Let’s Set the Record Straight

This is the interview that ensued meltdown.


If anybody finds anything controversial with the words he explicitly said in this interview, then they have to take a long look at themselves in the mirror. They’re the type of person who fears their own shadow because it follows them and finds an enemy in a 2 pound coin.

If you find anything wrong with what is implicitly stated in this interview, I’m about to debunk that.

What Defoe actually said

You can listen to the full interview above.  The non-stock quotes.

“Getting into a World Cup squad is based on merit and you have to play for your club”

“As a forward, if you are not getting the chances, it will be difficult.”

“Frank Lampard got it right when he said the other day that everyone is fighting [for places].”

“It’s important that everyone goes back to their clubs and plays games to try to impress the manager.”

“It’s a long way to go before the World Cup. There is a lot of football to be played and we will see what happens. You never know, I might play every game from now on.”

It took me 5 seconds to find a copy-and-paste of Defoe’s Sun interview on an Arabic website. Unfortunately some people are all too impetuous when succumbing to a pre-defined narrative.

Back on topic…

The Sun ran with the headline “Dewoe (lol). AVB Wrecking My World Cup Dream.”

As is evident, Defoe never explicitly said that AVB is wrecking his chances of making the World Cup squad.

The Sun only sensationalises the headline. A segment of Spurs fans took it a step further and fabricated a quote FROM THEIR OWN PLAYER. I mean, jesus.

For some hilarious reason, some-thing decided to fabricate a quote from their own player. This was obviously done to gain followers on Twitter. The reason Defoe was chosen, as opposed to the million other players who say they want playing time, was because he’s the archetypical Spurs scapegoat. A satirical post on what makes a Spurs scapegoat is in the pipeline.

Then other Spurs fans decided to believe whoever fabricated the quote and hey presto! we have stage 4 meltdown.

The Explicit/Implicit Pact

To take it a step further, suddenly every Spurs fan that doesn’t like Defoe is a qualified and chartered psychologist.

Anybody that thinks that Defoe took a stab at AVB in the quotes above, is delusional. He didn’t. Now he may have implicitly taken a stab at AVB. But who are we to know that? I wouldn’t imagine that there’s a probe burrowed inside Defoe’s head Eddie Murphy-style sending dossier’s about JD’s emotions to a man sitting in a cupboard.

Judging what a person is saying by the conformation of their face is ludicrous because there’s no way to tell for sure what a player’s thinking.

The journalist ask Defoe; “Do you feel it is important that you’re starting regularly?”

JD answered; “Getting into a World Cup squad is based on merit and you have to play for your club

Defoe thinks it’s important to start to get into the World Cup squad. What a disgrace.

Defoe could be a masochist. He could revel in the pain of not playing. In which case he’d show happiness

Defoe could be a sadistic axe murderer. He could only revel in chopping people in little chunks and be placid about not playing

Defoe could be a typical footballer. He could want to playing. In which case he’d be frustrated at not playing.

There you have three emotions evoked from the same thing. How can you draw a definitive conclusions from Defoe saying he doesn’t want to play if there are at least three viable options?

Trick question; you can’t.

‘But you can see it in his face!,’ they say

‘He’s saying that AVB is ruining his career,’

‘Look he twitched an eyebrow. AVB’s clearly holding his captive in cellar with only bread and water to drink.’


Defoe has multiple faces, all interchangeably, he has a ‘Build-up play is for peasants’ face. He has a ‘AVB’s ruining my career’ face. He has ‘I won’t score this because I hate Tottenham Hotspur’ face.




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Just Some Food For Thought

I like to start my posts with a simple question. I’ll continue in much the same vein.

How is it that a team can be completely transformed from month-to-month or week-to-week or in an extreme case from half-to-half?


Sunday against Newcastle United was one such extreme case. The first half absolutely turgid. A quick change of system and substitutions appropriate to instigate the change and hey presto! we looked phenomenal. The best football Spurs played since the last time they played their best football was played  that second half.

