All Action, No Plot

Tottenham Hotspur – latest news, opinion, reports, previews, transfers, gossip, rants… from one bewildered fan
"AANP - nobody knows what it means, but it's provocative."

Newcastle 1- 1 Spurs: Testing Times at FC Hotspur

All in all this has been a bad few days for us fans of FC Hotspur of Tottenham, or whatever the inevitable spin-off movement will be called once our heroes have moved off to Stratford, or Geneva, or the moon. One point for our lot, but wins and goals galore for the other Top Four-ites (bar Man City, sunk by Darren Bent, most entertainingly) means that the 50th anniversary of the Double won’t end in a Disney-esque finale with Ledley emulating the great Danny Blanchflower, hoisted aloft team-mates’ shoulders, gleaming trophy in his mitts. Unless we win the Champions League I suppose. Wonderful though it was to see a late, late equaliser, once the roar of approval had died down it fairly swiftly became evident that one point was not enough from this sort of generic Away-To-Mid-Table-Side fixture. In fact, even three points would not really have been enough; what we need right now is a win so magnificent that the FA in their wisdom spontaneously award us ten points. Failing that, or the only marginally more plausible scenario of, say, a ten-game winning streak, I think it is safe to put the Title dream to bed, and those who fancy can now also officially enter Panic Mode with regard to qualification for next year’s Champions League.Close, But Cigars Conspicuously Absent

The Geordie mob’s current boss Alan Pardew (a former Spur, as you Intertoto Cup aficionados will recall) threw quite a few compliments in our direction post-match, sounding very much like one taken aback by quite how slick our passing and movement is these days. All very charming stuff, the sort of football a young lady would introduce to her parents without any qualms about ill behaviour, but when it come to the muckier business of getting down and dirty our heroes again fell short, leaving the frustrated grumbles about towering behemoth strikers to continue.

Back Problems: Not Uncommon

My lovely Nan, God bless her soul, was not Welsh, did not possess the lungs of a particularly energetic racehorse and in all probability was not left-footed, but one thing she did have in common with young Master Bale was a troublesome back. One fervently hopes that Bale’s affliction is a lot less severe than the osteoporosis that ultimately left her unable to master the right-foot-left-foot routine, but barely had the game begun before he was contorting his curious visage into all manner of winces and grimaces. Aside from the brow-furrowingly worrying longer-term implications, this also put to waste a jolly good plan to raid Newcastle down their right, where they were tucking in and keeping things narrow. Curses.

Elsewhere On The Pitch

On a brighter note, Steven Pienaar demonstrated that he has sneakily spent the last 18 months or so perusing the book of Lovely Little One-Touch Passes and Neat Triangles that has become essential reading for anyone wishing to join the technique-fest that is the Tottenham midfield. The chap had a relatively quiet debut, but he appears to have taken to the Tottenham way as if to the manor born. Next door to him Modders’ star shone brightly as ever, and Defoe’s pace and movement offered more threat than Crouch has in recent weeks, but he fairly promptly undid any good work by spurning our best chances.

There were however some jolly worrying signs at the back. Daws appeared strangely discombobulated by a fairly standard aerial bombardment, while Cudicini’s mishandling of the goal was the worst of a couple of errors, and Hutton got himself into a pickle that lasted from just about first whistle to last.

Mercifully, cometh the 90th minute, cometh the man. Aaron Lennon is turning the Crucial Late Goal into something of an art-from, if one can describe a blur of skippy tip-toes and frantic jazz-hands as “art”. No doubt that we deserved a point, but that is hardly the stuff of which a top four finish is made. Alas, with that Awesome Striker-shaped hole still very much evident in our line-up the odds are lengthening.

Spurs 3-1 Inter: Practically Perfect In Every Way

Well this Champions League business is turning out to be cracking fun. Never mind the tube strike, I think most of us floated home aboard Cloud 9 last night.

 

White Hart Lane’s finest hour? Those who watched Danny Blanchflower lift the League title back in the spring of ‘61 might beg to differ, and by all accounts the UEFA Cup Final win of ’84 was one heck of a night, but the denizens of AANP Towers have been up all night carefully weaving a blow-by-blow account of last night’s fun into the tapestry of The Most Blinking Marvellous Tottenham Moments of All Time.

