Classic11 Football Blog

On a cold damp November Wednesday night, England failed to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 1994.

Before the crucial game at Wembley against a Bilic inspired Croatia, England lost talisman Michael Owen in a friendly the previous Friday. Already without the suspended Rooney and injured John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, manager Steve McClaren decided to drop Ashley Cole and goal keeper Paul Robinson. Even England’s player of the 2006 World Cup Owen Hargreaves only made the bench.

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Over 88,000 turned up in hope. The team would consist of Scott Carson making his competitive debut and two other players in Micah Richards and Sol Campbell who would barely feature, not at all in Campbells case, for England.

A 4-1-4-1 formation seemed defensive against a Croatia team containing Modric and Kranjcar. Also, determined to make the Gerrard and Lampard axis work, Gareth Barry was deployed to anchor the midfield. Joe Cole and Wright-Phillips were picked to support Crouch.

Even this wasn’t to be McClaren’s biggest faux pas of the evening. Rain was falling onto Wembley and so he walked out with a cuppa in one hand and a brolly in the other. A headline was born.

2-0 down at half time and McClaren had to bite the bullet and bring on ex-captain David Beckham. Back in 2006 Sssshteve said he and England needed to move on from David, now he was being asked to rescue the three lions.

A Lampard pen and a Crouch header, assisted by Beckham, meant all England had to do was hold on and qualify for Austria and Switzerland.

Scott Carson, on loan at Aston Villa from Liverpool at the time, had already let slip Croatia’s first into the net. He came out for the second half and produced some good saves. Even a point blank one from a Olic header. On 77 minutes a 25 yards cross shot from Petric arrowed into the bottom corner. All hope seemed to evaporate.

England tried and tried but nothing came to fruition. And when the referee blew for full time Steve McCalren knew his time was up as England manager. Afterwards the press went for him. ‘The wally under the brolly’ was created.

Players accused of not caring and not reproducing club form. You could almost say nothing much has changed in the last 10 years.

What this night 2007 seemed to do was confirm something all England fans had refused to admit for a long time, we aren’t as good as we think. To this day I don’t really think we have recovered from this. For four years we stagnated under Capello and bored many under Uncle Roy. Crowds have dwindled and interest has waned to the point that I forget when games are on.

The ‘Golden Generation’ has now gone. Though it was a phrase that never sat comfortable with me. And yes, we have players like Harry Kane, John Stones, Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford coming through. But without the fans and without something entertaining to put in front of paying fans, we will never have a feeling of hope again.

One suggestion is to take the home games back around the country. St James’ Park, Old Trafford, Villa Park and as far south as the St Mary’s Stadium. But with Wembley still to be paid for I doubt this will happen.

More connection in a positive manner between players and fans need to be looked at. They seem all to robotic and hidden under Beats and hoodies. A Rashford should provide hope to all academy players that when an opportunity comes and you take it, you can go far. Even Harry Kane, who went out on loan countless times, is something to look at.

I miss looking forward to England games. We need less middle fingers and Wally’s under brolly’s, and to heaf back from Russia with love.

 

by Ross Jacobs - @riddley82

The smell of rubbish gossip. The sensationalism in Jim White’s voice as Leeds sign an Arsenal U23 on loan for the season. Ah it must be nearly Transfer deadline day.

The hope at 7am, the bi-polar midday feeling to the panicky 8pm to 11 pm period. We go through many emotions and all have one we remember. Sadly for me it’s Berbatov to United and Frazier Campbell in return.

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I’ve decided to lift the lid on transfers. Many chairmen and agents have tried to stop me revealing this. But I’m hyped up on Pepsi Max (other soft drinks are available but it was on offer) and don’t care.

 

Social Stalking

Firstly identify the player of course, but more importantly in this age of never looking up from a 4 to 7-inch screen, social media is king. Instagram is a good place. A like on a pic could get lost in thousands but the eagle-eyed footballer will pick this up. Or the guy who is paid to check for him. If this is noted you’re in.

 

Adapt the Home Kit

You want to sign Neymar? Ease the situation by making your own home kit not dissimilar to the one he has just left. Simple really, surprised Man City didn’t adopt the same practice.

