You know what to do – keep those mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
Poch has been great…but Spurs are still Spursy
In response to Graham Simons – ‘Poch is the greatest Spurs manager I have ever seen and you’ll rue the day he ever leaves’.
I assume then that like me, you are under a certain age and have not seen the likes of Bill Nicholson in action. Additionally, look at who Poch is up against (‘Arry aside)!! Anyway – I jest, and you may indeed be right. Poch has turned Spurs into a top four club and that is no mean feat. The grass is always greener etc.
But, here’s the but. You Gooners were throwing the terms ‘Spursy’ and ‘bottlers’ around long before Poch and let’s face it, sadly (for us) that’s as relevant today as it was back then. It is correct that he hasn’t been backed but can you genuinely say he has not had the playing staff, packed with high level internationals, to at least win ANYTHING in the last several years?
Poch shot for the stars and nearly made it in the CL final, which was like a surreal dream. But unlike the losing mentality that pervades some of our own fanbase (eg hordes of fans taking to social media saying how ‘proud’ they were, airbrushing the most feckless final showing in the history of the tournament to one side…I assume they didn’t spend several grand going to the game), some of us don’t value ‘nearly’, when that is all Poch has ever served up. It would be totally different if it was in a wider context of more recent, ‘smaller’ trophy successes, but it isn’t. Does that make me ungrateful? Depends on your stance on silverware.
A couple of (eg) domestic cups in his tenure would’ve instilled an ability and belief to get over the line on bigger occasions. Instead, we STILL have no mental foundation and are told that ‘trophies are only good for ego’. Wonder if Ferguson, Wenger and Mourinho thought that?
Combine that with a very hit and miss transfer record (both who we have bought in – “backing” or no backing and some of the dross who we have failed to get rid of) and some baffling tactics (eg STILL seeing Sissoko on the right, dropping our highly successful press, etc) and I’m afraid to say that 5-6 years is long enough to have broken our duck, especially when I have no confidence we’d win anything in five more years when falling at the last is so engrained.
It would be a huge risk replacing Poch but we need a manager, and 2-3 playing staff, who have been there, done that, and got over the winning line. That is not to detract from the great job Poch has done in taking us forward.
Poch’s over-achievement is relative
People are certainly right to point out that Pochettino has increased Tottenham’s expectations by having them consistently overperform over his tenure.
That said, it’s also worth keeping in mind that expectations are relative. When Pochettino took over at Spurs in the summer of 2014:
1. City had won the title for the second time under Mancini and were already consistently finishing in the top four minimum;
2. Liverpool had finished in second, and looked like they might be on their way back to sticking around in the top four (despite the blow of losing Suarez);
3. Mourinho’s Chelsea were close behind in third, and had only missed CL football once in a decade;
4. Wenger’s Arsenal had finished seven points clear of fifth place, and had still never missed CL football in his tenure;
5. Everton, despite having much less money than they do now, had pipped Spurs for sixth place and were generally competing for 5th-7th each season;
6. United, lest it be forgotten, had won the title 12 months previously, and it was assumed that someone other than David Moyes would have them back in the title races sooner rather than later.
When you put it in this context, you can appreciate both how well Pochettino has done over his five years at Spurs, and how drastically the situations at Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and United have deteriorated. (Not to mention that the above doesn’t paint the picture of how poorly the following 1.5 years went for Liverpool).
Let’s put it this way: people (including Daniel Storey, if I’m not misremembering) have been talking seriously on the various podcasts about Leicester being in with a strong shout to finish third or fourth this season. This view supports the idea that the expectation or ambition to finish in the top four has a lot to do with the problems both short-term and medium-term at rival top clubs, rather than being purely driven by managers increasing expectations at their respective clubs.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland
From Dortmund with love
The comparison of Klopp’s Dortmund failure with Poch’s current struggles is apples to oranges. Very different circumstances and even approaches. First of all, Klopp had actually won with Dortmund, twice in the league and taken them to the Champions League final. As someone pointed out, they were still playing Klopp style football, it just wasn’t as effective. The reason it was effective, at least according to me was, Dortmund would sell Klopp’s best players every year for bargain money. It wasn’t even selling to other European teams, a handful of that successful nucleus left to join Bayern. Players like Lewandowski, Hummels, Gotze. After the fourth time of asking, Dortmund just couldn’t replace all these greats with enough quality to sustain the yearly exodus. Dortmund were a selling side that let players go for cheap.
I can’t quite figure out what Poch’s problem is, brand new state of the art stadium, all his top players are still there, he got some additions this summer, no major summer tournament burning out his stars, so what’s the problem? They should be at least level with last year’s performances if not better. I said it when Klopp signed with Liverpool, he was going to be a force to reckon with in the league, because Liverpool are not a selling club, and when they do sell, they stick their heels in and demand outrageous fees, as happened with Suarez. Klopp joining a club that doesn’t sell willy-nilly, meant he could build something great. That’s exactly what has happened.
Dave (I’d blame Levy, he is the most dislikeable of all the characters involved), Somewhere
Man United always bigger than Liverpool
Bless his little heart (Anon) and his missive about United, you see even when we are shocking we are still more box office than Liverpool, even when we make Rochdale look like Barcelona we are still more relevant than you, even when our best player want’s to bugger off to Spain we still get more column inches than you, it must really piss you off that no matter how bad we are we are still bigger than you will ever be.
So sit there in your Liverpool onesie writing smug little emails to F365 but at least have the bottle to put your name to it.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
The minute Ole became a legend…
For your information Tariq LFC, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became a Manchester United legend at approximately 21:38hrs (BST) on 26th May 1999.
