Friday, August 15, 2008

The waiting is over... It's all systems go!

This time last year who would have predicted what happened to Spurs in 2007-08? Certainly not me. I genuinely felt BMJ was the least likely Premier League manager to leave his post that season, and yet by the end of October he was gone. But enough of that, my predictions for what the season had in store were equally as diabolical as Levy's handling of Jol-gate, so I won't be trying anything like that this time around.

How do I expect Tottenham to do in the new league campaign? Well I'm not sure to be honest. Spurs have a habit of blowing very hot or very cold and I can see two equally likely scenarios play out.

On the one hand we can argue that qualifying for the Champions League might finally happen. The new signings are superb players and seem to have settled well already. We have a very able manager, respected throughout Europe, who has the experience of taking Sevilla to the Champions League. And we've had a great pre-season where we've been banging in goals for fun and we've made some pretty good teams look pretty average. All valid reasons why a fourth place finish in this season's Premier League is attainable.

However, equally I wouldn't be surprised if it was another season of not quite delivering. The uncertainty around Berba heading into the new campaign and the lack of depth upfront is a cause for concern. Yes we could rectify this before the transfer window closes, but as I said earlier this week, the timing is all pretty unfortunate. Most experts would argue that it takes time for new signings to really bed in, and with so many comings and goings this summer, it might be a while before the new-look Spurs are firing on all cylinders. And then again there is Ramos' post Carling Cup team to remember. The last three months of the previous season were awful, and although some people argue there were valid excuses, it was one of the lowest periods in a few years I can remember. So based on those factors, another mid-table finish wouldn't be a huge surprise.

Personally, I think it will be somewhere in between. I think we will finish in the top six and set things up nicely for a real run at qualifying for the Champions League the year after. I know that's typical Spurs - a season of transition/consolidation/preparation - but it's just the way I see it. Failure to qualify for at least the UEFA Cup though would be a huge disaster not worth contemplating.

So assuming we finish in the top six, I won't be too despondent. However, I do think there is another slight risk. Dare I even say this, but Ramos' loyalty is a potential issue. He's never spent long in any job to date, and if we fail to qualify for Europe's top competition, might he jump ship next summer if a better opportunity presents itself to him? I think there is a similarity with the Berbatov situation, just a year behind. We all knew 12 months ago that if we didn't break into the top four in 2007-08, Berba would be off. Will the same happen to Ramos?

I think it's ironic that the manager and the players are the ones affecting how successful a team is. We, as fans, might be the "twelfth man", but we can't do anymore than create a great atmosphere during the 90 minutes of a match. Whereas the coaching and playing staff are those that have the real influence. But if we don't finish where we want to, they're the ones that have the option of moving on, whilst we remain the single constant factor.

Enough of my doom and gloom surrounding the wider state of English football today. I am really excited that the new season is finally upon us and relishing tomorrow's trip up north. Not only will Middlesbrough away be tricky in its own right, but our opening match statistics do not make pleasant reading. In the last ten seasons, we've kicked off away from home on seven occasions, losing four, drawing one and winning just two. That said, following our impressive pre-season form I think we can take all three points tomorrow. I'm not sure whether Berba will figure or not, but with Bent supported by five midfielders, I'm confident we can get off to a winning start.


mark said...

agreed - it's a hard one to call this season.
Have never thought of Ramos leaving in search of glory if it doesn't happen this year... what a nightmare sceanario that would be, and just our luck too. Ramos heading off to replace a retiring SAF at old Trafford...

I'm sure everything will be ok though, really looking forward to the new season and the trip up to Boro'.
Spurs Internet Search Engine.

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Yid4Eva said...

Good read untill your negativity crept in... Ramos leave, I wouldn't think so, he has always achieved great success with teams and he'll want to see this job through, who knows he may even become our SAF.
We do need some cover for certain areas, Corluka would have been perfect with his versatility, but I think that ship has sailed.
We need a CB(someone athletic for when the King is unavailable), a DM (hope the rumours about Veloso are true, but doubt it), an out and out Striker (would like to see Pekhart given a chance though) and another AM/FWD (Capel would be my choice, read something about J.Cole yesterday, but this is unlikely) More likely Arshavin, who as long as he settles would be good, but still leaves us lacking a naturally left footed AM/FWD.
Ah well, here we go again, fasten your seat belts, us Yids are in for one hell of a ride again!!!

N7teen said...

Don't get me wrong Yid4Eva, I'd love Ramos to become our SAF. I just don't think he's the sort of person who necessarily will. However, if we can break into the top four then I think he'll stick around for a long time.

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