 

Buy players from the same country

Remember this when a guy from Bolivia who can only say ‘Yes’ ‘No’ or ‘Champions League Release Clause’. Buying a few of his mates will help most communication. Or they will lead him stray and he ends up in bed with one of the cast of TOWIE.

 

Buying out the Buyout clause

I’ve managed to get hold of the transcript of the phone call between Oryx Qatar Sports Investments Head Nasser Al-Khelaifi and manager Unai Emery.

QSI – We are buying Neymar for €222mill

Unai – Really? For that I could get new defender like Toby Alderweireld and Midfielder like Isco and Forward like Sanchez…

QSi – We buy Neymar.

Unai – We need more than one player. Silva is getting old and we have only one striker.

QSi – We buy Neymar and sell lots of shirts for €140.00 each.

Unai – That’s a bit expensive, we will turn the working man or woman against this club.

QSI – Maybe we buy Wenger too….

Unai – Oh NEYMAR, I thought you said Bale.

 

Pretend to not Care

If none of these are working, there is always the old school yard trick of pretending not to care. Like many girls who turned me down (yes mum it happened) I just said, ‘Don’t care, didn’t really like her anyway’ in the stupid hope she would change her mind and French kiss me there and then.

Barcelona could do worse than to use this tactic with Liverpool. Or just offer a load more money.

 

Beg

As a Spurs fan I love Harry Redknapp and what he did for our club. But I sometimes feel he had to beg either Chairmen or the players themselves to come. VDV, as we called him at the lane, probably didn’t come without ‘Arry falling to his knees saying, ‘Bale can’t do it all himself’.

 

Promises and Clauses

You have the player and agent in front of you and it is now time to negotiate. This can range from offering to buy his home village a goat to some ridiculous buy-out clause, say €222mill, which surely no club can afford….

Clauses though can range from ‘If we don’t get Champions League football I’m off’ to ‘if I don’t touch the ball 15 times a game on my right foot inside the penalty box of the opposition I’m off.’ Why clubs agree to these is beyond me.

 

Cheesy video

Nope not a Rio, Frank, Dyer and one other person caught in ‘the act’ type video. But those annoying ‘oh look we have signed and look how are introducing him’. I don’t seem to remember Ant and Dec ‘Wrekin’ da Mic’ to announce Alan Shearer. Nor a mock up video of Sir Alan Sugar sending an email to Jurgen Klinsmann asking him to join Spurs (this obviously done on a dial up internet).

So when August 31st comes round and Jim White’s Red Bull has been drunk remember all the things your club goes through to get that Albanian right back.

After the enormous success of my previous blog, (an actual player from Gent in Belgium liked it) I decided to flip the coin and consider the players who never hit the high notes on the international stage.

Trawling through the history books (wiki) I saw many one cap wonders. Even a gentleman by the name of Serger Bastard once played for England.

Silly names aside, your Nugent’s, Jeffers’ and Ricketts’ can rest easy. Even SWP misses out (again)

 

Richard Wright

When at Ipswich, the world and the ball seemed to be in safe hands. A move to Arsenal seemed to make great sense too. Back-up to the long haired but legendary David Seaman meant he would learn and become similar.

Injuries and Seaman lasting longer than his hair meant Richard was limited to few appearances under Wenger. This is where the problem lies for me. He should have moved to a lower club and built up again but he chose Everton and again found himself on the bench behind Howard. He seemed to be ok with this from the outside. What really got my goat, if I had one that is, was his move to Man City. Picking up a decent cheque every week to do… well not much at all. Joe Hart came through and Wright barely even warmed the bench.

 

Micah Richards

When he broke through at Man City, before they had money and Augeroooooooo, Micah was the Maine man (the puns will stop now.) He and Joey Barton seemed destined to break into the England team along with Shaun Wright Phillips. Alas his career just drifted again. He lost his place to Lescott and never seemed to have a fight about him to reclaim his spot. Another who made odd career choices, firstly by going to Fiorentina on loan which was confusing. Then on to a more or less already doomed Villa side, playing only 26 times in three seasons. A knee injury has kept him quiet but the curse of City’s billions strikes again.

