Tottenham Hotspur

St James’ Park

Sunday 17th October ‘21

Premiership 

Live on SKYSports 

This Sunday sees the first game of the post Ashley era, as Nuno brings his erratic Tottenham  Hotspur side to a flag waving, sold out St James’ Park.

Having written dozens of these previews over the last few years, mainly twisting on about the Kentish tat tycoon, I guess I’m going to have to find a new narrative.  Can you teach on ‘old dog’ new tricks? Well, I’ll do my best, but ‘hope’, ‘progression’ and whisper it, ‘success’ aren’t my usual fare when discussing the Magpies.

I’d actually written a first draft for this Sunday’s match whilst sitting maudlin, in a Covid quiet London hotel bar about a week ago. If you like a ‘two for one’ and fancy comparing how dark it was prior to the light of the ‘Miracle on Strawberry Place’ click here…..

Anyways, back to the weekend; and let’s firstly have a look at our visitors….

It’s been a strange start to the season for the Lilywhites.  Following a summer of ‘will he, won’t he?’ regarding their talismanic (™️ Alan Oliver – ask your dad) usually free scoring captain and a move to the Etihad, Harry remains on the payroll. However, I think it’s fair to say that he’s cutting a less than contented figure.

They started brilliantly with three 1-0 victories, but the wheels came off in alarming fashion with a 3-0 reverse at Selhurst and a ‘no show’ versus hated North London rivals, Arsenal.  They’ve since got back on track with a narrow home win over Aston Villa, but you still get the sense that all is not 100% well.

Their owner, Mr Levy; a curious visual mix of ‘Bond villain’ & unhappy child, has been most outspoken regarding the sale of NUFC to the Saudi backed PCP consortium. This is of course, the same chap who once attempted to flog his now appallingly debt ridden club to the same people and tried to ruin English football with his ‘Super League’ machinations mere months ago.  Daniel, I’m not sure the ‘moral high ground’ and you are natural bedfellows. So, turn it in, eh?

Despite their current situation, they do boast a much better playing staff than their hosts and in the South Korean, Son they have one of the Premiership’s most prolific players.  He’s someone I (usually) just love to watch.  With numerous assists and plenty of goals, it goes without saying that he’s a big danger for United this Sunday.

On to the Mighty Mags….

At the time of writing, Mr Bruce remains in situ, and I’m not going to lie; this is a disappointment to me.  It should not be forgotten that despite our overall ‘joie de vivre’ at the recent euphoric turn of events, we remain winless and second bottom, having had a relatively safe set of fixtures thus far.  The next set of games look much more challenging, and I’d rather the architect of our failure was once more testing the strength of Portuguese sun loungers, not waddling around the SJP technical area, spoiling the atmos.

I believe that Graeme Jones would’ve given the new consortium a very decent ‘interim’ option, and if what I hear is true, it’d have been welcomed by the playing staff too.  Naturally, if wor Mandy gets around to peddling Bacon boy before kick off, just ignore the last couple of paragraphs.

It’s likely that we’ll be welcoming back our number 9, Callum Wilson for this one.  A normal club, with other decent options might elect to ease him back in from the bench.  However, sulky Dwight or utilising ASM incorrectly (again) are the only other realistic choices.  Therefore, I’m expecting him to start.  Hope you’re fit, pal. We’re gonna need you.

Given that I’m finishing this piece off on Wednesday AM, it’s tricky to talk too much about other salient points such as formations etc.  If Bruce is still ‘in charge’ it’ll probably be the usual dog’s dinner.  ‘The Special’ lads & lasses will cover this all in much more detail, so make sure you give it a scan.

Prediction poncing

Prior to Mr Ashley exiting stage left in his ill fitting ‘stone wash’ numbers, I had this down as a regulation away win. Spurs would’ve been visiting a less than capacity stadium filled with largely nonplussed supporters.  However, the first game of a bright new era will see SJP packed to the rafters, peeved up and bang up for it.  It’s the same players in opposition, but I believe it’s just become a much trickier fixture for them.

It also depends which Spurs turn up, and I’d imagine even their own supporters are not sure about that one.

Whilst we desperately require three points, I can see this one being a score draw.  They’re better than us, but I believe our lot will be much more energised and we’ll battle out a share of the spoils.  Tbh, I think we need a ‘bigger picture’ perspective.  We ain’t suddenly going to become Bayern Munich overnight. We’re years behind. Let’s get behind the project and enjoy supporting ‘a club that tries.’

HTL.

Nick Clark – @Clark5Nick 

 

And here’s one prepared pre-takeover …. 

Spurs

(First Draft – 5/10/21)

This Sunday sees a return to St James’, and all is not well at the Mecca of North Eastern football.

Where to begin….

Put it this way, despite my boyish looks, I’ve been kicking around for half a century.  I’ve seen some good(ish) times, but let’s be honest; KK, Sir Bobby and one year of Pardiola’s reign are the rarest of diamonds in the rough.  There’s been worse sides than we have now, but can anyone recall a period of such self harm?