How is it that one tactical change (Kaboul for Chiriches is like-for-like), Sandro for Dembele, can transform a team into much more proficient defense and attack?

My Hypothesis 

My hypothesis is that the system deployed by a manager is more important than the players used in the system. In fact, the system deployed by the manager is so much more important than the quality of the players used in the system that the quality of the players isn’t important at all. Exaggeration. It is important but only minutely.

Hear me out.

A few anecdotes. Roma this season and last are a prime example of this hypothesis in action.

Roma under Rudi Garcia

Last season, the overall quality of the Roma team was far better than the Roma team now. The sum of their parts was greater last season than it is this season. They had players like Osvaldo, Lamela & Marquinhos on their roster. Players that are no longer there, needless to say.

This season they are doing better with a better team.

This season they are doing better with a worse squad.

The problem with Roma over the last two season has been that they can’t keep out goals. They had a very leaky defense up until this season. There was no problem with the attack, averaging 1.7 goals a game but they only had a goal difference of +21. They conceded 106 goals in 76 games!

This problem was endemic. It didn’t changed when Luis Enrique was sacked and Zdenek Zeman was appointed.

It did change when Rudi Garcia was appointed. Roma under Rudi Garcia play a bunkered defense and invite long shots. But when the opposition gets within 25 yards, they defend like a frenzy of bees. They press extremely hard but only within the opposition’s final third. As it turns out, Roma are very suited to this style of play. And it has stopped them conceding goals (3 in 12 games).

Garcia didn’t change a lot just how far from their goal Roma starts to defend and it’s completely transformed AS Roma. And an extra emphasis on attack, which was only made possible by the bunkered defense.

There is a system that suits every squad and it’s about finding that system. The system or philosophy, whatever you want to term it, is more important than the players themselves. As demonstrated by Roma. You can take out their 3 best players and with a slight change of system you can still perform much, much, much, much better.

Roma this season  and last is the example that is most relevant right now but there are a few other glaring examples from years gone by.

Barcelona under Pep Guardiola

Before Guardiola took over Barcelona, they played a push-and-run style very similar to Tottenham’s double winning side. It was brilliant to watch but not very successful. Barcelona hadn’t won a La Liga in 3 year (yes, that is unsuccessful for some teams!). Guardiola took over and immediately sold on Ronaldinho and Deco, the two best players on the roster at the time. Remember Xavi & Iniesta weren’t what they are now, back then and Messi hadn’t gone beserk just yet. In fact many very good players over the next two summers would be sold on. Including Eidur Gudjohnsen, Samuel Eto’o, Alexander Hleb and Martín Cáceres. They were all deemed unsuitable for the system.

Guardiola changed the team from a push-and-run style of football to a, as the term would soon be coined, Tiki-Taka style of football. This brought unprecedented success with a squad that had less individual quality.

A metaphor is apt here.

I often think of a team as an engine of a car. There are many players to a team just as there are parts to an engine. Each part has own job just as each player has his own job.

But it doesn’t matter how good the crankshaft is, it can’t be used as a piston head. It doesn’t matter how good a carburetor is, it can’t be used as a petrol tank.

This applies to players. A player may be brilliant but if you try and shoehorn a brilliant but slow or remiss centre back into a highline, then it’ll end ignominiously (Oh Hai John Terry!). Likewise, if you try and shoehorn a brilliant but unfit centre back into a bunkered defense , it will end in failure.

Let’s stop scapegoating

We’ve finally gotten to the fruit of the article. I see a lot of people saying that Eriksen should be played instead of Holtby, that Lamela should be played instead of Townsend or that Dembele should be played instead of Paulinho. A lot of people blame a poor performance on an individual. 

As outlined above, I think this is silly. I’m never going to say that anyone is the root of all our problems. I won’t call for anyone to be dropped unless they’re truly abject. I will, however, call for the system to be changed.

