Would an all-time Spurs PL XI beat all-comers?

Date published: Wednesday 7th February 2018 3:03

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All-time best Spurs Premier League XI
Probably been done before but which club’s all-time best Premier League 11 would reign supreme?

As a Spurs fan my all-time 11 would be as follows and I’d fancy us to give any team a good go:

Lloris – Walker Alderweireld King Rose – Modric Dembele – Bale Eriksen Ginola – Kane

Honourable mentions go to: Van Der Vaart, Klinsmann, Berbatov, Sheringham, Defoe, Keane and of course, Doherty
Ben A


Who would you hate even in your club’s shirt?
As evidenced with Chelsea fans’ views on Conte right now, there are few as fickle as football fans.

I recall how much Utd fans hated Mourinho (who didn’t to be fair) before he took the helm at their beloved club.

I like to think I am slightly more rational than most. If I dislike some one, I tend to maintain that stance even when they pull on a Liverpool shirt. For instance; Craig Bellamy. Was a tool before he played for us, was a tool when he played for us. Probably still is for that matter.

With that in mind, I can categorically state that I could never ever like or celebrate Dele Alli. Even if he scored the winner in the Champions’ League final for Liverpool one day.

Can’t stand him.

Anyone else got someone that they could never ever abide playing for their team, no matter what?
Dom Littleford


TV pundits don’t talk about football because they can’t…
Interesting article by Daniel Storey about referees and he raised a very good point about MOTD’s (and basically all football shows’) incessant analysis focused on whether a refereeing decision was correct or not. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its place as part of the post-match analysis but surely the real value-add for a viewer is to be shown things that you wouldn’t otherwise have spotted, perhaps the important interceptions by a hard working midfielder, or the positional sense of a defender that otherwise goes unnoticed. Debating whether a player’s elbow might be offside is not “analysis” and adds very little value. Of course, the studio analysis does generally cover the respective teams’ performances as well, but often it goes little further than just blaming a defender for losing his man for a goal and Shearer shaking his head saying that was “really really poor”.

I see part of the problem here that TV panels are entirely made up of ex-pros and whilst there’s no question they knew how to play the game, does not necessarily make them qualified to offer genuine tactical insight and in fact most of them fail miserably. Contrast this to, for example, the excellent podcast Totally Football Show where the commentary and analysis are on a different level. Is it time TV shows turned to journalists (and no I don’t mean the likes of Neil Custis!) to add something different to the post-match debate, perhaps alongside one or two ex-pros to provide some balance?
Rob, London


At least the referees’ mistakes are honest
In response to Jay, Streatham. THFC, you really hit the nail on the head with your mail. One word you focused on in relation to the ref’s was about them making “honest mistakes”. At least their mistakes are honest…

If the players weren’t constantly trying to con the ref’s at every opportunity then the referees’ jobs would be much easier. We as supporters need to hold the players of the teams we support accountable for diving and cheating, and let them know that it isn’t acceptable. Until we do that we are all just hypocrites.

Liverpool fans being so vocally up in arms about anyone diving is laughable. Unless you publicly called Suarez out for his MANY indiscretions, then you aren’t entitled to feel outraged at anyone diving against you.
Derek – Ireland


Fanmail for Sprigings
The saga goes on and on. It is now admittedly, just an easy editorial to condemn the atrocities of abuse campaigns from the media that were directed at Raheem Sterling. But of course, whenever a narrative takes off too much, as this belated but very necessary narrative now has, a counter narrative it seems – must- surely follow. So I guess it is bold Toby Sprigings, Mr Original, daring to counter the horrible misconception that Sterling is in fact human and undeserving of streams of hate, egged on by so called journalists of tabloid trash.

I know I’m repeating exactly what you are already rebutting, but casting aspersions at a very young and as yet, NOT FULLY DEVELOPED footballer for failing to match his price tag [YET], is exceedingly foolish. (let’s not forget, Sterling has cost the same as Sigurdsson, and no one even blinked when a relegation fighting club somehow commanded such a sum from Everton)

So your argument Toby, has nothing to do with money. It has to do with parroting an old guard of tribalist commentators whose careers are of the glory days of Liverpool, the glory days of Man United, not happy when a player leaves one of their ‘glorious clubs’ to better their careers because they’re not in 1980 anymore. (Especially if it’s to a new oil rich club just down the road) These bitter old men see a narrative felt by many such tribalist fans (like Toby) who still boo Sterling, who still hate him and these men know that they will find a chorus echoing their hate every time they spew some new vitriol. You, Toby, are one such football tribalist, telling Sterling to suck it up, it comes with the job – but you should understand that merely saying it more eloquently than the violent racist who attacked Sterling outside the City training ground, doesn’t make your biases any more true or the outrage any more justified.

