How Man City thwarted Tottenham’s return to Glory

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We Spurs fans like a good moan. Whether it’s a dodgy refereeing decision at Old Trafford (there’s been a few!) or the lack of English players at the ‘other’ club down the Seven Sisters Road, there’s always something that gets us whinging down the pub.

Maybe it’s because of late we’ve been overshadowed by our north London neighbours. Maybe it’s because we’re underachievers. Maybe we just think we’re bigger than we actually are? I’ve always felt aggrieved that I never lived through Tottenham’s glory years – those of Nicholson, Blanchflower, Ardiles, Hoddle et al.

I can’t help thinking we were on the very cusp of a return to those glory years. Trophies in the cabinet, tabloid journalists purring at our attacking play, and an end to the perennial playground/office bullying that comes as a result of being 3-0 up at home against ten-man Manchester City at half time and being 4-3 down at the final whistle (Oh yes, those kind of results stay with you till your dying breath).

Since Martin Jol took the reins in 2004, Spurs have been on the up. There’s been one trophy in the cabinet, albeit the League Cup, and a debut in the Champions League. Dazzling displays of attacking football that have had the journalists scrambling for the bandwagon, and the playground bullies all of a sudden want to be our best pals.

Yet a return to the dark days of mid-table mundaneness is firmly on the cards. Who can I blame this time? Not Arsenal, not Chelsea, not United, not even West Ham, but Manchester City. Here’s the reason…

After years of exile from the big time, Tottenham were finally pulling their socks up – physically, figuratively, and financially. But along comes Mr Money Bags Sheikh Mansour to ruin our day in the sun. I can’t begrudge City their rise to power, because they have suffered in a larger, darker shadow for much longer, but I can begrudge them when their rise to power sends us packing from the Champions League. There we were; a cockerel beginning to loudly crow, making inroads into the top four cartel, at the heels of Liverpool and Arsenal, I dare say? But now rises the Blue Moon to cast us into a sort of…well…pale, insipid obscurity.

It’s true that unlike the miserly and miserable Alan ‘Your Fired’ Sugar, Daniel Levy has been pretty good to us – like a father treating his son every now and again with the latest, neatest toys, a few of which get cast aside once we realise they’re not as neat as we first thought (Darren Bent, David Bentley anybody?). But City’s owner is like the rich dad who spoils his suckling children with everything they ever want. “Daddy, can we have Tevez? Can we have Toure? Can we have Aguero? Pleeeeaase. Oh and, Edin Dzeko is quite fashionable at the moment – since you’ve got your wallet out, we’ll have him too”. If you haven’t already got the point, here it is…

City’s spending has blown Spurs (and everyone else) out of the water. We may have beaten them to the elusive 4th place in 2010, but it only delayed the inevitable. And now, by denying us a return to the Champions League, they’ve loosened our dual grip on the tails of Arsenal and Liverpool. A place amongst the big boys was there to be taken, but the timing of our modest rise couldn’t have been worse, for it coincided with a Blue Moon hell-bent on total eclipse. This only serves to remind us of what could have been if not for a dodgy Lasagne on the night of Saturday 6 May, 2006. Would our place in the top-four elite have been cemented by now? Highly unlikely, I suppose. But then we Spurs fan are a pessimistic bunch.

Liverpool, United and Chelsea will all continue to spend. Even Arsenal will have to depart with some of their carefully guarded cash to keep up. As for Spurs, Villa, Everton and Newcastle, those nearly men of the Premier League era, all we can hope for is a generous, petro-dollar rich sugar-daddy of our own.

Or will we be saved by financial fair play? Too late, the horse has bolted – £400m over 10 years for the ‘Etihad Stadium’? That should be enough to keep the rest of us jostling for mediocre talent with the kind of money the Sheikh finds down the back of the sofa. For Spurs, a crumb of comfort might be found in a revamped White Hart Lane. And in a final, bitter note, we’ll always have Peter Crouch’s 82nd minute winner at Eastlands to hark back to. That and Ricky Villa’s fabulous solo goal in the ’81 Cup Final, of course… are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “” to learn more.

Have a look at the ten strikers that we think will lead the race for the Golden Boot next season

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  • Roy Singh says:

    Man City is not responsible for our misdemeanour but the players, management & coaches.

  • amf00769 says:

    Lets put Spurs into perspective
    Football today is no longer a game it is big business!
    Money talks,money buys success, that is derived from “Billionaire sugar daddies” and ground size or both.
    We had the 3rd smallest ground in the Premier leagues top 10 teams of last season, I don’t think that was a failure, we still qualified for Europe all be it the 2nd tier competition but still more revenue
    Until the ground fiasco is sorted out we have to be realistic and not have our head in the clouds and try to compete financially with some of the other clubs, I remember the demise of Leeds.
    We are knocking on the door, and I genuinely believe our day will come sooner rather than later, but only after we have a much larger ground.
    Patience will prevail!

