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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2010-2011 - Match 35
Spurs must be honest after Champions League hopes disappear
by a special correspondent, whose views do not always match those of the webmaster

As soon as Chelsea secured their somewhat lucky (now that’s an understatement) equaliser, there was a sense of inevitability as Tottenham failed to win for the fourth time in a row in all competitions since the 3-2 win over Stoke last month.

It was then a cruel twist of fate that when Chelsea’s winner did come by an offside Solomon Kalou, something that would do little to improve Harry Redknapp’s mood as he watched his previously immaculate Spurs record become tainted for the first time with his impending failure to guide his side to the Champions League once more.

Spurs now sit seven points behind their main rivals for 4th spot Manchester City with four games remaining – but it was Liverpool’s victory over Newcastle that twisted the knife in the already open wound. Redknapp could hide behind Manchester City’s millions, 5th place would have been acceptable in the face of a defeat against the riches of the Abu Dhabi Royal family, but Liverpool endured their worst start to a season since 1954 – a year they were eventually relegated – and yet are still in a scrap for the sole Europa League place.

Any mood or momentum that had been gathered by goings on across the season have been halted in their track now, and these final four games will be a real dog fight for Redknapp and his men if they are to salvage pride and at least some form of European football next season, 6th would be a real blow. The betting bonus punters would have received for backing Liverpool for Europe after the first three months of the season would be astronomical should they pip Spurs to the post.

But, this is not the end for all that Redknapp has achieved. There is no shame in setting the bar high and just missing out on it; there is only shame when there is no response to this failure.

Redknapp’s time in charge feels as though it is entering a new phase. The at times grating comments about pulling Spurs from the depth of the Premier League table must end and Spurs must adjust to life at the top of the table, rather than a mid-table side that is having a few good seasons. Only then will his time at White Hart Lane be judged a true success. But he is the right man to do it.

He has displayed his willingness to attack at will and is incredibly calm in the face of some calling this failure the end of his time at the club. His reliance on Peter Crouch doesn’t sit well with most of the club’s supporters admittedly, but he must be given a fair chance to show he can recover.

There must be changes to the squad however. At their very core Spurs are an outstanding team, but when the squad players are included alongside the wondrous talents of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale then they are dragged down. A new striker must be found. Both full-backs must be replaced. And it is time for Heurelho Gomes to go. His mistakes have been far too costly and far outweigh his shot-stopping ability – where Spurs would be with someone like Manuel Neuer in their side we will never know.

Most of all Spurs must be honest with themselves. Is two top five finishes under Martin Jol, and a 4th and potentially 6th place finish under Redknapp enough? Was Champions League qualification a nice bonus or a goal to aim for every season? They must be realistic. It is certainly an improvement on the barren 15 years prior to Spurs’s recent upturn either way. They must accept that this season they have fallen short, but can prove their worth next season. Redknapp must learn lessons from this season – prove he can bounce back. If this season’s mistakes are repeated – lack of goals at times, dropped points against lesser teams, and their dreadful form at the wrong time (1 win from 12 in all competitions in recent months) then next season it would be time for a serious inquest. This is a failure, but not a fatal one.

Results 30.04.- 01.05.11

Blackburn  1-0   Bolton
Blackpool  0-0   Stoke
Chelsea    2-1   Spurs
S'derland  0-3   Fulham
West Brom  2-1   A. Villa
Wigan      1-1   Everton
B'mingham  1-1   Wolves
Liverpool  3-0   Newcastle
Arsenal    1-0   Man Utd
Man City   2-1   West Ham

       Barclays Premier League
Pos Team      P  W  D  L   F  A  GD  Pts

1  Man Utd   35 21 10  4  71 33	 38  73
2  Chelsea   35 21  7  7  66 28  38  70
3  Arsenal   35 19 10  6  68 36  32  67
4  Man City  34 18  8  8  53 31  22  62
5  Liverpool 35 16  7 12  54 39  15  55
6  Spurs     34 14 13  7  50 43   7  55
7  Everton   35 11 15  9  48 43   5  48
8  Bolton    35 12 10 13  48 48   0  46
9  Fulham    35 10 15 10  43 36   7  45
10 Stoke     35 12  7 16  43 43   0  43
11 West Brom 35 11 10 14  51 65 -14  43
12 Newcastle 35 10 11 14  49 51  -2  41
13 A. Villa  35 10 11 14  44 57 -13  41
14 S'derland 35 10 11 14  39 52 -13  41
15 B'mingham 35  8 15 12  35 52 -17  39
16 Blackburn 35 10  8 17  41 55 -14  38
17 Blackpool 35  9  8 18  48 70 -22  35
18 Wigan     35  7 14 14  35 58 -23  35
19 Wolves    35  9  7 19  38 61 -23  34
20 West Ham  35  7 11 17  40 63 -23  32

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