Category Archives: Half Term Report

Mid Term Report Poll

Having run through the various areas of the team and the management of the club all that remains is to take your vote to decide the McNamaras Band Half Term Player award. We’ve selected four from you to choose from so all you need to do is cast your vote by clicking the link below or using the poll in the sidebar below:

 

Who is our best player at the half way stage?

(polls)

Mid Term Report – Management and Ownership

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:

Half Term Report – dealing with multiple fronts, keepers and defenders

Half Term Report – our midfielders

Half Term Report – Our strikers

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.

Ownership

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.                   

Half Term Report – our strikers

It’s half term and a chance for us to review our performance on the field as a team and our squad in each individual category. If you missed the first two articles you can catch them here:

Half Term Report – fighting on all fronts, goalkeepers and defenders

Half Term Report – Midfielders

Strikers

I am including Rafael Van Der Vaart in the striker group as a consequence of his desire to turn action into goals. Quite how he has taken the Premier League by storm when he could not get into the Real Madrid team is difficult to understand. They must have some players!

If I’m honest I was not that aware of Rafa when he was signed. Having made enquiries of the boy I found out he was pretty good but having seen him play I’d be willing to say he is much better than that. I’m happy to admit that Ardiles was my favourite ever Spurs player and I really enjoyed Ginola too but this guy has to be bordering upon equal to Ossie. I say this because I’ve never seen the addition of one player change the team so much so quickly. 

Such is his skill that you are desperate to get back for more and then when you consider that we also have Bale, Modric and Lennon in the same side it’s hard to miss a game at The Lane any more. He has some issues. Having missed a proper pre season with us his fitness may be a little questionable and he has already missed games as a result of injury. Without him I believe we have a great chance to win the game, with him I believe we will win. The next big test is Manchester United at home. We need to win that to show Fergie he hasn’t got all the answers any longer. I think a fit Rafa can help deliver that.

Elsewhere, we are still waiting to see how Jermain Defoe links up with Van Der Vaart. Unfortunately his 3 match ban means we have to wait longer to find out though an understanding seemed to be developing. I think JD is our best striker but I do believe that he is too greedy and certainly needs a couple of goals to settle him down. I’ve always believed he links well with Lennon and that gives me confidence that he will fit back into the side that has developed in his absence. Unfortunately his height dictates one method of play. On the floor. That suits our best game but it must be understood that it rubs both ways. We give the ball to you and you consider giving it back. I still fancy 10 goals from him in the second half of the season.

I wish I could say the same for Robbie Keane. Unfortunately the name Mr Reliable has been lost and his club form has spread to international games. The problem that Robbie has is his wage cost. Many clubs will be interested until they know the deal but lets be honest Rob how much money do you need? I cannot see him offering us lots of goals as he always was a little wasteful and therefore his use to us remains as a squad player. He won’t want that so the door is the only way forward for both parties. I shall miss him but always remember him singlehandedly winning games for us when he first came.

Pav presents a similar conundrum to me. He produces some incredible moments of brilliance but 40 minutes pass in between. When the brilliance comes the ball ends up in the net but he needs to offer more. I worry about his style of play and if it fits in with the side. All too often he comes deep looking for the ball to play those long switch passes but when playing only one up front I feel he needs to lead the line. That might be harsh but when you have the pace of Bale and Lennon it’s impossible to get from a deep position in time to slide it in. When he’s up there he does but when absent it can go across the net. Then there is his aerial threat? At best “not good” would sum it up. Without Crouch every ball is aimed at Bale because he has a chance of winning the header.

Like Pav Crouch has a number of shortcomings but in his favour he has built up a relationship with Van Der Vaart. Many of you don’t like Peter. Yes I agree he looks like a pantomime character on occasions and that his heading could be more powerful but we have been winning with him in the side. But in fairness he is not the best striker in the world and as with the goalkeeper position if we want to get into and stay in the top 4 and compete in every competition a ruthless streak would suggest a new name in this group and at least two out.

One out would be Giovanni who I don’t see having much of a future and Keane would make that two but a really good striker might need a further saving of wages and therefore either Pav or Crouch could go if the right offer came in. If it did not I would not be disappointed as both have things to offer from the bench.

So what would a new striker need to be capable of? The necessary strength to win and direct the ball in the air, pace to keep up with our wingers and sufficient ball playing skills to link with Luka and Rafa. So it’s quite easy to find such a player I’ll warrant!

As I said before I follow Spurs not every other team so I don’t know a list of names but answers on a postcard ignoring the obvious paper names such as Andy Carroll.

Next up a review of our Management and the Ownership.