 

Wayne Bridge

John Terry handshakes aside, I decided to take the emotion out of this choice. At Southampton, he broke through and another should have chosen wisely on his next move. Sadly, in my opinion, he went for the money teams. Chelsea had just been brought by Roman Abramovich and was spending like my wife with a fresh credit card in her hands. Joe Cole, Veron, SWP, Mutu, Gallas and others came in as did a young Wayne. I always question a player’s desire when he moves to a newly rich club. Also, it seemed Chelsea just wanted to keep their England quota up. After one season of doing very little wrong, the special one turned up and tapped up Ashley Cole. This must have sent a message to poor Wayne that he wasn’t going to be first pick. But he just seemed to carry on warming benches. That is until Man City had a slight injection of cash. Robhino, Bellamy, Kompany joined, as did Wayne. Not learning from his Chelsea years, he seemed to be in it for the money. Yes, he was unlucky with Cole being so good but I think some better choices should have been made.

 

Kieron Dyer

Ipswich and Man City seem to be getting a kicking on this. Anyway, another young player at Ipswich but this time the right move was made. Joining Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle seemed a place to learn for young Keiron. He played in variety of positions but never seemed to settle, even playing up front at some points. This after earning his first England cap at right wing back. This could be a factor in him not fulfilling his potential, also injuries didn’t help. But I got the feeling with Dyer he stopped caring very early on. Fighting with Lee Bowyer was funny and sad at the same time.

Breaking his leg just after joining West Ham summed up the lad’s luck. But again, he seemed not to care, and earning over £60k a week would have helped.

 

Fabian Delph

I promise I have nothing against Man City. But there does seem to be a pattern. Young Delph was a wonder at Leeds and had a pick of a few EPL teams. He plumped for Villa. But injuries pegged him back. Oddly he was barely

played then one season he blossomed. Even England came asking for him. For some reason, this made everything turn sour. City came in and he said yes, then no, then yes. Hindsight will tell him that the ‘no’ should have stayed. Barely in the City and I doubt a name Pep would have thought about when coming into the club. Money talks yes, but it doesn’t guarantee first team football.

 

Jack Wilshere

Another injury prone one. But deciding to go to Bournemouth smacked of ‘I can’t handle Italy, they all talk Italian’. Saying that Howe did get him over 20 games last season. Now back at Arsenal I’m not sure he knows what his best position is. He isn’t strong enough for a holding midfielder, nor quick enough to get behind defences to be a Dele Alli type attacking midfielder. Not realising earlier that Arsenal and Arsene may not fancy him could cost him a good career. His next move will be his most important.

 

David Bentley

Funky hair and comparisons to another David meant Mr Bentley should have enjoyed a decent career. A wonder goal for Arsenal against Norwich and a Hat-trick vs Man United for Blackburn showed his skills. But a move to Spurs seemed to suck the fun out of football for him. Even pouring water over Harry Redknapp seemed to get him more trouble than glory. Bentley is another with a strange move, this time to Russian club Rostov.

He retired at 29 saying football had become ‘robotic’ and ‘predictable and a bit too calculated’.

 

Theo Walcott

I swear he has spent the last 10 years complaining he isn’t being played as a striker. Never showed much for England but I swear he could tell you about his 3 against Croatia in great detail.

Always thought he wasn’t that good, pace yes but sometimes couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. Starting to become a figure of fun. Even my wife, an Arsenal fan, says ‘I don’t think he is as good as he thinks he is, and wouldn’t be upset if he went’

 

Stan Collymore

Where to start with this lad. Allegedly punching his missus Ulrika Johnson, dogging in a car park and being sacked from club after club. All the talent in the world. His partnership with Bryan Roy at Forest was devastating. A move to Liverpool and a dream partnership with Robbie Fowler seemed a sure success. Yet, bar a winner vs Newcastle in the last minute to kill off Newcastle’s title chances (sorry Dave), he barely did much else. Should have been a 25 goal a season striker. Yet he never hit that target.

 

Many others could have been put up, please let me know who you would have had.

 

by Ross Jacobs - @riddley82

Like many kids growing up, when I was 10 I wanted to play football for England. Nothing was going to stop me. Well, so I thought, until my Mum called me in for dinner one evening and said I wasn’t going to make it. Mainly because I didn’t play for a club and didn’t want to. Stumbling blocks everywhere.

