We at Here Is the City have invited The Editor; Spooky from the very loyal Tottenham Hotspur fans site Dear Mr Levy to share his views on Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
At HITC, we thank Dear Mr Levy for his brilliant answers to our questions. Informative - humorous - loyal , enjoy the tit-for-tat, plus absolute nonsense; enjoy.
RedScot: As we all prepare to open our first Advent Calendar window - tomorrow. Let's get the bad news out of the way Spooky!
Tell us your impression of the 6-0 blip defeat at the hands of Manchester City as Spurs record of the best defensive team in the Premier League was crushed, the manager stating he was 'ashamed' of Spurs performance against City.
Did you sit and nurse a stiff drink or two, after the match.
Seriously who were the Spurs heroes and villains in the match against the Citizens?
Spooky: Everyone was a villain on the day. I'm philosophical about it now. I was philosophical about it after 14 seconds. You can't legislate for conceding a goal like that. Well, you can, but it throws out all the pre-match prep work and also hits you hard mentality. When you then go onto dominate possession and give away another cheap goal to go 2-0, you're going to switch off the day. We did, which was inexcusable. Lloris, for his mistakes, probably kept the score from being far worse. Day to forget, but also a day that was on the cards. We've not been playing well and this was the performance where all the negatives came out to play and torment us. It's all about reaction now. We're going to see if AVB is able to give us the extra edge we need and whether the players are hurting as bad as the supporters and seek redemption against United.
RS: Did you watch the fantastic performance at the Bay Arena when Manchester United gained three massive Champions League points, thumping Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 to ensure qualification to the last 16. What's your opinion, are Manchester United on the ropes, or have they bounced back?
S: I didn't see the game, no. I was in therapy (recording a podcast talking through the 6-0). Utd doing well doesn't surprise me. Far too much media hype and narrative aimed at Moyes - which is ironic, because now it's all aimed at AVB. United might not have the glamour or the truly outstanding superstar player(s) that City or Chelsea have - but they do have 25 years of seasoned experience and a hard coded mentality - even if Fergie is no longer there. I'd rather play a Utd team in confidence than one that's not. I think the game on Sunday is set up well.
RS: Spurs will have navigated their way through to the last 32 of the Europa League with a clean sweep in matches completed to date, is there any real merit in this tournament financially?
S: It is what it is. We miss out on Champions League because we gave points away against Everton/Liverpool/Fulham (pick one) and we end up having to play in the freezing cold against clubs that are hardly blessed with quality. It's the latter rounds when this competition comes alive and no matter what you or me or anyone thinks of it - there's a final and a trophy up for grabs. We've not had to be brilliant to win the group, but we've done it with a game to spare. Financially, the club doesn't have a choice. Winning it would be grand thought. A Cup final is hardly anything to scoff at - no matter the competition.
RS: Tottenham Hotspur last won the old First Division One title in season 1961 and their last trophy was the League Cup; in 2008. Is the club being starved of being in the honeymoon suite and a big trophy?
S: The bridesmaid, arguably has far more fun that the bride. It's funny you should mention this because on the podcast (The Fighting Cock) one of the blokes used this exact analogy as we poked fun at ourselves. Winning every single season can change you, can make you appreciate silverware far less, can taint your expectations. It can make this sterile. Much like a bride marrying a groom and getting bored after X amount of years. The bridesmaid though, occasionally, gets to have some fun at the wedding, snogging blokes, getting off with the best man. That probably is Spurs. Every so often we get a kiss and we can't stop smiling. Or something like that. Sorry, this analogy sounded far better in my head.
The point is, I'm happy winning something. I'd love to win the title - and wouldn't care if we didn't go on to win again for another 50 years.
RS: I read somewhere Michael Dawson is the longest in the shower after the match. Care to confirm enlarge?
