The Opposition View: Tottenham

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 16 October 2009
Ahead of tomorrow's crunch encounter, I spoke to Spurs fan Dave Winchester to get the view from the Tottenham camp about this game.

Firstly, let's start with Harry Redknapp. What was your reaction when you heard he was leaving Pompey for Tottenham? Is he the man to bring the glory days back to White Hart Lane and do you think you can finish in the top four with him at the helm?

When we originally were linked I wasn't too please to be honest, my opinion on Harry was he was a good manager for a team who were looking to finish in the top half of the table but not really challenge for the European spots consistently.

This is in no way meant as disrespectful to Portsmouth fans but I believed he wasn't the man to take us forward but could work well with a team with a small budget and was a good manager to bring in a few lesser known names and grafters to teams with the odd bigger signing but I wasn't sure he could go that step further which is what the Tottenham board have expected, just look at the treatment of Martin Jol.

As for how he's done, what was it, 2 points in 8 games? Sorry, we've all got the T-Shirts!!! What he has done with us has been remarkable, especially in comparison to how I thought he would do. The signing of Defoe, Crouch, Bassong and most importantly Wilson Palacios have been brilliant signings. Wilson Palacios has been the player we have really needed for years and not had, a strong player in the center who will batter a player to win the ball, he will knock anything over in his way in a non-aggressive way but knows what he has to do to make his mark on a game.

With our squad and our strength in depth we are going the right way, top four though? No! The consistency isn't there and neither is the attractiveness to lure players we could do with to the club. We can't offer Manchester City's wages, we can't offer the top 4's European recent history and title challenging credentials and until we can attract some of these players I don't think we will break the Top 4.

Most importantly, are Spurs fans worried he'll ditch Tottenham and leave for a bigger club or come back to Pompey, if the opportunity comes?

Back to Pompey I can't see it. After this latest episode and the transfers made I honestly don't believe even he would have the bottle to return to Fratton Park! To a bigger club? We couldn't put it past him, maybe not even a bigger club, a club who can offer him what he wants and he could easily jump ship, yes, that's right, a bit more money. I don't think it's widely seen like this by Tottenham fans and say the day was to come sooner than later there would be a lot of shocked Spurs fans around and the other 91 clubs will be laughing saying we told you so! I just hope he doesn't leave after financially crippling the club!

Were you glad to see Jermain Defoe return to White Hart Lane last January?

Yes and No. It was great to see a player of his quality back at The Lane, someone who can make the most out of nothing and also someone who isn't afraid to shoot on site which is something we have lacked.

The No side is a bit more of a personal issue. A year before he returned he was sat on our bench, he couldn't break up the Berbatov and Keane partnership who were at the time the top scoring goal partnership in the Premiership so it was understandable so he left for first team football. We then sell the partnership to the top 4 showing our ambition again and all of a sudden we're back in the market for the striker who a year ago wasn't good enough to get in our starting XI. This is a step backwards really without looking into the quality of the striker.

And what do Spurs fans think of the signings of Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar?

Peter Crouch has instantly become a fans favourite! I was surprised, very surprised. We are a fickle bunch, we know that, David Bentley is still booed prematch when his name is read out and it's awful to hear. When Crouch was signed I thought he would possibly get the same treatment, English striker who is seen by many as a player who when selected means the tactic is hoof to his head. So far he has performed well for us and looked a great signing, it's just a pity that Robbie Keane is the Captain and will be selected ahead of him due to this status. Robbie Keane isn't half the player he was alongside Berbatov who brought out the best in him, Peter Crouch has looked dangerous.

As for Niko, he has come to us with a lot of hope and expectation but also for many seen as a player to play as back up to Luka Modric while he is out, hopefully this isn't the case. He is very talented and from his brief appearances so far he has shown he is a good player and adds a lot to the team, another player who has been cheered on and off the pitch by Spurs fans. For the price we got him for as well, it's a great bit of business but an insult to Portsmouth. The expectation is to see him put that ball into the box we sometimes don't see Lennon produce and grab a goal or two too which he is more than capable of.

Were you disappointed to see either Younes Kaboul or Kevin-Prince Boateng leave Tottenham for Pompey? Do you think Redknapp made a mistake in letting Jamie O'Hara move here on loan?

Younes Kaboul always came across as a player with raw talent, very raw talent though. He needs a leader alongside him, someone who will guide him and stop him from making some of the rash decisions he makes. I like Younes, I think he will become a good player, he already looks like he's becoming one at Portsmouth but still seems to not think a few things through!

