Groundhog Day - a lesson unlearned
February 1st 2012, I awoke with a strange feeling. Spurs were sitting nicely in the Champions League places and had a great chance of actually pushing for the title.
Deadline day had just passed though and I felt strangely deflated. For some bizarre reason I still can't fathom we had lost a good striker in Pavlyucheko, and had sent out players on loan who were at the very least good back up in Corluka, Pienaar and Kranjcar. We replaced the quality striker with an injury-prone Saha and bought in another centre back in Nelsen, even though we already had four at the club. The squad looked bare and later in the season injuries to key players such as Bale and King would see us just about hang on to fourth - and we know how that turned out….
Fast forward twelve months and I actually feel worse. As if trying to be cruel, Spurs are in almost exactly the same situation. A new manager has been made to work minor miracles with already a threadbare squad, and lost his captain, most influential player and most creative force in the summer. They were replaced with good, but not great, options in Vertonghen and Dembele. The chairman then took it upon himself to argue for TWO WEEKS over £250,000 in the winter window before finally agreeing to stump up a whopping £1.75 million for the Germany U-21 captain Lewis Holtby. (However, he had had no qualms in the summer about splashing £13million on two very similar players in Dempsey and Sigurddson.)
In 2012, the collapse was almost instantaneous after the window shut. Some blame Mr Redknapp and the England job, and no doubt that played a part, but part of me always believes that the players are affected by what they perceive in the boardroom. They want to see what they do on the pitch being underwritten by commitment from both the management team and the board. Last season both of these let the players down. Lack of fresh blood, a failure to rotate a tired team, and an abandonment of duty, saw the players flounder. How uplifting would it have been for them today to see a Negredo walk through the door. Or even someone who wanted to come to Spurs like Hooper?
We know they love deadline day, they all tweet about it enough! This year we have seen, in my view, a superb effort from the management. But Mr Levy has let EVERYBODY down. I think he firmly believes that because over the last three and a half seasons we have averaged fourth, that is where we will stay. Who cares that Everton and Liverpool have spent and likewise improved massively? Who cares that Arsenal always end well? Who cares that with a little help we could surpass ourselves and end up 3rd? Let's just fob off the fans with a made-up bid for a striker that doesn't want to come, just like last year.
I hope I'm wrong, but I can just see history repeating. AVB has certainly got his work cut out, with just 20 senior players and 5 I would consider back-up. Just 14 of senior players have played more than 20 times for the club. An inury to BAE or Dembele, let alone Ade or Defoe, and I really believe we will struggle. We all know that AVB was tripped up massively by Chelsea players, but in my mind this didn't change him from the great manager I knew him to be, and it obviously didn't sway Levy's mind when he recruited him either. But history may repeat itself here. If AVB was to get us CL football, or I would argue even a 5th place finish, he has surpassed what many of us thought possible. Who is to say a bigger better club won't come knocking? Too late to back your man then, Mr Levy... However, AVB has been hamstrung so far this season, and look where we are in the league? If we slip, I won't blame him at all. He has proved himself, as have the players time and time again. No, if we slip, the blame will lie firmly at Mr Levy's door. COYS.
Written by Sebthespur