Spurs match reports

Spurs 3-1 Wolves: Who Gets Your Full-Backing?

As if a flight across time-zones was not discombobulating enough, I found myself stepping off the plane to be greeted by the news that Alan Hutton had scored for us, while Jermaine Jenas had put in a decent performance and Robbie Keane had started -all of which left me wondering whether I had flown into a new space-time continuum rather than simply across continents.


No Match Report Around These Parts


No comment can be passed from AANP Towers on the specifics of our win over Wolves, as I was airborne at the time, but certain areas of the team selection certainly caught the eye in the aftermath. In particular, a penny for the thoughts of Messrs Assou-Ekotto and Corluka, once upon a time nailed-in as one quarter each, respectively, of the back four, but now looking like the weaker of the links in the Tottenham team.


Left-Back: Assou-Ekotto or Bale?


On reflection I’m not sure I would ever like an insight into the mind of BAE, given that few men in Christendom have ever been possessed of a gaze more suited to that of a cold-blooded murderer. That aside the chap is currently enduring something of a fall from grace. Season 2008-09 was rather the making of him, as he turned into a mighty dependable left-back in the wake of the Wendy Ramos debacle. Last season however saw Gareth Bale emerge from his cocoon like some infantile god hatching from a celestial egg – meaning that BAE’s selection now largely depends on how far up the pitch Bale will play.


BAE’s concerns have in this respect been exacerbated by the arrival of van der Vaart, as the inclusion of VDV, Modders and Bale is arguably best facilitated by switching Bale to left-back, even despite his defensive frailties.


BAE is nowhere near the equal of Bale when marauding forward, and it hardly helps that his defensive showings have been far from watertight this season. His erratic form so far this campaign seemed neatly encapsulated by the two legs against Young Boys: shoddy in the first leg he was hauled off after half an hour; but he followed up with an impeccable defensive display in the second.


In the final analysis therefore, in common with those undertaking the oldest profession in the world, much of BAE’s fortune depends on others, for if Modders and VDV are to be included in a 4-4-2 then Bale would get the nod at left-back.


But Isn’t Bale Rather Wasted At Left-Back?


This does of course beg the question of whether left-back bring the best out of Bale. Arriving from deep he has the advantage of a midfielder cutting infield ahead of him, creating room for him to overlap as, effectively, a fifth midfielder. Nevertheless there is always the nagging sense that Bale’s all-round attacking wondrousness is curtailed when he slots into his abode within the back-four.


Right-Back: Corluka?


On t’other flank, in his capacity as the complete antithesis of Usain Bolt, Corluka has generally expiated for the total absence of pace with his positioning and fairly sound reading of the game. Nevertheless, show me a Spurs supporter who does not panic whenever a winger knocks the ball beyond Corluka and scuttles, and I’ll show you someone who is blind or quite possibly an Arsenal fan.




The stakes have been raised at right-back by the curious renaissance of Younes Kaboul. Having initially taken to the role like an elephant to ballet, he swiftly learned the ins and outs and while he is still not exactly a classic full-back, he does now combine purposeful defence with speed going forward.




And then there is Alan Hutton, who was evidently hauled out of his two-year stint in a cryogenic freezing chamber on Saturday, and responded by reminding us that deep down he would probably like to be a right-winger. He rode his luck in scoring – first in his cunning use of a one-two with himself, and secondly in the handy deflection off his knee – but I cannot remember Corluka making too many determined sprints into the heart of the opposition area. As with Bale on the left however, Hutton’s attacking instincts have generally gambolled hand-in-hand with concerns about his defensive ability.


As at left-back, much also depends on the selection in midfield, because the Corluka-Lennon combo has befuddled many an opposing left-back, with that weighted diagonal ball inside the full-back a particular favourite here at AANP Towers. Neverthless, in terms of hand-picking the best from both the attacking and defensive worlds, AANP currently plumps for Monsieur Kaboul.


All academic at the moment, with both Kaboul and Corluka currently injured, but something for ‘Arry to consider each morning as he chews on his Weetabix. Your own musings on these topics are very much welcomed below.

