Thursday, December 28, 2006

Good Signs

Before The Waddler jets off to sunnier climbs, how about some pleasant reading from Sporting Life; the current top goal-scorers in the Premiership (all competitions):
Lge FAC LC Euro Other Total
Drogba (Chelsea) 12 0 2 5 0 19
Defoe (Tottenham) 6 0 4 2 0 12
Saha (Man Utd) 8 0 0 4 0 12
Berbatov (Tottenham) 5 0 0 5 0 10
McCarthy (Blackburn) 7 0 0 3 0 10
Ronaldo (Man Utd) 10 0 0 0 0 10
Van Persie (Arsenal) 8 0 0 2 0 10

Not bad eh? I think you may have found your best partnership Mr Jol.

See you in a couple of weeks.

The Waddler.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rock and Roll Xmas

Spurs went to pieces up at Newcastle on the day before Christmas Eve, with a collapse of England cricket team proportions, only to bounce back in a more Aussie way with a victory over Aston Villa on Boxing Day. Our very own captain fantastic, Ledley King had a Freddy Flintoff style shocker at St. James’ Park, as Kieran Dyer bamboozled the Spurs defence like Shane Warne does to an English batsmen. It is typical of Spurs’ luck that Dyer, who manages about 6 games a season had to be fit for Spurs. The guy is quality when on top form, and Spurs had no answer for him. It was painful to see Mad-eye Roeder getting one over Jol, and this away form is a serious problem.

Of course losing Jermain Defoe in the warm up is not ideal, and presumably Mido wasn’t fit to play 90 minutes, which was why Murphy was chosen as his replacement instead. Any other reason and Jol wants shooting for playing Berbatov on his own up front against such a shoddy defence as Newcastle’s.

Credit where its due though, Spurs bounced back against Aston Villa yesterday in a fixture notorious for upsets, with Ledley back to his outstanding best. There was an odd atmosphere at the Lane, so quiet to start with that the players were making all the noise at one point. Christmas hangovers were the accepted reason, and it looked like there were a few nursing them on the pitch too with some very sloppy passing from the boys in white. However, there were many chances created and in the end it took some cool finishing from Defoe and some intelligent forward play from his strike partner Dimitar Berbatov to settle the score. Villa grabbed one back towards the end to make it a twitchy final ten minutes but Spurs held out for the deserved victory.

Two more games to come on Saturday and Monday before a short break and the FA Cup tie in Cardiff. Injuries are starting to mount up, and we will do well to get more than three or four points from the Liverpool and Pompey games – both of whom are above us in the league.

The Waddler, unlike the Premiership, is going on a winter break until after the Newcastle home game on January 14th. Lets hope there are plenty of points placed on the board, and the name Tottenham Hotspur is in the hat for the FA Cup Fourth Round in the meantime. A left winger in the January sales would be nice as well but you can’t have everything.

The Waddler.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Comolli’s January To-Do List

In just over ten days time the January transfer window will open, sparking a rush of transfers all across Europe. As Daniel Levy pointed out in his recent Chairman’s statement, THFC have been one of Europe’s most active clubs in the last two years, so should we expect the same level of activity this time around? Here The Waddler takes a look at what realistically needs to be done to the squad, whilst keeping in mind Spurs’ finances, attraction to players and likelihood of players moving clubs.

IN: A Centre Back to act as cover for Ledley or Dawson. Curtis Davis at West Brom has been mentioned a number of times and looks like a sensible option if available for the right price. Davenport and Gardner are simply not in the same class as King or Dawson, and whenever either is not available, we suffer. King also has long standing injuries that may bring his career to an early close, and quality cover needs to be brought in sooner rather than later. A little competition in that area wouldn’t hurt either.

OUT: Davenport and/or Gardner. Don’t need them if a replacement is bought, neither are good enough. Good bargaining chips in a negotiation for someone better.

IN: A left winger/midfielder. The perennial target, and one that has been needed during the last two or three transfer windows at least. Downing would be OK if Boro are sensible about the price, he’s English, has a nice cross on him, takes corners etc. Nothing special, nothing exciting, but would be good for the squad. Ideally, we’d go and buy Robben at Chelsea but it’s simply not realistic. There are European versions out there as well, and hopefully Comolli knows of one or two.

OUT: Murphy, Davids. Too old, too slow. The game seems to pass both of them by and neither are used to playing bit part roles, and neither make good substitutes. They aren’t going to start anymore, and must cost a fortune in wages so why have them in the squad?

