In our last main report of the 2010-11 season, Damon and Damian review the footballing year for their clubs – Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC – a season of two halves for one and a roller coaster ride for the other. There is a transcript below, while explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.
Main Report: Liverpool and Tottenham’s seasons – Two fans’ perspectives
Liverpool FC (Damon)
Time to revisit the the comments I made about Liverpool as they kicked off their season with a new manager but under the cloud of unwanted owners.
I said, ‘Hope is something that Liverpool fans have again after their new manager, Roy Hodgson, has introduced a new confidence.’
Well, how wrong I was! Roy Hodgson was a disaster for Liverpool. Here’s a stat: If Hodgson had remained as manager, on the form of his first 20 games Liverpool would have finished with 47 points – that’s bottom half of the Premier League.
I also said he’d made some sensible signings.
Hmm… well, sensible is a one adjective, poor would be another. Most obviously, Konchesky – a favourite from the ex-Fulham manager’s days at the London club – summed up his approach: defensive and lacking imagination. No surprise that under Hodgson ‘ball players’ like Agger were on the bench.
Anything else I got wrong? Plenty. I predicted good runs in the Europa League and the FA Cup. The former was a drab series of 1-0 wins and 0-0 draws before going out to Braga in the last 16., and we went out to rivals Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Oh yes and a third place finish!
But, of course, it was not all doom and gloom. One of the biggest pluses was ridding the club of Gillet and Hicks, owners who had piled on huge debts to the club, and getting new owners who have balanced the books. We did the double over Chelsea, beat Manchester United with a brilliant display, and didn’t lose to Arsenal either. We signed one of the most exciting players around in Luis Suarez – his dribble through the Red Devil’s defence will live long in the memory, and the Reds have introduced players from the Academy more regularly – Spearing, Kelly, Flanagan, and Robinson.
But most of the good news has come because of the biggest bright spot of all – Kenny Dalglish returning to the dugout as manager. Since he’s been in charge Liverpool have been a different team – cohesive, quick, intelligent users of the ball, unpredictable for opponents, and attack-minded.
There’s a new confidence around Anfield and amongst Liverpool fans. I can’t wait until next season!
Tottenham Hotspur FC (Damian)
Well, like Damon, I too cannot wait for next season to start, though probably not for the same reason as him. 2010-11 was a frustrating season for Spurs fans and one that can be summed up by revisiting the first game of the season way back in August. Spurs absolutely battered Manchester City who only survived thanks to an inspired performance by goalkeeper Joe Hart and some poor finishing by the forwards and therein lies the story of our season. 8 more draws at White Hart Lane followed, along with another 5 away from home and with only 55 goals scored the season was one of ‘what might have been’. Dropping points to teams from the bottom end of the table did not help: 1 point each from Wigan, West Ham and Blackpool – despite having enough chances to win all 6 games comfortably. The goals simply dried up for Jermaine Defoe, ‘Big’ Peter Crouch, ‘Super Pav’ and Robbie Keane.
Thankfully the club had one of the bargains of the season in their ranks in Dutchman Rafael Van de Vart who managed an impressive 13 league goals after his move from Real Madrid. Before Christmas, Rafa and Welsh winger Gareth Bale were in everyone’s fantasy football team – Bale, in particular, after his dramatic European performances against Inter Milan. Bale lost a large part of the season to injury but even so he became the PFA Player of the Year yet most Spurs fans will tell you that he was not even the best player at Tottenham – that accolade goes to Croatian midfielder Luka Modric who provides the heartbeat of the team – a beautiful passer of the ball, intelligent, brave and strong. Other notable performances came from left-back Assou-Ekottou, centre-back William Gallas, captain Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon but flops of the season have to include Robbie Keane who was loaned out to relegated West Ham and our goalkeeper Heurelio Gomes who let us down far too often. It will be interesting to see what we do in the transfer window as manager Harry Redknapp (assuming he stays with the club) will have to sell before he can buy so we could be offloading up to 10 players before the next season begins.
There is hope of course – it is, after all, what always kills us – but Spurs have come a long way since 2008 when we were languishing at the foot of the table. Now we can look back at a season that saw us beat 7-time Champions League winners AC Milan in Italy, destroy 2010 Champions League winners Inter Milan, break our hoodoos away at Arsenal and Liverpool and generally play some good football. Yes, I am already looking forward to the 2011-12 season.
kick off: start, commence
under a cloud: in a state of depression, in a bad situation, with low motivation
stat: the short, casual form of ‘statistic’
ex-: previous, old, one before
ball player: a skillful player, a footballer comfortable with the ball at his or her feet
drab: boring, dull, uninspiring, grey
doom and gloom: bad news
balance the books: be financially sensible, do not spend more money than you make, avoid debt
The Reds: Liverpool football Club’s nickname
bright spot: good news amongst a lot of bad news
the dugout: where the manager and coaches sit by the pitch
battered: Thrashed, destroyed, outplayed
an inspired performance: Played extremely well
The goals simply dried up: The forwards failed to score many goals
fantasy football team: Competition for football fans where they pick a team based on how players perform
we were languishing at the foot of the table: Struggling at the bottom of the league