a more attractive proposal

New Tottenham NFL Stadium

Much has been made of an announcement Tottenham Hotspur Football Club made last week. No, not the announcement capture of Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid, though that could prove an impact signing in the seasons to come.

No, it was that other announcement that caused the biggest stir: that Tottenham had updated their new stadium designs to accommodate two National Football League games a season for the next ten years.

Predictably, many have rallied against the deal.

Those in the “Against Modern Football” movement loved to hate on this deal. There’s the anti-American movement, too. Some of my American brethren with anti-NFL stances thought such a deal would tarnish the club’s legacy. And there were even some concerns expressed that Tottenham Hotspur FC would even remain the primary tenant of the stadium. To be fair, there are a lot of valid concerns about the deal overall — but its here to stay whether we want it or not.

Not everyone, however, is in the “against” camp.

Many — myself included – feel this is nothing but good for the club, provided the deal is primarily designed to have additional revenue earned through hosting two NFL games a season funneled back into the team. The NFL was going to pick a home in London eventually, and its forward thinking of Spurs to put themselves in a position to benefit from that. In a league where multiple teams will soon play in sizable new homes with increased match day revenues, alternative streams of funding will be imperative to continue to compete and improve.

But there is one aspect of the updated stadium plans that I’ve not really heard much talk about.

Continue reading

holding pattern

Holding Pattern - Wrong Side of the Pond

In 24 matches across all competitions so far, it’s fair to say Tottenham Hotspur are having a fairly inconsistent start to their 2014/15 campaign. Need proof? Here’s what the season has looked like so far:

WWWWLDDLWDDWLWLWWWLWWLDLW.

Yeah, that’s pretty erratic.

However if you were to read the headlines, browse fan forums or soak in the Twittersphere, you might be inclined to think this season has been an utter disaster for Spurs.

But has it been? Admittedly, things haven’t exactly been sterling. Rather, things have been much like they have for the past few seasons: a cycle of ups and downs that can’t seem to be broken.

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ten words or less #85

Eddie Johnson is leaving Seattle for DC United

EJ heading to DC highlights a busy off season week for Major League Soccer.

With the hectic Christmas football calendar about to kick off and the transfer window to follow shortly after, it seemed prudent to get a Ten Words or Less in so we’ll have ample room in the next one to cover the all of the upcoming commotion. But that doesn’t mean this week has been devoid of anything interesting. There’s been Spurs drama to deal with, MLS offseason player movements, and a barely even a peep out of not just me about the FIFA Club World Cup going on in Morocco.

And just in case you missed it, I’ve also opened up a competition for you to win a free, personalized retro Tottenham kit from the good folks over at Campo Retro. Just registering will net you a discount, so it’s worth a punt.

The new Nike Boca Juniors kit is the stuff of dreams. – 101greatgoals.com

The latest chapter in the Book of Daniel (Levy). – dearmrlevy.com

He likely isn’t the first, and won’t be the last. – theoffside.com

DC United letting their fans pick their beer’s can design. – dcunited.com

Kompany couldn’t do this again if he tried. Unlucky. – imgur.com

Wahl just dropped a peg or two in my book. – awfulannouncing.com

Defoe to Toronto for $10 million? SOLD! – torontosun.com

Players association trying to revolutionize the transfer system. – fifpro.org

Google the front runner for the next MLS/US soccer TV deal? – prosoccertalk.com

This is David Nugent… chasing a squirrel. – kckrs.com

for what?

Sacked Tottenham Manager Andre Villas-Boas

i feel you, andre. i thought we were sticking to a plan, too.

As I sit here basking in the post-apocalyptic glow that’s followed the long-rumored sacking of Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas, I can’t help but ask myself one question over and over.

For what?

If the current state of affairs at the club is when Spurs would feel it necessary to pull the trigger, then for what was all this for?

For what reason did Daniel Levy fire Harry Redknapp after a fourth place finish, only to bring in a moderately inexperienced manager with European success already under his belt? It was a gamble Levy had taken and failed at before. Recall that he sacked fairly successful Martin Jol in favor of a disastrously short spell with a much-hyped Juande Ramos. Doing so again was an even bigger gamble — though one I was certainly a supporter of — that was hedged entirely on the idea that a revolution was necessary at White Hart Lane.