The mess and blame of Sterling’s transfer shambles that has enraged so many lies squarely at the feet of Brendan Rodgers, who tried to hold Sterling hostage, making false public statements and forcing Sterling’s hand in giving interviews to counter the falsehoods and to clarify the truth. Rodgers managed to turn this transfer into a sick, pseudo-political pantomime – it was reckless, unnecessary and caused unfortunate pain and anger for many as a result.

Mr Sprigings, though you may hate Sterling, and with him I guess too, his price tag, the price tag is Man City’s deep pockets paired with Liverpool’s miserliness. Mr Sprigings, though sometimes a counter narrative seems unjustifiably ignored, your counter narrative has been ignored until now for good reason. Being a dissident voice can seem so satisfying, so original and so justified, but your cause is not noble – and so, partisan support of an opposing club should not be reason enough for this or your next op-ed, whenever that one comes.

Why do we/you despise a player for not reaching the ethereal heights of legends? Why is the bar so high? Toby believes in a black and white world where either you’re Dennis Bergkamp, or you’re shit. I guess that inarguable logic does make Sterling shit then doesn’t it?


…Firstly, I have no problem with a difference of opinion. Football is a game made on opinions and it’s what keeps debate healthy. This website has been home to some less popular, not so mainstream opinions and that’s what keeps me coming back.

But the Toby Soringings article on Raheem Sterling has to be the worst article you’ve ever published on here. Not only does it not have a point or good reason, none of it is backed up with any sort of fact. Just a lot of ‘I don’t like’.

Sterling’s gets enough hate from the tabloids (as pointed out) so I’m not sure why he felt the need to write an article about his personal hate but it came across as obsessive and just a bit weird really.

Leagues behind Sane? Never be elite? At the rate Sterling has improved since he first broke into the Liverpool first team there’s no reason why a 27 year old Sterling couldn’t be an elite player. His numbers speak for themselves this season, if you want to highlight the tap-ins but dismiss the last minute cutler into the top corner that’s your agenda that you need to fix within yourself.

My best advice is to stop judging players by their price tag because they didn’t choose it and the money is barely real. He cost 1/3 of a Coutinho and 1/4 of a Neymar so I’d say he’s doing alright for £50m.

I will happily take that £10 bet for him to be starting next season. I’ll even up to it £50 to reflect his ‘inflated true value’.
Carlos Jones (Sterling is 50/1 to get the golden boot)


…I am not a snowflake let me make that clear, and I understand that other people are allowed to hold different opinions, but after months/years of Football 365 pushing back on all the Raheem Sterling haters up and down the country- not just on Merseyside, you allow such a shallow vindictive article such as that by Toby Sprigings to be published.

What utter twaddle it all is – I don’t get excited by sterling so he musn’t be any good. I’m still trying to work out what makes Kane so good – I can’t but my eyes tell me he must be good!

Let’s lambast a young talent because he isn’t yet as good as a passer as David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne. Who is?

In my mind, this country has four elite attacking talents – Sterling, Rashford, dele Alli and Harry Kane- now go online and look for the articles decrying the other three.

Only Kane has scored more – he’s a centre forward. Is Rashford yet in double figures for league goals in the last 2 years? As for the Dele Alli love-in? give me a break.

Breaking news: Sterling didn’t set the fee City paid. Liverpool did and still boo him – as Jamie Carragher said he wished Liverpool could buy as well as they sold, Jordan Ibe is better blah blah blah.

There are enough Sterling hating articles in the world without publishing any from Toby.


Those pesky title defences
Now, I have read a lot about Conte and Chelsea the past few days. Articles and mails frequently cite Europe, transfers, short-termism and player ADHD as reasons why this season hasn’t gone to plan for Chelsea. I have another hypothesis; there is a trend that title defences are becoming bloody difficult.

Here are the previous five seasons league champions with the points and league position of the champion and the previous season’s champion and the point and place difference of last season’s champion in brackets, 2011/2012 is a base year for the first season.