At no stage are kids told, ‘you will play occasionally for England but not as often as you should’.

We forget those whose international career was either cut short by injury or just for some odd reason never played enough. Worse yet was being played out of position.

So, for the next few hundred words I want to put together an 11 that should have had more. Sorry Warren Barton fans but he didn’t make it.

 

Nigel Martyn –

Being behind David Seaman had to fall to someone. Poor old Nigel was a colossal for Crystal Palace then Leeds United. 23 caps for someone that was the first million-pound keeper doesn’t seem right. His two major games came against Romania at Euro 2000 (thank Phil Neville) and The Beckham game vs Greece. Both times thrown in due to injuries to Big Dave.

After coming as a sub for David ‘Calamity’ James against Spain no wonder he retired a year later. Had better facial hair than Seaman in my opinion.

 

Jamie Carragher –

The real Mr Liverpool, take that Gerrard, was played in about 3 positions and only managed 38 caps in 11 years of 5 England managers. A man who was dropped in favour of Matthew Upson for game against Germany had many reasons to retire from the international scene.

Yes, he did have the misfortune of a Terry and Ferdinand partnership, but to be played at full back so many times was a waste of talent. The only thing I could think of is that Sven and Fabio could just not understand the lad.

 

Ledley King –

Like his knees, this one hurts me the most. Being a Spurs fan, I know how good he was. 21 caps over 8 years should have been 100 over 10-12 years. Henry even said he was the best he came up against.

Seeing him play in the 2010 World Cup wasn’t easy viewing. He should never had been picked in the first place. Like asking a 45-year-old asthma sufferer to run the 100 metres in under 10 seconds. Ironically it was a groin injury that ended his campaign.

 

Steve Bruce –

Odd to think he never even got one cap. I’m not even sure he even got called up. A great leader, good organiser and won a few things at Man United. I mean even Phil Neville got 59 caps!

Became the first English club Captain of the 21st Century to lift the double. Do that these days you are more or less captain before your first cap.

Reading on Bruce, I found out Jack Charlton wanted him to play for Ireland but due to playing for an England youth team he couldn’t. Would have made the Italia 90 game interesting.

 

Leighton Baines –

Timing in sport is everything. If Leighton had been born ten years earlier he would have more or less doubled his current 30 caps. We suffered for lengthy periods without a left footed player. Then all of a sudden Ashley Cole came along and was great. Meaning poor Mr Baines waited till 2010 for his England debut.

Still going strong at Everton but with Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand in front of him he now seems too old to make any sort of comeback.

 

Michael Carrick –

If he had been Spanish, German, Dutch or even Italian he would have a million caps. Calm in possession, organises well, he has been overlooked more times than a small child wanting to do the pole-vault. Man United always looked poorer without him.

A shocking 34 caps in 16 years makes you wonder if a Carrick and either Lampard or Gerrard combination should have talked about. Capello made some odd decisions in his tenure as Boss of the national side, but failing to give the former Spurs man any minutes now looks like a real head scratcher.

 

Steve Stone –

Before you stop reading and think I’m weird. Let me explain. Before Euro 96 he lit a few friendlies up and as that was all England could play he couldn’t do anymore. I was at the Portugal game where Alan Shearer scored a beauty and Stone hit a wonder.

Hard working and a fine striker of the ball he was never in the Beckham class but could still, in my mind have had more caps. 9 caps and two goals wasn’t a bad return,

Sadly a broken leg kept out of the 96-97 season. What could have been.

 

Paul Scholes –

No, I haven’t gone completely mad. Let me break the number down. Played only 66 times in 7 years. The times under both Keegan and Hoddle showed what a class player he was. Nick named sat-nav by Rio Ferdinand due to his ability to pick a pass from anywhere and hit his target, you feel he would have made any International side.

I blame Sven for his early retirement. Playing left of a midfield four just seemed crazy from the Swede. I still to this day think he was better than Lampard and Gerrard. Even in 2010 at the age of 36 he almost came back.

Him and Carrick behind Gerrard for South Africa, now there’s a thought.

