The Blog that's not always wrong.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Grounds for Optimism

Hoodoo Dragon only half dead I'm afraid.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 I had this pretty piece all ready in my head after the Borussia Dortmund win at Wembley  in the week in the Champions' league. A nagging doubt and second thoughts stopped me from posting it born of a long devotion to Tottenham.

You know the stuff: brilliant tactical Managership; fine performance; Dragons slain; myths put to bed; onwards and upwards; Harry world class; didn't miss Dele; defining week; blah blah blah.

Definite grounds for optimism, Wembley included at this point. but like politics a week is a long time and anything can happen. Actually 4 days in this case

Now of course all this is true and yet and yet. I am now puzzled over team selection and tactics against Swansea who we beat 5-0 last year at the Lane and 3-1 away and a little angry over the way we played.

But poor decisions and the crossbar and some excellent keeping by Fabiansky were the difference between a win and a draw. But in the minds of the Press the Wembley Hoodoo lives on at least in the Premiership.

We used the first half as a warm up for the real thing and Swansea had time to hone and perfect their game plan. I'm not sure that their bus won't require towing away: more broken down than parked.

Against Borussia Dortmund we looked prepared and as if we knew what we were doing, pressing higher in the second half . Against Swansea we didn't look at at all sure about anything. 

Sissoko starting is never a good sign though he played as well as some. Trippier at left back is a stretch; bringing on Llorente and then ignoring him was just silly.

Six defenders at times against a team that didn't come to play is a waste. Resting players that could have been given next week off and not making full use of substitutes only Mauricio can explain.

So did we underestimate Swansea and not play at full pace and at full strength after a fine performance in midweek? Were we complacent? Did Mauricio overthink things? Were we just unlucky?

Some or all of the above? It was certainly an opportunity missed in so many ways and the slumbering Wembley Hoodoo Dragon lives on to breath fire for another day.

In the final analysis Trippier and Sissoko are not good enough, though Keiran is more effective on the right and Sissoko through the middle. Dele is not quite with us currently though not as bad as some are making out.

Aurier was good against Dortmund and lively in his limited appearance yesterday. Sanchez was excellent midweek but a bit ragged marking shadows on Saturday. Kane was inspired in the CL and unlucky against Swansea.

Son was lively in both games. He scored from a narrow angle against Dortmund but his attempt to do the same against Swansea was well saved. Eriksen shoulders the full burden of creativity when Dele is not quite fully on his game.

We are certainly better against teams that come to play. But our build up is too slow and we still lack movement and invention in the final third. Harry's hard work can't do everything.

Swansea's defence was packed and effective but Dortmund's was not in the same class as its attack. An unfortunate blip certainly but whether it is more than this or signs of a worrying trend remains to be seen.

We started slowly last year too and it won't be until at least ten games before we can make any assessment but we are already points and goal difference down, 1 point above Arsenal but one below below Newcastle.

With Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all drawing the damage is not quite as bad as it could have been. But the 'Manchesters' are striding away in some style.

It's been the Tottenham way for decades: two steps forward: one step back, and it certainly feels like it this week after a fine start at away to Everton and then a home win against Dortmund.

Is it just the fact that is not White Hart Lane and that a move to any new venue would have unsettled us. Has it come just at the wrong moment after our wonderful record last year.

Watch this...........space. On the bright side we didn't lose, kept a clean sheet and we're still fifth.

Jimmy's Video spot:
 Serge Aurier: Welcome to Spurs.

Victor and Serge will compete for the 'Tough Guy Challenge' and probably for the 'Yellow and Red Card Stakes' too. But the boy has made an impressive start.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Limited selection choices at Tottenham

Someone's taken out all the soft centres.
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The Jimmy G2 Column.
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But anyway I'm keeping faith with the Danish pastry: the thinking man's confectionery.

So the Top of the Bill event fizzled out in embarrassment as the home town contenders failed to turn up. Spurs won without breaking sweat for their second away victory and another clean sheet.

Perhaps we could play all our home games away. Oh I forgot we already do. Apart from the first 20 minutes which were scrappy we dominated once again and could and should have won by more.