For what reason did Tottenham bring in a sporting director, at Villas-Boas’ suggestion no less, after the same system was deemed to be a failure under Damien Comolli? Could it be because some of Comolli’s purchases — namely Bale and Modrić — panned out and provided a sizable chunk of revenue? That could help to explain why Spurs mainly have gone after a group of players that could still be flogged off for significant profits down the line.

For what reason did Spurs sell off their best player and use the proceeds to nearly completely remake the side with seven new signings? Supposedly it was to round out the squad and provide the much-needed depth the club have lacked in recent campaigns. All these new players were hand-picked by the new manager and the new sporting director of course.

For what reason did Levy decide now was the time to get rid of said manager only sixteen games into the season after all of those changes, only eight points off the top of the table and just five points away from the sought-after Champions League places? It’s not like Tottenham are sitting in the relegation places like they were when the Ramos gamble backfired.

And for what replacement did we decide to dispatch AVB for? Former player and manager Glenn Hoddle? The guy’s last job was seven years ago in a wretched spell with Wolves. What about Fabio Capello, who was at the last game? Maybe you didn’t notice, but he is managing Russia, who have qualified for next summer’s World Cup. Klinsmann? He’s also going to the World Cup with the US and just signed a new four-year extension. Maybe Ajax manager Frank De Boer, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup, or Southampton gaffer Mauricio Pochettino? All would have to be bought out of current contracts, something Daniel Levy isn’t a huge fan of. Well, save for the contracts he’s offered that is.

Seriously…. FOR WHAT!?!?

it seems that there is no sense in trying to look that far into the future at white hart lane.

The club have spent the last year and a selling us on the idea that Tottenham under AVB was “a project”. The Lillywhites needed to get rid of Redknapp because he had taken the club as far as he could, and that a new approach would be needed to take Spurs to the next level. Routinely making the Champions League and challenging for league and cup trophies would be possible only if the club went through a revolution. And Villas-Boas was to be that revolutionary. While his Premier League track record wasn’t sterling, he sold the club on his plan to turn them into a power. A sporting director in Franco Baldini was brought in and backed with the money necessary to remake the side for AVB’s system. And those players were brought in; £100 million worth of them, in fact.

I was of the mindset that patience would be necessary, and I was under the impression that like Levy and the board and all of their “project” talk were in agreement, too. All projects take time to bear fruit, and few revolutions start and conclude in a single day. Stumbles would happen and unforeseen setbacks would occur, but the eye would always be kept on the light at the far end of the tunnel. Look at where Liverpool were this time last year, and where they are now. Patience pays off.

Yet here we are, 18 months into the revolution or project, and the man spearheading it has been deposed because Levy and the board suddenly seem to think that the project hasn’t just hit a snag, but fallen completely of course. Instead of persevering on and backing the man you appointed, they succumbed to fan and media pressure.

What then happens to the project André was guiding? Is it sent to the scrap heap along with him, or is a new brought in to pick up where he left off? Judging by the names that have been linked, it went along with him.

So, I’ll ask my question again: for what was all this for?

For the time being at least, the only way any of us can answer it is with a single word: uncertainty.

As Tottenham fans, we’ve been here before. Amidst a haze of overly high expectations once again, Spurs fans have to adjust to yet another knee-jerk reaction from the chairman and the board. If Levy and the rest of them weren’t going to have the balls to stick with AVB and his project, they should have just stayed with ‘Arry. At least then we would have known what we were getting and why we were doing it.

£100 million ain’t as much as you think

I absolutely loath this topic.I don’t want to write about it. But the circumstances dictate that I must. I have to.

am i really seeing unhappiness bale’s body language recently, or am i just paranoid?

It pains me to just think about Gareth Bale leaving Tottenham Hotspur, let alone write about it and think about it logically.

Bale has been my favorite players since I unearthed him as a young Southampton starlet in FIFA Manager Mode back in college in 2006. He’s left footed, takes free kicks and used to play left back. All attributes I share, though admittedly to a far lesser fan fair and effect. So that practically makes us twins… from different moms, different countries and seven years in between our births. You get what I mean. If you still need further proof of my old school love, I have two Spurs shirts with Gareth’s name on the back: one of with the #3 and the other with the #16.