In most cases, just a slight change is needed. Take Tottenham, they should pass that little bit quicker and it’ll work wonders. Suddenly gaps will open up that would have been closed before we could exploit them. Precisely because the passing is so slow.

Just some food for thought.


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What is Glory?

The game is about glory. But what is Glory? Is Glory winning matches? Is Glory playing beautiful football, through victory and defeat? Is Glory playing 11 Dawson’s and Townsend’s, players who play with their heart in their sleeves? Is Glory scoring off a instinctive and superbly choreographed free-kick, corner or throw-in? Is Glory playing horrible and still winning? Is Glory playing beautiful and still losing?

Glory can manifest as anything, in truth. Glory is what you want it to be. I’ve asked this question to a number of people the question; “What is Glory about?” I have received all of the above answers. I know a person who would say it’s about winning matches. Another would say, actually, I would say it’s about playing beautiful, gung-ho football through thick and thin. Another person would say it’s about playing 11 players who play with their hearts in their sleeves. A person, a West Ham fan, would say it’s scoring off an superbly choreographed set piece.

Tottenham Hotspur has a philosophy and, call me an idealist, but I don’t want to lose that for anything. Not for money, not for trophies, not for success.


Glory is whatever you make it. For me, glory is daring to do. For me, glory is playing beautiful football through thick and thin.

Winning Ugly or Losing Pretty:

Which match did you prefer? The 6-4 win in 2008 against Reading or either of the 3-1’s against Reading last season. Answering that question can go a very long to deciding what side of the debate you’re own.

One game was a professional performance. A game where Spurs went ruthlessly about eviscerating Reading.

One game was a bad performance. Plain and simply but the brilliance of Dimitar Berbatov saw us through.

I enjoyed one match and I didn’t enjoy the other.

I had seen the exact same match a number of times before. The set-up is always the same with Spurs. We control possession, get 11 men behind the ball when defending, never attempt the killer pass until it’s a certainty to work, shoot a lot from long range because we lack creativity and concede from a set piece. We play the percentages. It was exciting for a while.

I’ve seen it all before and it no longer excites me. It’s like watching a Verdi opera or a Coen movie for the fiftieth time. The first time you saw it, it was swashbuckling. The second time you saw it, it was brilliant. The tenth time you saw it, it was exciting. The sixty-ninth time you see it, it’s turgid.

A Club I used to know:

What we have now isn’t what I fell in love with as a child. Don’t get me wrong, I think the squad is very talented. Success has never gotten me very excited. In the search for success, we have lost track of our identity. I grew the team doing brilliant things but it never led to anything material.  Sure it wasn’t very successful, but it got me on the edge of my seat.

I was able to enjoy the 90 minutes because the team was so ramshackle. It was held together with masking tape, almost.  Those 90 minutes every Saturday and periodically every Wednesday. Those 90 minutes were exhilarating, I never knew what was going to happen. That’s what football is all about. It’s about excitement.

Especially, in the modern era of commercialization. The big clubs are only going to get bigger. They’ll stock-pile squads of incredibly talented players, some of whom can’t even get on the pitch. Their squads will be too big and strong for any other clubs to compete. They’ll win everything. Clubs that don’t have petro-dollars backing them will have to find solace with smaller, simpler things. Like playing with a certain philosophy.

Don’t Dare to Do:

Much has been made, entire arguments have been made on the perception that the turgid football Tottenham played against Hull (and have for a while) is just a stepping stone. It’s our time in purgatory until we reach heaven. A necessary evil. A trade-off for future success.

This is not not so. What we see here is what we get. Obviously, the performances will get better but the attitude, the pragmatism will stay the same. Here are a few excerpts from the foreword by Luís Freitas Lobo in Andre’s Villas-Boas’ biography ‘Special Too.’

In his ‘Ten Commandments’ of ball possession Villas-Boas prefers, as a ‘fundamental commandment’, that players hold on to the ball rather than the speculative attitude of waiting to recover the ball then breaking fast towards the opponents goal (the so-called quick transitions). Instead of four or five long passes, Villas-Boas doesn’t mind if his team take 14 or 15 short and squarer passes, until they reach the opponents area

Keep in mind, that Villas-Boas censored this.

