Spursy Wipe time...
Not the most tidy of performances but possibly more satisfying than pillaging them by four goals. There's something perverse in enjoying the home supporters belief in snatching points before we kick them into the shallow grave we've dug up. Spurs are still unbeaten in the league in 2018. It's once more title winning form in the shape of points accumulation in a 'patch of games' and a stark reminder just how clinical and ruthless a team has to be to sustain a challenge and win it.
Five defeats, too many draws. There's a gulf with City but it's fine margins if you take those defeats in isolation and work out how to avoid them next time round. That's a pretty tasty objective to have. The fact it's possible without a laughter track tells you just how close we're getting.
Worth mentioning that Spurs have most of their players on long contracts (averages just below 4 years) and also the advantage of it being a young squad. I'm staying with my prediction. It's happening in the next two seasons.
Watching the Stoke fans lose their sh*t over the ref making clearly correct decisions was a lovely sight to behold. The anger aimed at Danny Rose for no particular reason other than remembrance for an incident that occurred several games ago was positively delicious. We're a team that fans hate to hate us. They are uncomfortable with this predicament. What's key here is that Spurs can't be bullied anymore. We don't have a moan if the opposition are physical because we dish right back at them.
I was happy to see Stoke 'turn up' and give us a game. Our mettle once more pulling us through with relative comfort even if the hosts did scare us once or twice with half chances and the woodwork struck. The fact we have so many pantomime villains with rivals fans constantly obsessing about juvenile things speaks volumes. Psychologically they are doing everything to avoid admitting we're decent. The irony? We couldn't care less what they think. Regardless, its entertainment value is high.
Harry Kane's goal
Did he or didn't he? Who cares? We won, that's all that matters but it's brilliant how hungry Harry is to want every goal, even the ones that are dubious thanks to the camera angles not quite proving beyond doubt that the ball brushed his shoulder. The pace of Eriksen's free-kick looked like it was enough for it to find its way into the goal net. If Harry swears on his kid he got a touch on the ball, then he touched it.
The reaction to it from those pesky rival fans (mostly Liverpool) is the cheery on top. This is literally the least newsworthy story of the season yet fans are foaming at the mouth because a striker dares to challenge the decision to award the goal to another player after claiming it for himself. I guess this is worth the attention over grown men wearing t-shirts to support a cheating racist scumbag.
Lot's of talk about getting rid of Hugo Loris because he occasionally does something daft. He's not perfect, he's not in the top tier of the best keepers in the world but he's in the tier just below it and to suggest otherwise is the only daft thing about all of the over dramatised scapegoating. Yes, his footwork isn't great when distributing and the decision he took with the Stoke equaliser should have been far more decisive than it turned out to be. Keepers much like defenders are punished far greater for their mistakes because it can lead to conceding a goal - which is why a certain quality is required to nullify this from happening often. The fact is, it happens rarely but enough for us to be able to reference them (as opposed to happening every single week).
Yes, we can do with looking at the longevity of our keeping situation. But we can also do a lot worse than having Hugo. As for questioning his captaincy, I think some fans fixate on what they perceive to be on field evidence of what a captain should do based on tradition and stereotype. Hugo is hugely influentially in the dressing room. We're not privy to this or anything else for that matter behind closed doors. So we take what his peers tell us as all the evidence we need.
On the pitch, Spurs are blessed with leaders and are instilled with an ethic that is shared collectively. This isn't to say that a Kane or a Toby (lol) wouldn't be better suited than someone wearing gloves and protecting the net. To understate or assign little value to what Hugo brings to the team isn't just questioning him but also his team mates and his manager.
Of course, if his form starts to suffer and he's dropped...then that's altogether an acceptable point in time to change the guard.
We've got Dele
When you're using Opta Stats to prove that a player is ineffective when said player scores, assists and leads...you've got to question where your loyalty sits. Especially if the player you're criticising is one of your own. Protect your own, right? They are fighting for your club, representing you on the pitch. Considering that this Spurs team is the best we've had for generations is sadly not enough for a very small minority that appear to fixate on...er...don't know...the colour of his skin? The fact he's young and brilliant? Successful and rich? Can we have Opta Stats for our white players too?
There was a time when Eriksen was still trying to work his way into the system Poch was working towards. I remember plenty of discussions focusing on his lack of influence, press and being pushed out wide on the left. Expectancy tends to exist in a bubble that is centric to the present moment and many don't want to consider the graft, the risks and the mistakes that are needed to create something - be it an individuals development or a teams.
Look at Eriksen now. It didn't happen over night. Stop pretending it has to because you need to bang out a blog or a tweet in desperation for attention.
Is Dele the finished product? Hell no. He's a better player for sure, this season, than he was in the last two. What will no doubt happen in the season(s) ahead is Dele will push on further and find a more prolific balance between the selfless graft and the glamours goals. He's a better all round team player now, tactically astute. To put it into perspective, he was League One not too long ago.
