Sixer’s Tottenham Soapbox: AND THAT IS THE END OF THAT

Sixer: rugby league isbeckoning
Sixer: rugby league is beckoning

John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith has been there, he’s done it and and he has the scars under the T shirt. Today he reminisces about Fred Astaire, probably to keep his mind from Dame Nelly Melba, who’s warming up somewhere in the background, and then he gives us his opinion.

Do you want to read it? Probably not but it has to be better than our manager’s e-mail:

When Fred Astaire went for a screen test in the mid 1920’s , rumour has it that a studio functionary said of the great man “Can’t sing, can’t act, can dance a little” Eighty years on, Gus Poyet’s far more accurate but no less withering assessment of this humiliating and terminal defeat at White Hart Lane was “Can’t pass; Can’t shoot; Can’t make decisions”. Not even the saving grace of “a little”.

The final quarter of an hour of this debacle was as dismal as anything we have turned out in the seven seasons we have frittered away a huge amount of money in the Premier League. Once the impressive Christian Eriksen had been left unchallenged to score the third and decisive goal, the whole house of cards came tumbling down as we ended the game looking like the rabble that we undoubtedly are. Further goals from Adebayor and Sigurdsson confirmed a pleasant night for Spurs fans and an awful one for the hardy souls who had trekked down from the North East.

And this is what we got
And this is what we got

Poyet’s assessment was accurate. Basics that have to be mastered by any football team, whether they are playing in the Premier League or the Wear Valley Sunday League, are ignored by this team when the going gets tough. An acceptable first half performance where the players worked hard to limit Spurs to a single goal, was negated in the second where we just stopped doing the basics.

Throughout the game, the ball was consistently given away in all areas of the pitch. When we got near the goal, we never really threatened; Brown put a good header wide, Borini forced a save out of Loris, while Cattermole (our best player by a long way – and what does that tell you) was able to take advantage of comical defending by Spurs to score his first goal in what I suspect will be one of his last games for Sunderland.

Defensively, there were more howlers than you would find in Billy Bunter’s end of term Latin exam. Spurs first two goals came about because we did not stop crosses coming in and, when they arrived, a hapless Wes Brown, once of England and Manchester United and perpetrator of the tackle of the season at The Sports Direct Arena, was beaten to the ball first by Adebayor and then by Harry Kane. It seems certain that Brown and his erstwhile teammate John O’Shea will be paid off at the end of the season.


O’Shea sat this one out and was replaced by Carlos Cuellar who was no better and no worse than we expected, while Santiago Vergini surely cannot wait to get back to Estudiantes de la Plata ASAP. Not his worst game for us but still pretty awful.

A three man midfield of Bridcutt (Championship player at best – we will find out next season), Cattermole (did well) and Ki (killing time before the World Cup comes along) hardly threatened  – and as for up front; well……

Our inadequacies in this area were clearly shown in the 75thminute when Johnson earned a free kick in a good position down the right hand side of the Spurs defence. Up stepped the former England international. In front of him were all of our big men, with one of them hoping to plant a header in the net to level the scores and set us on our way to a famous away win that would start off the run that would preserve our Premier League place.

He lined it up carefully and, for once, lifted it over the first defender. Unfortunately it went over the heads of everybody else for a throw in to Spurs, rousing the slumbering Spurs support to give us a rousing chorus of “That’s why you’re going down”. Many in the Sunderland area probably agreed.

Two minutes later, Eriksen drilled home his goal and that, as they say, was that. Then came the total disintegration of the “team” allowing Spurs to plunder two more. Even Mannone made mistakes.

It is now an impossible task. The next three games will surely seal our fate as Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City will certainly role over this bedraggled and bemused bunch. Cardiff and West Brom will surely see a visit to Sunderland as an ideal opportunity to gain valuable points in their respective bids to stay in with the big boys.

The future frightens me. I can see no more than three of last night’s selection staying with us for next season (Mannone, Bardsley and Bridcutt should anyone be interested). Players will leave and there may even be changes in the management team. Jobs will go in the ticket office, retail and administration. It will be 2005-06 all over again.

Whether Ellis Short wants to continue funding a club that seems to be hell bent on destruction must be open to doubt. Whether I want to continue to turn up at the SOL 23 times next season to watch Bournemouth, Blackburn and Boro is equally open to doubt. One thing is not; I shan’t be wasting time and my hard earned pension on trips to Eastlands, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford.

Never have the Northern League and the Rugby League looked more attractive.