 

If Spurs were the Predator, White Hart Lane would be our home planet, Gareth Bale would probably be that three-red-dot missile thing on the left shoulder, and our collection of skinned victims hanging upside-down with their skulls ripped out would now look mightily impressive. Having accounted for Liverpool, Man City, Chelski and l’Arse last season, we have now raised the bar just about as far as it can go, with arguably the biggest skull of them all – the European Champions. No two ways about it – we must now fancy our chances against just about anyone at the Lane. Heaven knows where it will all end.

 

ATTACK!!!

 

Eschewing traditional Champions League caginess for an approach based primarily on copious amounts of swash and buckle, our lot went at it hammer and tongs from the off. ‘Arry could have been forgiven for exercising a modicum of caution at the prospect of a visit from our illustrious opponents, given the contents of their trophy cabinet and the memory of that four-goal blitz in the San Siro. Instead, our glorious leader reasoned that soaking up the pressure is just too dull and boring, and squashed as much attacking talent as was physically possible into an eleven man outfit. Inter, one suspects, did not quite believe our temerity in adopting a formation that at times resembled 2-1-7, as Hudd stayed within shouting distance of the centre-backs, and everyone else bombed forward as often as they could.

 

Taxi For Maicon

 

Frankly there is not much I can add about Gareth Bale’s performance that has not already been spluttered in awe by someone else. (Other than to wonder what the deuces are those black tape things he sticks to his thighs.) His pace has been showcased many a time and oft; but wasn’t it heart-warming to see him whip in crosses so vicious they would make small children cry?

 

Elsewhere On The Pitch…

 

Naturally enough the handsome young Welshman takes the plaudits, but to a man those in lilywhite played to the peak of their powers. Even pre kick-off the sight of BAE finally having sorted out his hair gave a signal of quite how seriously our heroes were treating this. The philosophy of throwing absolutely everything we had at Inter from the very first whistle may have lacked a little subtlety, but it was a masterstroke from ‘Arry, and impeccably executed the players.

 

Curiously underestimating our attacking threat, Inter were ravaged from all angles. There were puffs of smoke on the flanks, where our two wingers merrily zipped back and forth, aided and abetted by the wonderfully enthusiastic two full-backs. In addition, the central midfield triumvirate gave an absolute masterclass in control, technique and creativity – all gloriously crystallised in that utterly sumptuous first goal. If VDV, Modders and Hudd can play any better as a collective unit I fear the universe will simply give up and collapse under the weight of footballing magnificence.

…And Off The Ball

Moreover, when not in possession our lot beavered away like men demented – the forwards pressing and harrying, and everyone else diligently scampering back to protect Cudicini like their lives depended on it. Inter had their moments, but with every Tottenham man and his dog working their socks off, by and large our esteemed guests could do little better than peer wishfully at our penalty area from afar

 

Even when Jenas replaced VDV – all things considered quite probably the worst substitution it is possible to make in any sport, not just football – it did not disrupt our mentality, the Lord of All Things Sideways and Backwards at least working hard to help retain the initiative. ‘Twas that sort of performance, practically perfect in every way.

 

So huzzah, huzzah and thrice I say huzzah. Goodness knows where we go from here, but rather than concern myself with the future I resolve to enjoy the present, for this quite simply was the greatest result of my Spurs-supporting life.

 

 

 

Young Boys 3-2 Spurs: History Repeating Itself?

Well first of all, a history lesson: in our first ever European Cup tie, back in 1962, Blanchflower, Mackay et al travelled to Poland to play Gornik, under the auspices of Bill Nick, and promptly found themselves 4-0 down at half-time, before scoring two late goals. Back at the Lane in the return leg we won 8-1… (That and just about everything else in our history can be read about in AANP’s book Spurs’ Cult Heroes, now a tenner on Amazon, ahem).So that, ladies and gents, is the Champions League, Tottenham style. Despite the fact that players, management, fans, pundits and just about anyone remotely connected with the club had spent the entire summer banging on about the Champions League, our lot looked to be taken completely by surprise by the whole experience. Everywhere we looked players were discovering new and exciting forms of ineptitude. Daws and Bassong spent the first half hour diligently practising their Corluka-running impressions, and by half-time had given some near-perfect examples of that running-through-quicksand look. If there is a physical opposite to Velcro, Pav appeared to have wrapped himself in it in the first half, as the ball flew several yards away from him every time he tried to control it. And so on. Giovani looked lively in the opening stages, but the rest of them ought to have worn sixes and sevens on the back of their shirts. Action in places, but not the merest semblance of plot.