 

Owen Hargreaves –

I put this one out to twitter. Polling if he was unlucky or just a wasted talent. As you can see the former won.

To be fair, once he went to United and helped them win the Champions League it all was set up for him to be an England 100 capper. He only played 27 games for Man United. 15 less games than for England.

But a cruel period of injuries meant he only played once for Man City and that was that.

 

Robbie Fowler –

Or God to Liverpool fans. Similar to Baines earlier he was just a great player in the wrong time. Shearer, Sheringham, Cole, Collymore, Owen all arrived during his career. Yet if he was playing nowadays Harry Kane would have some serious competition. Left footed and scored all sorts of goals. I’m surprised Keegan didn’t play him wide left during those barren south paw days.

Leaving Liverpool seemed to hurt him. And he was never the same player. But I thought he deserved more of a run in the international team. But weather the ‘sniffing the grass’ incident put him down the pecking order we will never know.

 

Jermain Defoe –

What do you want from a striker? Goals? Pace? Well this guy had/has it all. Yet only when he is in his twilight do I think we are only really appreciating his talents.

Did he upset Sven? Did McClaren think Owen was still a great player (wait till next week’s blog)? Capello played him up front for World Cup 2010 but Rooney was in decline even then and I felt Defoe was left scrapping. Again if he was Italian or Spanish I think he would have been a goal a game guy.

Well that’s my eleven. If you want to comment please do. Have I missed someone. Am I too harsh on Phil Neville? Should Carlton Palmer be mentioned?

by Ross Jacobs - @riddley82

Hello!! Now didn’t we all enjoy the period without football. No BS from papers on who is coming and who is leaving. No awful intros from clubs on twitter unveiling their new signing. (if you haven’t seen the Rudiger one, don’t!)

So, like the first day back at school, I’m doing a sort of summer holiday report on the things I learnt so far about the transfer madness.

 

Undisclosed Fees

I hate these, I mean what are not being able to see? I’ve worked out its two things. One: the selling club don’t want to piss there fans off by revealing the meagre fee they have let a player go for, or Two: the buying club don’t want to piss their fans off telling them how much they have over payed for a player. It’s pointless anyway, 9 times out of ten we can work it out.

Maybe next time I’m in Tesco’s I don’t want how much I’ve spent shown on my receipt, and just put undisclosed on it.

 

Chelsea’s and Man City’s scouting system

How easy is it to be a scout at these clubs? Just turn Football Manager on and go ‘Oooh I see this player looks good, I’ll email Pep’

Not much thinking goes into it, another club goes in for a player and then one of these just out bid them. Back in 2013 with Bale’s fee still burning a hole on their pockets. Spurs went for Willian and more or less has sown up. Chelsea, not happy that another club may sign a player, came in and just bid a load more. Simple see.

City on the other hand just wait for other clubs to bring players through the ranks and splash the cash. Don’t agree? Walker, Jesus, Mendy, Silva and Danilo. Looking at all these one must wonder what the point of their academy is. I’ll come on to that a bit later.

 

Boring Transfers

Every summer two or three ‘transfers’ are mentioned so much by either Sky Sports news or the papers that by the end of it we barely care less.

Why can’t the buying club put a bid in, the selling club says yes or no and we move on.

For some reason, we have to be put through about 4-5 weeks of ‘you go first’ ‘no you go first’.

Now I know some gossip is just journalists bored, but there isn’t anything wrong in a manager just saying ‘no’ if a player is mentioned during a press conference. For the sake of twitter sanity this would help.

 

Genius Managers

Pep, Jose and Conte. Three managers put on the pedestal of Greatness. They Guarantee trophies…

Yes, as long as they spend.

With this in mind this puts my wife in that category. She can spend blind like no one.

I’m sure it must take years of training to spend around £300 million every season. And how must their respective Youth Mangers feel?

YM: Hey Antonio, I’ve this cracking young striker in the youth team. Scored 30 in just 25 last season.

Conte: Loan him.

YM: Yeah but he has done everything you asked for,

Conte: Loan him.

YM: But his pace is up...

Conte: Loan him.

Its pulling your hair out type stuff.

 

Neymar

Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. So while I shoo him out of my house. (How he got in I’ll never know) lets go over the biggest transfer ever.