Dele missed the proverbial sitter, Sissoko should have scored and Harry scored a couple, one lucky, one superb and missed a couple too. 7 points out of 12, only one less than last year and sitting in fifth again.

Rumours of our demise have been much exaggerated. Ben Davies reborn after a decent run of games in Danny Rose's absence vied with Eriksen for MOM. This formation suits him and encourages him to go forward.

What exactly is the formation? 3331/3511/ 3421 or whatever. Answers on a foolscap sheet. But essentially it's fluid and suits our current squad.

New boy Sanchez looked mean and sensibly played it safe alongside Verts and Toby at the back although they and Hugo were barely troubled. One shot on target by Everton tells the story.

Sissoko starting in his more natural position in central midfield surprised everyone by being not at all bad apart from straying offside when it mattered and  displaying his poor touch and inability to score when well placed.

But he cleared a path through the undergrowth for Eriksen  who used the time and space  positively once again. Harry did his September thing, Dier played better too and only Dele was a little sloppy.

Rooney got frustrated chasing shadows and took it out on Dele but was ignored: not even a defiant gesture from New England to the ghost of Old England.

Dembele was presumably rested for The Champions' League fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday and was hardly noticed when he eventually came on. But by then Everton were mentally back in the dressing room.

So Mauricio. called it right and the Transfer Window wasn't quite so bad after all. Aurier might make an appearance on Wednesday and even Llorente either alongside or ahead of Harry with Dele still suspended.

We have options all over the place and Spurs once famed soft centre is looking pretty hard and crunchy these days and that's without Wanyama.

Seen and Heard:
Spurs last 4 away: beat Leicester 6-1, Hull 7-1, Newcastle 2-0, Everton 3-0. +16 is top flight's best goal diff over 4 away games since the century before last. Not even I remember that. 


Jimmy's Video Spot.
Welcome to Tottenham Fernando Llorente. Welcome indeedy.You wanted experience this boys got it. World Cup winner with Spain.

At 30 doesn't quite fit our normal profile. But scored 15 in 33 appearances for Swansea last year. Needs early game time and could perhaps play alongside.

In case you were wondering Vincent Janssen has gone to Fenerbache on loan having turned down a permanent move to Brighton. He's still ours and we wish him all the best.


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Incoming: Transfer Rumour Free Zone Exclusive.


I'm with Aesop.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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So it's all true. We are jinxed at Wembley and Harry Kane can't score in August. We are all doomed I tell you. Doomed. If  matches were only 85 minutes long we'd be jostling for top.

The Hoodoo Fairy not only visited the Home dressing room to plant her seeds of doubt in the player's minds especially Harry's  but popped into the Away teams as well to tell them to hang in there and all would be well.

Well that's how we played anyway: no pace, passion or belief from the start. Even when Dele scored what should have been the winner he couldn't find the energy to celebrate.

Burnley were inspired by playing at Wembley but also playing against a top team. All teams want our feather in their caps. Even Chelsea parked the bus. It's a tribute of sorts I suppose.

But we had enough of the ball and chances to win both. Do they have any awards for the slowest build up in football like they did for slow bicycle races that I remember from my youth?

The team is in need of a pacemaker as well as another playmaker to help Eriksen.. Only Son has real pace from the starting squad yesterday and he was mainly motion but no notion as he sometimes is.

Lloris redeemed himself with a couple of sharp saves and a sweeper keeper tackle, otherwise meltdown would have been all over the fan-sites. Other than Verts everyone was a couple of  degrees south of meh.

Dele played OK but Erikesen amd Dembele didn't approach the heights of last week and when Eriksen is quiet Spurs are quiet. Heaton thwarted Harry on more than a couple of occasions.

Trippier went frequently AWOL but Sissoko at least gave a decent impression of a footballer. We were mainly pedestrian and uninspiring. But no-one could accuse us of ever being fast out of the blocks lately

Points from first three games from Season 2010/11:

17/18 - 4/9
16/17 - 5/9
15/16 - 3/9
14/15 - 6/9
13/14 - 6/9
12/13 - 2/9
11/12 - 3/9
          10/11 - 4/9          
(Thanks to Danners9 on Spurs Community)

Whether this is because we rarely get our buying done early and get a full pre-season with a whole squad I don't know but it's nothing new and not a cause of major despair. Yet.

