Salut! Sunderland has experienced some technical problems today, and this is a repeat of a post that appeared earlier. Our thanks to the many Spurs fans who came here for Part One of this week’s Who Are You? feature. Now for part two, in which we briefly discuss Tottenham greats: Jimmy Greaves, John White, Danny Blanchflower … Jurgen Klinsmann … Chris Waddle, Glenn Hoddle, Gary Lineker … and Thomas Andrew Huddlestone. We won’t suggest that inclusion of the last name might raise eyebrows away from White Hart Lane because he’d only go and break out hearts at the Stadium of Light on Saturday if we did. David Sapsted*, pictured at a Fleet Street “function”, and Bernie Kingsley**, who chairs the Tottenham Supporters’ Trust, don’t agree on everything but can be found purring in harmony on how good Tom Huddlestone is. They also talk about the White Lane Lane “reserves” now earning a crust on Wearside – and the view is dismissive in Bernie’s case – and offer differing verdicts on Steve Bruce (he’s either a “good manager” or a “bottom half manager”) …
Salut! Sunderland: What do you make of the Spurs old boys who are now at the Stadium of Light: Reid, Malbranque, Hutton and, of course, Bent?
Bernie: You’ve forgotten Fraizer Campbell and Marton Fulop. You are welcome to most of them. Malbranque was probably the one we were most disappointed to lose, but with more moves rumoured you are in danger of replacing Portsmouth as our reserve team in the EPL.
David: I never thought Bent got a fair crack of whip when he was with us. Like any striker, he needed a decent run in the side to prove his worth and he never got it. Since his move, he’s more than proved his point. You could say much the same this season about Pavlyuchenko, whom I have always rated and who, at long last, is getting the chance to show his mettle. I’m a fan of Hutton’s, too. I love the way he bombs forward, though I’ve always harboured doubts about his defensive capabilities. As for Steed….I’d have him on the pitch for any game, though probably not for more than 60 minutes these days.
And is there anyone at Sunderland – remembering how much you reputedly offered for Kenwyne Jones last season – you’d ike to see at the Lane?
Bernie: In all honesty, no, not really.
David: Gordon would be the only one I’d really covet, though he’d probably get fatally injured by Defoe in the very first training session. Besides, Gomes would be a hard man to replace between the sticks right now – he hasn’t done anything totally insane for weeks now. Or maybe days. But you gotta love the guy.
Were you surprised by our appalling run?
Bernie: Actually yes. While I think you are probably a middle to lower order side, you have enough good players to stay out of the mix at the bottom. I suspect your problem is that your manager is a bottom half man who thinks he’s another Ferguson.
Very surprised. At the start of the season, Sunderland’s attributes – good manager, industrious defence and an attack that can bring you goals – brought the sort of rewards I expected. Then you imploded: gawd knows why. You and West Ham have been my really big surprises of the season. And big disappointments.
Klinsmann, Waddle, Lineker etc were great Spurs heroes, but is there anything in recent history to compare with Jimmy Greaves, Danny Blanchflower and other figures of the Bill Nicholson era?
Bernie: Ledley is up there with the best when he’s fit, Aaron Lennon is as good a winger as we’ve had since Ginola. Berbatov was a major star for us until he went moody for Man U. And I still think Tom Huddlestone can be a real star for England as well as Tottenham.
I firmly believe that Tom Huddlestone could rank among the greats, especially if he could only learn to tackle people. His vision, ball skills and passing abilities are superb and, since he stopped eating so many pies during his off-duty hours, he can run about a bit, too. With such a rasping shot, he should score more goals. Gareth Bale, too, could be the stuff of legend. Pity he’s Welsh.
The Eduardo question: last game of the season. You must win to secure a Champions’ League place and it’s 1-1 with five seconds left. Roman Pavlyuchenko goes down in the box and everyone in the ground except the ref sees it as a blatant dive (with apologies to Mr Pavlyuchenko if he’s never been known to cheat in his career). You score the penalty and win. Take it gladly, take it guiltily or feel so ashamed you almost wish you’d only drawn?
Bernie: Are you serious? Take it gladly. But we’ll probably have Howard Webb as ref so he won’t see it at all.
David: I would feel horribly guilty and ecstatically happy, simultaneously. I would also be wondering why he left it until five seconds before the end.
Club vs country: will you be rooting for England in S Africa or do you care too much about your club to worry abut the World Cup?
Bernie: I’m not a Capello fan but if we go a reasonable distance it’s hard not to want England to win. Better if Aaron, JD and others are in the team of course.
David: Oh. I’m just the worst, horribly jingoistic England supporter. If Defoe has to break a leg to score that winning England goal then, go on, my son, break it. Club football is my meat and drink – supporting England is that special meal and expensive wine you treat yourself to once in a while.
Will you be at the Stadium of Light and what will be the score?
Bernie: Unfortunately not, we decided a while back to miss this one for various reasons but I’m now wishing I was there. I never predict scores, just hope for three points.
David: I won’t be there. My next away game is later in April in Manchester and I can only handle one disappointing, long drive home a month. The score this weekend will be 2-2.
************* See also: Who are you? Tottenham Hotspur (spelling finally corrected) ************
* David Sapsted, (in more serious mode), has worked for Yorkshire Post, The Times, Sunday Express, The Daily Telegraph and even Spitting Image during his journalistic and writing career. He is currently UK correspondent for The National, Abu Dhabi and is a lifelong Spurs fan.
** Bernie Kingsley on Bernie Kingsley: I’m the former co-producer of the currently inactive site Cock-a-Doodle-Doo, co-founder of TISA 20 years ago, present chairman of the Tottenham Supporters Trust, regular scourge of successive THFC chairmen! (Though I now get on OK with Daniel Levy.) Professionally I’m head of HR for a major property group (we own the Metro Centre among other things). I’ve been a regular at WHL for 43 years, now a season ticket holder in the North Stand Upper, been to every cup final and semi-final since 1971, missed about three north London derbies home or away in the same time and I regularly wonder why I do it.