The Boss
Jun 8, 2003
Thread starter #1
Disappointment. A word that as Spurs fans we know all too well but this time it feels different and I’m still trying to figure out why.

The obvious place to start is last night where our season seemed to simultaneously end both on and off the pitch. Losing to Arsenal, even if it was partly a second string side, is something we’re used to by now and while it still hurts every time it’s not as though it was unexpected. What was unexpected at the start of the season was the decline we seem to be in at the minute and that’s something I’ll discuss later in this article but first let’s relive last night for a final time.

We were missing 3 key players, let’s not forget that. King, Berbatov and Lennon are arguably the only 3 really quality players that we have and all 3 were out but we surely had enough to cope with what was an average Arsenal team. Sadly not. As soon as the team was announced it all looked wrong.

The following is a brief overview of how I think everyone performed, not just last night but over the season so far.

Robinson – Has been extremely poor this season and we’re all aware of it now. Last night he appeared to be stuck to his goal line and had absolutely no command of his area, which is even more important without King at the back. The other major criticism Robbo comes in for is his “hoof” up field. If he’s punting it up for Berbatov to sublimely control on his chest and provide an attacking threat you can see the reasoning, but kicking it over Keane and Defoe’s heads every time is a horrible waste of possession which was reflected by the stats from last night. While still a fan’s favourite and “England’s Number 1” he really appears to need resting and rumours of his inability to take advice from our goalkeeping coaches means he’s fast becoming a target for disgruntled fans.

Chimbonda – One of the few players who seems to consistently put in performances. A very solid player who adds a huge attacking threat when linking up with Lennon but with Ghaly in his place it never looks like working.

Dawson – Again a solid defender who’s maybe become slightly over-rated due to his immense partnership with King. On his own he’s not quite playing to the same standard but still easily our best defender alongside King.

Rocha – Oh dear. This guy could be quality or he could be Ramon Vega Mk II. The problem after his blunder last night is that he may not be given a chance to prove his quality to the fans who are notorious for knee-jerk reactions.

Eokotto – Put in a good performance last night and while he’s not as consistent as Lee he has shown signs of becoming a very good player in the future if we stick with him.

Ghaly – He doesn’t appear to be on form any longer and we need to realise he’s not suitable cover for Lennon. He does have pace, power, good feet and a decent tackle so it’s understandable that we liked what we saw when scouting him but as a package he just doesn’t quite work, something that could be said of Spurs as a whole.
Jenas – Just back from injury and put in a huge performance in our last game, leading to cries of joy that we finally had a decent midfielder back. Unfortunately last night he got lost somewhere between WHL and the Emirates Stadium and never made it to the game. His energy, his surging runs, his tracking back, his passing, all of them disappeared last night. When he plays well he can play very well and be a huge player for us, potentially captain material and exactly what we need in the centre. When he doesn’t play well he’s anonymous and a huge liability.

Zokora – The title of this article would seem to describe his first season at Spurs. A disappointment. I’m not sure what Comolli saw to make us pay £8 million but it’s about time the rest of us saw it. His tackling is awful, he’s not a “ball winner” by any stretch of the imagination. He slides around often through players, often missing the ball. He has an awful first touch and poor passing. His one strength is his powerful running from midfield but that’s enough to base his game around, especially if we want to build a strong midfield around with him as one of the key components.

Malbranque – I’ve been impressed by his ability but at the same time disappointed by his fitness. The same could be said of the team as a whole but he doesn’t seem to have 90 minutes in him, not yet anyway. When he does he could become a very important player for us and I feel it’s worth giving him time, whether it’s on the left wing or in the hole behind the front two.

Keane – Passionate. Petulant. Poor. Those three words seem to sum up what used to be one of my favourite players. He has the ability but he doesn’t stop complaining long enough to use it. He doesn’t fit into the long ball system which we appear determined to adopt and he certainly doesn’t link up well with Defoe.

