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Spurs Chat / Working class supporters and the future of football.
« Last post by Voice on July 24, 2018, 10:01:46 AM »
Working class supporters and the future of football.

It used to be said that football was the preserve of the working classes, and it stayed that way for decades. But society was starting to change; the working man became the middle-class man with more cash than he had ever had before in his pockets. Football also noticed changes. After the war, European Football was added to the domestic league and cups. Which meant fans began to travel to new destinies further afield.

Directors from the top clubs (United, Ars*nal, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton) showed their power by demanding changes and more of the cash. Old football Divisions fell and were replaced by the Premier League, the Championship etc. The supporters of Tottenham Hotspur saw their beloved shelf make way for Executive Boxes. From there it was a matter of knocking the skittles over until the ball had a free run.

 Satellite dishes began to pop up, Subscription TV was here, and they wanted a slice of the football action, and they were prepared to pay for it. But that came at a cost. Players wages went up grotesquely, along with what the players were sold for. This created a knock on effect. Season ticket prices also started to rise, Premium seating arrived with cushioned seats, dining areas, social meeting places, waitresses (waiters, to keep it politically correct), beer on tap, dining rooms, as well as the Executive Boxes and much more. All at a cost (but if you can afford it, then why not?). And the fans lapped it up (even though there were a few moans here and there along the way).

Football is no longer a working man’s sport, but the domain of the rich or at least the well off. Somebody once said to me that football is pricing itself out and customers will stop coming. Really, I don’t think so! There is no sign of that happening at the moment. And how much is too much? When they can’t fill the seats because of pricing, then it might be time to rethink matters, but until then forwards and upwards is the motto.
As for those that cry, “it isn’t fair…” I say, it was never fair. Even going back before this new enterprise became into existence there was always those that looked up to those that could afford a season ticket. Slash prices and there will still be those who will still moan and say “why can’t I?”

But the changes won’t stop there. The whole footballing structure will change as well. Domestic football will make way for European Club football or World Club football.

Since I’ve been going to White Hart Lane, I’ve noticed supporters from all over the world coming to the ground. Even season ticket holders from across Europe and even America and Asia gracing us with their presence and money.  But it won’t stop there. Buying below par Asian players or even American players (where the big markets are) have their uses; even if the players don’t fit the bill. It creates interest in our club from those countries, and even if those players might only get a few try-outs or occasional substitutions when we are in a comfortable position, it doesn’t matter, the objective is to create a massive fan base (more fans equal more cash for the club). Then those players move on and are replaced by others of such “value”. It is all about profit, image and global marketing. And whatever anybody says about it, the rich/ wealthy or just those that have money to burn are buying into the thinking, or at least going along with it.

Football is changing. But is it for the better? Every new awakening or phase causes discontent, anxiousness and fear. That is why you get pushbacks, but in the end, we end up accepting it. Just like the Shelf made way for the Executive Boxes, Divisions made way for the Premier League,  just like White Hart Lane is making way for the 21st Century new profit-making stadium. The old (i.e. people) will eventually die to make way for the new and fresh, who will accept what they’ve always had around them. Then new challenges come along, new innovations and further protests and the whole thing is repeated Ad infinitum until man no longer exists.   It is life Jim, maybe not necessarily how we want to perceive it… but life nevertheless/ or just plain old progress.

Doom-mongers and soothsayers say it will all come collapsing down around our heads, maybe, but like anything else… until that happens, the wheels on the bus will keep rolling along.

Walter Disney famously said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down the new paths".

They say that two things are inevitable: death and taxes. But there is a third, progress (which the old and idealistic dread).

You might not agree, but disagreement never gets in the way of evolution.
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World Football / Reflections on England’s 2018 World Cup in Russia
« Last post by Voice on July 24, 2018, 09:58:25 AM »
Reflections on England’s 2018 World Cup in Russia

France beat Croatia 4-2 to win the World Cup. Congratulations Hugo Lloris, but could that have been England? No... no chance. Not on the evidence we’ve seen in this World Cup.