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11 thoughts on “Sixer’s Tottenham Soapbox: AND THAT IS THE END OF THAT”

  1. I went to watch the U21s the other week (1-0 win against league leaders Fulham) and there’s not a single one of the youngsters to whom I’d give a Premier League game at the moment (even in our position!). Gus and Taricco were there as well, and they appear to agree.

  2. Can’t see Bardsley or Mannone with us next season. Bridcutt for captain anyone ?
    A good clear out is inevitable and won’t do us any harm, but I don’t think we will go up next season, and it might be a few unless we buy well, with good, relatively young and experienced players. Don’t see a lot of quality coming through the ranks so that aspect needs improving as well

  3. I have to say I’d like Poyet to stay. I don’t see any advantage in going back to square one with a new regime. He’s made made misktakes (but the great Brian Clough made plenty of mistakes in the transfer market). And who else doesn’t make mistakes ?

    I find the Taricco comment interesting though. I’d had exactly the same thoughts myself and, I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but when the third goal went in, in the 3-0 Hull cup defeat, he appeared to be laughing his head off. The only time I’ve seen any emotion from him and it didn’t particularly impress me.

    • Kev

      Clough wasn’t the best judge of a player by his own admission. That’s why he relied on Peter Taylor, who was one hell of a judge.

      He made a few howlers after he fell out with Taylor, but his expertise was in motivation, and when he made the occasional gaffe, he quickly corrected it.

      I somehow think he would make short work of this lot?

  4. Maybe the manager has lost the dressing room or more likely the dressing room has lost another manager. Get this shower of s###e out of our club before they destroy us completely . Poyet hasn’t impressed me of late and he’s transfer window was a joke, if he goes I don’t honestly care, but those muppets on the pitch don’t help him one bit.

  5. Kev S…..yes I know the players are crap, and I agree that the Norwich performance was the worst of the season. But the 11 which started against Norwich was the exact same 11 that started at St. James Park. What’s happened to them?

    If the tactics and formation don’t make any difference, then what exactly is Poyet doing? There’s no signs of motivation.And on that subject has anyone ever seen a more laid-back-to-the-point-of-being-comatose coach than Taricco? Have you ever seen a flicker of emotion from him? Has he ever left his seat? Being calm has its benefits, and being the polar opposite of Paolo Di Canio might be a good thing. But I just wonder what he’s contributing.

    I’m also blaming the players most of all – Mourinho would struggle to make a team out of that bunch. But it doesn’t help that we’ve sunk to a style we haven’t used all season.

    • Mick

      I too have been wondering about Taricco. I would love to be a fly on the wall at some of the coaching sessions, or some of the team briefings. I don’t think some people realise how important these things can be.

      Personally I’m not impressed by managers jumping around and screaming rom the technical area. But you do like to think that they watch the game closely. How else can they make sensible tactical changes when required?

  6. As the wise old sage mentioned probably only Mannone, Bridcutt and Bardsley will remain. To that I would add Scorchio (who else would have him?), the goalscoring machine that is Danny Graham will probably return, maybe even Alf. God forbid Diakite or Cabral come back. Whatmore should be given a chance and maybe a few of the U21s could step up.

  7. Poyet has consistently preached (with evangelical zeal) the virtues of the passing game, and the importance of keeping the ball at all costs. Yet in our recent series of must-win games, that strategy has simply disappeared. Why?

    The new tactic of playing 5 defenders and 2 defensive midfielders has looked much worse, and yet that seems to be the tactic we’re sticking with. Why?

    We all know how bad these players are and how little commitment they are prepared to offer us; but when it has come to the crunch Poyet himself has shown his inexperience at this level. Two months ago I thought he’d cracked it – but in the end he hasn’t been capable of getting a decent side out of the squad we have.

    I’d still keep him for next season (nobody any good would come anyway) and we have to hope he gets better with experience. But the players can all **** off for me.

    • Playing 5 at the back has looked no worse than what went before…..the feeble performances against Hull, Arsenal, Palace and, in particular, the worst performance of the seaon at Norwich (yes, even worse than Tottenham).

      People have become obsessed with the tactics when the clue is in the players. You could go back to playing 4-5-1 or even 2 full backs, three half-backs and five forwards if you want. It wouldn’t make any difference. The squad is, by and large, shite, especially when the going gets tough. Added to that we’re now paying the price for the ludicrous number of loan players we have… can you possibly expect full commitment from them when we’re in the position we now find ourselves in, the season is about to end and they’re soon to return home ?

  8. There used to be an ALS spin off magazine named “Sex And Chocolate Aren’t As Good As Football”. Well, I’ll take a Yorkie bar over that shower any time.

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