The Sunday Roast: West Brom, the transfer window and Rafa

We’d like to introduce you to our newest blogger William. He will write a weekly blog called ‘The Sunday Roast’ in which he will give a round-up on all things Spurs of the week that was in his own no holds barred style.

Welcome to the first column, in what will hopefully be a weekly round up brought to you every Sunday evening, by yours truly. My aim is to condense and compute the weekly crazy goings on at our club, before spewing it out into a no punches pulled, ill-informed opinion piece that will anger, excite and confuse Spurs fans, who are generally living on the edge for 365 days a year anyway.

What a good time to start this thing up with us coming into the business end of the transfer window, and off the back of the first two Premier League games of the season. In usual Spurs style, tempers are already frayed, disaster is looming right around the corner (or may very well already be with us, depending on who you talk to), yet magnificent glory is only residing just slightly further around the corner and across the street. The wonderful world of being a Spurs fan – exciting, despairing, suicidal, akin to banging two hot hookers whilst gubbing a bottle of fake champagne. Our life is one of big promises and marginally failed brilliance. Without further ado, lets get right into it.

The game

West Brom travelled to the Lane off the back of an enthralling and pleasureful decimation of Liverpool. For Spurs, we had performed very well in our first game, a difficult away trip to Newcastle, but without reward. We looked controlled, tactically astute and lively, yet were let down by individual error and a slight toothlessness up front. As a result, yesterday’s game was seen as an excellent chance to get our first win of the season and also to get the AVB wagon truly rocking and rolling.

However, come 5pm, it was our worlds that were apparently rocking and heads that supposedly needed rolling, with WBA providing a sting in the tail by equalising to make it 1-1 right in the dying embers of the game. Immediately, the Spurs internet world was thrown into disarray, with heavy charges being levelled at a variety of characters. Thus, it would seem prudent to sift through the game by addressing the main points of contention.

AVB: Rome was not built in a day. Yes, it may very well turn out that it was built quicker than our new stadium will be, but exercising some patience would not go amiss. For 60 minutes of the game yesterday we looked to be in control. Once again, our set up looked extremely solid. We didn’t offer the opposition much of a sniff, and we created a fair few chances. Once again, we looked to have weaknesses of times and managers past. Wasteful with our finishing, and in the knowledge that Adebayor is not your predatory type of striker, we still look bereft of a striker who can finish with regular aplomb AND contribute to overall team play. AVB is a manager who thinks deeply, who is somewhat of a scholar and who is trying to implement a far more in-depth way of approaching games. Our squad needs to adjust to this, but there are very good signs there. Two games in and for the majority of those our team looked to be set up correctly and playing very well. Poor finishing and individual errors is not something that any manager can have much control over or take the blame for. Particularly when said players are part of the pre-existing squad and not purchases of the current manager in question.

André Villas-Boas

Too quick to judge. Fans need to give AVB time before they jump to conclusions.

André Villas-Boas was always going to have a tough start on his hand, with the media already sharpening their knives, with a squad that has holes in it, and with a turgid transfer window that has offered him up absolutely nothing in terms of the players he wants brought in. Our panic in the latter part of the game was to do with nerves as a result of wasted chances in the first half that should have seen us comfortably ahead. Furthermore, when going ahead, we desperately missed the organisation and leadership of Scott Parker. Parker is exactly the type of player that AVB needs in the team for the early days, when he is relying on proper characters to stand up and be counted as he navigates the initial rocky waters. This is a team that doesn’t have an abundance of those types as it is, so Parker is a big miss.

They say that football is the people’s game and the finest sport in the world, because it represents every facet of life and has fans of all denominations. Unfortunately, this includes idiots, buffoons, the brain dead, people raised on a diet of reality television and Paris Hilton, and those that live and breath to create disharmony and crisis. A mere two games into the season and we have people slating Villas-Boas and referencing Chelsea fans’ opinions of him. Come on, these halfwits have been used to a decade of revolving managers and chucking 100 million pounds at every problem. They hardly have any grip on the reality that Spurs – and most of the other teams – live in. They derided Ancelotti, they love John Terry. These people are not to be trusted when looking for an informed and unbiased opinion of our new manager.

