Friday, 26 November 2010

Are Tottenham contenders?

Tuesday the 17th August: The Tottenham Players give all they can to claw back a 3-0 deficit away to Young Boys to 3-2 and take 2 away goals back to White Heart Lane. Tottenham's anticipated Champions League debut game is widely seen as a little lacklustre after managing to find themselves 3-0 behind in first half hour.

A 4-0 win at White Heart Lane made these worries and thoughts disappear as the twice Uefa cup winners and one time Cup winners cup winners would be taking their place on European Football's biggest stage for the first time.

Drawn with Inter Milan, FC Twente and Werder Bremen in one of the toughest groups, Tottenham were seen to have a chance of Qualifying however nobody quite expected the impact they would have in the Champions League stage.

Roll forward until November the 27th, with only one game left away to FC Twente, Tottenham sit top of their group on goal difference and guaranteed to at least qualify to the last 16.

What has surprised most about Tottenham is the amount of effort every single player puts in every game when wearing a Spurs shirt in the Champions league.
Every player gives everything they have every game and it is refreshing to see a team in the Champions League give it their all in every game and play their full team in every game in the group stage and not treating the group stage like training matches like certain other teams.

The star of the Tottenham Champions League campaign so far is without doubt Gareth Bale.

Gareth Bale's profile has rocketed after his displays on the top stage have got him noticed and the young Welshman has set himself high standards to keep after a sensational hat trick at the San Siro vs Inter albeit Spurs were already 4-0 behind and then in the return match at White Heart Lane he set up 2 of the goals as for the second game in a row he tore Maicon, regarded as the worlds best right back to shreds with his skills and trickery making Maicon look like an average player which is not an easy thing to do!

Spurs have hit the ground running in this seasons Champions League and what may be surprising to many, they may very well have a chance of at least a prolonged run in the tournament depending on the kindness of the draw.

Spurs do not look out of place at all on the big stage and have arguably one of the most talented squads in the competition with great players like Palacios and Kranjcar struggling for a place in the team. Why not believe in Champions League glory as a Tottenham fan? 

You have to be in a competition to win it and Tottenham are certainly in the competition and mean buisness. Tottenham are strong enough to at least make the quarter finals depending on the draw however, why not believe they can go all the way to Wembley and lift the Trophy?

Stranger things have happened 

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Introduction of B teams the way forward?

Many have called for the SPL to be changed for years with the split seen as one of the  main problems clubs have in the current SPL set up.Votes have been taking with no proper agreement on a new format as everyone has their own agenda on the matter with most failing to put forward an acceptable new format for the SPL or how to improve gate numbers. One view which should be considered which so far has only been examined briefly is the idea of introducing Rangers and Celtic B sides to Division three.

   Introducing a 14 team SPL with two sides relegated every season would keep the SPL fresh to a certain extent and make relegation battles more interesting for fans to watch.

  The three Divisions below the SPL would stay as ten team divisions  with the Rangers and Celtic B squads entering in the third season. If tickets were cheap there is no doubt a good number of fans would follow Rangers and Celtic B for a chance to watch stars of the future or returning players pull on the clubs jersey for a cut price ticket and Ibrox and Parkhead would be used more so more money would be made by the clubs.
Attendances would rise to a few thousand at least for these games involving B sides with other Division three sides compared to some games right now where only a couple of hundred go to the games and teams would be able to make more money from gate receipts to help run the club with a little more money to help them.
Old Firm B games would also pull in crowds with fans eager to watch their club get one over their rivals and would bring a chance to young players to have a step in between the youth team and reserve teams with  the full team again which would make the step up a little easier as they would get to play competitive football and less would be released as soon as they were too old to play in the youth teams.
The Old Firm are not the only teams who could introduce reserve teams with Hibs and Hearts also up for entering  reserve teams into the lower divisions to help spot future talents. If Hearts and Hibs are introduced then the SPL could be considered to become a 16 team league.

  This is only one possibility out of many and not guaranteed to work like all the others. However, The introduction of Old Firm  B teams would definetly earn third division sides more money and how many of them would turn down more money to help them survive?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Levein proved right as young Scots shine

With the way the Scotland squad was looking on Monday night, a few call ups to players In the junior leagues was not looking the  unlikeliest thing in the world.
  Taking charge of a much criticised friendly against the Faroe Islands, Craig Levein was forced to make many changes to the Scotland squad that faced Spain with only Bardsley and Fletcher staring in both the Spain and Faroe Islands games.
However, after an encouraging display from a young Scotland squad Levein looks to have had the last laugh regarding the criticism towards the friendly.
 Initiallythe game was proposed as a Scotland B game however the game was changed to a full international although looking at the final squad you would have not have noticed much difference in a Scotland B squad.
 A 3-0 victory later and first Scotland goals for Debutant Danny Wilson, Kris Commons and Jamie Mackie, Levein may have been proved right to play the friendly.
  Young Scots Barry Bannan and Danny Wilson impressed in their Scotland debut’s  with Wilson showing fans he is capable of taking over from his old team mate at Rangers David Weir in the defence and Bannan looked comfortablle in the team on his debut with a lively performance that will excite fans of what he could provide for the team.
Others like Charlie Adam who played a major part  in all 3 goals from his Corners and  Phil Bardsley who bombed up and down the flank all game, have gave Levein a major headache with future squad selections.
Levein will look at the game and think of it as a success. It may not have been the best time to organise a friendly as seen by the number of squad drop outs however, Levein will be happy with the fringe players who have shown they deserve a place in future qualifier squads.
Another little bonus may be that the win may help add a few world ranking points considering Scotland have slipped to 57 in the standings (expected to be 54th in next few days when new standings are released)  and the fans will admit that the friendly was better than expected.
Levein’s now has to continue building and make sure Scotland are ready to bounce back and regain the national pride that was alive under Walter Smith and Alex Mccleish and show he is the man who can lead Scotland back to International tournaments again instead of falling at last hurdle like in recent years.