Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Wednesday May 13 2009
1. As the Premier League season enters the last two weekends, 8th placed Spurs are 1 point ahead of 10th placed City in the race for the magnificent seventh place that represents Europa League qualification. As I ask myself why sodding Spurs nearly always thwart us when we've a chance of something big, do you reckon you can outdo us, The Hammers and Fulham?
Personally, anything less than a win for either of us and we are probably out of it. We go to Anfield on the last weekend, a game I feel we won't win unless their season is already over and they play a weakened team. Fulham are obviously the team to beat, as they have the points advantage, but will they will at 'Fortress' St James' Park?
I may be in a minority, but I would not be too bothered if we miss out on The Europa. I am not really convinced that it will be any different than the old UEFA, but will of course have more games. As fans it is great to have more games, more to talk/write about, but is it really good for the club?
2. What's the mood amongst the Spurs fans on how this season has gone and what the future holds under Honest 'Arry? What a turnaround from your bottom three nightmare earlier in the season!
I think we have many of the same characteristics as your fans historically. A blind optimism, but also coupled with a realism that we will inevitably be the masters of our own downfall. Although I was obviously worried about our start to the season, I didn't think we would get relegated, if for no other reason that we could buy our safety. Others couldn't. It was all about acting quickly, which to the clubs credit they did and it would appear we got the right man for the job.
I think as fans there has been an ongoing bout of realism setting in that we have to beat the Villa's, Everton's and Manchester City's before looking at the CL places. I think we know we have a decent squad, but have underperformed and for me the dressing room needed sorting more than the on pitch problems. I still believe Ramos is a very good manager, but although he may have understood what the players were saying, he couldn't read between the lines. This is where Harry has started to sort things and the results have followed. Irrespective of what we do this summer, I still feel we will have the battle for 5th to 8th, which if you think about that too much it is actually quite depressing ;-)
3. What's your view on developments at City this season? Do you think Mark Hughes can take the club forward after our long, gruelling, hack bashed season?
I love it and hate it all in one thought, if that makes any sense? I love the fact that we have potentially another team to really push the top four, but I hate the sugar daddy's of the game. Saying that, I would probably be ecstatic if we had one.. perhaps I am just jealous? As a football fan I do worry that City will try to buy success, instead of the sensible building of a team and squad. The idea of spending 100m on one player is incredibly exciting and makes a massive statement, but I am sure Mark Hughes would rather have eight players for that money, but I feel he doesn't have the choice.
I would like to see you build a squad with solid foundations, not of sand, but I honestly don't know which direction or how much patience your owners have.
4. If you were Mr. Redknapp, what would be the direction of your team talk before sending your players out against City at The Lane this weekend?
I think we simply have to keep doing what we have been doing in the last 10 games or so. We look really solid at the back and if we keep our discipline and work ethic, I feel we will be ok. The secret here for me is keeping your flair players quiet. If Robinho, Ireland, Elano or whoever play in their roles (Petrov/SWP) we will boss the game in my opinion. In simple terms, if we do our jobs, we will be fine.
I hope we have Lennon back or at least David Bentley fully fit, to play on the right and Modric left, as I feel that we have our best chance of getting at you via the wide areas. Robinho and Elano are fantastic players on the ball, but off it they don't exist. If we get in behind them we will have space to run and create.
5. 'The City Three Step challenge:' What comes into your head when you think of Manchester City...?
...Give us first the image you see, second the feeling you get and third the word that sums us up....
The thought, is of the fans. I was always amused, when they went on the radio for example and gave their name and place where they sat on the Kippax in the old Maine Road, totally unique.
My image is of Malcolm Allison with cigar and fedora for some reason. Perhaps I'm showing my age?
The feeling of resigned underachievement, but with humour not negativity
The one word has to be RICH!!!
6. Our nationwide Vital survey continues....'Six Plus Five:' FIFA President Sepp Blatter is continuing his campaign to impose a maximum quota of five overseas players on every English team. Do you agree or disagree with his proposal?
From a patriotic stand point, I like the idea and think it is done with the very best intentions to improve the development of home-grown players and national teams, but will it make the slightest difference to the pecking order of our game? Of course not! The best players, wherever they are from will always go to the biggest and richest teams. I actually think The governing bodies are missing the real issue, by turning a blind eye to clubs with massive debt. That is a far bigger worry for me.
7. What's your prediction for Saturday?
I have had a bad feeling about this game, for a couple of weeks, as your form has seemed to have improved and we have looked a little jaded. I keep thinking we will lose 2-0 for some reason, but obviously cannot bring myself to accept that as fact. Our home record has been great and your away form terrible, so logic tells me we will win, but....
Very many thanks and respect to OxfordSpur and The Vital Spurs team for this brilliant interview.
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Date:Wednesday May 13 2009
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