All Action, No Plot

Tottenham Hotspur – latest news, opinion, reports, previews, transfers, gossip, rants… from one bewildered fan
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5 Thoughts on the Trippier Transfer

The headline news from the last week or two is that Kieran Trippier has biffed off, to Madrid of all places.

1. A Tad Leftfield, What?

If you were casually to have remarked over the early-morning exchanges that this move was by-the-numbers, utterly normal and thoroughly in keeping with the general way of things, I suspect I would have waggled a particularly suspicious eyebrow and suggest you lay off the sauce for a while.

Trippier to Atletico Madrid was about as fantastical a plot-swerve as they come. It reminds me of those card games played by my nieces, in which cards are picked at random with the result that a clown’s body is matched with a lion’s head and a ballerina’s feet.

2. The Rationale

That said, it makes a lot of sense for the young bean himself. Twelve months ago his stock could not have soared any higher if it had been packaged up in a rocket and sent to the stars, for he was one of the stand-out performers in the World Cup, topping it all off with that fabulous semi-final free-kick.

However, Trippier as a wing-back with the safety net of three central defensive chums bringing up the rear is one thing; Trippier as a right-back within a back-four, as we rather painfully discovered, is a slightly different kettle of fish, and to say that there were grumblings of discontent amongst the masses at his performances in season 18/19 is rather to understate matters.

Put frankly, the chap’s defensive work left a heck of a lot to be desired, with all manner of high-profile and costly defensive aberrations littering the highlights reel.

So from his point of view, the opportunity to pack his wash-bag and apply some fresh sheen to his reputation elsewhere made some sense, particularly abroad, where they presumably still hang more to the free-kick against Croatia than the attempted nutmeg in his own area against Wolves.

3. Trippier’s Comments

On hearing that Trippier had dropped a few racy comments about his former paymasters, in one of his very first interviews in Spanish colours, I positively raced to the newswires to experience for myself what I presumed was some violent attack emanating from his mouth.

However, anyone expecting him to denounce Pochettino as a fraud, claim that squad morale was at an all-time low and disturb Toby’s immaculate hair for good measure was left pretty disappointed. The chap said that there were a few problems behind the scenes, which is the sort of mildly disgruntled fare one would expect of anyone has ever asked or been asked to leave a job.

Some lilywhite fans appear to be frothing at the mouth and perfecting their Trippier effigies at this, but at AANP Towers the news, in common with most of Trippier’s contributions over the last 12 months, has been granted with a shrug.

Still, one wishes him well and so on and so forth.

4. Not Levy’s Finest Moment

The transfer fee does strike something of a nerve though. In these ludicrous times, in which the lad on the Powerleague pitch next to me is probably worth £2m, and Harry Maguire is supposedly fetching north of £80m, a fee of around £20-25m for Trippier strikes me as one of Daniel Levy’s more slipshod pieces of financial brinksmanship.

5. Next Cabs On The Right-Back Rank

Moreover, our right-back is dead so long live our right-back, and in this spirit I give the chin a pensive stroke as I weigh up the ins and outs of our policy in this area for next season.

While Aurier showed some signs of improvement, he has put some solid legwork into establishing his status as one heck of a liability since joining, and juries across the land will require some mightily conclusive evidence to be convinced of the lad’s reliability.

The back-up option of Kyle Walker-Peters bounds around with all of the joys of spring, but his effervescence has done little to paper over the cracks in his defending. The post-it note slapped across his sturdy frame is once again scrawled with the words “One for the future”, but opportunity will presumably present itself more regularly this season.

Another alternative is Juan Foyth, whose love for a forward gambol works in his favour, and who has featured there for Argentina in the Copa America no less, but who nevertheless is something of a square-peg for the role, and is hardly the most accomplished at centre-back himself.

Our Glorious Leader appears to think that there are enough options within the squad (and one or two rather mischievous chums have even suggested that Sissoko might emerge as the front-runner), so I await further developments with interest.

Tottenham Hotspur 2009-10: The All Action No Plot Awards

Something for your withdrawal symptoms if, like yours truly, you have such a Tottenham-shaped hole in your life that you now spend the first half hour of your working day actually working, rather than trawling the interweb for morsels of Spurs news. Before season 2009/10 becomes but a sepia-tinged memory sending good vibrations through your very core, it is only right and proper that the second AANP End of Season Awards are dished out.Dear Mr Levy, at Jimmy G2’s abode and at the ever-entertaining Who Framed Ruel Fox? – but please do now pour yourself a good bourbon, stick some Julie London on the gramophone and ask a kindly neighbour to perform a suitably dramatic drumroll…

The Storm From X-Men Award For The Most Pointless Superpower in Christendom 

The Play-Off-Chap-Who-Chipped-It Award For Most Mental Penalty Of The Season 

On top of all that, ill-fortune also befalls our lot when penalties are awarded our way. Defoe has had several saved, and the Hudd broke the habit of a lifetime when opting to place his shot rather than leather it, in his penalty against Bolton. However, amidst the blitz of spot-kicks this season, the one stands out is Robbie Keane’s against Everton – an effort initially saved by Tim Howard, prompting a melee more akin to playground football, as Messrs Bale and Bentley went charging in for the rebounds, and Howard produced about six separate parries before Keane eventually slammed the ruddy thing in. Truly, ‘twas all-action-no-plot, in penalty form.