Even if it means that to get the shape of the team right there is the need for a back-pass or to pass the ball around at the back.

Also, this is probably relevant.

Persuading fans to be patient – by nature they are intolerant of a tea, which seems slow in taking the initiative to attack. the opposing team – is I believe the greatest triumph for a manager other than achieving the right results.

The key quote is “players hold on to the ball rather than the speculative attitude.” Villas-Boas doesn’t play expansively. He keeps things tight at the back. He tries to control possession and the flow of the game and doesn’t allow anything as uncontrollable as individuality.

I never trust any reporter outright. A few anecdotes of my own. When we’re defending corners, Villas-Boas brings everyone back. 11 men are in the vicinity of the box. Freitas Lobo states in ‘Special Too’ that this is because counter-attacks are ‘uncontrollable.’ Villas-Boas is afraid that a player could get caught out of position on the counter-counter-attack. This exudes a philosophy of pragmatism. A-don’t-dare-to-do-anything-wrong philosophy.

We have lacked creativity against teams that park the bus since the beginning of time but Villas-Boas hasn’t changed anything to rectify that. Against Hull or any bus parking team, for that matter, it’d be so easy to play Holtby in his preferred position in the pivot and play Eriksen in the hole. This would give us two adept passers and those passing triangles that AVB loves so much. The trade-off is less defensive cover.  This is why Villas-Boas hasn’t played both Holtby and Eriksen. This, as well, exudes pragmatism and a don’t-dare-to-do-anything-wrong philosophy.

His philosophy is, I wouldn’t go as far to say the polar opposite but it’s certainly different from what I want to see. Not to beat around the bush, AVB isn’t the type of coach I want coaching my club.

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The First Green Shoots

Whether it was the full moon on Sunday night, I will never know but the superstitious part of me believes it, but Tottenham Hotspur did not play with the motific high line. It has been a stalwart for us this season and last. Never leaving  our side. In the three games since we beat Cardiff 1-0 in Cardiff, we’ve caught opponents offside 19 times. an average of 6.3 offsides per game.

Against Villa we caught two opponents offside. Two.

It’s also noticeable how much closer to our own goal that Chiricheş and particularly Dawson are compared to other games.


To cut a long story short, because of the full moon for whatever reason Tottenham didn’t play the high line versus Aston Villa.

This is really, really good. It’s the first sign that Villas Boas is becoming tactically flexible.

Tactically inflexibility cost us:

The biggest qualm I have had with Villas-Boas over the last year was his tactically inflexibility. It is admirable in some cases but good managers can only play one way or are afraid to play any other way. Great managers can and aren’t scared to play in multiple different styles. They change their game play to suit the opponent and to suit what they have at their disposal. This is what has impressed me about Brendan Rodgers and Pep Guardiola this season. Both don’t have fetish for possession any more and are more willing fall back onto a plan B or C. A long ball or a mazy dribble.  When that plan B is giving the ball to Franck Ribéry or Arjen Robben you can see why it’s working out.

In football, you have a game plan unless you’re Alan Pardew. Like everything else, there is a way to anaesthetise that game plan. West Ham executed that 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, we’re not Barcelona even though that is what Villas-Boas has in his vision for us long term. We cannot bulldoze over teams if our game plan isn’t working.

Not even Barcelona:

Not even Barcelona can afford to be tactically inflexible. Even Barcelona can’t bulldoze over a team now with a defunct game plan. Gerardo Martino has freed up Barcelona. They now play the odd, very odd, long ball or go on a mazy dribble. It isn’t pass-pass-pass until the ball is in the net. The point is, it’s easy to find the anaesthetic. Bayern found it last season. You needed to play really, really physically and cross the ball a lot. When Bayern beat Barcelona. 5 goals came through crosses. 1 was a ludicrous foul on Jordi Alba by Arjen Robben and the other was a moment of brilliance by Arjen Robben.