Is England the heroes they claim to be, or just lucky to be in the right place at the right time?

Before England went to the World Cup Southgate was happy to tell everybody that he had a young squad and expectations were not going to be that high. The press, public and media bought into it (reverse-psychology). So, anything above that was going to be in England’s favour. Put the bar very low and when you go slightly above it, you become heroes, as the case was.

We – yes, even I  – bought into the hype and propaganda bulls**t and when we got knocked out, we declared the “young” England squad heroes. Or were they just a naïve and young team, believing that because they got the rub of the green/ luck, they could do anything?

Our first game was against Tunisia. Tunisia was not a high ranking team and we should easily overcome them, which we did. That was followed by Panama, where we got an impressive win, 6-1. All good so far, against teams we were expected to beat anyway. This match was followed by Belgium. Belgium was a different kettle of fish, but to the wisdom of both managers, they decide to put out a second-tier team. In this case, Belgium came off better, or was that worse? They won, but we got the best deal… and everybody knew that this was just a reserve friendly. But a friendly that did its job, from an English perspective.
Nevertheless, we got through, so job done.

Germany failed to qualify, so one of the big guns got knocked out early. Because we lost to Belgium, we took a more comfortable route. Next up was round 16, we were to face Sweden. In the meantime, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and Denmark were out. This was significant as it made it a lot easier for the weaker teams to go that extra mile.

So, we faced Sweden and beat them quite comfortably.  Belgium beat Japan, while the eventual winners had a tougher match, knocking outing Argentina.

All good so-far. By beating Sweden, we gave the impression to the watching public that we were invincible and could beat anyone. Illusion or delusion shouldn’t be under-estimated.
In the next round, Belgium knocked out favourites Brazil (2-1). That was the Quarter-Finals. Next up was the Semi-Finals. France beat Belgium, while we took on Croatia. All was looking good, as we scored after 4 minutes, but up popped Persic and I got that sinking feeling. Before that goal went in, I thought we could do it (delusional), but it wasn’t to be. Croatia changed the game around and they showed their experience and skill and in extra time they got an added goal. It was all over for us.

Not to worry, as the well-used mantra came out about us being a team with minimal expectations. Maybe third spot might do it, but our innocence showed again and we were well-and-truly beaten by Belgium, 2-0. With both sides using their stronger players.
Did we ever have a chance? Looking back, no. Once the big guns got knocked out we were talked up.

France was probably the best team that got through from round 16. The other poorer teams just allowed themselves to get carried away with all the hysteria and hype surrounding their country’s good fortunes in getting a bit further up the road.

But for us, we just inflated ourselves by talking ourselves down and with the luck of the draw created a giant hysterical/ delusional Twilight Zone moment.

It made the country feel good and probably did something for the illustrator Southgate and his fledgeling ducklings. That is until next time when the press and the public might not be so sympathetic to the England Teams psychological sleight of hand.

In two years time, this “young” squad will be that much older and that much more experienced, then they won’t have anywhere to hide if it all goes pear-shaped. In the meantime the bunting will be put away, the good feel factor will be discussed, then our eyes will be refocused on the up and coming Football leagues’ season. Eventually, this World Cup will be addressed by more sober generations, who will ultimately see it for what it was; a new manager talking down his team so that anything above a certain threshold will be seen as smart manoeuvring.

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World Football / Re: England 1 Columbia 1 (4-3 penalties)
« Last post by Voice on July 24, 2018, 09:56:56 AM »
Game over for this Forum I fear, which is a great shame,  unless someone steps in to save it!

We can still keep it going, as I am trying to do 
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World Football / Re: England 1 Columbia 1 (4-3 penalties)
« Last post by spursjoolz on July 18, 2018, 09:46:18 PM »
Game over for this Forum I fear, which is a great shame,  unless someone steps in to save it!
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World Football / England 1 Columbia 1 (4-3 penalties)
« Last post by Voice on July 06, 2018, 04:02:14 PM »
England 1 Columbia 1 (4-3 penalties).