S: I'm guessing this is a Soccer AM gag? I see Dawson quite often in my local high street. I think he lives nearby. He's great servant to the club, loves Spurs and gives it his all. But he's not ours best centre-back, probably 4th in line. Still, it's important to have players like him at the club - he has passion. I respect him for coming back from the brink after almost leaving for QPR. There was a period last season where we never lost a game with him in the team.
RS: White Hart Lane has a seating capacity of 36,310, what are the Spurs board plans to build a new stadium?
Do you believe to compete with the EPL heavyweights that ground expansion is paramount. Manchester United as an example have a stadium capacity of in excess of 75,000, with an annual turnover budgeted for (2013-14 ) of £425m. Match day income will be the lesser part, slightly above 25%. Tell us Spurs proposals to stay in the game?
S: Without a doubt, match day revenue is imperative if we want to pay some of the wages some players command. Moving/building the new stadium seems to be a slow brooding process - but we'll have a 60k ground at some point and as long as we fill it up, the club will be able to make money that shifts us up a level - but from a business perspective, until then, CL seems to be the more obvious method to generate extra millions.
RS: Do you think referees have a favoured team, last season Chris Foy was the main official in both Tottenham Hotspurs v Manchester United matches. Tomorrow the referee is Mike Dean?
S: Refs are always against your own side. We are all biased. Only thing I will say is as long as the ref doesn't try to dominate the game, then its all good. If you're talking about the ref then he's doing something wrong. Some of the best refs, you hardly notice them. I would hope they don't favour sides but they are human and some managers know how to influence indirectly by suggesting or saying something that will play on the refs minds. I'd rather win a game because we played better than by some controversial decision.
RS: Do you consider that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is probably one of the shrewdest businessmen in the EPL. Selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee, extracting top - dollar from Manchester United as an example in negotiating large transfer values for the magnificent Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov?
S: Yes. I hear it from people outside of football that he is the hardest negotiator in football. Shrewd for sure. He wanted to take us to Stratford. I dislike him for that. Sure, as a business it was the best possible choice. Spurs to me isn't a business. It's my football club and taking us to Stratford would have killed it for me. As for players, he knows how to work a deal - sometimes though there is no decisiveness. We seem to have got that with Baldini at the club.
RS: Andre Villas-Boas has invested the Bale money in recruiting in the summer window. Midfielder's Paulinho from Corinthians, Nacer Chadli from FC Twente, Etienne Capoue from Toulouse and Christian Eriksen from Ajax. Striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia. The excellent winger Erik Lamela from Roma and defender Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest. Quite an array of talent as the Spurs gaffer attempts to integrate the foreign players into the life in a new league, city, meshing them into his way of playing.
They surely will be provided ample opportunity and time as Spurs still feature in the Europa League tournament and Capital One Cup, remaining an interest in the League.
Do you believe some commentators Spurs old - boys as examples (Glenn Hoddle and Graeme Souness) expect football players to arrive at a new club and be immediately up to speed?
S: Everybody expects that. Sure, we are not playing very well and there is no cohesive flow to our game and because of the money spent people expect the moon on a stick from the go. Fact is, the extra pressure comes from the sense of entitlement we all seem to have (well some of us, not me) that this is the season it all comes together and no one has the patience to wait. The media want AVB to fail, it provides them with plenty to write about and it's what most of them want to see play out. Doesn't help having our supporters give up at the first sign of trouble.
RS: Is March the month of make or break period for Tottenham Hotspurs?
A concerted push to ensure a Champions League spot, Cardiff City (H), a visit to west London; Chelsea. Mid March ferocious arch rivals the Gunner's visit WHL. Followed by Pochettino's Southampton, and finally to complete this part of the marathon a easy visit to the north west to Brendan Rodgers; Liverpool!
S: December going into January is the month(s) Spurs have to do the business. Get through a very tricky/packed out Xmas period and then face off with both Utd and City in Jan - and we'll know exactly what type of season Spurs will end up having. Cup games included. History remembers cup final winners, not 4th placed teams. Although CL seems to be the only way to build a team and keep players and challenge for the title - no wonder all the fans are emotionally confused.
