At ESPN, I have suggested that Gus Poyet tries to get his hands on the Edison wax cylinders on which Harry Houdini, not Harry Hood, recorded a description of one his greatest escape acts a century ago this year. He could then play it repeatedly to the team before Monday night’s game at Spurs. As our grasp on Premier status gets ever weaker, we come across Marc Aron*, one of the Tottenham fans responsible for the e-spurs site (@e_spurs at Twitter) with a mission to ‘bring N17 closer to fans around the globe’. He’d find few SAFC supporters to share his assessment of our Jozy, based on what we’ve seen …
Salut! Sunderland: So you think you’ve got problems? A visit from Sunderland must be just the tonic you needed. But did you see your mini-crisis – not making the top four! – coming or did you, even without Bale, expect to be in for a much better season?
Marc: No, I think after spending 100m+ pounds this past summer, expectations were higher than ever. Other teams around the league were in transition with new managers and we thought it could be our chance to have a really top level season. I think we have a few positives to focus on, Christian Eriksen being the biggest but not a lot of other positives this year.
Explain your Levy/ENIC campaign – do you want them out or just to change direction? And is Sherwood part of the problem or just a symptom?
ENIC and Levy in particular have been over involved in player and manager dealings since they took over the club. There were many strong decisions but the fact that we’ve had 13 managers in 10 years is a massive problem. Levy wants to play Football Manager rather than invest and stick with a long term plan and it’s hurting us. Sherwood is a symptom of the problem since he has always been close to Levy and should never have gotten the job. He was hired because AVB was sacked and there was no plan set for life after AVB. It’s that short-sightedness and lack of plan and vision that have hurt us year after year.
You can imagine how low morale is among our fans just now. Did you expect your former player Gus Poyet to make a better fist of it or was the squad, and the league position, he inherited from PDC just too hopeless?
The talent level at Sunderland isn’t high enough to compete with most teams in the Premier League. I think Jozy Altidore is a quality player but not sure where he fits in. He is too similar to Steven Fletcher. Adam Johnson is a quality footballer but very inconsistent. Fabio Borini looks like a different player now and is one of the bright spots that I think wouldn’t be there if Gus wasnt leading. I think Gus has them playing spirited football and leaving it all out there which is what is needed in any relegation race. He is doing his best with what he has.
You are almost certainly too young to remember the Spurs glory days but what has been the best time you’ve known as a supporter?
The best was the Champions League fixture in Milan versus Inter in which Bale scored three goals. It was the definition of a glory European night and it showcased the type of football and spirit that we demand at Tottenham. It was Gareth’s arrival party on the international scene.
And the worst?
The worst has been this entire season. We’ve gone through managers, looks like the players want to throw in the towel and the management is in complete disarray. It’s exciting for all of the wrong reasons. It’s exciting to make moves because it’s the only thing left to be hopeful about, that somebody will come in and turn this thing around and get us back on the right track.
Do you find it ridiculous that a club with Tottenham’s history, geography and appeal should have taken so long to get cracking with a new stadium?
It is what separates us from the massive clubs. If we were playing in a 50k+ stadium, our ticket revenues would allow us to compete financially with nearly every other team in Europe, save the top seven or eight. There are many beautiful things about White Hart Lane and it will be sad to see it go but for Tottenham to move forward as a football club, it needs to happen. ENIC have dragged their feet on it and it seems like they don’t want to pay much out of pocket for it at all.
Assuming you were not fooled, even for a second, by the April Fool joke of a groundshare deal with Arsenal, how excited are you by the THFC’s actual plans?
It will be a game changer. As I mentioned, the only thing that separates us from the top four (primarily, Arsenal and Liverpool) is the finances. With the naming rights and added ticket revenue, its the difference between a player like Joao Moutinho and Mousa Dembele.
Who are the best players you’ve seen – or wish you’d seen – in Spurs colours and who should have been allowed nowhere near White Hart lane?
Luka Modric is an absolute artist on the pitch. I was young when Jurgen Klinsmann was smashing them in but would love to have been older and more involved (being an American). Gareth Bale, obviously, was unplayable last year and we are seeing now with Real Madrid just how special of a player he is.
Name this season’s top four in order and – no need to spare our feelings – the bottom three.
Top 4: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal. Bottom 3: Fulham, Crystal Palace (although their supporters are amazing) and Sunderland.
Is there anything that truly inspires you about modern football?
Nothing really. I appreciate and love that some clubs hold dear to their traditions but a lot of teams and their fan bases are losing their identity due to corporate sponsors and the need to increase revenues.
What most appals you?
The game today is dominated by money. There is no player loyalty any more. It’s tough to buy a team shirt knowing that the player probably wont be there in three or four years.
Do you have any good, bad or amusing memories of past games versus Sunderland, home or away?
This goal was Gareth’s last as a Tottenham player and summed up the season. He scored when he wanted, from anywhere on the pitch and the way he controlled the ball and went right at the defender before unleashing that screamer was pure class.
Any thoughts on Sunderland – the club, its fans, the city, the region?
The Tyne-Wear derby is a great tradition and always a hotly contested match. The fans are certainly passionate, the display with Paolo Di Canio was something else! When he was walking around the byline and the fans were standing and yelling, it was a testament to the passion and dedication and I certainly respect that.
Brazil is not far away – can’t wait for it to start, or a little blase?
Tottenham is in disarray and the sooner we know the future of the club, the better. Louis van Gaal is rumored to be close to the manager position and if that’s true then I want the World Cup to come and go ASAP. IF we pursue Jurgen Klinsmann as is also speculated, then the same. Our club and fans arent in position to enjoy it too much because its going to be another summer of movement.
Will you be at our game and what will be the score?
I wish I was! I live in Baltimore in the United States and our editor Andy is North London based, don’t think he will be making it. 3-1 Tottenham is my prediction.
* Marc Aron on himself: I’m a Spurs fan circa Rafael Van der Vaart, making my support heard from Baltimore through e-Spurs. I grew up playing soccer, tennis and basketball and received a scholarship to university to play tennis but always maintained my love for the beautiful game. I captain multiple recreation league teams in Baltimore and enjoy drawing up tactics as much as playing. For the blog, I focus on transfer and personnel news/rumors as well as general commentary. I was calling for Christian Eriksen to join for a year prior to it happening and it was the happiest day of my footballing life.
Interview: Colin Randall