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Ramos facing Titanic struggle

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Phil McNulty | 07:20 UK time, Monday, 6 October 2008

Juande Ramos wandered across White Hart Lane's deserted car park with a companion's arm draped consolingly around his shoulder - a man who looked resigned even if he insisted he was not resigning.

An hour earlier a small group of fans gathered on Bill Nicholson Way and ordered Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to vacate the premises, a token protest that dispersed as quickly as this season's optimism as Hull again left north London with three points.

In the background we were brushing up on our history. It was the worst Spurs start since 1912 - the year the Titanic went down, the year Scott mounted a doomed mission to the South Pole.

As omens go they are not good. Take your pick, but whichever way you look the reign of Ramos at Spurs is in deep trouble as they prop up the Premier League.

Spurs did not play badly on Sunday, but there is a glaring lack of leadership on and off the pitch that is draining away any hopes they had of making a serious impression this season.

And in the centre of the vortex is Ramos, the man who knew only glory at Sevilla and who enjoyed a spectacularly false dawn with last season's Carling Cup triumph against Chelsea.

He told us, in faltering but improving English, that "all the people" were responsible for Spurs' almost unthinkable position at the foot of the table.

And yet he will know that if Spurs continue to lose, responsibility will ultimately be his - with director of football Damien Comolli possibly thrown in for good measure.

Ramos also struggles with the legacy of Martin Jol, with a straw poll among Spurs fans making it clear great affection remains for the Dutchman so ruthlessly and hastily dispatched by Levy last season.

They do not see Ramos as an upgrade on Jol and results bear out their opinion, with the latter flourishing at the Bundesliga summit with Hamburg.

Spurs have gifted players, but tactically there is no plan and Ramos's inertia was in sharp contrast to the pro-activity of his Hull counterpart Phil Brown as the media sat just yards away from the dug-out on Sunday.

Brown will empathise with the pressures placed on Ramos. After all, he was sacked in short order by Derby County (looks a great decision now does it not?), leaving with dignity before rebuilding his career at Hull.

But the two men looked poles apart when it came to motivation and body language as the rain lashed White Hart Lane.

Ramos was almost unmoved throughout the game, apart from the odd semaphore gesture. He wore a permanently mournful expression, and whatever messages he was trying to get across to his team looked to be falling on deaf ears.

Brown did everything apart from step on the pitch and play in the game. He warmed up in training kit with his players before switching to a sharp suit and fashionable ear-piece in time for the start.

He turned to his substitutes prior to kick-off and did a jig of anticipatory delight. An old-fashioned clearance from one of his defenders was met with a clenched fist and on one occasion he physically went through the motion of making a clearance for Michael Turner.

Brown provided almost minute-by-minute directions whereas Ramos looked lost as another game drifted away.

When Hull looked to the sidelines they got leadership, while Spurs got nothing apart from the odd wave of the arm and a quizzical glance from a man who almost seemed detached from the action.

Ramos's only contributions as the game slipped away were mystifying.

David Bentley came on for Chris Gunter and filled in at right-back. He actually did it with a measure of success but is this the sign of a considered strategy? The man who came for £17m from Blackburn to fill the right-flank role used as an auxiliary defender?


It is not going to improve his England chances, as he discovered shortly after the final whistle when he was jettisoned by Fabio Capello.

Roman Pavlyuchenko looked only vaguely interested before limping off, and with a faltering attack supported by a midfield lacking a general, it is only a matter of time before the defence comes under pressure.

And yet there were signs of promise amid the debris of another Spurs defeat. Jermaine Jenas drove them in the first 45 minutes, while Gareth Bale and Gunter form a promising young full-back pairing.

There is room for improvement and if Spurs repeat Sunday's performance on another day, then there will be occasions when they win, but this can be no consolation as they examine their current plight.

Spurs were backed by a hugely supportive White Hart Lane crowd, who were virtually unwavering until the final whistle, when they let out a frustrated chorus of jeering that was almost a reflex action.

But we get back to that lack of leadership and a transfer policy that looks more flawed with every passing week.

Luka Modric (or Luka Moderate as he was cruelly labelled by one critic) looks as if he is not enjoying the rough and tumble of the Premier League. He may blossom in a good team, but Spurs are not that team at present.

Giovani dos Santos looks a luxury Spurs cannot afford in the current climate. He does not appear part of any grand plan.

Ramos is under growing pressure, and he will not be protected by the lucrative terms of his contract forever if Spurs continue to lose.

So where has this Spurs malaise come from when the season was ushered in with such ambition and hope?

Ramos came perilously close to giving the game away when he said: "It is difficult for us to score goals. This is the main reason for no wins.

"The position of striker is the most weak. With only two strikers it is difficult."

In what was a harsh, but scrupulously fair, after-match interrogation, this was the question that drove at the heart of Spurs' problems.

If a lack of attacking options has taken Spurs on a voyage to the bottom of the Premier League, who is responsible for that?

Spurs chairman Levy must take his share, a man so intent on winning his battle for £30m with Manchester United for Dimitar Berbatov that he lost the war to boost his striking strength after the additional departures of Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane.

Comolli is also in the dock as the man who master-minds (a term used in its loosest sense admittedly) their transfer policy, and was reduced to accepting Fraizer Campbell on loan from United as part of the Berbatov deal with time ticking away before the transfer window closed.

Campbell looks exactly what he is. He is a promising youngster who is a work in progress and his presence drew more excitement from Hull fans than the home crowd after his loan spell on Humberside last season.

If he does well, United will take him back with thanks. A win-win in their dealings with the king of the hard bargain Levy.

If, as someone once said, you will not win anything with kids, there is another brutal footballing fact.

This states that you will not win trophies with an attack that is a blend of youth and mediocrity, which is currently what Spurs have at their disposal.

Pavlyuchenko looks a punt at £14m while Darren Bent carries the same demeanour that Chris Sutton had at Chelsea and James Beattie struggled with at Everton - right man wrong club.

Ramos cut a sorrowful figure as he faced the media. The downbeat, stony expression that passed for inner strength in his early days now looks like a mask of puzzled despair.

He needs to find it within himself to lead this talented but rudderless group of players and to stamp his own imprint on a squad seemingly fashioned by someone else.

Ramos summoned up his limited English to announce: "This is my job. I am the same whether we win or lose."

He was half right. It is his job if they win. If they lose, then it might be a different matter.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Good Article Phil, personally I think the writing was on the wall last season.

    Spurs won the Carling Cup, a decent achievement, but the fact that they then completely went into hibernation afterward was pretty ridicluous. You don't just stop playing because you've qualified for the Uefa cup. surely theres still pride to play for.

    Now there's not even that by the look and sound of things.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nice writing Phil,

    Picked out their problems nicely.

    Seems strange to have a club in such trouble, that actually admits where it has gone and is going wrong. ie sold all their strikers and didn't bring in people who could play together.