Randomonium Spurs news

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 



AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play).  

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

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Spurs – Fulham Preview: The Team That No Longer Picks Itself

Team selection was never really an issue when we were banging them in left, right and centre and the side picked itself, but times are a-changing. While annus horribilis is probably a bit strong, our form since the turn of the year has been worrying, reflected not only by poor results and sloppy performances but now scrutiny of the line-up.Corluka or Hutton

The name “Aaron Lennon” ought also to be factored in here, for many a left-back has been confounded by the Lennon-Corluka combo. In Lennon’s absence, Hutton offers a darned sight more pace on the right than the lumbering Croat – but as he is something of a liability defensively, Charlie is likelier to get the nod tonight.

B.A.L.E or B.A.E.

With suggestions in some quarters that Assou-Ekotto might be back, ‘Arry’s selection here will be interesting. Bale has been one of our better players in recent weeks, offering more attacking thrust than BAE and generally doing about as much as could be expected of him during his four-game opportunity. That said, the braided one is the more solid defender. We at AANP Towers like a bit of gung-ho sprinkled into our daily porridge, so would prefer Bale, but ‘Arry ‘as his favourites, and I would expect BAE to waltz straight back in if fit.


The lawyers are being readied at AANP Towers, for the use of the term “Wingers” might be queried under the Trade Descriptions Act, but Lennon is still injured (curses) so unless ‘Arry goes clinically insane and starts with Rose and Bentley I presume Modders and Kranjcar will get the nod.


The source of much consternation in recent weeks, our centre midfield has shown all the aggression and feistiness of a heavily sedated kitten settling down for its afternoon nap. The possible return from injury of Hudd will suit us perfectly if we find ourselves a couple of goals ahead at some point, but otherwise I rather fret. When Jermaine Jenas played for England against Brazil a few months ago the universe almost collapsed under the weight of absurdity, but if Hudd remains injured JJ will again be our midfield fulcrum. I’d rather find that sleepy kitten and kit it out in lilywhite. Sergeant Wilson needs to discover his A-game, and pronto.


It looks like the delicate issue of whether Pav’s Saturday night cameo merits a shake-up of our attack can neatly be swept under the carpet. He’s strained a groinski apparently, so Defoe will be partnered by Crouch or Keane, while penalty-taking duties are apparently being shoved towards Hudd or Kranjcar.

Easy to forget that it’s only one defeat in six League games, and that we are still fourth, but this feels an awful lot more important.


AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, comes out on 16 Feb and is now available to pre-order from WHSmith,Amazon , TescoWaterstones and Play 

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here 

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne hereAnd as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here

Spurs match reports

Spurs 4-0 Peterborough (Belatedly): Win The Whole Thing? Why Not?

(Apologies for the tardiness – deadline week on the book Spurs’ Cult Heroes)
The FA Cup? Why not? The only team that ever seems to beat us in knock-out competitions has itself been knocked out, and for our part we look capable of despatching anyone on our day. This is not a reaction to our win on Saturday, far from it, but rather a reaction to the exit of Man Utd. They were the one team I simply could not envisage us beating. Anyone else, and we could make a game of it, but there seemed to be as much a mental block as a quality gap with that lot. Now, however, the outlook is a little different. Chelski and l’Arse are obviously the ones to eye warily, but we’ve got Cup pedigree against both. Man City, Villa and Liverpool would be tricky, particularly away from home, but all are eminently beatable. I rather fancy our chances this season.Daydream over. Here at AANP Towers the response to the Peterborough game was a contented nod and scan of the fixture-list. A scrappy, nerve-jangling 94th minute winner would have sufficed – although we’d laid into them had that been the case – but our heroes deserve credit for getting the job done fairly routinely.

The habit of making bucketloads of chances is positive; the relatively small proportion of chances converted less so. It proved another exercise in breaking down a side that had come to the Lane essentially to frustrate, and while this time things panned out swimmingly, in future we may need to be a little less profligate.

