Scott: How did you rate 2012-2013 for your club?
Spooky: It’s a little paradoxical supporting Spurs. On the one hand it was a decent season, considering we started with a major overhaul of our coaching staff having let Harry Redknapp go. AVB was a risk appointment, be it a ballsy one for Levy to make and AVB to take (although Levy could appoint him without having to pay compensation to anyone, so I’m sure he saw it as a fiscally safe move). Considering we lost Luka Modric, failed to sign a traditional playmaker and didn’t find a solution to the tailsmanic Van der Vaart (the link between the forward and midfield), we still competed. So much so, in the end, it was disappointing we lost CL due to our own failings. Couple of mistakes here and there costing us vital points. So a good season, but for the second successive season one with regrets.
Scott: Who was your best player?
Spooky: Is that a trick question? No? Okay, brace yourself to be bored with more Gareth Bale hyperbole. Without Modric to recycle possession and craft out chances and with no Van der Vaart to inspire, all eyes were on Bale to take the mantle of ‘the player to get things done’. With Adebayor mostly in and out of the side and Defoe blowing his traditional hot and cold form, Bale blossomed in the free roaming role and decided if no one else was going to score, he would. He was in game-changing revelation form. Outstanding and growing in stature and confidence. Pretty much undeniable for me to look at any other player. I guess as a supporter you look to such players and simply seek to enjoy their talent. We like to be entertained and he did that at a pulsating tempo.
Scott: Which player are you expecting most important in 2013-2014?
Spooky: It’s a tricky one this. Bale might or might not be with us. We’ve signed a fair few new players already in Soldado, Paulinho and Chadli. We’ve got Kaboul returning along with Sandro. Dembele will hopefully be far more progressive and expressive this season. Holtby has to be more cultured as opposed to his frantic urgent running we witnessed last time out. There’s a fair few candidates tbh. I’d say, Sandro is pivotal and his inclusion will fix the dynamics of the side that were impacted when we lost him to injury. Dembele does like to sit deep but with Sandro pressing, he’ll be able to glide forward more. I think when Sandro plays the rest of our players can concentrate on their role rather than compensate for the lack of balance the side has when Sandro doesn’t play.
We are shaping up to look like a very strong side. Physical and technical. Sandro is pretty much like The Hulk in the Avengers. Control him and pretty much nobody will dare to bully you.
Scott: If you could take one United player, who would it be?
Spooky: Considering our centre-back ‘crisis’ I might have to pinch Vidic. We’ve got Vertonghen and Kaboul. The latter is returning from a long term injury layout. Dawson is bloody wonderful thanks to his heart and passion for the shirt but he’s not the best technically. Caulker is gone. I’m sure we’re in for another CB and I’m pretty happy with the rest of our team – although Nani might be worth a cheeky bid. I’m certain there is still an expectational talent somewhere in amongst the inconsistency.
Scott: Are you pleased Fergie’s retired?
Spooky: It seems surreal. I’m sure more so to United fans. I have some United friends who have grown up only ever knowing Fergie as the manager. That is incredible. I remember his appointment, I remember United early struggles and I’m hardly ever going to forget the dominance. I’m showing my age here but I remember Liverpool in the 80s and never saw them letting go of their grip on the title. Football is all about cycles and time does equate to new eras and new teams leading the way. I guess its interesting to see how United adapt without Fergie leading them. There is already doubt from some. I reckon there’s a possible transition for United but not one that will see them outside of competing for the title.
Scott: Where do you think your club will finish this season?
Spooky: We’ve been expected to finish 5th last two seasons before the season has kicked off. Once the season has kicked off, our expectations have risen due to the form of others and thanks to our continued improvement. Then, with plenty of irony, we end up in 5th. I think the point I’m making is, there are always four sides that are perceived as being stronger than us. Utd and City are title chasers, Chelsea and Arsenal have wobbled a little. I think more so Chelsea – who this season will probably be favourites to win the league. Which means Arsenal are once again the side we need to look at finishing above if we want CL football. I have to say 4th. What’s the point of following, supporting your side if you’re not going to believe in them? We’re good enough to finish above them. We’ve been good enough for two years. Sadly, their experience has got the better of us. Redknapp ballsed it up two seasons back. Last year, we just dropped stupid points (Liverpool away, Everton away, Fulham home). I know, I know…anyone can claim to have seen their side drop stupid points – but for me its about looking solid and our away form was fantastic last season. A slight improvement at home would have been enough. Fine margins.
Scott: Where do you think United will finish?
Spooky: 2nd. I think far too many people are under-rating the impact Moyes will have. He’s hardly going to come in and United finish midtable. The quality is there. Perhaps not enough in certain areas. You need a midfielder, that much has been obvious for a season or two. I think City more like to be erratic than you lot. Chelsea have so much quality in depth is ridiculous. Jose’s life is far too easy there IMO.
Scott: How long do you think Bale can reasonably be expected to stay at Spurs without CL football?
Spooky: Spurs publicly (via AVB and Levy approved I’m sure) has said the player isn’t for sale. IMO, Madrid have probably inquired, perhaps even bid for him. We’ve rejected it. That’s my guess. Until Madrid bid again we won’t know how this will play out. On the one hand AVB stating that the player isn’t for sale is making a very public statement that almost suggests we’re no longer willing to listen. Unless its us using the media (the same way Madrid have) to incite them to match our valuation…or scare them off once and for all.
I think Bale is ambitious. I’m sure he’s spoken about Madrid before so if he wants the move, if he really wants it, I can’t deny him that. But I’d like to see him stick it out at Spurs for another season. He has a chance of really doing something special, consolidating his legacy at White Hart Lane rather than ever so slightly diminishing it.
I think if Spurs keep looking the other way with Madrid then this saga might get messy. So far there has been no direct attempt to engineer a move away this season.
To answer your question – one more season. If we get into the CL, you never know, he might want to stay for another. But I wouldn’t begrudge him a move if he led us into the CL this season.
Scott: Do you think your players would have celebrated like Arsenal’s did if you pipped them to 4th last season?
Spooky: No. Hahaha, seriously, I reckon they would have celebrated – no doubt – but in the past couple of season we’ve hardly been the underdog. I think the Gooners have celebrated because they no longer have much else to shout about. Finishing above us is now very important to them. And so it should be. For a long time they dismissed the North London rivalry and instead humped the leg of Manchester United instead. From my perspective, it’s gutting that we’ve managed to let them off the hook for the past two seasons. I think the celebrations of the players would have not been as embarrassing as Arsenal up at Newcastle and equally so, not as silly as the celebrations at Eastlands when we qualified for the CL. I can’t say the same about the fans though.