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Spurs Armchair Diary

Year 2004/2005   (Phespirit supports Tottenham Hotspur F.C. from the comfort of his armchair)

Spurs Armchair Diary, season 2004/2005. David Pleat is gone and Glenn Hoddle is long gone, so Spurs start the season with the great Frank Arnesen as sporting director and the (hopefully) all right Jacques Santini as head coach. The backroom changes don't stop there, and squad has been strengthened with new players at the expense of the injury prone old guard. So things will be good this year, right?
2004/2005 Final position:   F.A. Premiership - 9th

Sunday 15 May 2005   [18:00 BST]

Spurs 0 - 0 Blackburn Rovers : And so the season ends without the pseudo-glory of sneaking into the last UEFA Cup qualifying place (Middlesbrough drew one-all at City so this result was never going to matter anyway). Nonetheless, to finish an extremely comfortable ninth in a season that has seen so much upheaval at the club has to be seen as entirely satisfactory. Finishing above Aston Villa, Newcastle, Charlton, Birmingham - all of whom would have considered themselves in with a better shout than Spurs - is a good position from which to move up next year.

Early objectives for 2005/2006: finish at least seventh in the league, to stay within touching distance of fourth and fifth for as long as possible, and to reach a cup final. Modest dreams .....

Saturday 7 May 2005   [17:50 BST]

Middlesbrough 1 - 0 Spurs : A definite setback in the quest for seventh spot in league (now occupied by Middlesbrough) and qualification for the UEFA Cup. It's now crystal clear what needs to happen on the last day of the season to turn it back round: Man City (who are in eighth, ahead of Spurs on goal difference) need to win at home to Middlesbrough by the odd goal, whilst Spurs must beat Blackburn by at least three clear goals at White Hart Lane. Both outcomes are entirely possible, but it's not an odds-on bet.

Sunday 1st May 2005   [17:00 BST]

Spurs 5 - 1 Aston Villa : It makes a refreshing change for Spurs to be winning gloriously like this at the end of a season. The margin of victory ensures pole position in the race for seventh place and qualification for the UEFA Cup next year. Furthermore it is the third five-goal haul at White Hart Lane in the Premiership this season. A cagey draw at Middlesbrough and nice big win at home to Blackburn in the last two games of the season ought to wrap things up very nicely indeed.

Tuesday 26 April 2005   [19:42 BST]

Arsenal 1 - 0 Spurs : Having lost by the odd goal in nine at the Lane, Spurs now lose by the odd goal in one at Highbury. No complaints, although a one-all could have been sneaked if Robbie Keane's late header had found the target. It's disappointing to let them get away with all six points this season.

Saturday 23 April 2005   [18:40 BST]

Spurs 1 - 1 West Bromwich Albion : The Hungarian lad Gera has clearly got the sign over Spurs. That's two one-all draws with the Baggies in the Premiership this season, with Gera getting the first goal on both occasions. Bloody good job if they go down and take him with them. He's too good.

Sunday 17 April 2005   [16:10 BST]

Liverpool 2 - 2 Spurs : A pretty good result. There's always a chance of getting a point or three off Liverpool these days although, of all the likely scorelines, 2-2 wasn't necessarily the most predictable final outcome.

Spurs remain seventh in the league with just five games to go. It's good.

Monday 11 April 2005   [18:40 BST]

Spurs 1 - 0 Newcastle United : Another fairly reliable three points from the Toon. That's six in all from them this season. It's just a pity they managed to edge it at home in the Cup.

Saturday 2 April 2005   [18:30 BST]

Birmingham City 1 - 1 Spurs : After a two week break for World Cup qualifiers, Spurs return to action with a meaningless one-all draw at Birmingham. The best that can be said is that it's probably the first time Birmingham haven't won this fixture since they returned to the top flight. Irritatingly, this was another of those matches in which none of Spurs' four "world class" strikers were able to get on the score sheet. Mid-table comfort it is, then.

Saturday 19 March 2005   [18:15 GMT]

Spurs 2 - 1 Manchester City : The midweek 2-0 defeat at Charlton had made it three successive defeats for Spurs and three successive games without a goal. This, therefore, was a very important match to win. It didn't matter if it was by the odd goal, it didn't matter if the winner came late on, it didn't matter if there was some good fortune involved, all that mattered was the win. As it turned out, Spurs won the game by the odd goal in the 84th minute when Robbie Keane tapped in from a half-save. All that mattered was the win.