Defoe – Accurate

My old man, the venerable AANP Senior has been fond of preaching over the years that a player only deserves credit for hitting the woodwork if he was aiming for it – in which case full marks to Jermain Defoe. The only explanation for that early shot which hit the bar, when it was surely easier to score, was that he actively sought to avoid the netting and instead aimed for the frame. And a fine job he did too.

Life Without Lennon

The question of how to cope without Lennon was initially addressed by rather stretching the definition of “winger”, with Modders and Kranjcar roaming anywhere they jolly well pleased. I could sit back all day and watch those two do their thing. If Niko Kranjcar were English the nation’s media would drool over him, yet the lad seems strangely under-rated beyond N17, in a Steed type of way. Not complaining mind, if anything this means he’s less likely to be prised away by Man Utd.

Later on we had that delightful cameo from the boy Rose, definitely more in the Lennon mould than Corluka when it came to going for a gallop. I recall a well-informed gooner mate raving about him, rather enviously, when we first signed him a couple of years ago. I rather hope that he doesn’t venture down that well-trod route of a loan to League One side and eventual transfer, but alas our reputation for developing youngsters is hardly encouraging.

Of the other reserves, Bale and Hutton continue to look the polar opposites of those for whom they deputise. Always had a soft spot for Bale, ever since his gung-ho emergence under Martin Jol (blessed be his name). While he continues to look cracking value going forward, he still fails to instill confidence as a defender. Fingers crossed that this is not a problem in the coming month.

Boxes Ticked 

To think that we would have drawn Man Utd yet again, had they remained in the competition, beggars belief, and is grist to the mill of conspiracy theorists throughout the South Stand. Instead it will be Leeds – not straightforward, but home advantage ought to be enough.


AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available to pre-order from WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play 

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here 

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Spurs – Peterborough Preview: A Penny For ‘Arry’s Thoughts

A penny for ‘Arry’s thoughts, ahead of the Third Round of the Cup. Not the predictable dross with which he closes his little team-news spiel on the club’s official website – “Hopefully we’ll turn in another terrific performance” – but rather his sentiments regarding a successful Cup run and, say, a Quarter-Final replay, or Semi-Final date in April, adding a spot of fixture congestion at a time when we, presumably, will be making a final push for the top four.It’s speculative stuff for now however. Peterborough today, and presumably ‘Arry will go through his usual routine for lower-league Cup opponents, by giving the squad players a run. On which note – a penny also for the thoughts of Jenas, Hutton, Keane, Bassong and chums. No doubt the usual diplomatic clichés will be trotted out, but I do wonder how the players view selection for a game like this, given that the priority this season is now Premiership points. Are they chomping at the bit, or, having been benched last week, is selection viewed as something of an ignominy? Maybe my advancing years have heightened my cynicism, but I can’t help feeling that the latter is more probable.

Of course, if they really desperately want to be elevated to the exalted status of Too-Good-To-Be-Selected-For-Cup-Fare-Against-Lower-League Clubs, one pretty obvious approach would be to turn in the mother of all performances today, and help to thrash Peterborough to within an inch of their lives. We’ve done it often enough against Premiership sides this season.

With Lennon injured one would have thought that Bentley would step in on the right, but ‘Arry will take any excuse to sideline the brylcreem boy, so it’s possible that one of the Croatians will fill in on the right instead. The game may be viewed as a chance to give Modders more first-team minutes, while Kranjcar can consider himself mighty unlucky to have been relegated to the bench last week.

What the devil is going on with Pav is anyone’s guess. The poor blighter’s days at the Lane are pretty clearly numbered, but with Defoe almost certain to be rested today’s game might yet give him the opportunity of a valedictory performance.

When our glorious leader rang the changes in the early rounds of the Carling Cup a few months back our quality eventually told and the goals flew in from all angles. There are no excuses for any other outcome today, particularly at home.


You can become a Facebook fan of forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here – or pre-order the ruddy thing here. Cripes! 