    It seems everybody, Phil Mcnulty, Phil Brown, me, the bloke from the Sun, even the Tottenham board all know what's wrong, but no-one knows what to do about it!!

    I say re-negotiate all the contracts and prepare for a battle in the Championship.

    Spurs' plight is a shame in some ways but you can't help being slightly amused, especially after the disgraceful treatment of Martin Jol last year.
    It seems the messiahs turned out to be Brians at both Newcastle and Tottenham.

  • Comment number 3.

    The spurs board are reaping what they have sown with their daft pursuit of ramos over jol, and a conveyer belt of transfers.

    By treating players like commodities that they can increase in value and sell on, there is no loyalty or feeling of belonging at the club.

    Is Corluka really better than Chimbonda? Is Dos Santos an improvement upon Malbranque? More importantly, why do we sell to our main rivals? You wouldn't catch fergie selling to Liverpool or Chelsea, so why do we sell our better squad players to Villa and Portsmouth?

    We all knew that Berbatov was too good for Spurs, and it was a matter of time before he left. Selling Keane was very disappointing, as his contribution to the team was always far greater. And we all knew that selling Defoe was a mistake at the time, but this has now been vindicated by the performances of our current strikeforce - who are totally unproven.

    Changing the manager and/or players each season is not contributing to better performances. In any other business - and that's what Spurs is (ask Daniel Levy) - the chairman will be judged on performance. While changes downstairs can yield results, it hasn't worked, and perhaps it is time to look elsewhere to find the man responsible...

  • Comment number 4.

    The sale of Berbatov was, in my opinion, badly handled.

    Of course Spurs have every right to ask for what they consider to be the asking price, but they left it too late to do a deal.

    They clearly did not want to be seen to be caving in to United, again admirable, but by the time a deal was done there was little or no time to line up the requisite re-inforcements.

    It was clear from the end of last season that Berbatov was going.

    A deal should have been struck earlier, giving Spurs the time and money to make sure they did not enter the new season under-strength.

  • Comment number 5.

    The consistency of team selection this season has been a big cause of the problems in my view.

    While we know that there's a problem with King's long term fitness to explain the centre back rotation, that doesn't mean he's got to rotate the rest of the team in sympathy!

    Up front we've played Bent alone up, Pav alone, Bent and Pav, Bent and Campbell and Pav and Campbell. How are they supposed to form an understanding when there all so new? I don't understand how Ramos and Poyet are so quick to say that Bent and Pav can't play together either, partnerships take time and that's something they've not had together - take Crouch and Defoe and Torres and Keane, first few matches they didn't seem to gel but are now developing good understanding.

    Problem is the same with Modric, instead of getting time he's being played all over the pitch, and again with Lennon / Bentley / Dos Santos / Bale who seem to be reguarly rotated in playing and position every match.

    The other problem is with our attacking play - at the moment we seem to be getting loads of crosses into the box each match but no real good chances. Bent is not getting the kind of balls that he thrieves upon e.g. balls played in front of him for him to run onto using his pace, instead balls are fired into the box to his head or feet.

    You'd have thought he'd have learnt from Faffa at Liverpool that rotating every week just doesn't work in the premier league.

  • Comment number 6.


    Is their current team really much better than this? By my reckoning these players have all been sold by Spurs in recent years. I do feel as well, that from this list, the loss of Carrick has hurt Spurs the most. They lack a quality holding midfield player who can play the killer ball. As a man united fan it is clear to see that our team suffers when carrick is injured. Spurs, in my opinion have become a feeder club, which they should never be. Based in London, not strapped for cash and steeped in history, you have to wander where it all went wrong?

  • Comment number 7.

    I have a lot of sympathy for Ramos. This isn't the squad that he would have envisaged having when making his summer transfer plans. The Berbatov thing should have been sorted out long before it went to the end of the transfer window. They should have signed Arshavin instead of Pavluychenko, they shouldn't have sold Defoe if they were going to end up selling Keane as well. It was no good buying Pavluychenko and saying he and Bent couldn't play together when they were the only strikers they would have, until Campbell was desperately brought in.

    At the same time I'm mystified at where some of the players have been asked to play. Luka Modric in a holding midfield role? Giovanni dos Santos had a bright start but now like many of the players just looks depressed at what is going on. They have two injury prone centre halves in King and Woodgate and not much back-up apart from Dawson. They don't really have a leader in central midfield, although Zokora has done his best he's not quite good enough.

    I don't think they should sack Ramos because I really don't see what problems that would solve. But they really need to think short term now, make sure they get up the table and regroup for the 2009-2010 season, because this season's going to be a battle.

  • Comment number 8.

    Some really good tactical points made there about inconsistency of selection.

    It is a fact that partnerships need to develop all over the pitch to make a successful team.

    I have been surprised by the speed with which Bentley has been relegated to the bench.

    Has he been that bad? Has Aaron Lennon been that good?

    Bentley oozes a confidence bordering on over-confidence at times, but maybe even he needs time to settle in.

  • Comment number 9.

    you indeed got it right!!

    why the hell did they go around selling players that won the Carling cup for us. i know some of them wanted to move on but seriously, don't sell both of your strikers and then blame the poor start on the fact that you have two strikers that cant play together.

    Ramos pull your finger out, in fact tottenham board and players sort it out!!

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm not a Spurs fan, but whilst I would agree with a great deal of this article, Ramos doesn't strike me as clueless or tacticless, he seems to have given up. Let's be clear Ramos can only work with what that clown Comoli provides him with. Comoli sells the most creative players, the club's only attacking talent, and some proven performers to Liverpool, Man United and Sunderland and replaces them with what? Pure rubbish. If I were Ramos I'd go through the motions too and wait for the £15 million payout. After the way Levy and Comoli have treated him, I'm sorry, but he owes Spurs nothing. Tottenham Hotspur have religation written all over them.

  • Comment number 11.

    Cant believe the number of people jumping the gun here? Yeah, ok, Spurs have had a shocking start but, surely, with all the comings and goings on the player front, what did people expect?

    Im not a Spurs fan but when you look at the players they have, they arent relegation candidates. Bentley has proven he can be a big fish in a small pond(Sorry Blackburn fans), Modric has proved on the Intl stage he can do it and Jenas is a steady premiership player. Spurs have some talented defenders and actually seem to have solved the puzzle that has evaded many over the years with keeping Woodgate fit. Problem is with Ledley King. Yep, very good defender but how can anyside aspire to anything without a settled back four?

    Spurs will finish mid table.

  • Comment number 12.

    I jst hope that with all this protesting by the Tottenham fans that they dont end up in a similar situation as Newcastle.
    There were many positive signs from Tottenhams play on Sunday that they may be turning the corner.
    I hope that they will stick with current management as stability at this moment in time would be more constructive than an upheavil of the management.
    Please Tottenham fans, just look at what the Newcastle fans did to their club and ask yourself this question.
    Do you want to be the new Newcastle?