And yet, even despite the sudden presence of Larry, Curly and Moe in the Tottenham defence, the feeling around these parts persisted that we would at some point sneak an away goal or two and have plenty to play for in the second leg. From the outset, although our hosts were merrily waltzing through our back line, there were some fairly straightforward indications their own defence was far from watertight, with Giovani and Defoe spurning a couple of early opportunities. A more seasoned CL outfit may well have slammed the door in our faces and lobbed the key into the Rhine; instead, for all the euphoria of their early blitz Young Boys seemed oblivious to the fact that in European competition a miserly defence at home is paramount.

We May Have Ourselves A Scapegoat…

Presumably much will be made of the plastic pitch, but from the comfort of the AANP armchair it is difficult to know quite how great an impact that had. It may have had a psychological effect, or it may have meant that any pass over 20 yards fizzed off the surface and away, but whatever the reason, the introduction of Hudd, and the short passing he brought with him, certainly seemed to aid our recovery. Passes under 10 yards looked like they were easier to control, and for a period either side of half-time the players appeared to warm to the task.

By and large however, they made it look like they were running across a minefield rather than an artificial pitch. Ought not these chaps, whose entire lives have been geared towards mastering the dark arts of a size 5 football, have been capable of adjusting to Astroturf pronto? Perhaps, but AANP is reluctant to chastise our lot on this account until I’ve walked a mile in their astro boots. Moreover, injuries sustained by Defoe and Modders suggests that beneath those artificial fibres lurked some malevolent daemon of terra firma. No doubt our heroes will be a darned sight happier on the green, green grass of home. 

A Word On Our Glorious Leader 

We’ll Be Fine

An inauspicious start then, but better things should await in the second leg. No doubt we rode our luck yesterday, as Young Boys could have hit five or six but for some schoolboy (sorry, couldn’t resist) finishing. Nevertheless with Ledley quite possibly to be restored to offer some almost motherly reassurance and organisation at the back, plus Aaron Lennon waiting in the wings, and Gareth Bale yet to make an impact on the tie, I sense that our opponents have blown a good opportunity to give themselves a much more imposing lead.

So, unusually, panic is nowhere to be seen at AANP Towers. If we hit a level remotely near the standards of last season I back us to cruise through, particularly at a throbbing, floodlit White Hart Lane. It may of course all go pear-shaped again (recall ye our UEFA Quarter Final home leg to Sevilla, a few years back, when after an encouraging 2-1 away leg defeat we cunningly conceded twice in the first ten minutes at the Lane to set ourselves a Herculean task), but I personally draw inspiration from the class of ’62, and their christening of Tottenham’s European adventures with the concession of four first-half goals, before proceeding to a 10-5 aggregate victory. Gifting the opposition an early lead, and generally doing everything in our powers to complicate the uncomplicated is a peculiarly Tottenham trait, as proudly displayed today as five decades ago. One-nil may suffice next week, but I suspect that our lot will find a vastly more complicated means of progressing.

Young Boys – Spurs Preview: Enjoy The Moment

Ah, Champions League Tuesday. I could get used to this…Admittedly it’s only the qualifier, but this is still Europe’s premier club competition. That music still blares out at the start, and the nifty, starry football logo is still sewn into the shirt sleeves. After all these years of hurt it feels like Moses finally making it to the promised land (if the Israel of biblical times were full of the best footballers in the world, and plastered with obscenely-priced advertising hoardings, and admittedly if Moses hadn’t died just beforehand).

Sunny Optimism 

Team News 

We ought to be quite capable, on paper and indeed on grass (or synthetic fibres, or whatever it is tonight), but with Daws’ shaky England debut last week still fresh in the memory, it seems conceivable that nerves may play a part tonight. Of our current mob Gomes and Crouch have CL experience, most of them toddled off on various UEFA Cup trips in lilywhite a few years back and just about every one of them has played internationally – but this is a different kettle of fish. Still, even if things go a little awry tonight, over two legs we ought to prevail.