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here

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Man United – Spurs Carling Cup Preview: Selling My Soul

Ah, Man Utd versus Spurs. Two giants of the game, under the floodlights, in a one-off knock-out contest. It reminds me of when England played Brazil in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final. Then, the meeting of two sides with so much history behind them provided a unique buzz of anticipation, and seemed to epitomise precisely what the competition was about. And now, Manchester United play Tottenham Hotspur. It’s a classic Cup tie.Except it isn’t really. It’s the Carling Cup, by far the lowest of Alex Ferguson’s priorities, and now a sideshow at White Hart Lane.

Wellbeck and Gibson

Man Utd sent out the minions for a Champions League game last week, so a Carling Cup quarter-final is unlikely to herald the appearance of the big guns. In fact, even when we met in the Final last year, they had such household names as Wellbeck and Gibson in their starting line-up. Nevertheless, they still beat us, and their second-string tomorrow is likely to be pretty strong again. (Nor should we expect too many favours from the officials, this being Old Trafford…)

’Arry for his part has also pledged to empty the contents of the substitutes bench out onto the turf. Keane, Pav, Bentley, Bale, Jenas and Hutton could all feature – which is fine by me, to be honest. They are all capable enough, having all been first-team regulars at some point or other.

Dawson and Bassong will presumably start again in defence, which is a silver lining to the murky cloud under which Ledley and Woodgate hobble around. The Daws-Bassong combo worked well on Saturday, in only their second game together, and another 90 minutes will give them a chance to develop further. It could be the start of something beautiful.

The in-form Kranjcar is cup-tied – curses – but my main concern is that we may well start without both Defoe and Lennon, both of whose pace and sharpness in recent weeks have given us a real cutting-edge going forward. Many a time and oft these days I can be spotted gazing misty-eyed into the distance; on such occasions it is a fairly safe bet that I’m wondering what might have been if we had had these two for the visit to the Emirates last month…

The Days of Yore: Over 

The lure of silverware is still strong of course, for all the usual reasons (another etching on the honours board; another reason to crow over l’Arse; and it’s just plain ruddy marvellous to win trophies), but now the situation is undoubtedly different. We are not just pushing for UEFA Cup qualification any more; the days of yore are over. They ended around the time we beat Sunderland and moved into fourth by more than just goal difference. The sentiment at AANP Towers has now altered, as we have begun to look genuine contenders for the fourth Champions League spot. It’s like leaving behind the blissful innocence of childhood – but discovering the wondrous joys of the liquor.

Not only that, but we are in the driving-seat for fourth. And this isn’t one of those anomalous late-August League tables, where we top the pile but only on goal difference from Stoke – a third of the way in, and we are as well-placed as anyone to take fourth. I have to admit, I would trade quarter-final Carling Cup elimination if it would help our Premiership campaign.

I Feel Unclean 

An involuntary shudder passes down the spine as I type that, for I do feel sordid in admitting it. Out, damned spot. We are Tottenham Hotspur, and as such we have a glorious tradition. Winning the FA Cup in 1901, the first post-war team to win the Double, the first British team to win a European trophy… and so on. [**Shameless plug – our glorious tradition will be lovingly covered by AANP in forthcoming book

Spurs’ Cult Heroes, out next Feb**] Preferring to finish fourth in the League over winning a trophy – my own family would struggle to recognise me. It’s selling my soul. ‘Tis a dark, dark day at AANP Towers.Still, that’s one man’s opinion. “Judge me not by the heights to which I aspire, but by the depths from whence I’ve come” (if you pardon a little vulgarisation of the quote) – for we’ve already shown we can master the dark arts of the Carling Cup, over the last two seasons. This certainly represents firm progress from a decade ago, when our heroes seemed unable to put one foot in front of the other without stumbling over, while the other lot racked up trophies like they were going out of fashion. We are finally moving in the right direction, having won the Carling Cup and gained European experience. Now we have an opportunity to take the next step forward. Success in the Carling Cup once again would be cracking, but qualifying for the Champions League is now the target, and much though it pains me to admit it, anything else would seem a mite anti-climactic.