IN: More decent youngsters. Not everyone comes off, for every Dawson there’s a Reid, for every Lennon there’s a Routledge. Its quantity and potential when it comes to youngsters and Spurs should continue to snap them up. It’s the only way we’ll compete with Chelsea’s millions – by buying the players before they get really good. Giles Barnes at Derby, Gareth Bale at Southampton both fit the bill and should be snapped up early. Comolli looks to have signed Abel Taarabt from Lens already if stories are to be believed, and hopefully the window won’t pass without another couple coming in. The outlays tend to be small, with most of the cost wrapped up into how many games they play, and how many caps they get.

Aside from the above it should be a case of shopping in a opportunistic manner. If for example a good young right back becomes available, buy him and ship out Stalteri. If he doesn’t, hold on until the summer. Anderlecht’s Van den Borre was linked last week, and he has an impressive reputation already and could be ideal. If a good keeper is available, get him in and dispense with Cerny. Robinson needs some competition to ensure he doesn’t become complacent. Cerny seems to be here as purely cover. What’s wrong with someone pushing Robbo for the number one spot? Ben Alnwick at Sunderland has been strongly linked and is a good up and coming youngster so he could be the one.

So a centre back and a left winger should be at the top of Comolli’s to-do list, and preferably underlined with little stars by them. Once they’ve been sorted out some deadwood can be shifted and then some good youngsters and the odd squad upgrade should be sought. The squad is very close to being one of the best in the league and above all trading should be kept to a minimum. Too much upheaval, and too many new first team players can cause issues in terms of stability. After each of the last four windows Spurs have had themselves half a new team, and as a result suffered from needing time for the team to gel. Bar the left wing option any changes now are to the squad players, so should have a minimal impact.

Once again it will be an interesting month, and Spurs will be linked to every man and his dog but this time, hopefully, we can bargain from a position of strength, knowing that for the most part the team is sorted, and that we just need to make a couple of adjustments to the squad here and there.

The Waddler.

Shrimpers Tough to Digest

For the second round running Spurs made hard work of lower league opposition, needing extra time and the arrival Dimitar Berbatov to ensure safe passage. With the changes that were predicted on here yesterday, such as the inclusion of Mido, Murphy, Stalteri and BAE and an unexpected switch of Dawson for King, Spurs were lacking that bit of class that was needed in circumstances like last night. A midfield of Murphy, Huddlestone, Tainio and Malbranque is fairly pedestrian, and really lacking the sort of character to take a game to the opposition. There is no pace there, no one to pick the ball up and run at the opposition in the way that Lennon, Jenas, Zokora or even Ghaly tends to do. As a result Spurs found it tough going to break Southend down, and it wasn’t until the very end of extra time that a lovely Berbatov through ball found a nice Mido run on the left and his cross was perfect for Defoe to slide home.

Jol presumably had hoped not to need Berbs, but Spurs were kept out by the Southend goalkeeper Flahaven who had an excellent game. Mido twice came close, first a swivel volley that crashed off the cross bar and the second a glancing header brilliantly saved. It wasn’t the best of performances, but enough chances were carved out to win the game in 90 minutes, and in truth Southend didn’t test Robinson all night. The morning papers and the ITV highlights were full of comments about how Southend made Spurs look ordinary and pushed them all the way, and whilst there is some truth in that, it must be remembered that this Spurs side was missing first-teamers King, Chimbonda, Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Keane and Berbatov; as well as preferred squad players such as Ghaly and Lee. It’s no excuse for needing 115 minutes to beat the team bottom of the Championship, as any Spurs side should be capable, but it doesn’t help as the aforementioned players are the class that put Spurs above the dross.

Players such as Murphy and Davids, who came on for Tainio, have really lost what they once had and should be jogged on in January. They no longer offer anything to this Spurs side, both are getting on a bit, and their no doubt large wage packets could be used elsewhere. What do they offer that an up and coming youngster wouldn’t? It really is difficult to think of a reason. Get rid of both and go and get Giles Barnes from Derby and be done with it. At least he would be hungry and willing and can’t be worse at passing. The goal also highlighted the need for a left footer on the left flank, as Mido put in a great cross for Defoe from that side and it shows what a weapon that could be for Spurs. All four strikers would thrive on crosses, and as three of the four are right footed, crosses from the left are ideal to latch onto as the goal showed. Going 4-3-3 and having Mido and Defoe flanking Berbatov is a decent option when desperate, as we were last night, but is not something to start a game with. We do need a leftie who can thread balls behind a defence as our strikers are just made for such chances. Worryingly Downing seems the obvious option, but let’s hope Comolli’s greater knowledge can unearth someone better, and cheaper.

