"What might have been".
Watching Tottenham`s drab display against Fulham, after another week of uninspiring football in N17, it was hard to believe that this was the same side who less than a year ago were in contention for the Premier League title with the giants of Manchester.
A shapeless Tottenham looked bereft of ideas as they struggled to retain possession or create chances again mediocre opposition. Gone was the composure and cohesion which propelled them to glory in the San Siro, the speed and guile with which they bedazzled Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea last season. Alas, the passion and panache which gained them a reputation as one of Europe`s most attractive teams are now but a distant memory. The new Tottenham is a far more prosaic proposition; desperately missing the world class talents of Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart.
Speaking after an uninspiring performance at Craven Cottage the manager bemoaned the loss of the Croatian midfield dynamo and the Dutch master, as well as succession of injuries which have contributed to his side`s decline: "I thought we was excellent today, really excellent, considering the players we lost in the summer and all the injuries. I can`t fault the attitude of the players out there today but, for sure, we was missing some quality. You can`t expect to lose players like Luka, Van Der Vaart - Van Der Vaart, what a player he was - Adebayor, who was different class last season, Scotty Parker - player of the season for me last season -Younes and Benoir, and not have it affect your performances.
"Jermain is a triffic finisher - top, top class - but, to be fair, playing up front on his own is not his game. He needs a big man up there along side him, like Crouchy, and at the moment we just haven`t got one. To be honest with you, the squad is looking a bit thin, and with Daws and Bale injured it`s a bit of a nightmare. We was down to the bare bones already."
Showing that he has lost none of the charm and whit which won over all but the most hostile Spurs fans, the manager made light of the situation by suggesting that he might have to play his Mrs up front next week - a comment which was greeted by raucous laugher by the gathered media. Explaining the paucity of the players at his disposal, the manger continued, "To be fair, I tried to bring in a few over the summer - Aguero was one is was really keen on. Then there was Michael Owen, Messi, Gary Neville, Falcoe, Joey Barton - but the chairman couldn`t do the deals or wouldn`t pay the wages so we was left a bit short."
Asked if he could understand why the travelling supporters booed his team off as his team descended further towards the relegation zone, the manager replied, "To be honest with you, I`m not bothered what they think. I mean, they`re all idiots, aren`t they? How do they think we are going to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal when we can`t pay the wages and sell our best player? I can`t fault the effort of the players today but if we are going to avoid a relegation dog fight the chairman is going to have to put has hand in his pocket and spend big in January."
Despite their precarious position in the table, Tottenham fans must at least be grateful for one thing: that their legendary manager was not among the superstar departures in the summer. Is there another manager anywhere in the world better qualified for spending money in the January transfer window to prepare for a relegation dog fight? Just consider where Portsmouth and Southampton might be now without the prudence, dealings and judgement of their former manager?
And just imagine where Spurs might be now had they appointed the clueless AVB.
Written by One Cent Rob