Nobody celebrates trophyless success better than Spurs

Date published: Tuesday 13th February 2018 2:27

Keep those emails coming to theeditor@football365.com… 

 

Some Tottenham fans are starting to grate a little
Aside from some monetary inaccuracies, I have to say to Tom G, class email.  Could not agree more. No fan celebrates and brags about mediocrity better than a Tottenham fan. So glorious is this free flowing mediocrity, that they rely on 1 player to score approximately 45% of their goals (or another way of looking at it, 1 injury away from trying to find 45% of their goals). One could argue they lucked out on finding 1 player who has changed their fortunes. One could say that, but I won’t.

I don’t begrudge Tottenham fans of celebrating some modicum of trophyless success(?), but celebrating winning nothing displays a small club mentality while giving it large to the established top 5 clubs. You’re with the big boys at last, but only just, so relax on the billy biggies…
Michael (“He’s one of our own”….honestly.)

 

Lies, damn lies and added value
Has Pochettino added value to his squad as Dr Oyvind says? Or has the squad just got more valuable? Let’s look beyond the total statistics.

No points for guessing Tottenham’s most valuable player: the homegrown Spurs player is valued at £108m according to transfermarkt, all of which is profit. No doubt Poch has influenced his growth, but he was just establishing himself when Pochettino came in, and he likely got the late developed at just the right time.

Second up is Alli, £72m value making £64m added value. Alli stormed into the PL performing at roughly the same efficiency as at MK. Poch’s influence? Maybe, but why has he declined and not kicked on since then? His value holds as we know what he’s capable of, but Pochettino isn’t getting it right now.

Eriksen has had a steady growth and I’d likely say growth like his is down to the manager: £51m added value. After those three there are few big increases, more a case of players on the by and large increasing thanks to the league positions.

I’m not saying he hasn’t done anything, and he’s undoubtedly a fantastic manager, but playing Kane when he had no other striker and the board getting Alli over other suitors are not his own genius. He inherited a young squad who did fantastically, as opposed to Leicester, whose old squad did fantastically, and thus didn’t have the same room to grow in value.
KC (you can’t add value if your players are expensive, but tell me City don’t make players better)

 

Edquoththeraven asks…
Where is the new spiritual home of the Manchester United cast-off?

That’s simple, it has been and always will be…..Everton.

As soon as I hear that Man Utd are looking to throw away their crap, a shiver runs down my spine.
Fat Man Scouse (Howard, Neville, Saha, Blomqvist, Hughes, Gibson, Schneiderlin, Rooney, thanks for the years of mediocrity)

 

Planet Sport exclusiveUmpire Fergus Murphy on life alongside Federer, Nadal and co. (Tennis365)

 

More spiritual home of the cast-offs
To Ed,

It’s Everton. They will take every single one of those cast-offs, and they now have the money for it too!

Fellaini and Young are out of contract, with the option of an extra year for Young, Blind has already had his extra year option taken up.
Ironically it looks like the one of those they want to keep will be the one who leaves for free (Fellaini).

United could have been more ruthless and cut Fellaini, Zlatan, Young & Blind (and around £500k a week) this Summer, but it looks like 2-3 of those will remain beyond this season despite obvious shortcomings.
KC (would you pay a transfer fee plus £100k a week for Young?)

 

Typical Utd Fan (TUF for Short)
Football 365 often refers to (PFM) Proper Football Men but you’ll soon have to start referring to certain Utd fans as Typical Utd Fans or TUF for short.Paul Murphy certainly falls into the latter category as everywhere you look there are Utd fans saying “we’re second,everything is fine”-it should be the new club mantra.

Yes,Paul,you are second but at the start of the season everyone thought this was the minimum you’d achieve & due to it being Joses’ second season a lot of people thought you’d win it.Lets be honest,Utd have been dreadful this season,the standard of football has been shocking,absolutely diabolical.Yes,you are second but with a higher net spend then Liverpool,Spurs & Arsenal COMBINED.You are 2 points ahead of Liverpool,if you were 2 points off the top would you think you had no chance of winning the league?You may well finish second but don’t try & pretend this is because ye are playing swashbuckling,attacking football because ye are not.Pogba has scored 3 goals,Lukaku has 12,that is 160m+ worth of talent not performing.If Moyes was given a second season & was churning out dross like this(having spent a fortune)he would be booed out the building.

