Another Gareth Bale wonder strike ultimately failed to take Tottenham to the Champions League, as Arsenal picked up a win at Newcastle that secured fourth place for the Gunners.
However, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has firmly won over the White Hart Lane faithful and deserves to be fully backed in the summer transfer window.
The decision to sack Harry Redknapp surprised many, however Tottenham fans had begun to tire of the self-interest media quotes from the current QPR boss. When times were good Harry was everyone’s darling, however when results took a turn for the worse the ex-West Ham, Portsmouth and Southampton manager was often left without an answer, only offering a withering sarcastic comment aimed at the Tottenham support.
Andre Villas-Boas was once the next big thing while winning the treble at Porto, but had failed to deal with the egos in the Chelsea dressing room. Levy’s punt was greeted with scepticism.
A vocal minority booed the manager and the team after late goals saw points dropped at home against Norwich and West Brom, and typically the media made this out to be a much beginning deal than it was. Most Spurs fans were willing to let the new manager have time to gel the team, a team that was suffering after the summer sales of Rafa van der Vaart and Luka Modric.
As is the case whenever fan unhappiness is exploited, it is only the most vocal that get heard, while the more reasonable and understanding proportion, nay majority, will stand by their side through thick and thin.
Villas-Boas turned the tide around, eventually leading Tottenham to their biggest ever Premiership points total. That they missed out on the Champions League was unfortunate, but the development of Gareth Bale, the progress of Aaron Lennon and Sandro, the reintegration of Michael Dawson and the measured introduction of Hugo Lloris all add points to the manager’s score card.
AVB has had to deal with a side lacking striking options, devoid of creativity due to the departures last summer, and yet led Spurs to a club best 10 away league wins. He also stopped the side conceding late goals, and in fact Spurs have scored equalisers or winners in the last ten minutes of their last seven games.
Having established a solid base after his first year, Villas-Boas is ready to show his ambition.
"Our step at the moment is to be into the Champions League, not title contenders, but we hope to be competitive next season if we manage to do things properly in the summer." Villas-Boas previously said.
‘Manage to do things properly in the summer.' That is the key for Spurs. For too long they have taken two steps forward, one step back, and in a league where standing still means going backwards, Tottenham are simply staying up with the rest, not overtaking them. Five top-five finishes in seven seasons shows consistency, but Spurs need to aim higher and without backing from the board that will not be possible.
Daniel Levy is a notoriously tough negotiator, but sometimes he cuts his nose off to spite his face. Early deals, like the ones for Luka Modric, Didier Zokora, and Gylfi Sigurdsson, are combined with late minute panic buys, like Roman Pavlyuchenko, Frazier Campbell, and Clint Dempsey. While Dempsey has shown himself to be an asset to the squad, how much higher up the table would Spurs be if they had signed the much needed world class striker? The three year flirtation with Brazilian Leandro Damiao needs to be resolved one way or another, while the mess over Joao Moutinho left Tottenham without a true playmaker.
If they keep hold of Gareth Bale, then the side only needs two top quality additions (striker and playmaker), and with those players signed early Levy can wheel and deal with the fringe elements of the squad. If Tottenham dally, if Levy tries to be too cute, then another season will pass with Spurs coming up just short, and Bale will justifiably want to move to one of the World’s biggest clubs.
The difference between this summer and previous ones is that in Bale Tottenham have a real Superstar, up there with the World’s top five or six. If Levy does not help Villas-Boas capitalise on having the Welshman now, it may be decades before Spurs have another player of that class.
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