Defoe – Partnered with Berbatov he was really starting to recapture some form that has been absent for far too long. Without Berbatov he is anonymous. His running, his link up, his awareness and especially his ability to stay onside are all awful. It’s only because of the undoubted quality of his Bulgarian strike-partner that he was performing like we all wish he would. He needs someone to do all the hard work for him, to have the vision and awareness, to draw the defenders and provide the link up player. If that’s all taken care of, Defoe can run fast and hit the ball hard and more often than not manage a shot on target or even a goal. Without a partner who plays to his strengths he’s no better than Bobby Zamora or the many other poor strikers we’ve had over the years. Remember Chris Armstrong’s superb partnership with Teddy? If Berbatov can stay fit that’s possible what we have with him and Defoe but Defoe on his own is not the answer.

Jol – One of the biggest disappointments is BMJ. Fans have been making knee-jerk reactions about him for the past year and unfortunately some of them appear to be coming true. Tactically we look lost at times. He states that Defoe/Keane can’t play together but then that’s what he resorts to and along with a poor, unbalanced midfield we really struggle because of it. I’m confident that Jol is still the man for us and can turn this around but he needs to start doing it fast with the players we have available.

Comolli – Whatever the reason, he failed this transfer window to get us the players that we needed. The disappointment here is his claim at the recent AGM that we “do not need a left sided player”. Whether this was PR spin or he really believes it, it does provide cause for concern. We arguably need another central defender to replace Gardner, a quality left sided midfielder, a creative force in the centre of the park and a target man up front. Obviously a lot to ask for but not addressing any of these areas has led to many fans wondering what he is here for. We tried to sign Young, we tried to sign Bale, we tried to sign Barnes, we tried to sign Davies. The list goes on. We obviously believe we need these positions filled as we have been trying to fill them but ultimately we’ve failed to do so.

Levy – Levy is coming in for more and more criticism lately. The problem is we don’t know the facts. Has he really seen deals we’ve needed to be completed fall through because he quibbled over tiny details and small amounts of change? Is he really threatening to sue UEFA if they don’t let us play someone rather than receive a bye? Lots of rumours appear to suggest this but we can’t judge him based on them. One thing we can judge him on is the continual awful service to the fans, in particularly from the Ticket Office. I plan to write a more detailed article on this in the future but the horror stories of how the TO is run are just dismissed by the club. The continual poor, laughable “service” is barely acknowledged and excuses from the likes of Barber are trotted out about the increase in games.

So many areas of disappointment. Can we pick ourselves up and make something of this season or will the quote that “there used to be a football club over there” ring even more true come the end of the season.

Yours Disappointedly.



Active Member
Dec 6, 2006
Hey Rob, you make some good comments, but you have to realise we are still a work in progress. Yes we have disappointing performances, but as you failed to mention, they have already nearly completed the total of last seasons games by the end of January.

We're not used to a conjested fixture list, and some of our reserve team are below par - but I'd rather we are where we are than Portsmoth who are chucking money at old pro's to achieve their success.

Wait and see this will be a turning point. We will finish in the Top 6 and probably win the UEFA cup... mark my words
Aug 11, 2004
Well I was at the game last night and I have to disagree on some of your points, but of course agree with many. I thought Ekotto was superb last night, a lot of effort, decent passing, tackling and got forward whenever possible.

Rocha, aside from his UNFORTUNATE slip looked composed and won some decent headers and read the play well, not sure why the Vega comparison comes in, ludicrous at this stage.

Malbranque does tend to tire but this is due to his work rate from the kick off, great feet, one-two's, running although final ball could be better, peased with him.

Defoe made some good runs but simply wasn't getting the service and had 2/3 players around him with little or no support so lost the ball too often.

Keane lots of running and willing but wasn't sure where he should position himself a lot of the time. Not sure why Mido and Defoe didn't start if I'm honest.

One all too glaring point is when Arsenal players run with the ball we back off and back off until they are near the goal and can have a pop. Im not suggesting players dive in, but we give the oppostion far too much time and space on the ball, something other teams do not afford us.

Thought jol could have taken Ghastly off of half time, moved JJ on the right and put Hudd in the middle and told Zakora to get box to box (ability to do so) and if Steed had to come off later on let Keano play on the left. Anyway im not a manager and like Jol a lot but it's my view (always good with hindsight).

