Tottenham in 2008: A Year of Joy and Despair
Well, a lot can happen in a year in the world of football, can't it?
Tottenham started out at the beginning of 2008 in high spirits after the appointment of Juande Ramos as Martin Jol's replacement.
This change of manager was the catalyst for a run of good form going into the New Year, which culminated in the side scoring 11 goals in two games in their last two games of the year against Reading and Fulham.
Ramos signed Jonathan Woodgate and Alan Hutton as defensive reinforcements to complement the productive partnership that had developed between Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov.
It seemed as though Tottenham were well set for an attack on the top four.
How wrong we all were.
After Tottenham's epic Carling Cup victory with impressive performances against Arsenal in the last four and Chelsea in the final at Wembley, most of the players went AWOL thereafter, resulting in just 12 points from the 11 league games that followed.
During the summer, the club's board demonstrated its ambition with the acquisitions of the hugely talented Croat Luka Modric, the pick of four high-profile signings. Tottenham also replaced the erratic Paul Robinson with PSV man mountain Heurelho Gomes. Barcelona startlet Giovani was expected to give the team added creativity, and the manager numerous attacking options.
All of this augured well for us fans and we were drooling at the prospect of a four-pronged attack of Berbatov, Keane, and two of Lennon—Bentley—Dos Santos—Modric.
Fast forward two months and we felt angry, disappointed, and above all dumbstruck.
Berbatov had sulked his last sulk, Keane had secured his 'dream move' to Anfield, Ramos had jumped ship, and we were facing the prospect of away days at Barnsley and Blackpool.
Two points from eight games. How had it come to this?
Enter Harry Redknapp...to a hero's welcome.
The first signs were encouraging. Spirited displays of resilience and camaraderie brought four points from matches at Arsenal and against Liverpool and—suddenly, magically—Tottenham were looking to break into the top half.
Gomes had regained his confidence and was heroic in ensuring a much-deserved point against the holders. Bentley was beginning to reproduce his form last season for Blackburn, and we had our Aaron Lennon back terrifying defences.
Losses at Fulham and Newcastle and at home to Everton have sucked the club back into a relegation fight and Tottenham fans must hope that they celebrate the New Year on the back of six much-needed points from their last two games in 2008.
So...2008 has seen many players—whether priceless or useless—come and go. It has seen plans unveiled for a new multi-million-pound stadium, museum, and regeneration project. It has seen joy and despair in equal measure.
There have been 148 goals in 55 matches, with 21 wins, 16 draws and 18 losses. There have been gaffes galore, great goals, tempers and tantrums, tears and triumphs.
But what for 2009?
Come New Year's Day, Tottenham could be 20th. They could be 10th!
The results against Fulham and WBA will determine the extent of the club's transfer activity in January, but additions to the positions of goalkeeper, centre back, left wing, and centre forward are expected.
That the Spurs could find themselves playing Barcelona in the Champions League next year, or Blackpool in the Championship, will ensure an exciting—and nerve-racking—year.
Tottenham have won many battles over the past two months, but there may be some tricky situations that Tottenham must be ready for if they are to win the war.
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