Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Comment after Chelsea v Spurs - 13.03.02
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Welcome to "Spurs Odyssey"'s latest columnist Anton Lang. Anton provides his views after the Chelsea 4-0 defeat. His message is not to mourn, but to will the team on to 6th place in the league:-

Whilst carrying the casket that contains the last remains of a promising English Premier League season to the Midtable Mediocrity Crematorium I overheard some doom laden relatives discussing a massive house clearance. Honestly, can we not yet bury our dead before those harbingers of doom have sold off every asset and pawned off every last vestige of credibility that we may have left?

It has been suggested that there now needs to be a mass culling among the playing staff at WHL. Oh deary me!

Apart from Sherwood's obvious error, unnecessarily enforced by a goalkeeper who failed to claim the ball from his defender in the first place with a simple "I'm here for you!", and a square pass from Gardner that again, was unnecessary, he wasn't too bad for the most part. Rebrov came on as if he thought it was still possible to score, regardless of the result. Ferdinand, for all his lack of skill in finishing when it seems so easy, he did have the will to win the ball early on.

Yes, there needs to be changes. I would suggest that some of the very basic errors seen today are the responsibility of the coaching staff. They are paid to do a job on the training pitch and it doesn't appear to be working. Richards was given to us fans as being of 'England' class which, quite frankly, after today's performance, age aside, he would struggle to get into the under England 15's. Schoolboy errors of judgement that cost us two goals. Chelsea didn't win today, we lost!

I cannot believe that his manager will slap him on the back after this game and say "Well done, Deano". If he does then this is where we would rightly need to ask if Hoddle is the right man for the job - I still believe he is BTW and I also don't believe he will see things very much more differently than the rest of us fans saw today. I would ask Richards to explain to the rest of the team why, instead of following Gudjohnson back, he rushes forward with his arm raised, calling for offside. It made hearts sink to see such a simple, golden rule abandoned so readily. Schoolboy stuff!!!. The times I have seen managers in commentary positions yelling out "Wait until the whistle blows for off-side". Until then, CARRY ON AS IF THE PLAYER IS ONSIDE, DEANO!!!!!

Natural wastage will see players like Ferdinand fall by the wayside. It is obvious to even the most ardent Ferdy fan that it has become a bridge too far for him these days, marvellous servant that he has been. There also needs to be a good close look at the club captain. I had a really fortunate chance in looking into the eyes of Shezza during the early stages of this match when he came over to complain about something regarding Ferdy and the sparkle that has been ever present for seasons past has gone. He was stood less than 10 yards away from me and what I saw in place of this sparkle was someone who seems hell bent on telling the ref how to do his job, have a go at opposing players, front the linesman (sorry, asst. Refs) yet at his prime, Shezza would have got on with the game and rarely, if at all, got involved in any of what he seems to have been involved in over the past months. He could command his own space and that is what made him a great among greats. There doesn't appear to be the same level of concentration anymore as his energies seem spent on arguing and shouting at the ref or otherwise. He would never have punched out at McGreal a year or two ago just like he would never have had such a dig at HB during the WC semis or run up to refs yelling at them. Or maybe I am just deluding myself that this once great player was saintly at all times.

Chance, after chance, after chance slipped past him today. He still has the skills; there's no doubting that but I would be as surprised as the next man if he has played his way onto the team plane heading to Seoul/Tokyo in the summer. He still has a valuable part to play in the future of THFC but I think it is going to have to be from the bench; coming on for the last 20/30 mins. It is there, in this space of a match, that he appears to influence a game, coming on and changing the direction of play. AF used him to exceptional success at Manure and Hoddle should start to think about bringing younger players into the game early and then changing if all looks lost by introducing Teddy the master tactician. Players look to Shezza as an inspiration but his image is becoming more tarnished by each game due to being overplayed. I sincerely hope for Sherringham's sake he starts from the bench on Wednesday night and changes are made, otherwise today will only be another day.

The biggest shame that can happen is that some players, who have patiently awaited the promise from past and present Spurs boards and management, will bite the bullet and leave. Anderton's skill will be sorely missed next year if he does decide to go. Rebrov already appears disenchanted with Hoddle and the club. Carr, who has yet to feature this season could have played his last match before evening coming on. He's not going to want to stay without more of a promising future. Davies is still young but many big clubs are watching and we will lose out in him too along with the likes of King, Gardner, Docherty, Thelwell... ...the list goes on. Without the promise of success fairly soon one or two of these names will move on to bigger clubs for more success.

It is fast approaching time for Hoddle to ask ENIC to make positive steps towards some new players. Players that can carry us forward and players that can hold their own. If we wait until the summer we will be left behind again. If ENIC see a future at Spurs, start splashing some cash now.

Before we lay this once promising memory to rest, let us as fans, breathe life into this fast evaporating season by willing on the team to relative success in the league. 6th place is not beyond us. Fulham play Chelsea and Newcastle/Arsenal play Middlesborough. We could yet be reliant on our North London brethren to help us get into Europe. With two of the top sides apart in the semi final we should at least hope that Chelsea go on to beat Fulham and Newcastle/Arsenal go on to beat Middlesborough. Then 6th place will be granted Euro opportunity. I'd rather it was in our hands but ATEOTD, who cares?

Worst case scenario would be Blackburn Rovers relegated and in Euro and Middlesborough relegated and in Euro. Wouldn't that be ironic?

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