The post-Tottenham Soapbox: Trevor Francis’s Hong Kong phooey, PDC’s progress

Sixer photographed by M Salut, framed by Jake
Sixer photographed by M Salut, framed by Jake

Spurs fans came here in numbers, and also butted in at Monsieur Salut!s ESPN pages, to dismiss the result as a function of Sunderland fielding their best side – they haven’t heard the name Steven Fletcher – against a bunch of under-9s. Were they as weakened as the SAFC team that nearly snatched a point at Tottenham’s pleasant little stadium in May? Pete Sixsmith puts them in their place and administers a roasting to Sky’s drearily anti-Sunderland pundit …

What a good start to our pre-season and on TV as well. I am not surprised that Spurs fans have pooh-poohed the result, but they can pooh-pooh all they want; we will take no notice of their pooh-poohing and shall take enormous satisfaction from pooh-poohing them back. So there!!!

For a group of players who have not played together a great deal, I thought we did really well. Star of the show for me was Cabral, who, on this performance, looks less like the new Christian Bassila and more like the new Kevin Ball as he did an excellent box-to-box 80 minutes.

He can tackle and he can finish. He took the equaliser really well, sliding it past Gomes with aplomb. He did not appear to tire in the humidity and could prove to be a very useful acquisition.

Altidore also looked strong, although his finishing was a tad wayward, but he brings some muscle to the front line and formed a good partnership with Sess, who had one of those games where you just want to hide him away afterwards in case any of the big boys were watching.

The new keeper made a couple of good saves and it will be interesting to see how things pan out between him and Westwood. It looks a close call at the moment.

Three of the subs who came on were “newbies” with Ba and Moberg Karlsson getting a fair bit of time. In fact, the Swede set up the second and scored the third. Roberge made a fleeting performance at the end.

There was also a new central defender, who had a passing resemblance to Wes Brown. Whoever he was, he headed the ball like Brown, tackled like Brown and linked up brilliantly with John O’Shea. And yes, it was Wes Brown.

What I liked was the shape that we had (that’ll be the PDC fitness regime working, Pete – ed) and the fact that players knew what they had to do.

For sure, it was not the strongest Spurs team (although all of their starting line-up were established Premier League players) but that should take nothing away from a hugely enjoyable performance and win and something which gives us a degree of optimism for the new season.

My enjoyment of this impressive performance in the former British colony was spoiled by the whining and moaning coming from failed football manager, Trevor Francis. Why are these people employed? He knew nothing about and had no interest in Sunderland and predicted a defeat and a relegation struggle. He had no knowledge of the new players and little more of the established ones. Utterly clueless.

I look forward to reading Goldsmith Major’s next report from Hong Kong and in depth analysis if he ever sobers up!!!

And many thanks to Malcolm Dawson for allowing me to watch it at his house while he went off to do his voluntary stint at the Naturist Reserve (that calls to mind some of the beaches near where I am and may be a slip of Sixer’s finger on keypad. Unless Howden-le-Wear has become racier than I remember, Malcolm may actually have been at a nature reserve – ed).

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23 thoughts on “The post-Tottenham Soapbox: Trevor Francis’s Hong Kong phooey, PDC’s progress”

  1. Jamie Jackson reckons Vertonghon’s injury came from turning awkwardly when it looked to me like he fell awkwardly. Jamie, bless him, probably didn’t watch the game anyway being too anxious about Gareth’s buttock.

  2. This mornings Guardian contains a piece by Jamie Jackson on Spurs in Hong Kong and goes into detail on Bale’s injured buttock and how vital he is for Spurs. Again, no mention of anything about Sunderland other than the fact that Spurs lost to us
    I await tomorrows instalment to see if the Sports Department can see beyond the top 5 + Liverpool.
    Are the other papers the same?

    • Suprised and dissapointed about that.Though I’m not a regular Guardian reader I know enough to expect its ethos of treating everyone equally to extent to its sports pages especially in a ” two horse race” or four horse in this tournament.

  3. Pete,I too was appalled by the awful coverage by the Guardian of our win.Loads on City, Man U. Chelsea but not even our scorers.What with the sycophantic treatment of the royal sprog,it’s enough to make you despair.

  4. The one time Manchester Guardian – a paper with once solid Northern roots – has a reporter in Hong Kong. He wrote a piece of flim-flam on Pellegrini and the Maine Road Refugees, mentioned that Vertonghen’s injury could be serious and had the usual comments on Bale as well as doubling up on the yawn fest that is Wayne Rooney’s transfer. He did mention that Sunderland had won 3-1 and that was it.
    The paper is losing money hand over fist and the newsroom appears to be staffed by 12 year olds and agency reports. Yet it can send a reporter to Hong Kong (to ignore Sunderland), a journalist to Australia (to report on the odious Suarez) and a journalist to Indonesia (to continue the love-in with Mourinho). The one who has remained in London produced two pages of hypothesis on Suarez going to Arsenal.
    The great David Lacey must despair – and the circulation manager will if I do not renew my subscription, which, after pages on the birth of a boy in West London – is looking more and more likely.
    Rant over. Off for a lie down.