Having said that when i saw keane and defoe starting i thought here we go again, no holding the ball up!

Just hope we can beat Fulham and get to the new Wembley!
May 30, 2006
You know, I am/was (confused today) a Jol fan and usually see the glass as half full, but today I awoke with the uneasy feeling that big mart aint all that. In the big games, where it counts, we lose. I.E toward the end of last season, last night, the cup game against liverpool a couple of years back. Were all huff and puff. To me, playing a partnership of keane and defoe, when hes openly stated it doesn't work, in our biggest game of the season is ALMOST unforgiveable, along with only having 4 subs (!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?) and the disastrous re-shuffle in the first leg(he should have kept the same system that was working VERY well and brought on MIDO, not gone 451! Ive said it before but when Keane plays with defoe, he drops into midfield, isolating Defoe, and thus negating his strengths. Defoe is outstanding playing on the shoulder, with his pace and deadly finishing. As a lone striker he's quite frankly useless! The 1st murmours of discontent are here and it will be interesting to see how he and a few players (ROBBO) cope with the impending abuse. If he is our saviour and the man to take us back to the top, he will rise to the challenge and learn from his errors, if not he will crumble, like many before him and be remembered as no better than Gerry Francis - Time will tell on this one.....


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2004
If we have to go out of 1 cup im glad its the league cup.

Wiley pissed me off though.
Aug 11, 2004
I seem to have lost some of my comments.

Jenas was great, running, energy, willing etc and has been badly missed, he will only get better.

Zakora, didnt quite know what his role was, did ok but much room for improvement, still think he'll come good.

Ghaly was awful, got to the bye-line a couple of times but caught in possessin more than both sets of players put together and always thought he had been fouiled which he hadn't.
Dec 13, 2005
I listened to Graham Roberts on Talksport this a.m.

I think he summed it up when he said something along the lines of ...

Shaking hands and that in the tunnel, not the way we used to etc.
We used to kick lumps out of each other on the pitch then go and have a drink afterwards.

Needed someone "to put a foot in" a ballwinner.

Summed it up for me. When Mido got that equaliser it rocked Arsenal a bit and the fans had doubts too, thats when we should have went for it, too long we have been
a soft touch against the big clubs, not that I want to see Bolton style footy at WHL but too many Jessies dont make for trophies.
You can have all the best wingers in the world but if no one is winning the ball for them and feeding them , well.


Audere est facere
Jul 28, 2004
agree with some points but not others. Defoe this season has worked tremendously hard in most games, dropping into midfield, holding up the ball, making good dribbles, and yes, berbatov brings the best out of him, but thats because more than anything berbatov creates space, keane jsut doesn't. Jenas was overpowered because the useless Zokora left him alone to take on two monsters in Gilbero and Diaby. He was still always available to receive the ball and never gave it away. Dawson i felt had by far his best game without king, with king he is better butlast night he was a giant. Ghaly i thought provided our best threat from midfield and looked the only one likely to do anything.

I hope Rocha gets a chance because he is a good player and lets face it, even without his blunder we'd have gone out on away goals. Robinson if you remember did make three very good saves last night, two of which he had no right to save.

Good article but i disagree on parts.

Can I also say, hey, we were missing like you said, our 3 best players. Arsenal may be able to cope without Henry, Fabregas and Toure, but they're the only ones. Imagine Manure without Ronaldo, Ferdinand and the slowly improving Rooney, or Chelsea without Drogba Lampard and Terry. And I'd laugh at Liverpool without Kuyt, Gerrard and Carragher. Robinson is on bad form, but he is a very good goalkeeper, King and Chimbonda are both brilliant defenders, and Dawson is going to be, he's already very good. Ekotto could be great, it remains to be seen, but last night he was very good. Huddlestone and Jenas could form the combination of passing and energy we need for a solid centre, while Lennon is going to be a world class winger. Berbatov IS a world class striker, and Defoe is very good with him. If Ekotto improves, and we sign a left sided player not only good for attacks but also meaning the Ekotto isn't so exposed, we'll be a very good side capable of challenging the top for. I saw Nene the other day and I hope we do get him, he['s tall, quick, and a very good crosser and shooter, reminds me of Gamst at Blackburn. What we lack is depth. Hopefully Rocha can be good back up for Dawson and King, and Gardner is OK as the fourth. But Stalteri and Lee are not up to it, and neither is Tainio or Murphy, Zokora might be ok as a fourth choice, but we should really sign someone to be good back up to Jenas and Huddlestone, or even replace one of them in the first team. And aside from having no LW, we have no cover for either wing at all! Malbranque could be very good in the middle for us, but he's no LW thats for sure. And i'm happy with Mido, but i'm beginning to be very disgruntled with a Keane who ahs become a prima donna!