Sunday 13 March 2005   [18:55 GMT]

F.A. Cup Sixth Round: Newcastle United 1 - 0 Spurs : In spite of a superb, battling, dominating, footballing display by Spurs throughout the whole of the last seventy-five minutes, the match was lost to an early goal. Hugely disappointing, but at least heads can be held high.

Earlier in the month the fifth round had been successfully negotiated when three late goals settled the replay at Nottingham Forest, following a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane that could so easily have gone horribly wrong.

League matches either side of the replay produced the rare spectable of a London derby win, 2-0 at home to Fulham, plus the entirely predictable spectacle of defeat at Southampton, 1-0. The latter being an annual tradition.

Sunday 13 February 2005   [15:05 GMT]

F.A. Cup Fourth Round Replay: Spurs 3 - 1 West Bromwich Albion : After an abject first half which ended 1-1, but could just as easily have been 0-3, Spurs rally for a comfortable win. In first half Spurs played 4-3-3; in the second half 4-4-2. The moral of the story: 4-3-3 can only work if the front three is comprised of a central striker complimented with two very quick and skilful attacking wingers, as per Chelsea. Playing two strikers and one deep striker - like Spurs yesterday - or two strikers and a roving winger, or a central striker and two wide-playing strikers - like the equally abject England side that drew 0-0 at home to Holland on Wednesday - simply does not work and should not be attempted.

Saturday 6 February 2005   [10:22 GMT]

Spurs 3 - 1 Portsmouth : Yesterday afternoon at White Hart Lane, at the opening matinee performance of the Mido show, a new star was born. Well, not exactly new. He's only 21 yet has already had five different clubs, but Mido has arrived fresh at the Lane like the special ingredient that has been lacking in the rebuilt Spurs. The extra bit of magic. All craft and running and power and touch and timing. And two goals.

So, Mido the Footballer has arrived and he is good. Now the emergence of Mido the Playboy is awaited with a degree of nervousness. Mido the Playboy could be bad. He might mire the club in distraction and bad publicity. But if he scores two goals every game, will anyone mind? There's the trade off.

Other notes from yesterday's game: Reid also makes his debut and shows promise, but inevitably - and perhaps helpfully - is overshadowed by Mido. Spurs end their run of three straight league defeats and are ninth in the table, which would probably be a fair finishing position, all things considered.

Wednesday 2 February 2005   [19:45 GMT]

Bolton Wanderers 3 - 1 Spurs : That's three league defeats on the spin. This one always looked likely on paper but the circumstances on the night could have been more cheerful. A penalty by the loathsome Diouf, Defoe equalises, then Kanouté gets sent off and Bolton knock in two in the last five minutes, the first of which is scored by the loathsome Ben Haim. A pox on it.

The other news, of course, is the on-going spending spree on small-name players. This week has seen £8m go to Forest for Dawson and Reid. OK, Reid has always looked good, if unproven at the highest level; Dawson may well be good but has been too injured too often to truly tell. And then there's the pre-contract deal for the lad from Derby. There's a Czech guy, the Egyptian, a Finn ..... the squad is growing and growing, money is rolling out with not much coming in. Presumably the books are being balanced. Presumably the points will soon start rolling in three at a time. It all seems a bit unreal for the moment, though.

Sunday 30 January 2005   [19:45 GMT]

F.A. Cup Fourth Round: West Bromwich Albion 1 - 1 Spurs : An adequate if unconvincing draw at West Brom keeps Spurs in the hat for the next round of the F.A. Cup. A win at home in the replay oughtn't to be too much to ask.

Saturday 22 January 2005   [17:40 GMT]

Crystal Palace 3 - 0 Spurs : Three goals in eleven second half minutes produce what will surely be regarded the worst result of the season. What is it, really, what it is that prevents Spurs from beating other London clubs these days? It's ridiculous. That little spat between Jol and Iain Dowie in the press a few months ago will have done much to tee up this 'upset'. A reaction is now required from the players. Whatever the opposition in the next game, they must be humped with confidence.

Saturday 15 January 2005   [17:25 GMT]

Spurs 0 - 2 Chelsea : This result continues to be one of football's certainties. The disappointment remains, this year stoked by bitterness that the opening goal came from a penalty awarded for a dive (albeit that Chelsea had two other appeals turned down). The difference this season, however, is that a Chelsea win makes it that much more likely that they will win the league instead of Arsenal. That is the only consolation.

Saturday 8 January 2005   [17:25 GMT]

F.A. Cup Third Round: Spurs 2 - 1 Brighton & Hove Albion : No cup magic or glory in this one, just enough of a performance to get through to the next round. Which is fine, especially on a day when so many other Premiership sides have struggled (Aston Villa, Manchester City, Norwich City and Crystal Palace all out, Fulham and Blackburn held, and all to lower league opposition, but the result of the day is indisputably Manchester United nil, non-league Exeter City nil).