Still A Cracking Chance For Glory 


You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, or follow on Twitter here 

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here

Spurs match reports

Spurs 2-0 Everton: Squad Depth & The Benny Hill Penalty

We’re great when we’re winning. Opponents are forced to push forward, and we duly pick them off on the break, with the clinical precision of a trained sniper (until Keane starts stumbling over his own feet). We have the players, including those on the fringes of the squad, to counter with pace and inventiveness, on top of which it makes for a cracking spectacle.It doesn’t really solve the problem thrown up on Saturday, of what to do when the opposition sits deep and the opening goal is impossible to come by; but that’s for another day. Most neutrals would verify – when we score first, we’re a great team. It was honours even in the opening exchanges last night; but once we had our goal, Everton pushed forward and we look ever more potent on the break.

Personified By Hudd 

It all worked out swimmingly, with even Assou-Ekotto indulging in some party tricks by the end of the game. Although we were well worth a two-goal victory, Everton had their chances, but, pleasingly, Gomes was equal to all of them. Dawson, again was immense at the back, while Sergeant Wilson snarled and harried like any good guard dog should.

Plenty in Reserve 

Bentley: Imagine how good Bentley and his hair gel would be under a manager who loved him and in a team which made him their focal point. No-one doubts his technique and skill, but rarely has it been put to particularly good use in lilywhite. Yesterday however, while a little hit-and-miss in the early stages, he ended up turning a performance I am tempted to label “virtuoso”.

The control was immaculate, stepovers effective, crosses generally dangerous and work-rate exemplary. Different sort of player from Aaron Lennon, but with the ickle one unavailable for Saturday, it’s nice to know that we have ourselves a Bentley in good form. He may perhaps have got a little carried away with all the party tricks but the ability to beat a man is quite a weapon to have. On those frustrating occasions when a defence needs unlocking, he at least carries the potential to jink past a defender and make some space (a quality that could hardly be attributed to Hudd). On another day, as we are all well aware, those constant Maradonna impressions will come to nothing and he will be maddening to watch, but last night it worked.

Bale: Good to see Bale looking up to speed as well, particularly in a midfield position which I think suits him better than full-back. The memories of his first few matches in lilywhite, under Martin Jol (blessed be his name), linger long in the AANP memory, so it is with pleasure that I note he turned in a good performance. A genuine left-footer on the left of midfield gave us a nice shape, and it’s a handy alternative to Kranjcar.

Pav: Poor old Pav. Not his night, was it? Suspicion, bordering on certainty, remains that we’ll be bidding him “?? ????????” come January.

Hutton: When God made Corluka, it appears that he out of curiosity he took all the ingredients and reversed them, to see what the polar opposite would look like. The result was Alan Hutton – a quick, bald, attack-minded right-back who, one suspects, does not give an awful lot of thought to defending. He did well enough, and the combo with Bentley worked well.

Would Have Been So Much Simpler If Keane Had Blasted It Into A Corner

By golly, when Hudd gets them right his shots look likely to tear the net from its moorings, yesterday being a case in point. Couldn’t help but note that his expression on scoring was that of a man who felt he had been copping unfair flak from AANP the previous day…

As for the penalty – what a glorious throwback to the days of manic playground football, when the next-goal-wins rule comes into play and all hell breaks loose amidst a ruck of bodies and two jumpers. From spot-kick to net-bulger there were six efforts on goal. Crikey. All that was missing was the Benny Hill theme tune. Poor old Tim Howard is entitled to feel a little aggrieved, after making more saves in ten seconds than your average Premiership ‘keeper will make in two full games against Stoke, and credit is due to Keane for some nifty technique in finally scoring; but that does not excuse various other moments of profligacy on his part. For the love of God, sharpen up man, before the visit to l’Arse.

Happy days then – a convincing win, clean sheet, back-slaps all round. Chelski, l’Arse and Man Utd remain in the Carling Cup, but another trip to Wembley is conceivable.


As ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here 

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, or follow on Twitter here

Spurs news Spurs preview

Spurs – Everton Preview: Premiership Points or Carling Cup?