  • Comment number 13.

    One of the few articles that you have written that I have enjoyed, maybe thats because it could bring spurs fans back to earth.

    You'd think getting 2 points out of 21 would be a reality check for anyone, but not some spurs fans. They still think they can finish in the top 4.

  • Comment number 14.

    It's hard to know where to start.
    The move for Ramos was allegdly "inspired" by Comolli and Kemsley (who quit a year ago).
    Jol had achieved 2 consecutive 5th places and most feel his treatment was undeserved and disgraceful.
    True Jol didn't address the defensive deficiencies but maybe Commoli was the problem here.
    The fire sale that ensued in the summer was a mix of wheeler dealing and some common sense.
    However it was as clear as night follows day that Berbatov was going to move and having foolishly let Defoe go in January it would leave the team with Keane and Bent.
    Keane going was a bombshell but they should have been in the market for a striker (to replace Berbs) months earlier.
    Levy's brinkmanship didn't pay off and his hollow threats to Liverpool and Man Utd were seen as just words coming from empty vessels.
    However Ramos doesn't cut a happy figure and their seems little leadership on or off the pitch.
    Whilst I don't subscribe to the hire and fire policy something has to change and FAST.

  • Comment number 15.

    I can't understand it.
    Ramos is foreign isn't he? Isn't that a guarantee of success?
    Why else would English clubs fall over themselves to appoint foreign managers?
    West Ham have gone one step further. They've employed a foreigner with no club management experience.
    Well done Brown and Megson but think how much better you both could have done if English was your second language instead of your first.

  • Comment number 16.

    I for one am glad that Spurs have had such a poor start to the season, it has certainly brought their fans down a fair few notches.

    It isnt just Bentley that oozes arrogance, it is the whole club, players and fans!

    That being said, i think they will turn it around once the manager sorts out some of his selection issues!

  • Comment number 17.

    In the background we were brushing up on our history. It was the worst Spurs start since 1912 - the year the Titanic went down, the year Scott mounted a doomed mission to the South Pole.

    Phil; You make some silly comparasions to none football events but why dont you post a football relevant omen?

    Was it not after the 1912-1913 season that Arsenal were relegated??? Does that look like happening anytime soon??

  • Comment number 18.

    I should clarify the point about the protest from fans.

    I made it clear this was a small group and I was struck by how patient and supportive the Spurs fans were throughout the game.

    I also spoke to many Spurs supporters who were still bitter about Jol's departure and treatment.

    He had, after all, guided them to successive fifth places playing good football.

    Ramos is clearly not a bad manager, but it seems to me there is just something basically wrong with the management structure at Spurs.

    Comolli is seen as the villain of the piece among Spurs fans.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I always believe the manager should have the sole say on any incomong or outgoing transfers - not the director of football.

    Wonder would Kevin Keegan agree with me?

  • Comment number 19.


    I think the Director of Football debate is a red herring. Tell me which other busines with a £70m turnover would allow one person to go ahead and spend £16m on an asset (Bent) and a depreciating asset at that without it being vetted by other managers/directors? I think it is quite right to have the added control of a DOF.

    However, like all good businesses, there needs to be clear lines of authority and a shared vision. Arnesen and Jol had that. Comolli does not with either Jol or Ramos.

    Levy is not as bright as he thinks he is; the structure of its own can never produce the required result. Every business is a people's business, and the best football clubs recognise that; they do not try and elimiate that risk by imposing a structure without due consideration for the people running that club.

  • Comment number 20.

    I watched the pre-season friendlies, and was suckered in to the belief that we were going to have a great season. Berbatov wasn't playing, yet we still looked like a class side. We haven't been deprived of players through injury or suspension (Hutton aside - you can't count Ledley as you don't expect him to play more than 67 minutes a season), so it is astounding that we can now be so poor.
    In my mind, I know what I think our best starting 11 is, and in what formation they will play. I don't think that Ramos has the slightest. He seems to be going through all of the permutations and combinations that he can think of - by 2145 he should have found the correct one. And it won't involve Bentley at right back. Or Zokora at right back. Or Gilberto anywhere.
    The most annoying thing is that I have made a rash bet with my liverpool supporting friend which means that when - no longer if - they finish above us, I will have to have my chest hair waxed, and if Peter Reid had a monkeys heeed, then I have his chest. But even that pain won't be as severe as that of the sheer disappointment of watching a potentially exciting team perform as woefully as they have been

  • Comment number 21.

    Fair comment from HMS Hotspur...but who was the person who decided to spend £16m on Bent?

    Do we actually know who that was?

    This is the problem at Spurs. Who is responsible for what?

    Clear lines of authority are needed. The position of chairman speaks for itself, but my view is that you need a good manager in place and he is then instrumental in the discussions over who should be the director of football.

    I don't think it should be the other way round.

    Just my opinion. I am sure plenty would not agree.

  • Comment number 22.

    Im not a tottenham fan but to me Levy would be the one I would single out.

    They way he pursued Ramos in the middle of the season isn't too different from tapping up in my opinion. Then he has the cheek to say Man U done the same for berbatov, and in the end his arrogance led to them not having time to get a replacement in of sufficient quality.

    Spurs have brought very average players in when they have sold quality..and have no-one who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and push the team foward.

    Saying that im not convinced too many 'world-class' players wouldve wanted to go to Spurs in the summer.

    Although directors of football are the norm in europe and I can understand why clubs have them but to me it should always be someone who knows the club and its history well, and they should work for the manager, not the other way round.

  • Comment number 23.

    Excellent article. Couldn't agree more with your comparisons between the two managers throughout the game.

    Ramos is clearly an astute tactician but Phil Brown again outwitted a top manager.

    I don't think it's so much the "arrogance" of players like Bentley and Modric, more their bosses' decision to change the team game after game.

    Gus Poyet needs to bring his experience to the fore and assist him in their pursuit of a first win.

    As a neutral follower of the Premier League I really wanted Spurs to challenge the big 4 but it doesn't seem likely now, hopefully they wont go down though.

  • Comment number 24.

    I agree, Phil, perhaps the Manager should choose the DOF. I remember just before Jol left that he said, after he had seen pictures of the delegation in Seville, that he feared for Comolli's job; he knew that the DOF at Seville was one of the best around!

    Perhaps we did get the wrong man from Seville!

    Although I didn't want Jol to go, I really do rate Ramos. But his body language is shocking. He looks like a rabbit in the headlights. I'm sorry guys, as much as a I am all for stability, we might have to put him out of his misery and move on. He looks beyond shell-shocked, he looks paralysed with fear. Either he snaps out it fast, or we could be down by Christmas.

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent article!

  • Comment number 26.