Wednesday 3 January 2005   [18:55 GMT]

Manchester United 0 - 0 Spurs : ..... is how the history books will forever show this result, but for every single sentient being who has subsequently seen how, in the 89th minute, Pedro Mendes shot from 45 yards was bundled a full yard across the Manchester United goal line before being scrambled away by Roy Carroll, only for the referee and linesman both to wave play on, the score was of course .....

Manchester United 0 - 1 Spurs

That's better. OK, so a goalless draw would have been acceptable before kick-off, and Spurs didn't exactly dominate the game, but come on. It's not every decade that Spurs get a chance to win at Old Trafford.

Saturday 1st January 2005   [19:30 GMT]

Spurs 5 - 2 Everton : Well, this match, as it has been for the past eighteen years, always looked as good a bet as any for a win, but there can have been no predicting a rout on this scale. Fantastic stuff, and without Jermain Defoe even being on the bench (injured, they say). So that's six wins and a draw in the last seven league games. The top of the table (played, points, goal difference):

1. Chelsea   (21, 52, +33)
2. Arsenal   (21, 47, +28)
3. Manchester United   (21, 43, +20)
4. Everton   (21, 40, +3)
5. Middlesbrough   (21, 35, +8)
6. Liverpool   (21, 34, +13)
7. Tottenham Hotspur   (21, 32, +8)
8. Charlton Athletic   (21, 31, -8)
9. Aston Villa   (21, 28, -1)
10. Manchester City   (21, 27, +4)

It's all a bit strung out now.
Next league matches: Manchester United & Chelsea.   Difficult.

Tuesday 28 December 2004   [18:35 GMT]

Spurs 1 - 1 Crystal Palace : All good things come to an end and so, at last, has Spurs' winning streak. London derbies remain the unwinnable fixtures. Still, there's every hope of getting back on track at home to Everton on New Year's Day.

Of course, the way the season has been going this is just as likely to be the start of a five-match drawing streak.

Monday 27 December 2004   [08:55 GMT]

Norwich City 0 - 2 Spurs : The Spurs go marching on. Two second half goals from Keane and Brown make it five league wins out of five. Keane and Brown are two of the less celebrated heroes of this little run but both have been in magnificent form. Brown has been a revelation in midfield since Carrick came in. Whether or not he has risen to playing alongside Carrick or whether the pair of them have benefited equally under the stewardship of Martin Jol is a point for discussion. The results, however, speak for themselves.

Friday 24 December 2004   [10:45 GMT]

Six successive league defeats have been followed by a stupendous run of four successive wins, the last two being a one-nil at Manchester City and then a five-one at home to Southampton last Saturday. The next three fixtures all look quite promising too: away to struggling Norwich on Boxing Day, at home to struggling Palace a couple of days later, then the annual home banker against Everton in the new year. It would be tempting to predict three more wins were it not for the fact that Spurs (a) could not even win at home to Norwich in September; (b) seem incapable of winning any London derbies; and (c) are coming up against Everton playing their best form for almost a decade. Best just to savour the moment and see what happens.

Saturday 4 December 2004   [19:20 GMT]

Blackburn Rovers 0 - 1 Spurs : That's back-to-back league wins for the first time this season. Plenty of tension waiting for the result to be confirmed, but it puts seven clear points between Spurs and the relegation places so perhaps they can dare to start looking up the league again instead of way down.

Thursday 2 December 2004   [18:45 GMT]

League Cup: Spurs 1 - 1 Liverpool (aet, Liverpool win 4-3 on penalties) : This is a real guts-acher for any number of reasons: the fact that Spurs dominated the whole of the first ninety minutes but couldn't break the deadlock; the fact that Liverpool had only fielded a side of kids against Spurs strongest team; the fact that Spurs took the lead on 108 minutes only to throw it away three minutes from time; the fact that the equaliser came from an utterly and inexplicably needless handball by Kanouté; and then the penalty shoot-out which could only ever be a lottery. And all we have to show for it is a set of knackered players, physically exhausted from 120 minutes of full-tilt cup football, mentally exhausted by the cruel mode of elination in the quarter finals. This does not bode well for Saturday's league match at Blackburn.

Sunday 28 November 2004   [17:08 GMT]

Spurs 2 - 0 Middlesbrough : This win was so very very badly needed. After successive league defeats against Portsmouth, Bolton, Fulham and Charlton, then 4-5 at home to Arsenal and 1-0 away to Aston Villa last week, to lose this one would have equalled the worst run in Spurs' history. Not to mention left the club deep down the league with relegation shit around their ankles. But Jol is a confident man and has been talking up his prospects in the same manner as Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. The key differences, however, are that he doesn't have Mourinho's players, money or medal collection .....