So talking about my favorite player from my favorite club leaving for greener pastures — even it is for sums so large as an insane £100 million+player TBD bid from Real Madrid — literally makes me want to explode.

Many, however, would argue that turning down that kind of money is equally ludicrous. When proposed, that argument is normally quickly followed by a series of supporting points ranging from “his value will never be higher” to “Madrid won’t be back for him if you say no now.” And most of those supporting arguments are correct.

But there is one argument that really grinds my gears, and it always sounds something like “you could take all that money and reinvest it by bringing in 3 to 4 top players.”

Hearing that literally makes my brain melt. It’s this kind of incredibly one-dimensional thinking that proves why fans should never run football teams. And to explain why, let’s take a quick look at football economics.

Let’s just assume that Real Madrid bid a firm £100 million, Daniel Levy accepts, and Bale heads off to Spain. It just sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? I could certainly retire right now if I were given it. It’s £20 million more than the previous world record transfer fee also paid by Real for the services of one Cristiano Ronaldo. Hell, it’s enough to buy a second MLS franchise in New York.

But in reality, that £100 million transfer fee gives Spurs far less room to play with than one might think. Continue reading

those that shout the loudest

It’s amazing how quickly the collective mood can change.

Tottenham's Gareth Bale

isn’t the rule that if gareth looks this forlorn, the rest of us should too?

A month ago, I and my fellow Spurs supporters were ready to celebrate the club’s best season in the modern era. Tottenham were on pace for a third place finish, were arguably the favorite’s in the Europa League and we were trying not to talk about the points gap that seemed to be widening weekly between ourselves and the Goons. But now, we were bumped out of Europe by the measly FC Basel, we languish in fifth place in the league, and could be four points behind the scum before the end of the night.

Where did it all go wrong? What can Spurs do to save their season? And most importantly, who can we blame?

Continue reading

false hope… hopefully not

A Tottenham signing. In January. Before deadline day. An under-21 full international player, even.

Tottenham signing Lewis Holtby

holtby’s early arrival could mean tottenham will have a crazy transfer deadline day. or not.

Pardon me for a moment while I dislodge this tongue I just accidentally swallowed.

Though he had already agreed to a pre-contract deal for summer arrival at White Hart Lane, the sight of Lewis Holtby holding up a shirt with Villas-Boas at Spurs Lodge a full six months early was a welcomed surprise. A sought-after, rising talent joining Spurs in a window where market value for players is generally grossly inflated? Color me pessimistic, but I hadn’t expected an announcement of this kind this January. Our chairman, David Levy, just doesn’t operate that way.

Put simply: this month is often a barren one for Spurs transfer activity. At least when it comes to what I’d like to define as “legitimate” signings.

Continue reading

ten words or less #65

Thus far, 2013 has been a whirlwind. As with most years, there’s been the expected absurdity that accompanies the holiday season to keep me busy: the annual cornucopia of fixtures, plus the ensuing avalanche of (faux-)headlines that is the January transfer window.

inter milan's wesley sneijder

the only person who’s had a busier start to 2013 than WSOTP is wesley sneijder’s agent.

But, unlike previous years, things have been especially crazy around the imaginary WSOTP office during this already hectic time of year thanks to the eclipsing of a number of major milestones for the blog. First, I had the privilege of having my first ever article published by legendary blog In Bed With Maradona. Next came the announced partnership with the stalwarts at the Free Beer Movement. And then piggybacking off of that, over the last week I’ve seen the WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas get further attention from at least three major MLS blogs… which has left me buried in pub submissions.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. If these were problems, they’re good ones to have. And thanks to the vast increase in exposure for the blog I’ve also seen an influx of new followers and likes from the social media channels. And if you happen to be one of the n00bs, don’t think I’m just a “soccer bar specialist” — as if that kind of specialization actually exists. I also write a bit, too. So make sure to check back regularly to read my musings on the world’s game.

So as I put some finishing touches on my next original treatise, let me kick the new year off in truly lazy fashion by sharing a few of my favorite links from the last week.