There has been a banner at Old Trafford “20LEGEND” for donkeys years.
Can’t be bothered with the rest of your points, but this one needed answering.
Chris Wilkinson MUFC
Too easy to say Man City should have bought CB
It is easy to sit back and say that Man City should have brought in a replacement for Kompany in the summer, every website including this one seems to be doing it. In hindsight, it does seem simple, but the more complicated reason that they didn’t was not that they could spend the money as Pep claimed, but that they didn’t have an extra slot for a non-homegrown player. This is the main reason that they were only focused on Harry Maguire and did not look elsewhere. Maguire fit their system, yes, but he also counted as home grown. This is also why they couldnt have bought Alderwiereld, no matter what price he was available for.
Going in to the summer, City knew they needed a replacement for Fernandinho, some cover at both fullback positions, and a replacement for Kompany, in that order. Kompany leaving opened up one spot, which they used for Rodri. Danilo left and was replaced by Cancelo. This seems to be the move that keeps getting pointed out as one that was made instead of a CB, which it sort of was. That leaves out the fact that that would have left them with only Walker at RB, and with no one other than John Stones who had ever even covered that position. Cancelo may have started slowly, but he is one of the best RBs in the world, and the deal was pretty reasonable, considering that Danilo was leaving either way.
If you look at the rest of the team, the only other NHG player that could be replaced by a HG player is Bravo, but after he blew out his achilles last year, City were always going to bring him back for one last season. Other then that, Mendy has been hurt for most of his time in Manchester, but it is too early to completely write him off. City tried to sell Zinchenko at the beginning of last season to open a NHG slot, but he played well last year and earned an extension.
This brings us back to Maguire. Both Man U and Man City spent the summer playing chicken with Leicester waiting for the price to drop, but in the end, Man U blinked and paid up. You can argue that City should just have stumped up the extra money, but that ignores the fact that in spite of how much money they have spent overall, City has been consistent in not paying more for an individual player than they believe that player is worth. By the time it became apparent that Maguire wasn’t coming, it was really to late the go in another direction, and there really wasn’t another HG player available that fit the system. Otamendi was also supposed to be sold and replaced with another NHG CB, but again Maguire dragging on all summer left too little time in the end to pivot.
In the end, City made a gamble and lost. It looks like a dumb gamble now, but it really wasn’t at the time. Next summer David Silva and Bravo will leave (and hopefully Otamendi), and City will have much more flexibility in bringing in whoever they would like to play CB (Skrinier, Koulibaly?). Foden will take up David Silva’s playing time and I’m sure an HG player will be brought in as backup keeper. There is no way of planning for losing your world class CB for half the season to a knee injury, so in the end best laid plans look like that have gone to shit.
Ryan, MCFC (There really are 30 games left, so let’s not pretend that we couldn’t still have a title race)
On England 1 Portugal 0
Just a few points on the game:
– it was only a friendly but it felt like an important game for England. The commentators mentioned that they concede a lot of goals from crosses/set pieces but I think they dealt with them all pretty well today. And it was a welcome clean sheet too.
– admittedly, there weren’t too many Portugal chances to deal with as England definitely dominated the game. There were some really promising moves playing out from the back that led to decent chances. We just struggled to actually put them away, until…
– we had a corner, took it short and then crossed it in and the Portugal goalkeeper dropped it at the near post to be tapped in by Beth Mead. It was really a gift of a goal but England would’ve been disappointed not to come away with a win after the performance.
– Ellie Roebuck had absolutely nothing to do in goal all game, until injury time when Portugal were given a free kick on the edge of the box (wrongly, in my opinion – didn’t look like a foul). It hit the inside of the crossbar, bounced down and I was sure it had gone in to snatch a point for Portugal but somehow she flicked it as it went behind her and caught it.
Next up is another friendly against a strong Germany side in November.
Different man, same old Sunderland
So at long long last Jack Ross has gone from my club. Another dreary away performance at another smaller club and a deserved defeat was finally enough to end the suffering. The suffering of not just myself but thousands of others that had enough.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
In May 2018, despite an agonising relegation to the third tier for only the second time in 140 years of history – things were optimistic. Stewart Donald had bought the club and us from the shackles of the disastrous Ellis Short era. They appointed Ross – who they specifically targetted. The objective was simple – get promotion at the first time of asking back to the Championship.
Ross was heavily backed a more than capable squad featuring internationals such as Bryan Oviedo, Lyndon Gooch and Jon McLaughlin. Experienced professionals such as Lee Cattermole and Aiden McGeady. Money to strengthen as seen with the £3m (rising) spent on Will Grigg who was strangely anti-flammable.
Yet he still couldn’t do it.
The wins that came earlier last season season were unconvincing. Over-reliance on McGeady and star striker Josh Maja who left in January, negative tactics and interviews. Ross certainly didn’t endear himself to fans. Results -wise poor flat draws against a lot of weaker teams ended our automatic hopes and only preceded (another) painful play-off final defeat to Charlton.
This season he was meant to hit the ground running – he failed. After 75 competitive matches, there was no clear tactics for the team, no progress and no hope. The 2-0 loss to Lincoln was the worst performance I’ve seen in 20 years as a supporter.
Not many people have ambition at Sunderland and too many are happy to simply tread water. Thankfully someone saw sense and bit the bullet. The takeover hangs by a thread but ….well that’s another issue entirely.
Lord can only hope the next appointment can bring a bit of positivity and lift the club. We certainly deserve it.
Sunderland till I die.