 4 from the 9 points available is bang average for us over the last eight years. It would be so calming to win the first three but we have surely learned to live with it.

After all we drew with a team that beat Champion's Chelsea and outplayed the team that thumped us 5-1. So victory may well go to the brave (To dare is to do or whatever after all) but the race is not always won by the swiftest (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Just as well really as we don't have anyone with that explosive burst of pace to get them clear. But  there's another 48 hrs of the Transfer window left yet: plenty of time in Dan Levy's never too late world.

As Cryff once said: “You play football with your head, and your legs are there to help you.” and the Wembley thing is all in the mind and the papers. Clear your heads boys and let the ball and your legs do the talking.

It's not WHL certainly and the atmosphere is different but the pitch is the same size as most in the Premiership. Soon, very soon, I hope, the place will become a fortress. 

Musings got its fingers burned last time with transfer speculation so we're not going there again especially after Sancho's change of heart. Incomings may be likely but we are waiting for the cardboard cutout. 

Did we get one for Davinson? Perhaps a group photo at the end of the window, or is this a tactical change by Mauricio. Another profit on the window looks likely. More income than incoming.

Rose and Lamela might add the vital pace and be like new signings. If they both stay!

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Davinson Sanchez:
This one's done, he even played two minutes, Not sure why. Strong, quick, good in the air and from Ajax. What's not to like. Will he score more than anyone else in the back four? Worth a punt.

 So good they show everything at least twice. Most humiliating? Not sure what that's all about.


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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Curses, Jinxes, Hoodoo's: Hot Rumours and Hot Facts.

 Mauricio on the Poop deck and Spurs going down fighting.
Not HMS Victory unfortunately
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 A significant day and opportunity at our new temporary home but not at this stage of the season a defining one. Except perhaps in the minds of the the more extreme fans.

Harry could have put the August curse to rest but didn't. Though at this stage he's not worried. He has been Golden Boot winner for two years running without finding the net until September.

He must be a fair bet to score on Sunday at home to  Burnley though, curses, jinxes and hoodoos notwithstanding

He had a record eight shots against Chelsea and hit the post with a fine drive as he did against Newcastle so you can't say he's not trying. That's 34 shots in eight August games. What we need is a penalty.

Another chance to break the Wembley jinx in the Premiership came and went. Against Champions Chelsea which makes the defeat all the more frustrating but there are easier games to come.We will play much worse and win.

We dominated the game but not the Chelsea makeshift defence, We had more shots and corners and 68% possession. Luiz in midfield out Wanyama'd Victor who played poorly, losing or miscontrolling the ball too often.

The only superiority Chelsea had over was on fouls as usual. They are perhaps more ruthless and street-wise than us and a little less naive. Are we cursed, jinxed or hoodooed against Chelsea?

I would have taken the draw before, during (and after) the game at this stage of the season.

Crucially it was  Luiz that mugged Wanyama in the build up to the winning goal with two minutes to go. The ball out to him from Lloris is a frequent manouevre but he was further out than normal and being closed down.

Hugo compounded his error by allowing a shot from Alonso to go under his body at the near post. De Gea and many other keepers would have kicked it away.

Earlier Alonso had scored from a brilliant free kick. We didn't even get on the score-sheet as Batshuayi scored an own goal.  We pressed well for the 20 minutes before and 30 minutes after half time.

The first 25 minutes was choppy water and Morata missed what should have been an easy chance for him, heading wide unmarked from six yards in the first five minutes.

We lacked speed of thought and movement in the final third and Mauricio should have hauled off Victor who looked off the pace and his game and replaced him with Winks or Son much earlier.

I'm still on the 'pissed off/disappointed spectrum at the moment but there are plenty of positives. 'To dare is to do'  after all and I prefer Spurs to go down fighting with guns blazing than playing the percentages game.