Sign this petition to end USSF support for Sepp Blatter. – theshinguardian.com

Kevin Prince Boateng takes a stand… and might walk away. – guardian.co.uk

“He eats other chairman sprinkled on his morning corn flakes.” – dearmrlevy.com

Want to find and watch an old match? Check this out. – reddit.com/fullmatch

A theory explaining why Gooners are the way they are.
– beardedgeniusofftwitter.tumblr.com

Is Baines just good, or good because he’s at Everton? – espnfc.com

Ben Olsen is a D.C. icon. – kckrs.com

My new year’s resolution to read more books got easier. – forbes.com

Checkout any time you like, but you can never leave. – dirtytackle.net

The true centennial crest for US Soccer. – thebeautifulgear.com

ten words or less #63

With my wife sick, this past weekend presented itself as an opportunity for a whirlwind of football viewing here at WSOTP. I’ve not kept any statistics on this kind of thing, but I can say with confidence that I watched more soccer this past weekend than I ever have before. Saturday included a marathon of five straight live games which, between Twitter and A.D.D., my brain had a hard time handling.

ONU Men's Soccer in the Final Four

seeing my alumnus polar bears make their way to the national title game might just have been the highlight of my weekend.

The morning started well with Spurs bagging a win, Arsenal and Chelsea both losing, and an unexpected, entertaining shootout between Manchester United and Reading. And while the (oddly timed) midday MLS Cup Final might have seemed the marquee match, I was really looking forward to watching my former college team — the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears — play in our school’s very first NCAA Division III National Championship match. My former teammate Milky even stopped by to take in both the late matches, also allowing me a solid four hours of Liverpool jibes…

Much to our chagrin, ONU were quickly picked apart by an admittedly impressive Messiah College side. But the result doesn’t dim my pride in my old team for everything they accomplished this year. Considering the program only had 8 winning seasons prior to my class’s arrival on campus, and had never made the National Tournament prior to Milky’s, to see the program continue to build on our successes — even despite a heavy loss — had us both beaming. The sky’s the limit from here, boys.

Anyway, below are some of the better links from around the world of soccer from the last week.

The perfect gift for your soccer fan? Sexy Managers Calendar. – yahoo.com

A photographic essay of grassroots football in third world countries.
– jessicahilltout.com

Beckham’s kids old enough to be called full kit wankers. – angelcitybrigade.net

Carlos Tévez’s paystub will make you very jealous. – dirtytackle.net

Hot Chip makes a seriously WTF FIFA-esque music video. – kckrs.com

Shout out to local Casey Weddle for being named All-American.
– ohiodominicanpanthers.com

“We need to be more assertive,” mumbles Rosický to nobody.
– fistedaway.wordpress.com

Floridian city most likely to land an MLS side… Tampa? – theoffsiderules.com

Once again, Spooky captures how I’m feeling about Spurs. – dearmrlevy.com

 A top-25 list for boots from Sneaker Report… I’m in. – sneakerreport.com

nowhere to look but forward

It’s an odd situation, writing about Harry Redknapp leaving his post as manager of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The manner in which he’s leaving the club, by sacking, was not at all the way we expected it all to go down.

so as redknapp fades into spurs’ history, where do we go from here?

Really though, we Spurs supporters have been preparing ourselves for this moment ever since Capello vacated the England post back in February, when press darling ‘Arry was promptly declared defacto manager in waiting. He never denied his “lifelong” ambition to take over the English reigns — and maybe even falling just short of publicly flirting with FA chairman David Bernstein whenever the media inevitably asked him about the position at match pressers or his car window — and never once fully committing himself to Spurs for any amount of time. Understandably, this irked me.

So when the season quickly took a nosedive, and Redknapp refused to admit that his lack of focus could have had anything to do with it, I legitimately felt rage. I wanted him off, and even postured potential replacements, and eagerly awaited his departure.

Then Hodgson ended up being named England manager, meaning Redknapp would therefore be staying with Spurs… and suddenly he was negotiating a new contract.

What?!?!

Why we were choosing to reward the guy who had just spent the last four months publicly courting the FA instead of focusing on what should have been an easy stretch of our crucial campaign was beyond me. But I could see the logic in trying to tie him down for stability’s sake. Still, I had been openly declaring my desire for a new manager for half a season. And thanks to a surprising(ly intelligent) decision by the FA, I was suddenly forced to resign myself to another season of rollercoaster Redknapp football. The whole mess had me feeling very conflicted.

roy’s suprise three lions appointment forced us all to accept that we were stuck with redknapp.

