The Spur, Since 1999. "Spurs, a traditional transitional football club"

The Spur evolves!

Since 1999 a US West Coast perspective on the Lilywhites: and not stopping completely

It almost coulda been 1999-2015, but fifteen years ain't fly-by-night either.

The Spur is not completely shuttering, but instead of match by match updating, it will become more blog-like with column[s] which will more reflect the club's overall progress, and discuss club developments.

So when you just feel like visiting, the The Spur will not completely vanish.

Time is the main factor for the change, but other things too.

When The Spur started, the club site, under the Sugar regime if memory serves, was pure minimalism [but kinda cool now, looking back, from this era of way over-cluttered, fatigue inducing modern day fitba sites]. Its central image if you recall was a simplistic single-line underground train styled diagram with the stops indicating the few other pages you could click onto, all of which were equally lacking in content and reason to be there.

Even in those early days the club couldn't resist an offer whereby you paid them to be in some sort of an online CyberSpur club that promised upcoming special features, can't remember what, perhaps the chance to watch some buffering video content or see extra photos of players. Laughably sad compared to what's available everywhere today for free.

Today's online surfer, faced with what it "offered", would just find it incomprehensible, something from a parallel universe.

Much more interesting were all the fan sites, most of which came and went with dizzying speed. Barely had they been name-checked by the online cognoscenti the site itself was already a frozen memento of the wild west of the world wide web.

It was at this time that I was learning to code really simple but useable HTML so The Spur gave me a chance to try out and then retain the basics, and not get rusty. Fitting into someone else's template never really was my thing.

But eventually the rest of the world came and settled the wild online prairie and the cowboys rode up into the distant mountainside to haunt the creeks and live among the coyote, leaving the WWW to turn into the endless commercial and retail sprawl where shopping opportunities abound.

I still rarely, in fact never to be honest over many years, visit the official sites of sports clubs, but I like message boards [as they used to be called].

Yes, no matter the subject or the field of human endeavour, the interaction between humans and the chance to gain insight, fresh perspectives, and stimulating interaction even among the inevitable disfunctionality that is also part of the online discussion package.

The forums are the people's part of the Net. That's great.

There's also now more of everything else that we supposedly need by people who have specialist knowledge of every aspect of every topic.

So it's time to let progress take its course. I'll always be a fan of the great club that used to be known as Tottenham Hotspur Football & Athletic Club. I love supporting Spurs, and for all the inability to get back to the heady days of the Billy boys era, the future in many ways is bright. A new stadium, and a team that threatens to gel at any moment.

Actually, with two wins on the trot as I sign off, maybe this is finally it: are the Glory Glory Days coming back? ............... [to be continued]

And thanks for visiting. It's never been the Daily Fail or The Guardian in terms of online attendance, but if you added up all the hits since 1999, it's would be a helluva lot, always a big spike after a match. But that was never the main point of The Spur, to maximize hits.

Just another Spur on the street who grew up and still is THFC, and learning a bit of simple scripting and formatting along the way.

Cheers for now amigos,
Rob Francis

Tottenham Hotlinks & Football links

Supporter sites, message boards, podcasts

The long running and consistently readable spurs odyssey by longtime loyal Lilywhite

Cartilage free captain has become a must-visit Spurs site

fighting cock mb [also has podcast] forum

The Spurs show podcast

Glory glory forum

not 606 spurs message board

TV & radio

BBC radio five live

BBC radio london with frequent Spurs match commentaries


General footie

At a glance premier league fixtures and results

All time worst goalkeeper

football grounds guide great ground and stadia site

Britain's most atmospheric derby is in glasgow


girl warns guy not to go to tottenham

Canada's version of the park lane boys re-added yet again in oct 2014

Nice timing portland coach [now ex-coach]

Football ramble blog -- link updated sept 13


That match against Arsenal, also on u tube

Spurs v Man City 1969 classic footage shows glimpses of the magic of greaves & gilzean, and pat jennings, despite the loss to manchester city

Links to Official Spurs USA Supporters Clubs:

New York City: New York Spurs Supporters Club meet regularly to watch games. Ian Harris at the helm.

Los Angeles: LA Spurs

These official Spurs supporters clubs took over from CAATS, part of The Spur. The CAATS page still exists and will stay on the web for posterity but The Spur -- this page -- is where future updates will occur from this US based Spurs webzine.

Spurs' smashing Stateside tour

The Spurs tour in the USA got good TV ratings says cartilage free captain Spurs site.
Mauricio and Cap'n America
chuffed by US tour's TV numbers

Chicago Dire 0:2 Tottenham Hotspur
[July 26, 2014 at 5pm Pacific, live online & TV]
A somewhat routine outing for Spurs who capitalized with venom on some Chicago errors to cruise to a fairly comfortable win and another chance for the new manager, and us, to see some of the talent working its way through the ranks and more familiar squad members shaping up for the impending campaign.

Feel sorry for the Chicago fans. Very welcoming, yet seemingly in a state of depression about their club. And when you compare the turnout at Seattle, which admittedly is stupendous support, and Toronto, where there is a vibrancy and optimism about FC that is infectious, professional futbol in the Windy City looks wan and pale.

This bloke, Spuracuse, made great observations on cartilage-free captain about the way Spurs are shaping up:

"To me with this years squad is that instead of pressing high, Winning the ball back, and then passing between full backs and central defenders aimlessly until giving the ball away, we seem to be attacking at great pace as soon as the ball is won. This will lead to more dangerous, risky passes which will obviously result in lost possession. It will also lead to devastating counter attacks, which we seem to already be converting much better than last year. Lamelas graceful enthusiasm and willingness to attack with purpose and attempt those passes that unlock a defense is just what the team needs, as opposed to a player like Townsend, who has potential but every time he had the ball in space yesterday he just dribbled aimlessly before losing possession. So excited to see the player Lamela blossoms into this season. Will there be bad giveaways? Of course. To dare is to do."

Pre-match: The final fixture of this absorbing three match Stateside series as we get to see, once again, a big bunch of the Spurs squad, from star players to up 'n coming potential future first team prospects, in action.

And it's another good 'un pitting us against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois.

"It's a chance to play another game, to work more on our style and to improve again," said Spurs' Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino on the official THFC web-site.

Today's match features two teams with similar records.

The midwestern outfit takes a break from their MLS season this one. They have recently drawn with Kansas and Philadelphia, both ending 1:1. They beat Atlanta and New England. But their last match was a heavy loss at the Earthquakes in northern California. After today, Chicago take on the Whitecaps followed by Columbus and then New York.
Shameful Chicago offer cut price Fire v Spurs tix to Chelsea fans, then renege. Click badge for link

Spurs in turn have recently performed well in three club friendly games. They beat Toronto and drew with the Sounders. Before that, we ended our Premier League season reasonably well, beating Stoke City and Aston Villa but falling to West Ham.