  • HeavyRiffs says:

    £400 million for the stadium is a false figure that the media has dreamt up, try looking at what the plans actually entail first.

  • Bob says:

    A very good blog on the current Spurs situation – unfortunately for you amf00769 is right on one thing, the game is now big business and unless you can compete at that level financially you are always going to struggle. However, you do have the best manager in place to take Spurs as high as they can and the Gunners are there for the taking.

  • MCFCOK says:

    It’s not just a matter of wealth though as were constantlt told when we found new owners, although that is of course vital and has been for a long long time. There are those like you that have tried to buy your way into the elite before but failed for a long time. So it also requires a great manager (which you now have). There are also clubs with very wealthy men behind them but neither the ambition or the vision to allow that money to work to their advantage. Look at your neighbours for example who are perennial underachievers and who look increasingly vulnerable. Then there are those clubs who are held back by egotistical owners who are unwilling to seek out wealthier backers for the good of the club. Their loss.

    I have come to despise Arsenal fans with a passion and I sincerely hope that Spurs take their place in the Top 4 this season and then stay there this time.

    Good Luck.

    (Ricky Villa…….grrrrr).

  • Jem says:

    I think you still have a great chance of champs league next year, Arsenal are falling apart & the pressure will be on Daglish next season like it wasn’t last at Liverpool. You are not far off, personally I don’t think there is a huge gap between Arse, Pool, City and Spurs, if there is a difference it’s in depth of the squad (City could field 3 good teams at any given time) so with injuries & suspensions over a long season City have the advantage. The 4-3 comeback was revenge for Ricky Villa, and we had to wait a long time for it, but it was sweet.

  • Swiss T says:

    Utd have signed a back up youth CB
    A young keeper, who appears to be very good, but he’s got a long way to go before he gets the experience of VDS.
    And Ashley Young, ok utd will benifit from his diving, we all know the refs favour them! but he’s not exactly world class, he even struggles to get in the england team!

    Arsenal look set to lose Fabregas and possibly nasri. They’ve signed gervinho and carl jenkins. I expect them to drop even more points this season.

    Liverpool – you talk about City’s spending! £20 mil Henderson, £18 mil Downing and what ever for Charlie Adam… wow! 3 mid table players! They had a good run at the end of the season, but I reckon 5th is the highest they can finish.

    Chelsea struggled at times last season and they’ve not bought anyone yet!

    So Spurs, it’s up to you guys to oust one of the top 4 teams and I don’t think there’s been a better chance than now!

    Oh and on City’s spending

    £38 for Aguero
    £7 for Clichy
    £6 for Savic
    =£51 mil

    £18 for Young
    £18+ add ons for De Gae
    £16.5+ add ons for Jones

    £16 up to £20mil for Henderson
    £20 for Downing
    £9 mil for Adam
    = £45/49mil

    We’re not exactly blowing everyone away! Plus, our Aguero deal came later than the others so they set the precedent

  • BlueMoonEvo says:

    City’s spending over the last 3 years was only marginally higher than Spurs – the difference being that City bought better and wiser to such an extent that we didnt deprive Tottenham of Champions League football, we actually deprived Arsenal of automatic qualification and finished level on points with Chelsea who were second.

  • It's Grim Oop North says:

    Typical Spurs.

  • COYS says:

    Brilliant article..

  • Ray says:

    The exact same shit was posted by you last week. Are you getting paid per hit?

  • Stevie says:

    Spurs have had a billionaire backer for much longer than City, so really they are a team that City have had to play catch up with.

    I think Tottenham are a good team, with a top manager (who would be my number 1 choice for England boss with a bullet), but I think that pretending that Tottenham aren’t minted is slightly disingenuous.

    City are loaded and that definitely makes us unpopular, but it’s what we needed to do to challenge for the title, not just to creep into 4th every now and then.

  • sr, mcr says:

    Don’t fret Spurs fans! As we speak Mr Wenger is having the finest bespoke red carpet woven. He plans to roll it out for you over the coming season.

  • amf00769 says:

    Lets understand the facts
    We have a small ground compared to our rivals and We don’t have billionaire sugar daddy owners who can afford ridiculous £150,000+pw wages
    Levy has his hands tied, and has to look at the bigger picture in this current economic climate of doing what he considers is best for THFC, and not just the fans who are deluded enough to think that we have bottomless pockets to buy success.
    Remember what happened at Leeds, and that was in a more secure financial world.
    I want Spurs to be succesful but it will have to be achieved by merit as in the past 2 seasons
    Lets get real, and start looking at the glass being half full and NOT half empty!

  • Stevie says:

    I think you’ll find Joe Lewis is a billionaire sugar daddy, just not one who wants to lose money – fair play to him, but doesn’t change the fact that he has the resources to compete

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