Its strange to be negative after a win in a cup quarter-final, so on the bright side Spurs are in the hat for the semi-final and if we get Wycombe it would be one of the most remarkable routes to a final ever. After a bye in the second-round, MK Dons in the third, Port Vale in the fourth and Southend in the Quarters, could Spurs be lucky enough to avoid top flight opposition all the way to the final? Its about time we had some luck, but no doubt it will be the goons or Chelsea and we’ll have a tough fight on our hands.

Its Newcastle on Saturday, and hopefully with a fresh King and Chimbonda as well as a fit Lennon, Spurs should get a positive result up there against the hapless Roeder’s bunch of mercenaries. A fit Dyer and a Duff with something to prove to Levy could be a worry, and we haven’t often come away with the points up there in recent times, but Spurs remembered how to win away last weekend, and are in good form with only two losses in the last twenty games now.

The Wadder.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Southend Preview

Spurs face Southend at White Hart Lane tonight in the Carling Cup Quarter Finals, one step away from securing a place in the two legged Semi Final and a chance for a trip to Cardiff and Martin Jol’s first piece of Silverware for the club. It’s all a long way off, and Spurs will hopefully just be concentrating on the Shrimpers, but as a fan you can’t help but look ahead and imagine some glory. The fact is it’s a great opportunity, and with Wycombe now possible opponents in a Semi Final it could all slot nicely into place.

Spurs will need to be wary of Freddy Eastwood, Southend’s hero from the win over Man Utd and best player by a country mile, but aside from him, so long as BMJ picks a strong side it should be an easy night at the Lane. Against Port Vale Spurs struggled in the main because of the weak side that was picked, Barcham and an out of form Defoe up front was never going to work, and the midfield and defence was in the main second string or players returning from injury. We are now that little bit closer to the silverware and have a great opportunity that should not be wasted, so Jol needs to go with the big guns from the start and take them off when the game is won. Doing it the other way around like he did against Port Vale is dangerous and very nearly cost us.

That said it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mido up front, and maybe Murphy in midfield if fit. BMJ has been subbing Chimbonda in recent games as well, he might be carrying an injury, so it could be Stalteri at right back, and maybe BAE will come in for YPL as it’s not a league game. Even with those changes, we should be too much for the Shrimpers, and the name Tottenham Hotspur should be in the hat for Saturday’s Semi Final Draw.

Come On You Spurs!

The Waddler.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Away Curse Finally Exorcised

Spurs finally put their away hoodoo to bed yesterday at the City of Manchester Stadium, where they have now won on each of their three visits. It is also twelve years since we have lost away to Man City, so if ever a fixture was required to break a curse then this was it. The other good omen, albeit one that flies in the face of logic, is that we always do well after playing in Europe – so now that is five wins and a draw out of six in the games that immediately followed our UEFA Cup exploits. With all these factors swimming around in the players heads, as well as the confidence from winning three games on the trot, they managed to forget that we hadn’t won away all season or scored from open play away from home, we were missing Dawson, Zokora, Keane, Lennon and Jenas, and that Man City hadn’t lost at home and had only conceded once.

Despite the form guide, Spurs looked very comfortable in the first half, and whilst they scored twice it could easily have been more with a Berbatov shot and a Malbranque scissor kick both cleared off the line. It was a cracking goal from Tom Huddlestone for the second and as mentioned on here in the review of the Charlton game he looks like he has the ability to score a few screamers each season, and he duly obliged with one a mere week later. The technique involved to hit the ball on the half volley like he did, and keep it down and yet powerful is very difficult, and he now has as many goals for Spurs as his predecessor Michael Carrick in about one fifth of the playing time. He still looks a little slow, but he sure is consistent and the facts speak for themselves – Spurs haven’t lost when Huddlestone has started.

The second half was always going to be different from the first. Peace reading City the riot act, Spurs holding on to what they had, and the toll of playing twice a week for ages meant that Spurs would tire and City rise. However, this Spurs team seem to be made of sterner stuff than the team that threw a three goal half time lead away to City a few years ago, and managed to hold on for that elusive away victory. Yes City could, maybe should, have had a penalty at the end, but Rob Stiles wasn’t going to do Spurs any favours so perhaps it didn’t look as nailed on as the TV made it out to be later on.

That is four wins out of four since we lost to our foes from South London at the Deathstar, so fair play to Jol and the team for reacting in the right way, and making up for that debacle. Spurs are now two points off fourth and three off third, with all teams having played eighteen games. We have already got the trips to Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates out of the way, as well as the nasty game at Bolton that no-one likes. So at nearly half way, sitting in seventh and on the rise, in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup, League Cup Quarters and the FA Cup to come, things are looking up. Berbatov and Defoe are finding the net, Huddlestone is finding his feet, and players are in the main out of the treatment room and getting back to full fitness (Keane and Jenas aside). We have a great squad, the new players like Chimbonda and Malbranque have settled and are really contributing to games and maybe with a choice addition of a midfield lefty, and a quality back-up centre back in the transfer window this team could be set for great things.