He's also curbed his reactionary spite (take the Shawcross incident as an example). There is no such thing as 'not being involved' enough. It's a fallacy. Let's face it, for a while Opta Stats had Tim Sherwood down as one of our best ever managers. Dele is level headed, grounded but also a professional as a Spurs player but as someone who will ultimately look after himself and his career - something we all do in life. To suggest 'it's gone to his head' is borderline ludicrous. Why has it gone to his head? What has gone to his head? Can someone paint me picture? Or can someone of his age not celebrate or consolidate his progress because some middle aged Brexit means Brexit oaf struggles to accept the success of someone they must be inherently jealous of?
Come at me bro.
In its simplest form, football is about emotions. How do you feel when Dele gracefully controls and smacks the ball past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge twice? How do you feel when he patiently waits, knowing Eriksen is about to arrive in the pen area before assisting him? I see limbs. Everywhere limbs. How many arms in a sea of men, women and children can you count in the away end? Get Opta to tally them up. That's the only worth while stat you need to concern yourself with.
The Fighting Cock
Two pod appearances on the trot. Hedonistic. I'm on half-term duties, hence the reason for this Spursy Wipe very casually scribbled blog (as I lack time to craft the usual blood, sweat and tears effort). Most of what I wanted to say I spoke. So listen. If you want.
Paying a Levy
Daniel Levy's earnings were more than £6M last year. That includes his basic and any bonus he gave himself.
Pitchforks at the ready...
WHY IS THIS MONEY GOING TO HIM AND NOT TO TOBY? ENIC OUT!
I've thought long and hard about this and I've got to be really honest. I don't care. He (along with Joe of Bahamas fame) own ENIC. They own THFC. The club/company/investment project is going to be worth in the billions when they are primed to sell it on and believe me, what we have now is likely to be the best state we'll ever have. Why? Because the next stage in our evolution (it's still a while away) will probably disenfranchise many of us. When we get snapped up by a US based conglomerate we'll hardly be recognisable from that side that played in that ground that no longer exists.
Of course, I won't pretend there's no discomfort with how the client reference number that a Mr Scholar blessed us all with is now the bread and butter for many investing money in football. We are customers, we are all replaceable in the long run. Football is entertainment and no longer the easily accessible working class escapism it once was. The experience is far better today in many ways to how it was but it's also more costly.
For all the talk about the acoustics of our new home and how the connectivity between fans and the team was paramount in the design, there's a suspicious reality when discussing the price rise in season tickets and the super polished bars and cheese rooms and micro-brewery and so on. The single tier, the pinnacle of the new Lane has a 1882 members club slapped bang in the middle of it. £2200 tickets for the pleasure.
I know it's named after the year we were birthed but 1882 was also a fan movement that celebrated that often marginalised freedom to express yourself by standing and singing all game long. It feels like a sick joke. Surely having a subsidised 1882 section in the middle of the tier would have been a statement that would have resonated good will. A section where young Spurs fans get tickets so the club can protect future generations. But boy is that a romanticised notion.
Good will would have been to retain a far more reasonable price tag for season tickets so that loyalty - long term loyalty - was duly rewarded. Alas no. It all ties back to customers and you get in not because of who you are (a Tottenham lifer) but whether you can afford it.
I would also note, that the way Levy and ENIC are building up the club is solely as a business that will complement the football rather than the football leading the fiscal revolution forward. Say if we invested more money in players and trying to win the title, that would perhaps raise our stock and give us all (the fans) the only thing we would truly cherish. Unless we spend the money City have - there's no doing it. Hence the foundation as a profit earning business that can support the philosophy of the football club. I don't think this should be underestimated when you consider the changes Poch has implemented. Risk exists no matter the 'option' you wish to take.
For the objections we have and the anger we aim at the chairman for 'not backing the manager' or 'not giving X player what he's worth' the fact is - we're sat where we are right now because of his tenure. It took us long enough but that's another topic to be had (mostly one to do with a former chairman's mismanagement and the decade and some it took to even look like we were catching up). For all the concerns we have, Levy is delivering and cementing our future as a super club. We're sat 11th in the richest club list and no doubt we'll be top ten soon. There might be no way of stopping us becoming the very thing we all (mostly) detest. Perhaps not under Levy's tenure but under the next; a money monster.
Once we move back into N17 the tricky process of balancing our wages to give us a more competitive edge is the bigger question mark - not what Levy happens to earn in the course of a year as the single point of failure responsibility he shoulders. Our wage salary for players is apparently closer to Burnley than it is Arsenal (or Chelsea, I forget). Paying high wages guarantees nothing. If we break the bank then there's an argument we'd be supporting a similar culture to the one at Chelsea and City. One that attracts agents and players because of the money. Is that the price for success in the modern game? Yes sadly. Although like I said, it doesn't always work. Utd are digging themselves further into debt just to stay competitive whilst Arsenal have issues of focus regardless of their revenue. It makes what we're doing now, what we're building towards all that more special. A two finger salute at the teams we aspire to beat by not being them.
I've got side-tracked. My point is, I still don't care what he earns. He's a custodian and I can only go on the evidence at hand right now.
/Looks at Poch and team
/Looks at new stadium
He's worth the money*.
*As long as Poch gets a new contract in the summer.