RS: Is Andre Villas-Boas' position as manager of Spurs under serious threat, he no doubt is feeling intense pressure, but will the hierarchy at Tottenham pull the trigger and fire him?
S: We got rid of Redknapp because of his short termism. To then get rid of AVB (appointed for his longevity in terms of transfer signings) after a short term hiccup is ridiculous. It's 12 games. Supporters need to man up and work through the 'hard times' and not just expect everything to be full of swagger from the off. I think this fallacy of entertaining football clouds peoples judgement. We had entertaining football under Redknapp and there were some fans that wanted him out throughout his tenure as Spurs boss. You can't please everyone. It's hellish out there.
RS: Bill Nicholson famously once said "The Public can't be kidded. They know what they want to see, what is good and what is bad and what is just average." The iconic Spurs manager who created the attack- attack philosophy at White Hart Lane which is still relevant today, shared. "If you don't win anything, you have had a bad season." Your view?
S: Bill Nicholson is Mr Tottenham Hotspur. Our football and players and their achievements are iconic and also our downfall in many ways. We seek to replicate that football and tbf, we've retained traditions through out our history - flair football and flair players - but that isn't enough to win you titles. Which is why we've always been a cup team. Football isn't the same beast it was back then and although I would hate to win the league playing boring football - we're not in a position to challenge for it, so how can we possible be critical until we do? AVB's Spurs is not the finished article - if he gets there and the system works it will be a far more aggressive and robust side - one that can win games and not lose many. People seem to want it all and want it to be like the past but its not reality to expect that.
Yes, we need to be more expressive or at least make the most of the players we have. That's AVB's job. But sadly, if you want to win the league you have to be bullish and gritty. Ignoring this seasons supposed 'crisis' - Spurs under AVB hardly lost games. Our away record our best since the Prem. Need to be braver at home. I think AVB can do well to encompass some of what Nicholson alluded to.
RS: I recall Harry Redknapp being serenaded by the supporters fantastically at the Lane as Spurs charged to a Champions League quarter final, "Harry please don't go" they sang. Which raised the hairs on your neck, loyal as a support can be! Although ultimate failure for the man-manager, knocked out of the lucrative Champions league at the quarter-final stage. What was your view of the man from Poplar, and his time at White Hart Lane. With quotes such as "You will never get the sack for having an untidy desk. You only get the sack if you lose games and buy bad players."
Was Redknapp a success at White Hart Lane?
S: He got players playing. He was a success in terms of why he was appointed (to sort out the mess Ramos left behind). He over-achieved I guess in some ways because nobody expected us to get into the CL. I think in the end, Redknapp didn't have the tactical astuteness to take us up another level. Also, him and Levy never agreed on transfer targets and like I said, Redknapp was all about the now rather than 2/3 years down the line. Perhaps in modern football, it should only be about the now and trying to win something or qualify in the top 4 because its so cut throat - but personally, I want a philosophy, a blueprint. Something that allows for stability and continuity.
RS: Tell us the most ridiculous transfer rumour you have read, relating to Tottenham Hotspur for this January transfer window?
S: You know what. I couldn't tell you. I've completely blanked it out. I've read that Lamela was going to be sold. I think that's fairly ridiculous - but as for players in? Not heard anything. Yet. Plenty of time to bang my head against the wall though. It's not that far off.
RS: Your favoured Manchester United fans forum to read?
S: I don't read United forums but Republik of Mancunia is one I frequently look at. RS: Spot on.
RS: David Baddiel created a brief film demanding that anti - semitic chanting is as unacceptable as is the abuse still suffered by black footballers (or any black human) and must be eradicated accordingly!
Sir Alex Ferguson asked of United fans to stop chanting, "Sit down you paedophile." In relation to Arsene Wenger. When does banter and goading turn into personal vileness as Spurs are unfortunately known as the ' Yids.'
