It has been a disappointing 10 days for Tottenham and Harry Redknapp with defeat against Wolves, failure to beat Villa and a poor performance against Bolton. Such form has seen some fans voice concerns over player form, ability and selection. Considering the situation last season should Tottenham just be pleased with what they have got?
The White Hart Lane club had a very promising start to the season, with some lethal attacking play and the new found solidity in the defence. Players like Michael Dawson, Jermaine Defoe and Aaron Lennon were all having arguably the best season of their career and all was good in North London. Some questionable deals in January and a loss of form and suddenly some fans are becoming very critical.
I would like to remind some of these critical Spurs fans of a Facebook celebratory event I was invited to just over a year ago. It was titled as the ‘Tottenham Relegation Party’ and was sent to me by an excited Manchester Untied fan, all too keen to see another club in trouble. By the end of the season Tottenham had rediscovered their form and with a late surge finished 8th, but there was a time when relegation was a possibility. They proved that they were ‘too good to go down’ but it had to act as a shock to the system. No club has a divine right to dine at the top table of English football. The likes of Leeds and Newcastle and a few years ago Manchester City should be enough proof of this point.
The fact therefore that Tottenham fans are criticising a poor week is mystifying to me. Aston Villa are major rivals for the much coveted 4th spot and Bolton play a solid and combative game suited to knockout cup competitions. The Wolves performance was insipid from Spurs but every team is allowed an off day, even the mighty Barcelona had one this weekend. What is important is how the team responds. The Tottenham squad is faced with a very winnable game away at Wigan on Sunday. A win in that game and with results in their favour Spurs could be 4th on Sunday evening. So it is surely not a time to criticise the club and its players.
The fans have rightly questioned the signing of Younes Kaboul. The talented Frenchman had a very disappointing stint at Spurs before and the signing seems an odd one. He has however been in better from for Portsmouth and was starting to look like the player Tottenham signed in 2007. Robbie Keane has had a close relationship with the fans and his considerable presence and personality would be missed in any squad, in spite of his own lack of form. Jermaine Jenas has been the target of much criticism from Spurs fans for several seasons, after too many ineffective performances in a below par midfield. In fairness to Jenas he does put a lot of energy into his performances, but he certainly needs to improve to justify a regular 1st team spot.
I hear Tottenham fans also claim that they need to sign some big name strikers to fire them up the league. A fair comment and one that could be applied to any club, but just who exactly? I don’t mean to burst a bubble that surrounds some fans of the club but big name strikers tend to play for Champions League clubs. A big name bought into the club would be tempted mainly by financial reasons and would probably not be fully committed to the cause. Robinho being a prime example of how big name signings do not necessarily bring success.
Instead I believe that Tottenham fans should appreciate what they have. They are lucky to have a strong core of young English players, who have gained experience in the Premier League. Players like Tom Huddlestone have enormous potential and in a few years will be able to dominate games at the highest level. With some stability in the squad, which has been sorely lacking for too long, then consistent progress can be made. Instead of looking to rush things the fans need to allow Harry Redknapp time to build his squad.
In the medium term for Tottenham a realistic goal is 4th spot. It would be a fantastic achievement to break the ‘big 4’ monopoly and would bring in the money and players of the Champions League. So surely sitting in 6th place one point behind 4th placed Liverpool and with a superior goal difference is a good position in the middle of February. Of course fans are going to react to the team’s most recent performance but a team does not go from infallible to toothless overnight. Tottenham have a squad that is the envy of all their rivals in the race for 4th and the minority of critical fans would do well to remember this.
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