Tottenham's opening game in the Premier League season kicks off mid August with a match against West Ham. Then we face QPR.

Toronto vs Tottenham Hotspur 2:3
Hardly squeaky bum time for either side as the super Spurs Norteamericano tour continues, but it's a lot more interesting than the usual run of the mill domestic or Euro based pre-season friendly warm ups.

And so to the Toronto match, which so far is turning out be an "Erik Lamela earns his spurs" story as he tucks a couple away, ably supported by Lennon and Eriksen, while Soldado, as usual, looking too peripheral as the nominal frontman.

Need to keep in mind that for Toronto this is a chore they'd rather have avoided at this moment in their busy July fixture list, and their manager, ex-Spur Ryan Nelsen, barely suppressed his frustration and concern that injuries could be sustained in a match that doesn't count competitively, albeit a sweet deal for MLS and the club's coffers from a marketing and financial perspective.

But no doubt his players played like their overriding concern is not getting injured, and not burning themselves out.

Spurs replaced the entire outfield side for the 2nd half with: Walker, Dawson, Fryers, Rose, Holtby, Carroll, Ceballos, Townsend, Falque, Kane, only to concede.

I had to bail in the 66th minute with Toronto having pulled one back. After I left for a meeting it seems the Canadians went on to equalize but Andros Townsend nabbed a winner.

I was not surprised to see it continued to be a game of two halves. The first Spurs line-up was in total control. The second version struggled but just about survived thanks to the first half's two goal lead.

It was another entertaining match and this has been a stand-out tour of North America so far, let's hope the remaining Chicago game lives up to the other two.

Seattle Sounders vs Tottenham Hotspur 3:3
Fun match to watch. Keep 'em coming, Spurs.

Entertaining start to THFC's American tour with a string of Tottenham Hotspur players combining to eventually feed the ball to underrated 24 year old German midfielder Lewis Holtby who puts the visitors ahead with a superb early goal rivaling the best of the recent World Cup.

Great support from both the approximately 53,000 home fans and around 2,000 traveling or local Lilywhites, as Seattle, spearheaded by ex-Spur Clint Dempsey, responded quickly to going behind with constant pressure on the Londoners' goal, with Brad Friedel called into action numerous times.

The artificial turf tends to scare off prima-donna stars, which may partially explain why ThFC's galaxy of World Cup representatives were notably absent.

Spurs would have a hard time in the upcoming Prem by relinquishing possession way too often.

Michael Dawson, who gives away a lot of penalties, was punished for an infringement that would not, in a 'real' match, have merited such a harsh refereeing response, resulting in a successful Sounders spot-kick to equalize.

If Tottenham's opening goal was quality teamwork, the first Sounders goal from open play was a long range stunner from Osvaldo Alonso, the goal of the match.

Roberto Soldado makes it 2:2 from the penalty spot.

The third host goal came from a wide cross out of the reach of Spurs defenders but guided in by Seattle.

Spanish winger Iago Falque Silva, on as a sub, scored the game's third penalty to level at three apiece.

Spur of the Moment: Cristian Cebellos, attacking midfielder who came through the Barcelona youth system, looked like a potential gem.

Fun match, way better than the usual pre-season friendlies, and if the ones in Toronto and Chicago are as good, this North American tour will be a terrific springboard from which to leap into the main course: the upcoming 2014/5 Premier league campaign, now close enough to touch.

TOTTENHAM TURFIE RECKONS: Green light for the new big stadium - well chuffed. Now buy some top players like wot goons and blue meanies 'ave done.

Tottenham Hotspur: line-up


Walker Dawson Vertonghen Rose

Paulinho Capoue Dembele

Townsend Chadli


Pride of London
as vs. Swansea [H] season 13/14

Glory days: Jurgen Klinsmann enjoyed two spells at Spurs in the 1990s

'Tottenham is a way of life and I didn't know that until I got there,' he said. 'I signed my first contract and thought, "It's cool to be in London". And then after two weeks I said to myself "Oh my gosh, what is this here?"

'The supporters are very special. They live and breathe for that club. You go to White Hart Lane and there are 36,000 people singing. It's not just one section. It's the whole stadium singing. You go there and think "Wow".'

The Beautiful Game: Remember when

"Yer havin' a laff......."

"if you get the chance to go to Arsenal, you go. But the deal fell through and Tottenham came in." -- Michael Carrick

Ah the good old days. From a 60's edition of the Daily Mail: "A police officer kicked a man so hard in the face that the sole of his boot came off, it was claimed in Leeds County Court. The man, Mr John Marshall, was accussed of criminal damage to a police boot."

"I don't think Manchester city is a big enough job for Sam Allardyce. There is no club in this area - other than United - who are on the same footing as Bolton." -- Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside

"When you're watching tv and your replacement scores three, that's Zamora!" -- CP, GMB, Fulham vs Wolves prem 2011/12 season.

Spurs Kane Geordies on way to League Cup Semis

Spurs bagged four at the Lane in the League Cup quarter final with sweet revenge against Newcastle Utd after our loss to them at home in the league. The third goal, scored by red hot Harry Kane, surely propelled the Lilywhites into the semifinals of the competition because it seemed to shatter Geordie morale, but not their fans, who sang non-stop, despite their recent batterings in north London by both AFC and THFC.

The second goal was perhaps the most enjoyable, great teamwork and exceptional ball skills from Eriksen who provided Chadli with a chance which he took so well.

Even Soldado scored -- Tottenham's fourth, seven minutes after Kane's -- admittedly from point blank range thanks to Eriksen's shot being parried into his path by the keeper. Still, cool, calm and collected by Roberto.

Up next it's back to the all important premier league and a home match hosting Burnley, the kind of match that in theory should be a Blanchflower-like dispaly of brilliant winning style from the Lilywhites but could in reality be a draw or even a loss. The Spur predicts a 2:1 win, even though Burnley have been resurgent of late and pulled themselves off the bottom of the table. West coast Norteamericanos can tune in at 7am and it's this Sat, Dec 20th. A day later it's the big non-Spurs fixture of the week as Arsenal set foot on Anfield turf at 8am pacific.

Spurs somehow managed to beat Swansea 1:2 in south Wales despite the home side playing most of the better football and at times it seemed like we getting battered by Palace all over again.

But when you have class acts like Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane in your side, even when the 'gel factor' is almost completely absent in the rest of the outfield, good things can happen. The determination, self-confidence, and natural skill of those two is becoming our reason to still believe in Tottenham Hotspur having a future, at least for now. Because a lot of the outfield looks dodge dodge dodgy.

Getting solid subs on, especially Stambouli, to replace the ineffectual Lamela and Soldado gives one hope for Poch, although one wonders why they were on the field in the first place, but it seems Eriksen didn't get the memo that the we were playing for a draw, and good for him.

Spurs played their final Europa League group game, already assured of a place in the knockout stage, this one away at Turkish club Besiktas. A generally insipid performance interspersed with a brace of floodlight failures did little to cheer supporters as we lurch on towards what looks to be a season of mediocrity, and a possible winter of discontent.