One can only hope that Spurs remains solid as granite and unite behind the new manager for at least the first 10-15 games, when the window has shut and we hopefully have some if his players in and have had a bit more time to gel to his system. Look at how Arsenal started last season, and look at where they ended up. Somehow, I don’t think we will be so lucky though. Unless we start racking up wins pronto. Only that may quell the low IQ’d among us that are looking to give up on Villas-Boas before he has even properly started.

Livermore: Almost every Spurs fan would say that what they love is having one of our youth players come through and wear the first team shirt. The type that truly plays for the badge, and genuinely loves the club. Why is it then, that when we do have someone like that come through, a number of fans are far too quick to consign them to scrap heap and decree that they are useless? The same happened with Kane off the back of 1 or 2 Europe League games when he was playing in a patch work team. Some of the comments I saw on Livermore yesterday,were tantamount to Gaddafi war crimes. The reality is that for the first hour yesterday Livermore was arguably better than one of our fan favourites, Sandro. I love Sandro, but there are unfair and uneven views being thrown around the place. Livermore contributed in a lot of different facets yesterday – he moved the ball around well, dug in and tackled defended and generally looked to offer us important play in several ways.

This criticism of him seems ridiculous. The guy still has room for improvement and a large upward curve. Let’s hold our horses for a while shall we, and see if he continues to develop further? You may not have noticed this, but a couple of seasons ago he was playing in the Championship? It’s called improvement and development. It’s something that happens when you are young and are growing older and getting more experienced. Something that happens to every single human being on the planet. We all get older and learn more about life? Amazing isn’t it?!

Vertonghen: Technically very good and always looking to get involved. He doesn’t shirk responsibility and will be a huge asset for us. Most players that come to the Premier League need time to get to grips with the physicality of it. This was his first game yesterday. Yep, that’s right, his FIRST. Imagine why I might have spat out my cornflakes when I heard and saw people already ruling him out as too weak and physically incapable yesterday.

The squad and the transfer window

Where to start? Once again we go into the last week of the window with an excruciating amount of business to conduct and several thousand questions on our squad ringing through our ears. It seems a long time ago that wishers of a huge takeover were building momentum and we had optimism off the back of a new manager appointment and some early signings. Perhaps the best place to start is with some of our outgoings.

Bassong: There’s a good player in there somewhere, and that Bassong may return. But it was never going to be with us and it was correct to move him along.

Huddlestone: Why the huge aggravation over this? The man himself has said that he has to manage his ankle on a day-to-day basis right now. We simply cannot afford to offer him the regular starts he needs to find out if it will hold up and to get him back up to speed. The loan is perfect. There is still room for him to prove himself and come back and force his way into the team. Keeping him right now will only hurt his own career and the harmony around our squad. We all know that Tom can be a bit grumpy.

Dawson: He’s 28 years old, has had multiple injuries and can be as slow as a cart horse. Yes, I love the man, yes he is stand up guy, and yes we need more characters like him around, BUT, we have four centre backs apart from him and no other club has carried as many as we have in recent years. We don’t have the legendary King and his dodgy knees now and our four centre-backs spots wouldn’t include the brittle Dawson. The four we have takes up enough space in the squad and are young and vibrant enough cover us. Except maybe my name sake William Gallas.

For these two players it makes sense to move them on, get the squad trimmed down and decrease the amount of potentially unhappy senior players kicking about the training pitch. AVB has no doubt learnt his lessons. We need gradual change, we need to refresh the squad and stock it with young hungry players who fully back the new manager and some new signings who already know AVB or are coming into the club without have been part of its furniture already. The last thing we want is an unsettled Huddlestone spreading negative things about the squad. Now, I am not suggesting that Huddlestone and Dawson would ever behave like those shits at Chelsea, but it is definitely a wise idea for AVB to try and have a squad,whereby all of its players are 100% committed to the new cause, without reason for grumbling or accidently creating disharmony.