SC Veteran
Jun 4, 2004
I'm a little suprised in you Rob, the way you're talkin, if Spurs were the be all and end all in my life then I may as well go and top myself! I mean crikey, talk about depressing!

I honestly don't believe things are anywhere near as bad as all this! The article from the BBC is way more up my street and makes FAR more sense that articles of this nature. Yes I am an optimist for the most part but I'm not delusional. I recognise that this season hasn't been good and I feel as down and dejected as most over last night's result and the lack of filling the left side!

However, that said, we don't need this kind of attitude, it doesn't acheive anything and doesn't help the team and general mood around the club. We HAVE to get behind the players and MJ who we all loved and adored 5 mins ago! Come on guys, things always look bleek in these sort of times, but IF we were to go and beat United on sunday, how happy would everyone be, think about it!


New Member
Mar 16, 2006
Defoe no better than Bobby Zamora ? Are you sure ? I'm as dissapointed as the next man this morning but they key to your article was in 3 words King, Berbatov and Lennon ! Mainly our captain and our best player. The season is far from over, even though last nights result is still stuck in my throat !
Jul 22, 2003
I couldn't agree more Rob. Before the season started I was so optimistic. But last night when I saw the line up, I realised it may have been a false dawn. Four central midfielders and two strikers who even the manager himself admidts cannot work togther. Managerial suicide.

I would have preffered to play them at there own game and given the youngsters a go. After all we beat them in the reserves league last year.


New Member
Jun 23, 2004
In Jol we trust

what a load of crap, moan moan moan. I agree everything is not hunky dorey, but we could villa. potential euro candidates 8 weeks ago, now there relegation candidates. A couple of wins and this will all be yesterday's news.



Active Member
Apr 20, 2004
Risking the inevitable onslaught from you lot, I have to say I've been questioning Jol's tactics, team selections and substitution-strategies for some time now.

Yes, he's the best manager we've had for years, yes he's great with the press but considering who else we've had that's not saying all that much. We haven't been a good 90-minute-footballing side for ... ever, but he hasn't exactly changed that has he? Even last season, the reason we didn't make it into the Champions league is because we let 1-goal leads slip (because we couldn't score more than 1 goal most of the time) and lost by 1-goal margins to bottom/lower-table opposition.

Also, we have an extremely good squad of players, yet we only seem to be able to play excellent football for 20 minutes, half an hour, sometimes even a whole half ... but I can't remember a game we played, even against lower-league opposition - where we played to our ability for the whole 90 minutes. Yes, this should come down to the players as well but it's GOT to start with the coach.

The most worrying thing for me is how we keep losing because of the same problems we've had for the past season and a half; lapses in concentration, poor team selection, lack of width, poor on-pitch starety like playing the long-ball to two small strikers, lack of pace in attack in that final third.

It just doesn't look like our coaching staff have learned anything from our poor run in last season and horrific start to this season.

I know the 'Jol-bashers' on this site get a lot of stick but at the same time it's unfair to have a go at players like Keano for "waving his arms around" and complaining. Last night he was on the wrong end of some extremely petty and misguided refereeing and he quite rightly got frustrated. At least he gives a shit.

Sure, he may also not have had many shots on goal last night - along with Defoe - but he was all over the place, dropping deep and trying to press Arsenal when he could. And thanks jesus he did or we might have lost by a more hefty margin.

However, if he's doing that, he can't be in a goalscoring position. I was more disappointed with Defoe last night. His running off the ball and positioning has never been the best and last night, against a young, extremely skillful side, he exposed himself in my opinion.