Southend at home up next in the Carling Cup, where nothing but a safe passage into the semi-final will do. Then with another nice draw, European football already safely assured for February/March, we can all dream of Cardiff, and banishing memories of 2002.

The Waddler.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Spurs have drawn Feyenoord in the next round of the UEFA Cup after stuffing Dinamo Bucharest 3-1 last night at White Hart Lane. Some good performances all round, and some more goals from Berbatov and Defoe who are now forming an effective partnership. The draw could have been kinder, but Feyenoord are currently 5th in the Dutch league, which is weak anyway, and they only scraped into third place in Blackburn’s group. If Spurs get through that round then they will play the winners of the Braga/Parma tie in the quarter finals. Crucially in both cases the away leg is first, allowing things to be completed at the Lane. It has been a job well done by Spurs, who can now concentrate on domestic matters until March, safe in the knowledge that European competition awaits next year.

The Waddler.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

THFC Appoint Sir Keith Mills

THFC have today announced the appointment of Sir Keith Mills as a non-executive director. Sir Keith was the CEO of the London 2012 Olympic Bid team, and is now the non-executive Deputy Chairman on the committee delivering the games. Sir Keith also runs his own company. Loyalty Management Group (LMG) operates the Nectar programme, the UK’s largest customer reward system, with 50 per cent of all households participating in the scheme. He was also the inventor of Air Miles. Sounds like an impressive man, so what does it mean to Spurs?

Firstly, what is a non-executive director? Well, he is a director who is not an employee of the company and who only dictates part of his available time to the company. It is usually a person with particular experience or skills who holds a seat on the board to exercise a steadying influence on board decisions. His legal obligations to the company and creditors of skill and honesty are the same as those of an executive director.

OK, so why have Spurs hired him? Based on his previous experiences with the 2012 Olympics it would almost certainly be for the re-development of White Hart Lane or its relocation. Having performed a miracle in winning the Olympics for London, clearly this man knows his stuff in terms of stadiums, locations etc but perhaps more importantly will hold great influence with the Mayor, the GLA and even the Government, and will be a powerful ally for THFC in terms of lobbying. Spurs have made a great deal about the local infrastructure in Tottenham not being suitable for an increased capacity stadium, and have requested with no avail for tube line extensions amongst other things, only for them to fall on deaf ears. Presumably, the thoughts are that Sir Keith’s influence may swing things in Spurs’ favour, and we may see a softening of the authorities’ stance.

Another interesting aspect to the appointment has been clarification on Spurs and the future Olympic Stadium, with Daniel Levy stating: “In light of the requirement for the Olympic stadium to retain a permanent athletics track, we are no longer considering this as an option.” Previously this hasn’t been mentioned in an official sense, with only some quotes from Damien Comolli appearing in the press along the same lines.

Another interesting line from the Official Statement is the line about “his breadth and depth of knowledge of international marketing and branding” and the quote from the man himself stating “I look forward to bringing my knowledge of sport and business to help the Club grow both domestically and internationally”. So it seems that another aspect to his role will be to increase the Tottenham Hotspur brand overseas. This is something than Man Utd in particular have looked to do in recent years, with their tours to the US and Far East, as well as tie ups with foreign clubs and companies. It will be interesting to see if Spurs follow a similar path.

The Waddler.

Monday, December 11, 2006

That's More Like It!

Spurs finally dished out the sort of spanking on Saturday that a team packed full of quality should administer from time to time. It was hapless Charlton who were the victims, blown apart by a ruthless Spurs side who seem to reserve the last home game before Christmas for banging in 5 golden goals, having demolished Wolves in December 2003 and Saints in 2004 by the same number.

The game didn’t look like a 5-1 to start with as Charlton really looked like they were going to go for it, with two strikers and a lively Andy Reid in the hole behind them, they had all the possession in the first twenty minutes without really threatening. Spurs seemed to struggle to get a foothold in the game, and it is with credit to Martin Jol that he switched things around, matching Charlton’s 4-3-1-2 formation by moving Lennon into a free role rather than leaving him on the right. It paid dividends almost instantly as Lennon threaded the ball through to Berbatov, who controlled the ball on his thigh and toe poked it past Carson and into the net. Teemu Tainio then hit a speculative effort a few minutes later which found its way through a crowd, wrong footed Carson, and into the net for 2-0.

