Nothing is certain but death and taxes… and not losing to Spurs. They may score from the half way line in the last minute, plain for all to see, but it won’t be given. They may be 3-0 up at half-time, but we’ll score five in the second half. They may believe they have a freekick after one of our players blatantly handballs it, but the ref will play advantage and we will score a goal regardless. Spurs fans are entitled to feel cursed when it comes to United because the most ridiculous scenarios have seen us go unbeaten against them for over ten years. The last time Spurs beat us our back five consisted of Van der Gouw, Silvestre, May, Johnsen and Irwin. Of the 22 league games we’ve had since then, we’ve won 17 of them, as well as beating them on penalties in the final of the League Cup in 2009.
Ahead of the 2012-2013, Spooky from the excellent Spurs blog, Dear Mr Levy, has shared his thoughts on the coming season.
Scott the Red: What would have to happen this season for you to class it as a successful one for your club?
Spooky: Quantify success because it tends to get confused with progression. A successful season would be winning silverware because historically that equates to something tangible. However, with football being the beast it is, we tend to embrace the aforementioned progression as something to celebrate. I’m hoping our ambitions are stronger and more focused than they were under Redknapp. Top four would be great, the return to Champions League, wonderful. But a cup would live on in memory forever.
STR: How do you feel about your club’s business in the transfer window this summer?
S: I’m a Spurs fan. Are we ever truly happy with transfer windows? We’ve done great in completing two deals very early on but the Modric saga continues to bore the life out of me and we still need two forwards to be signed. It’s imperative the excuse of ‘lack of rotation due to lack of depth’ does not find itself dancing an ironic jig of disappointment at us by Christmas. I’m going to commit to something here and state: We’ll sign everyone we need to sign. Why? Simply because if we don’t, we’ve got an up hill struggle to compete with the very top tier sides.
STR: Who do you think will be your most important player this season?
S: With King retired, I’d say Jan Vertonghen has responsibility at the back but it’s unfair to look at a brand new signing as the key man. Parker is recovering from an op and with Modric in limbo I’ll have to opt for Mr Gareth ‘will he stay on the left or roam with discipline’ Bale. Potent weapon, beastly with rampant pace, has to be used effectively. I’m hoping the shrewdness of Villas-Boas caters for unleashing Bale on opposition defences with more impact than last season. But then it’s dependent on the player upfront to put away the crosses. Can’t help but think its going to be a collective responsibility rather than an individual one.
STR: How do you rate your manager’s ability to take your club forward?
S: We all know what he achieved at Porto. We all know the naivety and politics he experienced at Chelsea. If he stays true to his word and doesn’t attempt to overhaul and simply tweak and improve the areas that need fixing – then the logic is, we’ll get better. He’s already got us working on set pieces. Where Redknapp lacked tactical astuteness and deceive changing, we have to hope VB doesn’t. It’s still important that Levy comes up trumps with signings. Not enough bullets in the gun means we might not hit the target enough.
STR: Where does Chelsea winning the Champions League rank amongst your worst moments as a Spurs fan?
S: Wouldn’t say it ranks high at all. Losing to the red scum of Woolwich is always more hurtful. I think the irony of it hurting and would have felt the same had it been any other club, was the fact we finished 4th, above a team that attempted to sign Modric the summer earlier and they basically fluked their way to the final. It was ridiculous but then Spurs tend to experience the most ridiculous of emotions. It’s why its so great supporting them. Personally think they’re going to go the same way this season. Great players but not a great team.
STR: Is this season the season you will finally beat us?
S: Why? You lot going to forfeit the match by not turning up? I hope that when we do the players shake hands and walk off the pitch and don’t dance around like we’ve picked up silverware. Let the fans go mental in the stands. Last season, the away game, no contest. At home, pretty much the same experience. Plenty of running around and a masterclass in mugging by Utd. Have to be honest, I’m far more confident these days than I was say four years ago. Cheeky 1-0 win at the Lane will do me.
STR: Which United player would you most want in your squad?
Probably Rooney. We need a forward or two. Berbatov? Nah, no thanks. As classy a player he is, he burnt those bridges to ashes. Hernandez could do a job. Nani could warm our bench. Seriously though, has to be Rooney. When he’s on form he’s a powerful bully of a player. I’d have some of that. The alternative at the minute is starting Defoe.
STR: Who do you think will win the league this season?
S: Lesser of two/three evils. Man United. Because we’re all comfortable with them winning it. Chelsea, City, Arsenal…that is hardly a comforting thought. I’d love to say Spurs, but then I’ve got to work my way through a bottle of rum first. Ask me again in an hours time.
To mark the anniversary of United winning the Treble with a team that had academy products at the core, Made in Manchester is available for just £3 for today only. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.