This was a bad-tempered game with more wrestling that proper football. My thoughts were that the referee was quite lenient until a foul was done in front of his very nose (even though there were many other fouls he decided not to notice), and then he had no other choice but to point to the spot. Overall though, the referee let the Columbians get away with murder.

Before the kick off both sets of fans enjoyed each other's banter and they got involved in each other's singalongs and drum beats.

Even though England fans were outnumbered, it didn’t stop them raising their voices sky high so that the TV viewer and everybody around them could hear their chants for miles.

Anyway, we got our penalty, and Kane fired away. For the rest of the match, it was battles all the way, until a few minutes to go and Mina scored the equaliser. Heads dropped.

An extra half hour was presented to the players, and you could plainly see that both teams were tired and making mistakes. Finally, the whistle was blown for the completion of the two-hour battle royal. It was penalties, penalties that England feared, as they had a lousy – or non-existent – record in that Russian roulette drama.

So, we all took a few minutes breather. Then up pops Harry, we waited, holding our breath, and then the cheers go up as Harry scores. The fans go wild, here and back home. One-nil to us.

Radamel Falcao is the next to place his ball on the penalty spot and scores.  The Columbians are going crazy. They’ve equalised. The United striker is next up, and Rashford scores and we are back in the lead. 2-1.

Luis Muriel takes his turn for his team and scores. England’s turn again and Jordan Henderson steps up and… the England players and fans – all over the world – drop their heads as the ball doesn’t go in. You could see the pain in his face. We all dreaded that moment and were thinking “here we go again, another early trip back home… are we jinxed or what?”

Mateus Uribe steps up and hits the crossbar, and the shocked fans on both sides look on in surprise/ horror. They couldn’t believe their luck. Next up is Harry’s teammate Tripper to take the penalty. He scores. The fans are crying, laughing and hugging each other. Some, you could have sworn, were trying to make love to each other, but then again it could just be the sun beating down on us and playing tricks.

Carlos Bacca steps up and shoots, and Pickford saves. Is this really happening, I hear some scream. “He saved, “Pickford is a genius,” they cry. “Give him a medal, or knighthood” some even suggested.

Last to step up is Tottenham’s Eric Dier, you could sense the weight on his shoulders. Was Dier going into the history books as another English player who failed and sent England home early? But no, he scores and the world erupts and astonishment on everybody’s face. We broke the jinx, “we are coming home,” they sing. English players dive on each other, Southgate grabs the nearest person to him and hugs him. The English fans are crying and can’t believe what they’ve just witnessed. We are through to the next round.

The match wasn’t a great advertisement, but we did the job. Columbians came to wrestle and thought they could intimidate us. But all they achieved was an early bath and a reputation as a bunch of foulers and cheats. But to be fair, the English players showed their good nature and shook the hands of their abusers.

At that moment in time, the world was/ is England’s oyster. Paper after paper, interviews after interviews and TV shots after TV shots are continuously projected into our path. Even political shows such as the Daily Politics and Newsnight jump on the bandwagon and their political guests put their hostilities to each other to one side and unit in talking up the England boys and their chances of going further. It seemed that if you are English, then you were in the limelight.

All this was happening while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland looked on stunned and miserable, with some, I must admit, congratulate their nemesis and wishing them well.

Fans, players, media and basically everybody spent the next couple of days discussing what they had witnessed or were apart off, and in particular, the Tottenham boys were ahead of that discussion.

If you are a Tottenham fan, then you had that extra thing to be proud of. Not only was England in the next round, but it was because of the Tottenham boys that helped propel them there.

