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."

5 Potential Managerial Candidates for Spurs

AVB: An Epitaph

Here at AANP Towers we like to see a good, clean contest, with batsmen walking as soon as the finger goes up and a man nobly stepping aside when some bright young bounder on a horse bends his cannon and makes off with his wife. In such circumstances we cannot help but stiffen the lip at the demise of a manager just three shakes of a lamb’s tail into a season.

That said, not a tear will be shed around these parts. The £100 million pound mob were peddling a style so bereft of life that by yesterday evening it had eaten away approximately 78% of my very soul, which was a far from ideal state of affairs. On top of which, every band of rag-tags and hoodlums (hoodla?) with body-art on their arms was swanning up and knocking our lot to kingdom come. Given the circumstances, it is difficult to imagine a murmur of discontent from anybody involved.

So AVB is now swimming with chums of a piscine persuasion, and with that particular king dead we might as well toddle on to the next point on the agenda – the gentlemen whose services may imminently be volunteered.

Hoddle

He has such lovely hair. But coiffeur aside, this suggestion generally meets with a wary eye and murmurs of warning – understandably so, as Hoddle made rather a pickle of things last time out, and has since drifted into the ether of TV studio mumblings. However, if we want our Tottenham back the blighter knows our style inside out. His sterling work with England in ’97 and ’98 merits a ticked box, and while he did admittedly benefit then from a cracking group of players the 2013 vintage at the Lane seem a similarly fruity bunch.

AANP Rating: Gives the impression of a man who knows his after-dinner port.

Laudrup

Blessed with similarly lovely hair, and also a chappie whose playing career suggests he knew a thing or two about the finer points in life. Laudrup may be a little green behind the ears in this managerial tomfoolery – and history suggests that leaving a fresh-faced type in charge of our troops is not necessarily a guarantee of success – but he has his Swansea mob playing football the right way, has some experience in England and a nice shiny pot at home to impress the slew of nubile young women who possibly trail after him.

AANP Rating: Young enough to have his way with the fairer sex, sufficiently debonair to light a cigar afterwards

Capello

Crumbs. I dare not say a bad word about this chap lest he track me down, and disintegrate my insides purely through the medium of an inscrutable stare. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the old bean. It all seemed a bit dour and funless when he managed England to humiliation, and if the last few weeks has taught me anything it is that humiliation without any fun is the worst sort of humiliation. Let’s at least get humiliated in a blaze of glory, what? However, disciplinarian that he is he might be inclined to pick one strategy and stick to it, which would be progress of sorts. None of this Capoue-up-front nonsense.

AANP Rating: The sort of blighter to sink a few neat whiskies and eyeball his guests if they do not do the same.

Klinsmann

He once turned and looked at me after he scored. We had a moment. Striker to striker. One for the dreamy idealists I think, as this would equate to a romantic swoon in managerial form, but with fairly limited substance behind it in terms of club management. He seemed to have a rip-roaring time managing Germany to the brink of glory on home turf in 2006, and I have no idea how he is getting on with the States, but he has just nabbed himself a four-year contract. All things considered this seems like the dreamy gamble that, right now, will not amuse Levy.

AANP Rating: Likely to be the one dancing atop a table, gin-based cocktail in hand. Which is not really cricket.

Guus Hiddink

Might be worth a knowing nod through a smoky haze and a charged glass. Hiddink kept his head down and the muck off his shoes while sipping from the poisoned chalice at Stamford Bridge, only losing once (to our lot, bizarrely enough), and yanking the FA Cup en route, before being shoved out. The CV is sparkly enough, and my spies tell me he is currently loafing around at home doing crosswords at present.

AANP Rating: Picks the appropriate vintage for each dish in a five-course meal.

The unfortunate truth is presumably that, despite the rigorous scientific compendium upon which these findings are based, Levy is likely to make his own call on this one, hard-nosed renegade that he is. So be it. If nothing else, chewing over the identity of the new man at the helm will give us all something to do while the young folk are spilling over the dancefloors at this week’s Christmas parties.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Supernanny Discovers Her Next Assignment

Real classy from Chelsea. It probably started with Mourinho, instilling arrogance in them, but after the final whistle they just morphed into four year-olds in need of that Supernanny lass. John Terry probably has a right as captain to have a quick word with the ref, but not to scream in his face and finger-jab. The England captain really ought to have some vague notion of decency. That gentle tremor causing the crockery at AANP Towers to shimmer is the sound of Bobby Moore rotating, six feet under. Hiddink acted far more decorously – quiet word, made his point, walked off. As did Lampard, to be fair.Drogba Promotes Schadenfreude 

I honestly didn’t understand why he got involved, having been subbed off long before the final whistle – it’s not as if he was still pumping from having been playing. He would have calmed down on the bench. Struck me almost as if he wanted a bit of limelight. Maybe to distract from missing the easiest chances of both legs (after all, no-one’s talking about that now, are they?)

Mind you, it was mighty impressive that he had the energy to get so involved, having been hacked, beaten, stabbed and shot so frequently by all those phantom challenges, bless him. I do rather wonder what the poor old Chelski physio makes of it, having to run on straight-facedly in front of millions of TV viewers every ten minutes when Drogba goes down, then having to go through the motions of checking he’s not actually hurt, then having to help him limp off the pitch – all the time knowing that it’s just another act.

Curiously, the one thing I did understand – not really condoning, but understood – was Ballack’s fantastic mentalism in the final minutes. Didn’t think it was a penalty, and he put his hands on the ref, which could have been a straight red card – but in the heat of the moment, on the pitch, I can understand instinctively turning around and shrieking at the ref. Thereafter however, is the time to shut up and get on with the game. The instinctive sweary bit I can understand, but once the moment has passed, there is no real excuse.

When Does A Team “Deserve” To Win? 

Not sure who deserved to win – Barca were miles better technically, short-passing their way out of trouble. Whenever Chelsea tried to triangle-pass their way through the move tended to break down. But… what’s the point of Barca’s pretty football if they don’t create one decent chance in 90 mins? It’s not ballet. You don’t “deserve” to win by looking pretty. In the crudest terms, you deserve to win by sticking the round white thing in the net more than the other lot. Barca rather seemed to miss the point, passing to death. Without a Drobga-esque target-man to work around they didn’t have a presence right in the middle, to occupy the centre-backs. All rather reminiscent of last year’s two-legged semi against Man Utd. Chelsea created three or four clear-cut chances, and should have won comfortably – despite being technically inferior. Strange game.

As a neutral though, I had splendid fun – a clash of styles, dodgy reffing, pantomime villains, tense finale. The entire tie might have been more open and entertaining if Barca had scored early at the Nou Camp, forcing Chelski to abandon the six-men-in-their-own-area approach and be a bit more adventurous. Still, the final ought to be cracking fun now, with two teams fairly committed to the all-action-no-plot approach. I back Man U, on the basis that Barca are so determined to walk the ball into the net, coupled with the absence of both full-backs and Marquez from their defence.

All Action, No Plot © 2013. Theme Squared created by Rodrigo Ghedin.