Sod The Scoreline – Enjoy The Moment 

While every man and his dog are aware of the importance of begging, stealing or borrowing our way into the lucrative™ group stages, I reckon I could happily die tonight just as soon as I see our lot march out to that Champions League theme tune. Given that we’re not going to win the entire competition (although after reflection last night I reckon we have a better chance of winning the Champs League than the Prem), tonight I plan just to relish the moment. Years and years of false dawns, kamikaze defending, managerial changes and incessant baiting from gooners have all been leading up to this moment. Where Blanchflower, Mackay and Greaves first went, back in the ‘60s, now it’s the turn of Dawson, Bale and Defoe. Absolutely ruddy marvellous.

EXCLUSIVE – Preview of New Book “Spurs’ Cult Heroes”

What ho. If I’ve been doing this right seasoned visitors to AANP Towers should know that as of this Saturday the book “Spurs’ Cult Heroes” becomes available to buy in shops. To mark the occasion and whet your appetite, I have posted a world exclusive no less – below, for your visual delectation, is the Introduction to Spurs’ Cult Heroes.

Before you dig in, just a few public notices: Gary Mabbutt, the last man to lift the FA Cup for Spurs, will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones in Enfield, this Saturday (6th March), from 12 – 2pm. If you prefer the comfort of your computer-box, the humble tome can also be purveyed at Tottenhamhotspur.com, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , TescoWaterstones and Play

Spurs’ Cult Heroes – Introduction

“We Tottenham folk have been spoilt. Admittedly it does not always seem that way, as we look on aghast at our heroes so regularly ensuring that ignominy is snatched from the jaws of glory; or when that rarest of beasts – a settled management structure – is slaughtered, seemingly on a whim, and we have to start again from scratch. However, when dipping nib into ink in order to write Spurs’ Cult Heroes – and even when simply compiling the list of 20 players to be featured – I realised that we have, other the years, have boasted riches of which other sets of fans can only dream. With good reason does Tottenham Hotspur have a tradition for glory glory football, for when one considers the array of talent that has purred around the White Hart Lane turf, it would have been plain lunacy to have adopted any other approach than that of devilish, breath-taking entertainment.

So how to select from the rich band of swashbucklers, goalscorers and servants so loyal that directly beneath the cockerel on their shirt one suspects they also had that same cockerel tattooed on their chest?

It was a glorious conundrum – so, inevitably, I initially went down the Ossie Ardiles route, and tried to include the whole ruddy lot, every player who has ever had the regulars at the Lane gawping in awe-struck wonder. Just as Ossie discovered however, it quickly became evident that this Tottingham line-up just would not accommodate quite so many big names. In a moment of realisation that has no doubt struck countless Spurs managers over the years, I reluctantly concluded that for all the wonderful talent available, some semblance of order would be necessary in order to set the wheels in motion.

For a start, all those featured had to rank amongst the very best White Hart Lane has seen; no room for those players whose glaring inadequacies we gloss over just because we love them and they love us. A stringent criterion perhaps, but after over 125 years of trophies, goals, loyalty and downright mind-boggling flair, it seemed a legitimate parameter. (As a crucial addendum, such greatness must have been achieved in a Spurs shirt, rather than, say, from the halfway line whilst adorned in the colours of a Spanish outfit – even if the victims were that ‘orrible lot from down the road).

Nor was this just to be a list of the 20 best players – they also had to be the sort who, to this day, will make the most foul-mouthed South Stand die-hards suddenly go misty-eyed, and profess their undying love. Popularity counted, a criterion which ought to answer any queries from the Campbell and Berbatov households.

A difficult balancing act? Those of a certain vintage have argued that the task straightforwardly involves selecting the entire Double-winning team of 1961, and throwing in Greaves, Hoddle and Gazza. One appreciates the sentiment, but one vital requirement of the Cult Heroes collection was to capture the long tradition and very essence of the club. Tottenham Hotspur were formed in 1882; won the FA Cup in 1901; became the first English side to win the Double in 1961; the first British side to win a European trophy, two years later; and won the centenary FA Cup Final in 1981. In the words of the White Hart Lane faithful every matchday:

”And if you know your history, it’s enough to make your heart go woo-ooo-oooah…”

