NLD (posted on absinthe)

Martin Jol has to go.

This is not an endorsement of Levy’s management of the club. Because arguably, what’s happening behind the scenes has to some degree affected moral within the club. But placing to one side the politics of the situation, the fact of the matter is that perception means everything in the modern game.

Last season, when Jol gave his rapturous speech at the final home game of the season everyone was in love with him and everyone just knew, just knew it, that he wasn’t just the right man – he was THE man to take us to the next stage. But why? Yes, we limped into 5th spot again – but we were never in the running for 4th. Yes, we had some great cup runs. But how great were they? Hardly played giants of football in the UEFA Cup, and when we finally did – we choked. In the League Cup we lost out to a bunch of kids. In the FA Cup we squandered a 3-1 lead. Throughout the whole of the season we still failed to improve on all the schoolboy errors of previous seasons (defending and taking set pieces). Jol still struggled with tactical substitutions. There was still no evidence of true balance in midfield. And some players remained undroppable, no matter what their form.

Into the 2008 season, we find ourselves playing the likes of Kaizer Chiefs and the Pirates – just like we did the previous year, which also resulted in a poor start (much like this season). Other clubs were busy playing big European teams. Preparation is everything, and when have a lazy git like Ghaly suggesting Spurs don’t do much running in training, you have to question who exactly takes place in training sessions at The Lodge.

Enough of this ‘Fergie took 5 years to get things going at Utd’ nonsense. That was a different generation. The game is a monster now. And the fact is, our mentality of ‘lets be patient’ is costing us. Yes, we don’t deserve success we have to earn it. Well, at Spurs the money has been spent. We have the players. We just don’t have the manager. He has taken us to a level which we appreciate, but you have to be a certain type of cunt to proceed further (i.e. Fergie, Wenger, Jose). Even Rafa and his constant complaining and bitching constitute him as a cunt. Jol, the big cuddly bear with dagger eyes, appears to wear his tracksuit way too often. Not that wearing a suit will result with wins on the park. But one wonders what kind of respect he earns in the dressing room. But the fear of God into the players, for fucks sake. You’ve got the looks for it.

Results this season have seen us lose two goal leads. Concede last minute goals. We were plucky against Utd. Unlucky. But how many times are we gonna settle for ‘almost’ winning? Why should we settle for it in the first place? How long does it take to get things right, simple things right?

Jol still shoots himself in the foot with irreverent substitutions in the final 20 minutes of games. Players appear to back off and defend deep allowing the opposition to attack and take the initiative. And as all this is going on, our players begin to show signs of fatigue and loss of concentration. It’s happened way too often and way too consistently. And far too often in BIG games.

The NLD derby. How many times are we going to take the lead against them, on occasions matching and outplaying them (bar the 3-0 at AG last season)? Spurs have made a vast improvement in catching up with Arsenal (only because they have stagnated a little). But if you lack a team of players who have not experienced a NLD win (more the fault of previous generations of managers and average players) then it’s down to the manager to instil that belief.

Can’t beat Arsenal. Can’t beat Man Utd. Liverpool. And probably Chelsea. Defeating them last season was the kind of performance that Everton achieve over Liverpool now and again. But if we need to take that next step we have to do it more often. Other clubs – nowhere near the top 4 – have better records against the top 4 clubs than we do. Even with their lesser players, then find the spirit to overcome the odds. We flatter to deceive. It’s not acceptable.

We have to evolve. We have to make a sacrifice and remove the manager and bring in someone who is the genuine finished article. A world-class manager. One will drop Robinson and Jenas. One who will look at the team and introduce a system that works from the back to the front. Have players playing for each other and the team as a whole. Completely revamp training and preparation. Get each player understanding the very basics of the game, like closing down and bossing the midfield.

Spurs fans get slagged off for being ambitious. For wanting success. We get accused for dreaming. For aiming higher than we can jump. Well, if I didn’t do any of that I’d be a West Ham fan. We have a rich array of talent at the club. But still lack a true midfield general. Man Utd have the likes of Carrick and Hargreaves. Liverpool have Gerrard and Alonso and Mascherano. Chelsea have an abundance of grit and skill. Arsenal have Fabregas.

Spurs, with a full fit squad will still make the same mistakes because no evidence has been forthcoming that the mistakes will be ironed out.

Fully fit, we will do exactly what we did last year. Finish 5th. Get to a Q-F or S-F in a couple of Cups. And then the same will follow the next year with more players joining the club and giving Jol a selection headache.

New, fresh approach is needed. We are – on paper – the 5th best side in the country. With Levy’s pathetic display of boardroom antics he has possibly cost us that 5th place. Jol is not at fault. He’s just not good enough.

Bringing in a new manager wont be a case of ‘another transitional season’. It will be the case of damage limitation and immediate progression and improvement. An injection of adrenaline that will settle to consistent and a true 4th place challenge.

There is simply no room for mistakes with the next appointment.