Our problem is clearly still our midfield. Without Lennon we have no width, no balance, no pace, no passion, no heart ...

1. Zokora, I'm sorry, just doesn't do it for me. He's complacent and his ability to pick out a pass let-alone a defence splitting ball is questionable at best.

2. JJ; I have never been his biggest fan but considering he's probably still not match-sharp after injury I'll excuse his virtually non-existent performance last night (good free-kick for the goal though). He's too weak in the middle with Zokora. We need someone to boss our midfield. Thudd could do this in time and perhaps JJ could make a good partnership alongside him - now he's back from inuury let's see.

3. Wingers - this is the most frustrating thing at the club, surely. Without Lennon we have no width whatsoever. Arsenal attacked us down the flanks a lot last night and stretched us which is why in Extra Time we were knackered and they still looked like they could play another half an hour. But what does the club do? Keeps Routledge out on loan and sends Reto out on loan.

Now, with Reto, the jury's out for me; not convinced he's good enough at this level but my point is, if Jol doesn't think that either - and he clearly doesn't or he'd be playing him - why not just sell him?

I have the same question RE: the Routledge scenario except I really think he can do a job on the left for us despite not being a left-footer. He's still a tricky player who can beat a man and whip a cross in and this is what we lack. Steed's done ok for us drifting around the left wing but he's not an out-and-out winger and could possibly be better utilised alongside Thudd or Jenas in the middle.

Plus, of course, when Lennon's injured - or ill - Routledge can do a similar job on the right.

Of course the obvious solution is to buy a left winger but how long have we been waiting for one of those?

4. Passing - my god our passing in midfield is atrocious. Compared to the Arsenal kids we looked like an under-11s side.

My questions about last night are:

Why the fuck wasn't Thudd on from the start to tighten up the midfield and pull the strings a bit, allowing Keane to play more as a striker?

And why didn't he bring Mido on before they scored when it was obvious to everyone that Ghaly was tiring?

And more generally ... where's our squad gone? We seem to be the only team who hasn't strengthened our squad for the present season in the transfer window.

Buying youngsters is fine for the future if they come to fruition but if we don't get into Europe next season we could be saying goodbye to some of our best players in the summer and then we have to start all over again on the rebuilding front.

Maybe it's time Jol and the coaching staff take a step back and a good look at their own tactical shortcomings over the past 18 months because.

On the plus side, the transfer window may be closed, resigning us to an unbalanced midfield, but it's still a very talented and potentially ver good midfield.

League form aside, on the pitch we're also still in the F.A. Cup and doing well in the UEFA Cup so all is not lost but if we play like we did last night, the most we can expect at the end of the year is a mid-to-lower table finish.

Let's hope lady luck shines on us a little in Europe in the next few months. We're going to need her.
Aug 7, 2006
Disappointment in this case should be spelled "dissssssappointment" to reflect the air rushing out of the Spurs season.

Others have said it before: we're still a work in progress. Take away our best players through injury, tire out the rest through a punishing fixture list and that wasn't a bad result. Just not good enough.

We should still sneak Euro football next year -- somebody wrote that an Arsenal/Chelsea final adds another UEFA place to the league, taking it down to seventh. We might even win the UEFA. Offering European football is going to be vital to keep the current squad together in the close season and attract reinforcements.


Just Score!!!!
Dec 8, 2006
I posted this on a previous thread, thought it was more appropriate for this one.

Much as I hate to say it, we got what we deserved yesterday. Over two legs we were not good enough to beat the foreign legion. Basically they had a relatively fresh team, whereas most of our players were playing our umpteenth game. You could see in the final quarter of the game that we had nothing in the tank. When we equalised all it did was prolong our slow death, instead of driving us on.
With Jenas and Zokora in midfield I would have thought we would have pressed and rushed them a little more in midfield, but once again they were dominant in that area.
As much as I love Defoe he is nothing without service, and when he does get it he is offside!!!!
Keane is not the striker we need at the moment. Running through on goal he never looks like he can put the ball away. Give him no time to think and the ball invariably ends up in the back of the net!!!
Dawson needs a rest.
Rocha needs longer studs.
Lennon needs his own chef!
Mido play like you did yesterday and maybe you wont warm the bench as much as you have done.
Ghaly more consistency, for every good thing he does, he has already done five poor things.
Malbranque please get fitter as I believe you offer a lot of control if only you could last for 90mins.
Robbo you are getting there after a drop in your high standards, for get about the seven-year contract and start oerforming like you are after a new one.