This is why I genuinely think West Ham would beat Barcelona (last season). But whatever.

The point is it’s easy to find an anaesthetic for any team no matter how good.

Baseless speculation:

I’m going to try and second guess AVB here.

I believe that Villas-Boas saw that Aston Villa are phenomenal on the break, one of the best counter attacking teams in Europe and the best in the Premier League and decided it would suicidal to play a high line against this team.

Which it would be.

I believe he also saw that Jan Vertonghen would be up against Andreas Weimann. Vertonghen is incredibly talented but very slow and carrying a bit of timber. Vertonghen struggles against direct opponents because of his lack of mobility and pace.

Which Weimann is.

Agbonlahor and Weimann are speed merchants and Kožak is nothing to be snuffed at. Villas-Boas also thought that Christian Benteke would return from injury. 

This is the first sign that Villas-Boas is finally becoming tactically aware and flexible and it’s the best thing to happen all season.

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Player Development and its Fundamental Flaws

The precedent

Football is a profession. A footballer is like a carpenter, very like a carpenter, in fact. Replace the saw, gauge, a chisel & clamp with boots, socks, a ball & shin guards. The ability of a carpenter to build a house is the equivalent of a footballer to play football. When  a carpenter takes up the profession he learns the basics in school. There is an equivalent in football, a football academy. A school of football.

This is where the disparity enters.

At this stage a carpenter would take up an apprenticeship.

At this stage a carpenter would go out on loan to League 2 or 1 or the Championship.

Don’t tell me England doesn’t produce good footballers

In short, the player is being told how to play in a different way. The wrong way. This is why so much young English talent falls by the wayside. English talent at a very, very young age, before their talent gets tainted by the inept League 2 or 1 managers is as good as you can find.

3 years ago, England won the U-17 European Championship against Spain against a team that including Gerard Deulofeu, the player who continues to impress on loan at Everton, & Jesé Rodríguez, the player who Floretino Pérez was so unwilling to sell to Tottenham this summer, with Bale going the other way, showing just how good he is.

At this stage of their careers, English talent is just as good as anyone.

This is where player development in Britain becomes unbelievably stupid.

He’s doing it wrong!

The type of football in lower leagues is totally different to the type of football of the Premiership and of the modern teams today. Teams are comprised of hard-working, technically inept journey-men. For the most part the only thing going for a player in the lower leagues is that he runs a lot. This is reflected in the English, Scottish & Welsh national teams. They are comprised of 11 James Milner’s, Danny Welbeck’s and Charlie Adam’s.

The football academy is a school, a place where a footballer learns the basics of his game but when a player ‘goes on an apprenticeship’  i.e. goes on loan he is immediately told to forget everything he has learned in school, he starts to learn a new style of football. A reactive brand of football based on hard-work and lacking fluidity and offense. 

How can a player develop when he’s learning to separate styles of football? He can’t.

Am I doing it right?

A master worth his salt would teach his apprentice to perfect his trade. He teaches the tricks of the trade such using a shotgun shell filled with salt to artificially age a cabinet. The apprentice is actually benefitting from the apprentice. He is learning from it. He’s learning how to properly make a cabinet. He doesn’t learn something completely different to what he learned in school. He knows, in no uncertain terms, what is right and what is wrong.

A footballer is sent on loan to a lower league team and told to learn by himself. He’s told to use trial and error to find out how to perfect his trade. There is no master here. There is nobody to tell a young English player what he’s doing wrong. A young, aspiring footballer is expected to go to a strange environment, with people he doesn’t know, with a manager tactically inept manager and with hierarchies firmly embedded and develop as a player

How ludicrous is that? It’s very.


The media effects both good players and bad players in different ways. The end result is always the same. A player who never achieves his potential.