Charlton were dead and buried already by that stage, and it was great to finally see Spurs carry on looking for more goals rather than sit back and defend. As a result Charlton caught them on the break, with Tainio failing to tackle Reid properly on the halfway line, the ex-Spur ran down the wing, beat Chimbonda and crossed the ball only for Dawson to deflect it past Robinson. It was the predictable goal before half time that Spurs so often seem to concede, but they came out for the second half as if it hadn’t happened.

The best goal of the game was the third, with Tainio chipping the ball into the area for Berbatov to nod down to Malbranque who controlled the ball on his chest before steering it in with his left foot. He was chuffed, understandably after opening his account for his new club, and ended up getting booked for celebrating with the crowd. It was superb play all round, and even the Charlton defenders stood and admired the quality on display. The fourth goal owed everything to Lennon’s barnstorming challenge in midfield, and when the ball came to Defoe he lashed it in from twenty yards. At 4-1 Spurs carried on going and Robbo finally realised that you don’t have to boot it up field every time, as he threw the ball superbly to Berbatov who carried the ball from halfway to the penalty area, and when his attempted square pass to Lennon bounced off the defender he decided to smack it in himself for the fifth.

In the Telegraph review of the game, they state that if Berbatov had pace he would be one of Europe’s top strikers. How quick do they want him to be? You can’t score a goal like his second yesterday without being quick, and his goal away to Besiktas took similar ability too. He is not as fast as Eto’o or Henry, but he is intelligent in a Sheringham like manner, and his close control and twinkle toes make up for raw pace in spades. He is also excellent in the air (which speed merchants don’t tend to be), as Malbranque’s goal proved and indeed his own against Brugge in front of the Paxton did as well. He has nine goals so far in all competitions, and that is having missed a few games at the start of the season, so if he can plunder twenty-plus in his first Premiership season, then people will have to acknowledge him as a top striker.

Once the fifth went in Spurs eased off the gas, and quite rightly so with the number of games coming up this month. Murphy came on for Steed, Mido for Berbs and Stalteri for the ever impressive Chimbonda, and all three were surely being wrapped up for Thursday’s UEFA group decider with Dinamo Bucharest. Hopefully this game will be a watershed for Jol’s management of the team, as here was a perfect example of what happens when you go for the second and third goals in a game rather than sit back and defend what you’ve got. Not only do the opposition crumble, but you can take your main men off for a bit of a rest and avoid injury. There is the added bonus of entertaining the crowd, which is the point after all.

The icing was nearly added to the Christmas cake when Tom Huddlestone had a twenty-five yard screamer just dip over the bar. They had been lining it up for a while, like a rugby team setting the fly-half for a drop goal, and his attempt was not far away at all. The crowd encourage him to shoot at every opportunity after his thunderbolt against Port Vale, and he looks like he has the ability to score a few screamers each season. It was a shame not to cap a great performance by him and the team, but you can’t be greedy after waiting 57 games for Spurs to score more than three goals in the league.

A cracking game, and let’s hope there’s more to come this season.

The Waddler.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Charlton Preview

Spurs actually have a home game on a Saturday at 3pm tomorrow which makes a refreshing change, but some things are always the same, and that is the injury list at Spurs Lodge. Robbie Keane is out for five to six weeks after damaging a ligament in his knee, Jermaine Jenas is out for four weeks, Gardner is still out, so is Davids by the look of it, and now to add to the misery Zokora is suspended for three games as well. On the plus side our Egyptian twosome Mido and Ghaly are back from injury and suspension respectively to bolster the squad.

Its bottom club Charlton that we entertain tomorrow, and the game on paper looks like a home banker – so that means Spurs will make hard work of it. That is just the Spurs way, but it won’t be helped by Charlton going the same route as Boro and coming for the draw, whilst Spurs, if and when they take the lead, will sit back and defend. We may as well just keep both sets of players in their own halves and have a staring contest for all the fun it’ll be.

So with the defence picking itself now that Lee has ousted BAE, and Keane’s injury allowing Defoe a nice little run in the side along side Berbatov, its really only the midfield where things are unclear. Tom Huddlestone has been in good form in recent weeks, and should be a cert for the holding role; likewise, if Lennon is fit he plays. Presumably, Malbranque will continue his rehabilitation on the left flank, leaving the main question as who will partner Thudd in the middle? Ghaly has to be a good shout as he was playing constantly before his red card at Blackburn, but then Jol went for Tainio against the Gooners. It should come down to one of those two, unless he thinks Murphy is worth a go against his old club.