"This isn't a team. It's a group of guys with varying degrees of ball control who run around a bit and sometimes do something ok but mainly don't." -- michaelamichael, guardian post.

BBC fixture list for Tottenham Hotspur.

World Soccer Talk fixture list for US times of UK football shedule and official outlets.

Spurs stem Premier stumble

AVFC's Holte End
watches Spurs
win last season
Sun, Nov 1, 2014
Aston Villa 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 [Premier]
Live online via various. 8am Pacific. Rob Francis comments

Good to see the result. Away from home, coming from a goal down. Nacer Chadli and Lamela combining to score from a corner. Whatever next. I was away all day so missed it completely. Now that's what you call a match reaction, eh?

Pre-match: I won't be able to watch this match unfortunately as I will on the road about 10 minutes in, after watching the Manc derby if I'm early and prepared, and I won't be around for MOTD2, so I'm well effed.

I just hope the lads do as well as they did last season.

"0:2 -- Soldado gets his Spurs" crowed The Spur headlines along with "Andros and Soldado seal it for Spurs" in the corresponding fixture last season.

Soldado added a precision goal, his first for the Lilywhites in open play, from a perfect Paulinho pass, added to Townsend's somewhat jammy opener which was intended as a cross but floated into the far corner.

This was a case of job to do, job done for THFC, a case of getting back onto an even keel after being torpedoed by West Ham at home just before a long international break.

Rarely when watching our team, there was never the fear, after we went one up, that we were in any serious danger of losing this. AVFC have some young talent and clear potential, but the good news is that they simply weren't at the same level as the visitors.

This is what top teams do, and need to do, because the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Everton were also cruising to maximum points this weekend, with slip-ups of course at Old Trafford, and perhaps the best news for Spurs in the form of Liverpool's failure to win at Newcastle.

Spurs enjoyed more possession, though as usual a lot of it was not particularly dangerous looking, but most impressive was the accurate passing and the sense that the team is, to wheel out the usual cliche, gelling.

Man of the match was officially and rightfully awarded to Andros Townsend who is enjoying the week of his life with accolades for his England performance and tremendous speed and creativity that makes him, dare it be said, "the new Bale", with the same mental soundness and strong self-belief. He's making better decisions on when to pass and when to shoot that augurs a fantastic future. And all this without shelling out 30 mill and instead running around a bit at QPR on loan!

And how about a song for Erik Lamela. That's him in the middle with Verts on the left.

Villa's previous match saw them going to Hull and playing what some have described as the most boring Premiership match ever played. But 0:0 beats losing three nil at home.

The Spur's Premiership
Newcastle storm back 2nd half
Unbalanced Spurs need tune-up
October 26, 2014
Tottenham Hotspur 1
Newcastle United 2
Reactions coming in
Final score

The Euro league seems once again to be sucking the life out of the club's league ambitions.

After 18 minutes of wild long range shooting and disorganized football from both sides, a sublime Ryan Mason chipped cross, as if placed on a silver platter, for Emmanuel Adebayor to head into the Park Lane goal, and all is suddenly hunky dory.

Perfect way to get the game into gear and now the onus is on Newcastle to have a pop, which in turn should see us create more opportunities with the confidence of that first goal.

So the first half went well, but within seconds of the restart, Dier gives up a free equalizer right from the kick off as the Newcastle player darts in on a sloppy mispass and scores in just six seconds. Amazing, you never get a chance to get complacent as a Spurs supporter, not to mention, player.

This inspired the Geordies to actually believe in themselves, whatever their manager said during the half time break made them look like different players, storming back to get a great [for them] second goal to go 1:2 up.

But it's the same old defensive issues for Spurs, combined with a disconnect between the back, middle, and front lines. We know the talent is there, but -- same story for the club for many years -- it needs to be put together.

On come Harry Kane and Aaron Lennon: THFC's big roll of the dice as time starts to ebb away, which it did. If they'd come on sooner, perhaps it could have worked.

Thurs, Oct 23, 2014
Euro Spurs
Harry hat-trick and amazing brace from Coco
Tottenham Hotspur 5
Asteras Tripoli 1 [Europa]
"Inspired Spurs finishing" says TV commentator
Full time result

Erik Lamela delighted the vociferous Fighting Cock contingent of the Park Lane with two stellar goals that announced that finally he's earned his spurs: two top goals.

For his first, the foot and leg-work involved was unique and painfully awkward to watch, surprised he didn't seriously injure himself, but effing ell, did it get results! And the build-up, admittedly with a fortuitous give-back, was also impressive.

Second half sees another unusual but brilliantly controlled Lamela goal and yes, the talent we all saw in glimpses up 'til now, is there for all to see. Footballers tweeting in from all over the country to applaud the quick wit and magic feet of the young Argentine star.

Meanwhile Harry Kane's scorching and deadly accurate opener was followed up later in the game with a well struck opportunistic second for him, and even a third, a well taken header from a perfect Fazio cross.

At the other end a world class save from Hugo keeps an Asteras volley out, but the French keeper was later red carded, leaving hero of the night Harry Kane to flub the visitors' free-kick. Stick to the other end, 'Arry. "He's one of a kind" chanted the Park Lane.

To see Lamela and Kane score such quality goals is magnificent news for THFC including its fans because, frankly, we had despaired of seeing this kind of killer goal-scoring instinct in our current squad. Since Bale's move, this was a long time awaiting. Love glee jubbly 'n all that.

However there were moments when the home side was almost completely absent when the Greek side attacked, and only bad luck, poor finishing, and a Ben Davies clearance, let the Lilywhites off the hook.

Also, small town Tripoli have a team that punches way above its weight, and just because we can score great goals against the equivalent of Maidstone United, no disrespect, doesn't necessarily mean we'll rip Newcastle United apart, but we could. Never know.

Pre-match: Spurs are hoping to trip out and kick some Asteras as the spellbinding Europa league continues its hypnotizing group stage. Double the pleasure, Tripoli the fun.

I have realized I'm jinxing Arsenal's chances of obliteration. Yesterday was another classic example of how I tuned into an Arsenal match that they were losing with minutes to spare before their defeat, and as soon as I start watching they stage a miracle comeback to victory. It be a curse, I tell ya Rodders.


Thurs, October 2, 2014
Euro Spurs
That was really Vlad
Tottenham Hotspur vs Besiktas [Europa] 1:1
Final score.

Harry Kane gave Spurs the lead. Demba Ba equalized from the spot after Vlad Chiriches handled in the penalty area.

I won't be disappointed at all if we go out at the group stages. This competition is a league form wrecker.

The only thing is Spurs look like they haven't decided yet whether this event is worth playing for. It's all a bit naff.

Right, well back to real life and two supremely challenging league fixtures coming up.