If you enjoy those 15 half-time minutes when the subs come trotting out and half-heartedly ping the ball around, you’ll love tonight. Pav, Bentley, Hutton and Bale are all in line to start, as ‘Arry rings the changes with half an eye (in a manner of speaking) on Saturday’s game.

League or Cups? (Why Not Both?)

The absences of King, Woodgate, Lennon, Modric and Defoe force most of the changes upon us irrespective of the prioritising. The only optional changes ‘Arry is likely to make are in attack – where I suspect most of us would like to see Pav get his chance anyway – and in the full-back positions.

My tuppence worth is that I don’t particularly want to see Hutton and Bale in for Charlie and BAE at full-back. This has less to do with the quality of the personnel (I’m rather a fan of Bale as it happens) as the fact that our team is already mightily disrupted with all the injuries. Making unenforced changes on top of those is asking for trouble, particularly in defence, where in the absence of Ledley the players sometimes appear a little uncertain as to the names of the chaps alongside them. All members of our squad are capable Premiership-standard players, but make too many changes and the team’s performance could be as aimless as those half-time exercises.

I’ll be curious as to whether Sergeant Wilson starts. An injury or suspension to him really would give our squad for Saturday the look of a man who’s had his spine ripped from his body, something ‘Arry will presumably have taken into account. However, without him tonight we find ourselves looking towards the might of Jenas and Hudd to boss the game. Forgive me for feeling a little underwhelmed at the prospect, particularly as Tim Cahill in the opposition ranks will give us a glimpse of what we’re missing in central midfield. Still, after flattering to deceive against Stoke Jenas and Hudd owe us a good performance each.

So a rare opportunity for the squad players, and added responsibility on the shoulders of Dawson, Jenas, Hudd and Crouch. Not necessarily a line-up to have Everton quivering in their boots, but I’m pinning my hopes on home advantage seeing us through.


ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, or follow on Twitter here.


Spurs preview

Doncaster – Spurs Preview; Plus Some Tottenham Transfer Musings

Well truth be told I’ve found this all a little unsettling so far. Top of the league, three wins in three – and looking good value for it too. This is not the Tottenham I grew up with. The Tottenham I know and love would consistently let me down. Capitulate from positions of seeming invulnerability. Turn calamity into an art-form. Naturally then I’m unsettled by our new approach – destroying all challengers, that sort of thing. Been anxiously peering out of the windows of AANP Towers checking for cracks in the sky and the rumblings of four horsemen.Blessings upon the gods therefore, for bestowing upon us the Carling Cup second round, and an opportunity to return to the far more familiar and comfortable surroundings of humiliation. Top of the league; finalists in the last two seasons; team stuffed full of internationals; and Doncaster away on a Wednesday night. Perfect ingredients for a cup upset.

Our glorious leader is almost certain to play our second-string eleven, and quite rightly too, given the rigours of the opening week of the season. However, I hope that any sense of indifference conveyed by this decision does not permeate down to the players. After the blistering start to our league campaign the game against Doncaster is being viewed as a breather from the rigours of the Premiership. I just hope the players, and indeed management, don’t let our Premiership start obscure the fact that the Carling Cup represents a great chance of silverware, particularly as we have no European campaign this year. I’ll only whisper it, but sooner or later we’ll probably be toppled from our perch atop the table. A trophy this season is realistic – but it won’t be that one we saw Rio waving around last May. Therefore, maximum effort in the Carling Cup please chaps, starting tonight.

The chaps in question might well include Hutton, Naughton; Rose, O’ Hara, Bentley, Giovani; Crouch and Pav. Our squad is unusually solid this season, with two decent players competing for just about every position, and this lot ought to be too strong for Doncaster – but then player quality has never really been the problem at Spurs

Transfer Gubbins

Curious transfer talk doing the rounds at the moment, although nothing concrete (’twas ever thus, I suppose).