Look, I’m very thankful for what Redknapp has done for us. He not only rescued us from relegation when he was first appointed four years ago, but he’s transformed us from an under performing club with high expectations into one of the most talented sides in English football with even higher expectations. But if this past season has taught us anything, it’s that we had reached a plateau with Harry at the helm. The lack of squad rotation, the poor tactical decisions, the patch-work “veterans on the cheap” transfer policy, the lack of decisiveness in moments of importance were all signs that Spurs aren’t going to advance any farther with Redknapp leading the way.

And the boys probably would have been fine with Harry in charge for another year or two. But things would have continued to grow stale and Redknapp was never going to display the same drive again.

Ultimately, it was the above mentioned contract talks that lead to his downfall. Redknapp’s repeated claims that he had “done what was asked” by finishing fourth, tells us that he thought he deserved an extension of three years as a reward. But those comments were always meant to skirt around the issue of Tottenham not getting to go to the Champions League, which was the actual goal Levy and company had in mind. If he had delivered that prize, his audacious claim for three more years (which he only desired so he could receive a better payoff when he was eventually sacked) wouldn’t have fallen on such unwilling ears. When Levy wouldn’t budge off his one-year extension offer, Redknapp ultimately knew his leverage had vaporized. Not only had not achieved the club’s legitimate goal, but he affected that outcome by his own actions.

The writing was on the wall if he passed on the one year extension, and passed he did. He’d rather fall on his own sword than take responsibility for what he had caused. Par for the course for Harry.

So if I got what I wanted, why am I still writing about the matter? Well, as you might expect from my often pessimistic outlooks, I have some concerns about the timing of losing our manager. With a number of other clubs having already filled coaching vacancies, Spurs are left with a thin list of candidates that check off all the boxes for the successor to Harry’s throne.

Who could we name now that would make the footballing world stand up and take notice of our ambition? Mourinho signed a contract extension with Madrid. Ancelotti is on a long-term deal with PSG where he has nearly unlimited funds at his disposal. Guus Hiddink finds himself in a similar situation with Russian rich-boys Anzhi. The promising Brendan Rodgers was scooped up by Liverpool, just as Paul Lambert was by Aston Villa. Marcelo Bielsa even re-upped with Athletic Bilbao. I’m not even going to consider Pep Guardiola, given that scenario doesn’t even seem realistic in a fantasy.

That leaves us with the at least the Premier League-experienced David Moyes, André Villas-Boas, Roberto Martinez and — god I hope not — Rafa “The fat Spanish waiter” Benítez. If Levy is willing to look for managers without Premier League experience, some of the names that have bounced around include Didier Deschamps, Fabio Capello and Laurent Blanc. Each has their faults, just as they each have benefits too.

moyes may be the bookmaker’s favorite to replace ‘arry, but whoever ends up getting the gig will have a tough task on his hands.

I don’t have any inside track on who’s gong to land the position, and I will undoubtedly have strong feelings about whomever is eventually named. Moyes seems the most likely, but that doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. Football always finds a way to surprise. Whether any of the others mentioned are realistic options remains to be seen, as well.

All I know is that whoever we end up naming, it needs to happen in extremely short order. Like in the next week or so. And as soon as he’s named, Levy needs to immediately announce that said manager is being backed with a sizable transfer war chest and that Spurs are going nowhere. These two actions will not only help to reassure the worried fan base, but also serve to stop any potential squad exodus.

If Modrić wants to go, let him (so long as it’s for a ludicrous sum). But everyone else needs to stay, and reinforcements need to be recruited. Otherwise, Spurs will be going somewhere: back to mid-table mediocrity.

However, for this transition to really go as smoothly as possible, something else needs to happen that falls outside of Levy’s control. We, the fans, have to get behind the chairman and his pick for manager.

There’s no sense in looking backwards any longer. What’s done is done. It’s in the past, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Showing the players, the manager and the board that our love for the Cockerel isn’t affected by such dramatics will go a long way to getting this club back to the place we want to be. Maybe even higher.