An effort has therefore been made to convey this glorious, if allegedly ineffable, history of the club, those elements which make Spurs one of the proudest and most famous teams in the country. I pre-emptively hold up my hands and offer a mea culpa straight away, for the absences of any players from the 1921 FA Cup-winning side (Jimmy Dimmock and Arthur Grimsdell having been popularly supported). Similarly, star names from our first ever League Title-winning team of 1951 (Ted Ditchburn, captain Eddie Baily and Len “The Duke” Duquemin sprang to many minds) are glaring omissions. Naturally, in gauging popular opinion, much of the focus fell upon those from the latter half of the twentieth century, and the content of Spurs’ Cult Heroes reflects this. However, the chapter on Sandy Brown, whose extraordinary goalscoring feats helped bring the FA Cup to White Hart Lane in 1901, is aimed at conveying the sense of the club in its nascent years, as well as paying tribute to an individual Cult Hero. Likewise, the late, great Bill Nicholson, whose association with the club spanned over 60 years, was a member of the 1951 League Championship winners, and deference is duly shown to this team in the relevant chapter.

Of those not included in Spurs’ Cult Heroes, few players had their credentials promoted quite as vigorously as John White. An attacking midfielder, White was crucial in driving Spurs to the Double in 1961 and European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963, but was tragically killed on 21 July 1964, when struck by lightning whilst sheltering under a tree at a golf course. That he is not included amongst the final 20 is due primarily to the quality and popularity of so many of his peers. The list already includes Blanchflower and Mackay, as well as Cliff Jones and the manager of that glorious team, Bill Nicholson, not to mention Jimmy Greaves, signed in the winter of 1961. While White’s case for inclusion was strong, it was felt that another member of the team from that era would skew the balance of the final list; but such an opinion is by no means definitive.

Others conspicuous by their absence include Lineker, Sheringham, Crooks and Archibald, while wide-eyed rants of fury were also directed this way for the omissions of Cameron, Ditchburn, Ramsey, Smith, England, Coates, Peters, Neighbour, Conn, Thorstvedt and Freund, to name but a handful. The compilation of the final list of 20 was rather unscientific at times, but a huge number of opinions were sought and reminiscences collected.

Disagreements about the personnel may be inevitable, but it is to be hoped that Spurs’ Cult Heroes does at least capture much of that tradition of the club – not just the silverware, but all those other factors unique to Spurs. Football played “the Tottenham way”. Glorious European nights at the Lane. Gleaming white shirts. Years ending in “1”. Magic Wembley moments. Audere est Facere. Questionable musical offerings. Big-name signings. Exotic foreign arrivals. Flair players; club servants; the occasional hardmen; and goalscorers so prolific you almost wanted to offer a consoling pat on the shoulder of the hapless goalkeeper who would soon be left wondering what had hit him.

Tottenham Hotspur’s history is packed with heroes. If the White Hart Lane turf could speak – well, I would like to think it would pretty much read from these pages.”

All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players 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. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson.

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

Everton 2-2 Spurs: Doing It The Tottenham Way

How uniquely Tottenham. Could any other team in Christendom have managed to plough on with such determination towards ignominy, when offered quite so many opportunities for glory?The Tottenham Way

I’d like to think that when a player signs for Spurs, he is sat down and given a good thorough education on the club’s history. He is instructed in the tradition for playing football in a certain style – keeping the ball on the floor, moving it around slickly. The Blanchflower quote is drummed into him – “Glory… doing things in style… etc.” If the player in question is foreign, this quote is the first English he masters. He learns the names of every member of the ’51 Championship-winning push-and-run team, and dutifully sits through hours of black-and-white footage. He worships at the altar of the Bill Nick double-winners. He is sat down and forced to watch the one-touch extravagana that was Darren Anderton’s goal away to QPR in November 1993.

The reality? Probably money and nightclubs; but after games like today’s I wonder if the first thing they are taught on driving up through Bill Nicholson Way, with rigorous attention to every conceivable detail, is how to shoot themselves in the foot in any given situation. You are now a Tottenham player, and it is therefore your duty to explore every avenue for self-destruction, before ever proceeding to victory.

And for good measure, that kamikaze message is then presumably drummed home in the huddle before every game. If the FA were to decide retrospectively that the entire Everton squad took a bung for today’s game, and awarded the three points to us, some idiot in lilywhite would probably pipe up and suggest a rematch instead.

