Welcome to the final half term report article in which we shall consider the performance of the Management and our Owners. If you have not seen the previous articles but would like to read them I have set out links to them below as follows:
The Management Team
Throughout Harry Redknapp’s career he’s been accused of all sorts but supposed tactical naivety is one of the most consistent. If that were true quite how he has turned our relegation certainties into Champions League Group Winners is hard to understand. At appointment the word was “he’s good at turning around teams and making them competitive so he’ll be a good stop gap” but the reality has been somewhat different.
It occurs to me that his motivational skills are second to none. Many of the players that he took over remain with the club and some are quite unrecognisable. Assou-Ekotto is certainly one, Michael Dawson another and the growth of Jenas this season has to go down to a positive mindset as well as his fitness.
Then there is his team of assistants. Kevin Bond is fairly quiet as his assistant but spends time on the field supervising the warm up and I fancy that Joe Jordan is the enforcer in the dressing room if things are not going well. As a player Joe had a ruthless streak. I seem to recall an incident at Old Trafford where our keeper had to go off following an example of this.
As a coach he appears to have mellowed. Well his teeth are usually in and that helps but on occasions on the touchline he still has his “moments” as we saw recently against Newcastle. I fancy that most of the squad will not want to take stick from Joe and will work to ensure that it does not happen.
Tony Parks did a great job in building up Gomes confidence when first appointed. He may require a refresher on some of those sessions at the present time particularly when catching the easy cross is an option.
We also know that Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood are involved in the training of the squad. I’m not sure how Les is getting on with some of the players in respect of their heading but we need to stop this jumping into the opponent rather than making an attempt at the ball. What I do know is that our players never practice shots in the warm up anymore and haven’t for the last three (I think) seasons yet we don’t have any more difficulty in hitting the target so they must do something in this direction at The Lodge.
Clive Allen has responsibility for the Reserve team but assists with the match day warm ups and sits on the bench during games. Clive still looks fit and on occasions must fancy a run out on the field particularly with all those crosses coming across the area.
The other person warranting a mention is the trainer who Martin Jol introduced to the club who after losing prominence in Juande Ramos reign has come back into contention with the organised stretching and running parts of the warm up. He also works with the substitutes at half time keeping them working on their passing in case they are needed.
My conclusion is that the coaching staff are working well as a group and producing plenty of product for the supporters to enjoy. The fantastic atmosphere that we enjoy at White Hart Lane is as a consequence of the work that is put in week in week out to ensure a standard of fitness and improve the passing and retention of the ball so that we are able to keep the ball as we did at Aston Villa.
This was not always so hence the need for the drummer but as you might have noticed I haven’t heard him for ages – not sure what happened there – but we’ve been able to create our own entertainment to supplement the players on the field; and they seem to like it.
I’m not sure that the same can be said for the Owners during the Autumn. They must take credit for the fantastic signing of Rafael Van Der Vaart but this has to be tempered by the potential own goal of Stratford. I think David Ginola summed it up well at half time against Fulham when he said, “I love this stadium.” Let’s consider why that might be.
Firstly the distance from the pitch all the way round is small. This means that the players can feel the crowd at all times and that can work in our favour. Secondly the way the lane is enclosed keeps the atmosphere well inside and the noise level up. Whatever happens in terms of the Stadium this is going to be difficult to replicate and I find it hard to see any supporter who has been a regular visitor to White Hart Lane wanting to give this up.
I am not sure that the Owners properly understand the level of resentment that they may well generate if they end up following the Stratford route. The We Are N17 campaign are doing a grand job in putting forward the opinion of fans properly showing that it is an issue we take seriously and one that needs sensible and adult dialogue so that the arguments are understood.
They may well have pulled off a clever publicity stunt that may well benefit us all. If David Beckham comes the increased awareness of the club around the world will undoubtedly bring us new supporters in different markets and this will mean more commercial income but it may also produce a business willing to put its name to the new stadium.
If this were to happen then the move to Stratford might well take a back seat as money may well be available to stay in the area. Yes we appreciate that S106 agreements need to be agreed – and these are a major sticking point – and some extra property acquired but let’s be honest, if we did not build for another 5 years are we bothered? If we have a Champions League side and domestic trophy winners then I doubt it but if we were in Stratford fighting relegation once more I think that a backlash would exist.
We understand that Mr Levy is telling Harry to seek out the best players in the World. Hang on we already have some of them so let’s not go too mad and remember that we lost £6 million last year. In general I have been impressed by the actions of the ownership since they bought the club but we have a major junction in the road ahead and I hope that the Sat Nav has been properly programmed so that we remain in Tottenham.