11/12 – 1st Man City 89 points (base year)

12/13 – 1st Man Utd 89 points, 2nd Man City 78 points (11 points, 1 place less)

13/14 – 1st Man City 86 points, 7th Man Utd 64 points (15 points, 6 places less)

14/15 – 1st Chelsea 87 points, 2nd Man City 79 points (7 points, 1 place less)

15/16 – 1st Leicester 81 points, 10th Chelsea 50 points (27 points, 9 places less)

16/17 – 1st Chelsea 93 points, 12th Leicester 44 points (37 points, 11 places less)

ON average, over the last five seasons the league champions have been 19.4 points and 5.6 places worse off the following year. From memory factors have included:

More games due to Europe
Poor recruitment
Player, manager or board disputes
Unexpectedly winning the league
Long-term injuries to key players
In short, for whatever reason, players and managers have struggled to be consistently superior in the league for more than one season. The tactics, recruitment and energy levels (usually due to one rival not being in Europe) of title rivals means that defending is a lot harder than chasing the title. This season Chelsea are likely to be some 15-20 points short and potentially 3-5 places worse off suggesting the trend will continue for at least one more year.

However, the previous five seasons before this trend show that woeful league title defences are only a recent phenomena:

06/07 – 1st Man Utd 89 points (base year)

07/08 – 1st Man Utd 87 points, 2nd Chelsea 85 points (2 points worse, same place)

08/09 – 1st Man Utd 90 points, 2nd Liverpool 86 points (3 points more, same place)

09/10 – 1st Chelsea 86 points, 2nd Man Utd 85 points (5 points , 1 place less)

10/11 – 1st Man Utd 80 points, 2nd Chelsea 71 points (14 points, 1 place less)

11/12 – 1st Man City 89 points, 2nd Man Utd 89 points (9 points more, 1 place less)

In these seasons the Champions were only 1.8 points and 0.6 places worse off after winning the league. Also, before this period Chelsea won the league back-to-back and there was also the Arsenal/Utd title dominance before that.

This suggests our league is as competitive as the hype would suggest and it is neither – or, all of – Conte, the players, the board and the transfer dealings which have resulted in such a feeble defence of the title this year, merely an increasing trend that such feats are difficult in the Premier League.
Joe, Midlands


Everyone’s a whinger today
Did everyone get out of bed on the wrong side this morning?! 90% of the morning mailbox seemed to be complaints of terrible atrocities and conspiracy!

Here’s a brief summary:

Simon – leave Conte alone, Costa was the bad guy :(…Even the most short-sighted person must be able to see that Conte didn’t exactly handle the situation perfectly. You can’t basically tell someone to f*ck off and then be surprised when they stop coming back.

Jamie – Fabregas is bad and Chelsea are bad :(…I’d have a quick look at his assists record and his number of starts in those 24 games. He’s just generally inconsistent. And he’s never had pace so not particularly surprising now he’s 30 that he isn’t the fastest person on the pitch.

Jay – leave the referees alone, modern life is rubbish :(…we live in a 24-hour news cycle with a constant need from people to be shocked. Also, people don’t often support the referees so it’s easier to give them stick than to give your team stick. It’s a bit like parents who shout at teachers when really they’re child is a little arsehole. I’m afraid that’s the world we live in now my friend.

Alex – Hazard isn’t good enough :(…most successful dribbles in the league every year for last four years. Probably best player in the squad for two out of last four league champions. It’s not exactly like cutting back isn’t working for him. See Robben, Arjen for similar example.

Patrick – Chelsea are scum and their players are scum :(… before Matic to United this summer, Chelsea haven’t sold a player to a ‘bigger’ club (based on your definition) since….Mata to United five years ago. It’s hardly a place to go to get your leg up to a more prominent club. There also seems to be zero justification in any of the players mentioned being considered mercenaries other than joined the club you seem to hate so much.

The next few were fairly sensible and the JWP song was very entertaining. Good work team.

Brad – strawman galore! Everyone hates my team :(….Jonathan Liew is clearly angling for clicks. Btw I totally agree that his statement is f*cking nonsensical and the difference is between doing something against the rules and not doing something against the rules. However, it’s ridiculous enough without trying to shoehorn more ridiculousness.

David – no-one mails in about stuff I want to read :(…the ‘top 6’ have about 80% of the fanbase and so garner about the same percentage of clicks for websites. This also means that most of the mails will be about them. If you really believe that it’s elitism, try setting up a website dedicated to everyone bar the popular teams and let us know how you get on. Or, you know, write in some mails about Tranmere – Ed’s Palace drivel gets pride of place every week without question.

That was fun.
Alex, (lots of Chelsea hate today) Ayr


Defending Chelsea
Can I ask Patrick if he lives under a bridge? I’ve not seen more obviously trolling comments from someone on this mailbox (kudos to the mailbox picture #trollback). Comments like ‘the club is rotten’, ‘special place of disrespect’, ‘no class’, ‘no history’ and ‘purely mercenaries’ indicate a feverish vitriol that ironically wouldn’t be out of place on Arsenal fan tv.