But the time for 'daring' and 'doing' was from the kick off as well as in the last ten minutes. We set up much too negatively against a team with its own missing key players: Dembele, Dier and Wanyama together is defensive overkill.

Too many cannon balls: not enough close quarter grappling arms, rapiers and pikes. The easy way on Sunday was to win the game, for Harry to score, settle some old scores and set fair for the League and beyond.

But as we know that is not the Spurs way and we will have to wait a little longer for the smoke to clear before the path  is fully revealed. Until then we wait to step up from a mere 'ship of the line' to flagship HMS Victory

Meanwhile the battle of Hugo's reputation will continue. Best in the Premiership? Probably not. Faultless?  Which keeper is ? He has a problem with distribution but not crucially on Sunday. Several were slow to respond.

Trival Pursuits.
When was the last time that we lost to two goals from a left back? Or any full back?

Hot Rumours.
By the time you read this 17yr.old Jadon Sancho might have signed from Man. City for 3 million. Or not as the case may be. 'Sancho' you fools, not 'Sanchez'.

Although Davison Sanchez has already signed from Ajax, for a club record of 40ish million and now confirmed, with Aurier from PSG imminent and Sesssegnon and Barkley for the last day. Add an Argentinian keeper from Southampton.

 The log-jam has moved and Daniel is asking for the return of his credit card as soon as his wallet is found. Mr.President you are spoiling us. Where will we put them all?

Hot Fact.
Kyle Walker Peters has signed a new Contract until 20/20. Perfect vision from Spurs.

Jimmy'sVideo Spot.
A week to go and no videos of actual signings to hand but there will be next time, so here's Moussa Dembele back to something like fitness and form. Fan favourite and MOM against Chelsea.

More skills and strength than goals and assists but credit where credit is due and five minutes of strong meat. The 'Warrior' indeed.


Friday, 18 August 2017

It's All kicked Off.


A smooth take off but there could be turbulence ahead.

The JimmyG2 Column. 
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Tables stowed, window blinds open, arm-rests down and seat-belts fastened: here we go; here we go. At last we're up and running or rather up and flying after Newcastle.

As you can tell I've just flown back from holiday. Watched first game in a vast pub with more screens than fans but very decent beer and smoked salmon sandwiches to not exactly die for but to sustain serious injury for at least.

So it's all kicked off. Away from home for the opener; revenge calmly extracted; a clean sheet, another Academician not only selected but doing well; Erikson on form with two assists and good signs nearly everywhere.

Newcastle were innocuous and had the cheek to jeer  Sissoko after pocketing our 30 million. Insult to injury comes to mind. Dele having done very little made one of his instinctive runs to convert an Erikson cross and the rest is history.

Even Davies, clearly bored at full back ventured into the penalty area and got on the end of a snappy, Dele, Harry and Christian exchange to score. That's two in two games.

Had it not been August Harry might have had a couple but could only hit the keeper and a post. If they had gone in we would be top of the league but it's a bit  early, don't you think, to get over-excited about that.

Many made Kyle Walker Peters the MOM especially the Press who love a talking up point and the boy played well. But MOM I think not although he might be some day soon.

Eriksen announced his presence early this season with two assists and an excellent overall performance on Sunday and in pre-season and was clearly MOM. Sorry Kyle but your day will come.

Dembele verged on the imperious and if he can stay injury free will make a major contribution this season. His midfield partner Dier was clearly saving himself for better things and hardly registered.

Lloris kept awake but wasn't really required but he might be busier on Sunday. Verts and Toby went through the motions but like Hugo were barely tested. In fact it was a stroll in St.James Park.

Pre-season brings to mind our first victory this season at Wembley against Juventus (edit). Kane and Eriksen scored and Juventus didn't and this went some way to obliterate the loss to Man City from the collective memory.

Another game referred to as a 'meaningless' friendly but that's only if you lose. We took some good things from the game and they will stand us in good stead this season.

 Even the other Moussa didn't have a poor game which is a big step forward. KWP went some way to erase the hurt of of Kyle Walker's sale.