Bad players 

I will leave this to Neville Southall:

It’s like a half-finished Mona Lisa. If you walked in on Leonardo Da Vinci when he was in the middle of painting the Mona Lisa and you’d probably say ‘that’s shit’. But you need to wait until the end to see the finished product and suddenly it’s a masterpiece.

Joe Hart. When Manchester City left to the Westfallonstadion, Joe Hart was a world class goal-keeper. Since then his every mistake has been scrutinized to a nigh-on exploitive extent. A couple of bad games and all of a sudden we should play Fraser Forster, who is just as inconsistent in the Scottish League. A footballer is like a carpenter. If you shout in the ear of a carpenter while he’s making a cabinet, there is no he’ll make the cabinet right. His head won’t be in the right place. Thanks to the media, Joe Hart’s head is never in the right place. He won’t be able to goal-keep properly. He will never reach potential until the media stops badgering him.

Good Players

The same thing has happened with Jack Wilshere. I can say with absolute confidence that the same thing will happen with Ross Barkley, James Ward Prowse, Luke Shaw and  Saido Berahino. The pressure on the shoulders of these four 19/17 year olds is ridiculous. It’s too much for them and they will more than likely crack under it.

I couldn’t develop as a player if a country had it’s hopes pinned on me. Only very few could.

The starkest example here is Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. The welsh media hasn’t pinned it’s hopes on Ramsey but Wilshere has nearly been canonised as Saint Jack by the English media. Ramsey has developed to where he should be. Wilshere has not.

Of the squad that won the U-17 European Championship just one of them have went on to be regularly feature in the Premier League.

Don’t tell me that English players simply aren’t as talented as others. They simply are but the defunct, archaic model with which we develop our players from 17 onwards is stone-age compared to the Spanish  model.

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He Can Do No Good.

Michael Dawson, for all he has done, is everyone’s favourite scapegoat.

The  criticism of him is fine. No player is infallible. apart from Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele.

What alienates me is that everyone disproportionately focus on all of his mistakes, very few mistakes, while conveniently forgetting all the good he has done.

The most recent incident of this is the goal Chelsea scored against. Neither Dawson nor Vertonghen were at fault for this goal. Vertonghen was at fault for the lead-up which I’ll get onto. You can see from the picture below that the line they are holding is superb (thanks to none other than Michael Dawson but let’s not accredit him with that because he can do no good). All of Lampard, Terry and Ivanovic are behind the line but Mousa Dembele, who had an absolutely stupendous game, is playing them on.

If anyone is to blame for this goal, it is Mousa Dembele.

I don’t even blame him. Upon closer inspection, it looks like Ivanovic is pushing Dembele who, in turn, plays Terry, Ivanovic and Lampard onside.

Nonetheless, you’re never going to see a referee blow up for that.

Vertonghen was the player who gave away the free kick which this goal was scored from. And it was the most bone-headedly stupid free kick ever.

No it wasn’t but it was stupid.

There was no need to give away the free kick. Both Mousa Dembele and Kyle Walker were covering and the touch was heavy enough that Lloris would have been able to cover. It was just a rush of blood to the head.

The Double Standard

This is what really alienates me. Both Vertonghen and Dawson had similar games, in terms of quality. Both completed 1/2 tackles. Vertonghen completed  1 interception, Dawson 2. Vertonghen completed 1 block (both crosses and shots are included in this stat), Dawson did, as well. Dawson completed 6 clearances, Vertonghen 7. Dawson completed 44 passes, Vertonghen 35. And neither were directly at fault for the goal, Vertonghen was indirectly.

Vertonghen was clearly more riled up for whatever reason, and it cost us. We love a player who is passionate in a derby but it inevitably leads to a negative outcome.  

You might as well be looking at the same player. Yet Dawson was castigated, chastised, lynched, quartered, guillotined, eviscerated, berated, lambasted and stoned last night on Twitter and other media.