S: Tribe mentality at football means its easier to get away with certain chanting - but police have cracked down over the years. If 5,000 fans are chanting something, its hard to do much about it. One person on his own can get nicked. As for the whole Baddiel and Y word controversy - its altogether another topic and very layered to go into here. I will say this, we don't use it as a derogatory word. The problem isn't so much the yid word, its the context and meaning they (rival fans) give it when they use it against us.
RS: What was your view obviously belatedly on Arsenal allowing the domestic league transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United knowing he netted 30 league goals for Arsenal in his final season.
Bagging 26 for United last term aiding United to win the magnificent 20th League title.
S: United are dogged. They'll always get goals. I think some clubs are positively spoilt. City are taking the mickey with the amount of forwards they have. Having said that, if you got an injury or two, you might find yourselves seeking for a Jan window bid for a striker.
RS: Do you believe that Tottenham Hotspurs achilles heel is scoring goals, with Roberto Soldado (4), Gylfi Sigurdsson (3), Andros Townsend along with Paulinho - both on (1) this season after 12 league contests.
Oddly Defoe netting 11 last term in the league, but this season a blank in the EPL but a top goalscorer in the Europa League. Gareth Bale (departed) the top hit man striking 21 times, with Clint Dempsey on 7 goals, in fourth place for Spurs last term, the maverick untamed Adebayor with 5 goals last term. In the preceding season as Spurs finished 4th in the table Emmanuel Adebayor, the top Spurs striker with 17.
Many reports have linked Manchester United's fabulous Mexican hit man Javier Hernandez with a transfer to White Hart Lane to support Soldado in a 4-4-2 formation. Your view, does AVB play a 4-4-2 unless the Portuguese boss is confident of winning?
S: Soldado is isolated, lacking confidence. We don't drill, cross or cut back balls into the box to allow him to attack the ball/pen area because we don't play with traditional wingers and our number 10 is in a constant state of flux. There is no natural movement to our football, its fragmented and untidy. Soldado will score if we use him. At the moment we're not using him. We really need to sort this out - and quickly. We're making scoring goals into a task that sometimes appears to be impossible when the wealth of talent we have should make it easy.
RS: You have the choice of one Manchester United player to transfer to Tottenham tell us who you would select and why?
S: Rooney. Could do with his talent up front.
RS: Most vital EPL player you would love to transfer to north London (Arsenal included) explain the reasoning?
S: Far too many too mention (none from the Woolwich lot). Sergio Aguero will do. Class player, hate the fact he's at City. He's the striker I admire the most in the Prem, has it all.
RS: Who are the best away fans to visit White Hart Lane. Which is the best away ground for atmosphere banter, that is charged with an electric rush. Don't say the Emirates for catch-up on sleep time?
S: Utd fans never stop singing at any given away ground. I think for best banter, it has to be any London derby. It's hardly 'banter' though. But the atmosphere for most of the games is electric - home or away.
RS: Do you think Tottenham have a gem in Erik Lamela?
S: Lamela is a kid, he's in a new league, new country, doesn't speak English. It's early early days. He's a classy player, was superb for Roma and it's obvious he has talent. We just need to give him time. And in time, he'll be our game changer. Not in the same way Bale was but still as influential.
RS: Can you provide the most up to date Tottenham Hotspur team news?
S: I can't, but then I don't care. No matter the 11 that start they owe us for what happened against City. I want to see heart, fight and desire and I want to see urgent, high tempo football. Last season Utd parked the bus at the Lane. We got the goal we deserved right at the end. People forget that all the while bashing AVB for our current 'plight'. Spurs need to show us what they're made of. God only knows the fallout of another defeat.
RS: Finally Spooky your score prediction for the match on Sunday?
S: 3-1 Tottenham. I prefer to hope now and have my heart broken later.
RS: Spooky great answers, I think I will go for United to put Spurs to the sword and a win at the Lane 2-3. If I was betting lad, but nothing is a given in this Premier League.
image: © Denise&David