Almost there


Not long to go now. The new season is within touching distance. I don't know about you but I feel refreshed and positively unsullied for yet another misadventure in the word of Tottenham Hotspur. No doubt I'll be left half ruined by February next year and seeking yet another sabbatical away from the calamities on and off the pitch. But that's hardly the spirit is it, especially as I do actually feel good about things.

Yes, we are still requiring key elements to our streamlined squad. We have got rid of the failures and seek to push out more but we need to bolster our midfield and our attacking line-up and do so before the opening game away to the new look chest pumping Manchester United. It's not exactly our trademark, getting all the players we need in before the first game. Still, I refuse to worry or even contemplate. There's no point. There never has been. Spurs have attempted practically every single managerial and player acquisition formula that football has to offer and they've all either failed miserably or with spectacular echoes.

The whole understated approach is probably not half as scientific as I'd love it to be, with Paul Mitchell shaking his little black box as it throws out suitable names to match Poch and his rarely seen philosophy. We spent our windfall on marquee players post-Bale sale. Now we're selling them to fund less dramatic swoops but ones more likely to give us structure and spine in the long run.

Are the players targeted good enough? Will they allow us to be competitive? Yes and probably yes. Every season we quietly expect the super rich above us to really push far ahead of the chasing pack and they never do. Such is the volatile nature of the league, such is the pressures of the game. Somehow, even in transition, we're not that far behind. And if - on a good day - we are easily dismantled pound for pound in comparison to those above us, we - on a good day - can dish out similar punishment to them. The trick is obviously to do it to the rest of the league consistently enough to challenge. All this whilst we pretend we can attract top tier players for our starting line-up whilst they snap them up, for their bench.

We do still need players for our first team. We've bought youth. We're bound to promote more youth. But these kids, in at the deep end, are still in need of some experience and more refined class. In the time that remains we have to inject some flexibility in the teams dynamics. We need more than a single creative hub. We need leadership. More choices up front, be it two reliable men leading the line or one to cover the other. Harry can't carry the team on his shoulders, even if he believes he can.

We need bullish hell in the middle of the pitch to complement Nabil and allow him to nurture his more expressive side. We also need the surviving members of the shot down seven to find a more effective and influential dimension to their play. No more hiding, time to bulk up.

Lots to do, little time to do it. That's most definitely our trademark. At the very least we've sorted out the defence with what should be a far more solid looking backline to ease the work Hugo will have to do. If the midfield and attack doesn't follow then I can't entertain expectations with a squad one quarter complete.

I'm now away in the Canary Islands for two weeks. Probably won't get the time to write about Spurs until the evening that follows the United game. Quite enjoy being abroad this time of the summer, catching the back pages to see if Spurs have signed anyone. Nothing will ever compare to the summer in Ayia Napa (forgive me) when we signed Jürgen and the rest of International Rescue. Yet the buzz was either short lived or just what Spurs do. Depending on your perspective it's probably one and the same thing.

Today, functional squad players are hardly exciting to the same degree as a marquee, but the glamour has, on so many occasions, proven to be an illusion.

Reality bites.


Spookythe new season