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|Last Season - Transition||Position: Ninth|
Spurs thought they had pulled off a major coup when announcing France boss Jacques Santini as the belated successor to Glenn Hoddle. A promising start to the season masked the disarray behinds the scenes, with Santini unable to speak English effectively and seemingly confused as to his role in tandem with Martin Jol and Frank Arnesen. The results, and the goals, dried up and Santini quit at the start of November - the row between the two parties still rages today. And then there was the Arnesen-Chelsea affair. Jol was appointed as his permanent replacement and instantly built up a rapport with the fans. Spurs briefly threatened to qualify for a place in Europe but only one win in their final six matches put paid to that. Perhaps the highlight was the thrilling north London derby which Arsenal won by the odd goal in nine, but essentially it was another season of mid-table mediocrity for Spurs.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Tom Huddlestone (Derby) - £1million
Jermaine Jenas (Newcastle) - Undisclosed
Aaron Lennon (Leeds) - Undisclosed
Grzegorz Rasiak (Derby) - Undisclosed
Wayne Routledge (Palace) - Undisclosed
Lee Young-Pyo (PSV Eindhoven) - Undisclosed
Edgar Davids (Inter Milan) - Free
Paul Stalteri (Werder Bremen) - Free
Teemu Tainio (Auxerre) - Free
Frederic Kanoute (FC Sevilla) - £4.4million
Simon Davies (Everton) - £3.5million
Erik Edman (Rennes) - Undisclosed
Thimothee Atouba (Hamburg) - Free
Michael Malcolm (Stockport) - Free
Rohan Ricketts (Wolverhampton) - Free
Robert Burch (Bristol C) - Loan
Dean Marney (Norwich) - Loan
Mark Yeates (Colchester) - Loan
Reto Ziegler (Hamburg) - Loan
Nicky Eyre - Released
Paul O'Donaghue - Released
Owen Price - Released
|First Choice XI|
GK Paul Robinson; RB Stephen Kelly, CB Ledley King, CB Noureddine Naybet, LB Erik Edman; RM Wayne Routledge, CM Michael Carrick, CM Edgar Davids, LM Reto Ziegler; CF Frederic Kanoute, CF Jermain Defoe.
|The Gaffer - Martin Jol|
Few people had heard of Jol when he arrived at Tottenham 12 months ago. The Dutch coach had made his name in his homeland with RKC Waalwijk, turning them from a struggling outfit into European challengers. He was even sounded out as a possible candidate to be Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at Manchester United. Since replacing Jacques Santini at the Lane he has become a hugely popular figure with the fans. And his affable style in front of the press has won him many fans outside of north London as well. Jol's masterplan is to build two squads at Spurs, one for today and one for tomorrow. Jol has picked up many promising youngsters, such as Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon, who he hopes will form the backbone of a successful side in years to come. The fans are delighted with the football after Santini's snorefest. He likes to see his side play football and score goals, which for many Spurs fans seems to be more important than winning! He arrived at Spurs as the junior partner alongside Arnesen and Santini - now he runs the whole show.
|Player to Watch - Edgar Davids|
Tottenham pulled off a coup in landing Davids on a free transfer from Inter Milan. After so many years of 'nearly' signing star names (see Rivaldo, Morientes, Vieri), in Davids they have a player who will provide influence and instruction in the centre of the park. It was vital that Jol signed a figurehead for his army of young promising players. The Holland international will bring tenacity and skill to the club's midfield. Not only will he be able to spray the ball around, his combative nature will help protect the defence. As one of the most successful players of recent times - he won three Serie A titles with Juventus between 1998 and 2003 and reached three Champions League finals - his experience will be invaluable. His career may have stuttered somewhat in recent seasons but at Spurs he has the chance to be the star of the show.
|Young Gun - Tom Huddlestone|
Which player to chose? Lennon, Routledge, Ziegler, Kelly and Marney could all have been chosen but we've plumped for Huddlestone. He joined Tottenham's legion of young talent this summer, switching from Derby County for £1million, after two hugely impressive seasons in the Championship. A commanding figure who is also useful with the ball at his feet, this central defender should become more prominent as the season wears on. Although the England Under-21 international will have to wait for his chance behind Noureddine Naybet initially, he should become the perfect replacement. His superb passing makes him an easy choice for midfield if required but it is at the back where he excels.
|From the Terraces|
Last season was a memorable one for Spurs fans for a number of reasons. After the uncertainty of the previous term, when we laboured to a lowly 14th (sound familiar, Newcastle fans?) with no permanent management appointment for months, the new Arnesen/Santini/Jol team looked strong.
As we all know, the junior partner in that trio is now the main man - Martin Jol has a great deal of expectation riding on those round shoulders. It's the Tottenham way.
Thankfully, it was the promptings of Jol more than anyone that ensured an improvement to ninth place last time out, and with a young but maturing side expected to continue their upward progress, questions will be raised if a UEFA Cup place was not secured come May.
