Feb 3, 2007

The Aftermath

Apparently the club have received emails of complaint from angry Spurs fans after the semi-final defeat. I promise it wasn't me.

And in the tabloids papers today, Jol has been quoted with the following:

  • "We’ve realised we miss Michael Carrick. His biggest quality was to move play from defence to attack and win the ball. Because of him, other players played better. Tom Huddlestone has that quality but he has just turned 20 and he still has to make the next stage in his development"

  • "You can lose against Arsenal even if you are playing their so-called second string side. They simply bring in Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Julio Baptista then there’s Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou. The 2-2 draw in the first leg felt worse than a defeat. We went from football heaven to football hell. The worst part is the second half stays with you, especially when e-mails come in. Arsenal have a team within a team. They can freshen up the team in five or six positions. I can’t take that risk"

  • "If you want to be a good club then you have to develop your own players — like Ajax used to do. They only bought if there wasn’t another solution. Our vision is to develop young players to be top ones. That’s why I’d rather work with British lads"

  • "I have bought many footballers who then hardly played but I won’t be doing it again"

  • "Berbatov is a fantastic target man but he can also create things himself. He’s not a warhorse but a very graceful footballer — almost like a ballerina. When he doesn’t play then we can become pretty average"

Elsewhere (The Daily Mail) Carrick has stated that Spurs could afford to lose games because people didn't expect them to win all the time. Which is sort of ironic considering that he must have accepted this when he was at Spurs. All well and good having a go at us now that he is surrounded by players of a higher quality.

Seems everyone is having a dig. Get yourself over to Glory.Glory.net to witness a kool-aid mass forum suicide, with everyone drowning in each others negativity and over the top reactions to the semi-final defeat.

I've had time to reflect and I've had time to think about it all and the only people to blame are the fans. We expect too much. We want too much too quickly. And yes, its our right to have ambitions and demand success but we are not in a position to get it. As much as we like to delude ourselves, we are not half as good as we think we are. Sure, its just a minority of people on Internet message boards, but if you got 34,000 home fans onto a forum, I'm certain most would react with their hearts instead of their heads (much like I've done in the past).

Fact is, breaking into the top 4 is still something thats a season or two away from us. Dwelling on Carrick and what may have happened had he stayed is irrelevant. He never wanted to stay. And Jol knows that this has probably had a detrimential effect on the way we play. If we could replace Carrick, we would have done so. It's not an easy thing to do, and people who think it is are fooling themselves. Huddlestone is a wonderful wonderful talent, but he is not the same type of player Carrick was. One player doesn't make a team, but it certainly has a huge impact on it.

Criticising Martin Jol to the point when you begin to question whether he is the 'right man' is positively ridiculous. Look at the last 15 years. Then compare it to the seasons under Jol. The simple fact of the matter is, that all the mis-management off the field and then on it (with the wrong appointments) has resulted in the job to make Spurs 'big' again - a monumental task.

One over-achieving season, finishing 4th, doesn't mean that we will automatically consolidate that position the following year. Yes, our mentality away from home has dropped well below par, and yes that may have a lot to do with Carricks departure. But generally speaking, Spurs have always been a soft touch regardless of the players and the manager, who have always given out points to teams in need or lost with pathetic performances. Or always struggled to achieve success over the 'big' teams. So one good season last year, traditionally, would not be followed by a second one as guarantee.

Changing a habit of a life-time will take time. I know we fans hate hearing that. But it's a fact that can't be argued with.

Jol is talking about building a team. A club. Bringing in youth for tomorrow and looking for us to produce our own Spurs-breed players. He sees we lack depth, and he knows he has made mistakes in the transfer market before. But let's not be too harsh as the first round of players who joined the club (many who have since departed) were down to Frank Arnesen. Less said about Danny Murphy the better.

All our shortcomings are ones we have ALWAYS had. They are not weakness of Martin Jol. They are weakness of Tottenham Hotspur. With one difference. At least with this manager and this squad you can seriously sit back and say 'you know what....we ain't that bad' and people won't laugh at you.

Other fans of other clubs respect and admire Martin Jol. Some would love to have him as a manager. We have some of the best young talent in the country. It's just that Utd and Arsenal have even better young talent than us, but we are moving in the right direction.

Sometimes Jol confuses us with his tactical changes. And his rotation of players. And his current tactics away from home. But when nobody expected us to perform the way we did last year (come on, no one thought we we sit in 4th for 4 months) how can you possibly think that we are on the way down in the way of progression? Things change from one season to the next and Jol has done more for this club in under 3 years than all our managers from the past 10 years have done.

This is not about accepting second best. It's not about creating excuses to hide behind mediocre performances.

Our mentality will improve. We will start to compete when it matters. We will claim consistency.
I know some of you will read this and point the finger at me saying that I have the mentality that Carrick spoke of about Spurs. That I'm OK with losing some games. Because that's who we are....Spurs. And second best is what we do. Well, you might laugh at me, but I'm laughing back at you, because a few FA Cups in the early 80's doesn't make us an outright Premiership force in the present day.

Let me finish with something I read on a forum just a few moments ago. One member slated Spurs fans who accept the need of patience. Another member agreed and stated the following:

If Liverpool slip to 6th in the table their is a national outrage from their fans,If Spurs slip down the table it is seen as acceptable.I don't find it acceptable one bit.

And there we have it. The reason why people in my school of thinking are right, and the people in theirs are wrong. Liverpool dominated the 70's and 80's. Thats why they have the right to be outraged. What the fuck have we ever done in the League to have this kind of unjustified arrogance? It's one thing saying demanding we win every game and having the players think that way too, and its all together another thing actually believing it. Spurs fans, for more than 30 or 40 years have been content with playing great football as the main priority and living off the 1960's.

Changing the mentality of a team is hard enough, changing the mentality of a club is even harder.


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