Thurs, Sept 18, 2014
Euro Spurs
Game 1 of group stage out of the way
Partizan vs Tottenham Hotspur 0:0 [Europa]
Group stage

I made the right choice by playing an excellent game of tennis doubles, apparently missing what's been officially declared as the world's 287th most boring match of all recorded history as determined by the Galactic Tribunal Insistent On Meaningful Sporting Contests based on the planet Centauri XI in the galaxy of Vaishnava.

So now we can get back to the real deal, the league, with Albion on Sunday.

"The Europa league is designed to keep "riff raff" like us out of the Champions League by making us play nearly half a season extra [hoping as if] by some miracle you're going to win it. The Sunday games means you're also always playing catch up. It's designed to keep the fat cats in the Champions league, and it works, 90% of the time.

Its no suprise that Liverpool had the season they had last season with no European competition. They improved with less games, not more. By the same token Man Utd this year are in a much better position this year to get top 4, again by playing less games, not more." -- Shaney, ggmb

Pre-match: I'll be playing tennis this morning pacific time so as you were until I get back to update the reactions. God luck, Spurs. Good luck, even, for our first match of the group stage.

Bleacher Report: "Partizan currently sit top of the Serbian Super Liga having won each of their opening five matches. Tottenham are, by contrast, in search of a win after picking up just a single point from their last two league fixtures." [Wow, put that way, makes us look like we're in crisis or summat.]

"Danilo Pantic is one of the rising stars of Serbian and European football. According to the Guardian, he has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus."

"Though he has regularly played in the middle in the Serbian Liga, Pantic will likely start from the left flank and come inside on his right foot. Possessing dangerous pace, he will provide a real test for whoever lines up as Spurs' right-back on Thursday."

Still they have the kind of rabid eastern European fans who set off raging flares across the curva and BBQ elderly people on the end of roasting sticks as they guzzle bootleg vodka from goat-hide flasks with skulls hanging off them, so it ain't gonna be easy.

Thurs, August 28, 2014
Euro Spurs
3:0 on the night; 5:1 agg win for dominant Spurs
Tottenham Hotspur vs AEL Limassol 3:0 Full-time final score [Europa]
Two leg aggregate: 5-1 to THFC

BBC Football: "Paulinho fired low across goal for the second and Andros Townsend confidently converted a penalty as Spurs advanced."

Woh, had to go offline for a while, and missed most of the second half, delighted to see Spurs added two more to cruise thru into the group stages of the Yewww-rope er Leeg!

Great supply from Paulinhio gives Kane a decent shot at goal, and the man who just inked a new contract with the club makes no mistake this time, making up for the earlier penalty miss, which, in fairness, would usually have gone in, but for the acrobatics of the visiting stopper.

The Limassol replacement keeper, with his first involvement of the match, reacts quickly with his right boot to save Harry Kane's powerful down the middle spot kick.

Naughton felled by the goalkeeper for a Spurs penalty, causing injury to AEL keepers' right eye bringing on medical staff from both clubs.

New boy from Swansea, Ben Davies gets another start.

THFC line-up: Lloris [GK]; Naughton, Kaboul, Chiriches, Davies, Dembele, Sandro, Lennon, Paulinhio, Townsend, Kane.


Thurs, August 21, 2014
Pride of Cyprus
Euro campaign kicks off with 1:2 win
AEL Limassol vs Tottenham Hotspur 1:2 [Europa] First leg
by guest reactor Ibola Hatt

The great thing about this is not so much winning in the Europa league, which some view as a potentially harmful distraction that costs the club dearly in its all important Premier league endeavours, as it was to see that Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela have demonstrable talent and could really brighten up Tottenham's future if their expeditionary performances could be translated domestically.

Dembele was also praised by Mauricio Pochettino.

It's also really heartening that we don't fall apart when trailing these days, eventually coming back confidently in response to going a goal down and being initially, as The Guardian put it, "visibly shell-shocked" by the Cypriot goal against the run of play.

One thing I've always associated the "big clubs" with, like ManUre in their hey day or Arsenal, Chelsea, and City many times in the league over the years, is that they consistently bounce back to win if they go behind.

BBC Football: "Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, in charge of the club in a European match for the first time, will no doubt be a relieved man after his side were outplayed in large periods by last season's runners-up in the Cypriot league."

Daily Fail: "For Kane, the winner was just reward for a bustling performance, when for long periods he seemed like the only player with the will to haul Spurs out of trouble after Adrian Sardinero had put AEL ahead in the first half.

"But much credit should also go to Erik Lamela, who did not come on until the 72nd minute and gave Tottenham another dimension at a time when the Cypriot team were wilting slightly."

The Spur's Premiership
Sergio plays Spurs like a violin
Yet positive signs for Poch's project despite defeat
October 18, 2014 [Season 2014/15]
Manchester City 4
Tottenham Hotspur 1
Various online
by Rob Francis

"If anything should be taken away from this match, it's that Sergio Aguero is very good at his job, while Jonathan Moss is not." -- cartilagefreecaptain report excerpt

Even before the game, Pochettino said that "when Aguero plays it is like classical music in my head. It's like Mozart. Seriously." Dude you're so right, and as if in response to our manager's praise, Manchester City's sensational striker raised the tempo up an octave and twiddled up the volume too, but all Spurs fans could hear by the end was the sound of scratchy violins as tears were shed.

Back over to the cartilage site and interesting to see the view of a City fan: "To me, this is what Pochettino's system looked like against us (City) last year when he was with So'ton. It gave us no end of fits. That press is troublesome and will win some games (maybe against us in the return leg). This team looked good aside from some mistakes that I don't think you'll be repeating every week." Of course, more than one Spur countered with how we do make the same mistakes every week, and can think of new ones if needed.

Another game ruined by horrific refereeing. What some people will do for a brand new townhouse with a Gulf view. The final straw was Fazio's red card, and after that the conclusion is: I coulda used an extra hour's sleep. 4:45am a tad too early.

But if we play like we did going forward we should do well in future games.

But please, time for the Soldado league heave-ho. Give him the Euro slots, and Spurs to continue the quest for an ever elusive goal-scoring striker and a way to get the ball to him.

Soldado's body language and timid approach to the penalty shows a man who seems to know his time has come and gone in the top English league. I hope he somehow finds a way back, like Lamela he's a natural, but the writing's on the wall. Another Rebrov "shoulda coulda but didn'a" as they say in Dundee.

As usual Aguero took the piss, a class above the mere mortals around him, with four goals and man o' the match.

But there were signs of continued improvement under our new Argentine manager. The score doesn't reflect the improvements made since we were last walloped at the Etihad. The forward movement, the increasing understanding between the players, and the sense that our players like playing for Poch and believe in him.

Greece next, and then Newcastle. The Geordies will be a great chance to see how we do against the near bottom of the table opposition in contrast to the second toughest away match of the season that we faced today.

Reasons to be quietly confident. But we could really use a Sergio up front. In our dreams.