Modric – Carrick Swap 

Pav Back to Russia

I would rather like to see him given a run of games, but the Keane-Defoe thing is working at the moment, and Crouch is evidently ‘Arry’s first reserve. Listen to him field any questions about our strikers, and he’ll lavish praise upon the diddy-men, tell everyone how triffic Crouch is… and then almost as an afterthought add “…and we’ve also got Roman Pavluychenko, so that’s four top quality strikers…”. He doesn’t seem to rate him, and with a World Cup at the end of the season, I’ll stick a rouble  or two on Pav taking offski in the search for first-team football. Shame.

Honduran Chap On Trial 

Pardon my cynicism. I know nothing about the lad. He’s on trial, he’s a centre-back, ‘Arry’s having a look at him – such are the facts, but I have nothing to offer in terms of opinion. Also eyeing up Sandro Ranieri apparently, a £14 mil defensive midfielder. Seems a lot for a probable Palacios understudy (or maybe occasional partner) but I like the idea of having a ready-made Palacios replacement in our ranks. However, as with all these rumours, official judgements in these parts will have to be suspended until something actually happens.

Chimbonda to Blackburn 


The invitation is still open to share your memories of Spurs’ Cult Heroes, for a forthcoming book. This week we’re looking at Clive Allen, so please do share your thoughts– first impressions, favourite goals, crowd chants – as well as any meetings you may have had with the man off the pitch, right here. Memories of Jimmy Greaves here and of Jurgen Klinsmann here

Spurs preview

West Ham – Spurs Preview: Selection Posers for ‘Arry

A win against a top-four team; a win away in a potential banana-skin of a game against relegation fodder; now a London derby – one way or another we are certainly having our credentials rigorously tested in these early days.I desperately hope we win tomorrow. This has nothing to do with the whole issue of enmity with West Ham – as I have previously confessed, I am neither here nor there on that issue. Rather, it’s the notion of what sort of standard we are setting ourselves for this campaign. The first week of the season is no time to make any prediction, and six or seven points from a possible nine would still represent a decent start – but a win, a third consecutive win, would again hint that we are pushing on, looking to establish ourselves firmly as part of the chasing pack of teams snapping at the top four, rather than a slightly faceless mid-table outfit. West Ham away is a tricky one, but not impossible – and I would give one of my less essential limbs to see us consistently win these tricky-but-not-impossible matches. It would represent progress, and raise the bar slightly.

Selection Posers 

Some changes seem pretty straightforward – Cudicini in goal, Ledley slotting effortlessly back into defence. I was particularly impressed by West Ham’s Carlton Cole in the England friendly v Holland a couple of weeks back. Not someone to whom I had paid much attention previously, he showed good strength and some nifty footwork that night. He ought to keep Ledley and Bassong on their toes.

Ledley’s return is beyond debate, but raises the question of who will be right-back. Hutton made a decent fist of it against Hull, showing good pace and attacking intent, as well as that will to win that borders on the psychotic. However, we have all witnessed the telepathic understanding between Lennon and Corluka down the right, and the big Croat seems to be ‘Arry’s preferred choice.

The Hudd will presumably retain the central midfield spot, having generally impressed so far this season. An all-action midfield dynamo he is not, and never will be, but I think most fans are accepting of this and happy enough to see him play to the strengths he does possess. On which note – he has shown impressive judgement when opting between long and short balls, and has got stuck in as the situation has demanded. Another opportunity to cement his place in the starting line-up beckons.

Wednesday’s goal-fest is as close as Keane and Defoe will ever come to combining well together. Defoe certainly benefited from the work-rate and intelligent use of the ball shown by Keane (as well as the general string-pulling of Modric and Hudd). We may not have had a big man to hold onto possession up-top against Hull, but we did not particularly need one.

It could be a different kettle of fish tomorrow however, if our glorious leader decides that we require a physical presence in attack, rather than a link-up man sashaying between midfield and attack. ‘Arry is yet to drop Keane, and appears at times to be holding out until the end of time itself before he does so. After two decent performances the odds are that Keane will retain his place, but it is no certainty. Either way, I hope that Pav gets more than a five-minute cameo, having displayed sharpness and a generally laudable attitude in pre-season.