Hello. Okay, so I had a great time away in Devon. Did more walking on coastal paths than I’ve done exercise in a year. The weather was fine for the most part. It rained a fair bit towards the end. The disconnection from football and social media wasn’t something I planned to do with zen discipline. It’s a pivotal part of pre-season so naturally I wanted to be kept updated on potential transfer news. Alas, no 3g or 4g and possibly the worst advertised ‘free’ wifi of all time which was as ineffectual as attempting to access data using gprs. Occasionally, something would filter through. An email, a whatsapp message. I opted for the disconnection in the end. Until I discovered that standing directly outside a takeaway burger joint on the site we were staying at gave me strong enough internet to download a 250 tweet strong timeline on Twitter. Behold, the misery of Spurs fans! I should have retained that disconnection.
Along with the misery (we love a bit of pessimism) the actual football news was underwhelming. Beating Celtic kids 6-1 the main highlight. Then again, it's only underwhelming if you're expecting a marquee signing. The reality has been far more functional than glamorous.
Eric Dier (a centre-back) arrives. Young lad. That’s it. Can’t pretend to know a lot about him. We continue to chase Mateo Musacchio, a footballing defender, with third party ownership and a reported fee of around £20M. This is turning into a saga only because of the initial suggestion that the deal was practically done to be reversed to 'not quite done' and 'might not get done because of the complexities of fiscal dizziness'. The main discussion point appears to have settled with the amount of centre-backs we’ll have (if Mateo signs) and if any of the existing batch will be subject to leaving.
Michael Dawson has apparently injured himself on purpose to avoid being sold. Not just a pretty face. Younes Kaboul’s contract is running down with no suggestion a new one is set to be offered. Lazio linked. Levy looking to profit. The player has been plighted with injuries and has left us with the same frustrations we experienced with Ledley King*. Doesn’t look like Ledley needs a partner to push a trolley up and down the aisles in Sainsburys so Kaboul’s Tottenham fire looks set to be washed out.
*Great to see him now involved in a coach capacity at the club, be it part-time.
Is this one of those calculated decisions based on the fact there is no guarantee he will retain his fitness for him to prove that he can be exceptional in defence for longer than short bursts of cameo appearances? Does he deserve a contractual expansion so we can see if he’s able to embrace physical consistency? At his best he's truly a beast but like most of the animals we possess at Spurs they prefer to purr than roar.
Jan Vertonghen will be key. Ignoring the idiocy of the agent of Vlad Chiriches, we appear to have some talent at the back but no certainty yet of Pochettino’s ideal pairing. I guess the best thing to do is appreciate the fact we have a young and adaptable set of defenders. And Michael Dawson. You know, for the Stoke and West Ham games.
Ben Davies signed before I went on holiday and Danny Rose put pen to paper on a 5 year contract. The latter getting more people’s blood boiling than the former making supporters smile. We’re going to need cover and it looks like we have youth supporting youth. Solid but not spectacular youth supported by erratic and in desperate need for development youth. Poch (it’s okay to abbreviate) set to give Rose the chance that the majority watching have passionately dismissed for months. From the looks of it, no experienced ‘finished article’ left-back is forthcoming. Not that this particular option has worked in the past but you’d have thought it would almost guarantee a complimentary slice of balance to the back four. Again, Pochettino (it’s better not to abbreviate) will have to be trusted much like he will trust the players he selects. A game of faith.
Michel Vorm seems keen on playing second man to Hugo Lloris. Spoke about this before my hols but can’t dispute the logic here. Solid keeper as back-up and one that understands he won’t be first choice but can do more than a decent job when called upon. That's the party-line right?
What else has been going on?
Schneiderlin doesn’t look like happening as Southampton have decided that having sold practically everyone, they’re going to keep enough players for a five-a-side kick about. All players linked to us (the ones signed at least) have been of a defensive nature. Although we continue to flirt with wingers. Not so much Griezmann these-days, but Depay is back on the media radar and Jay Rodriguez is mentioned every time Schneiderlin is. Much ado about nothing as everyone attempts to guess if Levy is going to spend a little extra to give some gloss to Pochettino’s summer transfer work in amongst the progressive and not so sexy defence rebuild.
Re: Soton, they have put their foot down and have told the (two) players to respect their contracts. Cynically, this might be part of a power play to force the players to strike, take the mantle of bad guys and then be sold. If not, then it seems the £90M made is enough for them to close shop. Stalemate for now.
I’ve seen the maths shared. We’ve sold more than we’ve spent this summer so the usual argument that Levy is not actually investing into the football team is being repeated. I’m pretty sure this happens every season, mainly because it’s been the club’s main focus on forever balancing those all important glory glory accountancy books.
‘£43.6M net profit on transfers since 2010’ said someone on Twitter. Sounds about right. We still sign players left right and centre. Not always at the right time and most definitely not always the right players. We retain transfer market competitiveness but perhaps we’ve been massively guilty of not always paying that extra bit of value when required. It’s the eternal struggle and complaint. The soundtrack to all our summers.
Talking of money, the club have imposed a £200 limit/price-cap on supporters wishing to sell their tickets on StubHub. The Spurs Official account even informing fans to sell their seat on the not so loved ticketing system if they can’t attend the @LFC match. Not sure they quite grasp the banter concept.
Spurs, implementing this price-cap, is thanks to both the Trust and an assortment of vocal supporters making their point that there is something fundamentally corrupt about encouraging what is more or less an electronic form of touting tickets.
The club probably forecasted the backlash and the resulting ‘cap’ simply eases the pressure on them for the time being, deflecting the controversy ever so slightly, giving us the impression that the vocal among us are ‘winning’.
The system its self is there to appease the culture of spending above and beyond ticket value. Blame the buyers mentality (many are selling at inflated prices to simply profit on the profit the club make when they charge us the world to see our beloved team) and blame the sellers as well for paying up through desperation to see Spurs. Although God forbid any of them will take a season ticket if offered as part of the five million strong waiting list.
Ethically, it’s all a bit of a cluster****.
The club are basically saying it’s okay to tout as long as it looks slick online hiding behind an ip address and it’s out of the dirty streets in front of White Hart Lane (although it isn’t, apparently it’s too difficult for the club and the police to find the carefully camouflaged touts whispering ‘but tickets, sell tickets’ to themselves as they maraud up and down the high street).
To be honest, this is the least of our problems but it’s one that just magnifies the fact that business always comes first. In Germany, Bayern Munich famously don’t seek to profit from the loyalty of their fans by inflating season ticket prices to extortionate levels. That type of mentality and sense of community is non-existent in our world in England where everyone is expendable.
We are living a fantasy if we think it can be any different. Still, power to the people. If you don’t speak up your voice won’t be heard. The club will always test the waters and see what they can get away with. Don’t like it, say something. If it doesn’t bother you then those complaining shouldn’t bother you either. We hardly all agree on the state of our team sheets from one week to the next so we’re unlikely to hold hands blissfully on the clubs politics.
Okay, that’s me done for now. My home desktop and the hub of everything I do is currently in a coma so I’m uncertain when I’ll be back blogging daily. I've had to use an old Windows Vista laptop + ipad/iphone to get this up and its been a headache to do so. Hopefully all will be sorted this late weekend if I can muster the witchcraft of Microsoft and upgrade the operating system without losing all data. Thinking I might add a pay-pal option on this site with the emphasis on raising funds to aid the purchase of a macbook pro to allow seamless dml activity. What? Can’t a blogger beg? Business over football after-all.