    I diasgree with all of those who say Ramos is not to blame. Im extremely baffled by his team choices and substitutions. Leaving Jenas from the starting line-up against Aston Villa, or taking Lennon off against Hull proved it. Both these players have stood out and in very badly performing team.
    Where is Huddlestone? If he is not a better player than Modric, well I dont know what Spurs team I have been watching.
    We used to have a young and free flowing team, comprised mainly of young British players, lead by a man (Martin Jol) that had Spurs close to his heart. Now we have a leader who the players do not even understand.... do they really take-in Ramos half time talks?? I doubt it. All Ramos new purchases are flops. We keep hearing that these players need time to settle in... did Klinsmann or Berbatov need time to settle in?? I dont think so.
    As a loyal and devoted Spurs supporter, I am sad to say we will be playing in the Championship next season as I can not see us beating any of the other Premier League teams (even though we are only 7 games into the season).
    But Ramos will be ok - he will quit the club and return back to sunny Spain and never ever think about Spurs again.
    His heart is not in our club! We need a new leader who does care for our club.

  • Comment number 27.

    From my point of view, if Commolli isn't the first out of the door at White Hart Lane if there are to be any personnel changes, then there is little hope.

    This is, essentially, the man tasked with making sure someone was ready to come in on deadline day to facilitate the Berbatov deal. Instead of putting up an extra £1-2m for Arshavin (who could have made Pavyluchenko settle in a lot easier), he was reported to have waddled around trying to get Heskey and Ashton with scattergun bids, and then had to fall back on Frazier Campbell.

    I wasn't happy to see Martin Jol go, but if Spurs do sack Ramos within the next month, the club may as well go on the road with Newcastle United as part of some warped travelling circus.

  • Comment number 28.

    As a spurs fan I think we sold the right players in the summer and bought the right ones too, with the exceptions of Keane who did more than just score goals, he drove the team, he was always shouting at the other players and lead from the front.

    I dont agree with how Berbatov was sold, but he was going, so accept it as an example was needed to be made.

    What dismayed me and I think is part of our problem is that we did not replace Keane immediately, (Pav is a replacement for Berba) so are short of an experienced striker who links midfield with attack and scores goals.

    This combined with a lack of leadership and a ball winning tough player(not Zokora) in midfield is our problem, the team is in effect rudderless and unable to score goals, hence our curren position.

    The game against Chelsea gave us hope, but our goal had an element of luck about it, it did show the exact type of ball that Bent thrives upon and if we had Carrick(who we still miss) he would be scoring plenty!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    I maybe one of the few Spurs fans but I like Darren Bent, but as I said earlier we're not playing the right kind of passes to get the most out of him. I'm confident if we can get that right he will score a lot of goals.

    We spent most of the summer buying creative midfielders and now seem to be unable to create good opportunities.

    Bentley hasn't started off the season well but he's new I'm sure he'll get better in time, however as he was primarily bought in for his crossing and set piece ability and has been very poor in both of these (apart from yesterday) so far that explains why he's been dropped.

    The other problem is that we don't appear to have a passionate get stuck in / ball winner / battler in the squad who will be necessary for such times - besides Jamie O'Hara who would therefore be an absolute must pick in my view.

  • Comment number 30.

    no offence to Ramos, he is a good manager and all, but bring back Jol!

  • Comment number 31.

    I agree with you that some of his substitutions are questionable to say the least.

    And what's going on with Huddlestone, Bentley, Lennon? Should some of the younger players like Taraabt be given a go?

    It seems to me that the main issue is the midfield?

  • Comment number 32.

    The other thing that Is hurting is the lack of progression of some of our players. Lennon is at least beginning to look like more than a one trick pony - he now will sometimes get the ball, run really fast to the touchline and hit the first defender with his cross instead of running really fast to the touchline and then beyond, taking out two 7 year old ball boys with him. Huddlestone is the biggest - in more than one way - disappointment. He is a superb passer of the ball, he has a great shot, and great close control. But he has no idea about position or movement. He reminds me of Jan Molby 6 years past his pomp.
    The theory behind the transfer policy of the last few seasons seemed to be to get young, potential filled players from not just England, and allow them to develop - cynics might say so that they could be sold on for more money. But players like Huddlestone, Kaboul, Dawson, Lennon and even O'Hara seem to have gone backwards. I pity Bostock for choosing a club with such a poor record on developing - rather than just identifying - young talent

  • Comment number 33.


    Very well said.

    As a Spurs fan all my life, I've seen the up's and down's that this club has gone through over time.

    However, I believe that under Martin Jol, we had a squad, (with the addition of a world class GK, a left winger and 2 fit centre backs,) that could have definately push for the top 4 year after year. Unfortunately those days are gone.....for now.

    It is no coincidence that the two 5th place finishes were at a time when Edgar Davids was playing in the midfield.... The premier league is full of exceptional holding midfielders, and Davids was one of those. He let us play, knowing that when things broke down up front, he'd be there to win the ball back. And what did we do......get rid of him!!!

    So it's all well and good saying that we don't score, but also plainly obvious that those attacking players such as Pav, Modric, Bentley, Lennon, etc are worried about what's going on behind how are they ever going to show their class???

    Levy needs to dig deep and sign a striker, but most importantly a holding midfielder, such as Davids, who will be able to let the £77mill of tallent play. Only then will relegation be averted.......but I think that we're really in for a bumpy ride this season!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Just a point regarding your comments on Phil Brown's sacking at Derby - it was a great decision. If Brown had stayed at Derby we would almost certainly have been relegated to League 1, we would not have hired Billy Davies and we would not have had the season in the Premiership (however embarrasing it was) that has put the club on a firm financial footing once again.

    By his own admission, the Phil Brown we had managing Derby is not the same one who is currently managing Hull, and while most Derby fans are extremely glad he is doing so well at Hull, we are equally glad he is not still in charge of our club.

  • Comment number 35.

    An interesting insight into Spurs myriad of problems Phil.
    However you did not mention the mystifying substitution of Lennon, who was the main threat to Hull's excellent defence.
    Also surely on the training ground Spurs could practice some more imaginative corners; yesterday Spurs had numerous corners but never looked remotely like scoring from them due to their mediocre delivery and lack of imaginative, purposeful movement in the box. I was impressed that when defending corners Hull left two forwards up the pitch; why don't more teams take this approach?
    Even I am losing faith in Ramos and Poyet; having long ago lost it in Comolli and Levy.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think the sale of Keane was the real wild card in Spurs' summer.

    It was widely accepted and expected that Berbatov would go, but the idea of Keane leaving for Liverpool came right out of left-field.

    Spurs were not expecting to have to factor that into their calculations.

    Interesting to see a comment in support of Darren Bent.

    Bent did a fantastic job in a Charlton side that struggled, so he can get goals in the Premier League.

    But he arrived when Spurs already had Defoe, Keane and Berbatov - three very effective and hugely popular players at that time.

    It was very tough for him to get his foot in the door and gather the momentum to make a serious impression.

  • Comment number 37.

    Good article Phil.

