Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tottenham: A Collapse in Review

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 20:  Gareth Bale of Tot...
For Tottenham fans, the 2010/2011 season has been yet another roller coaster ride at "White Knuckle Lane".  Spurs at times appeared to be among the best (if not the best) team in the league, playing a great stretch against the top of the league while climbing the table during the winter months, and doing it all while winning the Champions League Group A which included amazing performances against Inter Milan (the previous year's European Champions).  If nothing else, Spurs had proven they belonged in European competition and had established themselves in a position to repeat the feat next season.

The decline started in January, as the team management failed to address critical team needs through the first 30 days of the month, followed by a weak 24-hour "low-ball" session in which they halfheartedly sent weak offers to a few players of interest.  At that point in the season, it was obvious that Spurs were in desperate need of a top striker, as Crouch, Pavlyuchenko, and Defoe were losing form and confidence fast.  Oh yeah, did I mention the team gave Robbie Keane away on loan?  Not that he'd be missed, but 3 mediocre strikers leading the helm down the stretch is a recipe for disaster.

The transfer window debacle also appeared to have splintered the relationship between manager Harry Redknapp and team owner Daniel Levy, shifting Harry's focus to the now (Champions League play) instead of the future (league title contention and future Champions League play).  On a week to week basis he fielded nearly an entirely different team for Champions League versus Premier League competition.  It became questionable as to whether or not Harry expected to have a future in North London.

The final stretch of the season hit a low that even the most pessimistic of Spurs fans couldn't have dreamed.  Dropping points in 8 of their last 11 matches including games against the dregs of the league, Tottenham dropped from Champions League repeat even while Manchester City slipped up around every turn.  Spurs dropped 21 points in a 10 game stretch, including 13 points alone dropped to Wolves, West Ham, Wigan, West Brom, and Blackpool.  And in the midst of all of the dropped points, Gareth Bale was sidelined with a season-ending ankle injury, putting his future with the club into question.

In the end, the ship was righted to a degree and the club managed to fight off a newly invigorated Liverpool team to hold firm their spot in the less coveted European Competition.  The ramifications of missing out on Champions League could be huge.  The considerable amount of money earned during European competition could go a long way to holding onto Tottenham's star players like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, and Rafael van der Vaart to name a few.  Harry Redknapp could also be on the move which would further shake up this squad and make it even more difficult to put themselves back into Champions League for years to come.

Stay tuned for the summer blueprint for this team, which will outline the plan  that Tottenham management must follow this summer to put this team back into contention next year.

1 comment:

  1. Tottenham's Champions League run was fantastic. A lot of teams that qualify for the Champions League don't do very well at all their first year in the tournament. Tottenham was a team that I was always very interested in Champions League play.

    It was truly amazing to see the difference in their CL team and their Premier League team. People often times forget that you truly need to have a deep bench in order to challenge in the Champions League, and qualify for it the next year.

    Another big thing you hit on was Harry Redknapp's future as he went about his business in London. The criticism about Harry is that he has always been a slash and burn type manager. Consume all the available resources, stretch the club thin, and then leave. He did it at Portsmouth twice, Southampton, and now at Tottenham.

    As a Spur fan, do you want to see him stay or go?