During the summer everyone – the tabloids, the broadsheets, the Gillette Soccer Saturday crew, football magazines and various wannabe pundits had Spurs down as their firm favs for 5th spot. The reason all of them are laughing at us now is because Only Spurs™ could fail so spectacularly.
Not only have we started badly, but we’ve timed it so well that the press can now make Titanic sinking jokes based on this being our worst start in 96 years. Is this the most diabolical team we’ve had? Or the worst management team? No. And it’s only 7 games in. Yes, Derby were in a better position this time last season, but nobody, not even those zany journalists are mentioning the ‘R’ word with true self-belief. Even rival fans are telling me that Spurs will drag their way out of the bottom three. This is simply only a little bit worse than last season start to the season.
But if they fail to win at Stoke, expect this to change. Because if confidence is bad now, it will be non-existent if we still have two points after our visit to the Victoria Ground (edit: By Victoria Ground, I obviously mean Britannia Stadium).
What makes things even more depressing is that this current group of players are the ones that have until January to turn things around, and if they don’t then that’s that. Nobody is going to want to come here in the new year if we are still languishing in the bottom three. The profile of the club will change completely with regards to transfers. We’ll have West Ham pinching our players. New ground? Why would we need 50,000 in the Championship? Hutton and Bale will be looking for a tap on their shoulders from Fergie and Jenas will still be telling everyone that we can make the Champions League.
Digging deep is what we’ve been expecting (based on what the coach and the players have been spouting) after every defeat, only to be presented with yet another defeat.
But sacking Ramos is not an option just yet. Not because it would cost the club a reported £15M, but because Levy cannot, in pure footballing terms, afford it. Martin Jol’s tenure was undermined and destroyed. We never did find out if he could take us to the next level or not (i.e. beating Arsenal). Ramos was the man that Comolli felt he could work with. Yet the shambolic transfer window activities have done nothing to improve the squad. Jol recently spoke about how there was a clear vision during his time there with regards to English players, and that team has been gutted and replaced with a mish-mash that has no true balance.
Pav is looking more and more like a panic buy, and you almost feel as sorry for him as you do for Modric who is clearly far too good a player for this current Spurs team as he spends most of his time laying off passes that his team-mates simply don’t have the virtue of accepting.
No leadership. Another painfully obvious problem.
So Levy, having gone out of his way, to get Ramos – has to allow Ramos that extra bit of time that is usually not given in such circumstances. If nothing happens in the next 3-4 games, then sadly the team is in such a state that the players are simply not responding to the manager and Ramos time may well be up. Though the blame will fall back into the lap of L&C.
Elsewhere, Defoe scored again. Robbie Keane played a part in a 3-2 comeback win for Liverpool. Dean Marney looked busy and purposeful (even hit the post) for Hull who, well, you know what they did. And Martin Jol's Hamburg won away, and remain top in Germany. And every player we deemed not good enough for us (Steed, Chimbonda) and the targets we scoffed at (Heskey, Crouch, Anton Ferdinand and a shedload of others) all continue to assist their teams while our ‘superstars’ struggle to raise their game to a respectful level.
Are we cursed? Has this been on the cards for years? With our generally poor away record over the past decade or so, when you suddenly stop winning home games, that ‘R’ word becomes a true threat.
Three points. At Stoke. It’s that simple, yet why does it look like it’s going to be so hard?