"Progress was made by Spurs on three counts today at The Etihad Stadium. Firstly, they kept a clean sheet for longer than the 14 seconds they lasted last year. Secondly, they reduced the losing margin by half. It was a six goal difference last year, and just three this time. Thirdly, they scored a goal. You could add other factors too, because we did manage a number of decent attacks; quickly equalised the first goal, and remained in the game right up until Roberto Soldado took a poor penalty." -- spurs odyssey

Pre-match: This is arguably the second toughest league fixture of the season, second only to Chelsea away. Nobody but the most delusional expects a win, what fans are looking for is a sign that we can at least compete respectably with the Big Oil soaked titans. Oh, and start driving electric cars.
Early start for
north american

Spurs got hit for six in the corresponding fixture played on Nov 24th last year, and our sub-header asked "Tottenham need points, and goals, but how?". Here's how it went down:

I predicted that based on their wealth and assembling two world class teams that Manchester City and Chelsea would be title favourites, but there were two other developments that I didn't see coming: Arsenal being transformed from also-rans into a third contender, and, with The Great Experiment of AVB's high line such a simpering fizzle of a philosophy, Spurs unable to score goals in open play, no matter who they buy or play up front.

If someone wanted to argue against my case that $$$ ultimately decides everything, Tottenham Hotspur would be the only exhibit they'd need [the caveat being that THFC is the exception to the rule.]

When even our most reliable players have howler days, you suspect it's not going to be pretty. But the whole team is looking confused. Just keep passing and hoping Gareth Bale will somehow reappear on the field.

With AVB's experiment seemingly in deep trouble, could this herald a full blown crisis, including financial, for Spurs? After all, what would Soldado's sale value be these days?

If, and it's still a big if, but if AVB and Spurs part company within the next year or so, where is the money going to come from to bring in new players to get us back on course if we are tumbling down the table? Will Joe Lewis continue to pour in the dosh if this experiment fails?

When you look at Soldado's counterpart at City, Aguero, who was sublime, the gulf is enormous.

For Spurs on the field it's about how the supply line works, or doesn't. City's strikers are fed by well oiled defensive and midfield ranks oozing purpose and cohesion.

Spurs have a lot of possession at times but it rarely adds up to anything. The Lilywhites seldom get behind the opposition.

Where are the goals going to come from, apart from the occasional penalty?

Pre-match: "I wish AVB would stop messing around with Lamela and start playing him. I know he's young and still getting to grips with English football but enough is enough. He is the missing link in my opinion and a guy that can score and create. Start the bloody guy AVB!" -- eskimo, fighting cmb

Casting the mind back to our match at the Lane last season. For over an hour Tottenham Hotspur trailed and the chance of a way back seemed slim, until Clint Dempsey capitalized on a sublime centre from Gareth Bale.

Spurs sealed a triumphant victory when Gareth Bale dazzled the crowd with a typical jaw-dropper of a goal, fed by sub Tom Huddlestone who had been singing along with the City fans' rendition of Blue Moon a bit earlier.

That seems a long time ago, even though it was months not years, but our saviours of that day are no longer on the payroll.

Hudd was onto something. Life, if not the moon, looks a lot bluer for us than it does for them as we face a daunting task on Sunday at the City fortress.

But Jermain Defoe is still with us. In that same match he came on to score a sensational go-ahead goal that shows what he is capable of -- a crackerjack striker's finish.

Amazing how times change and the script for that day seems hopelessly irrelevant and remote from our predicament today. Still, thought I'd mention it anyway -- along with a cup of cha it gets the juices flowing.

Will the potentially mighty Lilywhites let our loathed rivals for a top 4 spot know: game still on for a place in the Euro Champs league?

The Daily Mail rates the Spurs new boys:

Erik Lamela (GBP30m, Roma). A slow but steady improvement (albeit in the Europa League) for a player who has struggled to adapt to a new language and culture in England. He did cost 26m, but the jury's still out on the 21-year-old. 2/5

Christian Eriksen (GBP11.5m, Ajax). Exploded onto the scene and it seemed Spurs had found their No 10, but has faded since and now faces six weeks out with an ankle injury. 3/5
Anyone thinking 'we're at home it'll be sweet' are ******* deluded. Spurs are a very tough nut to crack and this will be a tough game. If we arent 'at it' they'll do us.
stoned rose, m/city blue moon mb

Vlad Chiriches (GBP8.5m, Steaua Bucharest). A centre-back comfortable with the ball at his feet who certainly does not lack confidence. His performances have pushed Jan Vertonghen out to left-back, although that perhaps says more about the lack of cover at full-back rather than the Romanian's talent. 4/5

Etienne Capoue (GBP8.6m, Toulouse). Another who started very brightly before succumbing to injury. 3/5

Roberto Soldado (GBP26m, Valencia). Can obviously hit a penalty, but has struggled at times in Spurs' 4-2-3-1 system. Arguably he has not had the service he deserves, however. 3/5

Nacer Chadli (GBP6m, FC Twente). An underwhelming start. Lacks the pace of Townsend or Lennon on the wing and usually seems to be carrying a knock. 1/5

Paulinho (GBP17m, Corinthians). Has settled in to the Premier League and feels like first choice in one of the two defensive midfield positions. 4/5" -- DM

Check back 'coz the build-up has just begun.

By the way, great post about 1882: "Modern football has paralysed so many fans with this winning at all costs mentality that people turn up to games worrying so much about top four blah, blah that they forget to enjoy themselves and support the team.

And that, my friends, is what 1882 is all about. Enjoying going to games and getting behind your team. Shaking off your fear."

As another poster put it: "Football, historically, was a game of support. The Lane should be a place for the 12th man."

That's one reason I don't mind not getting to that many games, living mostly on a different continent.

When I now get back to an English league stadium or ground I am usually surrounded by people shouting angry abuse at their own players and manager. That's a massive change from when I stood on the terraces.

I did not like this change from [blindly sometimes admittedly] loyal crowd to grumpy individually voiced consumers.

We all have criticisms of our club and team at any given time, but fan derives from fanatic, and supporters are named so because traditionally they have supported.

"If we can make the new Park Lane like the home end at Dortmund (which it looks to have been designed to be like) it will be awesome. Let's not make the same mistake Woolwich did by spreading their already quiet fans around their new library (however maybe that's what the clubs really want... silent, rich fans who pay [GBP] 70 a ticket and come and go home nice and quietly)" -- parklanespurs, fighting cmb

The Spur's Premiership
Spurs do it
Eriksen once again tormentor of Saints
October 5, 2014
Tottenham Hotspur 1
Southampton 0
Various online
White Hart Lane. Full time result.

More reactions on the way.

2nd HALF: Got a bit tense at the end, but Spurs make it over the finish line with a win that could herald the beginning of Poch's vision actually translating into on-field effectiveness.

Long way to go, but this is a great platform to take into the international break and give us some hope for the toughest league match of the season so far, away to Man City.