Wednesday 10 November 2004   [19:00 GMT]

League Cup: Burnley 0 - 3 Spurs : OK. So, Santini quit as manager on Friday citing personal reasons. Fair enough. The decision was made easier for him by the recent poor run of results and the alleged behind-the-scenes personality differences. He's been dolefully moping around for a while now.

Post mortem: thanks for the good start, Jacques, a pity things didn't work out. Who knows if they ever would?

Martin Jol steps in for Saturday's 3-2 defeat at home to Charlton (3-0 down on the hour). Jol becomes manager on Monday and Spurs win 3-0 in the League Cup at Burnley on Tuesday, having won 4-3 at Bolton in the previous round. Yeah, Jol could be good.

This is the way things are. All hopes of a boring but comfortable season for Spurs are blown away and it's still only November.

Wednesday 3 November 2004   [20:15 GMT]

Fulham 2 - 0 Spurs : Yeah, here we go again.

Sunday 24 October 2004   [15:00 BST]

Spurs 1 - 2 Bolton Wanderers : Broken computer trouble has meant that there have been Spurs Armchair Diary updates in the past six weeks. The last update coincided with Spurs drawing goalless at home to Norwich - the first clearcut indifferent result in an otherwise good start to the season. Since then:

19/09 Chelsea 0 - 0 Spurs (text book defending but no hint of a goal);
22/09 Oldham Athletic 0 - 6 Spurs (a flattering cup result, loads of goals);
25/09 Spurs 0 - 1 Manchester United (the first defeat, no shock, no goals);
02/10 Everton 0 - 1 Spurs (a truly excellent result, a great bounce back);
18/10 Portsmouth 1 - 0 Spurs (boring and bad, where are all the goals??);

...and then yesterday's defeat at home to Bolton. A particularly poor result. The good thing is that Santini quite clearly knows it and looks like he intends to do something about it before he joins the catalogue of Spurs managers who, after a good start, have been overcome by the cloud of mediocrity that has hung drearily over the club for nearly two decades.

The standard to which Spurs managers must aspire was set by Bill Nicholson, who died yesterday aged 85. His memory will live on forever. He was the legend who created legends at White Hart Lane. A great man.

Sunday 12 September 2004   [19:00 BST]

Spurs 0 - 0 Norwich City : Spurs remain undefeated and keep another clean sheet, but this match really ought to have been a home banker (observe how even in these days of great optimism - unprecedented in recent years - Spurs fans can still find reasons to be disappointed). Two points dropped.

Sunday 29 August 2004   [11:30 BST]

Spurs 1 - 0 Birmingham City : After this win, and the midweek one-all at West Brom, Spurs are still unbeaten - one of only four teams still unbeaten - and the big three clubs are pulling away at the top of the table:

1. Arsenal
2. Chelsea
3. Tottenham Hotspur

..... the top two on 12 points, Spurs 8, the rest no better than seven. OK, so maybe its just the top two that are pulling away, but as Spurs are more used to 'falling adrfit' in the early stages of a season this is still a fine place to be.

What's also good is that only two goals have been conceded, giving Spurs the second best defensive record (Chelsea one, others three plus). This despite the fact that of the goalkeeper and the back four, only Ledley King was at the club at the end of last season, and he wasted all year playing in midfield.

Keep it going, Santini.

Monday 23 August 2004   [18:30 BST]

Newcastle United 0 - 1 Spurs : This is a truly outstanding result for a team better used to getting slaughtered up in Geordieland. However, most teams probably would have liked this particular fixture on this particular weekend, given all the Newcastle in-fighting at the moment.

This is a more than satisfactory start to the season, albeit the performances need to catch up with the results, but zero points would not have been a shock from the first two matches, so ..... no complaints at all.

Tuesday 17 August 2004   [18:40 BST]

Spurs 1 - 1 Liverpool : The new Premiership season kicked off this Saturday with Spurs playing in the 12:45pm opening game and coming from behind to hold Liverpool one-all at the Lane. Not as good as last year's corresponding 2-1 win, but better than the pre-season results had suggested. One win, one draw and six defeats does not make for ideal preparation. Early positives: the late signing of experienced centre-back Nourredine Naybet from Deportivo la Coruña looks a good one; Jermain Defoe is sharp in attack; Paul Robinson performed well in goal. Yes, this will do for starters.