It must be tough to look back over the last decade at a club that first, kicked Spurs out of the 2013/14 Champions Veague, then won a couple of titles while stopping the Spurs challenge in the year in between. I suppose that could conjure up the sort of hate that makes one wait for the defending champions to (looks aghast) fall all the way down to fourth before spouting this nonsense.

I guess the other big five have special qualities which draw players. The naive Sun-reading simpleton’s script would be:

ManU – Biggesstesst club ever
Liverpool – Err family club, you’ll always have a walking partner
Arsenal – Always play football the right way
Man City – Guardiola
Spurs – Not really sure.. extra low wages? Club is run the right way I guess

It’s all bollocks my friend – players join to win things, maximise their short high-earning potential (doesn’t make them mercenaries) and increase their profile (ok a manager like Guardiola helps a bit). Yes, if a Madrid or Barca come they can take a player from any of the top six. The funny thing is that at least we’ll lose our ‘mercenaries’ to La Liga and not Man City.

I have to add that I do have massive respect for the way that Spurs are run (seeing as they only just about fulfil one of the three criteria above) and that Chelsea could take a leaf or two out of their book starting with backing Conte.
Saaj (I tried to rise above but utterly failed) CFC


They are scum though…
I was just about to email exactly what Simon CFC sent this morning re: Diego Costa but no point in repeating that, but I now have Chelsea on the mind so might as well pick another topic to comment on about them.

Has there ever been a team made up of such pathetic little runts (I would swap the r for a c but doubt it would be published) in the history of football?

Now anyone who knows me will know just how much I despise Mourinho but the players decided they didn’t like his methods and downed tools costing the man his job (found it quite amusing as it was that getting screwed over by them)

You cannot deny the players just gave up and couldn’t be arsed and now it appears the same is happening again to Conte, the clearest similarity between the two managers (in my opinion) is the desire to win and have 100% commitment from the players as much on the training ground as they do the pitch.

Are these primadonas just so pathetic they cant train hard and throw the toys out the pram for actually being asked to put in a shift more than just on a Saturday lunch time?

Are they so weak they cannot handle European football and domestic in the same season? They seem to do fine when not in Europe but fold when they are and cry to Abramovich about how mean the manager is.

How many more managers will lose their jobs because of these pathetic men/children?

Are Chelsea fans embarrassed by the pathetic men/children that go onto the pitch for them week in week out? (I know I certainly would be, although I do respect them as top level players, maybe that’s why it is so pathetic, that being said thanks for lending us Jamal Blackman, I rate him as our top keeper and think he’d have the place if Moore wasn’t a permanent player)

I assume I’ll receive some abuse from the younger fans (we’re headhunters mate, were “ard” as nails, yeah ok sweetheart) but to genuine (pre-Abramovich fans) what do you actually think of this shambles?
Russ the Blade (and as always, Sheff Utd, not a wannabe gangster with a cool nickname)


Why don’t smaller clubs have a long-term plan?
The demands for more non-Top Six mails is well warranted (and I’m a Spurs fan). But I don’t want to make this a love-in for them. I’d much rather rail at the serious lack of due diligence in the running of these clubs.

Every PL club, by virtue of the eye-watering TV money, are among the richest clubs on the planet. Crystal Palace are richer than Ajax, for Johan’s sake. Yet despite these damn near unlimited resources, 10 of these 20 PL clubs are in a relegation dogfight entirely through their own fault (I’m not counting the newly promoted here).

If you know that relegation would be a financial catastrophe you cannot afford, basic common sense would dictate you do everything in your power to ensure your survival. High on that agenda would be building a team and playing football in such a way that you can make sure you will beat your rivals.

Instead though, we get a collection of “tough-to-beat” bus parkers built around a fear of losing rather than playing to win. This short-termist cowardice is the root of all their ills. It’s all well and good to go defensive and try to hit on the counter when you’re managed by Sam Allardyce and facing a club like Spurs. But when you’re facing a fellow minnow planning to do the exact same thing, you are left without the tools to take the three points needed to fight past your rivals in the table.

Clubs need to have an idea of play. They need to know exactly what they’re going to do on the pitch and how they will use the ball to create shots for themselves and deny them to the other team. Including how to do that when the other team just wants to sit and counter. And they have to constantly update this as other teams change. The majority of PL teams don’t do this. Instead, they turn to a safe pair of established hands, and frequently an assortment of similarly established players to retread the same predictable path to a hoped-for 40 points.

Every ‘small’ club in the PL that has enjoyed success in recent years has done the exact opposite. Swansea came up playing expansive football under fresh faces and thrived, until they forgot the formula. Southampton did the same, until uninspired scouting/recruiting sapped the life from their squad. Leicester have done the same, but have struggled to graft a possession game onto their counter-attacking after the competition adapted to them.