Yes,ye were unlucky to lose to Ncastle yet when De Gea was motm as ye beat Arsenal all that was spouted was “that’s De Geas job,he’s the goalie,Arsenal bottled it” etc.
Your manager has parked the bus AT HOME to City & away at Liverpool & somehow everything is fine.Yes,City have spent a fortune but look at the way they play football compared to the Portugese Pullis.And somehow Jose has earned a contract extension…you couldnt make it up really.
Gussy, Ireland.

 

Revised list of best African Footballers
I don’t know what Matt Stead was thinking in his top ten best African footballers to ever grace the Premier League but here is the real list.

10) Eric Djemba Djemba – so good they named him twice

9) Rigobert Song – best name in the history of the PL period.

8) Bruce Grobbelaar – his hips don’t lie.

7) Richard Kingston – otherwise known as the flapper

6) Djimi Traore – does Mo Salah have a champions league medal yet?

5) Hossam Ghaly – Remember him? You should

4) Mido – The only footballer who I could ever bare a similar resemblance to physically i.e. always overweight

3) Quinton Fortune – He was Fortune –ately to play with such a good team. (absolute top banter)

2) Tony Yeboah – Remember being a kid and playing football with your mates and trying to belt one in from 20 yards and screaming Yeboah!!!. No? just me? I’m nearly done I swear.

1) Ali Dia – The fact he was ever to play in the premier league is hope to all of us who wish to achieve great things in life. Well deserved.

An honourable mention to Lucas Radebe who just wasn’t good enough for the above list.
Barry (Tongue firmly in cheek) LUFC

 

Players you hate at your club…
I had a little panic attack when scanning your Top 10 African players in the PL feature and belatedly realised that El Hadji Diouf wasn’t safely ensconced in top spot. This must be some sort of oversight!? After all, as El Hadji is much too coy to remind us at any given opportunity (too modest, you see) he was named by Pele in the 100 best players to ever play the game for FIFA’s Centenary celebrations. Which interestingly was 125 players strong; but still.

Then I remembered he was my first and only thought when someone asked earlier in the week if you’ve ever hated someone who wears / wore the colours of your team. I would go so far as to say he would be first on the teamsheet any time I was compiling my all-time worst LFC team – ahead of even the ever execrable Sean Dundee. So much to hate about El Hadji Diouf, so little time…

I can only safely assume that the only number 9 in Liverpool’s history (EHD) to go a whole season without scoring will be a clear first when you compile the reverse list. Comfortably ahead of even Ali Dia? Make it so, Matthew. Make it so.

Good list by the way. Maybe I’d have Lucas Radebe in there but he loses marks because of that shite band that named themselves after his club back home.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC

 

Brace of Mails for Martin…
After sneaking in as the last mail in this morning’s mailbox, I was wondering if the Mailbox compiler could indulge me the opportunity to complete a daily brace of mails?

Firstly, could all those United fans who are now advocating that Mourinho needs to overhaul his squad, particularly the defence, explain to me why when Pep did exactly this at the start of the season, this was apparently used as a stick the beat him with?

And I just want it on the record that Dr Oyvind’s mail encapsulates exactly the reason why people get frustrated by the use of stats over actually watching the game itself. His analysis estimates that City’s has only increased the value of the squad by 7mil? So the on-field improvement shown from last year to now by Sterling (second highest scoring Englishman in the league), Sane (second in the league for assists), Aguero (scoring 21 goals whilst finding a new dimension to his game), Silva (finding even more of a magic touch whilst reinventing himself in a deeper role), Fernandinho (finding Kante levels of stamina and all round play), Stones (prior to his injury was a revelation in defence), Otamendi (gone from liability to solidly reliable, only played 7 mins less than KDB). And don’t even start on KDB, I’ll just leave this stat here (https://twitter.com/thefutebolist/status/962364529517780993).

So all that improvement equates to only 7 mil? You’re talking absolute showbags mate. And you do yourself a disservice by trying to claim that he only buys players that are ‘the finished article’ – look at the ages of Sane, Sterling, Jesus, B. Silva, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, and Ederson and try and tell me they’re the finished article and wont improve in the seasons to come?
Martin Todoroski, MCFC

 

Sanchez as catalyst
You very kindly published my thoughts on United needing a catalyst in this morning’s mailbox and interestingly added your own question ‘asking isn’t that what Sanchez is supposed to be?’