Three points are a must against dross like Charlton, but we will need to keep an eye on old boy Andy Reid who is proving that he is not a left winger by playing well in the middle and earning rave reviews. Darren Bent is also one to watch as he is on the edges of the England squad and lethal finisher. An eye also needs to be kept on the fixture list as we are now entering the busy period, and with injuries to key men such as Keane and Jenas already, some careful rotation will be the order of the day, if not tomorrow then shortly. It will be interesting to see how Jol picks the team that plays Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday as he balances the health of the squad with the need to entertain the fans who have paid category A prices to watch a largely irrelevant game. Tomorrow is the third of ten games in thirty days and we’ve already had three casualties (Keane, Jenas and Zokora), so we could do with coming away unscathed tomorrow.

Come On You Spurs!

The Waddler.

THFC Power Brokers – Part Two: Paul Kemsley

The second part of The Waddler’s three part series on Tottenham Hotspur’s power brokers is finally here, and this time it’s the turn of the number two at Spurs, Vice Chairman Paul Kemsley. In Part One the links between Daniel Levy, Paul Kemsley and Joe Lewis were explained from a business perspective. In terms of information about the man himself, that is very thin on the ground.

Paul Kemsley, or “PK” as he likes to be called is a self-made man who has made much of his money from property. He runs Rock Investments which incidentally is half owned by Joe Lewis through a vehicle called Rapallo, of which a certain Daniel Levy is an executive director. He recently found himself in the business pages due to a particularly impressive deal, where he and HSBC made a profit of more than £30 million in just five months. Rock bought and then sold the Grade I-listed former headquarters of Midland Bank on Poultry in the City of London, whose vaults featured in the James Bond film Goldfinger in 1964 (see The Times for more info). He has this week seen his name bandied about again on speculation that he is involved in buying a chunk of a company building property around the new Wembley Stadium (see this in the FT for more info on that deal).

Rock came to prominence a couple of years ago when it became involved in a high profile takeover battle for Countryside Properties. Countryside’s chairman and founder, Alan Cherry, had tabled an offer to take the business private when it emerged that Kemsley was interested in making an offer as well. He built up a 28.5% stake in the company, and Cherry was forced to raise his offer to ensure he could complete the deal. Kemsley made £12m on the share gain even though it was reported that his bid had “failed”. Presumably, all that profit must have helped soften the blow.

Kemsley is also involved in a profit-sharing deal with THFC whereby they have agreed to pay him 15% of any profits the club makes from its property investments. Its a deal that has caused a stir among fans, but which Levy defends as a fair return for the work Kemsley will do. Spurs have been buying land around White Hart Lane bit by bit to create a larger footprint for the stadium if they decide to stay, and of course have been involved in land deals in Essex and Enfield in recent years in their quest to find a location for a new training ground. Clearly this is Kemsley’s game, and judging by the Poultry and Countryside deals, the man knows value when he sees it. If Spurs can make tidy profits on property, and that gets funnelled back into THFC, then it can only be good for Spurs.

Aside from Property it seems Kemsley’s other big interest is in gambling, in particular online gambling, where he has taken positions in a number of quoted businesses. Gaming VC, Party Gaming, Betex and Gaming Corporation, have had PK’s money recently, although his biggest success has been with a 17.5% stake in Fun Technologies, who make skill games, which allow customers to play solitaire, chess and other games for money. Unlike casino games or sports betting, it is legal in America. He also has high hopes for a new betting business to be launched next year, called A Right Result, which will allow people to bet on the outcome of a series of football matches and answer a number of questions for a £1 stake and the possibility of winning thousands.

He doesn’t just like gambling as a business opportunity though, he is by all accounts a big player on the London poker circuit, where recently at a tournament he plonked $150,000 on the table and declared that whatever he won he would donate to charity. Unsurprisingly he had the full support of much of the crowd after that. He also owns a racehorse with Harry Redknapp called Sunshine Rays.

Interestingly, Paul Kemsley is the link between the old and new regimes at Spurs, as he is an Alan Sugar man too, appearing on BBC’s Apprentice as one of Sugar’s hit men in the semi final episodes of both series. Sugar introduced him saying “he's a very smart young businessman and I value his perception”. He is also big pals with Philip Green, the owner of BHS and Top Shop and another wealthy Spurs fan (as is Sugar). He came across as very brash and confident on the Apprentice, but did come out with some great one-liners such as “If you go out of this office down to the Peugeot salesroom you’ll find four Pauls in there – and three of them will be wearing nicer suits.”