Is it the end of the world? No

Is it due to being in Messi’s Shadow? Yes

Did it help PSG play in the same colours as Barcelona? Probably.

And lets not forget that PSG will have to balance to books somehow. Thou selling a Neymar for £140 a pop should help.

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On Monday 12th September 1994, my brother Kyle took me to my first game at White Hart Lane. Sadly, we lost 1-2 but I got to see Teddy Sheringham, Jürgen Klinsmann and others. Also, I saw the stadium to which most of my footballing hopes and dreams would normally be trampled on and laughed at by neighbours from across north London.

And for that reason, among many others, I love that place. It’s not the biggest nor the most modern, the toilets we’re never great, but it felt like a proper stadium. I remember during my first few visits to the lane I was hypnotised by the pitch. It looked perfect, the different shades of green, the pattern of criss-cross squares was something I’d only seen on TV.

Chanting was also something I loved. Laughing at the funny ones, and learning words (some very rude) that my ears had never heard before. To me White Hart Lane was perfect. Fast forward 5 years and I went to my first and sadly only north London derby. We won 2-1 and for the next 48 hours I could barely speak as my throat was to sore from shouting and saying those rude words at arsenal fans.

Below is a pic of how I dressed that day. Sadly the jester hat is lost.

That evening will stay with me forever.

I don’t get to really these days, a young family is my excuse, though my wife says I’m free to go. So, to get a more updated version of memories I asked friends and family to give me their memories of visits to the lane.

Kyle (my brother): ‘My first game was home to Man Utd in 89. I was 15 and couldn’t wait to Gazza. Typically, he got sent off and we lost. The ref that day was Vic Callow, and I’ll never forgive him. I sat in the east stand upper and sang my heart out. Years later mum said I had to take you and that took the fun out it, ha-ha’.

Nick: ‘My first game,23rd October 1982. A rite of passage, a birthday treat. A day out before my dad started chemotherapy for his first battle with the C. East Upper with the wooden seats & surrounded by skinheads who kindly sang 'happy birthday' to me when my visit was announced on the tannoy. The train journey, the small club shop, chips & the shivers. The awe. The walk to the ground, the climb up the steps, the first sighting of the pitch. Celebrating goals from Crooks, Mabbutt & Brookes. My dads on his 3rd battle with cancer, little chance he'll go again. Will be weird without him. Through the years we've had many battles & ills but we've always had one conversation breaker, one mutual love, Tottenham Hotspur, White Hart Lane’.

 

Shelley: ‘Remember being sat in the shelf upper when Teddy got sent off against Ipswich is my earliest memory. Favourite memories are: The 5-1 against arsenal, 2-1 win against

Chelsea in 2006, 4-4 vs Chelsea, 9-1 vs Wigan, the first Champions League game against FC Twente, the 3-1 over Inter in the same competition and of course Ledley’s testimonial. Also, Chris Gunter waved at me. An odd game I always remember, a league cup game against Arsenal in 2010, it was 1-1 at the end of normal time and by the end of it we had lost 1-4. About 90% of the fans had gone, but some of us stayed till the end, rolling out chant after chant after chant. Crap result, but a nice moment’.

Amanda: ‘All I can say about that place is ... it still gives me Goosebumps when I see the pitch plus I've made some of the best friends there! I'm so proud to call myself a Tottenham Hotspur supporter’.

Steve: ‘My mum worked there from the 80's. Family club. Gazza used to superglue her phone to the cradle then ring it she worked there 33 years. I got to meet many players. Gazza stabbed a biro in my back when he signed my shirt when I was 11 at a spurs party for winning the FA Cup in 1991.

My first game was when I was 6 months old, apparently, we drew 1-1 with City.’

Lee (Arsenal fan): ‘Memories as an Arsenal fan obviously when we won the league was one that sticks in the memory. From a football point of view some amazing players have graced the pitch, Hoddle was a great player but always liked Gascoigne wow he was class and even from an Arsenal fan watching him perform at white hart lane was something else’.

