In the final week of the transfer window, Daniel Levy was throwing around more bids than a violent nursing home. This scattergun approach, inevitably, came at a price on Saturday as a disjointed Spurs were pegged back by a spirited Norwich City in front of a funereal home crowd. The money conscious Levy sold yet failed to replace Tottenham’s two main playmakers banking over £43 million in the last week of the window, but another buoyant balance sheet has come at the price of an unbalanced and underperforming team. Great business, but this is football’s ‘Moneyball’.
The afternoon’s lowlight was undoubtedly the cascade of boos at half-time with the score all square, thanks only to two stellar saves from the under-threat Brad Friedel. It was our ‘bin bag’ moment. Tottenham supporters can mock the Emirates match experience as much as they please but the emergence of the nouveau glory fan at White Hart Lane has proved cancerous to Spurs’ once vibrant home atmosphere.
These are not true fans. Most likely they are beneficiaries of the club’s new and misguided ‘loyalty’ point system where ‘support’ over four of the club’s most successful Premier League seasons is valued and rewarded. Loyal supporters in grim times past (who may now have young families and find their opportunities to attend limited) have been marginalised in recognition of these baying parasites. But I guess four years of 'support' means the nouveau fan is 'due'.
In truth, Spurs played like strangers, without the coherence of old. Partially, this was due to a feisty Norwich outfit who, on another more fortunate day, may have departed with all three points. They certainly fashioned the better chances. I would pay them greater credit, but for the endless histrionics of Simeon Jackson who in his time on the field kissed more turf than a 2008 Lindsay Lohan.
Somehow an adroit finish from debutant Mousa Dembele gifted Spurs the lead, but it was a false promise. As Norwich pressed, Tottenham capitulated for the second week in succession with Snodgrass drilling past the otherwise excellent Friedel after another Norwich free-kick.
There was still time for the dismissal of the returning Tom Huddlestone who was red carded after a 50-50 challenge with Jonny Howson. Referee Mark Halsey (who endured a slapstick final 20 minutes) will probably look back at that decision through a gap between his fingers.
After a promising but unrewarded start at Newcastle, the Andre Villas-Boas era is misfiring. Many seasoned supporters around me, including the measured ones, felt the Portuguese would be gone by Christmas. Thankfully, David Pleat is still available. Like the dizzied Juande Ramos before him, AVB is a flashy, ‘designer’ signing favoured by Levy, yet under his stewardship top class players are playing listlessly, without cohesion or understanding. His fault or Levy’s window? Like a hermaphrodite, it’s a bit of both. True Spurs fans will cheer and persevere regardless.