The term ‘fit & proper’ has been rolling around in my head for circa 19 months now.  This isn’t the amazing league that an orgasmic Martin Tyler* would have you believe. True, there are a few sublime football sides at the top; anyone who tuned in to the recent Liverpool/Man City match will attest to this. However, there’s also a great deal of dross from mid table downwards.  Even under Ashley’s yoke we shouldn’t be struggling to keep our heads above water when there are Watfords, Burnleys & Norwichs in the mix.

The day that this weirdly obstinate megalomaniac got his hands on the keys to our kingdom was the introduction to a death by a thousand cuts.  He’s literally spurning the opportunity to spend a few £Mill compo against the loss of £100M+ in TV revenue / any possibility of a £300M+(?!?) (fuck me, I don’t even want to say it but I must) takeover by keeping this complete lack-wit at the helm.

A man with a cork eye on a galloping horse can see what’s in the post.  Despite the ‘Mitro’ draw, they’ll still call it ‘7 in a row next season.’  Cos they can’t count.

Ah, he’s a ‘gambler’ I hear you say.  Is he fuck. I’m sick of reading this. He’s a sociopath.  And, whilst it may enter the realm of the ‘conspiracy theorist’, I’m still to be 100% dissuaded from my nagging feeling that actually, NUFC being bought or dying on it’s arse isn’t really that big a deal to this tubby billionaire.  If he’s lucky, he’s got 15 years left on the planet.  Heads, he waddles off into the sunset with vast amounts of Saudi wedge (which, let’s face it, he probably doesn’t really need) / Tails, at least he gets to see us suffer.

Is it that big a stretch of the imagination? This is a man after all, who couldn’t wait to see the back of Rafa, replacing him with yet another joke of a ‘yes man’ & couldn’t ‘afford’ any loan fees this Summer.

Sunday sees us up against our Southern version.  You know those minty ‘twin towns’ you occasionally see? Twatting Pumfrey & Surbiton, Houghton-le-Spring/Beirut etc. If they did a footy version, us and the Lilywhites would be mint bedfellows.  Look, I know they’re better than us. There’s levels. There are however enough similarities for me to continue with my argument. So, I’m going to.

They’re the archetypal ‘nearly men’.  They have a weird, nefarious owner.  For one, he looks like a pathetic Bond villain. They have one of the best number 9’s in a generation to win fuck all at his chosen club and they sacked Poch; a man who had them on the cusp of Premiership/Champions League titles.

So, ‘weird owner’ ✔️

‘Nearly men’ (see quintessentially, Premiership ‘96 vs Champions League 2018) ✔️

Iconic centre forwards winning the square root of nowt. Wor Al and Ha-weee Kane. ✔️

Sir Bobby & Poch.  two of the worst dismissals in my lifetime. ✔️

The way I see it. We’re basically brothers from another momma.

They’ll arrive on Barrack Road in a bit of a weird pickle. They started the season like a ‘house on fire.’  Well you know, sort of.  Played 3, won 3. 3 goals for, none against. Man City, turned over at their home venue vanity project/monstrous debt saddler. All was well. Mint. Then, they badly capitulated at Selhurst Park and failed to turn up for a North London derby and it became a TalkSport/Arsenal fans tv wank fest. ‘Ha-wee’ ain’t happy/has become shit overnight etc from TS.  Innit blud, ‘best day of my life’ from id he called Tribes or something?  FWIW, I briefly glanced up from my NUFC malaise to slightly agree with at least some of it.  Despite a 2-1 win v plucky Villa, they’re not completely right.  I feel tight saying it (cos I like him) but I’m not sure Nuno is gonna cut the mustard there.  The ‘Kane’ politics will dog him, and if the brilliant Son gets fettled, they’re pretty average.

Sounds good, eh?

We can have these. Etc etc.

You know what, I’d properly fancy us with a new manager like Eddie Howe** at the helm.  Problem is, we’re a fucking car crash. I read Alex’s synopsis of events at Molineux at it makes you ill.  We’ve basically got a rotund & less clever version of Caligula picking stupid teams & playing everyone out of position.  Whilst it’s possibly poor ‘preview’ etiquette, I can’t be arsed talking much more about us. Luke Edwards would get really cross.

If it goes to form, which it usually does; they’ll have too much for us.  I’m boring myself, and probably you, by saying ‘port in a storm’ but that’s what we are.  We’ll huff & puff, but their quality will show through.  I’m going 0-2. Son & Kane.  I’m actually more bothered to see if that lovely chap, Richard Masters will be sitting along side his pal, Dan.  Perhaps, they could get Keyesey & the Hoff to come for a few in the Biggy after?  Anyone for a ‘Kangaroo court’?

Nick Clark – @Clark5Nick