After the final whistle against Manchester United the bulldozers come in and knock the old stadium down. But ask any of these fans, probably not the Arsenal fan ha, and the memories of watching their heroes in the flesh. The cheesy thing now would to do some

‘Greatest ever 11’ but I’d need another 3-4 months to come up with a team built around Gazza.

I want to thank the people above who gave me their stories and shared pictures. And leave the last bit to Steve, who sent me this:

About the stadium. It doesn't matter who you’re sitting next to during a game. Race religion country, if you're spurs you're Spurs. When you score: miss. Whatever. He's feeling the same as you. And you end up hugging and celebrating together. We are more than just a club

So, it’s now back to 4 points and with 4 to play. Twitter has gone mad and both Chelsea and Tottenham fans are in overload. Many will come up with their own formulas on how the season will end. But for this piece I want to focus more on my beloved Spurs.

We were never supposed to be in this position, our squad relied heavily on Kane to score and a lack of quality signings meant a top 5 or 6 position would mean at least we kept in touch with the power houses. Pep was in town and Man City would be playing the sort of football only witnessed in those Barcelona hey days. Jose would turn United into a winning machine and Chelsea and Liverpool would fight Arsenal, thou in slight decline, for the other champions League spots.

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Yet at White Hart Lane the relatively young Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino knew he had assembled a tight knit 15-16 players. Rumours were back in July Son was on his way, I hoped this wasn’t true as he had an engine and the knack of scoring the odd important goal.

Luckily no one major left in the summer of ’16 and gave me hope for a push for the top 4. Fast forward to today’s win against Arsenal in the north London derby and we have shown what can happen on trusting players who have potential and some shrewdness from board level.

Never have we had a budget to compete with the likes of Chelsea, United and Manchester City. Yet nor can Spurs expect to continue at this pace of spending and expect to stay at this level. But the flip side is you can’t just go throwing money at the problem. A chink in the armour of Poch came on deadline day in September when Sissoko of Newcastle became available and on route to Everton. Should have let him go there, as we got sucked in to his performances at Euro 2016 for France. Luckily, we had Harry Winks on hand to provide some midfield cover and more youth to a young team.

My feelings are that not enough trust in put in young English players. Nothing brings a crown together than seeing a local lad give his all on the pitch. When Winks scored against West Ham at the Lane this season, the joy on everyone’s face was great. Whether it directly had a bearing Kane scoring the winner late late on I very much doubt. But it still gave the crowd a lift in an unique way.

I have no doubt the other clubs will spend heavy in the summer like someone who has gone edit crazy on Football Manager. Names already mentioned James Rodriguez, Morata, Lukaku, Griezmann and Matuidi. Yet all this proves is that they haven’t learned from previous years.

Paul Pogba, Ozil and Claudio Bravo should all be warnings that thou having the players name on papers may make others stand up, it can take a while to get used to the style and pace of the English game.

But again, this could be Tottenham’s undoing. I tweeted foreign football reporter Mina Rzouki to see if European players were uneducated about Spurs and therefore would choose to go elsewhere, cos the money was more and the status of the club was perceived to be bigger. She said yes.

Tottenham need a good run in next seasons champions league. This should help their stature in attracting higher level of player. Even to pad out a squad high in effort and skill but low on what the England rugby team call ‘finishers of the bench’.

But to call a semi-final in the FA cup, second in the league (I hope), and a first season back in the champions league a failure, then I can’t wait for what a successful season looks like.

I asked two mates, one a Newcastle fan the other a Liverpool fan three questions. Best thing about your club? Worst thing? And would they swap their season for Spurs’. Both said the passion of their club’s fans and atmosphere of both Anfield and St James’ Park was top. And the worst was pretty much the frustration of not winning silver wear and other ‘smaller’ clubs were running away with trophies. Neither mentioned the amount of their highest transfer fees but their teams’ inability to string results together.

Both these teams I chose because the local area should mean more to them like at spurs. And I really do hope Mr Klopp and Mr Benitez can bring some success for these guys to cheer.

Going forward I hope that the move to Wembley for one season doesn’t ruin us. It will be different, but we should enjoy it. Get the pitch size to our specifications and go from there.

Two top four finishes in a row is a foundation to build on, and any Spurs fan reading this should back the team and not celebrate what we have done. It’s only just started.

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