Monday, May 12, 2008

Thank heavens the season is over

Being an obsessive football fan for as long as I can remember has tended to mean that the close season is never a great time of the year for me. And with none of the Home Nations participating in this summer’s Euro 2008, I was contemplating other ways of fending off boredom. I have to say that in the last couple of months I’ve done an about-turn. Quite frankly I’m glad the season is over (bar three outstanding cup finals) and have never looked forward to a three-month break as much as I do right now.

In fact, after another dismal Tottenham performance yesterday, the ‘lap of honour’ left me feeling rather guilty. Other than a period in the middle third of the season, 2007-08 has been a real let-down for Spurs. I stood there applauding the players as they wandered around the pitch feeling rather like I’d just beaten a ten-year-old in a running race. Hardly a great feeling of satisfaction. I know we won a cup, but hey, the season lasts for nine months, not six matches.

What was more annoying were the players who all looked reasonably cheerful as they were kicking balls into the stands and no doubt thinking about their forthcoming (extravagant) summer holidays. But meanwhile, three of the season ticket holders who sit near me admitted that they are unlikely to be back next season because they can’t afford to renew their tickets. And that’s without knowing what next season’s ticket prices will be. Bearing in mind I’d already paid for my season ticket before our last home match last season, and this time around we don’t even know what the prices are yet, I can’t help but feel that we’re in for some hefty price hikes.

I know it’s a Monday morning and I don’t get to watch my ‘beloved’ Spurs for another few months, but I am feeling very cynical. I read in the press that our move for Samuel Eto’o, our likely replacement for Berba, is now looking pretty unlikely as he’d rather head off to Inter Milan and play in next season’s Champions League. Not sure who that leaves us with, but I can’t help feel there isn’t going to be the same optimism as we embark on next season.

I feel privileged to have been able to watch Berba for the last two years. He is one of the best players of the current generation and has been a great success for us. His poor body language is just how he is, and for me, that behaviour hasn’t detracted from the positives. I wish him well wherever he goes (as long as it’s abroad!) but I do wonder how we can replace him.

In league matches alone, Berba notched up 11 assists this season to add to his 11 last season. Compare that to his nearest rivals in those stakes: Keane and Huddlestone both managed seven this season, one behind Lennon’s eight of last season. It’s not just his goals we’re going to miss.

Anyway enough of Berba. Yesterday was another unmemorable match that was, at times, painful to watch. Liverpool looked like they were enjoying a training ground kick-about for much of the game. We were very lethargic in the first half and defended far too close to our own area, meaning the Scousers had acres of the ball between our back four and front two. We were fortunate to go into the interval at nil-nil.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half, following the two tactical half time changes, we looked pretty good and were perhaps unfortunate to fall behind when we did. But from then on, Liverpool went back to bossing the game and it wasn’t long before they confirmed their victory when Torres made Daws look like a right chump to score a great solo goal. Unfortunately it left me feeling pretty flat: our prolific striker is off to new pastures, whereas Liverpool – a side we’re supposedly going to have to challenge if we are to make any in-roads on the Big Four – have a young striker who is getting better and better.

Spurs to challenge for Champions League qualification next season? A fourth consecutive season qualification for the UEFA Cup would be an achievement based on my current feeling.


Dan Mac said...

Couldn'y agree more, but then I've thought that every season anyway. I'm down beat about next season at all... and I think that's born or the realistic outlook I've had. Qualifying for the UEFA Cup in our league is as hard as getting into the Champs league for the Spanish sides... Unfortunately we have 4 teams in our league who are up there with the best in the world... other leagues only have 2 of those. If we werte in Spain, any half decent side has got a chance behind Barca and Madrid, Germany only have Munich who are consistantly in champs league Italy you have the 2 Milans... then behind them you have Juve and Roma, but I hoestly don't think Juve and Roma are a class above us! We'd be competeing for champs league in every other league in Europe.. the reason we won't here is because our league is so good.

Dan Mac said...

I'm NOT down beat I meant to say

Anonymous said...

this could be a belssing in disqiuze( spellin) look at everton 4 th one year fightin relegation next ..lok at them ty same diff from last seaon to this season, so i dont thikn its all doom an gloom, few new players will make a huge difference an we wont acept a season like this next one. so keep the faith a low profile stop this shit well crack top 4, an jus see how summer deveelops an take it from there