The point of my ill-consider ramble is that it is the responsibility of a club’s board to ensure these things. Either by appointing a sporting director to ensure this process (this requires continuity) or becoming that sporting director themselves (as Daniel Levy has frequently done at Spurs). If you want to ensure Premier League survival you need to be doing a hell of a lot more than giving the hot seat to Allan ParDO (stats joke) and getting player recommendations from (allegedly) friendly agents.

Clubs that do this survive and thrive. Clubs that don’t enjoy Groundhog Day. Yet across England (and indeed Europe), club management consistently fails to adopt a professional manner to the running of the football clubs they are in charge of. And are then left to explore the boundaries of the definition of insanity.


Head in the clouds, cherry on top…
So I’m a Bournemouth fan and after our poor start to the season we are now doing pretty well (top of the form table = the best right?). I follow a couple of fan forums and facebook groups and whereas a few weeks ago everyone was bitching about the fact that we hadn’t signed anyone in January (right up until Wilson scored the first against Chelsea in fact) everyone is now talking about finishing seventh and getting into the Europa League.

Please feel free to laugh at our collective foolishness.

I started thinking about this in the shower the other day though and yes it would be a dream if it were to happen (as unlikely as that may be) but quite frankly with our propensity for starting slowly (see all of our last 6 seasons, we have started poorly and then improved in the second half of the season – including both of our promotion seasons. Not sure what that says about Howe as a manager.) it would be a disaster unless we bought basically an entire new XI to act as rotation.

Finally the question, when was the last time a ‘small’ club (from the EFL) got into Europe and didn’t either exit swiftly or have a total collapse in league form due to the pressures of competing in an extra competition? Is it even possible in the modern day to do this? Why do small clubs from other European countries seem to manage, is it because their respective leagues are less “Physical” and “Fast paced”?

Still, I want to dream of us playing against Inter Milan at the San Siro or Borussia Dortmund or even somewhere less glamorous – Qarabag or Maccabi Tel Aviv anyone?
Paul (Brackets and brackets and brackets) AFCB


Anybody want less success?
As a long-time reader (and lurker) of F365 who has yet to contribute to the Mailbox, I took David’s line about ‘non-top six’ missives to heart and thought I’d take this opportunity to gauge opinion on a topic that has been playing on my mind for a while.

Following a smaller club (context is everything) that has recently tasted the sweet nectar of the Premier League for the first time and subsequently spaffed fifty-odd million on, it must be said, a pretty successful set of imports (Pascal Groß rightly earned a place on your Top Ten PL players outside the top six, and Izquierdo’s howitzer is surely a shoo-in for Goal of the Month), I nonetheless find myself hankering for the days of Dean ‘Tiny’ Cox, Gary Dicker, Gordon Greer and, yes, even Craig Mackail-Smith gracing the field(s) of the greater Brighton area (and then some – see 1997-1999).

There can be no argument that the club has come on in leaps and bounds since the ‘dark days’ of ground-sharing with Gillingham and achieved far more than many fans could’ve reasonably expected, but in the back of my mind that niggling voice won’t stop wondering whether my club, and others like it, lose something unrecoverable in taking that final feted step into the promised Premier League lands. Whether in gaining new heroes with hefty price-tags and European experience we forfeit the backs-to-the-wall, Bobby Zamora type experiences of yesteryear, and whether the grass is really greener on these meticulously manicured Premier League pitches. Is looking forward to what could be better than being there? Hoping for the glory days better than the days themselves?

Like David, I have found solace in the lower leagues, taking trips to the Green Elephant Stadium to watch Burgess Hill Town play the likes of the Met Police and to fall at the feet of homegrown heroes who can only dream of making the occasional bench at Hull one day (see Greg Luer). Maybe it is, as he alludes to, the ‘stories’, humble and unimportant as they may sound in comparison to the top-flight transfer merry-go-rounds and managerial mishaps, that keep people like me coming back to football – seeing a tubby bloke on his debut unleash a rocket into the top-corner only to move to Bognor a month later, taking his mercurial left foot with him.

Does anyone share my confusing lust for, if not failure, then at the very least ‘less success’? I wonder whether there are any City fans out there who, in the dead of night, find themselves spooling through footage of Paul Dickov and wondering what might have (not) been.


Injury crisis!
Ah Carlo Cudicini and the classic combined wrist/pelvis injury. We’ve all been there before haven’t we gents!

Am I right? Am I? huh? anyone?

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