Spurs match reports

Sunderland 0-0 Spurs: “Death to Football”, & Hitting the Byline

On an introductory note, I would first like to take the opportunity to shake my head and indeed cock a snook at M. O’Neill Esq., supposedly one of the brightest middle-aged things British football management, but who today lent his signature to the Petition for Death to Football. Defend, defend, defend and try to score from set-pieces – and all in front of their home fans? For shame, Mr O’Neill, for shame.

For their part, our lilywhite (or luridly purple pyjamaed) heroes tried the short passing game, but with barely an inch of room amongst the ten-man Sunderland defence it was all rather futile and frustrating. The situation might have been helped by more off-the-ball movement, as too often our lot rather dwelt in possession for want of options (although according to the Sky Sports commentators the grass was too long for a good wholesome passing game – not one for which I can vouch, but so be it).

In such circumstances as these, and the nights of a thousand relegation strugglers sitting deep at the Lane, an option that pops into the otherwise vacuous AANP cranium is for someone to sprint to the byline and pull back the ball. With Sunderland’s defence happy enough to face forwards and head clear, it would at least have been an interesting socio-demographic experiment to see how they fared when turned towards their own goal by someone bursting to the byline. Just a thought.

In the end Lennon appeared, we enjoyed a full 8 minutes (gasp!) of two upfront and the poor, deprived Sunderland fans worked themselves into a state of hysteria every time their lot passed the halfway line.

Other Points of Note

Not sure I’ve ever seen so many passes misplaced in a Premiership game (a product of the long grass?); Kaboul’s ongoing crusade to become the hardest man alive by sheer strength of heading continued apace; Sandro’s abundant enthusiasm just about expiated for a complete absence of finesse; and Brad Friedel will rarely have had less busy afternoons away from home.

Immensely frustrating then, but from now on the opponents become weaker – statistically at least – and while this may well herald more ten-man defences it ought also to bring about some three-point hauls. Have yourselves a good Easter, we meet clink glasses again on Monday.

Spurs rants

‘Arry’s Successor? Impeccable Criteria and Inspired Suggestions…

Oh good grief, now this is awkward. I had only just made myself comfortable in readiness for a lengthy period of smugness, gloating and absolutely unbearable braggadocio. And why the devil not – our lot produce the most jaw-dropping eye candy since that lady from the Sean Connery days emerged from the sea to jiggle about in her skimpies in frightfully uncouth manner.Alas – and brace thyselves, this may rather cause an eyebrow or two to leap uncontrollably – but it is being whispered in some quarters that our very own glorious leader, ‘Arry ‘imself, is being eyed by the unscrupulous types charged with overseeing the national team’s failures in the next two or three tournaments. Egads! What becomes of the mighty Hotspurs of N17? A new, even gloriouser glorious leader is required.

Now AANP may have zero experience in these matters, and have a global football knowledge based solely on the odd Champions League game and ITV coverage of a few World Cups, but by golly I have a keyboard and a bottle of John Daniels (as the man said – when you’ve known him as long as I, you call him “John”), which by my estimation more than qualifies me to lob a tuppence worth into the ring…

Thunder… Thunder…

The principal criterion at AANP Towers has not changed that much since the days I donned unfeasibly short shorts and made merry with my Thundercats figurines, in the 80’s – quite simply, play nicely. (And have some experience of Europe too, come to think of it – which admittedly was less of a consideration when orchestrating the make-believe demolition of Mumm-Ra by Panthro in the living room back in ‘89.) However, the principal notion was play nicely. Silky smooth passing faster than the eye can follow, with movement a-plenty off the ball. And in this context of one-touchery, when talking heads of various sorts tout Jose Mourinho as our next manager I do rather baulk. Successful, for sure; but dreamy slick football upon which the ghosts of Bill Nich and Danny Blanchflower look down approvingly? Cue an embarrassed clearing of throat and shuffling of feet.

Honest, earnest younglings like the Swansea boss – Buck Rogers or some such – certainly play the right way, but for all his space- and time-travelling exploits the chap has never even sniffed the Intertoto Cup, so taking the helm for a Champions League clash at the Bernabeu may be a tad premature. David Moyes is similarly eyed askance around these parts – neither pleasant on the eye (his teams, as opposed to his own semi-gargoyled visage) nor experienced in European matters.


In terms of football with a bit of dash, and experience at a fairly high level, my eye wanders greedily towards one Herr Klinsmann – a man who, as a handy bonus, already knows his way around the corridors and history books of 748 the High Road. He managed Germany with some aplomb at the 2006 World Cup, and must know a thing or two about hte lilywhite all-action-no-plot mentality, having spearheaded Ossie’s famous five-man attack – how could he possibly fail at Spurs? Admittedly however, his CV is not quite so bright and sparkly when it comes to club management…

AANP would also brave the smoke-filled hazes that are the “coffee” shops of Amshterdam, in order to locate Frank Rijkaard. Good enough for Barcelona? He may therefore suffice for Spurs.

Others to whom I would graciously grant an audience would include Hiddink and possibly O’ Neill. And the dream scenario? All four of the above – Klinsmann, Rijkaard, Hiddink and O’ Neill – working collaboratively as coaches. With AANP as general manager. And that foxy lady from Chelsea as our new physio. Roll on the new dawn.