    They normally are except when Liverpool and/or England are the subject matter

    A well written assessment of the current predicament of Spurs.

  • Comment number 38.

    is Comolli an Arsenal fan? It seems that he is single mindedly out to relegate Spurs and the slide is as bad as the stock exchange when banks are crunching credit. With the momentum building up I don't think it will stop at the champions league we could be passing AFC Wimbledon in a couple of years as they continue their meteoric rise!

    I can't think why anyone would want to sell all their strikers at once. Imagine SAF selling Ronaldo, Rooney and Berby in one summer or Arsene Wenger selling Adebayour, Van Persie and Walcott in a summer or chelsea selling Drogba Lampard and Anelka. I do not recognise half the spurs team so I am not surprised that the team don't know each other, but surely thats why they train...

  • Comment number 39.

    Just purely out of interest (and certainly not because I want Ramos to go until he's had more of a chance) but does anyone have any ideas who they would like to be our next manager? And please, keep it sensible, I'm afraid Bill Nicholson died a few years ago. I'd like Darren Anderton, but only because I'd like to see how many post-match interviews he'd make before injuring his mouth.

  • Comment number 40.

    Fair enough there's been a ridiculous amount of mistakes at boardroom level with the selling of Keane/Berbatov/Defoe and others, but Ramos has a group of players at his disposal that should at least be beating lower half teams like Hull, Wigan, Sunderland and Middlesboro.

    They have a shakey (at best) defence but going forward Modric, Jenas, Bentley, Lennon, Pav and Bent. Thats a good team. Better than the Sunderlands and Boro's of the league. Its a case of getting the players to believe they can win. Pav and Bent havent had a chance to work together yet.

    Its Stoke next away then Bolton at home. This should be the turning point for Spurs. If they get anything less than 4 points there then my money is on Ramos to be turfed out before crimbo.

  • Comment number 41.

    The whole transfer policy is ridiculous. Berbatov should have gone as soon as it was clear he wanted to go. Levy managed to hold out and get his extra few million, but at what cost?

    If Pavychenko was a transfer target all summer they should have bought him when Keane left allowing him to have a rest for the summer.

    It's painfully obvious that Spurs are missing a Defensive Midfielder, instead of wasting £15 million quid on Bentley, Veloso should have been 1st on their shopping list.

  • Comment number 42.

    Who is responsible? The person or persons who decided to sell Defoe and Keane should be responsible!!!

    The person who thought Bent is a better striker than Defoe is plain stupid. OK Defoe was behind the packing order of Bebartov and Keane but Bent? Give me a break.

    In Bebartov you have a very good striker, good techniques and knows where the goal is. But he is only a goal scorer; he needs people to create chances for him. However in Keane, not only he scores goals he creates too! How many times we see him coming back to the half way line to retrieve the ball before sending it to Bebartov?! Also he is Spurs vice captain so surely, he is the kind of leader they are lacking at the moment.

  • Comment number 43.

    Spurs' revolving door policy with their players and managers doesn't bode well for Ramos and Comolli, however I can't see how giving either of them the sack is going to solve anything.

    They need a ball winner in midfield, a quality centre forward and they're going to need some extra cover at centre back, but for the next three months they've just got to make it work with what they've got.

    People keep saying 'Spurs will be mid table', 'they are only a few wins away from being in the top half of the table', but the Premier League is going to be really tough this year. All the teams at the bottom have shown that they are capable of winning games and Spurs are unquestionably last on merrit right now.

    A West Ham team boasting the talents of David James, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jemaine Defoe, Paolo Di Canio, Trevor Sinclair and Freddi Kanoute got relegated with 42 points in 2003, so let no one utter the phrase 'too good to go down'!

  • Comment number 44.

    Like this Phil, well done!

    As some have already referred to and as I have said more than once to friends, colleagues and on blogs - this goes way deeper that the start of this season!

    Ramos did not win the Carling Cup! It was done before he came along; Jol's team, Jol's ethics and Jol's influence. Our form since he took over is nothing short of relegation material. Hard to swallow it is, but its fact!

    Further, I dont think the so called 'continental' style set-up works. Commoli should go - we appointed Ramos, but was Poyet his No2 at Seville? How many of his Management Team came with him? How players the we have signed are 'his' players? Who engineered this whole set-up?......

    A Manager needs complete and utter control of everything to do with the team.

    I am Spurs through and through, but I do not see things improving in the immediate future and that hurts!

    We amongst us dont know the answer and I am absoluitely sure that The Club doesnt either!

  • Comment number 45.

    I do not think Spurs had any chance of keeping Keane once Liverpool showed their hand.

    They were at the top of a small list of clubs he would have left Spurs for.

    The signing of Bent was strange (especially the £16m price) given the attacking resources available at that time.

    It appeared that Spurs were effectively forced into paying that fee because that was the price West Ham had agreed, only for Bent to decline the move.

    And, as I have stated, I agree totally that the sale of Berbatov was left far too late.

  • Comment number 46.

    Although losing Keane and Berbatov was obviously a bitter blow, I reckon the main oversight (coming from a manager who is supposed to be tactically aware), was in not signing a world-class defensive midfielder.

    Meanwhile, he lets Tainio go to Sunderland for a relatively modest fee.

    Also, he moans about strikers but Bent, Pavlyuchenko and Campbell would all score goals if they had a balanced, functioning midfield behind them.

    Let's face it, there are teams with far weaker striking options than Spurs doing well in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 47.

    Now I'm reading that if Ramos was fired, Spurs would have to pay him the remainder of his contract (15m!!).

    Is football the only profession in the world where there are no set performance measurements set into contracts? Is it no longer legally acceptable to fire someone from their position due to them under performing, or doing a terrible job?

  • Comment number 48.

    Spurs need some fighters in there desperately. This is not just from the perspective of having a defensive minded midfielder but more someone who is willing to run, tackle, niggle and press the ball (Rooney, Gerrard, Tevez etc). These people raise the spirit of the crowd and their team-mates and provide a different kind of leadership to the traditional John Terry type which is quite obviously missing at Spurs.

    This in turn allows the more gifted players (modric, bentley etc) to flourish in the increased space. In honesty spurs were unlucky at the weekend, a brilliant goal from geovani and several near misses cost them dearly.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    So what team do the spurs fans think they should be playing?

    Fitness permitting I would have thought something like:


    Corluka King Woodgate Bale

    Lennon Jenas Zokora OHara



    The 2nd striker and where to fit in Modric do seem to be real problems.

  • Comment number 51.

    there went my lunch break

  • Comment number 52.

    One of the major factors for Spurs is the continuing injury problems of Ledley King. He is a real class act, but unfortunately cannot string a run of games together.

    I spoke to Alan Hansen last week and he felt the biggest problem was in midfield.

    He said once Spurs lost the ball, they did not have anyone capable of getting it back on a consistent basis.

  • Comment number 53.