So he knows lots of the right people, he seems to be a very shrewd investor, and apparently loves Spurs and loves being Vice Chairman of Spurs. Maybe then he could take over from Levy and take the hot seat himself one day? He’d certainly know lots of the right people to ask for advice, and if he keeps making the sort of money that he has done so far, he may even be able to buy the club himself. He looks like a man to keep an eye on.

The Waddler.

Spurs for Sale?

A rather speculative article in the Independent has appeared today suggesting that Spurs could be for sale at somewhere between £200 and £300 million, along with a host of other Premiership clubs. There are no direct quotes, and no evidence is given for why they seem to think that this would be the case, but with the recent share price rise, maybe there is fire to go with their smoke?

The rise in the share price couldn’t have been to do with the PLC’s results which were released today, showing profits down, but revenue up for the year. Turnover increased by £3.5million to £74.1million while operating profits
before football trading and depreciation dropped by £10million from £14.6million to £4.6million. So where has the £10m gone? It must have been spent, and presumably has gone on securing property around White Hart Lane, and the costs of the proposed training ground in Enfield.

Next year’s figures should be far tastier, with the Carrick sale and extra revenues from the UEFA Cup included, plus the monies from Puma and MANSION rolling in. There is no doubt that everyone has a price, and Levy and Lewis must have discussed an exit strategy at some point like all good businessmen do, but if they hold on a little longer, with the club making strides on and off the field, they could get a far greater return on their investment. However, the Independent is right to suppose that if someone came in and bought the club for £300m now, Levy and Lewis would bite their hand off, and why not?

The Waddler.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

THFC Share Price Heads North

Something is afoot at THFC Plc, as the share price has gone through the roof this week. The FT is speculating that the move is due to Liverpool’s proposed takeover by the Dubai group but can this really be the case? Football clubs are being taken over all the time – why didn’t the price rocket when West Ham were taken over or Aston Villa for that matter?

The preference shares have traded at the exact same price from January up until last week, but this week are up more than 12%. The main shares are now at levels not seen since before the internet bubble burst in 2000 taking all the FTSE down with them. They have now massively out-performed the FTSE All Share this year, so its not just a case of all boats rising with the tide. The volumes are far higher than usual too, with more shares changing hands than normal.

There’s something in this, possibly to do with property deals, or maybe someone has got a whiff of a takeover approach? Who knows, maybe some news will emerge soon.

The Waddler.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reparation Begins

There was a muted atmosphere at White Hart Lane last night coming as it did so soon after the appalling North London Derby. The first half did little to help the mood of the crowd, as Boro came for a point with a 5-4-1 formation and Spurs seemed to be clueless as to how to break them down. There were some who booed the team off at half time, and BMJ also must have let his feelings known as Spurs started the second period in much better form. Another lovely goal from Berbatov to add to his growing collection came almost right away, but it looked like Spurs might be made to pay for Defoe’s profligacy in front of goal when Boro went very close and then finally equalised with ten minutes left after a goalmouth scramble.

It would have been harsh on Spurs to have left with only a point, as despite not playing very well they had the majority of the possession and created a fair few chances, particularly in the second half. Once Huth’s equaliser went in people began to head for the exits toward the late night trains, but those who stayed were rewarded with a fine finish from Robbie Keane. It was quick thinking from the increasingly impressive Huddlestone, who tapped a free kick to Robbie who then simply lashed it in from twenty yards. Robbie Keane is often best when he doesn’t have to think about what to do in those situations, and this was one where his instinct was to simply belt it, and thankfully it paid off.

Spurs were doing their now usual sit back, defend the lead and counter attack for most of the second half, and once again it nearly backfired as the second goal just didn’t seem to want to come. Boro defended well, and Schwartzer pulled off some excellent saves to deny Defoe in particular. But once Keane came on Spurs had the impetus back and the goal came within minutes of Boro’s equaliser. Its simple really – attack and you’ll score, defend and you’re less likely to. One day Jol will have an epiphany and realise this, and it can’t come soon enough for the paying faithful.

The downer to the evening was the red card handed out to Zokora which didn’t look too good on the Sky Sports replays later on, but he was only trying to defend little Aaron Lennon and shouldn’t be judged too harshly. Robbie Keane went off with a hobble shortly after scoring and hopefully hasn’t done any damage as we’d be low on strikers with Mido currently out. From the game on Saturday to Pompey away on Jan 1st, Spurs are playing ten games in thirty days, and will need fit strikers. That said, Defoe looks like he needs a run of games to work himself into some form. There were signs of some nice link-up play with him and Berbatov last night, and the chances are starting to be created, they just aren’t going in, yet. Jol should go with the same two against Charlton regardless of the fitness of Keane and Mido, and let them see whether there is something worth working at. Robbie is effective from the bench and can also play deeper or wider, so gives BMJ more options than Defoe, who simply needs to be scoring to do his job for the team.

