After a decade-and-a-half of complaints about the oligarchical (big word alert!) domination of the Premier League by four or five clubs, you have to love the drama going into the last week of the season. Mancunian rivals competing for the title! Three teams scrambling for the final Champions League spots! Chelsea threatening to throw it all into the wind by winning the Champions League! Merseyside clubs competing for… well, isn’t it wonderful?
But if you dig a little deeper, you find a stumble to the finish. Clubs have taken a hot potato approach to the league table, with the teams falling over themselves trying to acquiesce table positions, often to their most hated rival. And no side is more guilty of this than Tottenham Hotspur.
When he lasted posted, Our Ian wrote about Harry Redknapp’s acquittal and how the Spurs boss was riding high in the table. On paper, Tottenham had a formidable team. On the pitch, Spurs were more fun to watch than Barcelona. Players like Bale, Van der Vaart, Lennon, Adebayor and Modric followed ‘Arry’s advice to “just run about”, while the starting fullbacks — Walker and Assou-Ekotto — joined in the rush. It was “all-hands-on-deck” and the Warriors of White Hart Lane did not disappoint. While they were scoring and winning, they were also keeping one of the stingiest defences in the league. Quite simply, Tottenham were feared.
But the last third of the season has not been kind to the club. At one point, Tottenham sat 13 points above their Highbury rivals. They are now a point below. Talk of Redknapp’s automatic coronation as the England gaffer was obviously premature and rightly so. Three Lions’ supporters around the globe have taken a look at the Old Wheeler Dealer and wondered what all the fuss is about. Despite his heritage (obviously something that he had nothing to do with), his credentials are thin. One trophy and a possible penchant for leaving when it seems to suit him.
Over the last eight matches, their London rivals seem to want Champions League football as little as they do. Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea have all gone 3-3-2 with the same goal difference. It’s a wash, with Arsenal and Tottenham trying to avoid fourth place in the unlikely event that a born-again Chelsea actually beat Bayern in Munich.
But if Arsenal manage to sack the Woy-less Baggies, and the Blues actually complete their Bavarian putsch, then the Lilywhites’ support will look towards the dugout for answers. Answers on why a team that spent more on average per year than Manchester United is still trying to find a foothold in the Champions League. Answers as to why the gaffer says the club should spend even MORE in the summer.
But more importantly, the club’s heart-and-soul support should ask themselves why they would tolerate such a mercenary to lead them into the future, after he seemed so willing to abandon them at the drop of a contract.