With summer additions to the squad from the departed Arensen's secret dossier such as Tainio and Staltieri, plus more incoming British promising youngsters in the form of Huddlestone and Lennon, the future remains rosy at the Lane.
This cannot be another transitional season, though - the time has to be now. A disappointing campaign may prompt the likes of Defoe, Robinson, Keane, and King look elsewhere for the success their skills suggest they deserve.
If we're discussing youngsters, look for Michael Dawson to stake a claim to a regular centre-back slot this year. Reto Ziegler should take advantage of a comparatively understaffed left flank to continue his progress, and the imposing Tom Huddlestone will use every opportunity to impress in the centre.
Spurs dropped 14 points to the bottom four clubs last year. A small improvement in our consistency and performances on our travels will reap huge dividends - now more than ever, to dare is to do.
Best : 5th
Worst : 10th
By Andy Healing; Soccnernet's Tottenham Correspondent.
We feel Tottenham MUST get back into Europe. The same thing Spurs fans have said every year. We have a nickname as the "Premiership's Under Achievers". The team that always takes one step forwards two backwards.
We have sold inconsistent players and brought in more that are worthy of first team football. Edgar Davids should be our new midfield hardman is something we haven't had for years and a welcomed signing.
Players to watch this season "should" be Davids, Dawson, Routledge and Tainio. We fear that Edman needs cover and he could be our weak link especially playing alongside Gardner.
Courtesy of website Tottenham Fans.
Last summer, Spurs signed around 20 players, and there were waves of optimism around White Hart Lane. This year, the management (soon to be minus Mr Arnesen) have been more selective. Two of our close-season acquisitions (Huddlestone and Tainio) were pre-arranged, and then along came Wayne Routledge, Aaron Lennon and Paul Stalteri. Now we have the icing on the cake in the world-class midfielder - Edgar Davids.
Those waves of optimism are turning into a surfer's dream! The strength of the Spurs squad, in which Paul Robinson and Ledley King are lynch pins, is such that certainly Keane and Defoe will fight it out for striker supremacy, and even Michael Carrick may have to join the melee between existing midfielders Mendes, Tainio, Davis and Brown for the right to fight beside Davids.
Yet there are still opportunities for young talent like Stephen Kelly to almost secure a berth in the first team. Routledge will surely star on the right wing, and the supply line to the Spurs strike force should be such that there will be goals galore in 2005/06!
Optimistically, before the arrival of Davids, I predicted a fourth place for Spurs, so I must stick to that. Failure to qualify for Europe this term would be a sin.
By Paul Smith, from website Spurs Odyssey.
For once, Spurs fans are looking forward to a season without the words "transition" or "steadying the ship" ringing loudly in the ears. Walking down the streets of Tottenham and sampling the many pubs along the way, you'll discover that everyone's in a very upbeat mood as the season draws near, and given the lack of anything to shout about at White Hart Lane for several decades this feeling of optimism has become all too rare.
Of course the signing of Edgar Davids has lifted spirits, but they were already high following a season which showed a lot of promise once Jacques Santini left and the very popular Martin Jol replaced him. Ever since that managerial change things have been on the up, and the signings of Temmu Tainio, Paul Stalteri, Wayne Routledge, Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon, in addition to Davids, suggest this progression will continue.
All eyes are bound to be on Davids, but with the obvious emphasis on youth in the Spurs squad, it'd be worth your while looking out for the progress of these young players. Routledge will be a very interesting player to watch, at Palace he showed glimpses of real quality, but can he consistently perform in a team aiming for a UEFA Cup place?
There's also Tainio who, if he can force his way into the first team, could provide the attacking thrust and goals that the central midfield was severely lacking last year. With the amount of central midfielders currently at the club though - Davids, Carrick, Tainio, Davis, Brown, Mendes and Huddlestone - its impossible to say how Jol's going to play it. Even a three-man midfield deploying a 4-3-3 system similar to Chelsea's, though unlikely to be seen week-in week-out, is a definite possibility for Mr. Jol.
On paper, Spurs are looking very strong. They have a youthful squad full of depth, variation and brimming with potential. The target has to be European football, whether it be through the league or the cups, though a top 7 finish is a must with the squad that has been built over the last 18 months.
By James Arcos, from website Spurs Community
|Best - European challenge||Worst - Mid-table fodder|
As hard it maybe for Spurs fans to hear, the limit of the club's ambitions for next season should be to secure a place in the UEFA Cup. We're not going to see 'another Everton' in back-to-back seasons. The masterplan is long-term rather than short, and as such the returns on the investment in youth will not be seen in 2005/06. Tottenham have become a side accustomed to finishing it the vicinity of the middle of the table and nothing's going to change this term. The best chance of real success is surely the Carling Cup, anything else would belie the inoffensive nature of Spurs as a threat to the silverware of others.