1. Niko Kranjcar is not Claude Makelele
When I walked into White Hart Lane and discovered that we were playing Niko Kranjcar alongside Luka Modric, it was instantly obvious that we would lose. I like Kranjcar, but the only positions I want to see him play in for Spurs are out on the left, or possibly in the Van der Vaart position behind a lone striker. Sure, he can do a job in central midfield against Hearts, but Hearts are rubbish. On the evidence of Sunday, Manchester City are now one of the best teams in Europe.
Everyone sat around me knew that it was suicide to play Kranjcar there alongside a diminutive player like Luka Modric, who has wanted a transfer all summer and was making his first appearance of the season. If us mugs in the stands could work that out, then why couldn’t the heir-apparent to Fabio Capello? When you consider that Harry Redknapp also had the advantage of knowing that Modric had requested to be left out before the game, it is baffling that he selected such a powderpuff midfield duo to compete against City’s powerhouses.
2. Redknapp should have his tongue surgically removed
While we’re on the subject of Modric not wanting to play, why on earth did Redknapp think that this was something that should be casually thrown into a post-match interview? There’s a maxim in football that what goes on in the dressing room should stay there, but that clearly doesn’t apply when a blabbermouth like Harry is around.
And why is that? Why is the manager of our football club saying things that are likely to damage team morale and create mountains of headlines that Spurs just don’t need? As ever, it’s because our manager will do anything to protect his own reputation. To that end, the best thing he can do is to shut his mouth and work on improving our results.
3. The kids care
When Modric was substituted after a limp performance, young Jake Livermore was brought on in his place. The Tottenham youth product was our best player once he was on the pitch. He wanted the ball and worked so hard, that his endeavour seemed to rub off on his teammates and our overall performance improved as a result.
It makes you wonder who we’d rather see wearing the Tottenham shirt, week in, week out. Do we want someone like Modric, who is a brilliant player, but has treated the club with disdain, or someone like Livermore – a local lad who clearly cares?
4. Doing your business early pays off
Look at how Manchester United conducted their business during the summer transfer window. They were buying players in late-May. As a result their new signings have had the benefit of a pre-season to bed in and already look like a coherent unit.
Then look at the way that we do our business. We had to face Manchester United and City without key personnel – either because of injury, ‘heads not being right’, or simply because we haven’t signed them yet. If we wanted Scott Parker and Lassana Diarra then there’s really little reason why we couldn’t have already signed them and have had them playing on Sunday. We might have still lost with those two playing together, but it probably wouldn’t have been 5-1.
We might save a few million, but what we’ve lost are points. Who knows how long it will be before we are back to winning ways. We have signed a good striker in Emmanuel Adebayor, but he will need time to regain fitness and match sharpness, which is precisely what the pre-season period is intended for.
5. It could be you…
“Where were you when you were shit?” sang a portion of the Spurs crowd to the away end. They were watching their team play the likes of Colchester and Chesterfield actually. You can accuse Manchester City fans of many things, but being fickle isn’t one of them. They watched their team in great numbers when they went down to League 1, just like the Tottenham faithful did when our club was relegated in the seventies.
We’re both proper clubs with loyal support. They’ve just got a lot more money than us and a better manager. One day in the future, when Spurs have got themselves a shiny new stadium (somewhere), we’ll probably be an attractive proposition to equally rich benefactors. It’s the way that football is going unfortunately, but it’s not the fault of the City fans that their team has been fortunate enough to win the football lottery.