  • Comment number 54.

    I would have to disagree with that team EddieRoooo....


    Hutton Corluka Woodgate Bale

    Bentley KING Jenas Modric

    Bent Pavlyuchenko

    We need to go to basic 4-4-2 and fit KING in there and I would fit him in as the Holding midfielder - Jenas has the legs! For now at least anyway. I think Corluka is good enough and when Hutton is fit he would play every time for me. I feel bad leaving Lennon out, but statistics prove that he doesnt really add much.

    I also think that I would use Huddlestone and Ohara more than they are at the moment and there would be a place in my squad for someone eccentric and unpredictable, but highly skilled like Tarabbt!

  • Comment number 55.

    Samwell2804 - think I've got the same problem...

  • Comment number 56.

    The thing is if you look at the Spurs signings on a one by one basis then they look like good addittions. The trouble is that when you look at the squad as a whole they appear decidedly unbalanced. The cardinal sin here is that these problems were also there last season - lack of leadership in the middle of the park, midfield lacking an 'enforcer' to provide cover for a shaky defence, a shaky defence in the first place, no left midfield. Who to blame for this is unclear, Ramos is manager but Comolli appears to have a major role in player transfers.

    Levy must also take blame, especially on the Berbatov situation. Everyone knew he was going to go. We all knew that it'd probably end up being around £30m give or take a bit. His hard negotiating stance has just ended up weakening the side as no replacement was there.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hansen is unfortunately right, both Zokora and Jenas must be the best trainers in the world otherwise we would have been shopping ages ago. I am praying for Lassanna Diarra but we better start playing to even have a chance of attracting such a talented footballer

  • Comment number 58.

    Phil - this message board is full of people (myself included) saying that Spurs need a new striker, ball winner, etc etc, but what are they going to do until the winter transfer window opens in January?

    They haven't got the strikers to attack their way out of trouble, and they don't have the defense to grind their way out of trouble.

    If Spurs are still down the bottom in January they will already looking down the barrell, like West Ham were in 2003.

    Also - how is the UEFA Cup going to affect them? I think in their current crisis, they might have been better off if they had been eliminated before the group stages.

  • Comment number 59.

    I still think it's too early to judge Ramos.

    He lost two of his most important players, Berbatov and Keane and the new signings need time to settle. He's also only been in the job for a year, which really isn't long enough to build and gel a side to compete in the Premiership and during the building process, there will be a lot of inconsistent performances. This is the reason why I think the board need to give him time.

    When the likes of Pavlyuchenko start scoring, Spurs will climb the table.

    I know Spurs wont even want to contemplate relegation, but they should know more than anyone that changing your manager every year at the first sign of trouble isn't the way to go.

  • Comment number 60.

    I am as puzzled as anyone about what is going on at WHL but if Ramos was to go, do you really think That Martin Jol would even consider coming back to Tottenham after the way he was treated by the management last year.

    I dont think so!

  • Comment number 61.


  • Comment number 62.

    I think the article is very good. The only thig better than the article is Spurs position in the table, Chuckle Chuckle.

  • Comment number 63.

    30 million+ for Berbatov is a lot of money.
    This is a man who scored 12 league goals in his first premier league season and a whopping 15 in his second.
    I understand that people like the way that he plays football but is he really the missing piece in the UTD puzzle or the reason for all Tottenham's woes? I'm not so sure!
    He's alright but he's no Mikkel Beck!

  • Comment number 64.

    I'd go for a 3,2,4,1 formation:

    Corluka, Woody, King
    Zokora, Jenas
    Bentley, Modric, Bale
    Bent, Pav.

    Hud, Hutton, Giovani, Lennon, O'Hara, Gunter and Cesar on the bench.

    Am willing to accept Hutton for Corluka, and possibly Lennon for Modric with Bentley coming inside.

    On the other hand, get Huddlestone to learn how to position himself in defensive midfield, and I switch to a 442 with Bale dropping back, Zokora on the bench and Lennon and Bentley on the wings, switching every so often between left and right.

    Don't know if this is the best, but it beats having gilberto on the wing.

  • Comment number 65.

    Contrast Ramos with Kinnear?

  • Comment number 66.

    Sorry, meant 3,2,3,2

  • Comment number 67.

    What is intriguing is all this talk that Spurs will sign Andriy Arshavin in January.

    If this is true, is he actually what Spurs need? Is there room for him and Modric in the same team?

    Surely Spurs need a powerful presence, a ball-winner, rather than another diminutive artist?

  • Comment number 68.

    Berbatov might not have been a 30-goal-a-season man but along with Keane they contributed something like three quatres of Spurs' goals over the past two season.

    Any team would miss that sort of output, and unfortunately for Spurs, I can't see Pavyluchenko/Bent/Campbell making up those numbers

  • Comment number 69.

    I think this is a briliant situation for spurs, from the end of last season for a good month spurs on these forums were saying they we re gonna be in fifth place easily and probably in the top four at the expense of arsenl or liverpool some were even claiming they would be title challengers. This is great spurs look rubbish so far.

    Come on you spuds.

  • Comment number 70.

    johng237 - i feel for u aswell if it aint accepting your comments

  • Comment number 71.

    For once I agree with Alan Hanson. We have no player who can win the ball back and provide to our abundance of flair players.

    We need and have needed for 2 seasons at least a strong tackling all action midfielder who can do simple passes, we have needed this since Carrick and Davids left and why we didnt buy one in the summer i'll never know, I would have prefered Veloso no matter the cost over Modric anyday!!!

    The Ledley King scenario is clouding the issue in my opinion, Woodgate (who has to date been virtually injury free - touch wood lol) has been excellent, along with corluka I think, are a good pairing, King should be on the bench and used as a substitue where his injury problems should be negated by only playing 30 mins a game when needed.

    We need 2 players in Jan, an alternative striker and a ball winning midfielder. If we can pick up some decent points and get up the table 5 or 6 places by then and purchase those players I think a decent team we will become!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    No youth policy, Ledley King being the only player in the current team to come through the ranks, and he's 27 now!

    No passion, could this be linked to no players coming through the youth policy? No home grown talent to give people pride and passion for the club.

    Don't the top teams have players who have come through the youth system to push the other team members on. i'm thinking Gerrard, Carragher, G.Neville, Giggs, Terry, Lampard, Barry (they all come from the areas in which they play their football)

    Woodgate should be Captain as he is our most played and consistent player. Why choose Jenas and then drop him the next game??

    We really miss Steed Malbranque and Chimbonda, they were decent players and Steed did not want to leave.

    3 years ago we had a problem on the left midfield and central midfield and nothing was done about it, now we still have those problems but also upfront.

    If we are going to have a system where we have a technical director of football buying the players then surely with no leader or youth policy we need to have a man manager who can motivate the team to great things .

