I'm in one of those moods. Slightly detached and disinterested. I'm busy with work and too tired to play. I've only caught snippets of news so far this week from quickly dipping my feet into the muddy waters of social media. Got some musings to share, so will just throw them all at this blog and whatever mess I make you're free to clear it out of your cache.
According to Sandro's mate (Aggro Santos on Twitter - rapper, songwriter) the beast from Brazil is undergoing knee surgery today. If this is true then we can expect confirmation on the Spurs website at some point, telling us it went well and giving us an estimate of how long we'll have to make do without him. Probably best to wait for that official confirmation rather than rely on an entertainer's ITK. My 5th rum of the evening is telling me this is calculated disinformation with United in mind for Sunday. Lies to confuse the enemy. No? Okay then.
Multi-layered is this potential lay off and recovery period. Parker is hardly an average replacement that will make you worried about Sandro's absence. He's a solid proven midfielder. Granted, he's only just returned after being run into the ground during the previous regime. Sandro has truly evolved and progressed as a player and has become a vital part of the team. If he's out, Parker has the responsibility to tidy up in the centre. Bite at legs, keep the ball moving. Easy to forget how brilliant Parker was before his time out. Got to hope he can recapture the same tempo again. This probably means Jake Livermore will not go out on loan. Not sure Levy is keen on signing a stop-gap. We need finished articles and a defensive mid is not something on that list (that list being the imaginary one we all have).
Villas-Boas on his time at Chelsea
Some quotes doing the rounds from an interview with a French outlet. AVB discussing his time at Chelsea and how things could have been done better which translates to an admittance of 'mistakes' in the reports covering the quotes. All very modest, obvious statements the key being that lessons have been learnt. I'd gladly take his failure at the Bridge if it helps shape a more robust Villas-Boas.
He also explained how he didn't just go ahead and select Lloris from the off so that players appreciated that you play because you deserve to play. He would have contradicted that mantra by dropping Brad. His prerogative and look how it's turned out. Waiting for Didier Deschamps to pipe up now remains a pipe dream.
Earlier on, I saw an advert on Sky Sports for the double header of games this weekend. PAYBACK the tv screamed in big letters. Payback? It's like one of those box office wrestling events. Expect John Cena to rush onto the pitch around the 80th minute mark to smash Robin van Persie over the head with a chair. Then Richard Scudamore makes an entrance, tapping his microphone ('is this thing on?') and telling everyone in attendance (and the millions at home) that due to Cena's intervention the game is a 'no contest' and will be replayed at Old Trafford in a Blindfold Match (Spurs players to wear the blindfolds). Special guest referee, Alex Ferguson. Then as AVB and his players complain Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham players invade the pitch and beat them up with Martin Tyler screaming 'It's a slobberknocker' whilst the end credits roll.
ITKSeems the ITK grapevine continues to produce first class hilarity. Best thing I've seen is an In the know peddler telling others who are spreading ITK to delete their accounts on account of spreading ITK that they probably don't believe to be true because their own ITK source has said so. You ain't seen me...right? The race to correctly guess who we're going to sign for us continues...
So the assistant referee that told City players to go and applaud their fans has been 'punished' for his suggestion. Football is eating itself and choking on it's rotting flesh. A banner displaying disdain at ticket prices was removed by police after supporters ignored the stewards (who apparently admitted it was the club - Arsenal - that wanted the banner gone). If you're a supporter of any club with any form of match day grievances, contact the Football Supporters Federation. Safe standing, affordable ticket prices...there's plenty that needs fixing but only if everyone unites.
Modern football boo hiss
The fiscal side of the game is equally cannibalistic with its rituals. Football is staggeringly expensive. You can hardly blame anyone for returning tickets that cost over £60 when you have to add in travel and food and drink to your match-day costs. What is football's demographic these days? Middle class? Every time I see Championship highlights I see empty seats. It's nation wide.
I'm sure there are plenty of people that revolve their lives around following their team. A season ticket sees to that whilst the rest can afford to pick and choose and be lucky with the games they attempt to claim a ticket for. Not all clubs charge the earth for away tickets but this has more to do with the manner in which the game has grown in recent years. Fact is, if you don't want to pay up someone else will. But for how much longer, I don't know.