Half of this week’s reparation work has been completed, now three more points on Saturday and safe passage secured atop our UEFA Cup group next week, and the memories of the derby defeat will start to fade. The players and the fans have not fully made up yet, but by the end of the evening the icy barrier had thawed somewhat, and cordial relations at least had resumed. Two wins out of the next two games and we’ll all be bosom buddies again.

The Waddler.

Monday, December 04, 2006


An awful, gutless display was given by Spurs on Saturday, in the biggest of games, leaving all fans both bewildered and angry. The players didn’t seem up for the game, there was no fighting spirit, and whilst all three goals conceded were from dodgy refereeing decisions, it did not hide the fact that this was the worse performance for a very long time. They were there for the taking and Spurs choked.

There needs to be an inquest at the club because it was simply unacceptable, especially against our main rivals – the one game you want the team to give their all. The blame for a lack of spirit goes equally to the players and the management who are supposed to motivate them, but the negative tactics and complete lack of attacking ideas are down to Jol and Houghton and someone, Levy or Comolli, needs to formally tell them that it was not good enough.

They have two home games this week in which to bounce back, and only two wins will be acceptable after Saturday’s appalling “effort”.

Yours disgusted, The Waddler.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Arse Wars Episode 06/07: A New Hope?

The Rebel Alliance (Spurs) will tomorrow fly into the Deathstar (Emirates Stadium) to tackle Darth Wenger and Emperor Dein’s red and white Stormtroopers, hoping for a victory that will bring down the evil empire. It’s been a while since the last battle won by the good guys, the White Knights of North London, but they are always victorious in the end and we have to keep faith. With little Aaron Lennon who has the speed of the Millennium Falcon, and our very own Hans Solo (Berbatov), we have the guile and cunning as well to defeat the bad guys.

Enough of the Star Wars references and onto the football, it is a difficult game to call tomorrow, with so many factors influencing the result. In terms of form, it has to go with Spurs who have lost one in fourteen, as opposed to the Gooners who have lost two on the spin. Then again our away record is poor, and they haven’t lost in the new place yet. But they haven’t played that well there either, and Henry might be out, and so will Gallas and Senderos, leaving them weakened at the front and back. Spurs have almost everyone fit and raring to go, and have new hope and conviction after dispensing with Chelsea, finally ridding the team of the label about not being able to beat the top four. We have had all week to prepare and they have had two days, but when do they lose three on the trot? It’s such a tough one to call, yet the bookies have us as 3/1 or 4/1 shots and when are they wrong?

Even the most lilywhite-tinted spectacle wearing Spurs fan, the guy that starts the “stand up if you hate...” chants in the Park Lane each week, even he would admit that Wenger has brought some quality players to the club over the years. In Henry and Fabregas they have a couple of players that historically would have been more suited to the cavalier and flair of Spurs rather than the dour effectiveness of them lot. There are things to admire there, even van Persie looks like a good player, but it’s the way they go about their business that makes them so dislikeable, they are bad winners and losers, and Wenger shoots his mouth off all the time and somehow gets away with it. After they lost to Fulham in mid-week he was already getting his excuses in about tomorrow, complaining how we had more time to prepare, but that they would still win. BMJ should stick those comments on the wall of the away dressing room tomorrow and fire the players up some more. Lets hope he uses some nasty tape that pulls the paint off the wall when he does it. Lets also hope that if Wenger squares up to him again Jol puts him away properly this time.

Spurs don’t tend to like a rough and tumble sort of match but if there is one team that likes it even less then it is Wenger’s Nancy Boys, who were out-muscled by Bolton and Fulham in their last two games, and as Corporal Jones used to say “they don’t like it up ‘em”! Hopefully Spurs would have worked this out through our detailed scouting, so BMJ will go with as combative a line-up as possible tomorrow. In reality, with Mido injured and Davids rubbish these days, this probably involves someone like Tainio playing centrally – he likes to get stuck in and tackle people. A partnership of he and Zokora should do the business and with Chimbonda also around to ruffle some feathers we may have the edge in that side of things. Whether that will be enough we won’t know until tomorrow, but so long as we get a fair rub of the green from the referee, and Berbatov gets some space to work in and Lennon destroys whatever left back they field again we should be OK.

Its never a good game to watch, and there tends to be little upside, but Spurs should enjoy that nice big Emirates pitch rather than the narrow confines of Highbury and with our excellent away support no doubt making all of the noise, it really, really could happen.

Come On You Spurs! May the force be with you.

The Waddler.