The David Bentley Award For The Best Speculative Punt Against l’Arse 

The Bacary Sagna’s Hair Award For Fashion Faux Pas of The Season 

The Clegg-Cameron Award For Unlikely Partnership Of The Season 

 

The Saving Private Ryan Award For The Most Mental, 30 Minute, All-Action-No-Plot Sequence Of The Season 

While there was an astonishing all-action 30 seconds or so late on in the season, at home to Pompey (when Thudd almost snapped the woodwork in two, Crouch volleyed the rebound against the very same spot, and then tried an overhead kick from the resulting corner), the most astonishing half hour of this – and quite possibly any – season, was in the second half at home to Wigan. Jermain Defoe donned his Midas suit, and Niko Kranjcar responded to our last-minute please for “One more, we only want one more”, as a little bit of history unfolded at the Lane.The Et Tu Brute? Award For Attacking Your Own Team-Mate 

The “Sod It – Who Else Wants A Go?” Award For Most Popular Position Of The Season 

The Geoff Hurst Award For Hat-Trick of the Season 

The Teddy Sheringham Award For Moving Exceptionally Slowly For A Professional Athlete 

The Klinsmann-Dive Award For Celebration Of The Season 

 

 

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Another Mental All-Action Week At Spurs!!!

No transfers. Not even any rumours. And this following a record number of clean sheets at home, and a seemingly endless run of one-nil wins. “All action”? Really?

Once again there is nothing to report from the Lane, so I’m just going to ramble away a little stream of consciousness – by all means duck out now and go youtube a Michael Jackson song or something.Once Upon A Time…

Once upon a time the title “All Action, No Plot” made perfect sense for a Spurs blog. Alright, you pedants, maybe not perfect sense – I suppose “Spurs-Tottenham-Hotspur-White-Hart-Lane-Yiddo-COYS-Two-Points-Eight-Games-Blog” would probably be statistically more suitable for search engines. But you get the point. All action, no plot – we’re that sort of team.

Or rather, we were that sort of team. Once upon a time, not so long ago. When I’m a millionaire I’ll build a Sistine chapel-style ceiling at AANP Towers, decorated with Mabbutt’s own-goal in the ’87 Cup Final to commemorate the first game I ever watched (or remember watching). It was a suitably mad-cap game, and rather set the tone. There is no shortage of other moments that can be immortalised in blue and lilywhite (and yellow) on my ceiling – Gazza and Lineker destroying l’Arse; Jurgen spearheading a 5-0-5 formation; the night of a thousand thrown away half-time leads; and more 4-4 draws than you can wave a stick at. Plenty of action there, and precious little plot.

Off the pitch, it’s similarly mental – squillions of pounds flung at managers on limited time, while the good folk of N17 relentlessly bay for champagne football and the blood of Jermaine Jenas.

Thus, the name “All Action, No Plot” was decided upon in a few milliseconds with a couple of mates in a foreign bar, allowing us to get on with the more pressing business of casting a modern-day Hollywood remake of The A-Team*.

Times Are A-Changing

However, that madcap act-first-think-later mentality at Spurs is now seemingly being replaced by something far more thoughtful and considered. The settled back-four, the consistent team-selection, the growing confidence that we will win at home.

I never thought the day would come, but I readily admit – this maturity is being welcomed with open arms at AANP Towers. It’s a seminal moment, rather like that point in Rocky IV when the Soviets start jeering Dolph Lundgren and cheering Stallone. Or the moment in Escape to Victory when the Nazis cheers Pele’s overhead kick. There is less action and more plot at the Lane – and AANP likes it. Cripes.

It’s not that we’re turning into one of the dull, boring, soporific also-rans of the Premiership, a George Graham Arsenal. Not at all.  We still have bundles of creativity, and play football that is pleasing on the eye. None of that long-ball nonsense. In fact, precious few goals from crosses either – which suggests that our strikers really ought to work on their heading. No, the football looks fine, and, especially on the counter-attack, can be quite breathtaking, but is complemented by a sturdy defensive platform.

And now as the summer stretches out, behind the thick curtain of rumour, it transpires that there is actually precious little happening. Again this lack of action, and hint of plot, is viewed with approval at AANP Towers. I’d have bought a tennis racket and smashed it on some grass if we’d gone through another summer of ripping up the spine of the squad and bringing in squillions of pounds worth of unproven attackers (although I’m well aware that this might yet happen).

So far however, the approach seems relatively circumspect – no wholesale clearout, yet, and no heinous sum splashed out on an unknown foreign striker. It suggests that the management know what they want to do this summer, and are primarily aiming to maintain stability.

The title of this little corner of the internet will remain the same, and in all other walks of life the all-action-no-plot mentality remains the breathless approach of choice, but it pleases me to note that by gently turning down the all-action-no-plot meter at Spurs we seem to be making progress.

 

* = I’d have gone for George Clooney as Hannibal; Jim Carrey as Murdock; some generic pretty-boy – possibly Johnny Depp – as Face; and B.A. is a tough one. Vin Diesel? Ving Rhames? Anyone else whose name begins with “Vin”?

Public Service Announcement


All-Action-No-Plot is going to spend the next three weeks in Australia and NZ, topping up its tan and teaching its baby nephews about the glory days of Bent, Doherty and Mitchell Thomas. The postings will continue by hook or by crook, but do bear with me as AANP does a Zokora and goes charging off into the unknown with little clue about how to deliver the end product.

New kit unveiled for All Action No Plot

The more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed that All-Action-No-Plot looks a tad different. Unfortunately the early indications are that as new kits go this isn’t really in the league of that cracking ’91 Cup Final Umbro effort. In a desperate attempt to justify it I’ll claim that this shiny-new-yet-bland page now resembles our 125th anniversary home kit from last season – plain white, traditional and by no means a cynical money-making ploy, honest. Plus, that kit eventually won a trophy, so who knows where this site might one day go…? Fear ye not though, these lilywhite pages will continue to burst at the seams with copious amounts of action, whilst containing not even the merest traces of plot…

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