Tottenham Hotspur ‘Who are You?’: forgetting past glories

Football fans come in different forms. Jim Duggan* has formidable knowledge of and deep love for his club, Tottenham Hotspur. He runs an impressive website, www.topspurs.com, and looks forward, not back to the Spurs golden era, despite powerful respect for the Spurs “holy trinity” … but wild horses wouldn’t drag him to the Stadium of Light for Saturday’s game, and he doesn’t get to WHL these days either. None of which stops him having some strong views on his team and the game generally …

Salut! Sunderland:
How often have you said to yourself or aloud: “This is the season Spurs return to past glories”? And how close are you to doing so?

Try not to talk to myself, esp in public! and I try to shy away from the old past glories stuff as it is restricting and does not allow you to appreciate what you have happening right now. Each season is a book, many of the seasons during the Sugar years were about as interesting as a Brummie train spotter’s annual where Spurs failed to finish in the top (or bottom six) of the league for consecutive seasons from 91 to 06 but the last few years have been pretty good and fairly interesting. What more can you ask for – if Spurs finish 4th rather than 5th, i dont get a slice of the extra money so who cares there is no medal for either


Gareth Bale gets a lion’s share of the headlines but Tottenham fans also rave about Modric, Huddlestone and Van der Vaart. Where are the remaining weaknesses if any?

Spurs have done very well recently and the strength of this is the range of the squad and bit players coming into to do important roles which has been nice to see. The stars like Bale, VDV grab all the headlines but there was some stat last year that Spurs had the most individual scorers in a season for ever or for at least from the start of the Premier league. Weaknesses everywhere in many respects – the forwards don’t score enough goals, centre backs a bit slow and full backs always look vulnerable but throw em all together with a bit of Harry magic and it works more often than not


How do the Tottenham stars of today compare with the greats of double-winning history? Would Bale have excelled in the Greaves era, though I think Jimmy was not a member of the double squad, and how would Greaves, at his prime, fare if playing today?

As per first answer, you’ve probably copped the only Spurs fan who is 100 per cent looking forward so not interested in looking back! Spurs had a couple of taffs in the double squad and perhaps Bale is the new Jones but it really is a different game thesedays, and not for the worse either – even watching a crap game between Wigan and bBlackburn, you have teams stuffed full of super fit interenationals who all have a range of skill and ball control way beyond even the best players from previous eras, even 20 years ago. All donkeys are relative these days but with excellence comes a certain lack of individuality/character and, for the most part, real bond with the spectators


And who are the finest players you have seen in Spurs colours – and the ones who should never have been allowed anywhere near the Lane?

Image from Paolo Trammenzani’s Facebook page: come on Jim, he only had six games for Spurs!

Glenn Hoddle was the finest footballer ever created and like Jesus he was misunderstood in his time and unfairly crucified. Everyone else playing for 2nd but the two people who made Tottenham what it is, Bill Nicholson and Danny Blanchflower, represent with Hoddle the holy trinity of the club. Players not fit to wear the shirt: been some rank bad players over the years from youth team upgrades who were no good to big expensive flops and those that were good elsewhere but crap at Spurs. As long as they try hard and contribute a memory, good bad or comical they are ok by me. If you want one name, Paolo Trammenzani. The look Ginola gave him when he threw the ball over Ginola’s head five yards away from him on debut was priceless and it did not get any better for the blond Italian.

IMGP0723Sachab

The Olympics stadium controversy: an annoying distraction, a menace to the traditions of White Hart Lane or an issue that has to be addressed because the club urgently needs a bigger stadium?

The new stadium debate is about as boring as an Arsenal – Leeds game from the 70s for me and i just wish it was over. Two issues for me; The chairman owns the club and as owner has every right to do as he likes (just like the rules of ownership in the real world). If you dont like it, don’t go. The other thing is this “need” for more bums on seats. Without spending a penny on infrastructure, Spurs and everyone else could increase revenues via selling the games over the web/tv rights. With this in mind, why should Spurs saddle themselves with a load of debt for some bricks and mortar they wont even own. Either way its the owner’s decision and the customers can either buy into it or not. Some of the language coming out of the fans sounds like teenage gangs fighting over postcodes and is quite frankly pathetic, verging on the fascist (we are all Londoners after all). With the demographic changes over the last 30 years in London, the areas have lost most of their unique indigenous characteristics. The truth is Spurs have moved before, Stratford is six miles away and no one told most of the fans they could not move away from the area to better themselves. I just hope there are no ‘whim’ clubs spawned from any move to create a people’s front which would be very sad. Any move away from WHL will leave a lot of memories behind but Spurs should have an ongoing narrative and not be a museum

Spurs' future, as feared by Dear Mr Levy blog*


Spurs fans have been quite dismissive of those players who have moved from you to us, though only Malbranque is left (see jim’s correction – sorry Fraizer). How do/did you rate Bent, Steed and Reid and were you delighted to welcome Hutton back?

Always thought Malbranque was a fine player and was prematurely got rid of imvho. I think Bent is a pretty decent player but was never any good at Spurs as he did not have the ‘image’ of a big money signing despite being a record transfer. Think he was daft to leave you lot for Villa. Reid always looked like a young Belushi from the Blues Brothers, too fat for the modern era at the top level. Hutton was one of those extraordinary signings (think Harry and leave the rest to your imagination) but as mentioned above he has come back from the cold and done well. And don’t forget Fraizer Campbell, Levy’s last minute answer to replace Berbatov!


Is there anyone in the current Sunderland squad who could enhance the Spurs team?

If totally honest, no!

What is your assessment of the calibre and strategy of the Spurs ownership/management set-up of Levy/Redknapp?