Finally BMJ, learn from Fergie. Sometimes the players need the hairdryer treatment instead of the bear hug. Better we go down in a blaze of glory than a whimper.

Now something positive....we are in the best position we have been for a long time. We are disappointed with losing a semi rather than being happy we got there. We achieved this mainly without the King. Our squad is the strongest its been for a long time, even though we need to increase the pressure on the first XI. Unfortunately Ghaly, Murphy,Tainio, Lee, Stalteri, Gardner & Ifil do not do this. BAE and Zokora have a stay of execution because this is their first season and I believe this is the hardest league to get attuned to and play well in.

We are on the up, which is more than can be said about previous regimes that have been here. The expectation level of the fans are on the up hence the disappointment, but let's be patient. Let us see this as a five-year plan, we are almost 40% into it so I would say we are ahead of schedule.

Maybe you agree or disagree, but one thing we can all agree on......the future is bright the future will always be lilywhite.

Onwards to Spurfection


"I'm no optimist I'm just a prisoner of hope
Jan 23, 2006
We played them at home and drew 2-2 we played them away and were 1-1 at 90 minutes.
We had them beat at home with Berbatov on and I've got no doubt at all that we would have won without his injury so they haven't wiped the floor with us.
We did not lose to the "kids" I counted two kids in their team at the end of the game last night, some young players maybe, but young players who play first team.
We are not that bad, we still have a lot of improving to do and we are doing it, we will get even better.

Still we've got an easy game on Sunday to get a bit of confidence back!!

Keep the faith!!!


Resident Alf
Jun 24, 2005
I listened to Graham Roberts on Talksport this a.m.

I think he summed it up when he said something along the lines of ...

Shaking hands and that in the tunnel, not the way we used to etc.
We used to kick lumps out of each other on the pitch then go and have a drink afterwards.

Needed someone "to put a foot in" a ballwinner.

Summed it up for me. When Mido got that equaliser it rocked Arsenal a bit and the fans had doubts too, thats when we should have went for it, too long we have been
a soft touch against the big clubs, not that I want to see Bolton style footy at WHL but too many Jessies dont make for trophies.
You can have all the best wingers in the world but if no one is winning the ball for them and feeding them , well.
i have to agree with this we needed a player who would shake up the midfield and put tackles in and generally not take any shit. I think the last player we had remotely like this was Steffen Freund!! I was hoping Zokora would be the tough tackling midfielder we need that scares the shit out of teams and winds them up but it dont seem to have happened.

At the end of the game they were all shaking hands and patting the goons on the back! I remember the days when Spurs players would be fucking fuming that they lost to the goons.

Jol should have kept them in the changing room and made every player that was all nicey nicey at the end of the game meet a Spurs fan and explain why they congratulated their players on beating them!

I think the whole history around the north london derby has been lost on most of the players and we need to start in the academy telling the youngsters that arsenal are our rivals and you should be willing to run through walls to beat them.


Oct 31, 2004
We had them beat at home with Berbatov on and I've got no doubt at all that we would have won without his injury so they haven't wiped the floor with us.

Surely our team shouldnt revolve around one player - injuries happen and we should be able to adapt to that. Jol had 70 mins to sort out the shape but didnt. Do we not have a plan b?

You cant really blame injuries when they're resting half the first team.


"I'm no optimist I'm just a prisoner of hope
Jan 23, 2006

I don't disagree with you but I just feel that we can field a team to match any, and had he not got injured we would all be saying how good we are.
Maybe we need to work on something of a system (maybe we are) so that when a player goes out another steps seamlessly into place but that, more than any other thing, takes time.

Having said that it's a bit of a bugger when your last best hope gets ill on the day of the match.

Maybe the gods just toy with us!