FIRST HALF: Well this is the dynamic, pressing, hard-working, better gelling Spurs that we felt Poch would develop at the Lane, and it came at a propitious time with the visit of his previous club Southampton, who themselves are no slouches when it comes to this style of play.

Adebayor, just when you think he's a lost cause, provides the quality pass for Eriksen to score, and Chadli hit the post moments later. Fun stuff.

All in all a compelling half to watch with THFC leading Saints 4:3 on shots on target, and 1:0 in the stat that ultimately pays dividends.

Pre-match "Compared to Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton, it feels like goals can and will come from anywhere, and there isn't a struggle to break sides down." - MrHMSH, Saints fan, Guardian comment

The Spur: Ronald Koeman seems to have done the highly improbable. Taking over the red half of the central south coast after the previous incarnation, a successful up 'n coming Saints side, packed with rising and exuberant young stars, had been ripped into shreds and sold off to the salivating glory hunters from the likes of Woolwich -- and, mindblowingly, creating in a matter of weeks a team with arguably more potential than the predecessors. Absolutely stunning.

I feared for Southampton's survival this season, and I am happily proved utterly wrong. Early days, I know.

The expectation is plenty of action and goals in an encounter like this, and last season in March we won a five goal thriller after being two down, boosted by a brace from Danish midfielder and former Ajax star Christian Eriksen.

"Kane should be a certainty, and I don't mind pairing him with Soldado either. Put Lamela, Chadli, and Eriksen behind them." -- Lander, NY Spurs forum

"This was not supposed to happen after Mauricio Pochettino swapped Southampton for Spurs and the south coast club lost five key men in the summer. But Pochettino will welcome his former team who are sitting second in the table, five points better off than Tottenham. Moreover, they are in a tactical groove under Ronald Koeman as Pochettino battles to instil his philosophy at White Hart Lane. It could be an uncomfortable afternoon for the Argentinian." -- David Hynter, The Guardian

More build-up soon right here at your super soaraway Spur.

The Spur's Premiership
Point made, Poch
Lamela assists at both ends
Arsenal (0) 1
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1
Sept 27, 2014 (Ssn 2014/15)
Rob Francis watching

Second-half: Just wow. We nicked a point. This was encouraging, if another few years off my lifespan. Now I can enjoy the Ryder Cup.

The net result of this display is that, despite the disappointing results and seeming lack of cohesion in the team up until now, our new manager really does seem to have the ability to gel this team and start to get the best out of the individual players, and not to shy away from mixing in new talent with the established ones, even in one of the biggest games of the campaign.

After the wobbly first phase of the first half, I thought we might get torn apart defensively after the break, but amazingly it was a much sturdier and more confident back line. The goal added composure, confidence, and energy to the Lilywhites.

Also impressive how the likes of Eric Dier and Ryan Mason handled a big occasion like this. It didn't phase them. They not only coped, but played like they deserved to be there.
Pochettino has a plan B then. Not how I want our team to play long-term, but needs must.
yid vicious, not606 forum

Chadli scored for Spurs, followed by a stellar save from Lloris foiling Mertesacker's shot. Arsenal equalize via Chamberlain. Lamela involved in both goals.

First-half: Attempts on target 3:2 so despite the 63% home possession Arsenal haven't created as many real goalscoring opportunities as I would have expected.

They have the team cohesion and quick accurate build up of many of the best AFC sides of recent decades, but what they lacked in the first half was what they used to do so well, make almost every advance on the visitors translate into a dangerous scoring effort, or a goal itself. They've still got 45mins to conjure at least one up, because Spurs are not a tight defensive unit.

As for us, well the commentators have pointed out that we are not playing as a team, the work rate was too low, at least until the later stages of the half, and there was no understanding.

But as the first half progressed there were glimpses of what we could achieve under new manager Pochettino, and it's enough to give me hope that even if we lose this one, we have a chance to create a capable team that could be this year's Southampton Mk.II, if not yet ready for top four.

I saw on the cartilage site that the computer model of the season so far predicted THFC to finish around 6th or 7th and I thought, before this first half, that this was too optimistic, but based on some potential shown here, it seems a good call.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Hugo Lloris. Towering aerial confidence, single-minded bravery, a superb shot stop, all frustrated the home side no end.

Pre-match: Thanks for checking in. It's here again, the match that I watch intently but, to be honest, do not enjoy.

The build up has begun at The Spur. It's been a mediocre start to the season for Spurs, and not many expect it to get better this weekend, but it's more about how we acquit ourselves in a match that means so much to the supporters.

If we shine, and if Arsenal have a bad day, an unlikely scenario, but a point would seem like a win and would be welcome with open arms, and help propel the club into some more massive fixtures ahead such as Man City away on the 18th of October.

The League Cup
The Spur's League Cup
Spurs 2nd XI turn it around
Ryan Mason reporting for duty
Wed, Sept 24, 2014 (Ssn 20014/15)
Tottenham Hotspur 3
Nottingham Forest 1
Check back for more reactions

It looked for a while like Spurs would join Arsenal in a banana-skin home exit, to lesser opponents, from the league cup.

But the 2nd XI showed their mettle and didn't fizzle and fade as their seniors did against WBA, and the Lilywhites move on to host Brighton in the next round by consigning Forest to their first loss of the season.

Ryan Mason, who's been around for yonks, mostly on loan, made his name known to the fans with the equalizer. Then Soldado redirected a wayward Townsend effort into the goal, a signal seemingly for Spurs to gain a new level of confidence, and by the time of Lamela's terrific through pass to Harry Kane who buried it like a star, it seemed like this feisty mob was ready to graduate to a north London derby and have a pop at the Arse.

Just how many of them convinced Poch to give them the nod remains to be seen, and we all know that whatever happens, egos could be shaken on Saturday no matter how many of these Spurs make it onto the Emirates pitch.

A great relief to get this in the bag. We all want to believe that Mauricio can be the man. A loss in this one prior to some massive league matches was something nobody wanted to endure.

Pre-match: Just like so many others managers before him, Poch is, to use Glenn Hoddle's famous phrase, scratching his head over why Spurs are so conspicuously underperforming.
Join the
club mate!

Dude, if we knew how to fix that, we'd all look 20 years younger. Join the club, mate.

Meanwhile there is a chance for our second string to stake a claim and move themselves up the pecking order as the Cockerels host lower league outfit Nottingham Forest today.

Slight problem is that the Trentsiders are top of the second division and are actually quite good, setting up a second banana skin in as many days for the wobbly fortunes of north London's "elite" professional footballing clubs, who meet each other in just three days.

Stay tuned for more build-up and reactions to the intriguing Spurs v Forest encounter about to unfold before our very eyes.

It could be a riveting game, which would make a nice change from the previous two Tottenham brain rotters.

The Spur's Premiership
Spurs flop
Incredible Leicester bounce back to trounce ManUre
Sept 21, 2014 (Ssn 20014/15)
Tottenham H. 0
West Bromwich Alb. 1
Live online various.