And now to our needs. We clearly need a striker or two, a midfielder, wing competition and cover, and at a push a new goalkeeper. This brings me to our transfer policy and AVB. Once again we are leaving things too late. One will never know if there is something that Levy could be doing differently or if it is truly impossible to get players in quicker, so we can’t play blame game. However, all I know is that this situation isn’t doing us or the manager any favours. AVB’s rep is on the line here, and the fans expect, yet we still need 3-5 players with a week to go and games already played.

One has to question if we’d rather have just got someone like Dembélé a month ago rather than flirt around Moutinho until 3 days to go in the window, then make a dash for Dembélé and fail? Hypotheticals of course, but there is untold damage being done by not having players in to train for a month or two, learning the tactics and being fully involved throughout all of pre-season.

Strikers: Would we have preferred to get well chosen realistic targets in a month ago or chase the dream of Llorente and Leandro to get pissed about by a bunch of chairmen that are as every bit as mental as our Daniel? Again, there are too many questions right now as the window hasn’t ended and we don’t know who we will have, but the realist in me tells me there is going to be no Leandro, no Moutinho and no Lloris. Do we have money to spend without the Modric money? Or don’t we? Nobody seems to know.

Perhaps, on that note, it’s time to not speculate further, but if I was AVB I’d be a bit deflated and unhappy. The man must have expected further movement by this time, and to be honest, do we really think that the clubs we are trying to deal with are going to sell to us at discount prices, when they are of a current stature at least equal to ours and have their own fans to placate? Nobody knows, and on that note I’ll move on.

Quick-fire round of transfer targets

Moutinho: Would be great and I’d pay up to £25m plus for him, but it looks like a no goer. Rumours of last day abound, but seem farcically unbelievable to me.

Leandro: Latest on this is that it’s dead.

Niang: Spotted via grainy images and stalkers up trees outside The Lodge. Could easily be done and has a hell of a lot of promise. Doesn’t help us in the here and now though.

Willian: In my opinion, we need wing cover and we need someone with pace and flair trickery to unlock teams that sit back. If this is AVB’s choice, I’m up for it. I just don’t want us to overpay when we have other bigger needs. This need is 3rd most important though.

Dembélé: More and more up for this. Offers flair and work rate, is at a club on a station below us, most likely would love to come. Wouldn’t be the worst result at all.

Lloris: Looks dead, and likely won’t happen.

Isco : Make this happen. This kid could very well be the next Silva/Mata. Not particularly speculative, given the performances he is already putting in. We have immediate needs, but not messing around and snapping up this guy for 12m, should stand us in extremely good stead within the next 2 years.

Other club watch

Here’s a bold prediction. Papiss Demba Cissé to be underwhelming and disappointing this season. People creamed themselves over him last season, but defenders are watching out for him now, and the initial buzz and excitement of a first season, has gone. Its gonna be a long season for him, and one that comes with a lot of pressure and expectation, which he may struggle to cope with. Mostly, players take time to adapt to the PL, but sometimes things can work in reverse. Sticking my head on the block and saying he has a sub 13 goal season in the PL.

Rafael van der Vaart

My closing statement. If we sell van der Vaart, I may do my best Geordie impression and march down the High Road with my belly hanging out, holding aloft a bed sheet with obscenities scrawled on it. Rumours abound his wife being unhappy, which is fair enough, but they are coupled with other rumours that we may look to sell because he won’t sign a contract extension in two years time. I don’t care, some things are more important than a bit of wedge. Let him play for two years and go on a free if need be. VDV is a touch of magic, he has the X factor that reeks of the likes of Ginola, Gazza, Berbatov, Ardilles etc.

Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale

Magical moments. Rafa ranks among some of Spurs’ most exciting players of all time.

We love him, frail hamstrings and all, and he loves us just as much. The man is a sparkplug hooked up to the mains and offers us more in experience and winning mentality than every other player in our squad. People that don’t rate or understand Rafa are lower than dirt in my eyes. Yes, I said it. Lower than dirt! He is everything Spurs represents wrapped up into one human package. Losing King, Ratboy and Van der Vaart in one window would be too much to comprehend. Also, you can bet your bottom dollar that AVB understands just how important this man is to our squad dynamic.

Thanks for reading, my fellow Spurs fans, may the new week bring many shiny presents and three points against Norwich.

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