    • China Daily, on the other hand, is a tremendous publication, crammed with unbiased reporting on a wide range of topics, such as how great the Chinese economy is in the eyes of a Business & Finance student from Beijing, and, er, other Business & Finance students from that part of China

  5. As a Spurs fan it was difficult to read much into this, the pitch was so bad it took me back to the late 70’s, I actually though Sunderland looked pretty good, fit for sure but fast on the break, this could be a major benefit for you. For us we only really fielded 2 players that will make the starting 11 at Palace in August and our fitness levels were way behind yours!

    I think you will do well this year, certainly you will finish above the Toon if you carry on like this!

    • Thanks, Pete. Sensible comments, which can be as critical as they like, are always welcome from opposing supporters. You were understrength, though – as pointed out above – not as much as we were for the last game of last season, when we very nearly drew at your place. Also, if you have realistic CL ambition, your squad has to be awash with first-team talent, even if some of it does not always make the starting 11. But rest assured no one here is getting carried away with the result of one pre-season game played in dreadful conditions any more than we should be mortified if Citeh turn us over at the weekend.

      • Totally agree, we have more work to do and honestly at WHL you were good for a draw, as we said many times last season if it wasn’t for Gareth Bale……….

  6. I never take much note of friendlies,though its nice to win such a high profile game…..watched by the billion in Asia…beats our normally anonymous pre seasons.

    Everyone looked good,even Sess seen with a big smile on his face.Just nice to win…its a good habit to get into.Only concern is our new midfield look better finishers than our new centre forward…still early days yet.

    As to Trevor Francis…we have to face it we had an awful season and impressed no one…we need to do much better before we get any credit….just the way it is.

  7. Fine write up of a very convincing performance .Was at work so had to record the game but was following the score on my phone.I knew it was 1-1 and the next time I checked in I saw 3-1 and thought b#%*• er we’ve blown it again ! Had to double check again to realise we’d won! What that says about how used we are to getting beat in the last few seasons speaks volumes . What it doesn’t do is excuse Trevor Francis’ total lack of enthusiasm and knowledge about our club, unbiased , yeah sure. Of course he let the cat out of the bag in he’s ridiculous defence of O’Neil, it was the old boys network protecting their own again. I was waiting for him mentioning Bruce been sacked because he was a “Geordie”. The game itself was an encouraging, determined performance and if you didn’t know any better( like Francis) you would have thought they had all played together a good few times before. As for the improved fitness, looked like a totally different team to the slugs O’Neil trudged out.Promising start.

  8. Joe King methinks

    I was particularly impressed with the lean , mean fit look of our players
    Ba and Karlson looked really impressive – what a changed having such player on the bench

  9. Trevor Francis is very much the same as all of the pundits from down souf they only are interested in top teams and southern teams and never give credit to any of the teams that are in the lower half of the premier, SKY should pick pundit that are not bias, Trevor Francis was clueless as a manager so how come he is a pundit for SKY the best thing he can do is keep his mouth well shut

  10. least you forget, it was a pre season friendly, as much as i dislike francis as a pundit, i thought he was spot on regarding Sunderland. They were a couple of weeks ahead of spurs in there pre season, thus had that bit of extra fittness. which makes all of the difference at this stage. Player for player, spurs are far superior to sunderland, anyone can see this, as a team they are on a different planet also. Sunderland will struggle this season, think they will be relagated in all honesty, terrible football all round, make the old ” Wimbledon ” look like Barcelona.

    • Oh dear. For eight or nine words, I thought we had a serious contribution worthy of the name Quinn.

    • What’s it like living in the shadows of clubs that are true giants like Chelsea and Arsenal ? To have first Arsenal then Chelsea win the league and cups must make you very bitter.We thankfully don’t have that torture.

    • were you watching CBBC by mistake or on purpose? Man for man, Spurs looked weaker than Sunderland. If we’re 2 weeks ahead of Spurs in preseason, that’s AVBs fault. God fobid they ever have to play on a slightly heavy pitch in a competitive fixture

    • I take it that your tongue is firmly in your cheek Joe? If not, a visit to Specsavers is recommended.
      Spurs looked the better team for 20 mins, but thereafter Sunderland always looked like winning. Toward the end it was one way traffic.
      We certainly were fitter, and more committed, but we also had more pace and a better shape than Spurs.
      Tellingly, we had the best two defenders [ Brown and Colback ] the best midfielder [ Cabral ] and the best attacker [ Sessegnon ]
      It was only one game, and I am certainly not getting carried away, but this was a very promising start by any measurement.

  11. so Malcolm serves my coffee at Low Barns, does he? Unless there is another nature reserve nearby…or a naturist one

    • That’ll be me – but only on a Wednesday and you’ll be pleased to hear we are supplied with DWT polo shirts.

  12. I agree entirely with your comments about the sky pundit. Surely to be a pundit you need to know about European football….and all the signings have come from there, most playing in European football over recent seasons.

    His comment in particular that Martin O’Neill would have amassed the same points or more than Paulo annoyed me!!

    However positive performance and Cabral looks the part. Good to see Wes back too.

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