerk and right now they both look inadequate. However, in Dempsey we have a bloke that has outscored all but two or three forwards in the last 2 seasons combined (but I don’t think he himself is a forward at all) I’m not sure we’ll see anything like Siggi’s best form until he gets a run in the side playing off a “giving” forward. Bit part cameos in a variety of positions playing “watch Defoe shift & shoot” won’t allow us or him a full view. I expect that to change quickly with the welcome return of Adebayor

But more importantly we should consider who we didn’t get but AVB most certainly wanted – in Moutinho he had his tailor-made, known, willing and able Sgt Major – for the pitch and dressing room. In yet another bi-annual game of late night Levy poker, missing out on this signing by four minutes is disgraceful negligence by the Chairman. If there was one transaction that demanded early, decisive action it was this. He effectively torpedoed AVB before the ink was dry on his contract. I expect the outrageously talented destroyer of Chelsea, Willian to arrive in January if Lastminutelevy has an epiphany and decides that the likelihood of AVB & Spurs achieving and succeeding is wholly dependent on proportionate support in acquiring the right talent

The Style of Play

This is perhaps where I have some green shoots of doubt. I’ve yet to see any evidence, bar the odd and entirely freakish 20 minutes in Manchester, of any cohesive, regular, clearly identifiable style of play. We too often look static, timid, reserved and uncertain. Players that were rampant swaggering destroyers last year have become sullen, slightly withdrawn and insular – I don’t know how much of this is confidence and adapting to new methods of tuition, coaching and drilling. But I’d really like to be swashing rather more buckles that we have so far

Substitutions

On Sunday as Adebayor was hauled off for Defoe I and I’m sure many thousands of Spurs knew what was coming. The immediate loss of any ability to retain the ball in the opposition half and 10 minutes of kitchen sink defending. This was compounded by the withdrawal of Lennon & the bizarre rejigging of the back four where we ended up with four centre backs. Of course what it was also certain to lead to was conceding a goal – this is becoming a very bad & destructive habit AVB seems intent on repeating game after game. In 11 league games I am struggling to think of a single substitution that has led to an improvement in the score line in our favour. In many games a late substitution has led to an opposition goal & the loss of points that were minutes from being won. He must be able to see this?

[authquote text="I expect the outrageously talented destroyer of Chelsea, Willian to arrive in January if Lastminutelevy has an epiphany"]

The Missing

“But it’ll be okay when all our players are fit” Maybe. It’ll certainly be more sensible, realistic and valid to gauge exactly what AVB is all about when we can call on BAE, Kaboul, Parker & Dembele – perhaps we’ll see the exceptional Vertonghen playing in his best position, we’ll see a balanced back 4 (hopefully with the best keeper at the club finally installed as No1) We’re missing steel, leadership and guile so it’s hardly surprising and shouldn’t be unexpected that we are a too often a jigsaw that isn’t fitting. Can they really be expected to find their rhythm, style & develop into the team we all hope they can be?

Maybe what it’s all about is sensible expectation, patience and allowing the bloke the tools and time to do the job. Supporting him in this task might be an idea too

Love Your Club. COYS

[author name="Paul Johnson" avatar="http://www.thefightingcock.co.uk/forum/data/avatars/l/1/1844.jpg?1352125376" twitter="SniersMoregut" website=""]

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Published on 16th November 2012

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7 Responses to What’s It All About Andre?

  1. koko61 16/11/2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I cannot stomach watching anymore of this high line boring football, AVB just play football ffs. Its like the Italian league, all about possession and being too defensive. This is England and prefer fast pace football, why else is the premier league the best and watched all over the the world.
    For me it is this high line defending that is the cause of this lack luster football that we play.
    Fair enough loosing to the likes of mancity and the cheatskis with all their talent, but Norwich, Wigan and WBA “at home”, sorry that is not even a top 10 team. He needs to keep it simple for now until we get the players that can play his style of football.
    As for Levy and his last minute dealings and the appointment of AVB, the buck stops with him, and us fans can only take so much before we take it out on him.

  2. TR 16/11/2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Whether or not you personally liked or disliked Harry, I cannot understand how you could be “delighted” at losing a manager who got our best 3 of our best 4 Premier league seasons (including the best two), CL quarter finals AND got us playing the best football in the EPL on a restricted budget. I can undertsand you being “optimistic that we will get someone better”, or “positive that Spurs will make the right next move” – BUT I WAS NOT optimistic or positive after Harry went. We needed an experienced manager to soften the transition, and not someone who crashed and burned last season at Chelsea. We have gone from an experienced, motivational, attack-minded manager (with faults) to a one-solitary full-season-experienced, uninspiring non-attack-minded manager (WITH FAULTS). I disagree about the squad thing – I think the squad his overall better now. Perhaps the first XI isn’t as classy, but we had terrible squad options last season – and that was the reason for our bad patch – but our squad now is better set up for a long hard season. I agree with your concerns about the substitutions. They have been terrible – too early, too much collateral damage (move Gallas to RB when you have Naughton on the bench? Leaving young Caulker with a new partner mid-game). Mismanagement of Lloris has been terrible. You are spot on with your assessment of the timid and flat performances. With this squad, the training facilities, the money at his disposal (which Harry did not have last season), AVB should have done much better in terms of performance. There is no excuse.

  3. Spursfan 16/11/2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Dear long-suffering Spursfans

    Do you still have faith in Levy and AVB? Do you blame AVB? If you do, as who appointed him knowing his achievements at Chelsea? But who sacked Harry and other recent managers and who sold our best players without replacement and who appointed AVB anyway? Levy a Spurs fan? A tough
    negotiator? Or just a money-maker tough businessman? You, the fans to judge.
    I’m just another long-suffering Spursfan.

  4. TR 16/11/2012 at 4:55 pm #

    …And if you think that losing VDV + Modders makes an excuse for AVB, then WHO did AVB lose from SECOND PLACED Chelsea when he took over in order for him to turn them into a 5th-6th placed team? Zhirkov? That’s it. He took over a team of multi EPL winners, and turned them into pretenders. It is NOT the squad. As Koko said, it is the non-working high line tactics which EPL teams know how to nullify.

  5. TR 16/11/2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Spursfan – I believe that Levy made a mistake in AVB. He has made other mistakes too – Stratford was embarrassing, and put unnecessary stress on the support. He could not get on with Harry – despite Harry delivering. Ok one of them had to go, and that was Harry. BUT despite those mistakes, LEVY HAS DELIVERED TOO (new stadium, training ground, CL football, usually 4-5th, great quality football last season, sound accounts, one of the richer clubs in Europe, largely profitable and without massive debt). Levy IS going to make mistakes. Harry made mistakes. AVB WILL make mistakes BUT what you must do is DELIVER. Harry DID, LEVY DID, AVB has a lot of work to do!

  6. Ronald Paxton 16/11/2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Insightful article , in which i am in total agreement , What i am most frustrated at AVB for is not playing Llorris , why would you choose to not play your best players ?
    I would like to add though that you don´t “swash buckles” you ” buckle swashes” ! ;-)

  7. andrew 16/11/2012 at 6:39 pm #

    no idea how u can be delighted to lose a gaffa that kept us up then finished 4th 5th and 4th. harrys failure was we should have won a pot with his team. happy to be patient…. I have been supporting spurs for 32 years so have other choice but to be! u sign a keeper for 12 mill and stick him on the bench?

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