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.

Spurs news, rants

All I want for Christmas…

Around about the time of my earliest memories of the all-action-no-plot universe – I’d say approximately 1987 – all I wanted for Christmas was the toy truck thing from Thundercats. For John Bostock and other unfeasibly young Spurs players, Thundercats was the greatest cartoon ever. It followed the extremely action-packed lives of a bunch of heroic human-feline hybrids who were armed with a sword which grew bigger if swung around occasionally, and an absolutely brutal truck, with great big claws that could plough through walls and generally cause mass destruction en route to achieving a greater good. The truck rocked, and a toy version was exactly what any sensible, well-adjusted six year-old all-action-no-plotter would want for Christmas. However, that yuletide my parents rather perplexingly bought me a She-Ra*annual instead.

The Spurs management seem to pursue a similarly baffling transfer policy. As the January window approaches I can’t help but hope that the dream present will be bought, a modern-day Thundercats tank, to sit in front of our back four and boss the midfield. However, those with the power to buy will almost inevitably purchase something unnecessary, unwanted and completely inappropriate. Such as Younes Kaboul, the Premiership equivalent of a She-Ra annual. Like Kaboul, and indeed my She-Ra annual, the new signing will be peered at out of politeness, put on display once or twice in the following weeks, then left to gather dust.

For years, as long as I can remember, we’ve needed a defensive midfielder. The Premiership equivalent of a Thundercats tank thing, with great big moving claws, and the capacity to plough through walls and generally cause mass destruction en route to achieving a greater good – it’s exactly what Spurs need. Didier Zokora is not such a beast. He may have his moments, and a penchant for those Benny Hill-esque dashes upfield. He may occasionally offer an extra body in defence, causing confusion in opposition minds if not exactly instilling fear in their hearts. He may even, most surreally, be courted by Real Madrid and their fabulous new manager Wendy Ramos, whilst also catching the eye of that doyen of English management, Tony Adams, at Portsmouth – but Didier Zokora is not the defensive midfielder par excellence that Spurs have been crying out for since the days of the three wise men and the ad hoc duvet in a manger. Zokora really ought only to be keeping the seat warm for someone else.

Our need for a holding midfielder is hardly rocket science, yet it seems to have bypassed one manager after another. Instead, in recent years we’ve seen Bent, Bentley, Modric, Giovanni, Kaboul, Prince-Boateng and Pavluychenko brought in – all players of some quality, but none of whom have addressed the real problem area. To paraphrase Alanis Morissette, it’s like needing a spoon, and spending about one hundred million pounds on a set of fancy foreign knives. More idiotic than ironic.

A Thundercats truck of a defensive midfielder is not the only thing we need this Christmas – with ‘Arry seemingly unconvinced of Gareth Bale’s quality it seems we might pursue a left winger/midfielder, as well as another centre-back, striker, goalkeeper and possibly a couple of full-backs. A full team then. ‘Arry has a good reputation in the transfer market, and has been at the Lane long enough to get an idea of the squad deficiencies – he certainly moans about them enough – so maybe, just maybe, we’ll get those things we truly crave this Christmas.  Or, alternatively, maybe we’ll tear off the warpping paper and have to feign surprise as another unwanted player is brought into the squad, soon to be discarded, with Younes Kaboul and the She-Ra annual.


*She-Ra was He-Man’s female cousin

Spurs preview

Anyone fancy a game? Spurs – Spartak Moscow preview

The build-up to tonight’s game with Spartak reminds me of our office 5-a-side team. We too would reach the day of the game with only four guaranteed players, from an initial pool of several dozen. And so it transpires that Darren Bent can’t play because he has a cold, Ledley and Woodgate are injured, Pav has a prior engagement with his missus, Corluka is helping a mate move into a new flat, Hutton is probably too hungover, Giovanni will no doubt have a deadline looming and can’t get out of the office in time, and as a result ‘Arry is going to have to phone around the players’ mates to try and find a couple of ringers.

As in fact he has already done – step forward Bostock and Parrett. I watched Bostock come off the bench to become our youngest ever player vs Dinamo Zagreb, he seemed to have a decent touch and was left-footed, which is pleasing, but he looks like he should be wearing a hoody and sitting at the back of the bus playing his music out loud. As for this Parrett chap –  I saw a photo of him in the paper and he looks about eight. Maybe the picture is actually 12 years old and he’s really 20, but this still annoys me. I’m not old, but people like him make me feel old. It seems like five minutes ago that I was a teenager, and dreamed of being the young kid thrown off the bench at Spurs. Admittedly I couldn’t even make the school starting XI, but still, I dreamt that dream because I was young enough. It was about the same era that Southgate and Ince were playing rather than managing.

And now? Now Southgate is a manager, Ince has just been sacked from his third managerial post and some damn eight year-old who hasn’t started shaving is going to play for Spurs tonight. How can someone born in the 90s be a better footballer than I am? How can someone still at school be better than I am? I’ve got over ten years on these kids – surely I must be fitter, and stronger, if not necessarily faster? Go back to Pokemon and recorder concerts Parrett, leave the football to grown men. That kid is going to get a right kicking tonight. I’d kick him if I were playing – even if I were his team-mate – just because no-one ought to be a better footballer than me if they’re not old enough to remember Thundercats. There’s a natural order of things here, sonny. Still, as long as Ryan Giggs continues to play, I’ll always feel young. He represents a whole era – my era. Don’t you ever dare to retire, Giggsy.

We only need a point to progress tonight. Fingers crossed for Bostock, Parrett and the rest of the High School Musical cast.