    Personally I dont think having a tech director works and without a leader on the pitch we need a leader off it. Cue Martin O'Neil, Roy Keane, Harry Redknapp if Ramos fails (on £5m a year for 4 years I dont think we will sack him)

    Look back to last game of the season 05/06, if our team had not gone down with food poisoning it could all have been a very different story.

  • Comment number 73.

    They had the money and the time to buy a defensive midfielder in the summer but they didn't so they started the season with one of the most ill judged 5 men midfields in the history of the premier league.

    Lennon, Modric, Jenas, Bentley Dos Santos

    Yet somehow people still say this is not Ramos' fault!

  • Comment number 74.

    Hey Phil .......... Its East Yorkshire not "Humberside". Hasn't been for years. Are Spurs too big to go down? Similar size to the Sheffield clubs, Nottingham Forest, Leeds and a host more. No divine right to be in the premiership. It’s only their location and the bias towards London clubs that have kept them there for so long. And in two weeks the same is going to happen to The Hammers. Then as the album says............ it really will be London 0 hull 4

  • Comment number 75.

    Malbranque was playing for Sunderland against Arsenal this weekend gone and was voted the Times player of the weekend.

    We could do with someone like him.

    Wait a minute...wasn't he playing for us last year? Who decided to get rid of him? Was it the same plonkers who decided to get in a $16m striker when we already had plenty of firepower and needed someone defensive?

    Was it the same plonkers who first undermined and then orchestrated the removal of one of Tottenham's most successful managers of recent times?

    Was it the same plonkers who continue to be determined to bring a Director of Football role, even though this seems to have been spectacularly unsuccessful in bringing forward any talent from the reserve and youth teams for ages (witness the lack of firepower....who's been playing upfront for these teams and why are they not considered good enough for the first team?)

    Was it the same plonkers who will always keep Spurs mediocre while they are still employed at the club?

    Levy and Comoli.....say it ain't so Joe...don't give us another day, let alone a season, of these complete plonkers!

  • Comment number 76.

    still no postings allowed more than one line for me?????

  • Comment number 77.

    I humbly apologise to all in East Yorkshire...then again, if Hull carry on like this I suspect we can call it whatever we want and you'll still be happy.

    Great to see the whole squad there yesterday just enjoying the Premier League experience - but also getting results on the pitch.

    As for London 0 Hull 4 - did Paul Heaton know something we didn't?

  • Comment number 78.


    Having lived in Grimsby I remember dealing with Humberside Police, and they still exist. So the fact that there is no local government area known as Humberside is actually irrelevant, especially as Hull is not in east Yorkshire anyway...

    Personally I think Spurs have too many decent players to be relegated, though they need to get their season started pronto, and the best way may be to get rid of their shambolic coaching team

  • Comment number 79.

    Timmytour: According to the BBC website (

    "Wordhunters noticed that the OED's earliest two quotations in their entry for 'plonker' were misplaced. In the original 1966 citation from All Neat in Black Stockings by J Gaskell, the word refers not to a 'foolish, inept or contemptible person', but to a wholly different sense of the word, meaning 'a man who sanctions sexual relationships between his girlfriend and his male friends'."

    Not sure what Levy and Commoli's other halves look like, so why don't we keep this in the realms of analogy, and say that it's an appropriate term given the selling of Keane, Malbranque et al.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think the problem for Spurs is, where do you get a top class ball winner from? It seems to be a really difficult position for managers to fill unless you can find a Mascherano or a Makelele, but these players are few and far between.

  • Comment number 81.

    We've got a county boundary row on our hands here!

    Just to go back to Spurs, I must admit I was always a big fan of Steed Malbranque and was surprised when he was allowed to leave for Sunderland.

    I suppose his natural position was on the right-flank, where he came to prominence in this country at Fulham.

    He played a lot on the left for Spurs and they had Lennon and Bentley in their plans, so felt he was surplus to requirements.

    But I think Spurs miss his industry and ability and he will prove to be one of Roy Keane's most influential purchases.

  • Comment number 82.

    It seems that no-one wants hull.
    I'm sure tyneside will have them if they're going spare. They need a decent football team!

  • Comment number 83.

    samwell2804 Your grammer is nearly as bad as mine or Spurs side. Yeah, Spurs side. Sorry mate, it's gotta's be done. :-)

  • Comment number 84.

    tontonmokouko - hahahahahahaha lol i'll second that comment

  • Comment number 85.

    johnboy257 - i make no apologies for my bad use of english grammer?!
    im under no illusions

  • Comment number 86.

    i have no sympathy whatsoever for spurs current plight. you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realise that if you sell your top two strikers you MUST have replacements in mind.

    it is just baffling to think they let berba go at the very last minute knowing full well that man utd are a team who 99% of the time get their man.

    not only that but who in their right minds allows the purchase of darren bent for 16.5m? he had ONE good season at charlton which meant his value was no more than 10m at the most. consider also that spurs had defoe barba and keane in the squad, why not just buy and up and coming striker for a couple of million? (bent is also an idiot for joining. i mean did he actually think that he was going to push ahead of those three for a starting position? he should of joined west ham).

    not to mention the fact that the director of football does NOT work in england. man utd and arsenal have been the most successful english clubs over the past decade and had no director of football. surely levy would have taken note of this fact.

    jol should never have been sacked in the first place. ramos can't even speak the language properly and is a cup manager.

  • Comment number 87.

    Not sure getting rid of Ramos is the answer at all.

    Like I asked earlier; Is not the fault of the person that structured this set-up? Was Poyet the No2 at Seville? NO! How many of Ramos' backroom staff came with him from Seville? Alvarez I think...... anyone else..... How many of the new players did Ramos actually sign or indicate that he wanted?

    It seems that Damien Comolli has more power than he should have and the structure is not right for our club. Let the manager do his job, decide on his staff and sign who he wants. Perhaps thats the balance that is so needed...

  • Comment number 88.

    In Sport Samwell2804, In Sport.

  • Comment number 89.

    Here we go, stoke the fires of hell with typical double standards and who cares what burns. I seem to remember all the things you are levelling at Ramos were aimed at Avram Grant after last seasons cup win. All the media said Ramos was the decisive master tactician by comparison that day! You're so full of it.
    The Chairman should announce the unequivocal support for the manager and players until the end of season at least. Let's get on with this work in progress to build a Spurs squad to compete at the highest level. They did great business in the summer and there's a few more signings needed to complete the picture. I'm really excited by the prospects.

  • Comment number 90.