I’d like to follow up on that thought by arguing that Sanchez is a player whose energy, drive and brilliance can certainly inspire and galvanise a team as well as the fans. He certainly did that for Arsenal and will surely do that for Utd as well (damn it…)

However that is not the same thing as being a catalyst. To my mind there is a subtle but important distinction between an inspirational player and a catalytic player (if that’s the word).

Sanchez is an example of an inspirational player, Gerrard clearly was another. So too in a different way were Adams, Terry and Stuart Pearce. They galvanised those around them by their own individual brilliance or force of personality.

The catalyst player has a more subtle, yet more long lasting and profound effect on a team. They don’t necessarily have to be brilliant themselves (although most of the examples I’m about to give are/were fantastic players) but they seem to knit it all together, link it all up somehow and suddenly a team puts it all together so much better with these guys in the side than when they are not

So, Cantona was a classic catalyst, Bergkamp another, Beckenbauer definitely.  Fabregas to a certain extent.

The best example I can give from my time watching Arsenal was Alan Smith. Under George Graham, the difference in the quality of football with Smith in the side linking it all up and when he was not was huge. Let’s face it they weren’t a side designed for good football, and when Alan Smith wasn’t there, jeez it could get ugly at times. But when he was playing all those rough edges just got polished off and it was all a lot easier on the eye (still not exactly Total Football mind you)

Guardiola was definitely a catalyst in his playing days, and what’s interesting about him as a coach is that he seems to try and produce a whole team of catalyst players bringing the best out of each other. He certainly achieved it coaching Barca, came pretty damn close at Bayern, and seems to be heading the right way with City.

Anyway, perhaps other mailboxers could suggest the catalysts from their own / other teams?
Rob, Bristol Gooner

 

Why all the hate?
What’s with all the hate and anger among football fans these days?

As a Spurs fan I have read plenty of articles praising Pochettino and his team over the last few years, but the backlash against these articles from fans of rival teams has been bizarre. When Poch took over we were a bit of a joke, the fact Tim Sherwood was the manager he took over from is all you need to know. We had qualified for the Champions League once ever in the PL era, never finished above fourth and the team had no clear style or structure. Our best players didn’t hang around long when the bigger clubs came sniffing, we’d regularly get smashed when we played the best teams in the league and to rub salt in the wounds we hadn’t finished above Arsenal since 1994/95! It’s obviously all relative but for years it was embarrassing to admit to supporting Tottenham. We were  a figure of fun.

That’s all changed in the last few years. We’re moving into a new stadium, have finished third and second in the last two seasons to qualify for the Champions League in back to back seasons and have been involved in genuine title challenges for the first time in my memory. I’m a season ticket holder and this is the best team/squad we’ve had in my lifetime, and this is the most fun I’ve ever had supporting my team. Everyone loves the team and manager, and the progress and hope for the future are clear to see.

Yet for some reason we’re regularly told by fans of other clubs (particularly Arsenal, United and Liverpool) to pipe down. We haven’t won a trophy so what are we so happy about. Apparently, we have to win a trophy to prove how good this team is. Yet Arsenal have won three FA Cups in the last four seasons and their fans are some of the most miserable you’ll ever meet, giving their greatest manager of the modern era dogs abuse on a weekly basis. Portsmouth and Wigan both won the FA Cup relatively recently, were they great teams? Would I prefer to be in their position? Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win a trophy, but we could conceivably be in the quarter finals by beating AFC Wimbledon, Newport and Rochdale. Most teams play weakened sides in the FA Cup now, is winning it really that big an indicator of the quality of a team? As much as I’d love to win it I won’t be any less happy with this current team if we don’t.

If you want to be angry at you own club’s achievements and player that’s up to you, but don’t go round telling Spurs fans how they should be feeling. We’re doing just fine thank you.
@RobJPearse
PS. TomG – Wanyama cost us roughly a third of what Chelsea paid for Kante and has been brilliant since signing, he was the guy that scored the screamer at Anfield the other day, remember?

 

So that’s it, we’re going down
It’s not so much a reaction to West Brom’s result in the Chelsea game, more a culmination of the little we’ve acquired in games against Newcastle, Watford, Southampton, Brighton, Everton, and Huddersfield when the chances were there.

Do I think Pulis would have kept us up? Maybe, but he wasn’t making a very good job of it was he? Would I take him back for an extra 9 points? Nope. You could even argue that the decline started when we hit 40 points last season and never shook off the hangover.