The same thing has been happening for years now but one incident absolutely epitomises this. Against Tromso, Kaboul and Dawson both missed a tackle, in succession. I can get over people berating Dawson when the two similar incidents aren’t like two seconds apart. It’s easy to forget in the emotion of a match.

Kaboul jumped into a tackle and missed

Dawson jumped into a tackle on the same player a half second later and missed

Kaboul escaped criticism. Dawson was lynched.

I know it’s the done thing. I know mob mentality is very prevalent in football. I know we want him to be Paolo Cannavarro in a guise.

But, please, can we stop scape-goating Michael Dawson?

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Success or Pride?

Out for a run this morning. Listening to a podcast of BBC Radio 5 Live. The question came up; “Would you prefer Stoke to play beautiful football and be in the Championship or play turgid football and be in the Premier League?” Premier League with turgid football was unequivocally the answer.


I say this is wrong on so many levels that I cannot begin to comprehend it. I know why the Stoke fan said so, the value of immediate results has spiralled out of control. Clubs and fans lose track of the long term future all too quickly.

The values of the game I grew up to love are now dispensable in the voyage for results. Footballers are now being exploited and automaton-ised (I’m 1000% certain that isn’t a word), anyone that has; I AM THE SECRET FOOTBALLER will know. In short, the author hasn’t had a weekend with his mates in 12 years, wasn’t able to attend his best friend’s wedding and wasn’t able to attend many funerals of loved ones, all in search of immediate results. I’d go as far to say these are basic human rights. And then people complain about Andros Townsend having some banter…..

Back to the point of the post.

I must be able to condone what the team I support, be it England, Ireland (my background is complicated) Spurs, is doing before I can support them. I mean that 100% literally. I haven’t been able to support Ireland for the last 5 years while Giovanni Trappatoni has been in charge. Trappatoni employed a system with long balls, hard work and, worst of all, a complete disregard for anybody with something approaching technical skill. Trappatoni has had a successful tenure, all in all, He got us to the Euros, he should have gotten us to the World Cup but Thierry Henry is [insert-multiple-explicit-derogatory-terms].

I could not care less.

Trappatoni’s tenure has been excruciating and I want to forget as fast as possible. He won us games at home and didn’t lose for 30-odd games (26, I think) away from home but he did it through nefarious means. The means is more important than the end in football because you only experience the end for a fleeting moment, you have to endure the means for the rest of the game. I could never be proud of any victory.

If Tottenham were taken over by Tony Pulis and we started playing long-ball football. I would not be able to support Tottenham, I would watch them but strictly as a neutral. I couldn’t condone our actions during the game, even if it won us the Champion’s League. I’ll reiterate, the end doesn’t justify the means even in this hyperbole.

As an extension to this, I wouldn’t ever welcome Luis Suarez, if he were to sign for Spurs. I couldn’t justify his presence at the club even if he scored 100 goals for is 10 games.

If I were a Barcelona fan, I wouldn’t be able to support Barcelona if they failed to Éric Abidal’s when he was suffering from Liver cancer.

If I were a Swindon Town fan, I wouldn’t be able to support the employers of Nile Ranger.

If I were a Birmingham City fan, I wouldn’t be able to condone their employment of Marlon King.

In fact, I’m taking a long and hard look at myself in the mirror. I’m seriously struggling to condone the actions of a club that has boycotted an anti-homophobia campaign because no prior consultation, It’s coloured laces. What consultation do you need. Or a club that still hasn’t given Darren Anderton or Ledley King a memorial.

That club is none other than our very own Tottenham Hotspur.

Luckily, those are isolated incidents.

The point is this, I must be proud of the team before I can be proud of it’s successes.

If I ran for mayor of London and got there. But I got there by murdering, extorting and corrupting anyone who stood in my way. I couldn’t condone my actions and I wouldn’t be proud of my successes.

If Tottenham won the Champion’s League by similarly deplorable  means, I wouldn’t be proud of it.

I’m machiavellian in my belief that the end justifies the mean but not when the end is so fleeting.

Follow me @ImmenDimensions.

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