Toothless Tottenham "we beat QPR" Hotspur failed to break down supposedly lesser opposition and left themselves vulnerable as a result, ultimately conceding a goal from an unmarked corner.

Another disappointing conclusion to an uninspiring Spurs effort.

The script has remained the same from time immemorial.

A headed goal from James Morrison is enough to get Albion's season going, starting bottom of the table, having failed to secure a league win until today, and, the Guardian tell us, their first win at the Lane for three decades.

Maybe a new sugar daddy ownership can make it worth the west coast fanbase getting up for at 5.30am pacific time. Can't they rearrange Spurs matches for 9pm pacific time, I know of no better way to get a deep sense of fatigue than watching them aimlessly trot around a forlorn green expanse?

But we won't hold our collective breaths for anything better. It's been too long.

With Arsenal away next in the league, the bite of winter is already in the Haringey air.

The party line from the pundits is that Spurs have too many players who are the same. I'll add my further thoughts about that when time permits.

It reminds me of the joke a few years ago that Spurs had so many median skill level midfielders on their books they would need to reserve an entire section of the stand for them.

"It's like watching Brazil" has taken on a whole new meaning!

The tennis court awaits.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Shared by Leonardo Ulloa and Jamie Vardy for Leicester City against Manchester United.

The Spur's Premiership
Spurs let lead slip twice
Team is taking shape, but defence the perpetual bugbear
Sept 13, 2014
Sunderland 2
Tottenham Hotspur 2
Full time

Reactions plus observations from our man
Eriksen put Spurs ahead just seconds into the second half but, as before, the home side equalized.

It was an exciting match to watch with Spurs showing moments of real flowing, passing, creative football with, no kidding, some actual bite.

But the famous Tottenham flimsiness in defence was there to be seen, not just in the way their goals were scored, but at several other times as well, albeit Lloris had much of the game untroubled.

Here's Mo Ali's take from the Guardian comments section:

"Disappointed that we didn't kill off Sunderland. We never should've conceded the goals Sunderland scored.

My opinion on the performance of some of the spurs players :

Adebayor - thought he linked up well with the three attacking midfielders
Eriksen - thought he did well, interchanging position and linking up the plays throughout the match well. Glad he scored as well.
Lamela - Thought he was decent, i hope he continues to grow in confidence and progresses on those silky touches and starts to score. Worked hard, thought he did exactly what Poch asked of him.
Chadli - keep on scoring buddy! did well
Capoue + Dembele - At times didn't track back quickly enough after a attacking play but generally played well.
Kaboul - I think at this staged, i'm too biased to give him any credit. Hope Fazio performs in the EL so that he comes in.
Rose - Very shaky at times
Dier - Thought he struggled today, hope he improves his form."

Meanwhile, I got a chance to eyeball some of the other matches.

We're soon to play Arsenal and if they can carve open Man City with such ease and aplomb imagine what we're facing with the kind of defence we displayed at Sunderland. It could be really ugly.

The other worrying thing was the fact that Villa almost took the piss at Anfield whilst we were tonked recently by the Reds at home.

And you gotta give props to Southampton, raped of all but one of their stars from last season, they romped to triumph, admittedly against a Magpie outfit that seems to be firing on barely one cylinder.

The Spur's Premiership
Spurs lose by three
Lack of ideas against rampant Reds
Sun August 31, 2014 (Ssn 20014/15)
Tottenham H. (0) 0
Liverpool (1) 3
by Rob Francis
Final score. Full time.
USA: various online and TV

One-nil down at half-time, but so far a very different story from last season: Spurs providing quality opposition to a quick-passing, lively Liverpool side who took an early lead, and went on to control the midfield.

Tottenham's best and only actual goal-scoring chance came from a Chadli shot in the 43rd minute which ultimately was too close to the keeper.

Soft but technically awardable penalty award against Dier gives Liverpool a two goal lead. This decision was especially frustrating when later in the game the ref failed to see a far more blatant penalty against us.

Townsend on as a sub only to give the ball away to concede the third.

The feeling that Spurs are now losing any kind of grip on the game. When they do stabilize, there are few options against the visitors who have everything covered.

Livepool move the ball around with speed, accuracy, and purpose, and every forward sweep contains a threat.

Spurs' frustration at their own lack of guile starts leading to more hopeful long balls to forlorn Adebayor.

Pre-match: Back in December, last time we played Liverpool in the league at the Lane, I barely had time to sip on me cuppa before we were already into serious damage control.

Our drubbing at the hands of the Scouse-gits proved the final straw for Lilywhite Svengali Daniel Levy, indeed for most of the fans, and, as predicted by yours truly in the super soar-away Spur it was the end of AVB's problematic tenure. Quote: "I predict AVB will be gone by the time we play West Ham in the league cup."

I remember being barely able to upload my reactions fast enough to keep up with Liverpool's goals as they flew in like a hurricane bending the palm trees on the cape coast. Liverpool had had a mediocre away season but we made them look like Germany on tour.

Eventually, it was finally over. The worst home league defeat that I can ever recall watching, a landslide disaster. AVB was out and told to take his flippin' clipboard with him.

So it can only get better. In fact we are so full of ourselves we all fancy a win, do we not?

I'm so blown away already by Poch and the way Spurs are playing like a team that believes in themselves individually and collectively, is having fun, is showing both spontaneity yet also impressive interplay, that whether we win, draw, or lose, I will continue to be in a state of awe and respect for everything connected with the club until the spell is broken, and hopefully it won't be, by a thrashing even halfway as abject as that bone-chilling day in December 2013.

Just one example, and this was made on the Spurs Show and I'm obviously not claiming to be anywhere close to being the first to say this, but it encapsulates the euphoria surrounding us at the moment: Mauricio seems to have activated the self-confidence and skills of players who grossly underperformed last season, most notably of course, his fellow countryman Erik Lamela.

We all bemoaned the fact that under AVB we all felt we had not wasted our money from Gareth Bale's sale, we had brought in true, well chosen talent, but somehow these closet magicians were being suppressed, stifled, and forced into a system that strangled their potential.

Poch appears to have the key to unleash it.

The Spur's Premiership
Harry's XI knapping, it was a doddle Hoddle
If there's one home match you gotta win......
Sunday is derby day at the Lane
Tottenham Hotspur 4
live: various online & tv, 5am pacific

When you're in Row Zed and the ball hits yer 'ed, that's Zamora....."

We are are top of the league, say we are top of the league....."

Despite the opposition cast of heavyweight figures from Tottenham Hotspur's historical and storied pantheon, modest Mauricio Pochettino nevertheless left nobody in doubt as to who's currently in complete control at the home of London's pride, as the cockeral currently perches puff-chested atop the most talked about sporting league on the globe.

Queen's Park Strangers looked like they'd never met each other before.