This Saturday England faces Sweden in a lively and exciting battle for higher glory. They say 24 million viewers witnessed England’s victory on that Tuesday. I can see the figure going even higher as we – hopefully – progress through the competition. We are England, we are Tottenham. We are the world. God save the Queen, God save Tottenham Hotspur.
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World Football / Re: England 0 Belgium 1 (a bit late)
« Last post by Voice on July 03, 2018, 05:11:15 PM »
And over the moon if we win.
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World Football / Tonight is the night. England v Columbia
« Last post by Voice on July 03, 2018, 05:10:41 PM »
Today or evening is the day when football fans stand still (or sit) for hopefully a great spectacle. The day that England shows their metal. Not only in the eyes of the English population but the rest of the world, who will be looking in as well. And of course, let us not forget Wales, Scotland and Ireland (north and south), who will be looking in with jealousy in their hearts. And let us, also, not forget Ars*nal (who?), who sadly (ha!) have no players in the team. Never mind, they can enjoy the Spurs backbone of the England team showing the world and Ars*nal how it is done.

The team against Belgium wasn’t actually a full team, but a team of reserves. The team that beat Tunisia and Panama will be the team that is out there tonight.

How we play tonight against Columbia – and win – will determine our qualities and how far we can go. Even a win, but a poor performance will see the vultures circulating. Of course, if we can go all the way and win the trophy it won’t really matter how we performed as the Trophy will cover many sins. But I am jumping the gun.

I will be sitting with a good glass of red wine and some nibbles while watching the game. I hope you – the readers of this – be in a comfortable position and shouting the hell out of your location. Whatever you are doing, enjoy, savour and get behind the team.
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World Football / Re: England 0 Belgium 1 (a bit late)
« Last post by spursjoolz on July 02, 2018, 09:48:19 PM »
Tomorrow is the big one. We will all be s***g bricks come kick-off time
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World Football / England 0 Belgium 1 (a bit late)
« Last post by Voice on July 02, 2018, 05:18:00 PM »
England  0 Belgium 1


England lost against Belgium for a place at the top of the table. But to be honest, I didn’t know how to word that last sentence. Should it be that England, by losing had actually won the smarter move and Belgium actually lost? Was it tactical genius, or poor management? Whatever way we look at it the deed is done. Fate awaits us.

Years ago, and I am talking about years ago, it was always the done thing to put your best team out and only using subs when really necessary (such as injuries or poor performance), of  course that was years ago. Modern football is all about rotation and giving everybody a chance, even if it means we take one step forward and two back. Granted, it works for some... others, just get mocked and lose out.

The good news that we have learnt from that match, and that is Southgate’s second string team isn’t good enough to win a paper bag fight (unless they were told to lose, if so then I apologise).

There isn’t really much one can write about as it was a non-match. Other than tactical genius or naive stupidity. Southgate is a young manager learning the ropes. The team are also young and learning the ropes. I will say that Martinez didn’t look like he appreciated Belgium's goal, and he also made a substantial amount of changes himself. So it was the battle of tactically trying to lose, and Belgium lost, and England won. What is for sure, if we win and Belgium lose then the press will have a field day and praise Southgate. If England loses then the knives will be out for wasting an opportunity to beat Belgium.  s**t happens, but s**t also depends on which way the wind is blowing and who gets the wind in their face.

What was also interesting was the atmosphere by the England fans. Nobody really seemed bothered that we lost. Apart from a few moans and groans, overall they were reasonably happy. Even the press and commentators seemed a bit subdued.

My feelings, by talking to certain people (if you know what I mean; a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man, sort of thing) was that the whole things was a tremendous tactical genius display, if it was pulled off well. Personally, I am not a gambler, but then again I am not running the national or a league team. And I certainly don’t get the money they get. What was it that Disraeli said about “greasy poles?”

Everything, so far, connected to the Russian tournament seems to be going well, and everything is tickety-boo (that is if you count England losing a good thing).

Onwards and upwards, and the next port of call is England v Columbia. All fine at sea, until the big waves come and start swishing one around.

Since writing that piece there has been a few developments: Spain, Germany, Argentina, Denmark have made an exit. Let us hope we can keep our momentum and beat Columbia.
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World Football / England 6 Panama 1
« Last post by Voice on June 26, 2018, 09:37:59 AM »
England 6 (yes, six) and Panama 1

Before this match we witnessed Belgium beating Tunisia 5-2 (that the is the day before) and thought we were going into a fight to see who had the biggest jockstraps (that is between us and Belgium) and that it is them that would lead the table in so many ways. After all, Belgium was considered favourites, at least to get to the next round (and of course they had some Spurs players on their side… a done deal then, but, one moment, so do we…).

