Tottenham Hotspur, the team United love to play. Spooky from the excellent Spurs blog, Dear Mr Levy, has spoken to us about his hopes for the season ahead, including finally getting a result against United.
Scott the Red: Were you happy with your Spurs’ performance last season?
Spooky: Yes and no. Last season all the top tier teams seemed to struggle with consistency. Not matter seemed to really ‘want it’. It was like everyone was playing with barefooted in setting concrete. Taking away all the despondency the Spurs faithful had for our misfiring forwards and Harry’s sometimes questionable tactics, we were only a couple of home wins away from finishing fourth again. Okay, so arguable all the top five clubs can argue they should have/could have been six points better off but Spurs more or less gave it away. We got beaten by ourselves and that’s the most frustrating thing.
STR: If some were lacking the hunger, which players were your most important?
S: No massive shocker here: Luka, Rafa and Bale are the obvious candidates. But I’d add Dawson and Benoit Assou-Ekotto in there too. We have a very very good midfield and a defence that is oozes confidence (okay, not so much when Gomes is going mental between the sticks). Luka made us tick, Rafa galvanised us and Bale pulsated down the flank. Take any on of these players away and we lose something important to the swagger of the side.
STR: Modric is still a Spurs player. I can’t believe it? Other than keeping him, so far, how have Spurs done in the transfer market this summer?
S: What transfer window? There’s a transfer window? Oh yeah. I guess at the time of writing we’ve down very little business where we need to be doing it. Signed a couple of young lads. One of the Ivory Coast Baby Drogba’s and an ex-keepy uppy Barca yoof sensation. Also got us a 56 year old American goalkeeper. That’s it. But to be serious for a second, I expect us to sign a top drawer forward and then the expected domino effect will kick in and players will be shifted on (the deadwood) and perhaps we’ll have time to also sign a CB and perhaps cover for the RW. We’ve got a good squad. We need to improve it to remain competitive.
STR: After sending the country in to a frenzy at times this season, why do you think Bale hasn’t been linked with any move away from the club this summer?
S: Contract. And perhaps he knows that he’s a young lad that needs to prove he can progress and develop and do it all again. Don’t expect anything other than a crazy summer next year when a number of clubs will come knocking. Home and abroad.
STR: Particularly after his performances in the Champions League. What are your aspirations for this season? Getting back in to Europe?
S: I’d like us to win the FA Cup. It’s been so long now it hurts. But top four, to be in there challenging for top four I think has to be just as important if not more simply to fight against any possibility of another monopoly being created. I think the fact we are back at underdog status is probably a good thing because that’s when Harry works his magic best.
STR: How do you rate Redknapp’s ability to take the club forward?
S: I don’t. He’ll be off after this season. Harry has done a great job, he’s done something so many others have failed at so for all his misgivings and annoyances you can’t be too critical. I know many Spurs fans are suggesting he’s lucky. Well if a 4th spot and 5th spot finish is down to luck then go Levy go out and find us another lucky gaffer. Redknapp is all about the self-preservation and his own agenda(s) but it’s helped us. Perhaps he has already ‘moved on’ inside his head (England) but I think his ego wont allow him to fail this season. Imagine the hype he would create for himself if he took us back into the CL? Simply put, this club has to be in a state of stability when passed onto then next coach. CL would mean we might not lose any of our top players. Anything below top four means the next manager will have a lot of money to spend on new players.
STR: Why do you think Harry Redknapp gets away with talking about other clubs’ players on a weekly basis?
S: Because the media love him, innit. When ‘arry does it its cause he wants the world to know about all the top top lads out there and how triffic they all are. The whole issue of tapping up is such a minefield to work through. I think some clubs (Chelsea this summer) go about their business (allegedly) in a far more clandestine way – through agents etc. When managers talk about other clubs players it can be quite ambiguous. A few do it and get away with it. Harry does wind me up when he feels its necessary to provide running commentary on our summer transfer window. You wonder whether he just does it and it has no true effect on anything we are working on – which is why the chairman never shuts him down.
STR: Where do you think you will finish this season?
S: 4th. Why not? Got to believe. Got to wear your heart on your sleeves because otherwise, what’s the point? Where’s the glory with being defeatist? It’s not like we (Spurs) are deluding ourselves. This is not the mid-90s or early 2000s. We can get in amongst it. Everyone appears to be in a state of flux so it’s vital you don’t lose your edge. For us, we need to be more ruthless. One defeat at home all of last season. Turn half those draws into wins and we’ll be laughing.
STR: I genuinely hope you do. Which player do you think will most important in helping you achieve this?
S: Luka, Luka, Luka, Luka, Luka. Up yours Chelsea. This little man has to push on from last season form wise and I have complete faith he will do just that. He’ll accept the fact he signed a gentleman’s agreement with pen and he’ll have to prove to us and everyone else out there he’s worth his valuation. I’m sure he will. Best deep-lying playmaker in the country. Imperative.
STR: How do you rate your chances of holding on to Modric? If he was to leave, where would be your preferred destination?
S: He won’t be sold. Not a chance. Levy has stated what he has stated unequivocally. This is not a ‘Berbatov’ scenario. Modric signed a six year contract. If he did leave I would hope it’s for a team abroad. Not comfortable with seeing him play for anyone in England. If we fail to finish top 4 – then it all goes to shit. And sadly he’ll end up at Chelsea. He’s settled in London. Wont move up north. Then again, he was settled at Spurs until this summer so you never know. Would prefer him at United than at Chelsea but would hate for him to join either side.
STR: I was sure we were going to land him this summer. Turns out he would rather be a rent boy, even if you did let him leave. Gutted. Anyway, which two current United players would you most want at your club?
S: Vidic because we need a top class centre-back. Tricky for the second choice. Mainly because I’d like to, want to say Berbatov. Go one then, I’d take Dimi too. £15M for the pair do?
STR: Who will finish in the top 4? Who will go down?
S: United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs. Down? Norwich, Wigan and Newcastle.
STR: Anything else you want to tell us?
S: I really do hope we dick you this season. You lot are the only hoodoo left to break. Although would equally love to take six points off City.
STR: Stick to just taking points off the blues for us eh? Cheers mate. All the best for the season.