Ruthlessness: Not Welcome at White Hart Lane

A strange old game, because while enough to reduce grown men to tears of despair, it was by no means an awful performance. For so many of our lot, the laudable and the deplorable waltzed merrily hand-in-hand. If they were making lung-busting 20 yard runs to slide in and win a tackle one minute, you could blinking well guarantee that they’d be caught dawdling in possession the next. Adroit movement to create a clear goalscoring opportunity was duly matched by an inaccurate finish. It’s Tottenham in a microcosm. When we were good we were very good; when we were bad we were horrid. Ruthlessness had a look, but was firmly ushered away, and now seeks an abode elsewhere.

Sliver Lining. Honest.

Our heroes’ penchant for the mind-bogglingly infuriating has sunk to new depths, but I honestly believe that if we take time out from throttling the nearest small animal (I’m considering storing in my back garden a small pestilential rat, or rabid dog, or Thierry Henry, just so that I can come stomping back home after days like these and give the vile creature a damn good kicking) we can appreciate a few glass-half-full conclusions.

As mentioned, this was no awful performance. For the second away game in a week, we have done a jolly good impression of a home team. The notion of sitting back from kick-off, soaking up pressure and assessing the situation was given short shrift, as we dispensed with subtlety from the first whistle, and went at it hammer and tongs. Sure, Everton had their chances, and in the first half our defence conducted a couple of stringent examinations of precisely how the term “suicidal back-pass” ought to be defined, but we made one shooting chance after another. Against Wigan they all whistled just inside the post; this time, as with Villa last week, they all seemed to arrow a foot the other side.

Kranjcar’s cup continues to runneth over with new and ingenious ways of causing panic in opposition ranks, and Lennon really does seem to have mastered the art of the inviting cross. It’s not just a one-off, a hazy estimate suggest that four out of five were whipped into pleasingly dangerous areas.

I can think of games just this season (Stoke, first half vs Sunderland) in which we’ve had plenty of possession but struggled to create a genuine goalscoring chance. There has been a lack of movement off the ball, which has clotted our creative juices (notably of Hudd) and led to too much dependency upon the cursed long-ball game. By contrast, over the course of the last few games (and I even include the Man Utd match amongst these) there has been a distinctive buzz of movement in our ranks. Yes, we need to convert rather than rue our chances; and by golly we need to beg, steal or borrow the ability to wrap up a game when leading 2-0 going into the final 15 minutes; but on a broader front there is at least the sense that we have the capacity to create sackfuls of chances.

The counter-argument is that for all this approach-play loveliness WE STILL DIDN’T BLOODY WIN DID WE? Well, granted. When the time came to dig in and fight to the death, we were found wanting. And two points from what really ought to be six, will almost certainly come back to make rude gestures at us come mid-May. Fourth is still in our own hands, but if are to make it we seem determined to do so in the most excruciating manner possible. How uniquely Tottenham.

 

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’ Cult Heroes… Your Memories of Danny Blanchflower

Double-winning captain Danny Blanchflower is one of the players featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes, and AANP warmly invites you to leave your memories below, of one of the club’s greatest ever players. 

As ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the other featured players: 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 hereY

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

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

Spurs’ Cult Heroes – Who Will Fill The Final Three Spaces?

Three spaces left, but still a number of contenders for the list of 20 Spurs Cult Heroes. Still looking for the players who achieved legendary status amongst us fans for what they did at the club – so put forward your argument for (or indeed against) the inclusion of any of these:Pat Jennings, John White, Alfie Conn, Bill Brown, Sandy Brown, Cyril Knowles, Ralph Coates, Gary Lineker, Steffen Freund, Teddy Sheringham. Nayim’s inclusion on this list is debatable, as his finest hour came after he had left Spurs.

(Three from that list will join the following 17, about whom there seems to be little argument: Bill Nick, Blanchflower, Mackay, Greaves, Bobby Smith, Cliff Jones, Perryman, Hoddle, Ardiles, Villa, Mabbutt, Roberts, Waddle, Gazza, Clive Allen, Ginola, Klinsmann).

Spurs’ Cult Heroes – Who Would You Choose?