If only Liverpool could be as obliging as the west Londoners at WHL this weekend, but leaving opponents completely unmarked at corners as we did at the very end of this game will come at a higher price next Sunday.

So it's too early to crow, despite our lofty position and dream start to the campaign.

But other than slacking off at the end, the Lilywhites were impressive across the board and enjoyed two thirds of the possession, completely owning the park.

Pre-match: If there's one home match you gotta win it's when QPR hit the borough. Last time they were in the Prem they truly sucked away from home.

I have always had a soft spot for Rangers as when I lived in south-east England and Spurs were playing away on a Saturday and I couldn't travel, I would sometimes hang out in the Loft and watch the Hoops. Being on the central line of the tube the ground is incredibly convenient to get to.

Lots of other Spurs would too, in fact we had our own chanting section below the home and away fans who would be partitioned by two lines of police up at the back of that atmospheric and steep terrace.

The roof seemed low and reached way down towards the goal, so to have three sets of supporters singing and bellowing chants in there made a sometimes spine-tingling cacophony.

But back to the present and this one is at the Lane not at Loftus Road, and despite ex-Spurs Harry Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle teaming up to try to keep Rangers in the top flight [which they will, the club has the bucks to buy its way to safety and this time will spend more wisely], this should be an absolute banker for the men in white.

Spot the Hammers fan above the
pile celebrating THFC's goal
thus hastening
Big Sam's hoped for exit.
Earlier, another WHU fan ran on to
take a Spurs free kick at goal.
One of our better shots!

The Spur's Premiership
Spurs Dier triumph
THFC given mountain to climb, reach summit
Sat, August 16, 2014, 7am Pacific (Ssn 2014/15)
West Ham Utd 0
Tottenham Hotspur 1
USA: live on tv and internet

The pressure is back. Kyle Naughton was hit point blank by a Nolan shot in his penalty area in the 28th minute, and astoundingly the ref not only awarded a penalty but sent him off.

Justice was served when Mark Noble oblingingly bottled the penalty, but the odds are now stacked heavily against the Lilywhites.

Two hours of potential enjoyment in danger of being shattered every single time, every single match.

The traveling faithful let Chris Foy know in no uncertain terms what their assessment of him is, he should have overruled the psycho linesman, and that barrage of outrage went on against the 'orrible little man in black until he redeemed himself later in the game.

Unfortunately this doesn't mask the fact that Spurs were shambolic even before the phony red card [Singapore betting ring give us a wave], and actually improved for a spell after the decision, only to be run ragged by the home side once again until the half-time whistle.

This isn't so much hanging on as waiting for the man with the pistol to put us out of our misery.

Welcome to Spurs, Poch. You've got it all to do after the break. Can we endure a match where the sole object is to try to salvage a point? Are Palace minus Pulis at Arsenal?

Second half and Spurs seem transformed. Sleepy dreams of distant Aruba beaches replaced by a burning desire to pass the ball incisively and actually create some danger in the Hammers' goalmouth.

Holtby and Townsend on, the latter making an immediate impact including forcing a good save from the WHU keeper, Lamela and Lennon off. To make matters better, a foul on Adebayor earns Collins a second yellow and WHU themselves down to ten men. Spurs are back in biz, and gaining the upper hand for the first time, beyed on by the away support.

Then the magic moment, great burst of Tottenham interplay and 20yr old Eric Dier, on his debut, turns this match around with a brilliantly executed winner from a perfect thru-ball supplied by Harry Kane, who had replaced Adebayor.

The Cheltenham born lad rushed over to bury himself among the ecstatic Lilywhite legions behind the goal only to be barred by burly Boleyn bouncers, buried instead by celebrating teammates and an over exuberant Spurs fan.

Welcome to another season, Tottenham Hotspur.

WHU may have had 18:10 advantage on goal attempts but there's only one that matters in the end.

It's hard to gauge where we're at from this opening game because, from the sending off onward, it was all too far off the beaten track of a "normal" game to really draw any conclusions.

Back to the Lane for the home opener vs Rangers to learn more.

Pre-match: Fans are hoping Spurs stay on a roll as far as gaffers' track records with the club are concerned, as the BBC notes: "Tim Sherwood (59%) recorded the highest winning percentage of any Tottenham Hotspur manager in Premier League history." Can Mauricio beat that?

The season before last Spurs were actually winning games against West Ham, I think we did the double over them.

But we had Gareth Bale back then, with his high-speed runs and deadly left foot, and he scored a brace at the Boleyn Ground in that amazing encounter in February of 2013.

As so often, he proved the key ingredient in the victory, his second goal being the one that sank the Hammers as Spurs left east London with a 2:3 triumph. This despite WHU coming out of the traps in full flight, inspired by the tribute to Bobby Moore taking place that day.

But with Bale gone, our ability to get anything off the Claret & Blues has since vanished.

Will our new manager be able to turn it around? This one has draw written all over it.

What are the pundits saying before this one?

BBC Football: "Mauricio Pochettino is Spurs' 10th manager in 12 years and is charged with cracking the top four while reproducing the stylish football that so caught the eye in his time at Southampton.

"On paper he has a stronger squad at his disposal and his challenge is to get much more from the likes of Soldado, Lamela and Chadli."

"The only goal Tottenham scored in the opening 15 minutes of a league game last season came in the final match of the season against Aston Villa."

The Guardian highlights an official announcement by WHUFC about the crowd:

"West Ham United would like to thank all supporters who have purchased a ticket for Saturday's season opening London derby with Tottenham Hotspur.

"The Hammers enjoyed three memorable wins against Spurs last season, with the resultant press coverage of each game rightly focusing on the action on the pitch. Saturday's game is likely to be an immensely passionate affair and, as ever, we know both sets of fans will be providing plenty of vocal support for their team.

"Any inappropriate behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the club."

The World Cup, Brazil
Germany Uber Alles
Teutonic Titans tear up South America
July 2014

Well it was a truly absorbing World Cup and man am I glad that attacking and entertaining Germany beat boring cynical Argentina. Watching the 'ave-a-go teams like Deutschland, USA, and Costa Rica playing like national heroes for their causes contributed greatly to the rip roaring success of an amazing World Cup 2014.

Once again we see what great strides Germany have made over the years whilst England flounders to ever new depths of ineptitude.

It all seems to be part of the German footballing vision. Clubs answerable and largely run by their fans, a league which sees itself as integral to its national team's success, and a system of coaching and nurturing domestic talent that leaves England in the dust.

And finally Statesiders can see that fitba isn't about hooligans rampaging through the streets and professional players rolling around in faked agony.

Although 'soccer' has a long way to go to get anywhere close to NFL in the public psyche, my experience traveling around northern and central California is that the profile of the beautiful game has risen dramatically even since the last World Cup, and Brazil 2014 was another significant, perhaps the most profound ever, upward bump for the sport in the national consciousness.

Jermaine Jones levels for USA against Portugal in World Cup 2014.