Is the appointment of Pardew to blame? Not for me (Clive). He’s taken over a demoralised squad who had the game knocked out of them for 18 months previous to his arrival. Then again he’s not really put his stamp on them either.

The squad, man for man, is actually one of the best I think we’ve had for a while, but it just hasn’t clicked under either manager and time is pretty much up.

In some ways it may be a relief that Wolves pass by us this year as they would probably slap us from pillar to post at the moment.

And what of our future? This is where the big questions lie. Gone are the shrewd days of Peace as chairman with his steady course correction pretty much ensuring that we bounce back up. While the championship is certainly no footballing abyss it is probably our level right now.

I’ll miss the years of our Chris Brunt’s, James Morrison’s, and Zoltan Gera’s who unspectacularly stabilised us as a premier league club but it’s time for others to take the mantle (I’m looking at you Sam Field and Olly Burke). The job for Pardew, if he wants it, probably starts here.
Rusty (At least Birmingham will give us a derby next season!) Gray, WBA

 

Who is Manchester United?
It’s not often that I agree with United fans about anything, but they are correct and justified in their recent response (because the league table doesn’t lie) as they continue to be Man City’s nearest rivals, both numerically (for now) and geographically. But as we all know, statistics don’t tell the full story and unlike some sports, observation in football can beat out statistics quite a lot of the time.

United have been a mainstay at the top end of the Premier League since its inception; winning the title with brilliant and atrocious football in differing measures. But regardless of the football played, they had a clear identity, one created by and maintained by their legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson and taken on by the supporters the world over: we will outsmart you, regardless of what you throw at us. It might not be this season or the next, but eventually we will return to the summit.

The average United side (being exponentially better than any other team’s average) at any given point in the Premier League years prior to Sir Alex’s departure would always find a way to beat a fellow challenger, teams that others would argue were more aesthetically pleasing than any United side that has ever been put out (not true of course). But when any side besides United has made a lasting impression on the collective football conscious, they have done so at the expense of any admiration for a United team. If you were to ask the casual/not top 6 fan which teams they remember most fondly for playing the most entertaining or outstanding football, or recall a team that did something which was astonishing overall, I’d wager that United wouldn’t always be the first team to pass their lips (although, if I asked which manager, I’m sure Sir Alex would be first). The Invincibles, Newcastle 1994-96, Chelsea 2004-05, Man City 2011-12 and Present, Liverpool 2013-14, Leicester City 2015-16, Spurs 2016-Present; all played/are playing great football, or produce a moment or series of moments which wowed the watching public. They went beyond what was thought possible to achieve some form of greatness or fierce admiration. United have never had to do that beyond title number 1, “it” was always there. You respected United, but you didn’t like or have a fondness for United like you do for the teams mentioned above. There was little to like about the football United played (bar a handful or seasons). This could be a symptom of Success Dilution™. That you have been the top dog for so long, playing brilliantly and winning everything, none of what you achieved and how you played to get there is revered anymore. At this point The Treble doesn’t seem to be talked about in the same tone either. But Giggs goal in the FA Cup Semi-Final Replay that same season does, strangely…

The Mourinho United is now in a bind. They require greatness to sustain themselves. They are one of the most financially viable clubs on the planet, able to buy and pay any player they need to fulfil that remit. The have won trophies very recently too. But this is no longer the only yardstick by which a club is measured in the here and now. If it was there wouldn’t be as much discussion of either Liverpool or Spurs in the Mailbox.

Now that there is a relatively open fight for top four places between 5-6 teams (depending on where we are in the season), the casual viwers have the choice of which teams to watch on a regularly basis. There’s no sticking to just 1-2 top teams and moaning when TV shows anyone but them. They can ask the question ‘Who’s game of football is going elicit an actual emotion from me as a neutral? Which team is exciting to watch?’ I’ve personally been entertained by the style of football played by everyone in the top six, including Arsenal this season, on more than one occasion.

Except United.

The identity of each team (flaws and all) flow through City, Liverpool, Chelsea etc. from front to back. If, United fans, what you wanted was a team of some superstars, some average carryovers, and a playing style that even when it clicks (I use that term loosely) looks like it was stumbled upon rather than planned for, then you got the team you wanted. But if Sunday’s result hasn’t got you asking for more, for better, from both your team and your manager, then what was the point in hiring Mourinho and breaking transfer records in the process? Who did you want to be? The 2nd best?

I think it’s time for an honest conversation amongst yourselves.
James F, BCFC KRO


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