    Wow, this article has certainly raised some hackles. Well done Phil. You did indeed sum up nicely.
    I been a supporter for 50 years (I started very young lol), and have seen this all before.
    We go into the transfer market, we fans get all excited about the new season..... and depression sets in about the 5th game in. I thought we would get relegated last season, but we managed to survive. A terrible end to the season though. Winning the Carling Cup was a surprise, let's be honest.
    Who didn't know that Berbatov was going, even before the end of last season? Do you not think that plans were about to replace him?
    Keane was a surprise! But honestly. Could the board really turn down 20 million? I thought Keane was awesome the last couple of seasons. Bags of heart, full of running, and an embarrassing roly poly goal celebration to boot. I personally like a player to show a bit of attitude to being substituted. Shows a bit of passion and pride.
    But an awful lot of fans thought he was crap. Where are they now? Little quiet.
    So many comments above mine are questionning the transfer policy. Hindsight has 20/20 vision is the expression.
    LuKa Modric was hailed as great business at the time by the press.
    Pavluchenko became a name on many fans lips after the Euro's. One of the wanted men.
    Giovani Dos Santos was a mouth watering signing. How many articles did you read about why he chose Spurs? Wouldn't have read those had he joined Arsenal, Chelsea, etc. And yes, I believe we will sell him on in a couple of years, when he has matured a little. We will make a fair sum as well.
    Football is a business. It is about money. Why do people fail to see that? Business is about making a profit. We buy assets, we nurture them, then we sell them at a profit. If we are good at our jobs. Succesful football increases the profit factor. That's capitalism.
    Fans are a different breed. We don't have to balance the books. We just have to pay our money, shout our support or abuse, go home, kick the cat, and sulk for the rest of the weekend.
    I once hurried my customers to finish their meals, turfed them out, sent the staff home, and closed my restaurant several hours early because Spurs lost a game I felt was an easy victory.
    I much prefer watching Arsenal play attractive, bright football on TV. Heresy I know. But I can relax, enjoy, keep my blood pressure down. I can't do that if I watch Spurs. I don't care how they play, I want them to win!
    How many times last season did we play fabulous attacking football, only to concede in the dieing minutes and lose?
    But isn't that exactly why we are fans? Who wants to be a Chelsea fan, winning every week, expectations sky high. Considered a failure because we only came 2nd, lost in 2 finals...... no thank you.
    Spurs fans expectations were 4th place. A month later we are hoping against relegation. What will next month bring? Hopes that we might scrape a win against Stoke!! Of course, we can still win the EUFA Cup, the F.A. Cup and the Carling Cup. You see, that is what being a Spurs fan is really about. Eternal optimism.
    So chins up lads...and I mean players, management, and fans. A few 3 pointers will soon put a smile back on our faces. It could be worse. A little anyway.
    We could be situated in the cold, wet North, with Nigerians looking to bale us out.......

  • Comment number 91.

    I remember when Tottenham went down in 77; it was blinking horrible. So was the promotion campaign, as I recall. A real scrap.

    I am unconvinced that this crop of players and, let's be frank here, this manager is up to the roll your sleeves up and battle that is needed.

    We have been brought in a manager who was meant to push us from fifth to fourth, but the world's moved on. We are now facing the unthinkable. As confidence gets munched, Spurs will continue to lose. Can anyone see us out-muscling Stoke?

    Too many of the current squad are artistes rather than artisans - Modric, Dos Santos, Lennon and - though I thought he was a right laugh when he came in - Bentley. We need to be playing the players who will battle - I'm thinking Zokora, O'Hara and - it seems - Jermaine Jenas. We also need a manager who is going to kick every ball with them.

    Ramos - no fault of his own, his English is a lot better than my Spanish - has a touch of the Manuel's about him during press cons. We don't need that. We need a no nonsense guy who is going to get our bunch of fine artists grinding out results.

    Names? Well Bilic seems sensible - used to our continental management system; Steve Bruce (don't laugh - look at what that man's achieved) or Roy Keane (why not?).

    It needs to happen fast. I will be physically ill at the thought of Ramos trousering £15 mill, but things have to change. This is Tottenham - last in the league.

    It's a nightmare.

  • Comment number 92.

    Who were the great pieces of business?
    Modric? Bentley? Dos Santos? Pavyluchenko? Corluka?
    Some real bargains there! Must have only cost £60 odd million!
    Don't get me wrong Corluka at least is a good player but great business it was not!

  • Comment number 93.


    You really are in trouble! I lost a similar bet a few years ago and had my back waxed. Not only does it hurt like hell, but I was plagued with pimples from in-growing hairs for more than a year afterwards - good luck!

    And for the next manager, well that's a difficult one. I think there's a real danger of spurs turning into a managerial hot potato like Newcastle. I would be inclined to keep Ramos for now, as things will definitely improve. Settle on mid-table for this and maybe next season, and give Ramos the time he needs to prove his pedigree. Confidence in English will also help, and that too takes time.

  • Comment number 94.


  • Comment number 95.

    I refuse to use the phrase "too good to go down" - but I can see Spurs getting enough good results to ease their way out of trouble.

    Sadly, easing their way out of trouble was not what they had in mind at the start of the season.

    Spurs fans rightly expect much better, and seeing the backing they gave their team yesterday, they deserve better.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry, I red #90 and lost myself for a few minutes...

  • Comment number 97.

    I agree that selling Malbranque was rather odd, as he provided many of the goals for Berba and Keane. Dos Santos is unproven, even at Barcelona (I believe he started fewer than 10 games for them last season), meaning we still have nobody to play on the left - Gareth Bale is a left back, not a left winger.

    I said at the time that selling Defoe was crazy because he was still scoring 15-20 goals off the bench - this decision looks even worse now (although I am very glad for him that he's doing well at Pompey, especially as an all-English strike partnership doing that well should lead to good things for the national side; I also wanted Gareth Barry to move to Liverpool for the same reason).

    On another note, isn't Comolli a Gooner? I'm sure he used to be a scout there...

    I was at The Lane for the game against Newcastle in April, and to me Ramos did look clueless tactically. This was at the time when Keegan was playing three up front (and a very good three at that), so what did Ramos do? He played three in midfield, matching them. At that point I knew we were going to lose - had we stifled their midfield (a 4-4-2 would have sufficed), they would have got nowhere. Instead, Newcastle won 4-1. The only player who showed any real drive that day was Alan Hutton, who had a thankless task bombing up and down the right flank tirelessly for the 90 minutes. We clearly miss him now.

    Whilst I don't, and never did, think that Ramos was the right man for the job, it is also clear that we can't fire him, because that much turmoil would cause even more chaos, and even more changes of personnel come January. Although we do need some kind of holding midfielder, I don't care who, just someone who is better at it than Zokora. And we don't need Arshavin at all.

  • Comment number 98.

    Spurs deserve better?
    What on earth is that about?
    Would you mind just telling me then who deserves worse?
    What fans deserve worse?
    No-one ever says that Middlesbrough fans deserve better but when your sat in the stands in the freezing North East, watching another stunning defeat to the mighty force of Cardiff in a wide open FA cup you can't help but wonder what we've done to deserve this?

  • Comment number 99.

    As I understand it, Comolli was Arsenal's European scout for around seven seasons.

  • Comment number 100.

    Good Point Phil
    I forgot that?!
    it does sound rather suspect now?!


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