A Snide and a Del Boy … ideal for the modern footballing environment. Levy got very very lucky with a couple of decisions between 2003-2005 – appointing Santini (who!) and getting Jol who dragged Spurs up but got luckiest of all when he finally ditched his director of football nonsense, foreign manager who talked a lot of crap and appointed Redknapp who keeps it simple and it works


Any especially good, bad or amusing memories of games against Sunderland in the past? Did you go to Roker Park and have you been to the Stadium of Light?

My two big Sunderland memories (and apologies if repeating) were both defeats – the first was at the end of 77/78 when Spurs were unbeaten at home in Div2 and needing two wins for the title/promotion faced Sunderland who we’d previously beaten 2-1 away in third last game of the season. Spurs quickly went 2-0 down (Bob Lee) and despite everything ended up losing 3-2 to set up a frantic finale when a late winner against Hull and a semi-dubious convenient 0-0 against Southampton (both promoted) saw Spurs eventually scramble over the line. The other game was a league cup game in mid 80s when Chris Turner played like superman in goal and you lot won 2-1. Had two mixed visits to your new place – a great 2-1 win one year and a terrible 2-0 defeat the season you went down the year after, memorable only for Chris Perry trying to chip Kasey Keller from 40yards. Favourite win against you lot was a 0-2 down to 3-2 up win in the early noughties when Spurs sported a forward line of Gary ‘Ginger Pele’ Donkerty and William Korsten who were almost next to useless, and a great memory of how far Spurs have come


Who will finish in the top four Premier League positions, ir order, and who will go down. Spurs may be covered in the first part of your answer but where will Sunderland (and, if not, Spurs) finish?

Dunno, dont care tbh. Pepsi or Coke, blue or red franchise. As long as Spurs get around 65-70 points it will have been a well above average season and I’ll settle for whatever that brings. As for you lot, it’s very tight in the league where there are no no-hopers this year. As long as the goals don’t dry up, it should be a freewheel towards the summer holidays as the manager has time to work out things for next season

This was the Eduardo question and is now the Walcott question. Theo publicly admitted to a blatant dive in an (unsuccessful) attempt to win a penalty – see article and Gooner reactions here – and said players had told him to go down at the least contact. Commendable honesty, or a sign that it is time to abandon high-minded principles about cheating and accept it as part of the modern game?

Cheating goes on and it spoils the game, but then again it reflects the society in which the game is played.

Is there one step Spurs or the wider football authorities could take to improve the lot of the ordinary fan?

Each fan should be given counselling/a reminder to make them appreciate that football is a hobby not a religion and that it really don’t matter/is not that important – its a consumer choice not a duty, and that all people who like football are together and not separated by the different franchises they follow


Do you have a view on the gentrification of football and whether the experience of seeing a game now is better than in the days of cloth caps, pies and terraces?

Football has always been changing and should be allowed to change without too many old people (such as myself) imposing our view on what is what. The one area football needs to keep an eye on is affordability and ability for generations to go together to teh game but this is really only an issue at the top few clubs in the league as there are plenty of empty seats at most stadia each weekend.


Were you appalled by the Fifa decision on the 2018 World Cup or was the memory of South Africa 2010 so fresh that you would happily never see the tournament again?

Personally, i think that any country that has hosted the tournament should be automatically excluded from applying again to allow more people to see it. The Germans have had it three times now which is probably more wrong than going to new territories. My current work is in Russia (just missed that bomb luckily enough) and will be interesting to see if they can embrace foreigners in the spirit of the tournament and all i’ll say about the other place is that, 12 years is a long time in the gulf and it was probably the worst place to have stuck such a long term project. International football needs to go back to basics with eligibility being based upon birthplace as its all a bit of a nonsense now.


Will you be at the Stadium of Light for our game or watching on TV, and what will be the score?

From the jaded views above, it probably comes as no suprise to hear that I’ve not been to a ground to see a live match since 2008 and have no plans to travel north. I miss the pub before/after with mates but don’t miss squished seat, old bill, stewards, obsessive nutter fans, hoolie nutters, overpriced and restricted freedoms meted out to football fans. I enjoy getting sms messages from pals at the game “being there” asking ‘was it a pen/offiside’ while i am sitting in comfort at home watching on tv!


* Jim Duggan on Jim Duggan
Been following Spurs for years – first game as 4yo in 1974 and seen over 800 matches since then. Set up a website to record all Spurs results and briefly it grew into a pretty decent website – www.topspurs.com -before fading away with my general interest in the whole nonsense of EPL football. The day job would best be described as freelance engineering consultant

* See Dear Mr Levy blog at this link

Interview: Colin Randall

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9 thoughts on “Tottenham Hotspur ‘Who are You?’: forgetting past glories”

  1. Jeremy , I read an article about sex , where Spurs were involved – but maybe that’s me just reading the wrong sort of literature !!!!

  2. I remember a headline from an interview that the NME did with Jeff Beck back in the mid 70s which listed his interest as “cars, sex and music (but not necessarily in that order)”. I have no idea why that quote stuck in my head for so long but there was no reference to Spurs in his list).

  3. But fair play to him, Daveyb, when I mentioned that I’d cheekily asked Jeff Beck from his site’s list of Celeb Spurs fans (see it here) – and failed to get even a reply – he said:

    “Always a pleasure to contribute – and probably more chance of getting bernie winters schnorbitz than a celeb doing something for nothing from that list!”

  4. Thanks Bill – all responses, with reason, are welcome, whether from SAFC or non-SAFC supporters. But because of anti-spamming measures, expect a short delay for moderation if you haven’t posted before.

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