The Financial Fair Play is ambiguous. Is it there to protect? If so who benefits most? Everywhere you turn supporters are bemoaning costs and empty seats stare back at them. According to some reports today both Arsenal and United stand to claim advantage is the FFP kicks in thanks to their revenue which would see the billionaire playboy clubs hand over power to the ones that have the foundations to make profit cleanly in the long run. Either way, the rich get richer.
I wonder if we're perfectly placed at the moment. Just in-between them all. How that will change when the new stadium is built and ENIC sell us...it's concerning. Almost, could have happened with a move to Stratford. It's just the way things are with the money in the game. This feeling of disenfranchisement is a fact of life and one I probably just need to accept won't be defeated even if I do my best to fight it off with words or futile attempts at standing to sing at games. Global sport not just local. Hence why Stratford was entertained. Me and you, we'll be long gone and THFC will still stand and future generations wouldn't have known any better, be it in North London or East London.
We have it good in England because their is no major upheaval, socially. Football is theatre and not escapism, for the majority. Take it or leave it. Hate to think what the game will be like in 40 years time. Until then, I'll just shrug and carry on and just try to enjoy the actually football and Tottenham winning, one game at a time.
Arsenal fans are disgruntled with their own prices and the lack of return on their investment. It's a curious (and enjoyable) drama unfolding. I'm wondering how many of the fickle fans are the ones birthed during the Wenger generation? Knowing only success and the expectation of challenging every season. The grand consequence of Sky was that four very good sides became four untouchable sides when compared to the rest of the Prem. The difference in quality, undeniable. That cycle degraded and has ended with the league far closer than it once was.
In conclusion, modern football is reflective of modern life. Nothing lasts forever and everything was far simpler 'back in the day'.
Them lot down the road
Continuing on the same topic, Arsenal prioritise their debt, but they do spend money on players. Just not very good ones. They just can't attract the same ilk of quality they once could. Wenger no longer seems to spot an unknown and turn them into a world class £25M player. City have probably impacted Arsenal more than any other club. I guess Chelsea also. Fact is, they still remain competitive - they qualify for the CL every season. Even if that just pays those debts off. They're a decent side but not a great side. Would probably be so much easier if their fans accepted that but I wonder if that level of expectancy is what drives teams on to retain ambition and stature? And removing any past glory they are like any other supporter in that everyone wants to see their club win silverware.
I think it is evident, in recent years, that they've even accepted a League Cup as an acceptable honour (be it one they've failed to capture). If you're at the top of your game and title challenging, you don't want to lose your grip on that and become ordinary again. A natural reaction. But not everyone can have the stubborn backbone and winning mentality of a Manchester United.
Must feel painful when you've feasted on so much arrogance for so many years and so many gooners pride themselves on that gloat. I know United fans who have only ever known success and nothing more. Even when they dip in form they question the possibility of stagnation. All you can do is adapt. It's no longer as easy as it once was. Be proud of your achievements. History counts for something. It defines you no matter how recent or how far back it goes.
And here's us over here bitching and complaining when we lose a couple of games and pretending the 1990s never happened. We continue to evolve. Under Jol, then Redknapp and now Villas-Boas. That pain should serve as a reminder and make everything taste so much sweeter. I can still remember the days when we practically never won a game away from home.
When comparing both clubs (us and them) in the present day - which is the most relevant comparison you can make - we're the club that is looking upwards and fighting to get there whilst they are doing their best to hold on and not fall back and past us on the way down. Never count them out until they're knocked out. They got lucky last season thanks to our capitulation, but luck is what you make it and much like Ferguson, Wenger can still influence positively. It's in our hands again this time round too. That's the only thing that should matter, the football. Not much between either side, pound for pound.
Having said all that, it's not about finishing above Arsenal. It's about finishing above everyone, as improbable as that might be. We have a hunger and a desire to feast on success we've never had before. Arsenal supporters are still hungry for it, perhaps their coach doesn't quite have that same focused desire.
And what do I want from the long term? I don't need us to dominate football like United have. Anything akin to the 60s or the 80s would do me. A title challenge would do me. A title win would set me up for life. You need to take what you can get and get what you work hard to achieve. I might no longer belong to the game but I still belong to Tottenham.