The clue is in the title – the first all-action book on Spurs is imminent, and all lilywhite fans are most warmly invited to pitch in.A list of 20 fans’ favourites is being compiled, and frankly, for a team as steeped in history as ours, there just ain’t enough room for everyone. Some names effortlessly pick themselves – true Lane legends such as Blanchflower, Perryman, Mabbutt, Greaves and Bill Nick. Numerous others had more fleeting Tottenham careers, but by golly left an indelible imprint – Gazza, Ginola, Klinsmann et al. So feel free to hurl your suggestions this way – each and every one will be pored over by the tireless scribes at AANP, as we look to whittle down the list to 20. The planned tome will eventually chart each player’s Tottenham career, examining why they became a fans’ favourite. It will be heavy on anecdotes and reminiscences – so by all means include your own memories of your personal cult heroes, from both on and off the pitch.

To set the ball rolling, here’s a provisional list, of not-quite 20:
Bill Nicholson
Danny Blanchflower
Dave Mackay
Jimmy Greaves
Bobby Smith
Cliff Jones
Steve Perryman
Cyril Knowles
Glenn Hoddle
Pat Jennings
Ossie Ardiles
Ricky Villa
Gary Mabbutt
Graham Roberts
Chris Waddle
Paul Gascoigne
Jurgen Klinsmann
David Ginola
Steffen Freund

Other names to be considered (in no particular order) include Martin Chivers, Mike England, Len Duquemin, Sandy Brown, Neil Ruddock, Ted Ditchburn, Ralph Coates, Arthur Grimsdell, Jimmy Dimmock, Ron Burgess, Eddie Baily,  Alan Mullery, Nayim, Robbie Keane, Ledley, Ronnie Rosenthal, Garth Crooks, Steve Archibald, Ray Clemence, Erik Thorstvedt, Gary Lineker.

Get involved!

“The Game Is About Glory” – The Core Problem With Spurs?

Levity to one side – temporarily – as this is an attempt to diagnose the core problems at Spurs…I read very recently (with apologies to the author, as I can’t for the life of me remember where) that there’s a problem with the very mentality at Spurs. It’s not just on the pitch, in games like Burnley away, but could be the air about the place as soon as players join. There’s a celebrity/pop-star/big-time Charlie mentality. Players think that once they’ve joined Spurs they’ve made it. They’ve signed for a famous club, with tons of money, a decent history and a strong fan base. It’s a high-profile platform to show off their flair. They’ve got huge wage packets and the glamour of London, with WAGs and tabloids following them around.

The attitude can seep through on the pitch, on nights like Burnley away, when they don’t fly into tackles like their lives depend on them, but instead assume that a goal will come one way or another, just because we’re the famous Premiership club. Burnley’s players are not technically better – if they were they’d be in the Premiership and have the international caps that our lot have. However, Burnley’s players treated the game like it was the highlight of their careers, a life-or-death issue – the sort of attitude a Premiership player should adopt every week, and the complete antithesis of the Spurs players.

At Man Utd, for example, just being at the club is not enough – it’s about winning the Premiership and Champions League. At Spurs, it seems to be enough to trot out every week, win, lose or draw, and enjoy the occasional slice of glamour. The glamour off the pitch, and the glamour of the occasional cup run or televised win against the top four.

There is a quote from our ’61 double-winning captain, Danny Blanchflower, that is part of folklore at the Lane, and is practically our second motto: “The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”

We fans are very familiar with it, and I suspect the players and management may be too. However, I can’t help thinking it’s been misinterpreted over the years, as an excuse for not getting their hands dirty. Blanchflower was saying that the game is not only about winning – he was not saying “winning is unimportant as long as you play stylishly” (which we aren’t doing anyway).

Yes, we have a tradition, important to the identity of the club, of trying to play attractive football, but for goodness sake winning is also important, and winning will not be achieved without hard work. The two go hand in hand. We fans are as guilty of this mentality as anyone else. Spurs fans are notorious for impatiently demanding success, insisting that we’re still one of the big teams – and demanding stylish football.

I’m inclined to think that the players have the same mentality – maybe the backroom staff too. The club’s obsession with flair, glamour and revelling in glory has left them blinded to the fact that achieving this glory first of all requires hard work.

This badboy can also be found on football365.com, at: Football365.com – Turning On Harry Houdini In Style… – Mailbox – Football365 News

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