The Prince on the other hand never looked comfortable. He looked out of his depth when called upon and was always a certainty to be out the door when we could get rid of him, he just didn't seem to fit in with our system. I will never forget one of his first interviews, topless flexing his muscles with tattoo's covering his body and saying how he will destroy anything that comes in his way! It was a funny read! He has an ego that's for sure.

Jamie O'Hara we love. Jamie's fighting spirit on the pitch is there to be seen by all, he will never go out onto the pitch and put in 90% effort, it will always be 100%. His only problem is he was used as a left back or left midfield the majority of the time for Tottenham and yes he put in a good job, he was never going to be first choice in either position as it doesn't bring out the best in him. Central midfield he is in his element, but then he's not up to the standards of Palacios, Jenas, Huddlestone or Modric.

He's a fighter and we love him for what he has done but he's never going to start for us and the loan move was probably the best for both us as a club and him as a player. He will get regular football and improve his game and hopefully make a bigger name for himself and get a move to a club who will utilise him and let him perform week in week out like he is at Portsmouth.

Because of Redknapp and co. there are many Pompey fans that harbour ill feeling towards Tottenham. Is the feeling mutual, considering the atmosphere that surrounded this fixture last season too ?

I was at Fratton Park last season and there was a bit of a different atmosphere surrounding the game. The chanting was over the top, in my opinion it was taken much further over the top by the media than what was intended, but other than a couple of Anti-Campbell chants it was no different to an away game for us. What then happened with the Portsmouth Fans making statements to the Police and the 16 Tottenham fans photos in the media this has fuelled a bit of a rivalry here from our side of things.

When you add Redknapp and the players he effectively robbed you of, this atmosphere and rivalry could be quite intense this season.

Just as an indication how the Tottenham fans take this game, Chelsea away was sold to Members who could have attended 2 Tottenham fixtures, very little demand, Portsmouth away sold out to Season Ticket holders with over 3 years worth of renewals on their membership, the Tottenham fans all want to be at this fixture for what is expected to be a game full of banter and a bit of fight on the field. Hopefully similar to last season where we were accepted into local Pubs with our Tottenham shirts on having a good bit of banter with Portsmouth fans, would be nice to get a similar atmosphere surrounding the game this season with the anger taken out in voice in the stands making for a great day out at Fratton Park.

What are the main strengths of your team?

Strength in Depth and Central Midfield. Wilson Palacios and Jermaine Jenas compliment each other so well and are vital to our challenge for a European spot this season. Then you have Lennon down the right who has been on fire this season and Modric down the left when fit is technically the best player on the pitch for us.

Jermain Defoe upfront can be quiet for 80mins of a game but you know for the other 10mins he will create himself a few chances and more often than not score or create a goal. Individually the defenders are good players, Corluka is a tad slow but makes up for it in his reading of the game and Assou-Ekotto is a bit rash but has improved so much. The central defenders are all good individually too, it's getting that partnership built between them!

The strength in depth is our big plus. When you see players such as these fighting for a first XI place you know you're doing something right. Heurelio Gomes, Alan Hutton, Jonathan Woodgate, Michael Dawson, Gareth Bale, David Bentley, Tom Huddlestone, Niko Kranjcar, Giovani Dos Santos, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Peter Crouch. That for me shows why we should be qualifying for the Europa League this season.

Are there any weaknesses in the side that Pompey can exploit?

Cudicini will probably be in goal, we don't know why, we don't like it either! He's not the greatest of keepers to judge crosses and when you add to that we can't really defend crosses I would say use your height and strength and just attack that 6 yard box! The wings are also another point of attack. Corluka is a very good defender, Assou-Ekotto is a better than average defender, the problem they both have is they have very little support from the wingers so attacks on our wing end up 2 v 1's a lot of the time. Lennon sticks around the half way line and Kranjcar on a few appearances so far looks to drift inside and defend the middle more than the left. Alternatively Keane could play on the wing and you would be effectively playing 10 men Spurs. Taking on Assou-Ekotto is also a good idea as Benoit loves to slide in occasionally which is just asking for bookings and fouls. Kicking Lennon can help too!

How do you think the match will pan out? Are you expecting former players of both clubs to have an impact? Predict the score.

Portsmouth 1-2 Tottenham. I'm being optimistic but leaking the inevitable goal away from home! I think we have enough fire power to attack what is a bit of a weak Portsmouth team this season. Defoe to grab an early goal, Portsmouth to equalise around the hour mark with Crouch to score a late winner.

Portsmouth Match Reports


Trending on the boards