The England squad were considered too young and too inexperienced, but that didn’t mean we lacked enthusiasm and skill. So the crowd around the stadium were all in a jolly good mood – both sets of fans – couldn’t wait until that bloody whistle blew. The ones left back home were no less excited and huddled around their TV screens, wherever that was and whatever condition (outside or inside, hot or cold or even distant lands; expatriates).

We also remembered the tackling from the Tunisia game where it went unpunished, hopefully, this time the referees were at least on the ball, or the man.

So, the excitement was there, and the whistle finally went.

Before you could get an even proper breather in the 30c heat up popped Stones to score in the 8th minute. Well deserved? Yes, but – hold your horses – don’t get too cocky as it could backfire and they could suddenly equalise. Then the wrestling started by the Panama boys, but this time the eagle-eyed referee spotted it, and a penalty was awarded. Up pops our man Kane, all attentive – and takes a fantastic shot and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny is your aunt.

The fans had a wabble, as they didn’t expect things to go this quickly, but 12 minutes later Lingard scored a fantastic goal and some – not all – wet themselves (could be with beer, but who is taking notes!). What a goal, we shouted, we were going horse, and only 36 minutes had gone by. God… we needed a breather in this heat… but four minutes later Stones got his second, making the score 4-0. What the bloody hell is happening, I heard some gasp. This isn’t like England of old… or even new.
Then the bastards were at it again with a bit more professional wrestling and another penalty.  Up came our man to take it and what a cracker it was. Right on half-time plus one minute. We needed the break to collect our thoughts. It wasn’t supposed to go like this… inexperience means inexperience, and that meant wabbles and disappointments. What would the second half be like?

After getting some refreshments the second half was quickly upon us and we settled down to a slower, some even said lethargic, England squad.  I wouldn’t go that far. Nevertheless, I hope this wasn’t a sign of being too cocky?

Anyway, 17 minutes into the second half God or some prefer to call him Kane managed to score his third goal without even looking or trying (some say a reflection, others say the mental shenanigans of a powerful psychological force; i.e. Kane directed it to his leg… I hear the music of the Twilight Zone in my head). Whatever way you look at it Kane has – so far – becoming the talking point of the competition; a hero and all round Messiah of this tournament. And to boot, he also became the top scorer of this World Cup (so far).  Yes, he is on 5 goals while the mortals are less adequate. But let us not get carried away.

Yes, let's not get carried away as we have only played the minows, so far… oh, and the story isn’t complete without saying that Baloy (in the 78'minute) scored for his country and their supporters were ecstatic. We were ecstatic, they were ecstatic… everybody was ecstatic… we were in love with each other (their’s was their first world cup goal).

So, England recorded their biggest win at a World Cup to overwhelm Panama and secure a place in the last 16 before their final Group G game with Belgium. So well done England, but let us keep our feet firmly on the ground. Belgium are a different kettle of fish and also have a few Spurs players in their squad… and as we know with Spurs players, they can cause so much damage, as we showed last season. We didn’t finish 3rd – all matches away from home – by being pushovers, God no!

Harry Kane played a captain's role once more with a hat-trick to become the tournament's leading scorer, as I said, as England built on their opening victory against Tunisia with an impressive show of ruthlessness and quality.

The margin of victory for England topped 3-0 wins over Poland and Paraguay in Mexico in 1986, and against Denmark in 2002.

England top Group G as they have fewer yellow cards than Belgium. If they draw the final game it will go down to disciplinary records to decide who finishes first - and if that is level lots will be drawn. So there you have it.

What more can I say that hasn’t been already written or spoken? But what I will say, is that even though we did well in our two games, the big test will be against Belgium and then the knock out stages against some big fish. And they – the big fish - got to their next rounds by earning that honour, as we did. Be warned!

The next match (Belgium) will be on Thursday 28th June, at 7 pm at the Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad. ITV has the game.

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