They were wasteful when chances occurred but Harry and Sissoko hit the woodwork and there was evidence of slick interplay between Kane, Dele and Eriksen again which will hopefully be a feature this season.

Lloris was sound and Trippier crossed beautifully first time for Harry's headed opener. He's out for a month but with the arrival of KWP and the flexibility of Dier do we need to splash unnecessary cash?

The arrival of Ajax centre half, young gifted and quick, Sanchez gives us necessary back up if Wimmer goes to W.Brom. We've got 90 million in hand so far, less whatever we paid for Davison Sanchez.

On the other hand I read six weeks ago that Barkley was a 'done deal' and it may yet be but I doubt it
at the current prices and wages.

So no Wembley jinx for Sunday, no trouble in the camp after Danny Rose's outspokenness and rehabilitation, signings signed; so bring it on Mr. Conte. (1-1 Spurs)

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The tenth academy player  to make his debut under Mauricio. Does the simple things quickly. We may get a clearer view if he starts against Chelsea.

 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Money to waste and time to spare.

80 million spare cash and plenty of time.





 The JimmyG2 Column.
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Involved in quality competition and we are just about holding our own. Eriksen has settled early; Vincent has scored from a N'Koudou assist; more youngsters are blooded and so far unbowed. Proper football returns.

These games are being disparagingly referred to as pointless 'friendlies' by some. But Danni Alves reaction to being tormented by N'Koudou and Jese's hack on Dele were far from friendly.

It's not the Champions' league by any shot but it is a good opportunity for the established players to get up to speed and for the youngsters and fringers to lay out their wares and state their claims.

Dele and Harry Kane are still a bit Ibiza Beachy but Harry  reacted well and got fired up when he was denied a clear penalty against Roma's Fazio. Rings a bell though somewhat dimly.

We got the rub of the green when PSG shot themselves in the head and had their keeper sent off soon after half time. Against ten men we were calm controlled and ran out easy winners. (4-2).

Not so against Roma where the referee spoilt the game and gave them a silly penalty against Cameron Carter Vickers for a ball to hand moment early on and then denied us an even more blatant one.

However Roma were slicker than us and without Eriksen in the first half we looked a little pedestrian. They won following a foul on CCV in extra time. (3-2)

Several youngsters and own grown appeared and were several shades of competent. CCV got the most criticism but he's still young (19) and playing in the most difficult position for the inexperienced.

Josh Onomah who seems to be next in line to step up was played out of position again but to me has all the makings. Ashley-Booth is well liked and looks talented and Walker-Peters  played pretty well.

The Academy are only taking on applicants with double barrelled names currently but 20yr Anthony Georgiou popped up surprisingly after a season or two of injuries and made a good impression against Roma.

Highlight off the pitch was Mauricio being sent off but not going because he apologised and said to the ref. 'Come on nobody can understand what we're saying in Spanish, let it go'. And he did.

'Soft words turneth away wrath' as they say. He also scored a wonder goal in training and was dignified in comments about Conte's out of order questioning of our ambition.

When your playing a hand stacked with stolen oil money a little humility wouldn't go amiss. Mauricio is the man! However all this is by way of distraction from the final game of the Champions' Cup in America.

We were well beaten by Man. City who out-pressed us. Correction: they pressed and we didn't. 3-0 and it could easily have been more: much more. Not sure that anyone except the keepers deserve a mention in dispatches.

Dele had a couple of half chances; Harry Kane blazed a decent one over; N'Koudou looked lively; Trippier put in a couple of decent crosses; Eriksen went close from a free kick. Other than that it was mainly City.

Kompany roughed up Dele and this might be a feature this season. As long as he keeps calm and they take their eyes off  Christian we might prosper.

City look strong, especially with Walker at full back. (Editor: Leave it Jimmy that ship has sailed) and a host of shiny expensive talents old and new. Jesus missed a tap in and Aguero hit both posts. De Bryne was buzzin'.

If they can blend and accept that some will only have walk-on parts then they might be the team this season. No need for us to panic just yet: the season doesn't start for two weeks and the transfer window goes on for another four.

Levy continues to plough his lonely furrow and some fans will blame him personally if we don't win the Premiership; the CL and a couple of Cups this season for want of more depth to the squad.

He will probably throw them a sop in the end but his latest last minute buy, Sissoko at 30 million, is not a good augury. Put it in the envelope marked 'Youth Development, Academy and Contingencies' Mr.L.

But Jones's advice of 'Don't panic' from 'Dad's Army' seem apt, and that's where I am. Next up Juventus at the weekend and more will no doubt be revealed.

We won't be signing Neymar at 197 million crisp ones I can confirm or Barkley at 120 thousand a week either. And you can quote me on that. 'Musings' is ITK.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
You can see where the squad get their passion from. He'd be like a new signing along with Erik and Danny. It's only a training session Mauricio. But that's the point.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

He's Thinking It Over.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Live with it.

The Jimmy G2 Column.
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The garage is now neat and tidy with a floor you could eat off and holidays are completed leaving the whole family knackered and sunburned. What's not to like?

So we arrive at that magical moment in between seasons when something actually happens after much useless ITK; aimless speculation; pointless wondering and vague hopefulness.

Not all good or unexpected news though: Kyle Walker has left the Stadium, to City for in excess of £50 million. The worst kept secret since Mummy was seen kissing Santa Claus.

I always liked the boy, moments of misjudgement and all and predicted on Musings that he would make us some money eventually though not all that much by today's values.

He was a longstanding member of the team, the life and soul of the party and his going might just give others pause for thought. He's just had two good seasons and however you look at it Kieran Trippier he's not as good taken all round.

He has a different skill set to Kyle but you can´t teach pace and speed of recovery, nor crossing accuracy in Kyle's case unfortunately but I think we are at a dangerous moment as far as squad retention goes.

Some would say that if anybody is going better Kyle than any other first team regular. In the end it depends on what we do with the approaching 70/80 million. that's accumulating.

Though money doesn't seem to burn holes in Daniel's pockets as it does with Mrs Jimmy G2. I'm a dead man in the unlikely event that she ever  reads this blog.

You can't keep a player that doesn't want to play for whatever reason and Mauricio will hold firm on that. Two or three promising youngster to blood would suit me and the integration of established old youngsters too.

I wouldn't protest too much if we spent some of it, but not most, on Barkley. He's young enough and has enough talent for Pochettino to hone. Sessingnon would be my preferred incomer, new contract at Fulham or not.

Barkley hasn't gone on Everton's pre-season tour and only has one year left on his contract but DL won't be interested at 50 million. So he's listening to his favourite song by Banks 'The Waiting Game' the key line of which is 'I'm Thinking it over'.

If he runs to form he will leave it to the last minute and run the risk of losing him but you can't teach an old dog new tricks so they say.

Once again we've been linked to roughly several hundred players young and old worldwide and one or two dead or retired which is why we at Musings don't bother with transfer rumours or alleged ITK.

We must keep the rest of the squad which is on an upward trend and will improve as they play together for another season under the best manager over the last two season in the Premiership. Keeping him  is crucial too.

The boys are returning to training in dribs and drabs including Lamela and one or two youngsters have been added to the US tour Party. N'jie and Fazio have gone to pastures new.

 Trippier signing a new 5yr. deal is the hottest actual news I can offer you. Pretty predictable after the transfer of Kyle.

Theresa is still in office but not in power as she quells daily Ministerial mutinies. No such problems at Spurs where all is under firm control. Mutiny? I dare ya.

I will post again when the USA trip starts with some real football news, good news hopefully. In the meantime get that garage cleaned up, and stock up on factor 30. Otherwise now' t much happening really.

Jimmy's Video Spot: Kyle Walker:

Welcome to City! The (only) One that Got Away (so far). Bold, strong, quick, 8 years a Spur, 183 appearances and 4 goals. Personally I wish him well anyway.

5 minutes of positivity but this video is not the whole story and I hope that City get some of the other side. But this is a tribute after all.

Posted by a Real Madrid supporter and what do they know.